Ag aviation groups and warning about drones and traditional aircrafts sharing airspace

With planting season in full swing, it also means aircraft will be gearing up to skim the fields.

With more ag drones in the skies, aviation experts have a warning about sharing the airspace.

Drones are restricted from flying above 400 feet without special clearance, yet this altitude aligns with the flight levels of traditional aircraft spraying operations. The National Ag Aviation Association urges drone operators to remain mindful of low-flying aircraft such as planes and helicopters. According to the Association, 11 percent of manned aircraft reported encountering nearby drone activity while working.

They emphasize that manned aircraft have the right of way, and drones must be equipped with high-visibility strobe lights. All operators must be FAA-certified and carry insurance. It is crucial to contact local ag aviators before flying. If a drone encounters a traditional aircraft, it should be landed immediately.