Pilots Test Aerial Applicators At Fly In

Agribusiness
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At the annual Fly Safe Fly In, pilots had the chance to use Iowa State University tools to verify equipment.

Tony Meyer, President of the Iowa Agriculture Aviation Association and third generation aerial applicator, stands on a test strip where pilots are spraying fluorescent dye on a stretched out piece of string, which will be run through a fluorometer.

He points to a plane flying nearby, "He's going to spray, try to get the optimum height and speed. And once he flies across that string, we'll take it in and analyze the string."

ISU Extension engineer Mark Hanna runs through the data, "More dye placement in certain parts of the string we get higher ratings, less dye placement, lower ratings. So we can see relatively basically all across the swath that plane if there were any high or low spots and help pilots try and even that out."

Meyer says, "And that's the main concern today, efficiency for the airplane and the farmers, and public safety.”

It's different from ground application, each plane can need tweaking to spray right.

Hanna says, "The kind of small things on the aircraft surface can cause a little bit of extra turbulence maybe around a wheel strut or something like that and we want to shift where those nozzles are releasing the material."

He hands the collected data to pilots and talks through the results. And has done so for nearly two decades, "We encourage pilots to come in and get their aircraft tested that way, and honestly we like to see pilots come in at least every second or third year."

He hands the collected data to pilots and talks through the results. And has done so for nearly two decades, "We encourage pilots to come in and get their aircraft tested that way, and honestly we like to see pilots come in at least every second or third year."

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