Last week, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration finalized the first operational rules for routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or “drones”).

The new rules limit most small commercial drone operations to daylight hours and require operators to get certified every two years.

The FAA granted special permission for more than 5,300 commercial drone uses while it developed the final rules.

This recent action could result in thousands more because drone operators won’t need to seek case-by-case approval.

The FAA’s rulebook allows commercial drones weighing up to 55 pounds to fly during daylight hours and lower than 400 feet in the air, or higher if within 400 feet of a taller building or tower.

The aircraft must remain within sight of the operator or an observer who is in communication with the operator. 

Operator rules

The operator must be at least 16 years old, pass an aeronautics test every 24 months for a certificate and a background check by the Transportation Security Administration.

“We are part of a new era in aviation, and the potential for unmanned aircraft will make it safer and easier to do certain jobs, gather information and deploy disaster relief,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a news release.

The FAA is offering a process to waive some restrictions if an operator proves the proposed flight will be conducted safely under a waiver. The FAA will make an online portal available to apply for these waivers in the months ahead.

The new rule, which takes effect in late August, offers safety regulations for unmanned aircraft drones weighing less than 55 pounds, conducting non-hobbyist operations.

According to industry estimates, the rule could generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and create more than 100,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.

Operators are responsible for ensuring a drone is safe before flying, but the FAA is not requiring small UAS to comply with current agency airworthiness standards or aircraft certification.

Instead, the remote pilot will have to perform a preflight visual and operational check of the small UAS to ensure safety-pertinent systems are functioning properly.

This includes checking the communications link between the control station and the UAS.

For the complete FAA document, visit www.faa.gov/uas/media/Part_107_Summary.pdf.

What’s New

Horsch has introduced the Joker RT40, a 40-foot-wide version of its popular RT Joker Series.

The new model features a five-section design with adjustable down pressure to closely follow ground contours and evenly distribute the machine’s weight for ensuring precise tillage depths.

It also folds to a transport width of 15 feet, 8 inches for transport down narrow roads.

The RT40 offers the same agronomic benefits as other RT Joker models for residue management and seedbed preparation, as well as incorporating chemicals, fertilizer and manure.

Its 20-inch notched blades provide precise soil engagement and residue sizing, while optimal spacing between the front and rear ranks allows for maximum soil and residue throughput.

Additionally, the RollFlex Finishing System consolidates the soil to accelerate residue decomposition, create a firm seedbed and retain moisture for rapid and even crop emergence.

Other standard features on the RT40 include heavy-duty walking tandem caster gauge wheels, easy depth control adjustment, a hydraulic hitch jack and a RollFlex accumulator system.

The unit requires tractor horsepower ratings of 500 or more to operate. For more details, visit www.horsch.com.

New hydraulic control

Single roller harrow on discs from Remlinger Manufacturing are now available with hydraulic control.

This new control allows a farmer to roll the harrow up out of the ground if he doesn’t want to use it for the first pass.

It also allows the farmer to easily adjust the down pressure of the rollers with the tractor hydraulics vs. adjusting spring tension, which is how it’s currently changed.

A kit is also available to convert older single roller harrows on discs to the new hydraulic style.

Remlinger’s single roller harrow features one 12-inch roller and breaks clods and churns the soil. The roller penetrates the soil up to 2-inches deep, mixing and firming the soil.

For more information, visit Remlinger Manufacturing www.remlingermfg.com.

Worksaver introduces loader adapter

Worksaver Inc. introduced a new adapter designed to convert loaders including McCormick 125C, Branson SL 100, Kioti KL2510 and LS LL 201 that use pin-on buckets to the “universal” skid steer standard.

This adapter offers greater versatility for operators, allowing the use of skid steer attachments.

It features plated handles, pins, springs and bushings to provide a long service life.

Worksaver Inc. is a manufacturer of agricultural, industrial, commercial and construction equipment for a variety of applications for property owners, farmers, ranchers, contractors and many others.

There is a variety of equipment able to fit skid steers and front loaders and tractors. 

For more information got to www.worksaver.com.