Subtropical Fruit Crops Research & Education
University of California
Subtropical Fruit Crops Research & Education

Thinking of Using Drones for Weed or Fire Assessment Work?

Area IPM Advisor

IPM Natural Resources Extension Coordinator

Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases Strategic Initiative Leader

UC Statewide IPM Program & UCCE
Aerial drones are cool.  But they can't do everything (just yet).  Here are a couple tidbits of information you should consider if you are thinking about getting one (or more) to help you with your weed scouting, plan to use it for herbicide application or even assess damage to an orchard.
  1. You need to get a Remote Pilot Airman Certificate (FAA Part 107) if you are going to do anything commercial with it. That includes even if you are using it on a job where you will not be paid.
  2. You can use it for scouting but you can't fly it over people (unless you get a waiver). You also always have to have it in your or an assistant's (the spotter with radio communication) line of sight.
  3. Even if you have a drone that is capable of doing a spray application, the Dept. of Pesticide Regulation currently requires that the drone pilot have an Airman's Certificate (Pilot's license). This is addition to the Pest Control Aircraft Pilot Certificate from DPR. However, things may change in 2018. See pages 3-47 to 3-52 in


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Posted on Monday, January 8, 2018 at 7:23 AM
  • Author: Cheryl Wilen
Tags: assessment (1), avocado (251), citrus (274), fire (29), nursery (4), weed (2)

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