Yamaha debuts commercial spray serviceYamaha debuts commercial spray service
New Yamaha office at Napa County Airport will serve as operations base.
May 20, 2016
Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., announced the inaugural commercial operation of its RMAX remotely piloted helicopter for agriculture spraying service in the U.S. The RMAX flight was recently completed in California for Napa-based Silverado Farming Company, a leading vineyard management company.
During its debut the RMAX applied a fungicide for preventative control of powdery mildew—one of the most common fungal diseases affecting grapes and many other crops.
Members of the Yamaha Precision Agriculture team and a professional crop adviser and viticulturist with Silverado Farming Company in Napa Valley on Wednesday, May 18, for the inaugural commercial flight of Yamaha RMAX for agricultural spraying. Source: Yamaha
For Yamaha, the U.S. debut of RMAX commercial services for the agricultural industry marks the culmination of several years working with the Federal Aviation Administration to receive appropriate certifications, as well as extensive field research with the University of California, Davis. A representative from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation was on hand to witness the flight.
"We've been diligently working toward this U.S. milestone for RMAX since 2012, when our research partnership with UC Davis began," said Brad Anderson, a market development manager for Yamaha's Unmanned Systems Division. "It's gratifying to have earned support from both the aviation and agricultural communities. RMAX provides a unique and effective solution for spray applications, particularly for grape growers with vineyards on slopes or difficult terrain."
In April 2016 Yamaha opened a new office at the Napa County Airport to support RMAX commercial spray services for growers primarily located in Napa and Sonoma counties.
Brittany Pederson, a professional pest control adviser and viticulturist for Silverado Farming Company, said the RMAX provides a promising solution for grape growers in California's wine country. "We've followed the UC Davis research trials and evaluations pretty closely," said Pederson. "The results of those trials and conclusions drawn from work at the Oakville Experimental Vineyards were pretty strong and gave us the confidence to begin our own experiments with the RMAX on privately owned commercial vineyards."
In December 2015 Yamaha received Part 137 Agricultural Aircraft Operations Certification from the FAA, the first for an unmanned aerial system. The certification enabled Yamaha to begin agricultural spraying in the U.S., subject to approval by state and local authorities in areas where the RMAX remotely piloted helicopters will be used. Within the U.S. agricultural research community Yamaha has collaborated with University of California, Davis to extensively research, evaluate and validate the application of RMAX for specialized agricultural spraying.
The RMAX has been in service internationally since 1997 and has logged more than 2 million flight hours treating agricultural acres. Today there are 2,500 Yamaha RMAX helicopters in operation worldwide spraying more than 2.4 million agricultural acres annually. RMAX has been used for agricultural spraying with many crops including rice, wheat, soybeans and vegetables.
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