Beck's, the largest family-owned retail seed company in the United States, announced today a collaboration with Indiana State University to train pilots to operate unmanned aerial vehicles within the new legal structure established by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Under the partnership, Beck's will have 50 pilots FAA certified to assist customers with scouting their crops throughout the growing season.
With the recent introduction of Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations for non-hobbyist small unmanned aircraft systems operations, Beck's is committed to ensuring that their employees are not only certified, but are operating UAVs safely and have the most up-to-date training.
"At Beck's, we're committed to using agricultural innovations to help our customers succeed," said Jim Love, Beck's light robotics manager. "Through the use of UAVs, we're able to help them determine cropping patterns and identify issues within their fields. This partnership with Indiana State University will allow us to make sure that the individuals operating those UAVs are trained at the highest level."
Indiana State has a history in aviation excellence, which combined with their superior unmanned systems program, made them a perfect partner for this program. In an effort to continue supporting Indiana State in training future UAV pilots, Beck's has donated a commercial UAV for use in their unmanned systems program.
"The Federal Aviation Administration's Part 107 rule has created quite a demand for trained and knowledgeable remote pilots or small UAS operators," said Richard Baker, executive director of the Center for Unmanned Systems and Human Capital Development. "ISU is excited about our partnership with Beck's and we wish them great success. Our faculty and students see this relationship as another way to demonstrate the capabilities of small UAS and their potential impact in food production."