As the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) marches in lockstep with some corporate interests in the uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) space, it is becoming clear that green lighting and expanding UAS beyond visual line of site (BVLOS) operations may be being prioritized over safety.

First proposed in the 2022 BVLOS ARC Report, and later put out for public comment in 2023, the FAA is considering designating “shielded” areas wherein UAS would have the right-of-way over crewed aircraft. These areas are defined as the airspace within 100 feet vertically or laterally of an obstacle or critical infrastructure, such as power lines. According to the ARC Report this is based on “the limited likelihood of crewed aircraft operations in [these] areas.”

The current reality is that some of these UAS interests (think BNSF Railway, Google, Amazon), and in some cases the FAA, do not have a solid understanding of where and how we operate. It falls now to us, as an industry, to inform future rulemaking of the unique nature of aerial application operations. Using a data-driven approach, we can demonstrate our utilization of the low-altitude airspace and expose the safety threat presented by UAS not giving the right-of-way to crewed aircraft within it.

To this end, NAAA has a longstanding partnership with Mississippi State University (MSU) to collect GPS data logs donated by its members. Since the project’s inception in 2017, the data collected and analysis performed by MSU has fueled NAAA’s efforts in representing the safety interests of aerial applicators to regulators.

If you have donated logs in the past, Thank You.

If you have logs which you have not yet donated, please consider it. The data you provide can help shape policy on a national level and save lives. As a reminder, any data you submit is stripped of any personally identifiable information prior to inclusion in the larger dataset. There are two options to submit your logs to MSU:

  • Request a secure upload link for data uploads. Email Madison Dixon, Associate Director, MSU Agricultural Autonomy Institute
  • Mail a flash drive or other storage device to the address below (The device will be immediately mailed back once data is received if a return address is provided):

Mail To:
Attn: Madison Dixon
MSU Agricultural Autonomy Institute
Pace Seed Technology Building
Mailstop #9812
650 Stone Blvd.
Mississippi State, MS 39762