Aerospace The hose is filled with pesticides and

Aerospace engineering is very important for the future of agriculture. Aerospace engineers mainly design aircrafts and spacecrafts, but what does that have to do with anything about agriculture? Well aerospace mainly has to do with aerial application. Aerial application is the process of applying protection to crops by aircraft. Aerial application is usually called “crop dusting,” but calling it “crop dusting” isn’t the right term anymore. When you think of a crop duster, you probably think of some old man flying in a biplane flying and spraying a substance over a field of crops. But aerial application has advanced so much from the history, present, and future of aerial application. So where did aerial application come from? The first known aerial application was in 1906 when John Chaytor spread seeds over a swamped valley floor in New Zealand using a hot air balloon. But that was just the first aerial application ever recorded. Aerial application became an industry at around the early 1920s. In the 1920s, new chemicals that helped crops grow came out into the market. But if you were a farmer with hundreds of acres of land, it would take way too long to apply them to the crops. So, people made specially designed airplanes that could spray crops by airplane and this is where aerospace engineering come in. Aerospace engineers help a lot with the growth of aerial application. As technology gets better, aerospace engineers design better planes for the job.The most common plane that people used were biplanes. But using biplanes to spray a field is old now. Some of the more common planes that ag pilots, or crop dusters, use nowadays are fixed wing planes. Fixed wing planes generate lift with the plane’s forward speed rather than using flaps to generate lift. Fixed wing planes are more efficient than a biplane. So how do ag pilots spray a field with an airplane? The airplanes have a hose like tube strapped to the wings of the plane. The hose strapped to the wings has a lot of tiny nozzles that point to the tail of the plane or downward. The hose is filled with pesticides and other chemicals that spray out of each nozzle. These chemicals can protect the crops or help the crops grow faster. These chemicals can be dangerous to humans, so an ag pilot usually flys 10 to 20 feet off of the ground to make sure the chemicals only get on the crops. However flying this low to the ground can be dangerous as well.So aerial application has advanced quite a bit over the years, but the future of aerial application is quite insane. Aerospace engineers have already started to design drones that can do the same job as an ag pilot. These drones are much smaller, safer, and can fly lower to the ground. Plus, you can have multiple drones flying at once. Drones can spray individual spots if needed. Now, these drones aren’t available to the public yet, mainly because it is fairly new. Some of the awesome features that these drone could do in the future is autopilot. What people could do is program the drones to go along a specific path and spray crops. This could be the biggest breakthrough in aerial application. Imagine hundreds of drones, flying and spraying a crop field. It would take way less time to spray a field. On the downside however, this means that you probably couldn’t make as much of a profit on being an ag pilot. All of this technology from past planes to present plane to the future of these new “ag drones” are all thanks to aerospace engineers. Aerospace engineers help with agriculture so much. In the future we will hopefully have drones that work efficiently. Maybe aerospace engineers could even make drones that collect and replant crops. We could grow food so much faster with this technology. But who knows? Only time will tell.


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