Yesterday our Civil Air Patrol (CAP) flight crew spent just under five hours “chasing” an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) as part of an agricultural research data gathering project for North Dakota State University. The North Dakota Wing CAP has been supporting this research all summer. My volunteer job for this project includes monitoring communications to help ensure safe flight operations of the unmanned aircraft in public air space. Consequently, I spend lots of time watching the other activities at the airport. In a future post, I will put together a gallery of images from the UAS operation.
Yesterday was a relatively windless North Dakota day so the resident aerial applicator (popularly known as a crop duster) was busy applying fertilizer to nearby farmer’s fields. About every thirty minutes, the pilot would return to the airport and he and his assistant would load another batch of liquid fertilizer. This operation is going on right outside the door of our communications trailer. I am not an expert in identifying aircraft designed for aerial application, but I believe this aircraft is manufactured by Air Tractor Inc.
About the photograph: Though the engine appears to be stopped, the prop is turning the entire time during the refill. My cellphone camera has a fast enough shutter speed to stop the motion of the prop in the image. The wingtip in the foreground is only about 8-10 feet (3 m) from where I was standing in the doorway of my operations trailer. The image was captured with my Samsung S7 cell phone using automatic exposure mode. For the technically inclined, shutter speed was 1/5600, aperture f/1.7 and ISO 50. That 1/5600 shutter speed is the reason the prop appears to be stopped.