UNMANNED: Vehicles take to the skies to battle weeds
UNMANNED: Vehicles take to the skies to battle weeds Christopher Chan GLA020612DOOR

Unmanned aerial vehicles to spray prickly acacia weed

THE Desert Channels Group will unveil an Australian first in weed control when an unmanned aerial vehicle sprays prickly acacia with chemicals next month.

The Yamaha RMAX helicopter will show off its capabilities at DCG's innovation day at Sesbania, near Corfield, on Friday, May 3.

"The exciting thing about this machine is that it can treat really dense infestations from above, and it applies the chemical directly on top of the leaf system, where it is absorbed quickest," DCG pest consultant Peter Spence said.

The DCG is running its prickly acacia treatment project in the Winton district.

Commercial pilot and flight instructor Simon Wiggins, a director of PBE Services, said operation of the RMAX was regulated by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

"Getting all the training and certifications to fly this UAV was as intensive as anything I've ever done in aviation," Mr Wiggins said.

"It might sound like a toy but it's a serious machine.

"It is packed with complex electronics, has a rotor span of over three metres and take-off weight of 100kg."

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