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Mini-Copter Makes US Debut
If you've got high-dollar crops to protect, you might want to take a look at this new remote-control helicopter from Japan that's being introduced in the U.S.
Unveiled at the Tulare Agricultural Show, Yamaha's R-50 Mini-Copter weighs only 97 lbs. and fits easily in the back of a pickup.
It's powered by a 12 hp water-cooled Yamaha engine and is capable of speeds up to 60 mph with an average flying time of 30 minutes (fuel tank capacity is 1 gal.). It's equipped with a 6-nozzle, 8 1/2-ft. wide spray designed boom for low volume applications of pesticides or foliar fertilizers. Application is typically made from about 9 ft. above ground and range is about 50 acres. Operating cost is about $8 per hour.
It features a computer-controlled navigation assist system that makes necessary G flight adjustments automatically. In fact, the U.S. distributor says it's almost impossible to crash it. That's good because the mini-chopper sells for around $50,000.
In addition to chemicals, the chopper is ideal for applications of beneficial insects (with the addition of a special pod), says Rick Frey, president of Arizona Biological Control (ARBICO), the Tucson, Ariz., distributor.
The downward thrust of air from the 10-ft., 1-in. dia. rotor pushes insects directly to the plants, he notes. Plus, the accuracy of the chopper's flying patterns make it a perfect fit with precision farming techniques, he adds. The flight pattern can be computer controlled to apply chemicals anywhere needed.
(Applications for military and civilian purposes, such as search and rescue missions, are also being explored).
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, ARBICO, P.O. Box 4247, Tucson, Ariz. 85738 (ph 800 827-2847 or 520 825-9785; fax 2038).

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1997 - Volume #21, Issue #3