Arkansas Professor Flies Kites For Research Into Drought-Tolerant Plants

Aug 4, 2014

An Arkansas agriculture professor is using a kite to take aerial photos of soybean fields in his research to develop more drought-tolerant plants.

The Southwest Times Record reports University of Arkansas professor Larry Purcell is using the kites to get around a federal agency's rules on flying remote controlled aircrafts for commercial purposes.

Purcell's research is supported by a grant from the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. Purcell had wanted to use a remote controlled aircraft to take infrared and color images of soybean crops. Those images show drought stress before soybeans display any physical signs of it.

The Federal Aviation Administration said his research had a commercial purpose and issued a cease and desist letter in 2011.