The success of aerial application depends heavily on the quality and reliability of the spray equipment. In this article, we will discuss the importance of having durable and resistant spray equipment for agricultural aircraft and the main reasons why operators should see it as a real investment.
Durable spray equipment is essential for ensuring the pilot’s safety. Aerial application requires aircraft to fly in extreme conditions, such as low altitudes and high speeds. Spray equipment that is not durable enough may break down mid-flight, causing serious risks to the life of the applicator and to the airplane’s integrity. Breakage of some larger spray parts (such as filters, booms and their hangers) can severely compromise airworthiness.
In addition to operator safety, durable equipment also means environmental and health safety. If the spray equipment is not robust enough, it may leak or malfunction, leading to the off-target application of chemicals. This can not only interfere with the treatment of crops but also affect the quality of the soil and surrounding ecosystems. Therefore, having resistant spray equipment is essential for avoiding any environmental impact of aerial spraying.
In pesticide application, the durability and resistance of the spraying equipment are completely related to the quality of the service and are crucial for maintaining the quality of the crop. As agrochemical products have a high corrosive and abrasive power, they tend to damage structures over time, compromising their integrity. Stronger equipment guarantees better flow control and more uniformity in the droplet spectrum. This prevents, for example, the flowmeter makeing the wrong adjustment to the application rate, the nozzles having different flow rates, or one atomizer producing different sizes of drops than another. Thus, the durability of the spray equipment over time ensures that the agrochemicals are applied evenly to the target as they should be.
Durable spray equipment is also critical for ensuring that the aircraft can complete its mission without interruptions. Agricultural aviation is durable and resistant spray equipmentpart of the agribusiness industry that works under the greatest pressure and requires the greatest agility. Any break during the spray season means the loss of valuable time and resources. Due to the high operating cost of aircraft, a few minutes stopped on the ground for simple maintenance means a lot of money, as it always has too many acres to cover in a very short window of time.
|THE STRENGTH OF STAINLESS STEEL
– The only material (among the 29 most used on the market) that offers resistance to the 33 most popular agrochemicals. (Source: “SCHREIBER, Charles. Corrosion of Aircraft Structural Materials by Agricultural Chemicals”)
– Corrosion index up to 521 times lower than aluminum (test done with liquid fertilizer). (Source: “EKER AND YUKSEL. Solutions to Corrosion Caused by Agricultural Chemicals
The best example of this factor is what happened in South America in the last twenty years. After Zanoni started its operations in Brazil, 100% of the local fleet replaced aluminum equipment (lighter) with stainless steel (once again, more durable). Despite the (reduction of) weight being something fundamental for aviation, local operators realized that reducing the gallonage and ensuring that the spray system has no problems is more profitable than having a plane with greater capacity but always on the ground for maintenance.
In conclusion, having durable and resistant spray equipment is essential for the success of aerial spraying in agriculture, and it can save farmers money in the long run. It ensures that the aircraft can complete its mission without interruptions, maintains the quality of the crop, and ensure that chemicals are applied efficiently.