TD News, Number 1, 2004 - Internet Web Site: 'http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d' Send an e-mail request for username and password to: 't-d@fs.fed.us'

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Forest Health Protection


T&D Employees Attend Agricultural Aviation Convention

Agricultural aviators learned about the Technology and Development (T&D) Program's work in aerial spraying during the National Agricultural Aviation Association's December 2004 convention in Reno, NV. The T&D program has developed a spray droplet visualization CD that allows anyone working with aerial spraying to see the effects of wind drift on different sizes of spray droplets. Gary Kees, a mechanical engineer at MTDC, displayed the visualization on a laptop computer during the convention. The visualization interested not only agricultural aviators, but also visiting schoolchildren who crowded around the MTDC booth. The visualization is based on the Forest Service's AGDISP computer model that predicts spray dispersion based on particle size, wing vortices created by the plane, wind speed, and other factors. Vendors have been combining the AGDISP computer model with GPS data and aerial onboard weather instrumentation to automate aerial application, potentially increasing its accuracy and efficiency. Vendors continue to test such systems.

[photo] Students gathered around the Forest Service booth at the National Agricultural Aviation Association's December 2004 Convention in Reno, Nevada.

Greg Lovellette, a physical scientist who specializes in aerial drop testing for SDTDC, saw innovations in single-engine airtankers (SEATs). SEATs were originally designed for agricultural spraying or fertilizing and seeding. When a fire gate is added to a SEAT's hopper (storage compartment), the tanker can be used to drop fire retardant for wildland firefighting. SEATs were used effectively during the fire season of 2004.


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