Global ag plane manufacturer acquires UAS firm

By Luke Geiver | May 25, 2016

Air Tractor Inc. is going unmanned. The Texas-based manned aircraft manufacturer that builds a wide array of aircraft suitable for agriculture applications has purchased unmanned aircraft vehicle developer Hangar 78 UAV for an undisclosed amount. 

“We have done our research, and it’s clear that aggressively investing and further developing unmanned aerial systems into agriculture will enable Air Tractor to remain an industry leader and provide the latest technology to ag producers as UAS capabilities mature and are integrated into the industry,” said Jim Hirsch, president of Air Tractor. 

Hangar 78 has designed a number of UAVs, but Air Tractor’s main focus will be the multirotor Yield Defender UAV. The platform features a Pixhawk PX4 flight computer, a LiPo 3S 5800mAh battery, 2.4 GHz 6  channel RF transmitter, GPS with digital compass, SD card and USB Adapter along with onboard sensors that include a gyroscope, accelerometer/magnetometer, GPS and barometer along with a 1080 camera. 

The system is also integrated with CropVue, a web based flight management analysis program. Wes Hall, president of Hangar 78, has been appointed to Vice President of UAS Technologies, at Air Tractor. 

Air Tractor provides manned aircraft to North, South and Central America along with Australia, Indonesia, China and Spain among others.