Demonstrating: A local Landcare group gats a first-hand demonstration of an unmanned Yamaha-powered helicopter, spraying weeds at a Fish Creek farm last Thursday. The unit can also drop baits, fertiliser and seeds. m133517

Spraying: The high-performance unmanned helicopter from Yamaha is seen spraying blackberries in a remote location at Fish Creek last week. m143517

THAT’S an unmanned, high-performance Rmax helicopter from Yamaha valued at $100,000.
It operates distinctively like a radio-controlled drone but it’s a serious piece of aerial equipment, already tried and proved on thousands of hard-to-get-at paddy fields in Japan, and it already has plenty of applications in Australia.
And last week, the team from the Sky Division of Yamaha Motor Australia was putting the Rmax through its paces, spraying blackberries at Fish Creek, during a South Gippsland Landcare Network field day on the Farrell family farm on Prom Road.
The firm is looking for contractors to own and operate the equipment in the Gippsland region on a contracting basis, but they’d also like to sell them to local farmers and government instrumentalities with specific needs. They can be leased or purchased outright.
And they’ll train you in safe and effective operation.
What’s not to like?
As explained Business Development Manager from Yamaha Australia’s Sky Division Scott Noble, agricultural uses can include spraying, seeding, remote sensing, precision agriculture, frost mitigation and variable rate dispersal.
The unit can carry all manner of equipment including cameras for photo, mapping, filming and inspection work.
In Japan, RMAX helicopters are primarily used for seeding and spraying rice. There are upwards of 2500 of them operating there, first trialled in 1987.
But given the unique features of the RMAX, the opportunities in Australia and New Zealand are endless, he said.
“Sky Division Australia is working with several agricultural industry bodies, grower’s groups and government departments on new projects.”
Scott demonstrated how simple it is to fill the easy-to-remove spray tanks and hoppers from the aircraft.
And those attending the field day had plenty of time to ask questions.
Want to know more? See the website at: http://rmax.yamaha-motor.com.au
It’s likely the mini but full function helicopter will be demonstrated at local field days.