Fly the farming skies

JEFF SELLE/jselle@cdapress.com | Posted: Tuesday, February 3, 2015 12:00 am
HAYDEN – Empire Airlines has joined forces with two other companies to form a new industry in Idaho utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles.

The company is called Empire Unmanned, LLC, and it is the first commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems business in the United States authorized to legally fly drones as a service for agriculture.

Empire Airlines joined Advanced Aviation Solutions of Star, Idaho; and Blair Farms of Kendrick, Idaho to create the new venture.

“We plan to start out fairly small this year,” said Tim Komberec, CEO of Empire Airlines. “But as we get through startup, I can see 50 to 75 people associated with it pretty easily.”

The FAA requires drone operators to be licensed private pilots, have a third-class medical certification and an active biennial flight review.

Komberec said the company has been working with the community colleges in Idaho to develop training programs for the new industry, and Empire Airlines will have an in-house training program as well, Komberec said.