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Agricultural Drones

Farm-i-tude presents: Women In Drones

When Ali Truman was in the second grade, she announced to everyone in her class she would be a pilot. She grew up performing and playing both piano and guitar and hit the road as a music artist with nothing but dust and Arizona in her rearview mirror and a music career in front of her. She moved to Texas and was playing venues all across the state.

Ali opened for some of the best Texas bands such as Casey Donahew and Bri Bagwell, and had released her first song to radio. “I can remember the first time I heard my song on the radio, I texted my mom, and she still has the exact time and day on her phone,” said Truman. Ali had feature articles, including the RockN W Report and The Oklahoma Review. Her new band, “Ali Truman and The Almost Famous Band,” was successful, and she was on her way. So how did she become a drone pilot? COVID. Touring stopped, the music stopped, it all stopped.

Her backup plan to her backup plan had failed. So Ali packed her bags and moved back to Arizona, where she had some life restructuring to do. “My uncle flew planes and now drones as a chief pilot for a couple of large drone projects,” says Truman, “I had some time on my hands, it looked fun, so I thought I’d give it a try.” Ali forgot what she told everyone she would be when she grew up, and now she had the chance.

She was one of the first drone pilots to graduate from the Farm-i-tude program. It took her less than a week to study and test for her 107 license to become a drone pilot. “It just really clicked,” says Truman. “Most all of the testing is about airspace, so once you understand that, it’s not that hard of a testing process.”

Women make up less than 12% of the entire workforce in all aeronautics divisions, so Ali once again blazes new territory. With the increasing usage of drones in the workforce, Ali got to choose where she wants to focus her talents. Through Farm-i-tude, she has learned to fly the Inspire, Mavic, and the Agras drones, giving her experience from aerial mapping to precision agriculture applications.

“I like the technology, and I love working with drones targeted towards farming where I get to go out there and show farmers how using drone technology can help cut costs and grow better crops,” says Truman, “Not exactly a tour, but I love the people I meet.”

So is she ready to hang up her guitar for a 7-foot wingspan drone? “Don’t get me wrong, music is my life,” says Truman, who keeps a notebook with her all the time to write down song ideas. “I look at becoming a pilot as just another great song of places and people in my life.” The industry projects the need for another 100,000 pilots in the next couple of years, well, actually only 99,999 now.

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