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Growing up around Ag Aviation, Andy Bourne was determined to be an Aerial Topdressing Pilot from a very young age. His neighbour landed his topdressing aircraft from sparrows to dusk on the airstrip which was beside his house. After leaving school in 2006, he began his career in Raetihi at Wanganui Aero Work as a helicopter crewman. He loaded helicopters for market gardens as well as for other agricultural needs across the industry.

From 2015, he worked to get his agricultural rating in topdressing from Ravensdown Aerowork from 2015-2023. He paid his dues as a loader driver, gained experience flying the Cessna 185 on survey operations alongside flying Crescos to gain his rating as an Aerial Topdressing Pilot.

Andy has always had an interest in drones, and he’s been tinkering with them since 2014 for photography, videography and surveying. He’s always been impressed by their developing technology, particularly in precision application; a drone’s ability to pick out exactly what each weed or bush is and create a spot spraying map, resulting in you only use the chemical needed.


Andy started Airbourne with the aim of using drones to help pinpoint needs, whether for application or surveying, and believes they can make a very real impact in the ag sector through:


  • Precision application with the use of multispectral cameras on drones which can pinpoint only where product is needed instead of unnecessary blanket spraying for weeds or applying one rate of fertiliser.

  • Variable rate of chemicals or fertilisers. The new multispectral cameras can work out a variable rate, that the spraying/spreading drones can work off automatically to get the most out of your crop; saving time, money and impact on the environment

  • As these drones are electric, the carbon footprint compared to traditional spraying/spreading methods is much less, almost zero.

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