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FAYETTEVILLE — An Arkansas agriculture professor is using a kite to take aerial photos of soybean fields in his research to develop more drought-tolerant plants.

The Southwest Times Record reported that University of Arkansas professor Larry Purcell is using the kites to get around a federal agency's rules on flying remote-controlled aircraft for commercial purposes.

Purcell's research is supported by a grant from the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. Purcell had wanted to use a remote-controlled aircraft to take infrared and color images of soybean crops. Those images show drought stress before soybeans display any physical signs of it.

The Federal Aviation Administration said his research had a commercial purpose and issued a cease and desist letter in 2011.

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  • Nodmcm
    August 4, 2014 at 2:22 p.m.

    What wonderful things, kites! I think most of us recall childhood days spent flying kites. I recall in particular when I was young that my father took me to the War Memorial Stadium parking lot, where a kite-flying event was occurring. I remember there were all sorts of kites, but the one that caught my eye was a huge box kite, maybe six feet long by two or three feet wide, flying up sixty feet. It was made out of two-by-two lumber, and I was amazed it was airborne! Kite flying was prohibited by the Taliban in Afghanistan, because they believed it was a waste of time. But when one thinks of all of the human, wholesome pleasure gained by kite-flying, it should cause a smile to cross one's face. Even as an adult, flying a kite can bring back the 'kid' in all of us. Give it a try.

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