FairLifts, working with a network of helicopter providers, arranges immediate helicopter support for frost prevention in Florida. Frost prevention involves using the down draught of a helicopter to circulate warm air above crops, reducing the likelihood of frost damage.
Last winter, when temperatures in Florida dropped, crops were exposed to frost resulting in permanent damage. For smaller branches, temperatures below 28℉ for four consecutive hours can kill them.
Larger branches and trees may withstand 12 hours of temperatures below 28℉. However, to help combat the effects of freezing temperatures, helicopters flying above valuable and sensitive crops, moving back and forth to push warm air closer to the plants, can save these from a deadly frost.
Helicopters are often the last line of defense. Since the air 50 feet above crops is warmer than air near crops, the helicopter blades help push the warm air down to raise temperatures. The warmer air prevents cold and frost from settling on crops.
Raising the temperature even a couple of degrees can save crops and avoid losses of millions of dollars. In Florida, over three-quarters of the country’s orange crop is cultivated. The state also produces an estimated 40% of the worldwide orange juice supply. The loss in orange crops affects consumers far beyond Florida.
Helicopter frost prevention flights, which are usually at least 30 feet above the ground, are high enough to be above the inversion, so they can blow warm air down. They are also slightly above ETL to cover crops quickly by pulling the air down and letting it circulate the crops.
An area may have to be covered multiple times, therefore, it is critical to get the air moving throughout the crops quickly. Warm air above a field can easily be depleted within three hours. Helicopter frost prevention flights take place at night since the coldest time of night is right before dawn.
Larger aircraft such as Hueys and Sikorskys are often used. Lightbars may be rigged to the underside of the helicopter for night flying. Pilots sometimes load helicopter water tanks to increase the weight and increase thrust.
Under severe frost conditions with a high inversion, one helicopter can fly above another to increase the downward heat transfer. Also, thermostat-controlled lights at the top of the canopy can be used to help pilots see where passes are needed.
FairLifts Can Help!
FairLifts schedules immediate and vital helicopter support for frost prevention in Florida. Our account managers are available 24/7 to provide planning, pricing, and information for farmers and growers in the state. Call now or fill out our online form and a representative will contact you immediately.