Aviation Uses in Wildlife Agencies and How to Get Started

Over the past decade, Florida has undergone rapid suburbanization of its borderline wilderness areas. New airspace restrictions and low-level flight restriction over what are now populated areas have increasingly impeded aerial wildlife research and law enforcement patrol with fixed-winged aircraft. During the same decade, domestic marijuana cultivation in Florida's wilderness areas, especially Commission-maintained wildlife management areas, has increased dramatically. Enter now the federal government's plan to surplus over 3,000 helicopters, including parts and tools over a 5-year period. How to justify a transition from fixed-wing operations to a mix of fixed- and rotary-winged operations, how to acquire the helicopters, how to operate and maintain them, and how to make it all work within a limited budget are the foci of this paper.

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