Flying High in the Free State by putting Drones on the Map

Nihan Engelbrecht and Bertus van Zyl flying high in the Free State

From a 20 year career in game management and cattle farming, to flying high in the Free State with drones. This is what Nihan Engelbrecht has done. After a fascination with combining aviation with work on the ground for better results, the world of high tech in drones is it. The difference is that in his wild life management days, aerial work was performed by helicopters. Now Nihan is putting drones on the map with UAV Aerial Works, helping farmers and businesses alike. That is doing dull, dirty and dangerous jobs more effectively and improving farming outputs all year round.

In general, when adding drone technology, farming could be made more efficient and cost effective. This cutting-edge work keeps Nihan busy these days. Although he still gets his hands dirty on his cattle farm just outside Bloemfontein, Nihan’s new passion is drones.

Flying High in the Free State – Smart Farming

Business processes and strategic decisions are improved by using data obtained through the use of drones. It could be as simple as an analysis of cattle-carrying capacity between a natural red grass area versus an adjacent planted Smutsfinger pasture. Conversely, it could be as complex as partnering with the Agricultural Research Council for an in depth, longer term risk study of water resource availability on catchment and farm level, for an experimental crop production expansion.

Equally interesting, are hydrology & soil erosion projects such as quantification of gully erosion using 3D photogrammetry reconstruction and multispectral analysis.

Flying High in the Free State with UAV Aerial Works
Irrigation Analysis of a Summer Rainfall Crop in Winter Planting Experiment

Farmers see Immediate Results

Nihan believes it is important for crop farmers to benefit from immediate results once drones are introduced. That is to say if a piece of land can be inspected quickly and efficiently, then vehicle wear & tear and fuel cost reductions are realised and time is saved.

In addition, operating costs can be reduced and crop yield increased by collecting data to manage crop health and track crop growth. Pests and disease management is also a key benefit as a result of drone inspections.

Crop Analysis from Seed Stage

Beyond the benefits of drone technology in farming, there are other uses to consider. General drone services in agriculture and other industries include drone surveying and drone inspections for insurance purposes, engineering, construction and much more.

As the holder of a Remote Pilots License (RPL), Nihan is trained, licensed, insured and therefore authorised by the South African Civil Aviation Authority to perform legal drone operations.

Downloading Data in the Field after a Crop Analysis Drone Flight

For more examples of how Nihan and the UAV Aerial Works team can help put your business on the map too, follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn. Or contact Nihan directly for a chat about how drones can work for your business.  



  1. Thea Bruwer

    Ek is Thea Bruwer. As jy in Bloemfontein bly is ek seker jy kan Afrikaans praat!! Ek het nou ‘n artikel gelees oor julle besigheid en is baie beindruk. My seun, Ian van Tonder, woon op die oomblik in Bainsvlei area en het sopas sy drone lisensie geslaag maar het nou praktiese ondervinding nodig. Alle werksgeleenthede vereis mense met ondervinding.
    Ek het net gewonder of julle nie kan help daarmee nie. Ek het dit nou nog nie met hom bespreek nie maar indien julle hom kan help daarmee sal ek vir hom die inligting gee en kan julle self met hom gesels.
    Baie Dankie.
    Thea Bruwer

    1. Bertus van Zyl

      Hi Thea. Kontak asb vir Kim James via ons kantoor nommer.

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