October2014


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October2014

Taking the long view - three generations flying Air Tractors

Still together, after all these years. There's a loyalty between ag operators and their aircraft that you don't often see elsewhere. Like farmers who swear by their green tractors, or red combines, there's a unique fidelity between ag aircraft manufacturers and owners. Experiences, stories and friendships are passed between generations. It's a loyalty that goes both ways. We talked with three veteran ag operators to learn how their relationship with Air Tractor began and to understand why, after 40 years and so many changes in this industry, the alliance continues.

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Milestone court settlement could be turning point in MET tower marking efforts

If the FAA’s Advisory Circular outlining voluntary marking guidelines for meteorological evaluation towers (MET) under 200 feet isn’t reason enough for wind energy interests to take measures to adequately alert low-level pilots to the presence of their towers, a recent $6.7 million court settlement—and the precedent it sets—should command their attention.

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Are you SAFE?

That’s the biggest question you need to remember before each flight. As the Federal Air Surgeon, the one thing I want you to remember is that medical certification is an ongoing process that doesn’t end when you leave the Aviation Medical Examiner’s office. Before every flight I recommend employing the IMSAFE check list.

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October digital editions of AgAir Update Spanish and AgAir Update Portuguese available!


National Agricultural Aviation Museum displays relics of industry past

Nestled within the walls of the expansive Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum in Jackson, Mississippi is a gem for agricultural aviation. Relics from the early days of crop dusting are showcased alongside tools used for modern aerial application. The two-room National Ag Aviation Museum opens the door to the industry’s history and accomplishments for the inquisitive visitor to see.

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NY Times slams METs, excellent write-up and video with Van Lucas of Iowa

Crop-duster pilots working around wind farms are encountering a new and proliferating hazard camouflaged among the fields, one that has already led to several deaths.

Agriculture in focus: Crop dusters are essential

Ralph Lutes usually gets a 30,000-foot view of America’s farmland, piloting United Airlines passenger jets across the continental U.S. from Chicago’s O’Hare. But there are times when the 40-year flying veteran can see dew drops on the leaves as his plane skims just eight feet above corn stalks at 140 mph.

Woman loses job, finds herself soaring as ag pilot

Before dawn Thursday, Bethany Root was up and at Rosecrans Memorial Airport loading the Cessna 188 with 10 Hefty bags of rye seeds for her first flight of the day. But before last July, this energetic 31-year-old was living in Indianapolis where she’d operated a custom motorcycle shop and been a special education teacher. Flying for a living hadn’t even been a dream.

IOMAX to make trial flights of ArchAngel

The engineering, manufacturing, and development (EMD) prototype IOMAX Archangel Block 3 Border Patrol Aircraft (BPA) recently made its maiden flight. The turboprop intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and light attack platform flew from Thrush Aircraft's production facility in Georgia, where it was manufactured, to IOMAX's Mooresville facility in North Carolina in mid-July.

NZAAAs Alan Beck accepts award for Aircare Safety Program

A safety programme developed by the agricultural aviation industry to protect the environment has won a major award. The New Zealand Agricultural Aviation Association (NZAAA) Aircare programme received the Richard Pearse Trophy for Innovative Excellence in the New Zealand Aviation Industry, named in honour of the New Zealand pioneer aviator and inventor, at last month's Aviation New Zealand conference.

AOPA comments on met towers and ag-aviation accidents with them

On Aug. 5, 2013, the 34-year-old pilot of an Air Tractor AT-400 became at least the fourth crop duster in the past few years killed when his airplane collided with a meteorological tower. This time the accident site was in the southeastern corner of the Oklahoma panhandle, but key details of the tragedy were similar to those of earlier crashes in Texas and California

Its My Job: Ag pilot

Third-generation pilot flies the Delta skies for business his grandfather started in 1961.

Long time ag pilot buys first AirForce One

Shots fired at Canadian Ag Pilot

Portage RCMP have charged a man after investigating a report of shots being fired at a crop duster airplane on Wednesday.

Aerial Application on display

A pilot takes a 510G aerial application plane manufactured by Thrush Aircraft of Albany through its paces Thursday during the 36th annual Sunbelt Agricultural Agricultural Exposition Field Day at Spence Field in Moultrie, GA

NTSB Rolls Out Ag Aviation Safety Ideas

That National Transportation Safety Board, a federal agency that investigates plane crashes and train wrecks, studied an entire industry, agricultural aviation, in 2013. Tuesday the NTSB released its results. They show aerial application of farm inputs remains a dangerous occupation, even with advances in aircraft safety, and it faces new threats, including drones--known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Oklahoma governor vetos bill requiring tower markings

A bill that would have required towers that measure wind speeds to have better markings to make them more visible to crop duster pilots was vetoed late Monday by Gov. Mary Fallin. State Sen Charles Wyrick, D-Fairland, said he authored the bill after a crop duster pilot died in Beaver County after his plane crashed into an anemometer. This deal is personal to me because my son is an aerial applicator and I know in several states he runs into issues like this on a daily basis, Wyrick said. This is a real public safety issue.

Jamaican operator featured in national news site

At 90 years old, his father Victor Beek, the first commanding officer of the Jamaica Defence Force air wing, still flies an aircraft. So it is no wonder that Dudley Beek, who is a pilot himself, is so excited about the profession.

Storm Cutters receive STC

Hershey Flying Service has introduced its all new Storm Cutters. These FAA approved STC'd wire cutters are the newest advancement in wire cutter technology (Patent Pending). Three years of research and development...

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