MOSES LAKE — One by one the pilots took off, circled, lined up on the bright pink spot in the field on Road 7 Northeast and came in low — after all, that’s what aerial applicators (otherwise known as crop dusters) do. It was a test.
“We’re testing for uniformity and swath width for these guys (the pilots), because that’s how they make their living,” said Tim Shamblin, who was running the spectrometer evaluating the results. Shamblin’s company, based in Burley, Idaho, did the analysis.
The goal of aerial application is to lay down a consistent and effective layer of material, and there’s an elaborate system of tubes and nozzles to get it to the crop. Pilots clean and inspect spray systems regularly, but it’s still difficult to check the system and make sure it’s all working.
That’s what Tuesday’s fly-in was about.
The course was set up in a field at Moses Lake Air Service, a piece of string stretched across the application site. Each pilot took three passes, with specially treated cards clipped to the string on the third pass.
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