Matt Woolard Continues Family Operation
Matt Woolard was born and raised in agriculture, amongst the farm fields of Corning, Arkansas. Early on, Matt knew he wanted something a little different, but he wasn’t exactly sure what that was. His questions were soon answered when Matt met Cindy Coleman, daughter of Roy Coleman. Roy was a long-time Arkansas operator who had branched off from Corning Farm Supply in 1981 to start his own agricultural aviation flying service with Ag-Cats. Roy bought serial number 2500, which is still flying today.
Matt and Cindy had been married for about five years when Matt started working on the ground for Roy. Over the next few years, Matt earned an A&P rating to help the flying operation with maintenance. Soon after, in 2003, he obtained his Commercial Pilots License to become an ag-pilot.
During the middle of the 2006 flying season, Roy suffered from a health issue that forced Matt out of the cockpit and into an operation-management role. At the time, the duo were running a 510 Thrush and an AT-502. In 2008, they replaced the 510 Thrush for an AT-802. During these years, Matt continued managing the day to day operations and functioned as a relief pilot when needed.
Roy retired in 2015 and Matt purchased the flying service from him. By this time, the flying service had downsized to a single AT-802. From 2011-2018, one AT-802 covered most of the work that came in. Towards the end of the period, Matt found himself constantly calling in help. In 2018, Matt added to his fleet an AT-502 with an Aero Innovation’s Loadmaster prop. This extra aircraft helped with the additional workload and took some pressure off the AT-802.
For GPS guidance, the AT-802 is configured with a SATLOC G4 with flow control and a 10-inch hydraulic gate powered by the Vondrin controller. The AT-502 uses the SATLOC Bantam with flow control.
Both Air Tractors are outfitted with CP-11TT Poly Aerial Triple Tip nozzles. Woolard Flying Service’s work consists of about 70% dry work, flying over mainly rice, corn and soybeans. Of that work, approximately 70% is rice. The company averages approximately four applications on rice, including a major pre-flood application of urea at 300 lbs/acre. Using Chem-Man software has drastically helped his operation with pre and post application notifications to customers, as well as keeping the entire operation organized and compliant.
Woolard Flying Service has two full-time pilots, Jiles Wright and Noah Taylor. Jiles hales from Parkin, Arkansas and is on his 10th season. Noah Taylor began his career in southeast Iowa in a 450 Ag-Cat. Noah, too, comes from an agricultural background. He graduated from the now-defunct Flying Tigers Aviation program in 2015. Noah flew in Texas building ag time and has landed with Matt in Corning, Arkansas for his fourth season.
Matt is optimistic about the future of ag aviation. He sees new pilots coming into the business, more than in previous years and an emergence of technology that will continue to increase safety and efficiency of aerial applications. In addition to running his flying service full-time, Matt also is a CFII and MEI. He maintains currency in his 58 Baron and teaches regularly. He is a graduate of the 2017 NAAA Leadership Training Program. This training helped Matt to successfully serve as the Arkansas Agricultural Aviation Association’s NAAA director.
Matt is thankful that he took the “different’ path so many years ago to become involved in ag-aviation as both a pilot and operator. He continues giving back to the industry that has given so much to him.