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Old 06-05-2019, 12:54 AM   #21  
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I've been doing ag flying since I was a kid; it was my first job after high school and I've been flying one kind of ag airplane or another for a lot of years since.

The poster above who talks about ag flying clearly hasn't done ag flying.

Most ag aircraft are turbine airplanes, most are very well maintained, given the investment in them and the fact that they're the core of the spray business. There aren't a lot of radial powered ag airplanes flying any more. I do fly them from time to time, and I enjoy them, but most ag flying is turbine flying any more; the vast majority of it in turbine S2R thrush's, Air Tractor 502's, and 802's. There are a few Bull Thrush's out there and Ag Cats, but not so many, and few Pawnees, Braves, Calairs, Ag Trucks, and other piston airplanes...it's largely a turbine game any more. For the most part, it's also not an entry level job, and whatever romance one might perceive quickly becomes work.

Aerial application is precision flying, with precision approaches to tighter tolerances than an ILS, ever 30 seconds in a field, all day long.

As for never climbing above 500', I was dropping above 10,000' not so long ago; it's a regular thing for some types of agricultural flying (and there are many, from seeding crops to fertilizing, to fighting fire to spraying drugs in foreign countries, to treating mosquitos, to drying cherries with helicopters after a rain). I've had flights of solid IMC for extended periods, and days of very VFR conditions, and everything in between.

The odds of you balling an airplane up on takeoff, abandoning it and jumping into another airplane to go right on spraying are somewhere between zero and nill. It makes a wild story, though.

Maintenance goes hot and heavy alongside the flying during the season; when it's slow during the off season, often work that can wait may get done, annuals get signed off, etc, but maintenance goes on year round.

It's not uncommon to have trucks with trailers and rolling shops full of parts that chase the airplanes and keep them running with everything from preventative maintenance to troubleshooting and repair throughout the season. Operators can't afford to have junk flying that can break and cost them revenue flying; the aircraft get maintained and sometimes run hard...but in such times the tempo of maintenance increases to keep up. It has to.
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Old 06-05-2019, 03:16 AM   #22  
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I've been doing ag flying since I was a kid; it was my first job after high school and I've been flying one kind of ag airplane or another for a lot of years since.

The poster above who talks about ag flying clearly hasn't done ag flying.

Most ag aircraft are turbine airplanes, most are very well maintained, given the investment in them and the fact that they're the core of the spray business. There aren't a lot of radial powered ag airplanes flying any more. I do fly them from time to time, and I enjoy them, but most ag flying is turbine flying any more; the vast majority of it in turbine S2R thrush's, Air Tractor 502's, and 802's. There are a few Bull Thrush's out there and Ag Cats, but not so many, and few Pawnees, Braves, Calairs, Ag Trucks, and other piston airplanes...it's largely a turbine game any more. For the most part, it's also not an entry level job, and whatever romance one might perceive quickly becomes work.

Aerial application is precision flying, with precision approaches to tighter tolerances than an ILS, ever 30 seconds in a field, all day long.

As for never climbing above 500', I was dropping above 10,000' not so long ago; it's a regular thing for some types of agricultural flying (and there are many, from seeding crops to fertilizing, to fighting fire to spraying drugs in foreign countries, to treating mosquitos, to drying cherries with helicopters after a rain). I've had flights of solid IMC for extended periods, and days of very VFR conditions, and everything in between.

The odds of you balling an airplane up on takeoff, abandoning it and jumping into another airplane to go right on spraying are somewhere between zero and nill. It makes a wild story, though.

Maintenance goes hot and heavy alongside the flying during the season; when it's slow during the off season, often work that can wait may get done, annuals get signed off, etc, but maintenance goes on year round.

It's not uncommon to have trucks with trailers and rolling shops full of parts that chase the airplanes and keep them running with everything from preventative maintenance to troubleshooting and repair throughout the season. Operators can't afford to have junk flying that can break and cost them revenue flying; the aircraft get maintained and sometimes run hard...but in such times the tempo of maintenance increases to keep up. It has to.
Thanks for all the information, I plane on going to the NAAA convention this year. Should be a good networking event for me.
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Old 06-05-2019, 05:04 AM   #23  
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Thanks for all the information, I plane on going to the NAAA convention this year. Should be a good networking event for me.
Absolutely... I have friends who spray and the conferences are great networking events.

An interesting thing to note, is that the crop dusters are an aging population. Everyone talks about airlines and mandatory retirement age... but from what Iíve been told second hand is that the average ag pilot is in his 50ís or 60ís. It isnít easy work and eventually they gotta retire. Itís a really hard industry to break into, but it seems like now is as good of a time as any to give it a try
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Old 07-06-2019, 12:29 PM   #24  
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I'm just letting everyone know about aircraft maintenance after starting out there first. The demarcation between mechanic and pilot is incredibly huge. The two never meangle for good reason. The time and money spent on my A&P was a complete loss even at a blue collar level. Not to mention the incredible damage it inflicted to my ultimate career. Anyone with an average IQ that actually finished a crappy public highschool and is not a felon, is far overqualified to work as an A&P mechanic. That's the nicest thing I have to say about it.
Was that you standing outside the Northwest hangar in Duluth Minnesota during the mechanic strikes in 2005? Must have been... It would totally support your argument.
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:21 PM   #25  
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I know this is an old thread but I thought I would chime in. Another good place to look is small aerospace companies. I currently work for a small defense contractor flying an aircraft they use for R&D. I integrate different payloads and test fly them. In the winter months I do all the MX and modifications to the aircraft for the upcoming contracts. Its a lot of fun and defense pays well.
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:12 PM   #26  
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Was that you standing outside the Northwest hangar in Duluth Minnesota during the mechanic strikes in 2005? Must have been... It would totally support your argument.
Why would I scab for half the pay?
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:13 AM   #27  
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The most awesome job I ever saw offered was,
Wanted: Hughes 300 Pilot must be A&P with experience.
Cousteau Society
It was in Trade a Plane in the mid 80ís.
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:02 PM   #28  
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Never mind. Already answered this thread.
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