In 7 Great Careers In General Aviation one we discuss is being an ag pilot, perhaps one of the most challenging, and yet rewarding, jobs in aviation. So, why would anyone want to fly ag planes?
An interesting question, for sure. Danger, low flying, power lines, hazards of all kinds – flying an ag plane is dangerous work. For some pilots, I am sure, it is precisely these things that make them want to fly ag planes, for others it is the money.
To be honest, if I were into ag plane flying it would be for the skill you would develop – assuming you survived the career! Ag pilots are affectionately known as crop dusters, that rare breed that drops in on an 80 acre field and seeds, fertilizes and sprays for insects on the crops.
When you think about it, an 80 acre field is not very long and wide. More importantly, being precise on where you deliver the seeds, fertilizer or bug spray is a big deal. Ag pilots need to understand the weather very well, in particular wind and how the wind acts close to the ground. One misplaced downdraft and you are toast!
Curious? Watch this short video of a pilot spraying a field:
But ag pilots also find other venues in which to use their skills. For example, aerial fire fighting is an offspring of ag flying, and again a dangerous but very rewarding career, both financially and emotionally.
There is even a National Agricultural Aviation Museum in Jackson, Mississippi on 39 acres paying tribute to the pilots crop dusting originated with. At the museum you can find aircraft and equipment from earlier times showing the history of crop dusting.
In addition, many of these pilots have started their own businesses, and have been very successful making a great living. You understand – danger pays!
As you continue your quest to learn more about the opportunities in aviation be sure and watch these videos on crop dusting – should get your juices going:
Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!
Flying through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, boy. Without precise calculations we could fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova, and that’d end your trip real quick, wouldn’t it?
— Han Solo (played by Harrison Ford), scolding Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), in the 1977 movie Star Wars
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