AG Flight

Pilot86

Well-Known Member
Is anyone familiar with Ag Flight in Gorgia where they put you through a professional ag flying program?
It seems like you always start off in the ag business with an apprenticeship mixing chemicals and etc and its not till a year or two later you actually get to fly..Talking to Bill, he says as soon as you leave the school you are qualified to fly ag without mixing chemicals for a year and he says its BS if they try to get you to do that coming from his school as he trains pilots not chemical mixers...

Whats the real deal in this business?
 

rframe

pǝʇɹǝʌuı
If that's true he should have plenty of students he can use as references who went straight into the cockpit without mixing...
 

Patrick

Well-Known Member
If that's true he should have plenty of students he can use as references who went straight into the cockpit without mixing...
I'll second this. For better or worse, the apprenticeship mentally seems alive and well within this sector of aviation.
 

TwoTwoLeft

o- - - - - - -l
I would say it highly depends on who hires you. Even though you went to school they still might want you to pay your dues, the transition time to the cockpit might be less though.
 

ctab5060X

Well-Known Member
I'll second this. For better or worse, the apprenticeship mentally seems alive and well within this sector of aviation.
As it should be. One mistake spraying the wrong chemical, or concentration, or rate, or even just slightly over the label limit for wind can cost an operator thousands upon thousands of dollars no only in fines from the EPA, but from lawsuits becasue you killed somebody's grass.

Ag flying is a very specialized segment of flying and requires YEARS of experience before you can truly operate "on your own". Mixing chemicals is all part of the experience. Even though there is usually somebody who recommends what to spray, when to spray, and in what amount (mix ratio, application rate per acre, etc.), it is up to you as the operator to make sure everything abides by the label. If you do nothing but jump in the cockpit and fly without doing any chemical handling at all, you generally have no clue as to what is going on with the ground crew and if they are doing their job right. If they aren't doing their job right, and you spray the wrong chemical or amount, you are the one liable... not them. The EPA can make the FAA look tame at times.

Mixing chemicals is all part of the "training" required to be a safe and successful ag operator. Besides... it gives you on the job training to be able to pass the state exams :)
 

Pilot86

Well-Known Member
Ok greatly appreciate the input..according to that..that makes sense.. can you tell me more about the state exams and websites...etc. NAAA..... Also.. with every occupation we all seem to be on a boomer phase as in we got nothing but 80 year olds working and we badly need the younger generation to take over the gap...how true is that to crop dusting and can you guys say its like that across the board? We are in a season where 1 generation is at the stage where it needs to be filled by the next? It seems to be like that with every occupation.... If thats true than why is it so difficult to get a flying job because of the economy? ...*rolls eyes*
 

Pilot86

Well-Known Member
Ctab... as far as operating as an AG pilot..cant you always just work FOR an operator flying their aircraft instead of being your own business man, but if you wanted to work for yourself with your own aircraft... with this aviation segment you have that option?
 

ctab5060X

Well-Known Member
Ok greatly appreciate the input..according to that..that makes sense.. can you tell me more about the state exams and websites...etc. NAAA..... Also.. with every occupation we all seem to be on a boomer phase as in we got nothing but 80 year olds working and we badly need the younger generation to take over the gap...how true is that to crop dusting and can you guys say its like that across the board? We are in a season where 1 generation is at the stage where it needs to be filled by the next? It seems to be like that with every occupation.... If thats true than why is it so difficult to get a flying job because of the economy? ...*rolls eyes*
The state exams vary from state to state. Some are easier than others. The states that have people that believe dihydrogen monoxide will give you cancer tend to have tougher exams than states that have applied chemicals by air since the start of the true dusting days. It also depends on if you need just an applicators license or if you need a license to purchase the chemicals as well. There are also certifications for certain types of chemicals these days and some of those require a couple of years experience before you can be certified.

As far as getting a job, who knows... There are some pilots who think that because they have a tailwheel endorsement and 10 hours in a Champ they are qualified to fly a high performance turbine powered tailwheel airplane that is fully loaded off of a short narrow strip with a left quartering tailwind and proceed to fly 10 foot boom heights with little to no margin for error. You can see now why it can be a difficult job to get. Not only that, but ag flying is generally not considered a "time building" job. Owners are looking for someone they can hire and have them fly for them for several seasons, not get a couple of hundred hours and quit. With some of the aging operators, they might even be looking for someone who can take over the busines from them. There are some operators that are getting up in age, but then again, I know a lot of operators that are in their mid-30s.

Ctab... as far as operating as an AG pilot..cant you always just work FOR an operator flying their aircraft instead of being your own business man, but if you wanted to work for yourself with your own aircraft... with this aviation segment you have that option?
Lots of ag pilots work for an operation. Either one that is privately owned or farm owned. I'm from an area that has lots of ag flying, and most operations are single pilot/single airplane operations. About the only way you can strike out on your own is to fly for a reputable operator for a couple of years, make a good name and reputation for yourself, and network so you will have business when you start your own service. Either that or buy out the operation you work for.
 

Pilot86

Well-Known Member
Ok appreciate the info. I'll be keeping in touch with you if I have more questions. greatly appreciate the time.
 

dustoff17

Well-Known Member
As far as the school goes, it seems first rate to me. They have living quarters right there at the airfield and have rooms for studies, etc. Like going to college....
Not sure how the pricing is right now, I was just there visiting with a potential customer.
 
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