Jul 302011

Yesterday the crop duster went after the field just across the road. As a result, it flew really close to the house a few times. Surprisingly difficult to get photos of something trucking along at a hundred miles an hour at treetop level, coming at you from *behind* a house…

 Posted by at 11:40 am
  • tsander

    Not sure if it qualifies as “awesomeness” but it’s some great photography.
    T. Sander

    • admin

      From my point of view, watching a cropduster dance around the sky, against the backdrop fo the mountains, is pretty awesome. Had things gone differently, that might’ve been me.

      • Jordan

        Never too late to learn to fly.

        • admin

          It is, however, sometimes too late for the FAA to sign off on your medical certification.

          I learned to fly in the early ’90’s. Then career came to fore; when I had the money to fly, I did not have the time. Now that I have the time to fly, I do not have the money.

  • Michael Holt

    You give him large prints of that, he’ll be your friend for life.

  • Pat Flannery

    That last photo is something like what a lot of crop duster pilots see in the last moments of their life, as the aircraft starts hitting the birds and one comes right through the windshield at them, and either knocks them unconscious or blinds them for a few seconds while the plane dives into the ground.
    The planes are designed to allow the pilot to survive the crash, but getting around 100 gallons of insecticide tossed over you as the storage tank ruptures after the impact doesn’t help your survival potential either.

  • JWR

    I’m not sure of the actual make & model of that plane but the last time I went up in a sailplane the gliderport had 3 of those “workhorses” towing up the gliders & sailplanes up to altitude.

  • allen

    aren’t there several companies trying to market these sorts of aircraft as close air support?

    something tells me they’d probably do a damn good job at it.

    • admin

      They’ve been trying for decades. I believe that modified cropdusters have served in ground attack roles in third world countries.

      • Pat Flannery

        There’s a new one on the market that showed up at the Paris Air Show:
        We’ve got one of these at our airport, looking for all the world like a 1930’s Navy biplane fighter or dive bomber:
        It is big, and it is loud
        The radial engine on the one at the airport has a neat feature; near the center of engine there is a shallow cylindrical tube that you slide a penny from the current year into after the engine has undergone a overhaul. Once the penny is in in, it’s secured by a wire passed through two holes in the tube, which crosses over its front and is then twisted to keep it in place.
        In this way you can always check for when it needs another overhaul.

  • Tom

    Crop dusters have to be a dying breed. Presumably UAVs could do the job just as well and you probably wouldn’t even need a pilot on the ground, since it is a fairly basic flightpath, I’d imagine

    • admin

      > Presumably UAVs could do the job just as well

      Not a chance in hell. Even if the technology was there, there’s no way that robots would be *legally* allowed to fly such missions in civilian areas. Not for some years at any rate.

  • jcar

    I have read that this particular aircraft type was a descendant of the CallAir A series, the same type of plane that Kenneth Arnold was flying when he made the first “flying saucer” sighting in 1947. It has the same wing bracing and vertical fin shape, although most of the fuselage is different due to the single-cockpit layout and spray hoppers. It must have been a pretty tough old design.


  • Heh. I looked and thought, ” Piper Pawnee.”

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  • Larsen027

    That’s a CallAir, that’s actually my father flying in those photos. Our family business has owned that aircraft since it was brand new, was my grandfathers first real crop duster, a huge step from his 1951 PA18 super cub. It was also my first rebuilds I got to do as a mechanic. It’s still my favorite plane we own to this day! This is her right after the first time, We started her back up after ten years of not having an engine!