The Combine Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,666 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have thought for a long time that big farmers ought to own their own cropduster. A few years into the future my 4920 will get old and need replacing and I also have a pull type boom and I was idly thinking that a plane could replace the SP. You see I would love to fly but I can never justify the time required and finances to get my pilots license for just flying to perth or field days. But crop dusting might get me all I ever wanted from flying. An old crop duster (say a cessna agwagon) can be bought for the price of the first year depreciation on an SP and my pull type could do all that a plane couldn't . I have few power poles (basically three fields) so let's not talk about life expectancy. I could also purchase a gas turbine unit for a similar price to the SP and it would not depreciate as fast as a SP. seems to me to be a lot even financially going for the crop duster. There are still aircraft working that were built in the sixties! Professional maintenance and flown by someone who cares about their own life let alone the life of the equipment.

So my questions are what are the pros and cons. What jobs can't they do? What do they do better, what do they do worse?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
370 Posts
my fathers cousin flew for all of my lifetime, and was one of the best i have ever seen when it comes to dusting. he had 3 crashes, one was while ferrying a new unit to him and the engine failed, he put it down in a field with minimal damage, the other ones were also minor, but he did flip one over at a low speed;not sure what happened. he showed me where he had cut powerlines with the cutters on the landing gear and the cockpit knives. he could drift and sideslip with grace. he always said there are no old bold pilots, just old pilots. i went for a ride once in a converted cessna 4 place, and it was a rush, and got some awesome pics of the farm, as well as gained an appreciation for the dangers of not only the flying, but of chemical effects that we all suffer from exposure. these guys are living in the fumes fulltime and get 10x more than we did. as far as doing it yourself on your own land ,might work, lots to learn, steep curve if you are not an extremely qualified flier. high maintenance and short rope too,,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
370 Posts
just an aside, we only used dusting when we could not get on the fields due to moisture, or for hoppers, as there were always misses and over application regardless of the pilots. some crews were terrible for misses,. my cousins brother tried it, and he probably missed 12 percent that year..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,259 Posts
Here they're way too slow and cant do many of the chems that require higher gallonage. I can and do go out in the fog with my ground rig. A lot of chems we use are not labelled for aerial application. But that's "here".

It would be cool have a pilots license though..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,198 Posts
Classic case of farmer trying to do it all. You have to pick. If you become a pilot, and get a plane, then you are a spray plane pilot full time. You will be too invested to go to the lake when yours is done. You cant farm anymore.

May not be a bad thing just changes you plans.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,412 Posts
I have thought for a long time that big farmers ought to own their own cropduster. A few years into the future my 4920 will get old and need replacing and I also have a pull type boom and I was idly thinking that a plane could replace the SP. You see I would love to fly but I can never justify the time required and finances to get my pilots license for just flying to perth or field days. But crop dusting might get me all I ever wanted from flying. An old crop duster (say a cessna agwagon) can be bought for the price of the first year depreciation on an SP and my pull type could do all that a plane couldn't . I have few power poles (basically three fields) so let's not talk about life expectancy. I could also purchase a gas turbine unit for a similar price to the SP and it would not depreciate as fast as a SP. seems to me to be a lot even financially going for the crop duster. There are still aircraft working that were built in the sixties! Professional maintenance and flown by someone who cares about their own life let alone the life of the equipment.

So my questions are what are the pros and cons. What jobs can't they do? What do they do better, what do they do worse?
I had two friends that did what you're contemplating, and LOVED every minute of it. One burned to death, one died of cancer, both had kids at home.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
461 Posts
I think its a great idea. I plan on buying an old ag tractor bi-plane with a big fat radial engine. Low and slow and a big tank.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,490 Posts
Nig71 as far as spraying goes a plane has so many limitations as far the type of chemical that can be applied, water volume, accuracy in getting the field edges covered, wind, drift, can not spray at night, etc etc etc I would never consider it for myself. The only thing the plane is superior on is applying insecticides. We have used a plane for weed control and fungicide work. In my opinion a ground rig is far superior and can do a better job if a person is willing to put enough water on and take the time to do it right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
869 Posts
Yearly Insurance and the maintence based on flight hours cost more than the price of most entry level planes. There was a tv show called Dust Up on the history channel, about crop dusters in sask and Alberta. One guy was flying without a licence, there is a law in Canada that allows you to spray your own land without a licence. You can see parts of it on YouTube it's pretty funny.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,666 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Yep; I reckon insurance would be a big part of the cost structure, it would be an interesting question to pose to my agent in my annual review. At this stage it would have been at least seven years since I had a plane on the place and he asks me if I do have crop dusters. By the same turn the amount I would have to actually use a plane would be only in canola for bugs or if it got really wet. How many ha an hour would an agwagon do? I don't think maintenance would be huge; well a lot more than a 182 for example and at least it would get used unlike a lot of GA aircraft. Talked to an owner of a 150 the other day and he manages to do forty to fifty hours.

We had one ground loop many years ago; he landed on a road next to the crop and put his wheel in the ditch. His booms caught the crop and he spun on the spot; wrecked a landing leg and part of the tail. He went to perth and hired an identical machine, came down, unbolted the bits off the rented unit and put them on the damaged machine, he took off and flew to perth and returned with the parts, fitted them up to the hire unit and was going in 24hrs. Same accident would not happen today because of GPS. He had landed while the markers changed ends on a wind change.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top