All Guts And No Glory For Crop Dusting Aerobatic Pilots

Watch this outstanding display of utilitarian performing arts. as these brave and under appreciated pilots take to the early morning skies and demonstrate the magic of flight while simultaneously killing bugs. Quite possibly the most aggressive flying a civilian pilot can do and get paid.


Day after day flying low, banking hard, with near vertical climbs and dangerous obstacles looks super fun. Not to mention the solitary tedium of toting around hundreds of pounds of chemicals and an aircraft that's nearly 50 years old, all the while pushing the flight envelope at the limits of speed, weight, and attitude.

Illustration for article titled All Guts And No Glory For Crop Dusting Aerobatic Pilots

Cessna 188 AGwagon spraying (Wikipedia Commons)

The AGwagon was Cessna's venture into the agricultural market by expanding their line of light aircraft. The design was based primarily around the venerable Cessna 180 Skywagon, which as you can probably guess by the name, was the family station wagon of the skies. Later models used the aircraft's forward speed to pressurize the single seat cockpit reducing induction of chemicals into the airframe and eliminating the need to wear a gas mask like the pilot in this video.

The aircraft entered production in 1966 and the airframe remained unchanged for 17 years. You might also see the C188 used as a glider and sailplane tow vehicle. These South American agriculture pilots have no problem cranking and banking in their older but trustworthy Cessna crop duster.

Not to be outdone, helicopter ag pilots take on their fair share of risk dodging power lines, trees, and towers. The Bell 206B JetRanger is a popular for its durability, high payload, and relatively easy maintenance. Using helicopters in agriculture application have some advantages over their fixed wing counterparts. Their ability to operate in more confined areas as well as utilizing onsite support vehicles to refill water, chemicals and fuel are desirable traits. Flying a helicopter generally comes with an increased operating cost so its imperative to use the most efficient procedures including hammer head turns and flying under wires.

Chris is a pilot who loves airplanes and cars and his writing has been seen on Jalopnik. Contact him with questions or comments via twitter or email.

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Needs more AT-802. It's the Sturmovik reborn.