What started out as a small two-person experiment in 1921 in Ohio is now a multibillion-dollar industry with 1,200-horsepower, turbine-engine airplanes, treating more than 127 million acres of U.S. cropland each year.
The agricultural aviation industry gathered at Virginia’s Leesburg Executive Airport on August 3 to mark a century of service to the nation. The event traced the industry’s path from that first flight by U.S. Army test pilot Lt. John Macready in a World War I surplus Curtiss JN-6 biplane. The flight from McCook Field in Dayton set out to eradicate caterpillars in a nearby catalpa tree grove, which provided wood that was used for railroad ties and poles.
The simple hand-cranked application device used that day has given way to high-tech spray equipment, GPS systems, advanced avionics, and on-board data analytics capabilities that allow for precise crop protection required on farms today.
-Read more at aopa.org