To be a professional ag-pilot, it takes experience in all elements of time. For me, I used only to log flight time annually. The FAA told me otherwise. However, logging every flight mission to comply with an FAA inspector didn’t last. It was never brought up again, so I returned to logging annually. However, logging your flight time is essential, regardless if it’s every mission or annually, or something in between. If for nothing else, it makes for good reading during retirement.
There is more to flight experience than an hour in a logbook. An accumulation of flight hours resulting in a season better represents one’s level of experience. Logging is a documented record of flight experience. In comparison, a completed season represents many learning experiences, a much more complete representation of one’s abilities as an ag-pilot.
What is experience? It’s an accumulation of events that one learns from (my definition). You can’t really say that you are an experienced ag pilot until you have “experienced” three segments of flight time; hours, seasons and years. By adding the third segment, years, flight time becomes a valid reflection of the abilities of the ag-pilot.
Each segment of time contributes to your overall experience. You can’t log a lot of time during a partial season and truly consider yourself experienced. There are no fooling years. That segment of experience is only earned as years pass by while active in the profession.
Actually, during a conversation, I never ask a pilot how many hours he has logged. Instead, I may inquire how many years he has been flying ag. His answer is a much better reflection of his experience. Unfortunately, a thick, old logbook doesn’t always tell the truth. The reason is some ag-pilots with a lot of logged hours simply don’t get it. They are only slightly better at aviating than they were when they started. NTSB reports on ag-aviation accidents prove this out.
Changing gears, I’m looking forward to this year’s AgAir Update hangar party in Perry, Georgia, the Friday before the NAAA Ag Aviation Expo in Savannah that starts on December 5 and continues until December 9. Graham is running the show, and he assures me this year’s party will be one for the history books. To that end, I know everyone is sick and tired of social distancing and masks. You can wear a mask to the party should you choose, but they will not be required. Nor will there be a vaccine requirement. These will be personal choices on your part. For the record, I’m vaccinated and won’t be masked! I hope to see you there.
Once you arrive at NAAA’s Ag-Aviation Expo and attend the exhibit hall, be sure to come by AgAir Update’s booth. There will be a cash bar situated between its sponsors AgAir Update and Lane Aviation. Plus, our new columnist, Michelle Miller, aka “The Farm Babe,” will be there to talk truth in agriculture!
Until next month – Keep Turning…