Adapted from the TAAA April 1, 2022 Newsletter
TAAA held its Spring Board Meeting in Wichita Falls and Olney in early March 2022. The meeting was very well attended and was one of the best meetings TAAA has hosted in quite a while.
Paul Bruton, 2022 TAAA President (above)
TAAA usually spends about an hour at each meeting on conference planning, financials and other administrative matters. TAAA is in great financial shape, even after losing the conference revenue we would normally earn in 2021. The 2022 convention ended on a positive note with solid attendance and very positive feedback despite several Covid related cancellations.
Future conventions are currently being planned for Lubbock, Corpus Christi and College Station, so stay tuned for details on those events. TAAA’s “slot” for the convention is the second Wednesday in January, so the 2023 event will January 11 – 13. Details to follow.
The real purpose of the board meeting, however, was to get briefings and tours at the Transland facility in Wichita Falls and at the Air Tractor factory in Olney. The board spent several hours at Transland in the afternoon, had dinner at the best steak house in Wichita Falls, and then reconvened for several hours the next morning at Air Tractor in Olney.
We simply cannot express our appreciation enough to State Representative James Frank, whose day job is at Transland, and to Jim Hirsch, the President of Air Tractor, for taking so much time with our group. They led tours, answered questions, got lots of feedback, and everyone learned plenty from the experience.
Representative James Frank, Owner of Transland (above)
Jim Hirsch, President of Air Tractor (above)
There is no question that global events are impacting day-to-day operations at both companies, especially in the area of logistics and sourcing of raw materials. Although most of Air Tractor’s raw materials are sourced domestically, many pieces and parts are not always readily available due to supply chain constraints.
Mr. Hirsch did report that Air Tractor expects to build 194 ag planes in 2022 and that all production slots through the 1st quarter of 2023 have deposits on them. About two-thirds of these planes are being exported. We also learned that the 1002 aircraft project is currently building a brand new prototype after a complete redesign and we saw some very cool military-related special use aircraft that are under construction.
TAAA also learned from Rep. Frank that field testing for the new Falcon GPS system will begin within the next 30 days, and that they are fully stocked and ready to go for both the G4 and Bantam GPS systems. We got a very close look at the laser cutting equipment and also spent some time talking about the continuous R & D development at Transland on variable rate and flow control technologies for both liquid and dry materials as well as both high and low volume applications. All the production lines of equipment that Transland makes for the ag aviation industry were running when we were there.
Both tours included plenty of questions and lots of good feedback both ways.