Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 6, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Tuesday, August 6, 1974 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 9 aphs by WALTER KERBER "nurse trucks" are actually self contained units which contain aviation fuel, chemicals, chemical carrying solutions everything needed to do the job. The actual job of spraying crops is a breeze, said Scott. It is challenging work and the pilot is boss. Although the Kinniburgh's have lost only one air- plane since they started through a crash, Scott claims Lhe most dangerous part of the work is driving his car lo and from the airplane between jobs. Power wires, guy wires to hold up power poles, irrigation sprinklers and birds are hazards the pilot to constantly watch for. But because the plane flies >o close to the ground, even hoe handles left by ivorkers to mark the progress of work in the field, can I'ause problems. Scott said he has damaged wings, propellers and the I'uselage by hitting an upright hoe handle. This is all part of flying the plane. And according to Scott, anybody can fly a plane but it takes a good pilot io do a good job in spraying crops. Part of doing a good job is the responsibility of field markers, people Rationed at either end of a field to guide the pilot and LO indicate where the spray must be placed. Kquipped with radio, the flagmen tell the pilot which Jirection the wind is blowing and by walking into the .vind to stay out of the way of chemicals, pace off the lislance to the next swathe once the pilot fixes his position. Scott said the height of flight is determined by the jrop being sprayed and the chemical being used. On potatoes, because good penetration of chemical to ight blight is needed, the planes tires actually touch he tops of the plants. The height varies to as high as 15 feet when fertilizer s being applied. And this height is the hardest to judge, said Scott. A team consisting of a sprayer plane pilot and two field flagmen can do 150 acres an hour taken on the average, said Scott. This is calculated on about 250.000 acres of land which is sprayed by the firm each year. The amount of land sprayed in a day depends again on the type of chemical used and the pest being sprayed. If a light application of chemical is to be used, the pilot can adjust the spray to cover up to 90 feet in one swathe. But in problems that requires a heavy application of chemical, the swathe has to be cut to as low as 40 feet. Scott said one woman wanted him to irrigate her barley field with the spray plane. He passed up the job after calculating to do it right would take about trips. Once a job is completed, the pilot is charged with the responsibility of keeping accurate records of his trip. This is required by government order to ensure proper maintenance of the planes. The Ag Cats, for example, have engines rated at 800 hours. This means after 800 hours of flying time, the engines have to be completely overhauled in Calgary or Winnipeg and this can cost up to each time. New Ag Cats sell for about Another important record keeping system, developed for their own use and later made mandatory for all crop sprayers by the provincial government, in- volves data about the conditions at the time of a par- ticular spraying job. There are three copies made listing information on the chemical used, temperature, time and wind direc- tion and velocity and the pilot and flagmen. Scott said this record is kept to protect the firm in the event of a court action if a crop adjacent to one be- ing sprayed is damaged by spray. Charlie Hart loads chemicals.