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Air Tractor walkaround

20 April 2011

Air Tractor walkaround

26º 41′ 50″ N / 80º 40′ 00″ W

Belle Glade, Florida is a town rich in farming history because it is blessed with a thick layer of fertile black soil which had been peat until large scale draining began less than a century ago. The soil gets thinner because of a process called deflation which occurs simply when a soil dries out and becomes light enough to be blown away in the wind.

Modern agriculture in the USA is large scale and mechanized with much use in the way of fertilizer pest control. An economical method of applying these materials is by aircraft and this process is called cropdusting in the USA and topdressing elsewhere. Sometimes propeller driven airplanes are used and at other times helicopters are employed and one of the most succesful of the airplanes is made in Olney, Texas by Air Tractor, Inc.

These aircraft are named after the company that manufactures them so they are called Air Tractors and there are several versions. I saw several examples of this aircraft at the Belle Glade State Municipal Airport and all appeared to be the same turboprop powered model. Here are photos of them in their lovely blue and yellow livery:

The Air Tractor — photo by Joe May

Rear aspect view of the Air Tractor (note the spray nozzles along the rear of the wing) — photo by Joe May

Closer view of the Air Tractor and the GPS antenna on top and to the rear of the cockpit — photo by Joe May

Detail of the Air Tractors turboprop engine, conventional landing gear and spraying equipment — photo by Joe May

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