FTLComm - Tisdale
May 28, 1999

If you live in Tisdale this is what woke you up Thursday morning at 5:54AM.

It was time for the annual certification of pilots and equipment at the Tisdale airport. Five planes were up and running circuits over the airport in the process of establishing their certification. Aerial spraying is the sort of business that can get a pilot into a lot of trouble even with excellent skill and good conditions so aerial spraying companies take the wise precaution of getting suitable insurance policies to cover the problems that can result from aerial applications that do damage or land in the wrong
place. In this case an insurance company held its certification programme here at Tisdale so that the pilots working in the area could achieve certification for insurance purposes and to check out their equipment.

Part of the process involved setting out testing equipment that measured spray droplet size and coverage on a test run right on the strip. So pilots began their spraying right over the runway this year and the equipment measured their accuracy and the results was tallied up with a computer.
The pictured aircraft here are Piper Braves. This version of a spray plane is one of the most commonly used because it is easy to service and remarkably reliable. Originally Piper came out with a specialised spray plane in 1959, it was the fabric covered 215 hp Pawnee. There are still lots of these in service but commercial sprayers like the 300 hp Brave with its 225 US gallon spray capacity. The Brave initially entered service in 1975.
This is an Aryes Thrush 600. The airframe was designed by Mr. Snow and was first built by him then the design was sold to Rockwell who made them for a while then sold to Aryes. This aircraft was mentioned in an earlier article on the Air Tractor which is essentially the same aircraft in terms of design and certification.
Part of the certification process undertaken Thursday was establishing the compitence to deliver the product "Round-Up". This chemical can wipe out a field so it is very important that operators know what they are doing to handle and apply this chemical properly.
The Thrush is a 600 hp aircraft that does not stall until 50mph and its chemical hopper is twice the capacity of the Piper Brave. In most chemical applications the Thrush can do a full quarter section or more on a single tank. Though it appears considerably different then the Brave it also is made from a steel tube airframe skinned with aluminum.

Modern aerial spray planes like this are designed with the worst case scenario in mind and the cockpit is structurally the toughest part of the machine.

But these machines and their pilots are ready for another season of farming just a bit above the ground.