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Old September 2nd, 2007, 11:05 PM   #1
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Ag Pilot Training Center

I am looking into a school run by Sam Riggs in Ryan Oklahoma. He teaches Ag Flying/Fire bombing. All of his aircraft are tailwheels. First I am looking into working on the Commercial, which would be limited until I get my IR, or if I go IR. Then I would debate what or if to go for the Ag/fire bombing. Both sound like possible fun. Does anyone know of Sam Riggs Ag Pilot Training Center? It sounds like a good place to learn from a very experienced instructor (52 years flying, lots of Ag experience). Thank you very much.

Dustin Smith
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Old September 3rd, 2007, 12:05 AM
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Cool Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

Dustin,
I looked into a bunch of schools this summer, because I was planning on going to ag-pilot school. Take a good look and make some phone calls before you decide. Then take some time and visit a few schools to get a look at what really goes on. Basically, they will "teach" you the basics and then you will be qualified to fly a Pawnee after paying a huge insurance premium. It is not impossible like it was three seasons ago, it just takes some good contacts and a few friends in the business from what I understand.
In my situation, it was almost better to go and get a small business loan to buy a Pawnee than it was to go to ag school, rather than get a Sallie Mae loan. This might be a better option if you have a local crop duster willing to give you some tips and "training" while you fly your own airplane.
I am not sure about Sam Riggs, but I have a pretty good list of contacts at the other schools in the country. The only way I knew to search was online, so Riggs probably doesn't have a website. Here is contact information for the three schools that I know about: (THEY ARE READILY SEARCHABLE ONLINE, SO I DON'T THINK ANY SITE RULES ARE BROKEN WITH THIS POSTING.)

Ag Flight Billy Howell Bainbridge, GA
229-246-8200


Flying Tigers Edwards Barum LA
Off: 318-244-7581
Cell: 318-376-4364


Carolina Thunder Rodney Godley Belhaven, NC
252-945-2824



Rodney Godley seems like a good guy, I was about ready to sign up with him, but I am planning on doing missionary aviation now. Give him a call and tell him Matt from Illinois referred you!

Also check out agairupdate.com, they have good information and a "intro to ag piloting" package with a DVD and a subscription to the magazine.

If you want some more info, message me offline. Like I said, I looked it up and down before I decided that I was going to do the humanitarian/missionary aviation thing.

--Matt
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Old September 3rd, 2007, 01:05 AM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

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I am looking into a school run by Sam Riggs in Ryan Oklahoma. He teaches Ag Flying/Fire bombing. All of his aircraft are tailwheels. First I am looking into working on the Commercial, which would be limited until I get my IR, or if I go IR. Then I would debate what or if to go for the Ag/fire bombing. Both sound like possible fun. Does anyone know of Sam Riggs Ag Pilot Training Center? It sounds like a good place to learn from a very experienced instructor (52 years flying, lots of Ag experience). Thank you very much.

Dustin Smith
My suggestion would be you avoid Sam Riggs. Ag Flight in Bainbridge is a reputable program.
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Old September 3rd, 2007, 08:22 AM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

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My suggestion would be you avoid Sam Riggs. Ag Flight in Bainbridge is a reputable program.
Hi Henning. Why would you suggest to avoid Sam Riggs? Where is Bainbridge? Are there any schools around Missouri or bordering states?

Thank you very much.

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Old September 3rd, 2007, 09:31 AM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

http://forums.aopa.org/showthread.php?t=31341&

http://forums.aopa.org/showthread.php?t=32300&
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Old September 3rd, 2007, 03:01 PM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

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Hi Henning. Why would you suggest to avoid Sam Riggs? Where is Bainbridge? Are there any schools around Missouri or bordering states?

Thank you very much.

Dustin Smith
Bainbridge is in Georgia. South of Atlanta IIRC.
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Old September 3rd, 2007, 06:56 PM   #7
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

My AOPA membership has elapsed so I can not view these threads. Thank you for trying though.
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Old September 3rd, 2007, 07:13 PM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

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My AOPA membership has elapsed so I can not view these threads. Thank you for trying though.
PM an email to me and I'll put you in touch with a friend of mine thats going through the Bainbridge program right now.
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Old September 3rd, 2007, 07:22 PM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

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PM an email to me and I'll put you in touch with a friend of mine thats going through the Bainbridge program right now.
PMed and thank you.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 04:44 AM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

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PMed and thank you.
Responded, and no problem.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 07:02 PM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

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Originally Posted by Dustin View Post
Why would you suggest to avoid Sam Riggs?
No doubt Henning wishes to abide by the old adage that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. These days, posting negative comments about a commercial enterprise on a public web site is, unfortunately, a very tempting invitation to legal action by that enterprise, and that can be very expensive for an individual to defend even if s/he is right. That said, you can trust Henning in this area -- I believe he knows the business, and (to my knowledge) has no axe to grind.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 08:36 PM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

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No doubt Henning wishes to abide by the old adage that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. These days, posting negative comments about a commercial enterprise on a public web site is, unfortunately, a very tempting invitation to legal action by that enterprise, and that can be very expensive for an individual to defend even if s/he is right. That said, you can trust Henning in this area -- I believe he knows the business, and (to my knowledge) has no axe to grind.
Understood and agreed. I was just curious and from past experiences of reading Henning's posts I value his oppinion. No offense was meant towards Henning and I don't think he took offense. Thank you Ron, I values your oppinion as well as I do others on here.
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Old September 6th, 2007, 12:34 AM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

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Understood and agreed. I was just curious and from past experiences of reading Henning's posts I value his oppinion. No offense was meant towards Henning and I don't think he took offense. Thank you Ron, I values your oppinion as well as I do others on here.
No offense, just limited time lately. Uhhh....let's just say Sam doesn't have a stellar reputation in the industry.
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Old September 6th, 2007, 09:17 AM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

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No offense, just limited time lately. Uhhh....let's just say Sam doesn't have a stellar reputation in the industry.
Thanks Henning! I understand having limited time.
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Old September 6th, 2007, 09:55 AM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

Looks like things are looking up in the industry (for a year at least).

http://www.avweb.com/eletter/archive...ll.html#196077

Only problem with this article is that they used a picture of a worn out Pawnee/Brave that is painted to look like an Air Tractor that they are fueling w/ 2 1/2 gallon jugs in the middle of what looks like a coffee plantation. There is MUCH more technology and high quality equipment in the industry today than what is pictured in that article.
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Old March 9th, 2008, 07:25 AM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

This is quite an old thread,but I will however take the opportunity recommending all of you interrested in Ag-flying to follow Hennings advice: do not to make any business- or other economical agreements with the man he is referring to!
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Old March 9th, 2008, 09:01 PM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

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Originally Posted by Dustin View Post
I am looking into a school run by Sam Riggs in Ryan Oklahoma. He teaches Ag Flying/Fire bombing. All of his aircraft are tailwheels. First I am looking into working on the Commercial, which would be limited until I get my IR, or if I go IR. Then I would debate what or if to go for the Ag/fire bombing. Both sound like possible fun. Does anyone know of Sam Riggs Ag Pilot Training Center? It sounds like a good place to learn from a very experienced instructor (52 years flying, lots of Ag experience). Thank you very much.

Dustin Smith
Neither job is "fun", stay away from Sam Riggs and don't even bother getting started until you have about 1000hrs because unless you have an "in" you won't be employable till then. Best thing is to take a job towing banners in Cubs and Pawnees when you get your commercial so you have a few hundred tailwheel.
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Old March 10th, 2008, 02:06 AM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

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Neither job is "fun", stay away from Sam Riggs and don't even bother getting started until you have about 1000hrs because unless you have an "in" you won't be employable till then. Best thing is to take a job towing banners in Cubs and Pawnees when you get your commercial so you have a few hundred tailwheel.
Henning...

Have you heard through the grapevine whether or not the intro req's for getting a seat has come down with all this hub-bub over herbicide on corn in the corn-belt? Seems like qualified pilots were getting scarce around here last summer. Just wondering if you've heard of people lowering their intro standards to try and fill seats in small recips lately.
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Old March 10th, 2008, 03:05 AM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

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Henning...

Have you heard through the grapevine whether or not the intro req's for getting a seat has come down with all this hub-bub over herbicide on corn in the corn-belt? Seems like qualified pilots were getting scarce around here last summer. Just wondering if you've heard of people lowering their intro standards to try and fill seats in small recips lately.
I haven't heard, nor asked around. How many small recips do you see working anything but Boll Weevil and sunflowers anymore? I really don't know. Ag Cats still get work on rice because they'll save you from drowning if you go in, but most of the corn and wheat work I see is turbine powered. The industry really screwed itself and I'm interested to see how they'll bail themselves out of it now. The requirements are mostly set by the insurance requirements for the turbines, get a quote for a 500hr pilot in a 3/4 million dollar single seat aircraft working Ag..... I haven't seen a Pawnee work anything except sunflowers in years. The Ag Huskys work Gov't Boll Weevil because they pay the best (what are the gov't requirements these days?). The only way I see out of the fix is to start hanging 1820s and the PZL clones on the front of 502 & 602 airframes or use Droms to self insure and turn loose new guys in for a season until they can get insured in the turbines (they may even figure out that it's a lot more economical to operate). It's a real bind they got into on this, and there may not be a feasable way out of it. How many operators have you seen over the last several years get rid of two or three recip powered planes replacing them with one turbine, and going out of business within a few seasons?

BTW, if you know any seats this season, give me a shout, I may want to fly this summer.
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Old March 10th, 2008, 11:35 AM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

Henning,
Do you happen to know anything about the Ag-training establishment in Idalia,Co not far from the Kansas border. The dude Im thinking of, DT, was active about 20 years ago,and eventually disappeared from that area.
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Old March 10th, 2008, 12:00 PM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

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Henning,
Do you happen to know anything about the Ag-training establishment in Idalia,Co not far from the Kansas border. The dude Im thinking of, DT, was active about 20 years ago,and eventually disappeared from that area.
Luuq
Sorry, no, don't know of him. Most ag pilots I have lost tough with are dead, YMMV
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Old March 10th, 2008, 12:39 PM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

Tks Henning !
http://presstotest.blogspot.com/2007...-no-dudes.html

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Old March 10th, 2008, 12:55 PM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

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LOL...That was too f-in funny!
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Old March 10th, 2008, 12:55 PM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

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I haven't heard, nor asked around. How many small recips do you see working anything but Boll Weevil and sunflowers anymore? I really don't know. Ag Cats still get work on rice because they'll save you from drowning if you go in, but most of the corn and wheat work I see is turbine powered. The industry really screwed itself and I'm interested to see how they'll bail themselves out of it now. The requirements are mostly set by the insurance requirements for the turbines, get a quote for a 500hr pilot in a 3/4 million dollar single seat aircraft working Ag..... I haven't seen a Pawnee work anything except sunflowers in years. The Ag Huskys work Gov't Boll Weevil because they pay the best (what are the gov't requirements these days?). The only way I see out of the fix is to start hanging 1820s and the PZL clones on the front of 502 & 602 airframes or use Droms to self insure and turn loose new guys in for a season until they can get insured in the turbines (they may even figure out that it's a lot more economical to operate). It's a real bind they got into on this, and there may not be a feasable way out of it. How many operators have you seen over the last several years get rid of two or three recip powered planes replacing them with one turbine, and going out of business within a few seasons?

BTW, if you know any seats this season, give me a shout, I may want to fly this summer.
Yeah, it's an interesting 'business model' that has formed itself. I think people got tired of blowing jugs on the old P&W radials and were ooohed and aaaahed by the reliability of the turbines. It's hard to pay for a turbine when fuel is over $4/gallon (with discounts) and you can only charge around $7-8/acre for application. Especially in the southern half of Iowa where you may be tankering over 50miles with a full load.

One of the local operators that we were 'buddies' with had a nice Weatherly and sold it for two 502's. It'll be interesting to see how long he can hold on with so much overhead looming.

Believe it or not, there are still a few Braves buzzing around central Iowa. A Pawnee ran off the end of a runway in eastern Iowa last summer. I guess some people are still trying to do 2-3 gallon work 100 gallons at a time.

I'll keep my ear to the ground for any open seats. The guy I worked with last year is still wanting me to come back again this summer - haven't given him a yes or no yet. He ended up with 2-402's and 1-502, but I'm not sure if he's getting all his pilots back this year or not.
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Old August 29th, 2008, 11:17 PM
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Re: Ag Pilot Training Center

I know this is an old thread,but i'm just looking for some advice.I'm 42y/o pp with 300+ hrs,all tailwheel except approx.60 hrs.About to start working on my commercial with plans to attend ag school in Bainbridge,Ga.Way back when i was a teen,got a little experience loading.Been around farm work most my life here in N.C.Just wandering if i have any real chance of turning my dream into reality of becoming an ag pilot.Will i be insurable after attending ag school?Anything i can do to better my chances?
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