Ag Pilot Training Center

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Dustin, Sep 2, 2007.

  1. Dustin

    Dustin Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Messages:
    175
    Location:
    Warsaw, Mo

    Display name:
    Sticks
    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
     
  2. The rogue

    The rogue Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2005
    Messages:
    225
    Location:
    Michigan

    Display name:
    The Rogue
    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
     
  3. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Messages:
    39,482
    Location:
    Ft Lauderdale FL

    Display name:
    iHenning
    My suggestion would be you avoid Sam Riggs. Ag Flight in Bainbridge is a reputable program.
     
  4. Dustin

    Dustin Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Messages:
    175
    Location:
    Warsaw, Mo

    Display name:
    Sticks
    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
     
  5. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    12,042
    Location:
    west Texas

    Display name:
    Dave Taylor
  6. Anymouse

    Anymouse Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Messages:
    1,488
    Location:
    Clinton, AR (Sometimes)

    Display name:
    Anymouse
    Bainbridge is in Georgia. South of Atlanta IIRC.
     
  7. Dustin

    Dustin Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Messages:
    175
    Location:
    Warsaw, Mo

    Display name:
    Sticks
  8. Anymouse

    Anymouse Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Messages:
    1,488
    Location:
    Clinton, AR (Sometimes)

    Display name:
    Anymouse
    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.
     
  9. Dustin

    Dustin Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Messages:
    175
    Location:
    Warsaw, Mo

    Display name:
    Sticks
    PMed and thank you.
     
  10. Anymouse

    Anymouse Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Messages:
    1,488
    Location:
    Clinton, AR (Sometimes)

    Display name:
    Anymouse
    Responded, and no problem. :)
     
  11. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2005
    Messages:
    31,266
    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.
     
  12. Dustin

    Dustin Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Messages:
    175
    Location:
    Warsaw, Mo

    Display name:
    Sticks
    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.
     
  13. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Messages:
    39,482
    Location:
    Ft Lauderdale FL

    Display name:
    iHenning
    No offense, just limited time lately. Uhhh....let's just say Sam doesn't have a stellar reputation in the industry.
     
  14. Dustin

    Dustin Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Messages:
    175
    Location:
    Warsaw, Mo

    Display name:
    Sticks
    Thanks Henning! I understand having limited time.
     
  15. CJones

    CJones En-Route

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    4,845
    Location:
    Jawjuh

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

    http://www.avweb.com/eletter/archives/avflash/946-full.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.
     
  16. SK61N

    SK61N Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    Messages:
    3

    Display name:
    Luuq
    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!
    Luuq
    retired scandinavian airman
    ATPL H, SMEL
     
  17. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Messages:
    39,482
    Location:
    Ft Lauderdale FL

    Display name:
    iHenning
    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.
     
  18. CJones

    CJones En-Route

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    4,845
    Location:
    Jawjuh

    Display name:
    uHaveNoIdea
    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.
     
  19. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Messages:
    39,482
    Location:
    Ft Lauderdale FL

    Display name:
    iHenning
    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.
     
  20. SK61N

    SK61N Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    Messages:
    3

    Display name:
    Luuq
    Henning,
    Do you happen to know anything about the Ag-training establishment in Idalia,Co not far from the Kansas border. The dude I´m thinking of, DT, was active about 20 years ago,and eventually disappeared from that area.
    Luuq
     
  21. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Messages:
    39,482
    Location:
    Ft Lauderdale FL

    Display name:
    iHenning
    Sorry, no, don't know of him. Most ag pilots I have lost tough with are dead, :( YMMV
     
  22. SK61N

    SK61N Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    Messages:
    3

    Display name:
    Luuq
  23. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Messages:
    39,482
    Location:
    Ft Lauderdale FL

    Display name:
    iHenning
  24. CJones

    CJones En-Route

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    4,845
    Location:
    Jawjuh

    Display name:
    uHaveNoIdea
    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. :rolleyes:

    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.
     
  25. carolina flyer

    carolina flyer Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Messages:
    5

    Display name:
    carolina flyer
    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?
     
  26. The rogue

    The rogue Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2005
    Messages:
    225
    Location:
    Michigan

    Display name:
    The Rogue
    Carolina,

    I was looking into the same thing about a year ago. I am a COM ASEL with about 600 hours (250 below 500 AGL, and some "Alaska Time"). From what I gathered, now is the time to get into ag flying. The old operators are getting out, and the insurance companies that drive the business are, at least, willing to talk to you these days. My advice to you would be to go and talk to a local ag pilot and find out about the business in your area. They will have an insurance agent to refer you to, and will probably even have some experience with the schools. Talk to an insurance agent BEFORE you write any checks to anyone for any training to make sure that you will meet the insurance company's requirements with the specific training program. I remember there being some specific requirements that the insurance company required, but I can't remember what they were.

    I checked into it pretty thouroughly, and I think that my premium for a 300 series Air Tractor, or a Pawnee Brave was something like $11,000 a year for fertilizer/seeding/herbicide work. I think that it was herbicide, because most of the work where I was (in central IL) was fungicide/insecticide work, but it could be the other way around.

    That being said, there are operators out there that will help you with things, and there are operators out there that will not. I think it would work best if you could find one that wants to sell you his business and will work you through the first year, with its insurance, applicator licensing, and flying experience difficulties.....

    Anyhow, if you have any other questions, PM me, and we can chat. That's the stuff that I remember right off the top of my head right now though.....

    --Matt Rogers
     
  27. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Messages:
    39,482
    Location:
    Ft Lauderdale FL

    Display name:
    iHenning
    Yeah, wait till March to go to Ag school, and have your commercial done before it, as well as your State Pesticed Aplicators License, you need that to work. Do you have any study materials? The Australians have the Aerial Applicators Pilots Manual, and the Spraysafe manual both available here. These are probably the best text manuals there are on the subject, and for the most part are regardless to operations in the US vs Aus.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2008
  28. Dean

    Dean Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    Messages:
    2,223
    Location:
    Southwest Missouri

    Display name:
    Dean
    Why go so far away, you have one of the best Ag instructors just north of you in Marshall, MO. Go see Sam at the Marshall Airport.
     
  29. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    17,883
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO

    Display name:
    Everything Offends Me
    LOL! I think you might wanna add a smiley or mention that you're joking.
     
  30. idonno

    idonno Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2

    Display name:
    Mike_T
    I got the impression from talking to the operator of an Ag school that many employers will pay your insurance if they hire you. Is there any truth to that?
     
  31. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Messages:
    39,482
    Location:
    Ft Lauderdale FL

    Display name:
    iHenning

    ??? I've never seen it any other way. That's why they won't hire you until you qualify for the insurance, and I mean applicators insurance as well as hull if it's carried.
     
  32. idonno

    idonno Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2

    Display name:
    Mike_T
    Thanks for the answer.

    The Rogue's post above got me to thinking that maybe I was being overly optimistic about what it will take to get in to this field.
     
  33. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Messages:
    39,482
    Location:
    Ft Lauderdale FL

    Display name:
    iHenning
    If you're trying to enter as a pilot, figure a commercial with 1000hrs with 50hrs of ag specific training/ operations practice spraying with ag planes. More tailwheel time helps, but if you've got 25 hrs in an Ag Cat in the last month....

    You also need to have an applicators license for your state (many states give reciprocity for your home state's license. Between TX and California applicators license I had reciprocity from Indiana west) and/or the state you are going to operate in. You should also know how to calibrate your equipment and clean/service your nozzles and pumps. You should also know the basic chemistry of the products you are dealing with, and be able to identify the crop you are flying on and know whether that product was appropriate to the label. It also helps you to know you're flying the correct field....:rolleyes::D