Local flight instructors call crop dusting 'most dangerous' aviation job

Instructors warn of dangerous crop dusting
Updated: Jul. 25, 2017 at 7:49 PM CDT
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(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Local flight instructors encourage pilots to expand their training after several crop dusters have gone down in Region 8 lately.

Tuesday morning, the Federal Aviation Administration investigated the latest crop duster crash in Poinsett County.

Instructors at C&S Aviation, a flight school in Jonesboro, said crop dusting is the most dangerous aviation job, one that is popular in Northeast Arkansas.

Harrison Caubble, a C&S Aviation employee, said in Arkansas, crop dusting pilots must have a limited commercial license, that is 250 hours of Pilot in Command training time.

That is also the minimal requirements and instructors at the flight school recommend additional training.

"We recommend students to embrace all of their training, not try to skip any steps or fast track," Caubble said. "We recommend them to get their private, then instrument, and then get your commercial license. As far as further training, pilots can do bi-annual flights, flight reviews and stuff like that to make sure they are current in training."

The cause of the most recent crop duster crashes is still under investigation by the FAA.

Instructors tell us there are many variables that could have led to these crashes.

"They fly so low to the ground there's a lot of obstacles, such as trees, towers, any obstructions that could hit them," Cauble said. "Also, if they load their aircraft too heavy, the aircraft performance might not be as good on a hot day like this."

Instructors said crop duster pilots have little to no time to react to an emergency because they work so low to the ground.

Caubble said it is crucial that pilots trust their training and follow every proper procedure before getting in the aircraft.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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