Photographer's Note


crop duster — day 1

The use of a low-flying aircraft to spray pesticides or dust fertilizer over extensive acreages has long been in practice in the USA under the term ”crop dusting” or "aerial application". Aerial spraying and dusting permit prompt coverage of large areas at the moment when application of pesticide or fertilizer is most effective and avoid the need for wheeled vehicles...

Since May 27, 2006, I have sent out 3 correspondences asking for help tracking of such activity so we could photograph the crop duster at work as part of my theme R I C E — my endless lesson, but so far I hear nothing yet from the General Manager of Texas Rice Annual Festival in Winnie, Texas, 77665, not yet from M&M Air Service in Beaumont, TX 77705, and a dead silence from Stuttgart Chambers of Commerce in Stuttgart, AR 72160 — the "Rice and Duck capital of the World". I considered all three requests of mine have been crossed in the mail, but my close friends believed that I have touched the sensitive issue of aerial safety and it was Zacarias Moussaoui to only be blamed ;o)

OK. Whatever the reason of my failures is, I knew my “rice cultivation” theme will be incomplete with the lack of that part, until 2 days ago, prior to going west of Houston to Egypt, we decided it was too early for the sunset photo so we headed east of Houston instead, toward Hankamer to follow up the rice fields we found two weeks ago. Here, at the short grassy airstrip along Jenkins Road (Interstate 10, exit 819), we were lucky to watch the crop duster at work.

At our surprise, there was not the motivation of lot of farmers to cover a large area as in my country Vietnam. There were only three persons to handle the task: the driver of 18-wheeler who transport the fertilizer from nearby town to the refill-site, the driver of the pumping truck (on right edge of photo with its hose on top) who receives material from transport-truck and makes replenishments from his truck to the built-in container in front of the crop duster’s cockpit, and the pilot of the aircraft who touches-and-goes at about 10-minute intervals.

There are more stories behind this type of work that we will share later, but I must insert today that crop-dusting is not as easy and funny as your kids play game at home. Sometimes, it is risky and it costs human life, as in this sad story.

(to be continued tomorrow)


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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 125 N: 2332] (8458)
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