By Jessica Crabtree
What has the capabilities of going fast, turning tight, skimming through the air just over a crop and still able to hold fuel, herbicides and can sneak up on you? A crop duster of course! The first aircraft used for agricultural aviation was in 1924. It was specifically designed for crop dusting in an effort to protect southern U. S. cotton fields against boll weevils. A crop dusting division of Huff Daland Airplanes, Inc. flew the first of its kind, calling themselves “Huff Daland Dusters.”
This area’s claim to the crop dusting history began back in 1951 when Leland Snow designed his first agricultural aircraft, the S-1. By 1958 Snow began working on other models, moving his manufacturing facilities to the Young County town of Olney where he began on models S-2A and S-2B. In 1965, Snow sold his company to Rockwell-Standard, however, maintaining a position as vice president of the Aero Commander division, which led to the development of model S-2R and became known as “Thrush.” The first 100 Thrush aircrafts were produced in Olney, and in 1970 moved production to Georgia.
After resigning from his position, Snow researched, worked and developed the next agricultural aircraft that would be better, more improved, sleek and aerodynamically efficient. That aircraft would revolutionize the ag aircraft industry and be known as the “Air Tractor.”
Brothers Don Aydelott and Lynn Hooker have more than 20 years of experience working on the tractors in the sky, agricultural aircrafts. In fact, the two built a business specializing in ag aircraft recovery, rebuilding, repairing, salvaging and maintaining agricultural aircrafts. “Our grandfather, Bobby Shivers, started back in the 1950s with Shiver’s Flying Service. He had three sons and two daughters. All of his sons were/are in the airplane business,” Aydelott said. Aydelott admitted aviation has been a family business, one that ran several generations deep. In 1983, their grandfather Shivers retired.
To read more pick up a copy of the November 2017 NTFR issue. To subscribe call us at 940-872-5922.