Crossing the Southwest US in the Fat Cat

agcatman

New Member
I mentioned in the thread "Autorough" a trip I've taken across the southern US in an Ag-Cat. Actually I've done it twice. But here are some pics of the second trip. This airplane is called a "Fat Cat" because of modifications to the airframe. The frame is split and widened about 14" which allows the hopper volume to be increased from 400 to 500 gallons.

This pic was taken on my second trip out at a beautiful grass strip in Kingfisher, OK. Certainly the nicest turf I've ever left a divot on.


While at Kingfisher stretching my legs a truck pulled up. This guy jumped out and came over to check on me. Turned out he was a crop duster and his strip was just a half mile from this one. Super nice guy named Brice Newberry. We chatted for about an hour before I headed on west. Unfortunately Brice was killed last year while crop dusting for the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation.
 

agcatman

New Member
Re: Crossing in the Fat Cat


Me and the Fat Cat I flew out there. Okay, two Fat Cats. What can I say.
This was taken in the convention hall at Reno.
Another pic from the convention with the group I ferried for. Me far right. We're standing in front of a Thrush which had been converted to the Walter engine.
 

agcatman

New Member
Re: Crossing in the Fat Cat


Moving them in here, this is a brand new Air Tractor being moved into the convention hall. We had to bring the planes through the streets of Reno at like 1AM.

The Fat Cat waiting its turn to go inside. Another Cat behind it.
 

agcatman

New Member
Re: Crossing in the Fat Cat


The terrain I was dealing with during my "woulda preferred not to" flight to Las Vegas, NM as related in "Autorough". This was some of the milder stuff, it was rougher later.

Fat Cat and rental car. Man, talk about the "Right Light". Definite martini shot, I shoulda tried to sell it to Dodge. Taken at Henderson, NV.
 

agcatman

New Member
Re: Crossing in the Fat Cat

Great pic here and great story. The route from Las Vegas, NV to Reno, NV is flown pretty much up a big valley. Tons of military airspace including Groom Lake. All Restricted stuff on the right and MOA's on the left. There is just the corridor up the valley that is clear. Along that valley lies Indian Springs AFB. Now as I was flying up the valley I wasn't particularly high, not that I ever am.

Anyway, as I continued north and got closer to Indian Springs, I'd be able to catch a glimpse of it. Then I'd top the particular ridge and follow the terrain back down and lose sight of it. I strongly suspect that they were occasionally painting me and then losing me and so they got a bit curious. I'm guessing they decided to send out the scouts. Because as I topped another ridge there were five A-10's right down low-level coming dead at me. It was freaking awesome. They roared at me and then immediately peeled off to circle back around to look. One of them circled around, went almost fully inverted and was looking straight down at me through my canopy and I was looking straight up at him. About this time I realized what I was needing to do and so I started scrambling for my camera which I always keep close by. I was able to get several pics, but this one turned out the best. It's a shame, because when they initially intercepted me we closed at maybe, MAYBE 300 feet. They circled me, came in and we waved hands at each other then waved wings and then they went on back to the east, you know, over there were they keep the UFO's. But it was a HECK of an experience. Had they been, well, "upset" with me, I woulda been toast on a rock before I could think. I think you could see it without, but I've marked the A-10 to make it a little easier. You can kinda tell why they were painting me and losing me as it's possible to judge my altitude in the pic. I was 500' AGL. Every inch of it. Really. I'm pretty sure anyway.

 

agcatman

New Member
Re: Crossing in the Fat Cat

A few more.

Just a cool shot.


And one of the nice things is seeing something cool and getting to get closer to check it out. Can't do that from the interstate.

Long extinct volcano caldera. It's amazing just how many of these there are. Hard to imagine what it must have looked like way back then. Not sure I'd wanna have been around these parts back then.
 

agcatman

New Member
Re: Crossing in the Fat Cat

One more for now. The Fat Cat and the Fabled City of Cibola in the background (Vegas).
 

agcatman

New Member
Re: Crossing in the Fat Cat

[ QUOTE ]
Wow... those shots are great. I especially like the last one.

[/ QUOTE ]

Thanks man. Glad you like them.
 

pavelump

Well-Known Member
Re: Crossing in the Fat Cat

Here's a serious question. Do you worry about flying around/being around the different chemicals that you deal with? What are the chances of ingesting them as you fly back and forth over the field?

That's about the only thing that creeps me out about crop dusting, otherwise I think that it would be a blast!

Later,
Dave
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
Re: Crossing in the Fat Cat

[ QUOTE ]
That's about the only thing that creeps me out about crop dusting, otherwise I think that it would be a blast!

[/ QUOTE ]
Man, if that's the only thing that creeps you out 'bout dusting, you haven't thought about it enough!
 

agcatman

New Member
Re: Crossing in the Fat Cat

[ QUOTE ]
Here's a serious question. Do you worry about flying around/being around the different chemicals that you deal with? What are the chances of ingesting them as you fly back and forth over the field?

That's about the only thing that creeps me out about crop dusting, otherwise I think that it would be a blast!

Later,
Dave

[/ QUOTE ]
It is necessary to be aware of what chemicals you are using and the precautions required for that particular one. The chemicals are not as bad as everyone seems to think. Granted, there are some nasty ones, a few particular insecticides come to mind, but I do not do those kinds of chemicals unless it is a matter of crop failure if they're not applied. Most of the chemicals, once mixed with the proper amount of water as a carrier, have been diluted to a strength that I compare to Raid. Now the concentrated stuff must be treated with caution. For instance you don't want to be pouring it out of the jug and have it glug and splash back on you. The real important thing is common sense. Keep your wits about you.

As far as chronic exposure, like every day coming in contact and having it build up in your system, well, there are concerns there too. The most important thing is, at the end of the day, do NOT lick the aircraft. That's critical.


Seriously, chronic exposure can be a concern, but my business is so varied that I'm continously using different chemicals so it's not quite the issue. And most of them are simply not hazardous to begin with. Like Roundup.

As for exposure while flying, well, my Thrush is sealed cockpit and air conditioned. The Ag Cats I flew weren't though and yes, you gotta be aware. Even then it is almost always just a matter of knowing wind direction and then working upwind, so that you never have to fly back through. Worst case scenario in the open cockpit I always have (or had) a bayonet type respirator that hooked onto my helmet kinda like an oxygen mask but with filters. I think I've used one maybe five times in ten years. Good question though.

The chemicals are pretty well understood, so I really don't worry about something turning up as being a carcinogen thirty years down the road.

It's a relatively safe situation. Just two things:

1) Use your common sense
2) Don't lick the aircraft

No worries!
 

agcatman

New Member
Re: Crossing in the Fat Cat

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
That's about the only thing that creeps me out about crop dusting, otherwise I think that it would be a blast!

[/ QUOTE ]
Man, if that's the only thing that creeps you out 'bout dusting, you haven't thought about it enough!


[/ QUOTE ]

He hasn't been looking at the right pics has he!
 

Mahesh

New Member
Re: Crossing in the Fat Cat

agcatman,

You mentioned that you spray various chemicals depending on what is required for the crops. Do you have to flush out or clean the containers before putting the new stuff in before a flight? What if you had some wild chemical reaction and it exploded?

I used to fly RC planes many years ago. Someone was selling his model Cessna AgWagon and I bought it. I crashed it the next flight and totalled it.


Mahesh
 

Kristie

Mama Bear....
Staff member
Re: Crossing in the Fat Cat

WOW!! incredible photos!! I love shots like that - and all terrain shots that you just can't see elsewhere... it's neat to know how crop dusting works.. i always wondered bout the pesticides too and if they have any residual effects like allergies or what not... thanks for the info!


maybe we should create an Fat Cat: Pictures from the road...
 

Lima_Charlie

New Member
Re: Crossing in the Fat Cat

What the story w/ the "Thrush"?!! It looks like one powerful machine... One big engine w/a little place for the pilot to sit! :) How many horses does that thing put out? Top Speed?

By the way, thanks for the pics and the info, very interesting!!!

Doug: I think you had a great Idea!! Start a thread w/ pictures of interesting travel pics and what not....Amazing Encounters!
 

agcatman

New Member
Re: Crossing in the Fat Cat

[ QUOTE ]
WOW!! incredible photos!! I love shots like that - and all terrain shots that you just can't see elsewhere... it's neat to know how crop dusting works.. i always wondered bout the pesticides too and if they have any residual effects like allergies or what not... thanks for the info!


maybe we should create an Fat Cat: Pictures from the road...

[/ QUOTE ]

I've got probably about a hundred pics or so. Man, I love digital photography. Hehe, I've even got pics of the hotel rooms where I stayed. Kinda cheesy but when the pics only cost electrons it's easy to do.


I'd love to do it again (fly cross country like that) and I will one of these days.
 

agcatman

New Member
Re: Crossing in the Fat Cat

[ QUOTE ]
agcatman,

You mentioned that you spray various chemicals depending on what is required for the crops. Do you have to flush out or clean the containers before putting the new stuff in before a flight? What if you had some wild chemical reaction and it exploded?

I used to fly RC planes many years ago. Someone was selling his model Cessna AgWagon and I bought it. I crashed it the next flight and totalled it.


Mahesh

[/ QUOTE ]

Don't feel bad. I know lots of guys who have crashed the real thing and they weren't real happy either.


Explosion is not a concern. What is a concern, however, is residues of a chemical affecting another crop. For instance I spray a chemical called 2-4D on broadleaf weeds in grass crops (wheat, corn, etc.). But 2-4D in quantities down to just a few parts per million (PPM) can have an adverse affect on cotton which I often spray. So "hopper hygiene" as I call it (the hopper is where the chemicals are stored in the plane) is an essential.

The only explosive substance I deal with is ammonium nitrate. And it is stable as I use it. When mixed with petroleum products though it is bad stuff, as witnessed at Oklahoma City few years back.
 
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