A horticultural pilot (sometimes called crop dusters) fly small planes at low altitudes in order to apply needed chemicals/fertilizer on fields of crops. This is often considered by growers to be the most efficient way to spread these applications as it reduces the number of times a grower would have to drive over the field, reducing soil compaction. Horticultural pilots must be able to mix and add chemicals for application, maintain their airplane and equipment, and keep records of applications to report back to the grower.
A commercial pilot license through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is required, along with flying hours and a medical examination. You must also complete additional training as a horticultural pilot.
WHERE TO STUDY
There are many airports across the country that offer pilot training. Contact your local airport for details. Then, there are many ways to pursue horticultural pilot training. Contact the National Agricultural Aviation Association for more information.
In July 2020, the median yearly salary for a horticultural pilot was $82,481, according to SalaryExpert.com. For more information, visit their Crop Dusting profile.
PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS
- Aircraft Owners and Pilot's Association
- National Agricultural Aviation Association
- National Agricultural Aviation Research and Education Foundation
- United States Pilot Association
VIDEOS AND TESTIMONIALS
Ohio crop duster Butch Fisher of Fisher Ag Service gives a real-time view of aerial application. Ohio Ag Net's Joel Penhorwood joins him in the cockpit.