Crop Dusting, The Yemeni Air Force and The Day(s) I Almost Quit Radio
I love crop dusters.
And, since this is MY blog, I’ll get to what triggered this in a minute, but first, I’ll tell you a little story. (My lovely wife Michelle is rolling her eyes, if she’s reading this – she knows what’s coming)
Years ago, I had to (twice) be talked out of leaving my cushy radio job in Pittsburgh, because I wanted to quit, get some “ag-air” training and become a professional crop duster pilot. I already had the commercial pilot license. I had a lot of “tailwheel” aircraft time. And, I had mixed and sprayed (with a tractor – towed sprayer) herbicides and pesticides on the grapes we grew on our family farm, when I was a teenager. How tough could it be? And it HAD to be more exciting than playing Bon Jovi and Madonna songs all morning. Right?
Well, apparently crop dusting is more than just a little “exciting”. The word got out, and one night, over beers I had a senior captain, for a major U.S. airline, tell me about all the friends he’d lost to power lines and towers when he was a crop duster. Later, when I was married and thought about doing it for the second time, I had F-15 and air show pilot friends tell me the same thing. So, I saved a bunch of money (and maybe my butt), and tomorrow morning, instead of looking up at power lines as I fly underneath them, I’ll be playing Kenny Chesney songs. It’s probably safer. See the attached photo – looks like fun – until there’s fog or a slack power line.
By the way – if you really want to do this - here’s a link. If questioned by angry moms worried about your safety – I will admit nothing.
Anyway - here’s a cool story about the U.S. sending Hellfire missile and .50 caliber machine gun-equipped crop dusters to the country of Yemen (and yes, they do have an air force) to fight terrorism. Those Air Force guys who will be “training” the Yemeni pilots in these planes are gonna have some fun in those things. Funny how the best ideas are not always the most “high tech”. Even though these planes, new, cost about $1.5 million.
And, please, somebody, paint a cartoon “Snoopy”, in his “World War One flying ace” mode, on the tail of one of those before you send them over.
Banana Don and Stephanie McCoy amuse and thrill you every morning from 5:30 – 10AM on the radio at 100.7 WITL.
Banana Don can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @WITLBananaDon and @WITLFM. Also, Facebook friend Banana Don and Stephanie at Facebook.com/BananaStephanie and Facebook.com/WITLFM.