Crop Spraying

193px-Piper_PA-11_Super_Cub_CF-CUB_1947_model_Photo_1

Similar to the Piper PA11 Jim describes in this letter. (Photo credit below)

Jim loved to fly. I don’t.

From many of Jim’s prior letters you’ve learned that Jim didn’t usually share much about his early life before writing these letters. There was one exception. Crop spraying with Ben. Nothing in Jim’s life beat that flight.

In twentieth-century North Dakota most people were familiar with crop spraying. Now that I live in the city, infrequently getting into the country, I don’t see many of those little aircraft. Even in the country it’s hard to spot them. They fly low. They fly fast. They hide behind the barn, behind the trees. They swoop, as Jim says. I love watching them.

Don’t make me ride in one.

Every now and then when I was in high school Jim would let me tag along with him and Don Cooper on a flight somewhere for Credit Union business. They’d rent a small plane from Ben (the same Ben in the story below)  and we’d be off to Devils Lake or Fargo. Once in a great while they’d let me sit in front and even try to fly in a straight line. (I couldn’t.)

They’d let me fly in front because their experience with me in the back seat was uncomfortable at best. Airsickness in a tiny plane, especially while wearing a furry winter jacket, is not a pleasant thing. The owner had to hose down the interior.

I have to swallow hard just writing about that experience. Let’s get back to Jim’s story. He loved flying.

Jim writes:

Most everyone is familiar with serial crop spraying. How many times have you driven along a highway on a summers day and suddenly seen that small plane swooping down so low on a field that it seems the aircrafts wheels must be brushing the tops of the grain. This is a daring, often dangerous way to make a living.

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Piper Cub photo: “Piper PA-11 Super Cub CF-CUB 1947 model Photo 1” by AhuntOwn work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.