|By Mark Nankivil|
We visited IL4 the day after they arrived as crews were setting up the spray equipment on their two helicopters, OH-58A N992YC and OH-58A+ N206PW for the upcoming spraying. N992YC was spraying water on the adjacent field to determine the correct spray nozzles to use, the size of the droplets being an important factor in applying the fungicide on the wheat fields. Wind, humidity, spray density and airspeed all play a part in a successful field application.
A fascinating part of the package is the use of a truck with a platform on which the helicopter will land to replenish the application load and even refuel as needed. The truck travels with the helicopter, which improves the efficiency of the operation by removing the need to fly back to the airport while having a consistent service platform wherever they may be.
Midwest Custom Ag Aviation isn't the only one working in the area. While they were setting up the spray booms on N206PW, Bell 206B-III N206AL operated by Aerinova Inc. of Mattoon, IL flew over.
The Aero Experience wishes to thank Diversified Applications, Inc. Area Operations Manager Brian Berst for his time and for sharing the details of their operation. Berst has a broad background in crop applications, flying fixed wing aircraft himself over the years. It was fascinating to listen to him talk about his aviation experience!