History of Agricultural Aviation Reveals a Series of Turning Points
Industry’s growth has been marked by interesting watershed moments.
By Jonathan Welsh
October 31, 2022
On August 3, 1921, a Curtiss JN-6 “Jenny” took off from the now defunct McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio, and headed to the nearby town of Troy, where an infestation of catalpa sphinx moths threatened to destroy a grove of catalpa trees. The trees were valuable for their wood, which made good railroad ties, telephone poles, and fence posts.
John Macready, an Army test pilot who flew fighters in World War I, was at the controls. In the rear cockpit was Etienne Dormoy, a research engineer with the Army Signal Corps who had modified the Jenny for this experimental assignment.
As Macready skimmed the treetops, Dormoy turned a crank on a metal hopper bolted to the side of the fuselage, releasing lead arsenate dust. After six passes, the job was done, the grove was saved, and an industry called “crop dusting” was born.
Story credit: Flying Magazine; https://www.flyingmag.com/history-of-agricultural-aviation-a-series-of-turning-points/