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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits and advantages of aerial application?
Aerial application is the fastest and most efficient method of application reducing your wait times when timing is critical, such as a pest outbreak.  You can eliminate crop loss from wheel tracks.   Application can be done even in wet soil conditions and at any crop height while preventing soil compaction.  You can rely on complete coverage with advanced GPS systems and an even rate of application with Flow Control technology. 

Is coverage just as good as a ground sprayer? How does an airplane get up against tree lines and into corners of the field?

Yes coverage is just as good! With ground spraying, the product sprays straight down from the boom at low speeds and the tractor has to drive across the entire field for complete coverage.  In an airplane the swath width is greater than the width of the aircraft wings.  Airflow and "turbulence" from the wings extend the swath for an extension of 12-15 feet from the sides of each wingtip, enabling us to cover corners and edges without having to fly directly overhead.  Wing tip vortices push the product down and out, if you have ever watched you can see the spray "roll outward" forcefully from the sides of the wings and then settle straight down into the crop.  In fact, this airflow results in better penetration into the crop canopy.  We are also guided by sophisticated GPS that directs us in various patterns in the field to ensure corner to corner coverage, and sophisticated flow control meters keeps a consistent application rate no matter any changes in speed of the aircraft.

How much can you get done in a day?
One of the major advantages of aerial application is the ability to treat a large area in a small amount of time.  Each of our airplanes can complete thousands of acres a day out of one location.  Aerial application can accomplish more in a day than any other method, and this is especially critical when disease or insect pressure is high and timing is critical.  

How much does aerial application cost?
Aerial spraying is on average on few dollars more than ground application. There is not a one price fits all model for our coverage area. Total number of acres, rate of application, and distance from an airstrip are all considered when quoting prices directly.   If we work with your retailer they will be able to provide you with predetermined packaged prices for their geographic area in most cases. Tests show aerial application not only pays for itself but can actually improve per acre yield. How? Because there is no crop loss or damage from wheel tracks.  Many farmers find aerial application makes sense as their primary application method all season.  Aerial spreading and seeding prices are project specific based on pounds per acre and distance to a loading site.  Please visit our services tabs for more information on how we calculate price based on project.  For aerial spraying and dry fertilizer work please first inquire if we partner with your retailer for one stop service, if we don't or if you are inquiring about cover crop seeding please call us directly.  

How do I decide between airplane and helicopter application?
You don't have to! As operators of both spray equipped airplanes and helicopter we will be able to make the expert decision that best suits your field(s).   The notion that one is better than the other when it comes to spray quality or coverage is simply not true.  Airplane operators might advertise the benefits of airplanes, Helicopter operators might advertise the benefits of helicopters, but since we operate both we can tell you they are both beneficial!  It's the aerial application itself that is the greatest benefit and both machines do a great job.  Both fixed wing and rotary craft have places where they excel in aerial application based on aeronautical performance that affects the application companies efficiencies and logistics, but there is no difference to the customer in terms of quality.  For example, Helicopters are a beneficial specialized tool in small odd-shaped fields, near obstructions, or fields that are secluded from airport use. But remember, since both airplanes and helicopters both provide the same quality spray application, the decision on which equipment we use will be based on efficiencies and logisitics, because the quality of application will be the same regardless.  We do recommend leaving that decision to the aviators as you can trust our extensive knowlege of how both machines operate.  Please feel free to ask us questions on how this relates to your specific needs.     


Why is it called aerial application instead of crop dusting? (*answer from the NAAA industry FAQ's site)
Because “crop dusting” doesn't begin to describe the way the industry has developed since it began in 1921. For one thing, most applications today are in liquid form, so the word "dusting" doesn't say enough. For another, today's aerial applicators do much more than their predecessors did. The best term for them might be "Crop Doctors," because they must administer the proper treatment, at the correct dosage and time, to keep the plants healthy.

In addition to controlling insects, weeds, and diseases that threaten crops, they perform many other vital jobs. Aerial applicators "plant" seed from the air into flooded rice fields; spread rye grass seed in cornfields prior to harvest to prevent soil erosion; and they fertilize and add nutrients to soil for healthy crops and forests. Aircraft are also used to help clean up oil spills in the ocean and harbors, feed fish, protect human health by controlling flies and mosquitoes that carry harmful diseases. They protect our natural resources by reducing disease and pest infestations in forests and other areas inaccessible by ground equipment. Aerial application aircraft are also an important tool in fighting fires and preventing fires from spreading.

My field is within a wind farm, will I be able to get aerial application services from you?
Unfortunately, no.   We value safety above all else and the size of these wind turbines create a hazard to aerial applicators that we are not willing to take.  Unfortunately, Wisconsin wind companies will specifically tell you that these turbines will not affect your ability to receive these agricultural services.  However, the mere presence of the wind turbines is the risk to our pilots and aircraft, whether the blades are spinning or not.   Countryside will not operate our airplanes or helicopters within a wind farm. Though we acknowledge the environmental benefits of alternative energy, wind generator towers and blade structures are too tall for loaded ag aircraft to climb over, forcing us to fly around them, increasing the danger.  Additionally, the grouping of these wind generators put the ag aircraft in a sort of "obstacle course" to tend with while still maintaining management of the cockpit along with maintaining concentration on many other factors in order to safely make an application to a field.  The Wisconsin Agricultural Aviation Association has developed a wind generator resolution to refuse application of crop protection products inside a grouping of wind generators for safety reasons. 

How do I receive notification of aerial pesticide application in my area?
Wisconsin Administrative Code states that an individual may request advance notice of aerial pesticide applications to land immediately adjacent to that individual's residence, as provided under ATCP 29.53.   As long as this adjacent residence is within 1/4 mile you may request 24 hr. notice from the person who owns or controls the site given that you have submitted that request in writing in the same calendar year.  This advanced notice does not apply if you are not an adjacent land owner, or for emergency applications for sudden pest outbreaks where the site owner will let you know as soon as reasonably possible. 
Please see ATCP 29.53 for specific information.  

Do you only spray pesticides?

No.  We make a variety of aerial applications that do and do not include pesticides.  A large volume of our work consists of applications of fertilizers, nutrients, and dry fertilizers & seed. 

Aerial Application in my neighborhood concerns me, can you tell me more information about the process?
We understand that some people have concerns regarding low flying aircraft and the dispensing of crop protection products.  We developed this section to educate and dispel any misinformation there might be about agricultural aviation:

Agricultural aircraft operations are permitted by the FAA to take place at low level altitudes in order to make applications to a field.  We understand that watching an aircraft make applications can produce a variety of questions or concerns for an untrained bystander especially since the flying is fast and low level.  Please know every maneuver we make in the field, and upon entering and exiting the field is purposeful and highly controlled.  We must maintain certain speeds and make certain low level maneuvers to successfully apply crop protection products, complete turns, clear powerlines and avoid obstacles.  We are permitted to use the low altitude airspace surrounding the field, and have been asked to be there by the site owner.  Noise is an unavoidable side effect of any aircraft engine, and although we find the majority of the public enjoy watching, we hope that you will find the noise of the aircraft (on average between 5 to 30 minutes once per year) a short and small inconvenience as we provide this vital service to community farmers.  Our pilots are licensed commercial pilots and licensed commercial applicators.  Our pilots are highly trained in low level flight, low level maneuvers and dispensing of agricultural pesticides and other agricultural products.

The dispensing of crop protection products from an aircraft is precise and targeted.  We begin planning the application before we even get to the field using aerial satellite images of the field and surrounding areas.  Once we get to the field we complete another inspection of the area before making application.  There is sometimes the misconception that if there is an aircraft flying around fast and low that the products are also flying around the neighborhood, and this couldn't be further from the truth when flown by a skilled and trained pilot.  The concern of drift is a possible issue for both air and ground applicators however we take all the necessary precautions we can to mitigate off target drift.  Spray droplet size is the single biggest factor determining if drift will occur.  Our nozzles are calibrated for optimum droplet size conducive to aerial spraying speeds and we use spray additives to further aid drift reduction.  Our aircraft attend recurring calibration clinics to ensure our nozzles and spray boom settings are to the best and correct standards.  The second biggest factor of drift is wind speed and direction.  We do not make applications when the wind speeds are not favorable to the specific project; "not favorable" is determined by weather, product volume, density, composition, label regulations and recommendations, and site specific hazards. Our aircraft also have "smokers" in which we release a trail of smoke oil (similar to what you see at airshows); using this smoker test we make one pass in the field to determine wind speed and direction and to analyze any movement. Rest assured, that we take great care of our customers and their neighbors, and all applications are given considerable thought and analysis.  We also attend recurring safety clinics to keep up with the latest in actions and technology to mitigate drift. 

There is the science of aircraft vortices in aerial application.  This means that when crop protection products are dispensed you will see movement of product out from the aircraft wings, while it rolls into a small vortices and out, and then is forcefully pushed down and into the crop canopy by "turbulence" and airflow from the aircraft.  Rest assured this is supposed to happen, and it does 100 percent of the time -  we know how far this vortices is pushed out and is taken into account on every single pass the aircraft makes through the field. 

We do our part to protect the health and safety of the public.  You are responsible for your health and safety as well: never enter a field during or after aerial application.  Never linger or stand in or directly next to the crops or at the immediate edges of field while watching, walking, bicycling, or ATV-ing.  Never become an obstacle by purposely trying to distract the pilot, or positioning yourself or your vehicle in the path of the aircraft.  If you are the site owner who has hired us for aerial application, ensure that people, pets or livestock do not enter the site during application and during the re-entry interval immediately after.  If you do not know the re-entry interval please inquire with us or your chemical supplier.  Although not required unless they have given you advanced written requests, we do recommend giving directly adjacent neighbors a heads up that you have hired an aircraft to come into your field.  

If you have pesticide sensitive crops or beehives, we strongly encourage you to register your site with Driftwatch.  This is a free online service.  Countryside Aviation is a member of FeildWatch, therefore Wisconsin Driftwatch data is periodically imported into our mapping and order management system.  This will help your site show up on our maps when we are treating any nearby fields. 

Some of the products our customers have us apply have a strong odor that can be detected by nose away from the site.  This should not last long and does not mean the product is present in the air. 

With all of these safety initiatives, product technology, aircraft technology, coupled with our experience in aviation, aerial application is a safe and controlled, quality method of application.  Safety is our number one priority and not something we take lightly.  We are trusted in our communities for safe and reliable application.