Friday, August 5, 2016

Hometown Farmer - Redline Aviation

PENDER, NE — Redline Aviation is one of the few family-owned crop dusting operations around, and the owner says he's all about helping the farmer.

When Ryan Lihs flies crop-dusting airplanes over fields in Siouxland, he's only 10 feet above the ground, cruising at roughly 160 miles per hour.

But the spraying process starts long before the plane takes off.

For Lihs, the spraying process starts at a computer.

He uses a GPS system to map out each job exactly, down to how much chemical to load on board the plane.

Redline mainly uses two Air Tractors for spraying.

They hold about 500 gallons of spray each, and the tools they use on board are very precise.

"Completely down to the size of the droplet," said Lihs, talking about an adjustment that can be made to the spraying boom.

Then there's a preflight check before the planes takes off the ground.

"We're looking for any nicks, or anything in the exhaust system," said Lihs. "Any dents, any loose screws."

When you're a family owned-business, with just four employees, you can't take a safe flight for granted.

"I think it's as dangerous as you want to make it," said Lihs. "It's something we take pride in, it's something that we have years and years of training to do this, and it's just, I think, it's a very safe job."

Once the plane is fueled up and loaded with spray, it's up in the air.

Helping farmers grow a cleaner crop, more efficiently.

"We can cover a lot more ground through the air than they can through a ground machine," said Lihs.

And even after more than a decade of flying, Lihs says he still loves every time he gets to go up in the air.

"It's really nice flying in the mornings, on a really nice calm day," said Lihs. "It's really nice flying."

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