Cropdusters Grounded

September 26, 2001


Cropduster flights resumed Sept. 25, 2001. The FBI had ordered cropdusters grounded nationwide temporarily in late Sept. 2001 when investigators discovered that several of the suspected WTC hijackers had shown persistent interest in cropdusters and the possibility of buying one. Such planes would be ideal for dispersing biological agents as aerosols over populated areas -- and they are often little guarded or controlled. While farmers feel aerial spraying of pesticides is often needed for crop protection, environmentalists have worried that spray drift could harm people living nearby.

  • Cropduster pilots must have a special license from the Federal Aviation Admin. (See Federal Aviation Regulations, Part 137). FAA Publ Affairs: 202-267-3883.
  • National Agricultural Aviation Association: James Callan (Exec. Dir.), 202-546-5722. NAAA's annual convention will be December 3-6, 2001, in Las Vegas, NV. NAAA is proposing changes which it says would streamline the Federal Air Regulations (FARs) Pertaining to Agricultural Aviation. Another proposal would allow cropdusting airplanes to be larger. NAAA has established the Agricultural Aviation Political Action Committee to collect political contributions for elected officials.