A Grumman Ag Cat flying with a radial engine aboard, is spraying what appears to be a crop of soybeans. The low altitude is necessary to prevent drift of the chemical being applied. Such a scene is repeated throughout the summer months, all across America.
Special wingtips, new types of spray nozzles, and other mechanical devices are being employed to reduce effects of drift. With the advent of new technologies hardly an aircraft now flying has not been modified to some extent.
With the coming of low wing aircraft, it was thought that the Ag Cat had reached the end of its operational life. But the addition of a turbine engine gave the old Cat a new lease on life.
An ability to maneuver near the ground coupled with more than enough power to carry heavier payloads meant that the Ag Cat’s legendary reputation as a fine aircraft would carry over to yet another generation of pilots.
In Louisiana, small rice fields require the maneuverability that a biplane possesses in spades. While speed is an attribute in states where distances to and from an airstrip are greater, the Air tractors have an advantage over the cats, but the shorter distances involved in Louisiana, means the Ag Cat may hold its own for some years to come.