Friday, August 25, 2006

Trinkle, move over

I wrote about the local business of agricultural flying before, the Trinkle Brothers. They ran a very unusual aircraft, a Schiweitzer biplane. Imagine Antonov An-2 without a cabin, and you get the idea just how big that thing is. Trinkle recently started to operate from a strip near the prison, at Kasson road.

The other day I went to Stockton, and there was a big jam on 205. So, I took the Tracy Blvd. north to Rt. 4. Somewhere right before the first bridge, on the left side, I saw a landing strip and a conventional ag plane. Something like Air Tractor. Again, I was amased by its size.

Running an Air Tractor may give a business some advantages. For one thing, you fuel it with Jet-A and not 100LL fuel, which may be cheaper. Persistent rumors about the end of 100LL keep circulating and I figure it's just a matter of time before it's gone forever. Also, a turbine is way more reliable. Basically, it never breaks and you never have any standing time, which can be costly (avoids a siege by a mob of angry farmers, too). All you have to do is to maintain it regularly, like your car. Unfortunately, this is where disadvantages start. How about an oil change for $10K? And I heard of hot area inspections for $100K on some engines.

I saw them flying today and dusting between Banta and 205.


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