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Advice on night flying operations

key

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I have a chance to take a part-time job as SIC in a BE-90 for a mosquitos spaying operation in Florida. Basically it entails spraying mosquitos while flying at 150 knots at 200' AGL at night. You fly lines following a display (similar in concept to a VOR readout) hooked up to a GPS unit. When you get to the end, you do a tight (60 deg. bank) 180 deg. turn to go the other way. I know Florida is flat, but I believe towers can be up to 199' tall before obstruction lights are required or before they are entered into data bases or charts. The company does supply night vision goggles (and a respirator for emergencies) and the Captains claim to know where all the towers are in the area, but do admit that every once in a while a new tower pops up over night.

I would like to hear from pilots out there that might have some experience in this type of operation. Can it be done safely, and how much risk is involved. It sounds fun, challenging, good experience for sharpening flying skills, and a good opportunity to build hours in a decent plane. However, I have a family and I am not sure if I might be better off building hours other ways that are less risky (instructing, etc.).
 
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hahaha, not to mention all those big a$$ brown birds all over the place
 

jetexas

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..And Gators and now Burmese Pythons (thanks to the 'exotic pet' market). Better not ditch in the 'glades!
 

PCL_128

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Is this a government job or what? I don't think I'd be doing anything this risky if I had a family. Just my opinion.
 

PA31Ho

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I think I read about this job a few weeks ago. Is it in Orlando area? If so, I actually talked to that guy and he said he found somebody already, I guess that was you.
 

RJP

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I wouldn't do it without NVGs.
 

MTpilot

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Ha!

Like instructing isn't risky!
 

TurboS7

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I wouldn't pass on that job for anything. Go for it.
 

TurboS7

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Metro, my wife went to College of Dupage and was a grad at NIU. I got to live through 12 wonderful Northern Illinois winters before she saw the light and agreed to move south with me.
 

Purpledog

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Who ?s
The company does supply night vision goggles
Hopefully they provide training on how to fly with NVGs, and have a properly equipped airplane. Most mil planes that are night birds have all green lighting in them. Also flying over heavily populated area with NVGs won't make much sense. You'll get a lot of 'blossoming' from the city lights at 200 agl. I never did the like the low alt goggle flying, however we were +400 KIAS so it might not be that nerve-racking at 150. Be careful bro.
 

Bryan D

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A Aztec bumped into a tower, near Dunnellon I believe, last year doing the same thing. The pilot was killed.
 

YourNameHere

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???

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.
On September 11, 2004 at 0528 eastern daylight time a Piper PA-23-250, N962AB, registered to and operated by Vector Disease Control Inc., and flown by the commercial pilot collided with a 520-foot television tower in Lake Wales, Florida. The aerial application flight was operated under the Provisions of Title 14, CFR Part 137, and visual flight rules. Night visual meteorological condition prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The pilot and observer received fatal injuries and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight originated from Lake Wales Municipal Airport in Lake Wales, Florida, July 10, 2004, at 0500.

According to the operator, the airplane was Mosquito Control Spraying under contract with the state of Florida. Witnesses in the area stated that they heard the airplane and could see its marker lights. However, at the time of the accident no one recalled seeing any lights on the television tower. They did recall hearing the generator, which normally powered the television tower when power in the local area was out.

Examination of the accident site disclosed that the top 20 feet of the television tower had fallen over. The airplane rested near the base of the tower with the left wing separated from the airframe. The airplane was recovered for further examination.
 

rumpletumbler

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I am reminded of the sign that used to hang on the gate to David Lee Roth's house.

"There is nothing here worth dying for."
 

navigator72

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Sounds fun! I personally wouldn't do it of I had a family waiting at home for me. (Unless of course you don't really like your family, then I say "Go for it").

Why don't they do this sort of thing in the day?
 

low-n-slow

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Key, out of curiosity are they using a SATLOC unit for swathing?

I've sprayed for mosquitos at night using a single engine turbine airplane (AT-502) for a sugar company that required flights around well lighted towns as well as company owned work camps scattered over a 30 mile area in south Florida. We have also done our share of crop spraying at night and some frost flying jobs have had me flying over crops from 9 p.m. 'till 7 a.m.

If you like this sort of flying in general I believe you should have no problem, being extremely familiar with the surroundings is an absolute must.
 

Jmajoris

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There is a lot of risk involved in this type of flying. If you go for it, check your life insurance policy because a lot of them exclude this type of flying. Insurance is all about numbers, which of course don't lie.

Good luck.

key said:
I have a chance to take a part-time job as SIC in a BE-90 for a mosquitos spaying operation in Florida. Basically it entails spraying mosquitos while flying at 150 knots at 200' AGL at night. You fly lines following a display (similar in concept to a VOR readout) hooked up to a GPS unit. When you get to the end, you do a tight (60 deg. bank) 180 deg. turn to go the other way. I know Florida is flat, but I believe towers can be up to 199' tall before obstruction lights are required or before they are entered into data bases or charts. The company does supply night vision goggles (and a respirator for emergencies) and the Captains claim to know where all the towers are in the area, but do admit that every once in a while a new tower pops up over night.

I would like to hear from pilots out there that might have some experience in this type of operation. Can it be done safely, and how much risk is involved. It sounds fun, challenging, good experience for sharpening flying skills, and a good opportunity to build hours in a decent plane. However, I have a family and I am not sure if I might be better off building hours other ways that are less risky (instructing, etc.).
 

TurboS7

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They are when you only have two T hangars and 10 other airplanes out on the ramp that need to be A) pre-heated or B) deiced and you have all kinds of scheduled opps to get out. Try changing a cylinder out in the cold.....they are bad enough.
 
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