Each application team generally consists of one pilot and two ground crew members. The pilot acts as the leader of the team. He is responsible for not only his/her actions but also the actions of the ground crew. His primary responsibilities include:
The pilot performs a pre-flight on the helicopter before flying to ensure that all equipment is clean and functioning to company specs.
This conference is conducted for each tract prior to application. The tract representative, ground crew and pilot agree on and understand weather conditions, tract boundaries, buffer zones, products to be applied and their rates of application, LZ's (with permission granted to use them), adjacent landowners and potential problem areas.
The pilot ensures that product for each tract is separated from inventory by ground crew before application and that empty containers are triple rinsed and properly disposed of.
The pilot also sees that all application reports which include GPS data, weather conditions, Hobbs time, and any problems experienced are submitted for accounting and filing. We have five full-time pilots and one contract pilot with a combined experience of 154 years of spray experience.
The two ground crew members also have important responsibilities. They perform routine maintenance of the helicopter, nurse truck, duallies and trailers. They insure proper herbicide mixing, chemical inventory, and completeness of paperwork. They also secure fuel and water. A very comprehensive manual for fuel and water acquisition is provided for each crew. Locations and contacts or any special instructions are all carefully spelled out.
Additionally, the ground personnel are in charge of constantly monitoring the weather -- wind direction and speed and for alerting the pilot via radio of any changes which require a shutdown of the application process.
At Provine Helicopters, we take great pride in the quality and types of documentation we maintain.