Piper’s Bug-Zapping, Weed-Whacking PawneesWritten by Daryl Murphy
The Piper Pawnee is a working airplane, an employee that is paid by the hour and usually does hot, dirty jobs, often seven days a week.
It’s not likely that many Piper Flyer readers have ever flown a Pawnee, but you can be sure that the experience the company gained with this tough little bird found its way into every succeeding airplane from Lock Haven and Vero Beach.
The first crop duster was actually a U.S. Army pilot, Lt. John Macready. In 1921, he thought it might be a good idea to use an airplane to spread insecticide dust on a field outside of Troy, Ohio that was infested with caterpillars. He was right.
In fact, it was such a good idea that the aerial application business soon caught on as a quick and timely method of applying chemicals, particularly on expansive Southern cotton fields fighting infestations of Anthonomus grandis—boll weevil.