Agricultural aircraft (‘ag planes’) are used for the aerial delivery of agents beneficial to primary industries. The sale of agricultural aircraft is tied closely to the cycle of primary industries, especially crop production, and is cyclical in nature. Buyers of agplanes are typically purchasing USA made aircraft, chiefly Air Tractor and Ayres / Thrush Aircraft, but an increasing number of agricultural aircraft for sale are coming from Brazil (Embraer), New Zealand (Pacific Aerospace) and Poland (PZL Mielec). Helicopters are also used as agricultural aircraft, and are ideally suited to small area work and where accuracy is crucial. Agricultural aircraft are often purchased for use in firefighting and are well suited to water and retardant dropping, and are even modified to operate on amphibious floats. A large number of Agricultural aircraft for sale were originally manufactured with piston engines and have been modified to fit turbine engines.
The earliest agricultural aircraft were all piston powered, as turbine engines were still yet to be developed. Small in-line and opposed engines were first adopted for ag planes, but their limitation in terms of power was quickly reached in mainstream applications. The more powerful radial engines soon became popular with buyers post World War Two and remained so until recently. Piston engines are still in use for small ag planes, as their cheaper cost is well suited to the needs of those looking to purchase entry level aircraft.
As the demands of agricultural flying increased, and it became commercially vital to increase both the amount of chemical carried and the time spent on the job, piston engines became increasingly unsuited for the task. The only obvious alternative was the use of a turbine engines that had significantly more power than a piston and a much better power to weight ratio. Originally popular piston aircraft – like the Grumman Ag Cat and the PZL Dromader – were modified by owners by having the original piston engine removed and an aftermarket turbine engine installed. Eventually the manufacturers responded and began producing turbine versions of their aircraft to satisfy the demand from buyers for aircraft with more horsepower. An early example of a factory built turbine aircraft was the Air Tractor AT-302, first delivered in 1977.
As the dropping of chemical and water are very similar, an agricultural aircraft can be easily modified for firefighting applications in less than a day. Some agricultural aircraft manufacturers are now selling dedicated firefighting versions of their aircraft as the demand for this type of flying grows. Firefighting authorities will sign up operators during the summer months to be on stand-by in the event of a fire and once needed, the aircraft are filled up with water and often a foam or retardant additive is included to enhance the effectiveness of the water. A recent innovation in this area is the Fire Boss aircraft, developed from a joint venture between Air Tractor and Wipaire. The Fire Boss is a AT-802 Air Tractor married up to a set of special Wipaire Wipline 10000 floats, turning the aircraft into an amphibious floatplane with the capability to not only land on water, but to its also able to scoop up and then drop it onto a fire. This capability allows the aircraft to stay out on a fire without needing to return each time to an airport to refill the water tank and has been purchased by several government authorities.
Helicopters are a very useful platform for agricultural work, as their maneuverability means they are often purchased to undertake application work that requires highly detailed and accurate flying. Spot spraying for weeds over large areas of land is often done this way, and this involves the pilot flying along and identifying a problem area, hovering over it while the chemical is sprayed, and then moving on to locate the next area. This type of spraying is simply not possible with a fixed wing aircraft. Another unique application for helicopters in agriculture is frost prevention, and this is where small piston helicopters are hovered over fruit crops on nights where damaging frost is likely, and in doing so air is kept moving preventing the frost from occurring.
The two main tasks for ag planes is the spraying of chemicals and the spreading of fertilizers. As insects and weeds reduce crop outputs significantly, Agricultural Aircraft for sale are purchased to spray specialized chemicals designed to kill or inhibit the growth of pests. Spray booms are fitted that span nearly with full width of the ag plane’s wings and these are used to disperse the chemical that is carried in the aircraft. Spreading or ‘topdressing’ as it is sometimes referred to, is the process of distributing fertilizers by air in order to encourage the growth of crops or pastures. Often using the compound ‘super phosphate’ these ag planes are highly effective in areas where conventional vehicles aren’t able to access, such as hilly or mountainous terrain.
The first documented use of aircraft in agricultural operations is in the 1920s, where insecticides were spread using the Curtis Jenny, the de Havilland Tiger Moth and the Boeing Stearman. These fabric aircraft often had issues where the chemicals damaged the fabric fuselage covering towards the rear of the aircraft, so often the fabric was removed completely and these distinctive aircraft flew with the rear fuselage structure exposed.
The US firm Air Tractor has been producing ag planes since 1978 and features a wide product range for buyers. As the aircraft increase in size, the hopper and load carrying capacity is increased, as does the size of the engine. Several models are available with two seats for either training purposes or the carriage of ground crew. The unusual AT802 Fireboss is an amphibious version of the AT802F firefighting aircraft and has bought by fire agencies all over the world.
The factory producing the S-2 aircraft was originally established by Rockwell, then taken over by Ayers, and now its produced by the Thrush company. Versions of this aircraft have been in production since 1965 and more than 2000 have been delivered to buyers. The current S-2R uses both Pratt & Whitney PT6 engines as well as the new General Electric H80, and previous models have used the Garrett TPE-331 engine as well.
Airbus aircraft for sale
Airbus was created in 1967 and has been delivering commercial airliners since 1974 with the A300 as their first design. Airbus was initially set up as a joint venture between interests from West Germany, France and the UK, with a Spanish manufacturer buying in a few years later. After the A300 was launched, Airbus commenced selling the A310 in 1978 and shortly afterwards the A320 was announced in 1984, and it remains by far the best selling model produced by Airbus. Current aircraft being sold by Airbus include the A330, A340 and A350.
Airbus has been at forefront of aircraft technology and was the first to introduce into commercial aviation fly-by-wire flight controls, side stick controllers and protected envelope automation. The adoption of these types of new technologies has been seen as a major point of difference between Airbus and its main rival Boeing, with the latter choosing mechanical flight control linkages, conventional controls and a flight envelope that can be manually overridden. More recently Boeing has seen the merits of fly-by-wire technology and it was adopted into the deign of the Boeing 777 and since then the 787. The largest aircraft that is for sale in the airliner market is the Airbus A380, a four engine double deck aircraft capable of seating more than 800 passengers. Unfortunately for Airbus sales of the A380 have slowed down, as point to point services by airlines have become more popular than the traditional hub and spoke model that the A380 was designed for.
Airbus has VIP versions for most of their current designs, with the A320 VIP aircraft known as the Airbus Corporate Jet or ACJ. It is understood that recently Airbus came very close to a sale of a VIP version of the A380, but that sale in the end didn’t not go through.
Airships and balloons are two types of ‘lighter than air’ aircraft (technically described as ‘aerostats’) that use the buoyancy of gas to provide lift. Airships for sale usually have an aerodynamic shape and have a form of propulsion, which allows for the pilot to steer the aircraft and control the direction of flight. When purchasing an airship, buyers have three choices to choose from in terms of airship type: non-rigid, semi-rigid and rigid, with the differences in type relating to how much structure is in the airship’s construction (from none to a complete airframe). Balloon for sale normally have a passenger basket attached to a circular sectioned envelope and are only able to control whether the balloon for sale climbs or descends by the use of a burner located between the basket and the envelope, with the direction of flight controlled by the wind. The main countries selling new airships and balloons are the USA (Aerostar, Goodyear, American Airship), the UK (Cameron), Australia (Kavanagh) and Germany (Schroeder), the latter the home of the Zeppelin company, which has famously been building airships since early last century.
Non rigid airships contain no structure in the airship itself, with the attached cabin the only structure present. They are the cheapest airship design available, but also the lowest performing design, with limits in payload, speed and low limiting wind conditions. The Goodyear Blimp, until the recent adoption of a design by Zeppelin Airships, for many years were non rigid airship designs and popular due to their low cost and ease of transport once deflated. The only major downside to the non rigid design is the limited size that is possible, as the larger non rigid designs are prone to collapsing and kinking in high winds or when maneuvered aggressively. Unmanned versions of non rigid airships are often used as tethered platforms for sensors and cameras, and the US military has successfully used them in conflict zones to observe enemy activity in built up areas.
A semi rigid airship has some structure in the airship envelope itself, chiefly around the bottom or the ‘keel’ area, and the cabin is attached to this keel. The semi rigid design offers buyers the best balance of capital cost and payload capability. They are more robust in high winds than a non rigid design and the semi rigid airframe allows the fitment and use of the rear vectoring propulsion units, as used by the current Zeppelin designs.
The rigid airship is a type of airship that uses a complete frame to support the airship envelope and the strength of this design allows rigid airships to reach massive sizes. The most famous examples of the rigid airship were the Hindenburg and Graf Zeppelin airships of the inter war years, and these were some of the biggest flying machines ever made, reaching 245 meters / 802 feet. A rigid design has not been popular for many years and only one rigid design has been built since 1937 – the WAC Dragon Dream – and its future is presently uncertain.
The numbers of balloons for sale have remained relatively unchanged for many years and are a popular with tourists in many parts of the world. A commercial balloon can carry up to 25 people and with sufficient fuel for the burners they can stay aloft for many hours, making it a sound purchase by tourism operators.
Tourism has been a very popular driver of lighter than air flying, chiefly with hot air balloons. The quiet and smooth ride, along with the unprecedented views, makes this very popular with tourists wishing to see areas of natural beauty from the air.
Airships have a long history with aerial advertising, with the most famous of these the Goodyear blimps. Goodyear purchased their first airship in 1925 and since then the company has continuously used these airships as a static billboard, an electronic LED billboard and a camera platform for sports coverage.
The most interesting recent innovation in the lighter than air segment has been the modernised airships produced by the Zeppelin Airship company of Germany, a firm first established over 100 years ago by Count Ferdinand Von Zeppelin. These modern airships are a semi rigid design and are notable for the swivelling engines that are fitted that are used to enhance low speed manoeuvring, something that airships are traditionally very poor at. These new Zeppelin airships have been sold to Goodyear for their famous fleet of ‘Goodyear Blimps’, even though technically these aircraft are no longer blimps by design.
The era of very large airships is set to return, with several manufacturers examining the usefulness of airships for sale used for heavy cargo hauling, especially into remote areas. The British designed HAV Airlander is currently being test flown and has a capacity of moving 10 tonnes of cargo
Gyrocopter for sale
Often confused for small helicopters, autogyros are rotary wing aircraft powered by a horizontal propeller, instead of power being delivered to the main rotor itself. Lift is produced by the autorotating rotor system that is free to spin, and the direction of flight is controlled by the tilt of the rotor system, the rudder and the throttle. Some types of autogyros are capable of almost vertical take-offs, through the use of a pre-rotator system that spins the rotor before take-off roll, with minimal forward movement needed before becoming airborne. At light weights and with modest winds being present, autogyros are capable of near vertical landings to a stationary touch down. Normally open to the elements with one or two seats, some larger models are fully enclosed and can carry four people. Popular autogyro manufacturers include Aerotrek, Airgyro, ArrowCopter and Sport Copter and autogyro sales have been building over recent years.
Autogyros were one of the earliest aircraft to take flight, with the first example flying in 1923. Early designs, many by Juan de la Cierva, had a tractor configuration with the propeller mounted on the front. More recently designers have been selling the more simple pusher configuration, which also reduces the overall length and weight of the autogyro. Today there are many gyrocopter for sale to suit those looking for inexpensive flying.
Aviat aircraft for sale
Aviat Aircraft traces its history back to when Curtis Pitts started producing certified Pitts Special aircraft from a factory in Afton, Wyoming. Pitts sold the factory to Frank Christensen, and then it was sold to Malcolm White and the name Aviat aircraft was first used. In 1996 Stu Horn bought Aviat and since then the company has focussed on the the aerobatic Pitts Special aircraft, the Christen Eagle II (a kit aircraft very similar to the Pitts Special) and the Husky, a high performance bush aircraft.
The Pitts Special is the most widely recognised aerobatic aircraft in the world, and most aerobatic pilots will fly the compact biplane at some stage during their career. It comes in one and two seats models (the S-1 and S-2 respectively) and various engine and propeller combinations have been fitted over the years. The current top of the range model is the S-2C and it is fitted with a 260 hp Lycoming AEIO-540 engine and a three blade Hartzell composite propeller. The Christen Eagle is a kit aircraft that closely resembles the Pitts, but is distinct in a number of ways.
Aviat also sells the