Bolivar Bullet

Delta State Graduates Second Class of Ag Pilots

By Nathan Duff, Delta State University
The Daily Bullet - Vol. 33  No. 6

The second class of students from the Commercial Aviation Department at Delta State University to graduate with an Agricultural Aviation Operations Career Pathway Certification were recognized during a ceremony on May 24 in the DSU airport hangar at the Cleveland Municipal Airport. Completion of the program allows graduates to be hired by an aerial applicator business without incurring increased insurance costs, removing one of the largest hurdles for new ag pilots.

The program is the result of DSU’s collaboration with area ag pilots, the Cleveland Airport Board, Blues Air, and many others. The program is 100% funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., was instrumental in getting the program off the ground and was present at the ceremony to congratulate the graduates.

“It is a great day to be in the Delta,” she said. “I am so excited about this ag pilot program we have here at Delta State University. To see it come together and to be graduating students today is a huge accomplishment.”

Program graduate Anthony Duffin of Glen Alan said, “I’ve wanted to be an ag pilot since I was a kid.” He said that he particularly enjoyed flying the Air Tractor 802 that students train in. “It’s a beast of a plane.” Duffin will be flying an earlier model Air Tractor, the 502, as he begins work for an aerial application company in Louisiana this summer.

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