One of our regular regulars, Brittany Kerr, responded immediately to our call for readers who make their living in general aviation:
“As soon as I got to the airport this morning, I started my day off by reading today’s The Pulse of Aviation from General Aviation News (which has become my daily routine). When I read this, I knew immediately I had to respond!
Since 2010, I have made my living through general aviation in the middle of rural South Dakota.
This may seem odd to outsiders, but around here, it’s quite normal. I work for an agricultural aviation business (aka crop duster). In just our area alone, there are 15 turbine agricultural aircraft based at airports within a 15-mile area.
When I graduated college, I returned home to work at our family business. On a whim, I took a temporary job at a local ag aviation business, filling in for an employee on maternity leave. That was in July 2010, and today, I’m still in the industry. I’ve always loved airplanes and as a child had dreams of getting a pilot’s license, but I didn’t think that was possible being a girl from a town of 800 people in the middle of the prairie.
I never thought I’d wake up everyday and be excited to go to work — all in my hometown at the local airport! I’m also proud to say, that thanks to support and encouragement from my mentor and friends in the industry, I earned my private pilot certificate on March 27, 2013.
I enjoy the general aviation industry because no two days are the same. I’m a very competitive person who enjoys being challenged, and GA provides that for me. I’m constantly learning, always challenging myself to think and have learned how to balance a variety of tasks.
I can say without a doubt that these skills have made me a better person and have translated to success in other areas of my life. The confidence and passion that GA has sparked inside me pushed me to earn a master’s degree in Applied Science, with my entire graduate project focusing on safety in agricultural aviation.
A typical day on the job for me can consist of everything from making maps to fueling planes, troubleshooting GPS issues, dealing with out of state licensing authorities for our planes, developing safety measures, and even getting to do a little bit of flying myself to check crops ahead of applications.
As my coworkers and I around the airport like to remind each other, to us — this isn’t just a job, it’s a completely different way of life!