Where others saw random data and events, Ryan used his analytic skills to delve deeper and recognize distinct patterns of cause and effect. He then took that knowledge to help inform the various safety and educational programs offered by the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA).

At the NAAA’s Ag Aviation Expo held December 4 -7 in Savannah, Georgia, Ryan was awarded the William O. Marsh Safety Award by his industry peers. The award recognizes significant achievements in safety, safety education or an outstanding operational safety program.

As an allied member of NAAA for several years, Ryan spearheaded the work of a NAAA Safety and Federal Air Regulations sub-committee that focused on the cause of aerial application accidents.

In accepting the award at NAAA’s Excellence in Ag Aviation Banquet, Ryan thanked P&WC for empowering him to make a difference and get involved. He added: “I guess it’s that notion of family, wanting to see my friends finish their season safely and return to their families, combined with the knowledge and processes gained in my years at Pratt that led me to drive this initiative.”

NAAA President Dominique Youakim presented Ryan with a second honor, NAAA’s Falcon pin, for his overall contribution and outstanding efforts to support the Ag community.

AT 502XP Pilots Win NAAA Community Award

The AT 502XP is the latest ag aviation aircraft from Air Tractor and it’s powered by the PT6A-140AG engine. Two of these aircraft are owned by O’Brien Flying Service in Iowa, Louisiana, and were profiled in a recent pt6nation.com article.

Two of O’Brien’s pilots -- Charles Bourne and Gregg Watts – were awarded the Larsen-Miller Community Service Award at this year’s Ag Aviation Expo. As noted in the previous article, company owner Dwayne O’Brien and the pilots came upon a blazing fire in their town. It was in a multi-level building and the local fire brigade did not have the equipment to reach the upper floors of the complex. Especially concerning was the fact that a neighbouring lumber yard and paint storage facility were in close proximity and were at risk of being engulfed by the fire if the main blaze was not contained.

Dwayne got verbal approval from the town’s mayor to fly his two AT 502XPs at a low altitude over the site. His two pilots then quickly filled the aircraft hoppers with water and each made two passes over the building, deftly empting 250-gallons onto the blaze with each fly by.

According to Dwayne: “Charles and Gregg never gave the job a second thought and through their quick response, the fire was contained and the surrounding structures were not affected.”

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