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Cranberry Lifting


Ross85
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Hi,

 

I just got to do my first cranberry lifts this season. I have been doing most of the mud lifting on the bogs this year, and I'm loving it. I was wondering if there were any other pilots that do work on cranberry bogs or something close to it. If you work on cranberry bogs what part of the country are you from? For people that work on other agricultural stuff, what kind or work do you do? (lifting, spraying, fertilizing)?

 

-Ross

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I live in Plymouth, MA and there are A LOT of cranberry bogs around the area. The cranberry bogs are our main business. We fertilize and fungicide the berries in the spring/summer. We use all dry products. In the spring and fall the bogs owners will clean out the ditches that carry water around the bogs and put the mud/weeds on big mats. We use a short line with a double hook to pull these off. We usually dump the mud and stuff in one pile and then put the mats into another pile to be put back out on the bog. During the harvest season (fall) we lift the dry picked berries. Most bogs are wet picked, which is when you see the berries floating on the water. We only deal with the dry picked berries. There will be about a dozen men out on the bog with picking machines picking the berries and putting them into bins. We will put straps on the bins and then pull them off with a short single hook. We put the berries somewhere that the fork lifts will be able to put them onto trailers. It is fun work and you are always getting to do something different depending on the season. We use 2 bell 47's for all of this work.

 

What do you do for drying cherries? Do you actually just dry the cherries with the rotor wash?

Edited by Ross85
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As far as doing the berry lifts the other day, it was awesome. I have been doing mud lifting, so it wasn't too different. You have to hover over the ground crew that is hooking. Because the hook is behind you, you have to look at them in a mirror that is attached to the skid. It is a small area to see what you are doing, but you get used to it. They put the four straps on the hook and then you just lift straight up and start heading into the wind. It seems like you have to be more gentle than with mud lifting. Try not to swing the load and when you are putting it down it has to be stopped completely. When there are other bins in the LZ you have to try to fit them in close together to save on space. There is also a ground crew in the LZ that is straightening the bins.

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Hi Ross, your posts are pretty interesting. I haven't got into any of that sort of work yet, but I'm always interested. Just wondering how you got your start with that sort of work, what experience(Total hours, long lining, etc..) did you have prior to getting picked up. Did you start as ground crew or did they hire you as a pilot straight off the bat?

 

You talk about a short single hook, roughly what length are you talking about there?

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That makes two of us who dried cherries in WA and I also would love to hear more about it.

 

Hi guys,

How was your experience cherry drying? What time of year and what A/C? I fly ag starting late may thru sept and was looking for something to do in the off season. Are you planning on doing it again next year?

 

Thanks

Brent

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I live in Plymouth, MA and there are A LOT of cranberry bogs around the area. The cranberry bogs are our main business. We fertilize and fungicide the berries in the spring/summer. We use all dry products. In the spring and fall the bogs owners will clean out the ditches that carry water around the bogs and put the mud/weeds on big mats. We use a short line with a double hook to pull these off. We usually dump the mud and stuff in one pile and then put the mats into another pile to be put back out on the bog. During the harvest season (fall) we lift the dry picked berries. Most bogs are wet picked, which is when you see the berries floating on the water. We only deal with the dry picked berries. There will be about a dozen men out on the bog with picking machines picking the berries and putting them into bins. We will put straps on the bins and then pull them off with a short single hook. We put the berries somewhere that the fork lifts will be able to put them onto trailers. It is fun work and you are always getting to do something different depending on the season. We use 2 bell 47's for all of this work.

 

What do you do for drying cherries? Do you actually just dry the cherries with the rotor wash?

 

Hey Ross85, Sounds pretty unique what you are doing. Never heard of doing that before.

 

When you say you use all dry products are you saying you actually apply them dry or they are dry before water is added then you spray them on? I can understand the fertilizer possibly being dry.

 

I spent about 10 weeks in MN this summer spraying sweetcorn and peas in a hiller, great fun. Last year i sprayed in a b-47 tomcat and i really miss the hydraulics. :-)

Brent

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For cherry drying, we're looking to shake the trees so water doesn't pool in the recess around the stem of the cherries. The season is normally about mid June through last week in July or first week in August. Lots of old iron up there, it's impressive. I was flying in Brewster this year and we had 4 S58's, 4 S55's, 2 hillers (1 turbine), a 206BII, UH1-B, and a few standby guys including some R-44's, an old 269 and an Enstrom.

 

The flying is pretty basic. As soon as you're not directly under the a thunderstorm, and it has stopped raining in the orchard, the ground crew will let you know where to start. You fly in and line up with the rows and hover back and forth. Speed and altitude depend on a few things. The S58's were able to hover around 50' and get about 10 rows at a time. The 206 was around 20' and 4 rows. Denser orchards require a slower pace, and Rainer cherries require a slight higher altitude.

 

Oh, and don't even mention you're wishing for rain. Between the hay farmers and cherry farmers, you'll get run out of town for wishing for rain. ;)

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Hi Ross, your posts are pretty interesting. I haven't got into any of that sort of work yet, but I'm always interested. Just wondering how you got your start with that sort of work, what experience(Total hours, long lining, etc..) did you have prior to getting picked up. Did you start as ground crew or did they hire you as a pilot straight off the bat?

 

You talk about a short single hook, roughly what length are you talking about there?

 

Hi,

 

Well I started working for this company as a ground crew. When I was in high school I knew I wanted to fly helis so I just went to the airport and asked around. One guy told me that this company was looking for people to load fertilizer. So, I took a walk down to the hanger and talked to the boss. He was hesitant at first because he had been screwed over by a few high school kids in the past. Most high schoolers don't want to wake up at 4 am. After telling him I wanted to fly he hired me. I worked on getting my ratings at a flight school, while getting some time flying bog to bog. My boss taught me a lot while I worked. Once I got my ratings I started doing some tours and photo stuff. Then got into some lift work. I just graduated college and started working full time. I would not be in this position if I didn't work my way up in the company and have a boss that took the time to teach me the ropes. As far as my hours, I have about 450 total and probably a little over 320ish in helicopters. It isn't much, but I have been working for the company for 5 years now. I don't have any long line experience and the hook we use is probably about 5-6 feet long. You can't see it looking out the side of the aircraft, it is all done with the mirror. If you have any more questions let me know.

 

Here is the single hook with one berry bin, usually there are two stacked on each other. This was me doing some practicing a while ago.

IMG_3133-2.jpg

 

Here is a pic with the mud mat. The double hook should be on, but it isn't. You would hook two rings on one side and two on the other.

IMG_3137.jpg

Edited by Ross85
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Hey Ross85, Sounds pretty unique what you are doing. Never heard of doing that before.

 

When you say you use all dry products are you saying you actually apply them dry or they are dry before water is added then you spray them on? I can understand the fertilizer possibly being dry.

 

I spent about 10 weeks in MN this summer spraying sweetcorn and peas in a hiller, great fun. Last year i sprayed in a b-47 tomcat and i really miss the hydraulics. :-)

Brent

 

We apply the products dry. They are pelletized. We have bins that attach to the side of the helicopter and spreaders that hang bellow. The fertilizer is just like lawn fertilizer and the fungicides are usually a very fine grain. Usually right after the products are applied the bog owners will turn the sprinklers on and wash it in. We can do wet stuff too, but with the insurance and hassle you have to go through around here, we just don't do it. A lot of the bogs around here are near houses and neighborhoods. There is a company around here that uses a tomcat to do the bog work. They are a weird looking machine. I have only flown one 47 without hydrolics, and I can't imagine working a whole day like that.

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For cherry drying, we're looking to shake the trees so water doesn't pool in the recess around the stem of the cherries. The season is normally about mid June through last week in July or first week in August. Lots of old iron up there, it's impressive. I was flying in Brewster this year and we had 4 S58's, 4 S55's, 2 hillers (1 turbine), a 206BII, UH1-B, and a few standby guys including some R-44's, an old 269 and an Enstrom.

 

The flying is pretty basic. As soon as you're not directly under the a thunderstorm, and it has stopped raining in the orchard, the ground crew will let you know where to start. You fly in and line up with the rows and hover back and forth. Speed and altitude depend on a few things. The S58's were able to hover around 50' and get about 10 rows at a time. The 206 was around 20' and 4 rows. Denser orchards require a slower pace, and Rainer cherries require a slight higher altitude.

 

Oh, and don't even mention you're wishing for rain. Between the hay farmers and cherry farmers, you'll get run out of town for wishing for rain. ;)

 

 

That is crazy haha. That is one big expensive fan! Very cool that you get to fly all those different aircraft. That Huey must put out some wind.

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I only flew the 206 for drying. Got about .1 in the huey and .5 in the S55. The Huey will do about 6 to 8 rows at a time from around 40'.

 

I added a picture of the "pre-season" ramp where you can see most of the birds that were in the area.

preseason_small.JPG

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The two of the S55's do some ag work. The 206 does some part 91 transport for the owners on occasion. Everything else is cherries only. After the season they get folded up and put in the hangers until next year when they get their annuals and get ready to fly. One reason to fly old ships, they are cheap to buy, and with such low flight times, part time limits aren't normally an issue. For example, the Huey only has about 200 hours left on the blades, but if it sees 40 hours a year it's a miracle.

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were you flying for Scott's????

 

Not Scotts, but i've talked to him on the phone. It was for Emerald about 70 mi W of scotts.

 

I see you are from that area, Anyone haul christmas trees up there?

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I only flew the 206 for drying. Got about .1 in the huey and .5 in the S55. The Huey will do about 6 to 8 rows at a time from around 40'.

 

I added a picture of the "pre-season" ramp where you can see most of the birds that were in the area.

post-3692-1223668022_thumb.jpg

 

Cool Pic! looks like quite the fleet. I seem to remember a job posting from last spring looking for people to do cherry drying in s-55/s-58's. Might have been your outfit.

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Cool Pic! looks like quite the fleet. I seem to remember a job posting from last spring looking for people to do cherry drying in s-55/s-58's. Might have been your outfit.

 

I flew for one of the farmers, they own the two Bells. All the other ships are owned by pilot operators and they contract out to other farms. Golden Wings, on the airport, owns the 55's and they had the add up this last season. I was basically the airport bum for almost 3 months and I'll have to say they are a great group of guys.

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