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Brush up for Dust Up: Crop Dusting 101

June 2, 2011 / Dust Up


The long-awaited premiere of Dust Up airs tonight, Thursday June 2 at 9 pm ET/PT, on History Television. This Series, co-produced by Prairie Threat Entertainment, looks directly into the lives and work of crop dusting farmers in Nipawin, Saskatchewan, documenting the risky, high-stakes business that is aerial spraying.


“Dust Up” is a wild ride that gives viewers a cockpit-eye view of three maverick crop dusters in Nipawin, Saskatchewan – 73-year-old Bud Jardine, his rebellious son Brennan Jardine, and ambitious newbie Travis Karle – who chase their dreams at 200 km per hour, five-feet off the ground.

These three are NOT your typical pilots. Each with their own crop dusting operations, they are competitive, ego driven daredevils, choosing coveralls over pressed uniforms and 'flying tractors' over jets. These crop-gun pilots buzz inches above the fields – dodging trees and power lines – to deliver their payloads while entertaining roadside audiences with their death-defying feats.

With high stakes drama on the ground and peril in the air, “Dust Up” features compelling stories about family feuds, resourcefulness and survival in the rural heartland.


Dust Up has been eagerly anticipated by many aviation enthusiasts and by farming communities, and has sparked a lot of online talk about best spray plane models, parts and sounds – stuff that might make the uninitiated feel left out. We thought we’d fill some basic gaps before the show premiere tonight, just so you can enjoy the show’s dilemmas and death-defying nosedives with some background information under your belts.


Crop dusting refers to low-flying planes spraying pesticides, water and/or even flame retardants over agricultural fields or wooded areas. The planes must fly low and as close to the crops as possible to minimize the amount of spray that gets dispersed, and to ensure that the crops become as evenly “dusted” as possible. In the process, the pilots must fly under power lines, “hop” repeatedly over rows of wind breaking trees, and pull up and dive down with startling agility, all with zero margin for error. A farming technique proposed and practiced in the 1920s, crop dusting soared in popularity after World War II, when many planes and pilots built for battle returned to North America. Among these was the predecessor to the Piper Pawnee, the plane flown by all three pilots on Dust Up.


Our Pilots

Unlike wheeled vehicles, crop dusters have the advantage of spraying the crops quickly, evenly and efficiently, without damaging them. The planes are also used in preventing and controlling forest fires, a process called aerial firefighting or water bombing. Crop dusters were recently used in fighting the fires in Alberta.


Needless to say a crop duster’s job can be as risky as it is important. Crop dusting pilots commit to a workplace which requires quick reflexes, courage and confidence at every moment. The pilots’ dedication to their work, their love of flying and their almost endearing openness to danger, alongside the complicated relationships between these fiercely proud and spirited men and women, throw the viewer into an edge-of-your-seat, high-flying drama that refuses to be safe or boring.


Don’t miss Dust Up’s season premiere tonight at 9 pm ET/PT, 7 pm Sask Time on History Television.  For the whole schedule, visit History Television.


Well done Team Paperny - take the risk - let there be a Season 2 of Dust Up - great show! Great drama! Great camera-work! 10 thumbs up! You've got my vote! These crazy cropdusters would make great pylon racing pilots! From a Canadian Citizen & Saskatchewan resident in Saskatoon.

Thanks Peter!  Dust Up was a thrilling Show to film!

I love the show because I am an aviation freak who works in the agricultural sector and grew up on a farm. I would like to know why Brennan and Bud seem to hate each other.

Professional rivalry Wiggy.  There are only so many jobs to be had and Nipawin is a small town.

I would like to be able to watch this series. Sorry to say that my cable service does not allow me access to this channel. Is there some way to watch this online? I am the A&P IA for a small Aerial Application company, AirStryke inc, in Illinois USA.

So far the Show is only available in Canada Bob. We hope to have it available in other countries in the future. Stay tuned to Dust Up's facebook page for future broadcasts.

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