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Piper Cub J3

In 1951, my high school buddy, Marshall Hall, and I worked for Lee Ruebush Crop Dusting, an Illinois company.  For several months of the year, Lee came down to Clinton and Aurora, NC.  Marshall and I helped out in the early mornings with the dusting before school and later we helped with the spraying after school and in the early summer. 

About 15 to 20 years later, I saw a picture of Lee in an FAA publication. He worked at an Illinois GADO. I wrote him and we exchanged letters, both surprised that we had both ended up working for the FAA.

The  pictures below are not of outstanding quality because I was using my "Brownie" camera and I did my own developing and printing. Also the pictures were not stored in ideal conditions a lot of the time over the years. I never could afford an enlarger while I was in high school. (Guess I have one now called a computer!) 


Marshall standing by the J3 handing up the bags of dust while one of Lee's pilots load them into the hopper. Loading dust in the plane
Lee flying the duster as it passed nearby the Aurora "airport."   I was standing a the end of the runway. J3 Dusting a field
Although the plane was a distance away, my "brownie" did a pretty good job catching Lee pulling up over the power lines near the Aurora city limits. I sent this picture off to be enlarged and gave Marshall and Lee copies. J3 climbing over power lines
Lee making an approach for landing at Aurora "International" airport. Approaching the airport
A closer look at Lee making the final approach for touchdown. Wish I had a zoom lens on that camera! Almost there!
Lee touching down at the "airport". The "airport" was in a bean field inside the city limits of Aurora. The main runway (and only one) was 1300 feet long and 15 feet wide!  When the grass got too high and made it hard to take off with a full load, I took my motorized push lawnmower to the runway a couple of times and the planes really rolled good then! The trees on the left is a pecan grove. Touchdown!
One of Lee's pilots, Boogie, flying just inches above the wheat field. Marshall and I had to flag so the pilot would know where the last spray was put down.   Therefore, the planes went over us anywhere from about 10 feet or so and higher if there were power lines or trees behind us. J3 spraying wheat field
There was no obstruction behind me in this shot, only a cleared field.   Boogie knew it and he said he was going to make me hit the ground. When I got there, I saw the cleared field behind me. Seconds after the picture was made, I saw the wheels dip and touch the top of the wheat. I was laying flat on my stomach as Boogie passed over me at an altitude of 4 or 5 feet! He won the bet. Getting close!
Boogie returning with the spray plane to Aurora "International." Returning to base.

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