Adapted from the TAAA bulletin of April 1, 2022
TAAA held its Spring Board Meeting in Wichita Falls and Olney in early March 2022. The meeting was well attended and was one of the best meetings TAAA has had in quite a while.
Paul Bruton, 2022 TAAA President (above)
TAAA typically spends about an hour at each meeting on conference planning, finances, and other administrative matters. The TAAA is in excellent financial shape, even after losing the conference revenue we would normally earn in 2021. The 2022 convention ended on a high note with strong attendance and very positive feedback despite several cancellations related to Covid.
Future conventions are currently planned for Lubbock, Corpus Christi and College Station, so stay tuned for more details on these events. TAAA’s “slot” for the convention is the second Wednesday in January, so the 2023 event will take place January 11-13. Details to follow.
The real purpose of the board meeting, however, was to get briefings and visits to the Transland plant in Wichita Falls and the Air Tractor plant in Olney. The council spent several hours in Transland in the afternoon, dined at the best steak house in Wichita Falls, and then met again for several hours the next morning at Air Tractor in Olney.
We simply cannot express our gratitude enough to State Rep. James Frank, whose day job is at Transland, and Jim Hirsch, the President of Air Tractor, for taking so much time with our group. They led tours, answered questions, got lots of feedback, and everyone learned a lot from the experience.
Representative James Frank, owner of Transland (above)
Jim Hirsch, President of Air Tractor (above)
There is no doubt that world events have an impact on the day-to-day operations of both companies, particularly in the area of logistics and raw material supply. Although most of Air Tractor’s raw materials are domestically sourced, many parts and parts are not always readily available due to supply chain constraints.
Mr. Hirsch reported that Air Tractor plans to build 194 agricultural aircraft in 2022 and that all production slots through 1st quarter of 2023 have deposits on them. About two-thirds of these aircraft are exported. We also learned that Aircraft Project 1002 is currently building a brand new prototype after a complete overhaul and we have seen some very cool military related special purpose aircraft that are being built.
TAAA also learned from Rep. Frank that field testing of the new Falcon GPS system will begin within the next 30 days and is fully stocked and ready to run for the G4 and Bantam GPS systems. We took a very close look at the laser cutting equipment and also spent time talking about the ongoing development of R&D at Transland on variable flow and flow control technologies for liquid and dry materials as well as for high and low volume applications. All of the production lines for equipment that Transland manufactures for the agricultural aircraft industry were running when we were there.
Both visits included many questions and lots of positive feedback in both directions.