Bulgaria, one of the emergent member states of the European Union, is a country where one can still find a good number of old surviving sky tractors doing a job that more advanced aircraft can’t do with the same efficacy.
Based at the Grivitza grass strip in the northern Bulgarian district of Pleven. Air Mizia still owns and operates a sizable fleet of Antonov An-2R and PZL Mielec An-2 which perform crop spraying duties in support of one of the country’s main industries, agriculture.
Flying a combined fleet of Antonov An-2R and PZL Mielec An-2 a derivative of the iconic Soviet-built workhorse, during the peak agricultural season Air Mizia is busy crop dusting the Bulgarian vast agricultural planes from dawn till dusk with its fleet of rugged Antonovs in a bid to maximise yield for cropping farmers.
The Antonov biplanes are equipped with crop dusting gear mounted to the bottom of the lower wing, which mechanism is in turn operated by a very simple ram air design which pumps the crop dusting liquid from the cabin holding tank through the numerous wing-mounted sprinklers.
The main advantage of dusting is that a little biplane can spray pesticides faster than humans can spray on foot. Using these biplanes makes work for farmers less time-consuming, tiring and labour-intensive than spraying the vast fields by hand.