Savannah, GA — One of the earliest ag airplanes designed and built by the founder of Air Tractor, Inc. will fly to the 2021 National Agricultural Aviation Association Ag Aviation Expo in Savannah, Georgia, after a lengthy restoration process. The Snow Aeronautical model S-2A, built in 1959, was the 25th airplane produced by the young aeronautical engineer and entrepreneur Leland Snow in Olney, Texas. S-2A-1025 was purchased in November 1959 by Jim Trissell of Clarksville, Texas.
“It’s the 25th airplane. This is a project 11 years in the making,” said Air Tractor President Jim Hirsch. “I acquired the airplane as a way to give back to ag aviation as the industry has been so good to me over so many years.”
Thousands of dollars worth of donations and countless hours of effort went into restoring the S-2A’s fuselage and tail feathers and overhauling the fuselage components, including the landing gear, instrument panel, and other subassembly components.
Air Tractor Chief Test Pilot Mike Rhodes was the first in the cockpit post restoration.
“I had the honor and privilege of making the very first post re-rebuilt flight of serial number 25 the Snow S2-A,” Rhodes said.
“It’s always neat to get into an airplane that you have never flown and guess how it is going to fly. There were no surprises here. A couple of eye-opening things after the flight was how slow it is, very minimal climb performance, and very slow. It really gives you an appreciation of how far the industry has come,” he added.
While flying this vintage aircraft was a departure from the Air Tractor aircraft of today, it was clear to Rhodes that the restored airplane shared Air Tractor DNA.
“It really had the feel of a Leland Snow airplane just like the ones we fly today.”
Hirsch said he wants to show the finished airplane and thank the many people who volunteered their time and donated money to bring the airplane back to its original flying condition. Prior to Leland Snow’s death in 2011, Hirsch recalled discussing the restoration project with Leland Snow. “He thought it was a great idea. He wanted to see it go,” Hirsch said. Today Hirsch adds, “I remember that Leland was enthusiastic about bringing this airplane to the NAAA Convention. He thought that that would have been really, really cool.”
The Snow S-2A airplane will be on display at Air Tractor booth #411 during the Ag Aviation Expo trade show Tuesday and Wednesday.
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