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Spitfire Air Service enjoys a bird's eye view for 25 years

Rick and Lisa Vinck are proud to serve farmers in the Lampman area.
Rick Vinck flies an Airtractor AT 401 with a turbine engine when he does aerial applications.

LAMPMAN - Spitfire Air Service Inc., which is owned and operated by Rick and Lisa Vinck, is celebrating its 25th anniversary serving Lampman and area farmers.

Rick was raised on a farm near Redvers and Lisa also grew up on a farm girl, but near Swift Current.

They both ended up in Strathmore, Alt., where they met, got married and started a family.

Rick grew up with two brothers that had a passion for flying, so he followed in his brother's footsteps.

Around the age of 14, he started going in the air and continued to get his commercial flying license.

While in Alberta he started Spitfire Air Service Inc. and spent the following three summers spraying wheat midge out of Lampman.

Since he was in Saskatchewan so often Rick and Lisa decided to move back to their home province. They bought a farm east of Benson and continued to build their aerial application business.

He flies an Airtractor model AT 401 plane with a turbine engine and also has a 182 Cessna plane, which can hold four people.

Rick would need an aircraft hangar to house his planes and a runway. The rules for a runway only require a strip long enough for the plane to take off and land safely.

There are many strict regulations that Rick must follow. Every 100 hours in the air his plane needs to have a maintenance check, which is done in Yorkton.

Lisa must keep meticulous books. She does much of the booking and takes photographs while Rick does his part.

Once the fields start to blossom, Rick is in the air.

He usually goes no farther than 50 km from home, but this depends on where the fields for applications are located. Rick can go approximately two hours on one tank of fuel, but this also depends on the weather.

Each time the plane takes off, Rick must write down the environmental conditions. This includes humidity factors, wind conditions, evaporation rates and heat to name a few, as well as what is being applied to the fields, as this too can differ, and which field he is working on. Weather plays a huge factor in the aerial application business.

Once Rick is in his plane his full focus is on the job. He must watch his instruments closely, keep an eye on power lines, and monitor the height of trees, flocks of birds and other small aircraft.

During the winter months, Rick and Lisa are required to take many online courses that are mandatory for their business. These courses must be kept in a binder and labelled.

To operate Spitfire Air Service Inc. Rick has to hold a 702 Air operator certificate regulated by Transport Canada, as he explained. 

Through the past 25 years, there have only been a few hair-raising incidents while flying.

Flying is not for everyone and Lisa is not crazy about it, but she admits she is getting better.

The Vinks have two sons, and one, Chantz, lives in Carstairs, Alt., so a four-hour flight in their 182 Cessna is a much quicker option for the parents to go visit him than an 11-hour drive. Their younger son Landon lives close by. Their sons do enjoy the planes but at this time do not fly.

Rick hopes to continue with his bird's eye view for as long as possible, as this is what he enjoys.

So, in the summer if you look to the sky and see a yellow Airtractor this just might be Spitfire Air Service Inc.

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