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Air Tractor Designer Leland Snow Dies

Leland Snow
Leland Snow with his first S-2A Harlingen, Texas June 1956

Leland Snow
Leland Snow and the Snow S-1 in Texas, 1953. Snow was 23 years old at the time.

February 24, 2011 — Leland Snow, designer of the Air Tractor line of agricultural spraying planes, passed away February 20 at the age of 80 while jogging near his home in Wichita Falls, Texas. Snow began designing his first ag airplane, the S-1, in 1951. By 1953, 23-year-old Snow had a working prototype and eventually the S-1 was flying dusting and spraying jobs in the Texas Rio Grande Valley and in Nicaragua until 1957. He followed-up the S-1 with the models S-2A and S-2B, which were built when Snow moved to production facilities in Olney, Texas, in 1958.

In 1965, Leland Snow sold his company to Rockwell-Standard and was appointed a Vice President of the Aero Commander division. During this time, the Model S-2R was developed and named the Thrush. More than 500 aircraft were produced under Snow Aeronautical Corporation and Rockwell-Standard in Olney.

Snow resigned from Rockwell and devoted the next two years designing the Air Tractor. Construction began in 1972 on the AT-300, which later became the AT-301. Air Tractor’s first turbine model, the AT-302, was introduced in 1977. By 1997, 2,000 aircraft had been built in Olney.

Today, Air Tractor produces a line of aircraft that includes 400-, 500-, 600-, and 800-gallon capacity planes powered by Pratt & Whitney piston or turbine engines. You can find Air Tractor aircraft working not only across the United States, but around the globe, in Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Croatia, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea.

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