Air Tractor

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Air Tractor, Inc.
FounderLeland Snow
ProductsAgricultural aircraft Edit this on Wikidata

Air Tractor Inc. is a United States aircraft manufacturer based in Olney, Texas. Founded in 1978 the company began manufacturing a new agricultural aircraft derived from the S-2B aircraft (designed by founder Leland Snow's previous company, Snow Aeronautical). Designated Model AT-300 Air Tractor, the new aircraft first flew in 1973. In 2004, the 2,000th Air Tractor aircraft was delivered.[1] From 2011 through 2018, Air Tractor consistently delivered more turboprop-powered fixed wing general aviation aircraft than any other manufacturer; of 601 total worldwide general aviation turboprop deliveries in 2018, 141 (23%) were Air Tractors.[2]


Leland Snow began designing his first airplane, the S-1, in 1951. The 23-year-old Snow completed test flights with the S-1 in 1953. Snow's S-1 flew 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. The first 100 Thrush aircraft were built at the Olney Division before the plant was closed and Thrush production moved to Georgia in 1970. 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.

Sixteen years later, Air Tractor delivered its 1,100th airplane and soon began expanding the Olney plant for increased capacity. Today[when?], 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.


Air Tractor AT-300
(1973) single-seat low-wing monoplane aerial application aircraft with single radial piston engine
Air Tractor AT-301
-300 variant with larger piston engine
Air Tractor AT-302
-300 variant with turboprop engine
Air Tractor AT-400
(1979) development of -300, revised for use of turboprop engine
Air Tractor AT-401
-400 variant with greater wingspan
Air Tractor AT-402
-401 variant with different turboprop engine
Air Tractor AT-501
(1986) development of -400 with larger fuselage and hopper, greater wingspan, and seat for an observer. Uses radial piston engine
Air Tractor AT-502
Single-seat version of -501
Air Tractor AT-502B
Introduced in 1987 [3]
Air Tractor AT-503
Development of -501 with turboprop engine
Air Tractor AT-503A
Dual-control trainer version of AT-503 with shorter AT-401 wings
Air Tractor AT-503T
Trainer variant of -503. Uses smaller wingspan
Air Tractor AT-504
Air Tractor AT-602
(1995) Development of -503 with larger hopper and greater wingspan
Air Tractor AT-802
(1990) Development of -503 with larger hopper and greater wingspan, adapted for aerial firefighting.
Air Tractor AT-802U
Adapted for Surveillance and military operations.
Air Tractor AT-1002; Developed from -802 with larger fuel and retardant tanks



  1. ^ Air Tractor website, accessed 07 Feb 2008
  2. ^ 2018 Annual Report (PDF) (Report). General Aviation Manufacturers Association. pp. 18–19. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  3. ^ quoted on 4 June 2013 from the Air Tractor corporate website at: "502b". Archived from the original on 2013-05-30. Retrieved 2013-11-16..

Further reading[edit]

  • Gunston, Bill (1993). World Encyclopedia of Aircraft Manufacturers. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. p. 20.
  • Simpson, R. W. (1995). Airlife's General Aviation. Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing. p. 31.

External links[edit]