Son follows dad into blue yonder
WHILE many sons follow in their father's footsteps, one Murwillumbah man decided to follow his father into the air.
Tapp's Aviation agricultural pilot Marcus Tapp flies at low altitudes and drops fertilisers and insecticides on crops such as sugar cane, bananas, soy, tea tress and avocados.
The 29-year-old pilot said he was 16 when he first started flying lessons.
"I actually wanted to do agricultural flying but dad tried to talk me out of it because it's hard work and the pay's nowhere where the airlines are," Mr Tapp said.
"For me commercial flying is really boring.
"I see agricultural as a sustainable industry and at the end of the day you've got to eat."
He said flying low at speeds of 200km per hour and navigating around obstacles on farms was not anything special.
"It's like when you drive a car," Mr Tapp said.
"People think you are flying close to things because they are used to see a plane at 10,000 feet. At the end of the day it's a job."
He said it wasn't uncommon for young pilots to spend $30,000 to get licences.
"I've spent a lot more than that. I went and did another low level endorsement and a mustering endorsement."
Recently Mr Tapp, who operates from the Murwillumbah Airport, has been spraying more fertilisers than insecticides.
He said farmers now try to encourage predators to attack the insects rather than rather than rely on harmful chemicals.
This has changed the industry and farmers may only need to call Mr Tapp in once every ten years rather than the several times per season as was previously the case.
The plane Marcus Tapp flies can hold a 700kg load