For Crop Dusters, Oil Boom Presents Obstacles, Danger
At 26, Grant Swartz has spent much of the last decade in the air, as an agriculture pilot dusting crops over rural Glasscock County. That’s been long enough to see the oil and gas boom drastically alter the landscape of his community east of Midland.
What was once a simple flight is now an obstacle course peppered with rigs, miles and miles of power lines and crews of oilfield workers on the ground. To do his job, Swartz must at times fly as low as 5 feet above ground — and he can’t release chemicals around people. These obstacles have complicated his job and at times prevented him from even doing it.