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Don Boyd | all galleries >> Memories of Old Hialeah, Old Miami and Old South Florida Photo Galleries - largest non-Facebook collection on the internet >> Memories of Old HIALEAH, Florida - Historical Photo Galleries and Commentaries - click on image to view and read > 1962 - Mediteranean Fruit Fly spray eradication program balloon for aircraft strafing runs in Hialeah
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1962 - Mediteranean Fruit Fly spray eradication program balloon for aircraft strafing runs in Hialeah
JUL-1962 Bill Avery

1962 - Mediteranean Fruit Fly spray eradication program balloon for aircraft strafing runs in Hialeah

Palm Springs section of Hialeah, Florida


Thank you to Bill Avery for contributing this image. The Mediteranean Fruit Fly ("Med Fly") invasion, which could have wiped out Florida's citrus crop, required massive spraying from twin engine aircraft at very low altitudes over all of Hialeah, plus other areas of South Florida. In order to spray evenly these balloons were raised at each end of the next pass to be made by the spray aircraft. After the aircraft passed over the balloon, the handler would then pace off the required number of footsteps, stop and raise the balloon so the aircraft could line up with the two balloons to make the next pass. It was great fun feeling the mist hit your skin and inhaling the aroma of the pesticide or whatever it was.


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Linda (Duckworth) Phillips 21-Mar-2012 16:29
I have often wondered about the health risks, especially to us children, that could have been caused by such frequent exposure to the spray. I still remember the smell and holding my breath when it went over.
Alford17-May-2008 07:31
At tree top level those huge planes scared and thrilled us at the same time. Who knew to NOT go out on the porch and watch it nearly hit the house? I guess I must have absorbed and inhaled all that nasty spray, right along with my brothers. It was a nasty smell and taste and you could see it as it was exhausted out of the plane. Gee, wonder if it ever affected me...now, where was I again?
Matt Brodie 27-Dec-2007 04:01
Wow, this is great. I currently work for the FL Dept. of Agriculture & CS and I did the same thing during the 1985, 1987 and 1990 medfly programs. When I was younger, I worked for my uncle restoring and repairing pipe organs and I remember the 81 and 83 sprayings too which occurred on Dodge Island and Downtown. I remember having to wash my truck to get the malathion and corn bait off. Of course, things are done differently now. The balloon is actually called a "kytoon" and believe me we didn't pace off the next run (200 yds), we ran! What was fun was dragging that kytoon and trying to deploy it in the middle of N.W. 103rd Street on a Saturday afternoon.

Matt Brodie
Guest 03-Oct-2007 23:03
Now that brings back memories or reignites burnt barin cells from spray. The dawn runs of that DC-3 at low level............i rember that like it was yesterday

Steve