By Ethan Colbert
Jake McDonald was 16 years old when he started flying commercially for the first time.
As a teenage pilot in his native Australia’s Outback, he flew incendiary bombing runs where he, alongside other pilots, would work to create controlled burns for farmers and ranchers.
“I think I was about 13 years old when I realized that most people didn’t own their own airplanes,” McDonald said during an interview earlier this month. “I grew up around crop dusters and angus cattle. Those are the two things that I really know.”
Now, through a series of self-described “misadventures and random opportunities,” McDonald and his wife, Tiana, are the owners and operators of Air Crop Cover Solutions, a crop dusting business based out of the Bowling Green Municipal Airport.
Jake McDonald first came to the United States as a 19-year-old searching for better economic opportunities.
Using his skills as a crop duster, he planned to work in California’s rice industry.
However, those plans were altered by the arrival of California’s drought, which would continue for several years.
It was in California that Jake would meet his future wife, Tiana.
Fast forward to brief stints as a pilot in rural southwest Texas, Tennessee, and several years of flying as a contractor for the federal government and the McDonalds decided it was time for them to make a change.
“I was working as a Department of Defense contractor, flying as an air tanker captain,” McDonald said. “We were beginning to think more along the lines that it was time to settle down, because flying as a contractor, you are practically living out of hotel rooms. So, we decided that we needed to put down roots.”
As the couple pondered their future, they began to search for possible aviation businesses for sale within the United States.
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