Leonard D. Felix Jr.
Leonard D. Felix, Jr. grew up two miles from where Olathe Spray Service, Inc. is headquartered today. It was on his dad’s farm he found his love of agriculture and aviation. He became a commercial applicator at 14 years of age, driving tractor-pulled sprayers for the local co-op. He watched aerial applicators completing the same tasks as he did in a much shorter time and enjoying the ability to fly besides. The flying bug bit him and he knew he had to fly.
Leonard joined the US Army hoping to get a flying education but instead was assigned to the U.S. Army Security Agency, part of NSA. Stationed in Germany for three years, still determined to fly, he earned his German Private Pilot’s license and Silver glider rating. After being honorably discharged from the Army, he entered the Ag Aviation Academy located in Nevada. Completing his Commercial SEL and Rotorcraft-helicopter ratings early in 1969, he went back to Colorado to find work. His first work was with a helicopter application business since he already had his commercial applicator’s license. The business failed and he went to Kansas and flew fixed-wing ag with Winters Aerial Spaying for one summer. The following year he went back to Olathe and is still there at present.
In 1971, Leonard became a member of Colorado AAA and is still a director, having served in all the executive chairs and remains the chair of the legislative committee. He also became a member of NAAA in 1972 and served as Colorado’s director from 1980 to 1982 and again from 1994 to 1996. He was Vice President of the NAAA in 1993. He received the Outstanding Service Award from the NAAA in 2005.
Olathe Spray Service, Inc. is operated by Leonard and two of his three sons, L. Deven and D. Seth Felix. They operate two turbine Air Tractors, an AT-402B and AT-302A, a Piper Pawnee 260 Hutch/wing and two Bell 47 Soloy Turbines.
Leonard has logged over 29,000 hours total time including 1,800 hours in helicopters, mostly spraying, and 15,000 hours of turbine ag time. He has both an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic ratings and holds an Inspection Authorization.
Because of the area the business is in, the work is very diversified. Aerial applications are made to irrigated row crops, field crops, rights-of-way, forestry, mosquitoes, aquatic sites and dry fertilizer application on mountain ranges. Olathe Spraying Service’s other operations include helicopter FAA Part 135, fire suppression, both fixed-wing and helicopter, wildlife telemetry, game surveys, predator control, live stock herding and last but not least, search and rescue.
Leonard participated in the first Operation S.A.F.E. Fly-in Clinic and continues to sponsor and attend PAASS and S.A.F.E. Programs.
Leonard looks forward to bringing safety information and application techniques, unavailable anywhere else, to the industry and membership!