It's not a great time to fly planes. Commercially, the starting pay is only $22,000, with struggling airlines canceling routes and laying off staff. Even in the military, missions are increasingly flown by drones. All this, The Wall Street Journal reports, only makes crop dusting more attractive. Crop dusting, also referred to as "aerial application," offers salaries from $60,000 to $100,000 at the upper end, and those who own spraying businesses can make even more. It's not just the money either; spreading fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, weed killers, and occasionally seed requires thrilling stuntlike maneuvers a commercial pilot would never attempt. Driven by the farming boom, demand for pilots is up; hours flown by crop-dusters rose 29% from 2003 to 2007. The only barrier to entry is the long apprenticeship required, which often begins with non-flying activities such as driving trucks, mixing pesticides, and maintaining the planes.