A Site History Project for The Texas A&M University System's RELLIS Campus

Final Flights

Lee Denham has worked full-time with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s local Aerial Application Technology Research Unit since 2006.

During that time–until 2017–Denham was the only person authorized to fly in and out of the RELLIS Campus site.

AAT is the aviation arm of the USDA's Agriculture Research Service supporting the science behind "crop-dusting." The unit began operations at the old Bryan Air Force Base in 1964, when the Department of Defense contracted with the ARS to determine the best defoliate to use in the jungles of Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.

For decades, the USDA leased space and runway use at today's RELLIS Campus, but flights from there ended in the summer of 2017 as redevelopment work for the new RELLIS Camp began to escalate.

AAT's new aviation home is the City of Bryan's Coulter Field.

As for Denham's aerial work–regardless the point of origin–his flight directives are usually determined by USDA scientists.

 

Lee Denham obtained his Private License to fly in 1973 while a junior at Texas A&M. After graduation, he enrolled part time at Southwest Texas Junior College in Uvalde, enhancing his flying skills. After obtaining Instrument, Commercial, and Flight Instructor certificates, he became an instructor himself and also ferried aircraft around the globe. He then worked as a remote-sensing pilot before taking a job as a contract pilot for the USDA in 2005. He became a full time government employee in 2006 and serves as pilot for the USDA's Aerial Application Technology Research Unit.