When Air Tractor founder Leland Snow reads gloom-and-doom stories about the economy, his typical response is, "What recession?" Air Tractor sold 101 of its single-engine utility airplanes last year, at list prices ranging from $325,000 to $1.5 million. Snow started building his first aircraft while still a junior in college and financed his earliest models through crop-dusting gigs in Nicaragua. Since then he has sold some 3,000 airplanes, and Air Tractor dominates the market for agricultural and firefighting aircraft.

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