There is an agenda driven sector who know nothing of ag flying, are directly opposed and even hostile to aerial application. Agricultural aviation isn’t only how we make our living. It’s much bigger than that. It’s how we live. Left to their own accord, our opponents would regulate and tax us into oblivion; and smile as they do it.
We are a small, unique group of people. Individually, our voices are weak and easily lost among the clamor of the masses. Those who oppose us have practiced and learned how to make their voices heard. They’ve mastered the technique of shouting over reasonable voices to make their cases based on bad science, altered facts and contrived emotional reactions.
As an industry, we have a voice available through the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) and through affiliate state associations. We have the ability to join together, arm in arm and shoulder to shoulder. We have the means to amplify our voices and fortify our structure to withstand the assaults on our way of life. The problem is, not enough of us are coming to the wall.
I want to make it clear, I am not writing a commercial for the NAAA or the CaAAA, or any other organization. I’m just a hired pilot like most of you. What I’m writing here is a call to arms. A call to join if you haven’t, to continue if you have.
Most of us support the National Rifle Association (NRA) because we know we have the second amendment right to keep and bear arms to defend our homes, family and way of life. The NRA stands between us and those in the halls of congress who would do away with that right through ambiguous regulations and political subterfuge. We have the right, responsibility and moral obligation to defend what is ours and who we love. We can never allow anyone to infringe on that right.
That includes the right to use our God given talents and earned skills to do what we love to do and live how we choose to live.
The NAAA is our own version of the NRA, defending us from those who would happily do away with us. The NAAA stands as our megaphone in the circus of our federal government, while our state organizations guard us in state legislatures. I believe states are the most dangerous places in legislative battle grounds. They are petri dishes where infectious laws and regulations are first attempted and cultivated. Living in California, I can’t imagine what the life of a Californian ag pilot would be like if it weren’t for the CaAAA and its active members standing guard in Sacramento. There very likely would be darn few of us; if any at all. As a result, agriculture in general would suffer greatly.
Please don’t think it’s only a California thing. Lunacy knows no borders. Once a bad idea is hatched and makes it to acceptance and implementation, it’s only a matter of time before it oozes into other places until it finally becomes a federal statute. The NAAA is often times our only hope of killing it before it kills us.
I’ve heard all the arguments of why pilots think they have no reason to join or maintain their membership in the associations. The fact is, the NAAA and your state associations are absolutely necessary in this modern, lawyer-ran, political world we live in. Necessary and absolutely vital to our existence and our advancement as a professional industry. It wasn’t that long ago when crop dusters were considered degenerated, barnstormer throw backs, unworthy of substantive consideration. The work of a united industry through the NAAA changed all that with diligent action and attention to a changing political, social, environmental and legislative world.
It wasn’t just a few guys in suits that brought about those changes and continue to watch out for us. Nope. It was us. All of us. Our gang of crop dusters realized the need to climb out of the cockpit long enough to make sure they would have a chance to put future generations of pilots in those cockpits. It wasn’t anyone famous or important. Just guys like you and me and the other fella down in Texas and the guy up there in Illinois, who love what they do and know it is worth preserving and defending.
We have a collective who share our own flying low DNA. An association of like minded pilots and people who not only watch out for us in our government, but who study, investigate and research ways to improve what we do, make our lives better and our jobs safer. I don’t know about you, but anyone who figures out better ways to keep me from streaking a field and out of a smoking hole is someone I’d like to know.
As a fellow ag pilot speaking to those who think it’s not needed or feel they won’t make a difference, I challenge you to consider your reasons not to join the NAAA and your state associations. Take those concerns to the source. Ask the questions you have. Don’t complain about a situation without searching for a solution.
We are freedom loving men and women who earn honest livings and have a will to see future days dawn without the clouds of government overreach, restrictions and corruption. We want to do our work, raise our families and live our lives in the manner we choose; a manner unencumbered by needless, nonsense, regulations and laws.
United we stand, divided we fall isn’t just a patriotic slogan. It means just what it says. Silence is consent. Don’t stand by quietly, add your voice and support. You are needed. Keep your airspeed up!
Fly well and stay safe!