I remember when the concept of PAASS was introduced to the ag aviation industry in the mid-1990s. At the time, I served as the NAAA representative for the Georgia AAA and was a member of the Steering Committee for the implementation of PAASS. I remember all too well the backlash I received on the back of a transit bus at the NAAA annual convention.
Several prominent operators cornered me on that bus with no fellow Steering Committee members to come to my defense. I tried explaining that PAASS would be a win-win move for the industry. Those operators were not going to hear it. They had all sorts of apprehensions. At the time, I did not convince anyone on that bus of the value of PAASS, but I did buy some time. Since then, those same operators, of which I remember two specifically, came to endorse and become very active in the success of PAASS, much to their credit.
Today, things are very different as far as PAASS’s credibility. It is the premier ag aviation education program. It may be tested with the introduction of C-PAASS, but I don’t think so. If, for some reason, this is the first you have heard of C-PAASS, it is an expansion of PAASS that offers certification. To quote Andrew Moore, CEO of NAAA, “The certification program will acknowledge participants who make themselves available to the rich educational material provided by NAAA and the state/regional ag aviation associations through membership and who attend PAASS annually and Operation S.A.F.E. biannually.”
Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with a certification program, there is no doubt it will serve to demonstrate an operator’s professionalism. That is a valuable tool when one’s actions come into question. People have this desire to live in a utopian society. Of course, that is not possible. However, just an operator raising the bar with his notable efforts by participating in C-PAASS will go a long way towards his credibility and professionalism.
I will not go into details about NAAA’s C-PAASS program to be implemented in 2023. The Association can far better explain it than I. Visit agaviation.org to learn more. It will unquestionably benefit the ag-pilot and operator. There is a significant possibility that ag-aviation insurance companies, along with chemical company registrants, could offer cost-saving discounts for participants in C-PAASS, as in the past.
As I write this, I am three days before my departure to Brazil. I have made two trips earlier in the past nine months. This trip will include attending their national convention hosted by SINDAG, the equivalent to our NAAA. The convention is expected to be well attended with well over 100 exhibitors since they have missed the last two years due to covid. This will be my 28th year traveling to Brazil for AgAir Update. Oddly enough, I have yet to learn the Portuguese language! But, I manage with help from in-country AgAir Update team members.
After the convention, I will visit various operators for future articles throughout Brazil. The entire trip will last about 13 days. Once I return home, I will settle back into semi-retirement, helping Graham. Honestly, I do not see how I got everything done while running things at AgAir Update. I cannot get everything done now while supposedly semi-retired!
Until next month,