Recently NAAA, through NAAREF, has released a comprehensive educational program for ag-pilots that will put money in their pockets and help to bring them home safely after each day of flying. For the last two decades and a half, PAASS has been a valuable tool in aiding the ag aviation industry to improve upon itself. However, its “bite” has been limited by less than optimum attendance and a need for a more direct financial return to those who participated. The new C-PAASS program that is in its infancy addresses these issues.
C-PAASS has been a work in progress for several years. Now that it has come to fruition, operators can participate and see just how far C-PAASS can take them. Although much of the promise of C-PAASS is yet to be realized, it is quite evident that these promises are viable. To name a few, C-PAASS participants may be able to apply products at a lower rate than those labeled for today. This one issue alone is huge. Everyone knows lower application rates work as well, if not actually better, as higher rates. This is not speculation on my part, but actual first-hand witnessing to low rate applications efficacy in South American operations. Be sure to read the results of the Zanoni three-year trials in this issue.
Such a move to change label rates would open many doors for aerial applicators. It could bring on the legal use of widespread electrostatic spray equipment. Rotary atomizers could become more common, and drones may start to play a more significant role for the ag-operator. These three tools alone are proven to work well in South America. This is one area of applications that the North American aerial applicator has been left out of. Hopefully, one day soon that will change. I don’t have to tell you how much more profitable a flying service becomes when it incorporates low application rates into its spray program.
Of course, there are other advantages to participation in C-PAASS. For instance, insurance companies should be eager to write policies for those in C-PAASS. PAASS alone has proven beyond any doubt that participation is a win-win for the insurance folks; fewer aircraft accidents and less drift. C-PAASS will only enhance the efforts of PAASS
An operator participating in any certification program adds ammunition to his arsenal of self-defense against bogus claims. Being a C-PAASS participant will not necessarily give the operator a “get out of jail” card, it surely will carry the weight of professionalism. Sometimes that is exactly what the operator, or pilot, will need to turn the tables in his favor in a court of law.
Read more about C-PAASS in this month’s edition’s cover feature article in AgAir Update. Everyone should be thankful to NAAA and NAAREF board members and staff members for the effort they put in to make C-PAASS a reality
I recently read an article about a wind turbine company agreeing to compensate growers who had to pay extra for aerial applicators’ services and neighboring growers with wind turbines having to pay growers without them that are impacted. In particular, this article referenced Illinois and the efforts of Jerry Lay Aviation, LLC. Jerry Lay is an ex-ag operator that serves on the Woodford County, Illinois zoning board. Growers with wind turbines adjacent to growers that do not have wind turbines and incur higher application costs will have to reimburse the difference in costs. Kudos go to Mr. Lay.
Recently, I was at the southernmost tip of Brazil, along the Atlantic coast. There were numerous wind turbines planted in rice fields causing issues for aerial applications. I don’t see the long-term advantage of a wind turbine, but what do I know? A Google search reveals a single, typical wind turbine costs $2-$4 million dollars and $42,000-$48,000 dollars a year to operate. However, other costs include depreciation on a 20-year expected lifespan and land costs, routing its power to an electrical substation. The list goes on for costs that you do not hear about, such as the downtime when it is not operating due to lack of wind. Oh well, I’m getting off-topic. Maybe one day soon, I’ll write a “fair and balanced” editorial about wind turbines.
Until next month, Keep Turning…