Home-InternationalTools Remain to Help Aerial Applicators Obtain C-PAASS Certification in 2023 or...

Tools Remain to Help Aerial Applicators Obtain C-PAASS Certification in 2023 or Be in Position for ’24

As readers learned in AgAir Update’s April cover story, the Certified-Professional Aerial Applicator Safety Steward (C-PAASS) program from NAAA and the National Agricultural Aviation Research and Education Foundation (NAAREF) is up and running. This voluntary program enables aerial applicators who strive to constantly educate themselves on ways to improve their safety and applications to be recognized for their efforts through the C-PAASS certification process. It also allows those aerial applicators to substantively market themselves to their customers, regulators, insurance providers and pesticide manufacturers for going above and beyond professionally.


C-PAASS certification is offered on an annual basis to individual ag pilots and is available to operator and non-operator ag pilots alike. For the C-PAASS program’s first year, the 2023 requirements are based entirely upon education and professional opportunities already available:

  1. Annual PAASS Attendance for three (3) years
    • 2020-2021 season, AND
    • 2021-2022 season, AND
    • 2022-2023 season
  2. Biennial Operation S.A.F.E. Participation
  • 2022 season, AND/OR
  • 2023 season
  1. Annual Membership in NAAA
  • 2023
  1. Annual Membership in a State/Regional agricultural aviation association
  • 2023


If you haven’t met all of the professional development requirements to become a Certified-Professional Aerial Applicator Safety Steward this year yet, it doesn’t mean a 2023 C-PAASS designation is completely out of reach. If you haven’t participated in the PAASS Program for three straight years or fulfilled the Operation S.A.F.E. pattern-testing requirement, it is still possible to meet all the requirements to achieve C-PAASS certification right now, in 2023—or to position yourself for C-PAASS certification in 2024—thanks to some convenient do-it-yourself options NAAA has come up with to make it easier to fulfill those requirements. The availability of these new DIY options means that every ag pilot can still qualify for C-PAASS in 2023 if they wish.


Makeup PAASS Programs Now Available for 2021, 2022 and 2023

The impact of the PAASS Program on reducing the number of agricultural aviation accidents and drift incidents is proven—the industry has seen 26% reductions in both categories since the program first hit the stage with only a 47% attendance rate. NAAA found that 86% of ag aviation accidents over the past five years have come from ag pilots either that are not attending or not annually attending PAASS. In an effort to present the program’s life-saving curriculum to those who may have missed it, NAAREF has leveraged the NAAA Education Center, NAAA’s new web-based learning management system, to host recorded webinars of the PAASS Program from 2021, 2022 and 2023.


If you want to be C-PAASS-certified for the 2023 season but missed one of the last three PAASS Programs, this is your opportunity to fulfill that requirement and complete your C-PAASS application.

  • If you missed the 2023 PAASS Program, it is now available to watch for credit for $850 through June 30. Starting July 1, the fee for the 2023 program will increase to $1,700.
  • PAASS’s 2021 and 2022 programs are each now available for credit for $1,700.


NAAA members also have the option to purchase one year of unlimited access to not-for-credit versions of PAASS for $120. The not-for-credit versions of the 2021 and 2022 programs are available now, and the 2023 program will be available sans credit starting July 1. More than just a review for yourself, this is an excellent way to educate your ground crew or other stakeholders on the importance of safety and environmental professionalism in your operation. Again, the $120 option will not give you official credit for PAASS attendance and will not count toward C-PAASS.


To access the archived PAASS Programs and buy the for-credit or not-for-credit version of an on-demand PAASS Program, visit education.agaviation.org/paass-archive.


The best way to experience PAASS is a live program at your state/regional agricultural aviation convention. However, situations occur that may prevent this from happening. By offering these online options to make up PAASS, everyone can benefit from the wealth of information presented and help move the needle in preventing ag aviation accidents.


Has Your Aircraft Been Pattern Tested Yet? These Tools Can Help

Pattern testing is vital to ensuring your aircraft is ready to make effective applications this season. NAAREF recommends having your pattern assessed, at a minimum, every other year or when major changes are made. Accordingly, NAAA has included biennial Operation S.A.F.E. participation as a core component of its C-PAASS professional aerial applicator certification.


If you weren’t able to attend one of the Operation S.A.F.E. fly-in clinics offered in many parts of the U.S. this spring or last year, alternative options exist if you are an NAAA member.


Earlier this year, NAAA announced the release of DropFlight, an iPhone/iPad app that allows extremely fast scanning and analysis of water-sensitive spray cards, all on your Apple mobile devices. This tool, created in part by an aerial applicator, is targeted specifically for aerial applicators to use in assessing spray pattern uniformity, effective swath width and droplet size across the swath.

DropFlight is being offered exclusively to NAAA members for a one-time cost of $799 for unlimited use of the app. That represents a significant value in time savings alone compared to traditional methods of scanning cards for pattern analysis. The DropFlight tool makes obtaining actionable results quick and easy.


The DropFlight app is available to NAAA members for purchase in Apple’s App Store using the NAAA member code “NAAA23.”


Another option for conducting spray pattern testing yourself is to use AccuPatt, the same desktop (Windows/MacOS) software that Operation S.A.F.E. analysts use. Originally developed to run the string testing systems you may have seen at an Operation S.A.F.E. fly-in, AccuPatt has grown to include spray-card-analysis functionality that can be used independently to perform spray-card-only pattern testing. Now, it is being offered to NAAA members for use in their own operation at no cost. A flatbed scanner is required to digitize the spray cards for analysis.


Download AccuPatt for Windows/MacOS at https://github.com/gill14/AccuPatt/releases. Consult the user manual (available at that same web address) to get up and running on do-it-yourself spray pattern testing.


To further reduce friction in getting your spray pattern testing underway, DropFlight is also offering all the needed testing gear at dropflightag.com/collections/all. Available as a convenient kit or by the piece, DropFlight’s card mounting system makes it simple to lay out cards uniformly and in the correct orientation to the wind. This testing gear will work with DropFlight and AccuPatt and is the fastest and most convenient way to acquire all the equipment you need to conduct your own pattern testing.


By consulting with a NAAREF-recognized Operation S.A.F.E. Analyst about your pattern testing data, they can report it to NAAREF as participation in Operation S.A.F.E. NAAA members will receive an official letter of participation and credit toward C-PAASS certification. To contact a NAAREF-recognized Operation S.A.F.E. Analyst, visit education.agaviation.org/safe-analysts.


Apply for C-PAASS or Learn More

Becoming a Certified-Professional Aerial Applicator Safety Steward is an achievement regulatory officials, your insurers and certainly your customers should know about. Earning a C-PAASS certification demonstrates that you have undergone additional training and development to ensure you can provide the highest-quality service to your customers and the community. To submit a 2023 C-PAASS application or learn more about the certification program, visit education.agaviation.org/cpaass or scan the QR code on this page.


No matter where you are on your path to achieving C-PAASS certification, fly safely this season and take heed of the PAASS motto, “Upon the Performance of Each Rests the Fate of All.”





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