Home-NAAABecome a 2024 Certified-Professional Aerial Applicator Safety Steward

Become a 2024 Certified-Professional Aerial Applicator Safety Steward

The Certified-Professional Aerial Applicator Safety Steward (C-PAASS) application is open for 2024 applicants at https://education.agaviation.org/cpaass. C-PAASS was launched by the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) and the National Agricultural Aviation Research & Education Foundation (NAAREF) last year. This annual, individual certification for ag pilots, both operator, and non-operator, recognizes a strong commitment to safety, professionalism and the pursuit of continuous improvement. This voluntary program allows those aerial applicators who strive to constantly educate themselves to better their safety and application quality and to be recognized for their efforts.

Aerial applicators, now more than ever, operate in an environment of competing interests. An ever-increasing demand for timely and effective applications is challenged by factors such as added regulatory burden, rising insurance costs and stiffer pesticide label language, just to name a few. The agricultural aviation industry has risen to these challenges and, in character, has moved to advance education, rather than regulation, as the path forward with C-PAASS.

C-PAASS certified individuals can use their certification to positively distinguish themselves to insurers, customers, regulators and others outside the industry and be a part of the force advancing safety and changing the narrative, for agricultural aviation on a national level.

Individuals seeking 2024 certification will need to meet the following requirements:


  1. Annual PAASS Attendance for three (3) years – Past PAASS programs (both credit and non-credit options) are only available for purchase to NAAA members. Email information@agaviation.org for more information.
    • 2021-2022 season, AND
    • 2022-2023 season, AND
    • 2023-2024
  2. Biennial Operation S.A.F.E. Participation – if you can’t attend an Operation S.A.F.E. Fly-In Clinic, please see below for DropFlight and AccuPatt pattern testing options.
  • 2023 season, AND/OR
  • 2024 season
  1. 2024 Annual Membership in NAAA – join at AgAviation.org or call (202) 546-5722.
  2. 2024 Annual Membership in a State/Regional agricultural aviation association – contact your state/regional association to join. View a list of contacts at https://www.agaviation.org/about/state-and-regional-associations/.
  3. The two online courses listed below are new for 2024 certification. They are offered at no cost to NAAA members and the non-member cost is $100 per course-hour. Courses can be found at https://education.agaviation.org/courses and require  a satisfactory understanding of the material through review and testing to qualify for 2024 certification. In the future, NAAA and NAAREF are anticipated to allow individuals to choose from a catalog of available courses for certification.


Avoiding Wire Strike Accidents

This 2-hour self-paced course is based on the 2022-2023 PAASS Program’s Human Factors module of the same title. It covers wire strike statistics, reconnaissance, forecasting and decision-making. (Course ID: 24-HF-01) Note: Individuals who have taken the Utilities / Aviation Specialists Flying in the Wire and Obstruction Environment course in person within the last 12 months (at the Ag Aviation Expo, a state meeting, etc.) can waive this online course requirement upon request.


The Impact of Each Droplet – Part 1

This 30-minute self-paced course is a spray application primer in droplet size terminology and industry standards. Topics covered include droplet size statistics, droplet spectrum categories, coverage and drift potential. As the first course in a same-titled series, it lays the foundations for more in-depth courses centered around optimizing aerial spray applications. (Course ID: 24-EP-01)


You can check your C-PAASS eligibility and detailed instructions at https://education.agaviation.org/cpaass.


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 to your application system set up. Accordingly, biennial Operation S.A.F.E. participation has been included as a required component of C-PAASS certification.


If you are not 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.


Last 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. Learn more about DropFlight at https://dropflightag.com/.


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 for this 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.





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