Certified-Professional Aerial Applicator Safety Steward (C-PAASS)


Professional Certification for the Future of Agricultural Aviation

NAAA’s new Certified-Professional Aerial Applicator Safety Steward (C-PAASS) program is a voluntary program allowing those aerial applicators who strive to constantly educate themselves to better their safety and applications to be recognized for their efforts. The initial certification requirements are based on education and professional opportunities already available to all ag aviators.

Background & Requirements

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 is rising to these challenges and, in character, has moved to advance education, rather than regulation, as the path forward.

NAAA and NAAREF have jointly launched the Certified-Professional Aerial Applicator Safety Steward (C-PAASS) program to serve as the industry's flagship certification and as a roadmap for the pursuit of the best educational opportunities currently available. While by no means a requirement, this voluntary program allows those aerial applicators who strive to constantly educate themselves to better their safety and application quality to be recognized for their efforts. Secondarily, the certification can signal to customers, regulators and others outside the industry their commitment to professionalism.

C-PAASS certification is offered on an annual basis to individual ag pilots, both operator and non-operator. As the first year for C-PAASS, its requirements are based entirely upon education and professional opportunities already available:

PAASS Attendance2021 Season*2022 Season*2023 Season*
Operation SAFE Participation2022 Season* and/or 2023 Season*
Membership in NAAA2023 Member
Membership in State/Regional Ag Aviation Association2023 Member
* PAASS and SAFE Seasons represent Fall of the prior year through Spring of the listed year.

Check My C-PAASS Progress

This is only the beginning. As NAAA develops its own Learning Management System (LMS), new on-demand courses and content will be incorporated into C-PAASS. A wide variety of topics will eventually be included in the LMS, including those covered in the knowledge and skills section of 14 CFR Part 137 and those on how to properly set up agricultural aircraft to make on-target applications.

C-PAASS certified aerial applicators can use their certification status to inform regulatory officials and insurance agents and to market to their customers that they have undergone additional training and development to best ensure that they safely provide high-quality service. This was the impetus for developing C-PAASS—to expand and gain recognition for maximizing professionalism and to show allied businesses, from insurance to pesticide providers, additional benefits should be warranted for professional certification, such as possible insurance discounts and more flexibility pertaining to pesticide label language. For instance, some labels already require Operation S.A.F.E. participation to use. It’s possible that in the future C-PAASS certified aerial applicators may be able to apply at lower spray application rates (GPA) or with reduced wind-directional buffer zone distances, etc.

Whatever additional benefits are bestowed upon C-PAASS ag aviators, the program will undoubtedly demonstrate agricultural aviation’s professionalism and positive public image to the industry’s customers, regulators and the public we help feed, clothe and protect.

To submit a 2023 C-PAASS Application:

  1. Check your eligibility - You will need to login using your NAAA username/password. Contact information@agaviation.org if you need assistance.
  2. If eligible, scroll to the bottom of the page and locate the 2023 C-PAASS Application tile. Hover over it and click the green Register (Free!) button.
  3. You will be prompted to attest to your completion of each of the requirements and directed to upload documentation of your 2023 membership in a State/Regional agricultural aviation association. NAAA Staff will be automatically notified to review your application once this documentation is submitted.
  4. Your application will be reviewed within 3 business days.
  5. If your application is accepted, you will be provided a link to pay the certification fee (currently $100) and obtain your digital certificate.