Become an Ag Pilot

Being an ag pilot is one of the most exciting jobs in aviation. It requires tremendous skill and precision and takes a significant amount of training. If you are interested in becoming an ag pilot, NAAA offers a program called Compaass Rose, a series of education sessions in which veteran ag pilots introduce potential recruits to the world of aerial application. Several articles are provided on the menu to the left to give you more information about the industry.

Agricultural Aviation Career Poster 17x11 Printer File

Agricultural Aviation Career Poster—High-Resolution 17 x 11 Printer File: Supply this PDF to a printer if you would like to make high-quality reprints of NAAA's Agricultural Aviation Career Poster. The PDF is sized at 17" x 11". Please note the PDF is too large to email, but you can save it to a thumb drive and may be able to upload the file to the printer's website.

Agricultural Aviation Scholarship News

How does $5,000 sound to help you get started on your journey to becoming an ag pilot? That’s the top prize in the 2013 NAAA/BASF Agricultural Aviation Scholarship competition. The goal of the Agricultural Aviation Scholarship is to strengthen the aerial application industry by helping NAAA Operators bring new pilots into the profession. Each applicant must be sponsored by an NAAA Operator, and scholarship recipients must use the proceeds for flight training or agricultural coursework at a university, college, community college or other institution of higher learning. A stipend for a trainee in an NAAA Operator-sponsored apprentice program is also permissible. The deadline to apply is Aug. 31!

AC137-1A-Certification Process for Agricultural Aircraft Operators

AC137-1A-Certification Process for Agricultural Aircraft Operators

Job Hunting Tips

Dos and Don’ts for Aspiring Ag Pilots on the Job Trail

While there are no guarantees, your chances of finding work and learning the craft of becoming a professional ag pilot will improve if you follow this advice.

Ag Pilot Flight School Information

With demand for ag aviation pilots growing, enrolling in an ag flight training school is one possible training avenue available to would-be aerial applicators looking for formal training in the field. The National Agricultural Aviation Association counts five flight training organizations as members. Contact information for each of them appears below.

Facts About the Aerial Application Industry


  • There are approximately 1,350 aerial application businesses in the United States and 1,430 non-operator pilots.
  • Of those 1,350 businesses, 94% of the owners are also pilots.
  • NAAA represents more than 1,800 members.
  • According to NAAA records, aerial application operations are located in 46 states—all but Alaska, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.


Sample Ag Pilot Training Syllabus

Being trained in an apprentice program under the tutelage of an experienced aerial application operator is an excellent way for new and low-time ag pilots to get the on-the-job training they need to become a safe, efficient aerial applicator.

What can a potential ag pilot expect when training with an operator? In most cases, the apprenticing pilot will already have a commercial pilot’s license, unlike a school where a non-pilot could begin from scratch. Insurance companies may require operators to submit a letter and curriculum to the insurance provider to help them decide if the course work is a substantive curriculum to build ag aviation experience in order for them to insure the new ag pilot. An operator can choose how long each of these sections will take based on how much experience a potential pilot already has and how quickly he learns on the job.

Sample Curriculum

The following example was approved by ag aviation insurance providers as a worthy curriculum to follow for an ag pilot in training making him eligible under his insurance policy. In addition to this training schedule, operators send a letter to the insurance company giving background information about the potential ag pilot and further explaining the schedule. The insurance company decides whether to write a policy for a new pilot based on several factors and no two cases are handled the same way. There are several factors including experience, training, tail wheel time, type of aircraft flown, GPS knowledge, memberships in NAAA and the state/regional association, PAASS and Operation S.A.F.E. participation and professionalism.

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