Program Overview

The PAASS Compaass Rose Series is designed to provide professional support and direction for agricultural aviation pilots who are new to the industry and those want to learn more about the industry and what it takes to get into ag aviation.  

If you want to know more about how start a career in agricultural aviation safely and successfully and have questions about finding an operator to work for, ag flight schools, how to deal with insurance, and many other topics then the Compaass Rose Series is the place to be. If you are an operator wanting to begin mentoring a new pilot into the industry but you’re not sure how to go about doing this, then the Compaass Rose Series is the place for you to be as well.

The goal is for the participants to enhance their own knowledge, continue to gain agricultural aviation experience, and improve their individual professionalism.  Agricultural aviation pilots will have an opportunity to discuss ideas and philosophies about the business, make informed decisions about their future, and learn with some of the industry’s top operators. Operators can learn about mentoring new pilots and get an idea of the questions and concerns of pilots new to the ag aviation industry. 

The Compaass Rose format was updated in 2017 to create an environment even more favorable for those pilots new to the industry or looking to get in to it. While Compaass Rose is open to anyone, the program was created specifically for that group. Anyone interested in agricultural aviation as a professional career is invited to participate in Compaass Rose.


Compaass Rose is led by two PAASS presenters. The session begins with all participants in the main room. After introductions, participants will be split into two groups – new pilots and experienced pilots. New pilots are those with less than five years of experience as agricultural pilot or those with no ag aviation experience but are looking to get in to the industry. The experienced pilot group is everyone else.

The two groups are separated, with the new pilots being moved temporarily to a separate room. A series of questions are presented to each group using audience polling software to record an anonymous response. The goal of the questions is to facilitate a discussion about topics related to growing professionally as an ag pilot and to help operators learn how to recruit and mentor new pilots safely and effectively. While the two groups are asked different questions, the questions are paired up by topic, so that the perspective of both the new pilots and experienced pilots can be shared and discussed.

Once each group has gone through their series of questions and discussed issues of concern or interest, the new pilots are brought back into the main room to rejoin the experienced pilots. The responses to the questions of both groups are reviewed together, so that both the new and experienced pilots can see how the other group answered the questions. The whole group can then discuss the questions, answers, and any other topics of interest. Participants are encouraged to contribute their viewpoints and ask additional questions.

Having the new pilots in a room entirely by themselves is one of key benefits of the new format. It allows these pilots to ask the questions they might not be comfortable asking with more experienced pilots or their own operator present in the room. The discussion can focus on the things these new pilots have the most concern about. They can share these questions and concerns with each other and the PAASS presenter who leads their separate session. If concerns need to brought back to the whole group, they can be addressed by the PAASS presenter instead of the new pilot or pilots, who may wish to remain anonymous.

  • Attend the NAAA Ag Aviation Expo; A Compaass Rose session is offered there each year.
  • Attend your State or Regional Agricultural Aviation Convention; Check their program to see if Compaass Rose will be offered.

Contact Scott Bretthauer at least 60 days prior to your convention to confirm availability of presenters. There is no additional charge to the state or regional association beyond those associated with having PAASS.

  • Timing: Schedule a 90-minute or 2-hour (preferred) window either the day before or day after the PAASS Program
  • Room Requirements: Book two rooms for the Compaass Rose session as follows. The presenters will provide projectors and computers.
    • Room 1 (Main) – All participants, 2 screens
    • Room 2 (Breakout) – New Pilots, 1 screen
  • Advertise the session

The Compass Rose first appeared on ships’ navigational charts around 1300. “Rose” comes from the fact that the design looks like rose petals. The now standard 32-point Compass Rose with the fleur-de-lis indicating north and the cross indicating east [long thought to be the direction to paradise] evolved around the time of Christopher Columbus. The Compass Rose on a map or navigational chart provides directional information. A Compass Rose can be found at many general aviation airports and is often a part of the airport’s ‘Airmarking’ program. An airport Compass Rose is used to calibrate the aircraft magnetic compass. It is also a unique airfield identifier. The NAAREF Compaass Rose Series is designed to help people identify their needs and goals and then navigate agricultural aviation.