August 8, 2019
NAAA eNewsletter

NAAA Updates Checklist for Pilots Subject to the Discharge of a Firearm Targeting an Ag Aircraft

In response to recent shooting threats and incidents this year, NAAA updated its checklist of actions operators and pilots can take in the event someone threatens to or discharges a firearm at their aircraft.


NAAA has now updated that checklist to cite the specific federal laws that are violated when someone shoots, or threatens to shoot, an aircraft. Title 18 of the US Federal Code, section 32, specifically states it is illegal to “set fire to, damage, destroy, disable, or wreck any aircraft.” The section al states it is illegal to “interfere with or disable, with intent to endanger the safety of any person or with a reckless disregard for the safety of human life, anyone engaged in the authorized operation of such aircraft.”


Penalties can be as severe as 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Even the threat of shooting down an aircraft can get you five years in prison.


The updated check list can be viewed below and printed here.

1. Inform Local Law Enforcement

While the laws vary from state to state, you should immediately report to your local law enforcement agency that someone has shot at your aircraft, even if your aircraft is not hit. Depending on the state, an individual discharging a firearm at an aircraft could be charged with anything from the negligent discharge of a firearm to attempted murder. It’s important to contact the enforcement body with jurisdiction over the locality where the offense occurred. The sooner you can contact law enforcement, the better chance of apprehending the shooter.

2. Contact the FBI

Be sure to file a report with the FBI regional office for your area. The contact information for the regional office is available at In addition to state laws, it is a federal crime to shoot at aircraft, including shooting at UAVs. Make sure authorities know what specific laws were violated by citing title 18 of U.S. Code, section 32, which specifically states it is illegal to “set fire to, damage, destroy, disable, or wreck any aircraft. The section also states it is illegal to “interfere with or disable, with intent to endanger the safety of any person or with a reckless disregard for the safety of human life, anyone engaged in the authorized operation of such aircraft.”


Penalties can be as severe as 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Even the threat of shooting down an aircraft can get you five years in prison.

3. Report it to the FAA National Safety Hotline

After safely landing, you should report the incident by calling the FAA Safety Hotline at 1-800-255-1111 or online at This contact is a single avenue for anyone from FAA employees to concerned citizens to file a report regarding violations of federal aviation regulations or the safety of the national airspace.

4. Call your Local Flight Standards Office (FSO)

Your local Flight Standards Office (formerly called FSDO) consists of aviation officials who are your local contact to the FAA. While local law enforcement and the FBI take care of criminal matters, be sure your local FSO is given details on the incident.

5. File a NASA Aviation Safety Report

The primary purpose of a NASA aviation safety report is to collect data related to the national airspace to reduce aviation accidents and incidents. Your confidential and non-punitive report will go directly into the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), ensuring your experience will be used as data to contribute to aviation safety. The incident information can be recorded on the General Report Form for electronic submission, or the form can be printed for completion and mailing by U.S. mail.

6. Tell Other Pilots

Whether it’s through social media, message boards, email or word of mouth, let other pilots in your area know when and where the incident occurred. Highlighting your experience can help other pilots maintain some extra situational awareness when flying in the area.

7. Notify Local News Media

Share your encounter and safety concerns with the local media to inform the non-piloting public of these same concerns, as well as the penalties associated with willfully shooting at an aircraft. Getting your story out could help catch the perpetrator if the suspected shooter has not been apprehended and might make someone else think twice before discharging a firearm at an aircraft.

8. Contact Your Insurance Agent if ...

In the event physical damage is done to your aircraft, contact your insurance agent. The company will ensure repairs are made to the aircraft in accordance with your policy. There is a possibility the insurance company could pursue action against the parties that may be liable for the loss.

In addition to the shooting-response checklist, NAAA is always available for additional assistance in the event of an ag aircraft shooting incident. Contact NAAA at (202) 546-5722.

Activists Groups Sue EPA Over Chlorpyrifos Decision

Several activists groups, including the Pesticide Action Network and the Natural Resources Defense Council, filed a lawsuit today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit against the EPA in response to the agency’s decision last month to not immediately ban chlorpyrifos.


The lawsuit requests the court review the EPA’s decision to not ban the product immediately.  The insecticide is used on more than 50 fruit, nut, cereal and vegetable crops. This latest lawsuit once again extends litigation on the pesticide, which started in 2007 when activists petitioned the EPA to ban all chlorpyrifos tolerances. 


In April of this year, the court gave the EPA 90 days to respond to the petition. Last month, the agency said it will not ban the product, but instead expedite the registration review process under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) that requires pesticides to be reregistered with the EPA every 15 years. A review is required to be completed by 2022, however a draft risk assessment could come as early as the summer of 2020.


The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) announced last May it plans to totally ban the use the chlorpyrifos at some point in the near future. California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget requested $5.7 million to "support the transition" to other pest control measures and is proposing a working group to identify and recommend alternatives. A final date for the use of chlorpyrifos in California has not been determined. The agency said the process could take up to two years.  A significant concern about removal of the product from the market that is not commonly mentioned in the media is the likelihood that a significant amount of another type of insecticide may have to be used in larger quantities if chlorpyrifos were to be removed from the marketplace.

Switzerland Launches Extensive Unmanned Air Traffic Management System

Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA), in partnership with UAV traffic management company AirMap and Swiss air navigation service provider skyguide, announced the deployment of a Flight Information Management System (FIMS) for UAVs.


The cloud-based FIMS is an aviation data exchange system that connects skyguide’s air traffic management system to UAS service providers with open interfaces to support safe and compliant drone operations in low-altitude airspace. The real-time platform gives UAV operators airspace information, directives, and air traffic information. The platform provides traffic control operators with UAV flight plans in their airspace as well as the ability to manage authorization requests.


FIMS is part of the wider development of the Swiss U-space Implementation (SUSI) program, Switzerland’s drone traffic management network infrastructure.


“The Swiss U-space FIMS is a critical building block toward full UTM [Unmanned Air Traffic Management] implementation in Switzerland,” said Klaus Meier, skyguide Chief Technology Officer. “Following the creation of SUSI, the Swiss U-space Implementation framework designed by FOCA to build an open UTM ecosystem in Switzerland, we are delighted to announce the availability of the FIMS open interfaces to connect skyguide with multiple UAS Service Providers.”


Over the last several years the FAA has been rolling out Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC), currently available at approximately 600 towered airports in the U.S. However, LAANC only provide airspace authorizations, and not air traffic information.


A September 2018 report from the FAA warned untrained operators, not having a functioning air UAV air traffic management system, and the slow development of detect-and-avoid technologies are the major challenges to the safe integration of UAVs.

NAAA Submits Comments on Leading Edge Associates’ Request for Exemption from Several Part 137 Regulations

Leading Edge Associates, a UAV technology company with a Part 137 operating certificate, submitted a request to the FAA to be exempt from various federal aviation regulations in order to operate its PrecisionVision 35 UAV for agricultural spraying purposes.


NAAA submitted comments explaining that UAVs must first be equipped with certain safety equipment to ensure the safety of manned aviators in the national airspace. The Precision Vision 35 UAV has a maximum takeoff gross weight of 79 pounds. A collision between one of these unmanned aircraft and a manned aircraft could be catastrophic


Explaining the importance of maintaining an adequate level of safety in the national airspace, NAAA wrote, “UAS should be equipped with ADS-B Out-like technology and sense and avoid technology that lands the unmanned aircraft when a manned aircraft is approaching an unsafe range.  ADS-B Out-like technology would allow a manned aircraft to track the vicinity of a UAV yet, due to the difficulty of seeing small UAVs it wouldn’t act as the failsafe that an automatic grounding mechanism would have.”  


Leading edge sought to be exempt from certain sections of the Part 137 knowledge and skills test as well as other training requirements that apply to manned applicators, such as having a commercial pilot license. Regarding this, NAAA wrote, “While UAS were not envisioned when Part 137 was originally written, we believe the intention of the section needs to be applicable to all agricultural aircraft and not limited to manned aircraft. NAAA believes UAV pilots with recreational licenses should not be exempt from the prohibition on recreational pilots from piloting aircraft for compensation or in furtherance of a business.”


NAAA also stressed that UAVs must continue to give way to manned aircraft in all circumstances and comply will all existing EPA pesticide regulations.


You can read NAAA’s full comments here.

NAAA Launches Instagram Account

NAAA has joined the millions of Instagram users and has launched @AgAviationNAAA.  

Following NAAA on Instagram is an easy way to view our latest photos, promotions and get the latest news on NAAA and the ag aviation industry. We will provide updates on the importance and professionalism of agricultural aviation, upcoming meetings, education and safety materials, as well as great pictures of ag aviators doing what they do best.  

Instagram is the most engaged social media network after Facebook and currently has 1 billion (yes, billion!) users and more than 500 million active daily users on this growing social media platform. Joining Instagram will also help NAAA attract the next generation of ag aviators since 71% of the users are under the age of 35 and an estimated 83% of Instagrammers say they discover new products and services on Instagram.


If you have an Instagram account, you can follow NAAA here.

2019 Ag Aviation Expo Pre & Post-Expo Orlando Fun & Disney Travel Agent Available to Assist

We look forward to seeing you at the 2019 NAAA Ag Aviation Expo in Orlando, Nov. 18-21 at Rosen Shingle Creek. Our hotel room block is nearly 80% full; thank you for booking your hotel room. If you have not already done so, please book your room today. Registration is also open for the Ag Aviation; register online or print and mail a registration form.

NAAA staff and the Convention Committee have organized one of the best industry conventions that NAAA has ever organized. NAAA, along with our sponsors and exhibitors are putting a lot of money into the 2019 Ag Aviation Expo; we appreciate you attending our events during convention hours. When you have a free night at the expo or if you plan to travel before the expo or stay for a couple of days following the expo, enjoy the wonderful attractions of Orlando.

Disney Travel Agent Assistance

If you would like to add a pre- or post-conference stay at Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando Resort, Ag Aviation Expo attendees may contact Pam Townsend, travel agent and owner of Neverland Destinations. With two years as a tour guide at Walt Disney World and five years as a travel agent specializing in Universal and Disney destinations, Pam will help you plan your schedule around the conference using the special rate tickets for conference attendees.  She can assist with hotel selection (night of 11/16 or before this date and 11/22 and after the Ag Aviation Expo), dining reservations, Fastpass+ suggestions, and more for a seamless, worry-free, and magical theme park vacation.  Please feel free to email her at

Discounted Attraction Tickets for Ag Aviation Expo Attendees

Rosen Shingle Creek offers discounts for multi-day ticket purchases to all attractions in Orlando, except for Disney. Once you're onsite, you can visit the Universal Studios desk for discount tickets and complimentary transportation between Shingle Creek and Universal Studios. Discount tickets are for multiple days, not single days. Complimentary transportation as of April 2019, subject to change. If you prefer to purchase tickets in advance, you can view Orlando deals here.
Visit Orlando is offering discounted tickets to many Orlando attractions, including Disney for Ag Aviation Expo attendees; click here for more details. Enjoy these attractions in advance or after the Ag Aviation Expo!

Additional details for the 2019 NAAA Ag Aviation Expo

  • Dates: Nov. 18–21, 2019 (NOTE THE NOVEMBER DATES)
  • Location: Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando, FL
  • Schedule of Events: Current schedule here. Subject to change.
  • Attendee Registration: Now Open 
  • Exhibitor Booth Sales: Now Open
  • Auction Donations: Thank you to Pratt & Whitney Canada for donating a PT6-34AG engine to this year’s NAAA Live Auction. Please consider donating an item for the Live and Silent Auction. The earlier you inform us of your auction donation, the more advertising you’ll receive on the NAAA website and in NAAA publications. Click here for donation details. 
  • Sponsorship Opportunities: View sponsorship opportunities here.

Hotel Details

  • Rate: $139/night + taxes (no resort fee and includes basic internet access in your room and complimentary fitness center access)
  • Reservations: Book online here or call (866) 996-6338 and refer to NAAA convention. All reservations are two double beds. If you'd like a king room, please state that when calling or in the comments section when making the reservation online. 
  • Hotel Block Cut-off Date: Thursday, Oct. 24 at 5 p.m. ET
  • Hotel Address:  9939 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL 32819 | Hotel Phone: (866) 996-9939 | Reservations: (866) 996-6338
  • Cancellation & One Night's Charge Policy: Cancellation required by 4 p.m. at least five (5) days prior to arrival to avoid a charge of one night’s room + tax. All reservations are required to be guaranteed with a valid credit card. Please be advised that five days prior to your arrival, an authorization equivalent to one night's room + tax charge will be processed on your card. Authorizations on a debit card will place a hold on funds within your bank account at the time of authorization. 
  • Check In & Out: Check in is 3 p.m. and check out is 11 a.m.
  • Parking: Daily self-parking is $18; valet is $26.
  • Universal Orlando Hotel Partner, where guests enjoy complimentary scheduled daily transportation from the hotel to and from Universal Orlando Resort exciting theme parks and to SeaWorld® Orlando and Aquatica. Contact the hotel directly for further details at (866) 996-9939

NAAA and NAAREF Board Meetings Oct. 11-12

We look forward to seeing you in Denver for our October NAAA and NAAREF committee and board meetings. Most meetings take place Oct. 11–12 with a couple of meetings beginning on Oct. 10. PAASS Train the Trainer will take place Oct. 9–10. All meetings are open to NAAA members.

You can view a tentative schedule here. Please email Lindsay Barber if you will plan to attend the meetings.


Grand Hyatt Denver
1750 Welton Street
Denver, CO 80202
Local Phone: (303) 295-1234

Rate: $179/night plus tax (comped WiFi in guest rooms & fitness center access)

Reservations: Book online at or call: (800) 233-1234 (identify NAAA & NAAREF Board meetings for the reduced room rate)

Room Block Closes:  Sept. 17, 2019. We cannot guarantee room rates or room availability once the room block closes. If you have issues booking a hotel room, please contact Lindsay Barber (please do not book outside the block).

Putter Over to NAAA Expo NAAREF Fundraiser, It’s a Hole Lot of Fun

Help us raise money for NAAREF and PAASS by wearing your loudest golf pants and participating in Putting for PAASS, a fundraiser for the ag aviation industry’s premier educational safety program. This fundraising putting event (which was previously accidentally reported as a bowling event) will take place on Sunday, Nov. 17 from 6 - 9:30 p.m. at Rosen Shingle Creek.


Registration is now open and is required; the minimum donation is $110 per person. Each person must register separately and your team can have four people! Have fun with your friends during our nine-hole scramble. This event is fun no matter your skill set, whether you’re an avid golfer, a miniature-golfer or you’ve never held a putter! When registering, you’ll choose the tee time block of 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, 8:00 or 8:30. We will open a 9 p.m. slot if the other time slots are full of golfers. During each tee time block, nine teams (four people each) will compete and you’ll have 30 minutes to finish the nine holes. If there are ties, there will be a sudden death hole(s) at the end of the tournament.


Each of the four people on the winning team will receive $100 gift certificates to purchase merchandise at the 2019 NAAA Support Fundraising booth on the NAAA Trade Show floor on Tuesday and Wednesday.


Help us raise funds to continue the highly regarded PAASS Program, working to reduce the number of aviation accidents and drift incidents each year.

Less than a Month Left to Apply for $20K in Scholarship Aid Available for Aspiring Ag Pilots

How does $5,000 sound to help someone pursue their dream of becoming a professional ag pilot? Thanks to the generous support of BASF and Thrush Aircraft, $20,000 in aid is available under the 2019 NAAA “Ag Wings of Tomorrow” Scholarship Program to assist four aspiring ag pilots in their journey.


NAAA awarded $5,000 scholarships to four aspiring ag pilots at the 2018 Ag Aviation Expo. From L–R, NAAA “Ag Wings of Tomorrow” Scholarship recipients Parker Gore, Walter Meise, Will Souther and Emory Lobley, with Thrush Aircraft VP of Sales Eric Rojek and BASF’s John Sabatka, respectively. BASF and Thrush co-sponsor NAAA’s pilot training scholarship.


The goal of NAAA’s “Ag Wings of Tomorrow” Scholarship Program is to strengthen the aerial application industry by helping operator members bring new pilots into the profession and help fund their training. Applicants must be sponsored by an NAAA Operator member, and scholarship recipients may use the proceeds for flight training or aviation or ag-related 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 scholarship program is administered by NAAA and funded by educational grants provided by BASF and Thrush.


This year, NAAA will award up to four scholarships valued at $5,000 each. This is a win-win for NAAA Operator members and individuals seeking training funds to support their pursuit of becoming a professional ag pilot.

How to Apply

To be considered for the 2019 scholarship, along with completing the two-part application, every applicant must submit:

  • A letter of recommendation from the NAAA Operator member sponsoring the applicant.
  • An essay of 250 words or less explaining why you want to pursue a career in agricultural aviation and how you would use NAAA’s “Ag Wings of Tomorrow” Scholarship to further your education and training.
  • A one-page résumé or list of activities detailing all agricultural and aviation experiences, education and training.

NAAA will award the recipients of the 2019 “Ag Wings of Tomorrow” Scholarships in November at the Ag Aviation Expo in Orlando. Last year NAAA awarded $5,000 scholarships to four young individuals who represent the future of ag aviation: Parker Gore of Cleveland, Miss.; Emory Lobley of Dalhart, Texas; Walter Meise of Moses Lake, Wash.; and Will Souther of Douglas, Ga.


To learn more about the 2019 NAAA “Ag Wings of Tomorrow” Scholarship, please review the instructions included with the 2019 application. Please contact NAAA at (202) 546-5722 or for clarification about any of the application requirements.


While the applicant must be sponsored by an NAAA Operator member, NAAA membership is not a prerequisite for the person applying for the scholarship. Becoming an NAAA Associate member, however, is a great way for candidates to learn more about the industry and augment their training.


The deadline to apply for a 2019 “Ag Wings of Tomorrow” Scholarship is Aug. 31.

We Love Our Members! Check Out All Your Support Has Helped Us Accomplish! Please Continue Your Support

Renewals are now open! You will soon receive your renewal form in the mail, but there is no need to wait! You can renew online today. As a member of NAAA, you associate with the best and brightest in the agricultural aviation industry and your support is imperative in helping us accomplish our initiatives. We’d like to remind you of just a few new offerings NAAA has recently released such as:

  • NAAA is now offering legal services on Federal Transpiration Laws to Operator and Pilot Members
  • Receive the 2019 NAAA Operator and Pilot Survey Report which is chockful of key statistics providing a healthy status of the U.S. aerial application industry. 
  • The legendary Sean D. Tucker will be speaking at the Ag Aviation Expo in Orlando, Nov. 18-21, 2019. It's 4 days packed full of educational sessions where you can earn CEU's. Registration opens July1!
  • Our 2019 NAAA Membership Directory has been mailed out. It’s your one-stop shop where you can find members and allied services in the industry.
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest issues affecting your profession through the NAAA eNewsletter, Agricultural Aviation magazine and exclusive member resources online such as our Media Relations Kit.
  • Don’t forget to take advantage of financial incentives such as our Operation S.A.F.E. Rebate Program and our Recruitment Rewards Program.


As a member of NAAA, you associate with the best and brightest in the agricultural aviation industry. NAAA is dedicated to protecting and advancing the needs of the industry by improving the public's perception of the aerial application industry and spearheading the industry's environmental stewardship and safety initiatives. If you haven’t gotten a chance to review all our accomplishments this past year in the 2019 NAAA Membership Directory, you can download our Annual Report here.


We appreciate your membership as it will help us continue to fight and win on important issues like unfair user fees and taxes; tower marking requirements; integration of drones into the national airspace; and ensuring EPA keeps a healthy inventory of crop protection products for aerial use without restrictions. Your membership helps us better represent your interests.

2019 Ag Aviation Golf Tournament Oct. 19–20

NAAA members are invited to join your Arkansas brethren for a fun weekend of golf and fellowship Oct. 19–20. The Red Apple Inn and Country Club in Heber Springs, Ark., is hosting the 2019 Ag Aviation Golf Tournament. This year’s proceeds will benefit the Miracle League of Arkansas, a baseball league for children with intellectual and/or physical disabilities.


The $150 entry fee covers two rounds of golf, happy hour and dinner at the Red Apple Inn on Saturday evening and a complimentary T-shirt. The tournament starts at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, with a two-man scramble format. The final round tees off Sunday, Oct. 20, starting at 8:30 a.m. (A dinner-only fee of $35 is available for non-golfers.)

Inn rooms, two-bedroom condos and three-bedroom condos are available at the Red Apple Inn for $135, $215 and $260, respectively. Call the Red Apple Inn at 1-800-733-2775 and use the reservation code “AG AVIATION” to reserve your room.

To register for the Ag Aviation Golf Tournament, complete the registration form and mail a check to:

Brenda Watts

102 Norris Lane

Watson, AR 71674
(please include T-shirt size on the check)

The tournament organizers, a small group of Arkansas aerial applicators, decided to donate proceeds from this year’s golf tournament to the Miracle League of Arkansas to help the organization repair its flood-damaged ballfield. On June 7, the Miracle League’s specially equipped ballfield was flooded with water from the overflowing Arkansas River. More than 24,000 tiles were damaged in the flood that must be removed, cleaned, sanitized, repaired, reinstalled and repainted. The nonprofit organization launched the Flood the Field with Love campaign to raise funds to repair the field.


For more information, please contact the 2019 Ag Aviation Golf Tournament organizers. Contact information for members of the tournament committee is available here.