Aerial application is one of the most demanding types of flying. Often conducted at very low level - a few metres above the ground when spraying - the flying must be based on professionalism and a very high degree of 'stick and rudder' aptitude.
The culture of the industry is very mission focussed on doing a good - and safe - job for our clients. For this reason, a healthy personal attitude towards safety, teamwork and a sound personal knowledge of products and application technology is essential.
Aerial application companies are almost universally located in rural and regional Australia and this is a very attractive feature of the career, where the ability to sustain an aviation career goes hand-in-hand with a great lifestyle and community.
Aerial application is generally very seasonal, meaning that months of little activity may be follwed by periods of intense high-tempo operations.
Aerial application can be a very rewarding career for any pilot that is up for a challenging daily work environment, has good stick and rudder skills, is committed to ongoing professional development and has a very strong commitment to safety.
Aerial application is not a career only for pilots - there are a range of ther occupations that make up the industry, ranging from LAMEs (aircraft engineers) to operations managers, loader-mixers and secretarial staff.
If you would like to discuss a career in aerial application, call the AAAA office.
Training & Licensing of Pilots
On a worldwide basis, Australia requires the highest standard of agricultural pilot qualification.
Agricultural aircraft pilots are highly trained and licensed, and can only be described as professional applicators. To obtain an ag rating a pilot must first obtain a commercial license and then attend a school approved and supervised by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for an intensive agricultural flying and theory course.
On completion of this course, following flying and written examinations conducted by CASA, the pilot is issued with an Agricultural Class 2 Rating. During his initial introduction to the industry, he/she operates under the supervision of a CASA approved Chief Pilot. After attaining 1,000 agricultural flying hours, he/she is again examined to CASA standards and may be issued with an Agricultural Class 1 Rating.
All States require the pilot to hold an Agricultural Chemical License or Rating. This involves a Spraysafe examination conducted by the AAAA and accepted by the regulatory authorities such as Primary Industries & Environment.
Before a pilot can conduct aerial agricultural work, he or she must have the following:
• A Commercial Pilot's Licence
• An Agricultural Pilot Rating
• The required numbers of flying hours for currency
• Proficiency on type endorsement
• A Chemical Distribution licence - the AAAA Spraysafe manual and exam is accepted by all States and Territories
• Employment by an operator or own their own company, which demands even higher requirements