Two budding pilots are a step closer to soaring over the fields of America thanks to a pair of scholarships from BASF and the National Agricultural Aviation Association .
Justin Mook of Wiggins, Colorado, and Kippy Foltyn of Lansford, North Dakota, were awarded NAAA/BASF Agricultural Aviation Scholarships of $5,000 and $2,500, respectively, and honored during the 46th Annual NAAA Convention and Exposition kickoff breakfast today in Savannah, Georgia.
The scholarships are the product of a partnership between BASF and NAAA, a partnership that aims to build the future of aerial application.
"America needs more qualified aerial applicators," said Gary Fellows, Ph.D., BASF Plant Health Technical Services Manager and member of the National Agricultural Aviation Research & Education Foundation (NAAREF) Professional Aerial Applicators' Support System, (PAASS) Program Development Committee. "With these scholarships, we're able to provide people like Justin and Kippy with the opportunity to receive the education they need to enter the field."
Mook is currently enrolled in Enrich's Helicopters Flight School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he is pursuing his commercial pilot's license. He already has his private license and hopes to begin his agricultural pilot training after completing his current program this winter.
Foltyn attended Ag Flight Pilot Training LLC in Bainbridge, Georgia, and plans to continue his education later this year with plans to become an aerial applicator.
"BASF has been a major supporter of NAAA over the years, and we appreciate their continued generosity," NAAA Executive Director Andrew Moore said. "The grant that allowed us to establish the Agricultural Aviation Scholarship has helped ensure that the pipeline remains well stocked with competent and capable professional ag pilots."~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
"Thanks to these scholarships, Justin and Kippy's dreams are beginning to take flight," said Fellows, "and the agricultural aviation industry is much better off because of it."
BASF continued its support of the NAAA Annual Convention and Exposition as a diamond-level sponsor, which included sponsoring the kick-off breakfast and NAAA scholarships. In addition to sponsoring the yearly event, BASF continues to work with NAAA and NAAREF year-round to keep safety and efficiency top-of-mind for pilots across the U.S. Each year, BASF sponsors a number of NAAREF's Operation S.A.F.E. (Self-Regulating Application and Flight Efficiency) fly-in workshops, a program that educates pilots to make safe and precise applications.
"BASF is committed to the aerial application industry, and the Operation S.A.F.E. workshops are just one more way we can help educate pilots and keep them safe in the air," Fellows said.
The workshops are an opportunity to boost equipment performance, applicator knowledge and ensure safety. During these hands-on sessions, applicators work with trained analysts to get aircraft in top working condition and learn about pertinent legal requirement. Thanks to Operation S.A.F.E. fly-ins, more than 330 aircraft were inspected in 2012 alone, not to mention hundreds more in previous years.
In 2013, BASF will also continue as the exclusive AgSync marketing partner. Through this partnership, AgSync provides a complete aerial work order management system designed to help applicators with planning and transparency.
In addition to these programs and partnerships, BASF has helped lead the proliferation of aerial fungicide application beginning with the introduction of Headline® fungicide in the early 2006. Today, BASF offers a number of fungicide products in addition to Headline fungicide that can be applied aerially. That includes Twinline® fungicide and Caramba®fungicide for cereals and Headline AMP® fungicide, a combination fungicide specifically developed for corn growers who want maximum protection from foliar disease, as well as improved Plant Health. New in 2012, BASF also launched Priaxor™ fungicide, a new product powered by Xemium®fungicide, which provides a new mode of action for use on soybean, potato and tomato crops.
"Investing in our products is just as important as investing in the professionals who apply them," said Fellows. "We're honored to partner with industry leaders like NAAA to help move the industry forward."