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Abstract

The agricultural aviation industry plays an increasingly important role in being able to meet the demands of food production on global level. With a limited ability to increase the amount of land used for food production, farmers will have to find a way to increase yields on current land. Unfortunately, the agricultural aviation industry is at risk of having a shortage of pilots able to operate its aircraft. With the current generation of agricultural pilots reaching retirement, operators are scrambling to find qualified pilots to fill their seats. The majority of operators indicated that when looking for a new pilot their number one qualification is experience. This pilot study addresses what skills and qualifications beyond experience are necessary for pilots to be successful flying in a FAA Part 137 agricultural application operation (Federal Aviation Administration, 2018). While the study looks at several different criteria, there is specific focus given to the need for soft skill development through advanced education.

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