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Agricultural aviation celebrates 70th anniversary

“In September 1949, a group of aerial work operators got together to form the NZ Aerial Work Operators Association ‘to advance the techniques of aerial work’ in the country,” said the New Zealand Agricultural Aviation Association (NZAAA) Chairman, Tony Michelle.

We celebrate the achievements of those early companies and pilots at an agricultural aviation show at Ardmore Airport on Sunday 4 August, from 12 midday to 4pm. Many examples of aircraft that have worked in agricultural aviation will be on display. It also gives people a chance to mingle with many of the older pilots from those early days, as well as those safely flying our skies today.

The Ardmore display will be followed by an Anniversary Dinner, attended by many of those old pilots. The importance of that 1949 decision will be continued in the NZ Agricultural Aviation Conference, being run in conjunction with the Aviation NZ conference, on 5 and 6 August in Auckland.

‘The Aerial Agricultural industry takes a great deal of pride in the professionalism of our operators and pilots, who are extremely well trained’ said Michelle.

Those early operators wanted to improve the safety of agricultural aviation; it remains a critically important imperative for the NZAAA today. Programmes run to improve safety and the way the industry does things include AIRCARE™ (improves professionalism) and Down to the Wire (encourages the removal of rural wire hazards for agricultural aircraft).

Annually, the aerial agricultural sector adds an estimated $2.0b of benefits to the economy. We are committed to the long term sustainability of our industry but it is important that we recognise that initiative, 70 years ago, to put the industry on a safe and strong footing.

‘Today, the NZAAA has 61 members who are responsible for the bulk of agricultural product dispensed in New Zealand’ said Association Chairman Tony Michelle.

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