BASF and the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) have collaborated to reward two promising aviators with scholarships to assist them as they follow their passion in the field of aerial application.
Matthew Burkhammer of Carlisle, Arkansas, and Landunn Koyle of Gooding, Idaho, were awarded NAAA/BASF Agricultural Aviation Scholarships of $2,500 and $5,000, respectively. The two winners were recognized at the 50th Annual NAAA Convention & Exposition kickoff breakfast in Long Beach, California.
“We want to ensure that our aerial applicators are knowledgeable, efficient and safe in the skies, especially with today’s rapid technical advancements,” said John Sabatka, Northern Corn Belt IS Manager, BASF. “Our scholarship support helps create a strong pipeline for the industry and enable young aviators to pursue their chosen career paths.”
Burkhammer is employed at Tidwell Flying Service in Carlisle, Arkansas, and is currently enrolled at Almond Aviation in Searcy, Arkansas, where he is studying for an instrument rating and commercial pilot certificate. Once that is acquired, Burkhammer will enroll in an agricultural flight training school to pursue a career as an aerial applicator.
Koyle is currently attending a private flight school through a certified flight instructor and is employed at Thomas Helicopters, Inc. in Gooding, Idaho. He is working toward a private, commercial and instrument certification in aviation. Koyle’s ultimate goal is to be an agricultural helicopter aviator.
“BASF has been a major supporter of NAAA over the years, and we appreciate their commitment to nurturing a new generation of competent and capable professional ag pilots,” said Andrew Moore, Executive Director, NAAA. “Since 2010, NAAA has awarded $53,500 in scholarship funds to 15 individuals through the NAAA/BASF Agricultural Aviation Scholarship program. BASF’s investments in these aspiring ag pilots helps sustain this important industry to agriculture, forestry, biofuel production and public health protection both now and in the future.”
BASF and NAAA also have a longstanding mission to keep pilot safety and effectiveness as a top priority for the industry, and plan to continue to push their aerial application education and training efforts year-round.
Last year marked another successful year in the Operation S.A.F.E. (Self-regulating Application and Flight Efficiency) Professional Application Analysis Clinic. In 2016, the BASF/Operation S.A.F.E. incentive program continued to encourage aerial applicators to participate in fly-in clinics across the country.