Air Tractor Announces New Dealer for Canada

OLNEY, TEXAS — Air Tractor, Inc. President Jim Hirsch announced today the addition of a new Air Tractor® dealership for Canada. Portage Aircraft Specialties, located in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, will serve agricultural aerial applicators across Canada as the authorized dealer for Air Tractor aircraft sales, repairs, maintenance and parts. “We are excited and pleased to have Portage Aircraft Specialties join the Air Tractor family of dealers,” said Hirsch. “I am confident they will provide the kind of exceptional service and support that Air Tractor owners have come to expect.”  

Queen Bee Air Specialties President Chip Kemper, the Air Tractor dealer for the Northwest United States and Canada, and Portage Aircraft Specialties President Dave Frisch, brought the idea to Air Tractor for transitioning the Canadian retail distribution rights for Air Tractor ag aircraft to Portage Aircraft Specialties. After a long process of discovery by all parties the transition has moved forward.  

The agreement fulfills the goals of all parties involved, remarked Chip Kemper. “Dave and I have had a long and productive relationship for many years. I think it's going to be terrific for Air Tractor and the Canadian aerial application industry. There will be a service center and large parts stock in Canada, operated by a dealer that is a Canadian.  I believe it will be fantastic for Portage Aircraft Specialties and all the Air Tractor customers in Canada. I wish Dave and their staff every success.”  

Dave Frisch is a long-time Air Tractor aircraft owner. He grew up on a mixed grain and livestock farm in the Manitou area and began his ag flying career in 1999. Frisch serves on the Canadian Aerial Applicators Association Board and is currently the Manitoba Aerial Applicators Association President. He owns and manages an aerial application business as well as Portage Aircraft Maintenance, which opened its doors in 2004 to answer the need for a maintenance facility specializing in the growing numbers of turbine Air Tractor aircraft entering Canada.  

“We are proud and delighted to represent Air Tractor agricultural aircraft in Canada. Air Tractor produces a great airplane,” Frisch said. “I have flown them for many years. Our maintenance facility has kept Air Tractor customers flying for thousands of trouble-free hours.” Portage Aircraft Specialties has an 8,400 square foot, climate-controlled, state-of-the-art maintenance facility in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. “We provide a comprehensive range of maintenance and repair services. We are expanding our inventory of Air Tractor parts to provide overnight parts delivery to aerial application operators across Canada,” Frisch added.  

Air Tractor President Jim Hirsch noted that Canadian aerial applicators are using Air Tractor turbine powered airplanes for fast, efficient applications of crop protection and nutrient products. “Canada has been and remains a key market for Air Tractor. Dave’s leadership in the Canadian Aerial Applicators Association and the strong, steady reputation he’s earned among his fellow aerial applicators makes me believe that Portage Aircraft Specialties will be an outstanding representative for Air Tractor products.”  

For more information about Portage Aircraft Specialties, visit or contact Dave Frisch, President of Portage Aircraft Specialties at sales@portageaircraft.caor call 1-204-857-4151.  

About Air Tractor  

At its Olney Texas manufacturing facilities, Air Tractor produces a line of aircraft that includes 400, 500, 600 and 800-gallon capacity airplanes powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprop engines. The airplanes are used for agricultural aerial application, fire fighting, narcotic crop eradication, fuel hauling, fighting locust plagues, and cleaning oil spills in coastal waters. From North, South and Central America, to Australia, Indonesia and China to Spain, Italy, Croatia and Africa, Air Tractor aircraft can be found working in more than 30 countries around the world and are supported by a global network of Air Tractor dealers. More information can be found at  

PMRA Issues Information Note Regarding the Use of Drones when Applying Pesticides

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has released a statement regarding the use of pest control products and unmanned aerial vehicles (drones).

The aerial application industry in Canada is aware that drone technology is up and coming and that drones are considered aircraft by Transport Canada. But as the article states operators of drones “are responsible for meeting other applicable regulatory requirements established by other Government of Canada departments.”

According to Pest Control Products Regulations in Canada all pest control products, including limitations and procedures to reduce associated risks of the product, must be clearly indicated on the product label. Currently, no label amendment applications for the use of drones in applying pest control products have been submitted for approval in Canada.

For individuals interested in using drones as a method for applying pest control products they must first work with the registrant to submit a label amendment “applications to PMRA, along with sufficient data to characterize the hazards/risks associated with this use.”

What this means is drones are not permitted to be used to apply pest control products in Canada. For more information or to read the full article released by the Health Canada please follow this link.


Shara Tardif
Executive Director
Canadian Aerial Applicators Association
(780) 413-0078

PILOTS, PLANES & PREP 2018 - Yorkton Aircraft

We are on the home stretch!! This last month has been busy planning this event.  We are so excited to be bringing together experts from the industry and to have them deliver educational sessions that will help you this spray season!  Thrush Aircraft, Pratt & Whitney, GE Aviation, Satloc, Transland, Micronair and more will be arriving next week to make this event go!  For more information email Kaci at

Training takes centre stage

For Immediate Release
Yorkton Aircraft Service Ltd., December 2017 ‐ At the 2017 NAAA Ag Aviation Expo, Thrush Aircraft elaborated on their Training Initiatives in support the Ag Air industry.

"Leaders  promote their  industry,  not  their product,"  Thrush  Aircraft  VP Eric  Rojek remarked  at  his  introductory comments at the Thrush Session on Thursday December 7 in Savannah Georgia. "We are pleased to tell you more about  our  training  initiatives  at  Thrush  as  we  firmly  believe  this  is  the  best  way  to  support  our  Thrush  owners, pilots, maintenance people and the Ag Air industry as a whole." Read More

Before the Plate Announcement

The CAAA is proud to announce that Dylan Sher, the creative mind behind the ‘Before the Plate’ documentary and a student at the University of Guelph, will be a guest speaker at the CAAA Annual Conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba in February.

Before The Plate attempts to close the gap in perception between the urban consumer and farming in Canada. Modern consumers are increasingly interested in where and how their food gets to them, but accurate information is hard to come by and often feels out of reach. Before The Plate follows young farmers and industry experts in order to show the general population what a modern Canadian farm operation looks like, and answer the most pressing questions consumers have about their food. The film will follow food staples of the Canadian diet all the way from the farm to the harvesting and processing operations and showcase the final product at Canoe, one of Toronto's most prestigious restaurants. The goal is to submit the finished documentary to the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as other influential film festivals in 2018. The project will follow various types of agriculture, including both organic and conventional practices to answer some of the biggest questions related to farming in our society.

 The CAAA has been excitedly involved in this project in order to include aerial application.  Thanks to a donation by Zimmer Air Services we are proud to announce that aerial application is included in this important documentary.

 The filmmaker’s goal is to create a film, purely backed by crowd funding and private donations, that does not have to answer to any higher up organizations or companies, so that they can honestly and fairly represent the Canadian farming industry.  As you can appreciate, student projects like these are completely self-funded and we wanted to bring this message forward to our members in case you are looking for a worthy project to support. 

 Linked Here is the filmmakers fundraising goals.

Pollinator Protection Initiative (PPI)

May 1, 2017 - The Canadian Aerial Applicators Association (CAAA) and Bee-Keeper Associations throughout Canada have access to a smart phone and desktop application that will help ensure the safety of bees. “BeeConnected” is a first of its kind geo-map based, user-driven communication and coordination tool to help protect Canada’s honeybee population. This world-first innovative communication tool enables communication between aerial applicators, beekeepers and farmers while ensuring personal privacy.

“BeeConnected” allows an aerial applicator to easily log the time and field location of a specific crop protection product application activity through a Google Maps-based platform with GPS capability. Beekeepers can use the same functions to log the present locations of their beehives. When a beehive is logged near the field requiring treatment, applicators are then connected with beekeepers within a specific geographical area. The automated notifications allow the two parties to chat further about their activities via a secure internal messaging service.

For some time now, the CAAA and Bee-Keeper Associations in Canada have been in consultation and remain engaged to improve an already world leading stewardship program to help protect Canada’s pollinators. When used responsibly and in accordance with approved label instructions, crop protection products do not pose a risk to honey bees. Canada’s aerial applicators and bee-keepers continue to cultivate their partnership and as a result, are able to provide local farmers with the tools they need -- to provide food security, availability and affordability to Canadian families and an ever increasing world population.

Mike Alarie (President)
Canadian Aerial Applicators Association

Update to Stakeholders on Unmanned Air Vehicles

Following the consultation on the Notice of Proposed Amendment for small Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs), weighing 25 kg or less and operated within visual line-of-sight, Transport Canada has been finalizing the policy and regulatory framework.

The Department is currently developing proposed regulations that are expected to be made public in the Canada Gazette, Part I in spring 2017. Stakeholders and Canadians will have the opportunity to provide comments as part of the consultation period.

At this time, the regulatory exemptions (exemption for under 2 kg / exemption for 2 kg to 25 kg) remain valid and will be updated prior to their current expiry date of December 16, 2016. For those that cannot meet the conditions of the exemptions, until such time as the final regulations are published, you can apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate.

The full document is now available for download.