Shortage of qualified workers has ag pilot courses taking off

YORKTON, Sask. — A new education option is now available for those wanting to become agriculture pilots.

Miccar Aerial Ltd. in Yorkton just completed its first run through a new training program.

“We started an ag pilot course for people wanting to get into ag aviation,” said company head Michael Yaholnitsky.

“We saw a need for aviation training specific to ag aviation.”

He said two other courses are offered in Canada, including one in North Battleford, Sask., but his company thought there was room for another one, considering the shortage of agricultural pilots.

Yaholnitsky said developing such a program seemed like a logical step for his company to take, given its experience.

“We designed our own course,” he said.


He said there are “no specific Transport Canada requirements,” to be an agricultural pilot, but industry specific training is nearly a must in terms of employment and insurance.

As a result, the training is “type specific and industry specific.”

Yaholnitsky said the course covers safety, reading chemical labels, GPS study and in-airplane flight training.

Being an ag pilot require additional skills, he added.

“Flying the airplane is just a small part of it.”

Three pilots recently completed the 40 hour course: one from Ontario, one from Quebec and one from Manitoba.


Pier Daigle took the course and will continue to work for Miccar Aerial.

“It’s been quite a few years that I wanted to try it,” he said, adding he has been intrigued to “fly and be involved in ag at the same time.”

He achieved his commercial pilot’s license three years ago, but then worked for a few years before undertaking the ag-specific training course.

“After the 40 hours of training, you know what you’re going to be doing,” said Daigle.

He said it was beneficial to have instructors who are actively involved in the sector.

“The guys training us know what they were talking about.”