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Aerial Applicators

 If it flies and sprays - it comes our way: 

The State of North Dakota has provisions for becoming an Aerial Applicator - you can find them here. Spring 2022 was the first opportunity for operators to apply for an aerial applicator license specifically for unmanned aircraft. The law was updated and now includes requirements and safety standards for unmanned aircraft operators to provide aerial application in North Dakota.

There is preparation involved in collecting documentation and working with different agencies.

  • All aircraft and pilots must be known to our office. 
  • All aerial applicators (both manned and unmanned) are required to meet safety standard criteria and receive licensure from our office.

Part 137 is the FAA regulation that governs the use of any aircraft in either private or commercial agricultural operations.

Part 107 is a set of rules governing flights of commercial Small UAS weighing less than 55 pounds. Commercial is defined as operating in support of any business. 

  • Aerial Applicator Application/Manned

You may apply for a Manned Commercial Aerial Applicators License by completing SFN 7546

Private Manned Aerial Applicators must complete SFN 2360. (Pilot's own land or land farmed by the pilot; not for hire)

The fee for an Aerial Applicator’s license is $200.00 and is non-refundable.



  • Aerial Applicator Application/Unmanned

Before you can even begin to apply chemicals with a drone in North Dakota, even on your own farm, operators need a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA (Part 107); an Agricultural Aircraft Operator certificate from the FAA (Part 137), a North Dakota Pesticide Certificate (NDSU); and finally, an Unmanned Aerial Applicator License from the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission. The fee for an Aerial Applicator’s license is $200.00 and is non-refundable. (Note that if you also qualify for and maintain a manned license, you are exempt from this unmanned fee.)

(There is no difference between commercial and private unmanned applicators.)

State law requires each aerial applicating drone be registered

Federal law requires all drones operated under 14 CFR Part 107 to be registered


Review our Unmanned Aerial Applicator CHECKLIST 

Drones and Pesticide Use | Must-haves Before Applying

If you have any questions on this application, give us a call at (701) 328-9650 or email us.



Acreage Reporting
All aerial applicators are required to report total acres sprayed by December 1st of each year. Please report your acreage here.
Aerial Applicator Contact Information
For the most current list of licensed North Dakota Aerial Applicators, click here.
Procedures For Becoming An Aerial Applicator In North Dakota
Every person or business desiring to become engaged in the activity of aerial application in the State of  North Dakota shall make application for and obtain an aerial applicator's license from the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.
All aircraft operating in North Dakota shall be registered with the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission prior to actual use of the aircraft in this state and prior to the issuance of an aerial applicator's license.
The application shall be filed on forms furnished by the commission and shall set forth the following information:
  • Meet the qualifications for an aerial applicator as set forth in the Rules and Regulations of the ND Aeronautics Commission relating to aerial spraying, fertilizing and insect control by aircraft (drone) or helicopter.
  • Must be registered as a Certified Agricultural Chemical Applicator before application can be made for a state applicator certification. (Examination may be taken at your county Agent's office | NDSU Extension Service - (701) 231- 6388)
  • Non-resident aerial applicators from neighboring states may use their chemical certification from their state as a reciprocating agreement (contact NDSU Extension Service | (701) 231-7180).
  • Must have an FAA Part 137 "Agricultural Aircraft Operator Certificate" (can be obtained from FAA FSDO | (701) 492-5800). Non-residents must attach a copy of their Part 137 to state spray application. New applicators need an affidavit of experience and hours in aircraft requested on the license.
  • An application must be completed for aerial applicators listing all aircraft and pilots that will be operating under the license. All aircraft must be registered with the state and all pilots must have a current FAA Airman Certificate.
  • All aerial applicators hiring any personnel must take out ND Workmen's Compensation on all employees, including pilots, flagmen and ground crews. All operators must have a policy number of their Workmen's Compensation denoted on the spray application before a license will be issued. (Contact Workmen's Compensation at (701) 328-3800.)
  • It is required that each operator attend one agricultural safety meeting a year. This requirement can be met by attending the annual ND Aeronautics Commission safety meeting or going to a Professional Aerial Applicators Support System (PAASS) safety seminar. If you were not able to attend either of these programs, you have the option to watch the current year's two hour video on our website (which can be found below).
Chief Pilots located within the state of North Dakota requirements: It is the responsibility of the chief pilot to determine the amount of supervision a pilot requires. The chief pilot must be familiar with the area in which the supervised pilot or pilots are flying and be able to contact each pilot daily as needed. Pilots with less than 2 years experience and less than 250 hours of actual aerial application must be under the direct, personal supervision of a chief pilot and must be flying out of the same airport as the airport in which the chief pilot is operating. The chief pilot of every aerial spraying operation licensed by the Aeronautics Commission must be located within North Dakota during the time of actual aerial spraying operations and the chief pilot shall be responsible for the actions of all pilots under the chief pilot's supervision.
License reciprocity between state - Non-residents: License reciprocity may be granted to nonresidents who meet the aeronautical experience requirements for the operational level sought. Chemical knowledge certification of nonresident aerial applicators must be obtained in North Dakota in accordance with current pesticide regulations.
Airworthiness certificate required: All aircraft licensed for aerial application in North Dakota shall have a current and valid Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness certificate.
Revocation of aerial spraying license: The Director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission reserves the right to revoke or refuse to issue an aerial applicator's license for just cause, or for violation of any rule, regulation, procedure or standard after a hearing has been held. On the basis of proper cause shown, the director of this Aeronautics Commission may also suspend a license or refuse to issue a license until such time as a hearing has been held.
Penalty for violation of the rules and regulations: Attention is drawn to ND Century Code section 2-05-18, which relates to the licensing of aerial applicators of agricultural chemicals and provides that any person convicted of violation of any provision of that section or rules or regulation promulgated under the authority of that section shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor.

Aerial Applicator Alert Maps

To view the North Dakota Aerial Applicator alert map to learn more about the locations of met towers and sensitive areas, visit the Maps page.
The North Dakota Department of Agriculture also provides a great GIS mapping resouce for sensitive areas which can be found on their website.

Aerial Applicator Safety Videos

Still need to meet the safety requirement for 2024's aerial applicator license application?

Click the link below to watch the 2024 North Dakota Aerial Applicator 

Safety Video! <