1st August 2015 ushers in some significant changes in the Aviation sector and all good ones. Let’s start with the introduction of graphical sigmets on the Metflight GA free weather site. Effectively a sigmet cartoon but one that identifies the area affected by graphical view. Congratulations to Metservice for this initiative and while it is not in plain English they have the symbols index on the same page. Access this site either direct at or through Airways IFIS site. In case you have forgotten, it is your CAA client number (licence number) and the password is the date of first issue of your licence using forward slashes between the dates.That is complicated and a pain in the butt but we are working on getting that changed.
1st August is also the date of changes in the Aviation Federation (NZAF) shareholding in Aspeq Ltd which owns ASL the examination company doing the aviation exams. I gave more detail last month but it is now a reality. NZAF and Aviation NZ (AvNZ) own the company with NZAF now holding 70%. This move will allow NZAF to be fully funded and build up a war chest so that we can effectively stand up for our right to fly.
It also heralds in a new era of cooperation within the aviation community. The President of AvNZ, Don McCracken and I met last week and agreed to work together for the benefit of all sectors of aviation. Together we cover all general aviation (GA) and by working as one we will have more impact at regulator level. Up until today AOPA has been the only GA advocate on the New Southern Sky working group (NSSWG) which is tasked with implementing the air navigation plan. Now AvNZ representative, Ashok Poduval, is also attending these meetings and his involvement with Massey School of Aviation brings a view from the training perspective.
I see this agreement with Don to work together as a major step forward in our goal to be seen as a credible force speaking for all GA, from microlights to commercial. It has been a long time coming but now that it is here it is up to all of us to see it work as intended. The aim is for all the member organisations of NZAF and AvNZ to retain their independence but to bring issues to the combined table so we are all on the same page. We don’t have to agree all the time but at least we will know what we are individually thinking.
The work being done by CAA on the NSS Plan is enormous and there are some dedicated guys and gals doing some extraordinary work. I cannot be specific because we have all agreed that rather than putting out information that is always changing we will issue reports when they have been fully reviewed and approved at the highest level. Just believe me when I say that AOPA is pulling its weight for GA. I never forget the basic GA VFR “down low and slow” members, who don’t really need to take an interest in what is happening “up high and fast”. I have also said this before but it is worth repeating that at these meetings Air New Zealand stands up for you as well. There are many issues raised where we speak with one voice and having the support and respect of Air NZ is a real bonus.
Our next AOPA Executive meeting is scheduled for 9th & 10th October at Mercer and the Tuakau hotel. This would be a good time for local North Islanders to come along, meet the executive and find out what we do. Log the date in your diary and we will send out more information closer to the time. Phil Pacey, Graeme Weck and Steve Horne (who doesn’t know it yet) will be organising it.
Finally for this month. What a great winter fly-in we had at Omarama. It will be well reported in the next magazine and we have lots of photos on the web. Many thanks to all those that organised the event, Guy, Shaun, Kevin and co. This really is a signature event for AOPA and as long as we have the facilities of the hotel and airfield it will be hard to beat. We always learn something from these events and this one with over 70 planes, fantastic weather and all the strips available, the exuberance probably resulted in a bit much chatter on the CFZ frequency. It was great to have so many younger members and families along and shows that we have a secure future in AOPA.
Happy days and safe flying.