One badly worded (my opinion) article in Vector and my phones run hot. The article reads as though all private strips and landing areas are going to come under scrutiny with movement returns and inspections to follow.
I have spoken to Graeme Harris the Director and SAA have also spoken with Lisa Shepherd. That is not the intention of CAA and will not be the case so please just carry on doing what you have always done and enjoy your Sunday afternoon outings to whichever strip you desire.
This has come about because of Coroner reports and also TAIC recommendations. It is intended to clean up some operations that are commercial and probably need to be cleaned up. Frankly it has always been the case that CAA can come to anyplace that is being operated as a landing strip and enforce regulations. But how often does that happen and it would only be in the event of a safety issue.
We want to take this opportunity to remind pilots to be courteous to land owners and in particularly farmers, both inside and outside of DOC estate. Phone ahead, they may be doing stock work, or lambing. The unexpected arrival of an aircraft can be somewhat unwelcome, whereas a week before it may have been most welcome.
So please don’t panic about the Vector article and be assured we will follow up to ensure our rights are protected.
Now is a good time to put in a plug for the Auckland meet and greet the executive. Numbers are low at the moment and we would like to see more coming along on the 10th October (next Saturday) to meet us and give us your brick bats and maybe the odd bouquet. This event is very Auckland Centric and being held at Novatel Ellerslie so is easy to get to for all. Function starts at 5pm through to 8 pm with finger food provided but it will be a cash bar. Stay for a meal after if you want to. We would like to see you and those that do not attend many AOPA functions are very welcome. We are holding our Executive meeting at the same place all day Saturday and will need some chearing up after so this is your chance to catch up on what is happening and cheer us up as well. We are catering for at least 50 but only have 27 names at the moment. Go onto the web and register for it NOW.
On the Sunday Phil Pacey has organised a fly out to Te Kuiti (wherever that is) the guys there are going to have a BBQ going and will entertain us with rude and adventurous stories of past escapades. Details of both events are on the website.
Come on Auckland this is your chance to show the South Islanders that you really do go flying.
As always there is a lot also happening on several fronts but the most time consuming is the New Southern Sky programme. AOPA is more than pulling its weight here with some tight deadlines in place for the changes to our navigation systems. The introduction of ADSB for VFR pilots may just be getting a little bit more in our favour but I cannot say too much about it yet. I do spend as much time batting for VFR as I do for IFR and if we were not on both teams we would not be heard as well as we are.
Progress on the RPL for helicopters is moving along as is the going solo on a RPL medical. These are both rolled into the Part 61 review which is underway. The same is also happening for the ARA extension and these will be on the table at the November ACAG meetings. At least I can see some progress to an acceptable solution with these items.
The Funding review is delayed again. Waiting for the Minister to sign it off for the next round of consultation. I am absolutely frustrated to hell with this progress. The Ministry know my feelings on the matter but nothing happens. It cannot be discussed until it goes out for consultation which is Government policy. I am not happy at the cost that has been thrown at this when it could have been sorted in two months with a fraction of the cost. The cost of getting things done at CAA scares me and it is something I am pushing at all opportunities. Maybe I am an optimist but I do feel that the progress we are making is good. The main thing is getting the various other sectors together and talking to each other. Just this week I have been able to talk to the guys that do the work at Airways and also ato Air NZ. We are starting to agree on things and forming joint approaches on matters that concern us all.
On the fun side we are lucky that we have Shaun Gilbertson to organise things like the Bonspiel fly-in. He is amazing at getting the weather organised for landing on the snow field. Great photos on the website. We are now coming up to some great flying weather and Christmas is just around the corner. Check the website for details of the events and dust off the plane and join in the fun.
Finally, this week has been sad for me as Ross Scherer passed away. Ross was a fantastic supporter of AOPA and was on the committee when I first joined the club. It was Ross that encouraged me to go on the first Australian Safari in 1998 and Ross who took over the leadership when our Aussie organiser went walkabout. Ross was also a great worker for the precision flying group. I spoke with Barbara and she said he passed away quietly and peacefully which is all we can ask for. Our sympathy goes to Barbara and his family.
Happy flying to all and let’s see the Aucklanders on the 10th October.