Well done All Blacks
I just had to change the title after watching a great game this morning. Well worth getting up for and a credit to the team. But now back to the job in hand.
AOPA UK has a column in its magazine called “AOPA Working for YOU”. It simply outlines what the President and his crew do during the month. I have used the expression on several occasions because that is how your committee, in New Zealand, feel about the work they do for what is “YOUR” organisation, AOPA NZ.
AOPA NZ is a member only organisation but we are happy to listen to and help other aviators if we can. Maybe they will eventually join and contribute to our successes. AOPA is a respected advocacy group and we do not get that respect by abusing or playing the man and not the ball. Your committee come from private enterprise backgrounds and we now find ourselves dealing with bureaucracy which is an entirely different game altogether. If we don’t like or agree with something, we have to either change the opinion of the bureaucrat, or change the Law that is being used to empower that person. This takes time and I can assure you it is more frustrating than you can imagine. I am regularly in Wellington attending meetings with about 25 people, generally made up of 20 employed by Government (directly or indirectly) and the rest from private enterprise. When I speak I believe I get listened to because I do not attack the man. I will object to the reasoning or policy that is trying to be introduced. Outside the meeting I then lobby the other 5 to get support. This approach works and we are making traction albeit slowly.
If I went to a newspaper or email blog and attacked the person there would be five minutes of publicity, credibility would be gone and it would be seen as bullying tactics. It is very easy today with modern communication to say what you like and push the send button. Sometimes that is the wrong thing to do. Let’s take the recent helicopter rescue debate that has been conducted in the media. When I read about it in The Press I spoke with some friends on the airfield and then rang Dave Armstrong for some facts in case I was approached for comment by the media. It was obvious that the case was well advanced and that full details would not be available until it got to Court. There were two issues with the first being the disqualification and the second being the prosecution. The first issue we are already working on with our submission to MoT on changes to the Act. This has been ongoing for a couple of years now and will eventually surface when government gets around to it. That may or may not have helped but if you are interested, the submission is on our website under Committee work in progress. The second issue we cannot comment on as it is before the Courts and I believe Dave has pleaded guilty to the charge. The Courts will decide the merits of the case. The point I am making is that we did not sit back and do nothing and our lobbying will continue in the background.
What I find most annoying is the unfounded criticism that well established organisations, including your AOPA NZ, received in emails and blogs sent from the General Aviation Advocacy Group (GAA) to supposedly 1500 recipients. I have received personal, abusive inflammatory emails, with demands and threats that are what you would expect from a child in the school ground. This from one of our members who calls himself a co-runner of the GAA group. It appears that this type of dirty politics is becoming the norm but I will not lower my standards by getting caught up in a slanging match. We are all in this together and public slanging does nothing to advance the cause of GA in New Zealand.
Now that I have that out of my system let me point out some of the things your executive is doing for you.
Social events are the life blood of AOPA, are well attended and the meet and greet at Auckland was another example of the exec trying to get amongst the members. We had a good Executive meeting on the Saturday which we invited Steve Horne from Waheke Island to attend. Steve has a great background in Super V8 cars and we want to use his experience to help us enter the new “health and Safety” era that we live in. We want to keep things simple but we need to be proactive in this field and not be afraid to look at our responsibilities as defined in the new Act.
On the Sunday a fly-in to TeKuiti for a BBQ was fantastic. Catching up with Neville, Hugh, Peter and all the gang that make the central North Island a great place to fly. A quick stop at Raglan for an ice-cream on the way back to Ardmore topped off a great weekend. Thanks to Phill Pacey for the ride in the C206.
We have some good fly-ins coming up for Christmas and then it will be the AGM followed by the Safari. We have good numbers for that already so if you want to attend make sure you have registered and sent your payment to Guy Sanders.
The Act review is still plodding away and MoT will no doubt let us know when we need more input. Part 61 changes that will affect us should be through the signoff within 4 weeks and this will allow a new student to go solo on an RPL medical. That will be a potential saving of around $600.00 for a student pilot. Just think about that for a minute, it is a huge saving for an initial entry into the system. This is the result of a combined effort from all the aviation groups and shows the benefit of The Federation. Also in that signoff will be an RPL helicopter licence which is another big win.
The Funding review is still waiting for the Minister to sign off for the next round of consultation which is expected in January. This is an unbelievable example in how to complicate a remarkably simple task. We can only keep the pressure on when we are able because the issue at the root of it is not CAA but in a process that goes right up to Treasury.
The online medical certification system is back up for debate again. We are in there making our point of view known but again it is the system that is overtaking the common sense decisions that need to be made.
The Biennial ARA is also in the system and will be up for debate next month at our Aviation Community Advisory Group (ACAG) meeting with CAA. My understanding is that this will go through without any problems.
New Southern Sky programme is progressing with some interesting developments in the eventual methods of surveillance that Airways will use coming to the fore. Nothing available for release yet but I think the VFR GA community are being listened to on the likely cost of ADSB fit out. It is another area where AOPA is pulling its weight but nothing is really visible to the public because it is all happening in the background.
One new proposal from ICAO that would have required all contracting states (countries) to provide health promotion advice to every applicant for a medical has been delayed for further investigation thanks to action by AOPA NZ through our connections with International AOPA. I am not going to write much about it here because it is ongoing but I can assure you that no other organisation or adhoc group could have achieved what we did in a bit over 2 weeks. That really was AOPA working for you.
That’s it from me this month. A bit of a winge that I nearly hit the delete button on but I really do believe “AOPA is working for YOU” and you have a dedicated Executive that voluntarily do hours & hours of work to keep you flying.