Some of you will remember Tom Dick who was President of AOPA NZ in the early 1990's. Tom was a personal friend of mine and one of the toughest Instrument instructors you could ever find. There have been many times that I have been grateful for his hard line that kept my aircraft the right way up in the clouds. Tom passed away suddenly last month and will be sadly missed by his family and friends. Russell Taylor represented AOPA NZ at Tom’s funeral.
CAA have moved down the track some more on the funding review which will result in a further reduction on their proposed medical charges. The actual details cannot be released yet as the Minister is still evaluating their current proposals. What I can tell you is that ACAG (Aviation Community Advisory Group) has had a meeting with CAA and the Chairman of the board to get our views across.
The recent New Southern Sky (NSS) Conference in Auckland was well attended by both Kiwis and international visitors. It was a good chance to network and meet other industry players. It is often the work done behind the scenes that is more important than the actual presentations. I was given the opportunity to again push the subject of Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) for NZ and Australia. Ian Mallett from CASA was there and we were also on a panel in Sydney the next week for the Australasian Satellite Conference. We were joined on that panel by John Macilree from MoT who is leading the project for MoT at the NSS. In my opinion Australia and New Zealand need to step up their game on this subject as it is a project of national importance, not just aviation. For instance, all cars made today in USA, Japan or Europe are fitted with GPS receivers that have the SBAS receiver chip in them. Potentially, all new cars coming into NZ or AUS will have to have many of their tech level safety features disabled because we do not have the accuracy or integrity of the GPS signal that these countries take for granted.
It appears that FAA will be offering a cash back scheme for fitting ADSB to GA aircraft. This has yet to be confirmed but was in today’s Avflash. Don’t hold your breath for that to happen here. The good news for us though is that the prices are coming down and we have until 2021 to comply. If you are VFR outside controlled airspace it will not affect you but we would recommend very strongly that you comply. Looking at it logically if the cost is now around $5k to comply and you have at least 5 years to before it is mandated, you should put $1k aside every year so that you can meet the deadline. If the price comes down further you can spend the saving on fuel. The message is that ADSB has advantages for surveillance in areas that are not now covered so just face the fact and get on with it.
Unfortunately, the weather Gods are not being kind to us this weekend so the winter fly-in has been postponed for a week. Guy Sanders puts a huge amount of effort into this event so just read his emails and do what he asks. It makes him a much nicer person at our exec meetings if you do what he asks.
On the subject of weather, we are moving along in the right direction for the one stop flight planning shop. I have seen the new graphical sigmets and they are going to be much easier to decipher. They should be available later in the year.
We have just engaged a new Administrator for AOPA NZ. Mary Bruce comes with a solid background in accounting and business management, is currently assisting the Otago Aeroclub and is keen to take AOPA to a new level. Angela was finding the full workload too much while managing a young family but is staying on to do special projects like the 2018 IAOPA conference and to help Mary slot in to the job. Mary is based in Dunedin, spends lots of time in Wanaka and has a partner who is a pilot. I look forward to working with Mary over the next few years. There will be a full profile in the next magazine.
My thanks to Angela for a great job well done in picking up the reigns when we needed her to and obviously if we get the conference she will still be involved. The bid documents for the conference have been completed by the Tourism Board and look great so I am keen to get to Chicago to make the presentation.
There were some great articles in the latest magazine which reinforces our view that this is a needed publication. However, we always need more interesting articles about what you are doing. This is a magazine about the members telling other members what is happening so that we can all raise our standards and goals to get the best from our flying. You have fun doing things so tell everyone about it.
It is winter now so check your battery and fly safely.