All the latest from the President
What a month. The Earthquake has really disrupted life on the East Coast. This is a good time to reflect on the value of general aviation (GA) in a civil disaster. I had a phone call at 7.30 am on the morning of the quake from Bill Lamb in Hastings offering his services. Then James Turner the SI coordinator for Angel Flight got in touch as did Nathan Clark from Canterbury Aero club both looking for pilots and aircraft. We were able to send an email out for James and he coordinated things from there.
AOPA was not set up to work with Civil Defence but James was so we just did our best to let people know what was happening. Paul Hood did some trips on his own (and still is), Ken MacDonald was involved taking his workers up and brought back some tourists. There were many others involved and we should make sure we are there next time, because there will be a next time.
The lessons here are that we need to make Civil Defence aware that there is a place for GA to help. AOPA has pilots familiar with the areas and we can operate cheaper than the big helicopters. Ag pilots like Neville Somerville also did several loads into remote strips.
I have already raised the issue at a CAA meeting and will speak to the Minister when he is not up to his armpits in clearing roads or building railway lines. It is interesting to note that NZ does not have a minimum level of aviation infrastructure. It is going to be an item that I will raise at every opportunity. The New Southern Sky program is the right place to work on this and several other organisations agree with a policy to establish this minimum level. We have just set up a panel for ground based nav aid (GBNA) review and I know that the subject will be raised.
This is where “user pays” system goes wrong. There is a point where NZ Incorporated (NZ Inc) should be recognised as the user and the infrastructure is paid from the public purse. It is in the National interest to have regional airports and the ability to access them via the Airways System. Instrument Flight Procedures (IFPs) are an example, they should be part of our National Infrastructure and paid for accordingly. I want to be very clear that this is not a complaint or dig at Airways but what I see as a rejig of the “system”.
CAA do not have access to their offices at the moment which is also causing some issues for them. For some of you a medical renewal may be the issue but I believe that there will be use of the 60-day extension clause for those that need CAA oversight. The vast majority of medicals are issued on the spot by your ME so that will continue as usual
The AOPA AGM is not far away so if you have not registered please do so. The registration fee covers a trip on the Whanganui river with breakfast included. Graeme Donald needs to get numbers as soon as possible so go to the website and register. We will be hosting Craig Spence the Secretary General of IAOPA at this AGM.
Mary has written a good article on how to access the website in the latest magazine so get on board and use it. You won’t screw it up just go in and check your personal details for instance. Make sure your address is correct. We are making constant improvements to this important store of our information. Did you notice the change to our logo? The addition of NZ to AOPA using a different colour brings us up to the international standard in readiness for the IAOPA Assembly in 2018.
Speaking of which, have a look at how we are promoting the 2018 Assembly. Please go to www.iaopa2018.com and have a good look at what is on offer. This event will be the first-time NZ has hosted a World Assembly and we will be running our 2018 AGM at the same time. We want to showcase AOPANZ to our guests so we want a good crew from NZ to register. It fits in well with Warbirds over Wanaka 30th Anniversary so make a date and come along.
The North Island ran a great event at Turangi again this year, even if the wind threw in some challenges for Jeff VA. Many thanks to the Turangi organisers and our beloved Phil Pacey.
Timaru was also a great event and thanks to Graeme and Sid with their great volunteer crew. The best fruit scones I have had since my mother passed away.
I started writing this at 6.30 am on 1st December as I was flying to ChCh for an Airways meeting. As I drove to the airport I turned on the radio on they were playing Snoopy’s Christmas. That brought back some memories of the year it came out, about 1966 I think. It is still annoying but carries a good message not only that Christmas is here but also to keep a good look out when flying. Watch out for the Bloody Red Baron coming out of the sun.
This is the last Short approach for 2016 and January may be a bit late coming out so it is timely that I remind you that your subs invoice will be arriving via email in early January. Please don’t ignore it as it makes our work a lot harder. This year we are offering direct credit to our bank account or payment by Credit card via PayPal or eWay. Your choice just follow the instructions on the invoice. (a cheque is still Ok)
AOPA NZ is in good heart with a steadily growing membership. We play our part in the advocacy department but also provide great member benefits and fantastic social events. You have a great executive that works hard for you at least every opportunity.
Enjoy Christmas, fly safely, if you are driving to Nelson from Christchurch remember that the only way is up the west coast, it is jam packed and bloody dangerous so give yourselves some extra time.
Merry Christmas and Happy New year from Jill and myself.