From the President
First my apologies to John Harding for calling his "Supermarine Spitfire" a Mustang. The smoke from the coal fired paddle steamer must have been in my eyes.
April was a good month for AOPA NZ. We had confirmation that CAA has reduced the medical fee, as we expected, to $105.00 plus GST from 1st July. A long time coming but a good result.
The ACAG meeting I reported on last month has had excellent results with CAA to the point where they have agreed to engage with us better and they have removed from the small issues rule,(NPRM 17-02), the amendment to the definition of a Major Modification. This will allow us to engage on the issue fully with well-prepared responses. The removal of that part of the NPRM has not affected the Biennial Review of airworthiness review so we are confident this will get through this year.
We are continuing to engage with CAA certification department on the Directors stated goal of “red tape reduction” and to encourage the avionics certification team to embrace new technology. This is not easy, as over the years there have been additions to some of the AC’s that are making it difficult to just replace certain instruments and avionics with modern up to date equipment. I am not talking about an owner going down to Dick Smith’s or Jaycar and buying a radio then expecting to fit it in an aircraft. However, if there is a piece of equipment built to a TSO standard that is accepted elsewhere in the world we should be able to install it by using an AC instead of insisting that it is a major modification. My view is that a certified Avionics LAME should be able to install according to industry best practice plus the manufacturers installation manual then have it ticked off by the CAA certification team. If the LAME is not up to speed that is CAA’s job to educate them or pull their licence.
We had a great Autumn Fly-in with perfect weather in the Kaikoura region for a visit to some awesome strips. We signed up 2 new members on the day and as you will see from the photos we gave out some more Hi Viz vests which are sponsored by Arden Jennings of Avsure. www.avsure.co.nz These are available and should be kept in the aircraft because you will need them when visiting controlled airfields and should wear them when Airside at any airfield. This is not a CAA requirement but a Workplace Safety one where we must be seen to be promoting safety with our members. Good advertising for AOPA membership also.
Our new VP Steve Brown has put together a very detailed AOPA NZ policy on PPL Medical reform. This is very timely as CAA have now put out a consultation paper on the subject. Steve has also prepared an AOPA NZ submission that has been approved by the executive and fits with our stated policy. Both these documents will be on the website and we are putting them in the public side so that anyone can view them. This is a major piece of work that we will be working on for the next couple of years and taking through to IAOPA and ICAO. It is an ambitious project but fortune favours the bold.
That brings me to another reminder about the IAOPA World Assembly in 2018. If you have not registered and booked your accommodation it is time to get it done. Visit www.iaopa2018.com to register.
May looks like being an easier month with New Southern Sky only having a couple of meetings. We are nearly there on the Ground Based Nav Aid review and making good progress on the PBN implementation.
The NZ Aviation Federation (NZAF) is in a healthy financial state and we have just appointed a Nelson based lawyer as Chairman to the Aspeq Board to fill the gap left when Nick Calavrias was unfortunately killed in a vehicle accident at Christmas. Paul is Chairman or Director of several companies and will bring a new level of expertise to the board. Aspeq Ltd is a vital cog in the Aviation industry and we are fortunate to be involved in its growth. NZAF contributes by being a great forum to discuss any issues affecting anyone in the aviation arena from Drones to Parachutes.
One project that I still believe in is the challenge of getting Government to recognise the need for a basic level of aviation infrastructure looked upon as being in the National and Regional interest. We are a small, well spread out country and in times of natural disaster aviation has a big role to play. Not only that but for regional development a fully accessible aviation infrastructure is vital to the health of the regions.
The weather today over the whole country is ideal for flying so get out and enjoy it, but fly safely.