December the 1st, Summer is here, and Christmas has started. Nelson was all go this morning as they erected a huge tree in front of the Cathedral. The top of the main street has been closed to vehicles and we had breakfast where cars would normally be. It is a great place to live.
As I think back over the year it would be easy to get despondent about some things we are still grinding away at but that is not how I like to be. There is a positive side to it all and we have made some great steps forward this year. We have come through without major controversy and are moving in the right Direction. A top achievement that is not readily apparent to most people is the progress on the Aviation Community Advisory Group (ACAG). This is now back to being a responsible, respected group that will have a say in the CAA rule process and policy. The Director is very supportive of the group being included at the early stages of assessing issues that are raised with CAA. These issues are what lead to rule changes and Advisory Circulars being written to regulate our industry.
I attended a meeting in Canberra last week that was with a similar group called ASTRA. It was mainly for the AU/NZ SBAS trial and how it will involve aviation. I won’t get into detail here, but I am encouraged that the aviation industry on both sides of the Tasman have similar aims and goals. It is vital that we communicate and ensure we are heard as a united trans-Tasman voice, not just on SBAS but also on medical reform and certification issues that affect all general aviation. I was the only New Zealander there which does concern me, but this will be raised at CAA on Monday at our New Southern Sky meeting.
The NSS roadshows appear to have been well attended and well received. I have received good feedback from attendees. Mostly with the same concerns over ADS-B standards, installation and costs. There is reality and there is hope. The reality is that ADS-B will be mandated in December 2021. The hope is that someone, somewhere will come up with a cheap solution to cover all GA aircraft. So, back to the reality, if you must replace your transponder now, do it with a compliant STC’d product. There are several out there with a buy price of around US$3,000. plus, installation. If you don’t have to do it now why not start saving, you have 4 calendar years until the mandate and $2K per year will cover it. If the hope side comes into play, you may save money and be in time to buy your partner a nice Christmas present with the left over cash.
Brian Hore has just emailed me a link to the new Australian class 2 Medical. http://www.australianflying.com.au/latest/casa-to-introduce-new-basic-class-2-medical-standard
It appears to be like our RPL but more passengers. This is a great step forward for Australia but not the final goal. We will continue with our goal of a PPL medical with all the privileges of a PPL on a Drivers licence medical acceptable in any ICAO State.
It looks like only the IFR that is missing (wait for the fine print) and how does that make it less safe from a medical perspective. I can still fly controlled VFR in the same space so why not full IFR? It is easier than scud running under the cloud.
Shane Carmody (the Director of CASA) gave a talk at Avalon this year where he stated he was not an aviator, but was someone who wanted action not procrastination. CASA was calling for submissions on the proposed medical at that stage and I think that if he has succeeded in changing the Class 2 medical in about 8 months he is a man of his word. Shane is a key speaker, along with Graeme Harris, at the World Assembly in March 2018.
So that leads me to the IAOPA World Assembly March 2018. We have excellent registrations so far and certainly from a world perspective. The speakers are looking to be very interesting and of course the social functions will be superb. Accommodation will run out, so if you still want to attend go to www.iaopa2018.com and register for this once in a lifetime in NZ event.
Mary (firstname.lastname@example.org) has asked me to remind those with Vodafone email addresses that these are about to expire. Go to the website www.aopa.co.nz , then go to personal settings and change your contact email or you will not get the latest news. Also, please keep your eyes out for the Sub invoice which will be emailed to you. It will save a huge amount of admin time if everyone pays promptly. Our preferred method of payment is by direct credit to our bank account shown on the invoice rather than by credit card which costs us 3%. However, we are not picky and will take it any way you like.
Tomorrow is the Oamaru fly in lunch and I hope to be there as the weather is looking good. Rumour has it that Santa has fitted ADSB to his sleigh already so watch out for him on Flight radar 24.
Jill and I wish you all a safe and merry Christmas with lots of safe flying into the New Year.