From the President
It is with great sadness that I must tell you all of the passing of our Life Member and valued friend Neville Harding.
Neville passed away on 28th February 2018 ending what was for me a 30 year friendship but many of you knew him much longer through his farming, hunting and flying activities.
Neville was, and will remain an inspiration to all AOPA NZ members. He started his flying career at age 60 and by the time he was 80 he had flown over 2000 hours. A giant of a man, in both stature and personality who had a handshake that no one will forget. Neville and Joan were a fixture at all AOPA gatherings, opened their house to passing pilots and attended events from the deep South to the far North. I hope his final flight was as smooth as all the landings he made. Rest in peace Dear Friend.
This has been a frantic month with a few days short at the end. Graeme & Marie Donald organised a great fly around for the “Summer Gathering”. We had a variety of strips laid out for us with the weather on the two days flying absolutely perfect. It was an area new to me so being able to visit Coops strip on the Mahia Peninsular then land on Portland Island was fantastic. There will be a full write up in the magazine later, but it was a great weekend, even though we had to stay another day in Feilding to get a dry trip home. Many thanks to Mat and Trina of Avcraft Engineering who put on an open day for Avionics at their Feilding hangar with Garmin, Bendix King and Avidine all attending to show their wares. A great healthy lunch Trina. Avcraft support AOPA NZ so get a quote from them on their new website.
During the fly-around we held the AGM in Gisborne. Again, the details will be in the magazine but many thanks to Granville and Marion Jones for organising that event. The new President is Steve Brown and VP is Graeme Donald with Andrew Bowmar and Geoff Van Asch joining Paul Hood, Don Ryder, Guy Sanders, Murray Paterson, Peter Glaister and Ian Sinclair on the Executive. I will be co-opted to continue some of the tasks with CAA like New Southern Sky and ACAG. I will also remain as the representative on the NZ Aviation Federation of which I am President. After 43 Short approaches I am about to turn onto Short Final and hand the admin over to the new team.
It has been fun and a challenge. The challenge is not over yet as the transition to the new Executive will happen on 31st March to allow the old team to finish the IAOPA World Assembly. We are nearly at the kick-off stage with 23 days to go. Over 150 attendees from all corners of the world will enjoy a great week in Queenstown starting on the 25th March. We are all looking forward to this and will give a full report after the event. “Working for You” in AOPA has given me some great times both in NZ and Australia. I am pleased to have initiated some of the bilateral meetings that are taking place between aviators on both sides of the Tasman. Without your support of me as your President I do not believe we would be where we are with the Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) trial that is currently underway as a joint venture between NZ and Australia. It could have been operating by now if it was done by private enterprise, but I have learned to accept the ways of Government. I believe that we have a good and lively aviation sector that is well served by the many organisations like AOPA NZ. The New Zealand Aviation Federation (NZAF) is in great shape and poised to assist in the multiple challenges that we have with certification and the introduction of ADSB. Take heart from the fact that through NZAF the sector is more cohesive and coordinated than I can ever remember in my 30 odd years of flying. There are changes happening. Not at the speed of light but at the speed of Government and it does not matter which party is in power the speed is the same.
I will finish on a message of thanks to Jill, my wife of nearly 50 years who has allowed me to pursue the activities I enjoy and supported me in taking on the responsibilities of leadership. Flying has taken us all over the world and we have met some fantastic people that belong to AOPA world-wide. I look forward to adding many more hours in my logbook.