AOPA Short Approach

June 2018 Short Approach

Presidents Report

Short Approach:       June 2018                                       

Canterbury has had one of the least aviation friendly Queens Birthday weekend in my memory. Wet and miserable and really only good for curling up in front of the fire with a good book, though sadly many of us now curl up with an iPad. Mind you the learning available from a good YouTube clip is considerable; does not get the endorphins going like the wheels leaving the grass though.

We had a very lively AOPA board meeting last week; lots of talk and a few barneys which are always good, as it gets us thinking. We have a ‘Back to Basics’ in lower North Island planned for this summer; it will be great to have a new destination – watch this space.

The ‘meet and greet’ with the exec committee in Auckland has been finalised and put on the website August 25th at the Novotel at Ellerslie, 5pm don’t be late…..

The issue of a Basic IF rating has risen again and I realise that most of our members have indicated they don’t want to fly IFR - but a portion do. Also as we install new avionics in our aircraft around the ADSB issue many of us will have more capable aircraft. It is well accepted in Europe and USA that IFR is safer than VFR especially in marginal conditions, so we need to keep up with the more appropriate training and regulations which are being promoted overseas. EASA in Europe has produced a very realistic ‘Road map’ of how GA pilots and aircraft can be trained and licenced to fly IFR. It is predominantly in the cockpit training with competency the end goal not just a number of hours or an exam result – sounds logical to me. I might even contemplate it.

The subject of safety at our fly-ins will be a perpetual subject; we had long discussion regarding this last week. I am sure most of us are competent flyers but it seems we do get rusty. I wonder how we encourage currency, especially before flying to unfamiliar regions. Maybe we just need to repeat to ourselves – practice makes safe pilots... I would like to suggest that joining in our local aero club competitions is a good excuse to beat up the circuit and remember how to land on that precise spot with minimum energy left. It is the energy that the brakes have to dissipate not momentum. I have recently been reminded that kinetic energy is proportional to the square of your speed whereas momentum is proportional to speed.  Too slow is bad but a well-controlled approach at minimum safe speed takes some practice. Especially for the pilots going to our winter fly in please get some flying in before you get to Alex….. We are always amazed how good the landings are at the end of a days strip flying  - whereas the first strip can be pretty scary for the organisers. Have fun out there and fly safe.

Best wishes  Steve

The day the GPS died..

The FAA has announced its plan to disrupt GPS navigation signals over a large section of Southern California centered at a spot 19 miles northeast of the Palmdale VOR. The outages will take place sporadically between May 4 and 17.


The Day my tablet died

Please load images

Many pilots are placing more reliance on the Electronic Flight Bag. This requires that we become aware of its foibles as well as its magic.


Read more

Spark Plugs...

Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand

This is a notification that the following information has been added to the CAA web site,

Continuing Airworthiness Notice - CASA AWB 85-023 Issue 2 - issued 03 May 2018
Piston engine spark plug insulator cracking.

Reports received by CASA have identified an increase in incidents of spark plugs exhibiting physical damage with corresponding combustion chamber deterioration. The sequence of events leading to the cracking of spark plug insulators is not fully understood at this time, with investigations continuing.

It is recognised that detonation can crack spark plug insulators and the spark plug may be the first victim in a series of damaging events. It is also acknowledged that the ceramic insulator can become packed with abrasive cleaning media and/or the bi-products of combustion leading to insulator cracking and pre-ignition

Report all instances of spark plug failures to the CAA by completing a CA005D Defect Report form. The completed form can be emailed to the CAA at

Details of the maintenance history for the engine ignition system and spark plugs should be provided in addition to information concerning the method of failure detection, the location and condition of the defective plug(s) and any other information on possible triggers for the reported event. This information will facilitate a detailed review of potential failure causes and contributing factors.

You may need to 'refresh' your browser to see the latest version.

Communications and Safety Promotion Unit
Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand

Fees can come down...

Nav Canada Proposes Continuing Fee Decrease

by Gordon Gilbert

 - May 29, 2018, 6:03 PM

Under a NavCanada proposal, aircraft operations in Canada will continue to benefit from reduced fees that went into effect initially last year. The proposal would decrease rates by an average of 0.4 percent, effectively continuing the one-year temporary rate reduction that was implemented on Sept. 1, 2017. Nav Canada, the company that operates the country’s ATC system, said that “on average, our customers will pay about the same rates in Fiscal Year 2019 as they did in Fiscal Year 2018.”

Traffic over the past year has grown at a rate greater than forecast, according to Nav Canada. The strong traffic results in the current fiscal year coupled with traffic growth projections for Fiscal Year 2019 has, in effect, enabled the company to cancel the 0.4 percent rate increase that was set to begin on Sept. 1, 2018, upon the expiration of last year’s temporary reduction. 

Effective Sept. 1, 2018, the proposed base rate revisions for each ATC service are as follows: terminal: 1.4 percent increase; en route: 2.2 percent decrease; NAT: 5.2 percent increase, and international communications: 1.8 percent increase. Despite the increases shown, overall, the proposed base rate revisions represent an average 0.4 percent decrease. Fees also vary depending on aircraft gross weight and type of powerplant.

“While we are keeping our rates low, Nav Canada is enhancing air traffic services,” said Neil Wilson, president and CEO. “In Fscal Year 2019 the company will begin trialing space-based ADS-B surveillance technology in its ATC operations for both domestic and North Atlantic oceanic airspace. This will significantly increase safety as it will allow for aircraft tracking in airspace currently without surveillance.”

Comments on the proposal may be submitted no later than July 31, 2018.

Sealed runway for Antarctica

Please load images


Australia plans to build a paved runway on Antarctica, which would allow for better access to the continent during the winter months. [Read more...]

Message sent from AOPA NZ Inc | If you no longer wish to receive these emails, simply log in to your account and update your settings.

« Back to list

© Copyright Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of New Zealand