Another month and another howling nor- wester in Canterbury today, not a Cub flying day…
Busy month with some good news and some other stuff.
Medicals as you know are a special interest to me. We have had some very encouraging news, though the time to implementation leaves a bit to be desired, we appear to be on a good track. Graeme Harris, CAA Director, in his monthly newsletter has clearly said that CAA has made their recommendations and these have been approved by NZTA. The next stage is the slow one with more consultation (I think) and then rule making. This all takes an inordinate amount of time, shame we cannot keep up with our Aussies cousins who seemed to complete their PPL medical upgrade process within a year.
The subtle message Graeme and other senior CAA officials are indicating is that the DL9 P endorsed Medical Standard will be applied to the ‘PPL’ – now to my reading this means that we will keep all our existing PPL privileges with the ‘new PPL’, this is good news for night flyers, pressurised aircraft owners and the IFR rated. It remains to be seen how this will look in action as anyone wanting to fly outside NZ will still need an ICAO rated aviation Class 2 medical.
Graeme also touched on two other subjects which are close to our heart and that is the International AOPA submission to ICAO looking for a change to allow the PPL with DL9 type medicals to be used all around the world. It is all coming together - just don’t hold your breath.
I will also include an attachment to a paper which indicates to ICAO the importance of GA to the world’s economy and the safety of the flying public. This relates to GA’s role in training airline pilots and the breadth of community activity which relies on General Aviation.
Closer to home we and many other aviation organisations have put and inordinate amount of work into submissions regarding the removal of access to airspace around Alexandra. Then at the 23rd hour when all the submissions were signed off and submitted the organisation which wanted to have this airspace to test their ‘beyond line of sight’ drones in withdrew their application. They have not made any friends. We are also disappointed that CAA accepted such a controversial application which an aviator should know is going to generate a lot of angst in the aviation community.
I got into an argument yesterday with my niece, who until a few weeks ago had a senior position at NZTA. She was looking forward to having a drone pick her up at home and whisk her across Wgnt Harbour to work….. ‘Don’t think so I said’. This was made worse by her expectation is that this service is only a couple of years away. Although, well maybe; you can do that now, the aircraft is called a helicopter and so long as you have a helipad at home I am sure it can find one near your office. The last helicopter I looked at renting cost $42 a minute….. these machines have certified components and pilots who are well trained, they have 50 years of accident history knowledge which has been integrated into a Rules and Regulations system to protect our community. Yet even with this knowledge there are tragic deaths. The reason for relaying this discussion is to encourage you all as aviators to speak out when you come up against unrealistic expectations of near future aviation technology. Some of our Rules may be frustrating, but the Rules are there for a reason and we see no reason to throw them all out due to new and unproven technology. Bring the drones on, I am quite excited by their potential, but they have to fit within our well developed and safe system. They cannot be allowed to bulldoze over all our evolved systems which have made air travel so safe these days…
Well enough of all that I would like to remind you that Christmas time is a high risk time for private flying. If you are intending to fly far now is the time to upgrade the maps and get out and do some circuits. There is no substitute for currency when you want to safely fly your ‘dearly beloveds’ around the country.
Have fun, fly safe,