Short Approach – December 2018.
Hello flyers and friends,
Christmas has crept up on us again. I was hoping to make this ‘Short Approach’ a bit light and humorous but the serious business of flying has got in the way rather.
AOPA was well represented at Aviation NZ’s Parliamentary Reception last week. The minister of Transport Hon Phil Twyford spoke knowledgably about aviation issues; he listened and spoke to a wide range of aviators and was left in no doubt that there is considerable work to do in our sector.
I am going to attempt to report on our activities in a different way; sometimes I seem to repeat myself. However I sometimes find that important messages have not really had the penetration we would like, so apologies for dwelling on the important.
AOPA NZ has a number of priorities; I am going to define these as ‘Targets’ and then once they are prioritised we can report on them specifically. This should assist us to understand what is important and to facilitate our allocation of resources:
‘Our Freedom to Fly’ – the greatest threat to our mission comes from our airspace being limited by ‘drones’ – I mean ‘Remotely Piloted Aircraft’. We are in a limbo around Alexandra airspace at this stage due to the application being withdrawn; we understand it is being rewritten. We are prepared to work with the RPAS industry so long as our safety, costs and access to airspace is not negatively impacted. There are a number of other RPAS activities active via the Aviation Federation.
Medical Standards: We believe that a satisfactory standard similar to what we asked for in our submission is presently deep in the legal process of being implemented. No new news. I have been invited to assist International AOPA with their submission process to the International Convention for Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regarding non-commercial medical standards; this is the next stage in the process of using your alternative medical PPL overseas.
New Southern Skies: Ian Andrews is working tirelessly to make sure the impending new and modern airways systems will be recreational and private pilot friendly. The most interesting news we have had recently is that an application has gone through to Treasury for assistance in getting ADSB transponders installed into our light aircraft. We have put a well worked up case for the transponders to be provided to us at no cost; we will pay for installation. Watch this space.
Instrument Flight Rules: We have a small percentage of our member pilots who are IFR rated. The USA and Europe have a much higher proportions. We believe that with our changeable weather and unforgiving landscape, IFR flight may often be a safer option than VFR. To this end we are advocating that IFR ratings and currency requirements are made more relevant, as they are in USA and Europe. Stage one is a rewrite of the antique syllabus for the IFR examinations, this is well underway thanks to David Harrison and Duncan Sharpe’s work. CAA are actively reviewing the draft syllabus.
Aircraft Maintenance and Modification: The sole reason we maintain our aircraft is to make sure they do not break down while we are flying them. We modify them so that we can have better or safer equipment on board. This should be a simple task at least for the private and recreational flyers…… but ‘the rules’ seem to have taken over in many cases. AOPA hears the demand from flyers to have a level of logic applied to some of our rules. The ‘annual review’ moving to a ‘biannual review’ is a step in the right direction. We have also had progress with our existing maintenance providers being able to fit certain ADSB transponders to aircraft types which do not have STC’s available. A small step but a good one. We are pushing for safety enhancing avionics to be easily installed in certified aircraft, following the FAA lead.
We have had good communication with RD Petroleum who has taken over some BP aviation fuel sites in the South Island. There has been some confusion around cards. An RD Fuelcard can be used at BP sites if it is set up to do this, you get one invoice. A BP card can be set up to be used at both sites too, but needs to be set up that way, it is not automatic and you get two invoices. Z Energy is our preferred provider for fuel as they give us a generous discount and regularly support our activities and magazine. However due to the distribution of fuel sites most of us need to carry two cards.
I think that is enough for us to be going on with, we will be able to hit the ground running in 2019..
Please remember our AGM in March, the motel rooms are still being held, but won’t be for much longer. We have a great golf course and a new strip to show folks…
Our administrator, Mary, is a very valuable person for us; we try to use her time wisely. Can I please make a plug for members to pay their subs next year in a timely manner, and preferably by internet banking, it is frustrating and expensive for us having Mary chase up unpaid subs.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and safe Christmas break, hope you get some good flying in and come back in the new year full of energy and motivation..