Chilly morning here in Rangiora. But there has been some great flying weather. I took JPN to Wellington for the Aviation Federation meeting on Thursday, great flight. I had to wait 35 mins to get out in the afternoon and the average person would think the delay was bad but pilots will understand how a grand stand view of runway 34 from a holding point metres away was a wonderful experience I would happily repeat. The smoking tyres and roaring motors of ATR’s, A320’s, a A320Neo, Air Ambulance and then the C130 Hercules starting up and taxiing with its wing-tip almost over mine. Wow. One reason for flying myself was to get some more hours behind the new GTN750 and Garmin autopilot. Sue’s confidence is not helped by my referring to manuals enroute. The new gear is taking quite a while to become second nature, we will get there but I underestimated how different flying would be with a full glass cockpit. Plus another gripe; can you believe that Jeppesen/Garmin do not purchase our official NZ VFR aviation database, they do have visual reporting points marked but have given them totally different names…… so much for a safety culture.
Aviation Federation meeting was productive. At the last meeting we asked for a financial contribution towards our legal costs in appealing the Queenstown Lakes District Council draconian changes to rural private landing strips. The Appeal has gone well and will be reported in a future article in the magazine. The Aviation Federation have agreed to cover the majority of our legal costs to date and to support our further legal bills in ‘Appealing’ the landings areas in the Queenstown Basin. Thanks. I also wish to acknowledge Aviation NZ who has contributed funds towards our expenses. You will remember that the Aviation Federation is a wide group of GA organisations to which the government gifted half of ASPEC in the 1990’s. ASPEC is the company which provides all our aviation examinations and now has grown to be a significant international examination provider. It is quite profitable and this financial resource enables GA to effectively lobby for sensible aviation regulation change.
We have had a terrible few weeks from an aviation accident perspective. GA is like a big family and fatal accidents affect us all. I especially wish to extend our sympathies to our member Jim Evans family in this time of grieving.
The medical reform is not progressing well. On Thursday I learnt that CAA are still having senior management meetings to determine what privileges will be endowed on the holders of the PPL with the proposed new medical standard – I thought they were past this stage….
Winter fly in numbers have had to be capped due to the numbers of members and friends who wish to come. This is not an ideal scenario but one which is necessary due to the core concept of this gathering. Flying around the southern half of the South Island is the reason for the meeting and the strips we have available are finite and not able to cope with unlimited visitors. We may look at this concept for future years and try to spread the activities somewhat wider than flying on one day… watch this space.
The most exciting development in our year so far is the agreement to purchase the official ‘database’ for the next set of aviation maps. These are the ones due out in November. Ian A. has done a good job of laying the maps out into an A4 format and having the whole country maps in one book. Just like road maps used to look. I know most of us use electronic maps these days but we legally do need to carry up to date paper maps; many of us carry out dated maps…. We hope these books will retail below $100 and they will be much more user friendly than the difficult to fold large sheets. We can now be legal and have a backup for when our ipad gets left in the sun and fails to work…
You may have heard that the Government has allocated funds to support the roll out of SBAS (GPS accurate down to millimetres) in New Zealand. This was always going to come as the farming, autonomous vehicles and drones needed it; but they were going to ignore the aviation sector until AOPA-NZ and AOPA Australia got involved. We have won this battle and the SBAS (like WAAS) will have adequate redundancy and back up to conform to ICAO standards. Well done.
We are looking forward to seeing who has won the Active noise reduction head set from AON’s insurance quote offer. Thanks to AON for running this.
Fly safe and have fun,