Short Approach – December 2020
Good Morning All,
I have been remiss in not communicating with you for the last month or so. CAA had promised definitive progress on the Medical Review by the end of November and I wanted to be able to report some progress…. However, there is no news on the Medical Review.
AOPA has been busy recently. We have a number of fronts that we are working on. Proposed closure of Control Towers has needed a response and the discussion around banning GA flights to Milford has also been responded too.
The issue of closure of Paraparaumu airfield has been a major area of activity. The closure is a vexed issue. NZPP is on private land and in New Zealand private landowners have significant rights. NZPP is an airfield with National Infrastructure Significance so our community cannot let it be closed (sadly the Government has not included NZPP in their emergency plans). The land was taken from the local Iwi to be used as an airfield, this history has to be considered. In the present real estate climate if the airfield land was permitted to be subdivided it would be ‘eye wateringly’ valuable. Kapiti Districts Aero Club have a lease which enables them to have access to the runway, but the lease will run out eventually. NZPP is used by commercial airlines, emergency services, GA and others, all have opinions and issues which need to be considered. Health and Safety issues have been used to muddy the waters. The local community appear to have strong support for the airport continuing. NZPP is presently being closed on a rolling basis by the land owners (Templeton Group) the airport appears to only open for the restricted hours when the AFIS is operational. Every other medium sized airfield with a tower or AFIS reverts to G airspace when the tower is not operational. However, it appears that this provision was assumed rather than written into the operational contract for NZPP. Rectifying this is a potential strategy to delay closure.
AOPA sees the issue as a long term one which needs a long-term solution. Although an injunction to allow the Aeroclub access to the runway, or to change the airspace to ‘class G’ may be able to stop the rolling closures, it does not solve the long-term problem. The Kapiti Airport Protection Society (KAPS) which our exec member, Chris Hoffman has been a leading driver of, is working towards finding a satisfactory long-term solution. This will not happen quickly and will probably be expensive. There is more at stake than just GA having a launching pad for crossing Cook Strait. I have found over the years that it is a mistake to simplify issues beyond the point where they can be simplified, complex issues usually need complex solutions. This is not a quick fix issue.
AOPA members moved and carried a motion at the NZ Aviation Federation on Thursday to fund the Kapiti Aeroclubs legal fees should they wish to place an injunction against the rolling closures. We acknowledge that this is a risk for them. In the mean time I have asked to join KAPS and pledged a personal donation. AOPA looks forward to assisting in funding their proposals once the strategy is clear and the way forward planned.
I don’t really like to fill these newsletters with politics but there has been comment in social media about our inaction and they are patently untrue.
Yes there is plenty of other activity to; the VNC books are flying off the shelves, we think the new format is a significant improvement. The wine sales are still active and the Southern Christmas Flyin will happen on Monday.
Our 2021 50-year anniversary AGM is coming together well, if you plan to come, I suggest you get booked as rooms are filling. We are also looking for photos from our past for a rolling photo display and ‘history corner’ so if you have any good ones please send them to Murray Paterson.
Our contract with Z Energy has been renewed. The 10 cents a litre discount is continuing. Plus, now Z are going to sponsor AOPA 2 cents per litre to support aviation safety initiatives.
Hey wasn’t it good to see our Life Member Brent Ferguson dotting down his Malibu in third place in the landing competition at Turangi, well done Brent. Congratulations to Kjell Westerburg who dotted down on the line and Peter Armstrong who was close behind.
Sorry about the muck up with the calendars, corrected ones will be with you shortly.
I hope your pre-Christmas activities are going well and you are able to get out and enjoy the good weather when it deigns to settle down.