Welcome to the General Aviation Advocacy Group of New Zealand

2017 March bulletin


CAA Notices – The tentacles of regulation just keep growing longer

In mid-February, the CAA announced its intention to publish CAA Notices as a means of ensuring that the regulatory framework remains responsive and adaptable to change.

On the surface, these objectives appear almost noble. But when we peel back the layers, what emerges is a worrying erosion of the checks and balances that have underpinned aviation rule-making since the early 1990s.

The CAA management says that there is no proposal to consult on the concept of Notices because these are currently permitted under Section 28(5) of the Act.

But Parliament intended the granting of such powers to determine technical matters in a narrow range of areas. It never intended the establishment of a process where the CAA becomes the risk-definer, the solution-chooser, the rule-maker and the law-enforcer.

The CAA Notices concept is a flossed-up attempt by the regulator to twist the intent of the law-makers in order to extend its tentacles and shield itself from the scrutiny of its masters. Aviators will not have recourse to the MoT or Minister regarding the content of CAA Notices.

Read more about this here

‘Small issues’ rule project

Tucked away in a ‘small issues’ NPRM are two items which many will not consider to be small.

The first is: Notices, definitions of major modifications and major repairs (1.1)

And the second: Leaving helicopters unattended with rotors turning (91.120 and 135.67)

This proposed rule has significant implications for air transport and agricultural operators. It is extremely disappointing that the proposed changes were tucked in amongst many other seemingly minor CAA changes.

The full NPRM can be downloaded at


The deadline for submissions to the CAA has expired. We will be posting a PDF downloadable file that describes the implications of these rule changes.

Colour Vision Deficiency: Your chance to help right a wrong

We can get rid of this discrimination, with your help

The biggest policy change affecting pilots since the introduction of the RPL (which took about 13 years) is within reach. But to get there, your support is needed.

Along with all stakeholders, we are on the threshold of a new General Direction outlining how pilots affected by a colour vision deficiency will be assessed.

The significance of this collaborative consultation with the CAA cannot be overstated.

GAA co-principal Des Lines attended a CVD forum hosted by the CAA in Wellington, and was surprised by the spirit of cooperation and the willingness of those CAA personnel involved – from the Director down – to “make this work”.

Colour vision assessment is a legacy from WW2 and is no longer relevant in an age of colour-screen smartphones, iPads and navaids. However, it has been used to exclude people from pursuing a career as a professional pilot.

As a comparison, students wishing to enter medical school are not excluded if they have a colour vision deficiency. Yet as doctors, they are called on to accurately assess the data on a myriad of coloured LCD screens and equipment similar to that found in glass cockpits.

There will be some who think they only have a passing interest in this issue because they have “normal” colour vision. We strongly urge everyone to look at the “bigger picture” and consider the possibility of one day having a son or grandson with a colour vision problem, wanting to work as a pilot.

Many a dream has been shattered by the discovery that – through a quirk in genetics – a budding aviator has a colour vision deficiency passed down by his mother.

We now have the distinct possibility of keeping those dreams alive, but we need the support of all pilots and organisations to make this happen when the new General Direction is opened for consultation.

Client Satisfaction Surveys, in a post-factual world…

The last CAA client satisfaction survey was conducted in 2003 – that’s 14 years ago – and it was not complimentary. For many months, the GAA has been pressing for another one, without success.

Nigel Gould – his world view may not fit yours

The CAA Board Chairman, Nigel Gould, has been consistently evasive to say the least, and in his latest message told us that “… at the end of each audit or inspection, the CAA already surveys the parties involved in order to gather information on their views on the effectiveness and efficiency of the regulatory intervention they have just been involved in.”

We ran a small, informal survey to find out if that is true – and whether customers felt comfortable with the process. The results may surprise Mr Gould, but they won’t shock you.

Read more about this here

And if you would like to add to those comments, just email us. We will not disclose your identity.


About the GAA

The GAA is a voluntary social network for people involved in New Zealand General Aviation. It has more than 2000 registered supporters.

It has no constitution, no formal membership and no fees. It has no income and it seeks no profit. It exists to independently promote and defend GA in New Zealand by analysing and publicising aviation issues, challenging authority, and often personally advocating on behalf of “the little people” in our aviation system – many of whom find it hard to confront seemingly powerful bureaucrats.

GAA supporters are concerned about the Civil Aviation Authority – its poorly controlled overheads, its inadequate service levels, its red tape and its escalating fees. Many are worried about CAA policies that threaten general aviation-related businesses and may damage the future of the next generation of amateur and professional aviators.

The GAA aims to generate constructive dialogue among everyone involved in our nation’s aviation – including bureaucrats, politicians and established aviation organisations.


GAA supporters include:

  • Airline pilots of all ranks, based in New Zealand, Australia, and around the world
  • Helicopter pilots based in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia
  • PPL and RPL holders, and microlight pilots
  • Homebuilt aircraft pilots
  • Instructors and student pilots
  • Balloon pilots and operators
  • Glider pilots
  • Skydivers and skydive operators
  • Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineers
  • Flight training schools
  • Fixed base helicopter operators
  • Maintenance organisations, and
  • Small commercial aircraft operators