Hats off to the CAA whistleblower
TV3’s Newhub has tried to lift the lid on CAA culture, with a report featuring a whistleblower who still works in the Authority. We are summarising what reporter Michael Morrah claims to have discovered. What we have seen will come as no surprise to members of the aviation fraternity in New Zealand.
What is surprising is that, after so many years, someone working in the CAA had the guts to stand up and say “Enough is enough” and reject the false statements issued by CAA’s top management and transport ministers from Gerry Brownlee, through Simon Bridges and to Phil Twyford today, all of whom have denied that the CAA has systemic problems that either cost too much for customers or might actually jeopardise aviation safety.
Graeme Harris and his ultimate bosses have always been in denial. To them, there is no problem that is not being addressed. We beg to differ.
The tragedy of ZK LSV shows why ADS-B in GA must get cash support
A few days ago, an RV12 microlight crashed in the Coromandel, killing its pilot.
What makes this tragedy more poignant and significant is that the pilot had installed ADS-B in ZK LSV shortly before the accident and it was operating throughout the flight.
Private individuals used Flightradar 24 and RCC accessed Airways ADS data to very rapidly locate him and his aircraft. Without this information, a LandSAR mission could have taken much longer – with public expense implications to match.
We believe this is yet another reason why the cost of ADS-B installations in general aviation aircraft must be financially assisted.
Hokianga’s privatised airspace? It’s already a done deal, Northland pilots suspect
The public meeting over Hokianga’s proposed privatisation of public airspace was unusually overloaded with CAA representatives eager to support the applicants, according to witnesses.
It so happens that the Hokianga harbour is in Northland, and Northland is one of the areas selected for Shane Jones’s Provincial Growth Fund. How convenient would it be to have the MoT and MoBIE suggest to the CAA that it would be in the greater “public interest” to allocate this Northland area for UAV testing? The CAA Director also says that the overriding factor in a decision will be “the public interest”. If this sounds to you rather like a previously stitched-up deal with consultation merely a charade, you are not alone.
That’s what the pilots who went to the Kerikeri gathering concluded, long before the angry meeting ended.
ADS-B approaches The Twyford Zone – but is this another black hole?
In six days, some claim, God created Heaven and Earth. On the seventh, He rested. There was light, and God saw that it was good. Much later, this also pleased every aviator who did not possess a night rating. Making an entire world out of nothing, in less than a week, is an unimaginable feat of weight and balance, particularly when you compare it to the performance of the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford is said to be on the verge of signing off a rule change that will open up New Zealand-based aviation careers for pilots with ‘Colour Vision Deficiency.’ This achievement (which is little more than a fragment of common sense) has taken roughly 3,265 days – or about nine years – to make it through the CAA.
No surprise, then, that it seems to be taking an eternity for anyone in authority to confront the big question: How will ADS-B for General Aviation be paid for? That’s a question that, sooner or later, must be answered.
Imagine what might happen, if New Zealand had an APPG
APPG stands for an All-Party Parliamentary Group whose members cast aside politics and focus on matters directly affecting real people and their livelihoods.
In the UK, this is a long-established concept and its APPG-GA is a group of 203 MPs and members of the House of Lords who, among other things, have succeeded in a campaign to Cut the Red Tape at their Civil Aviation Authority.
APPG-GA champions UK general aviation, economically and culturally. Its new aims include campaigning for improved safeguarding of airfields, working towards greater tax relief for flight training, improving the fairness of lower airspace management, and opening clearer pathways through education to aviation jobs.
But could an AAPG-GA exist in New Zealand?
Cheaper ADS-B is already on the way – but somewhere else…
CASA in Australia has listened to its aviation community and will be developing rule changes aimed at making it cheaper and easier for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) technology to be voluntarily fitted to visual flight rules aircraft.
Our advice: Unless it’s absolutely necessary, wait until the MoT and the NZ CAA get their act together. Otherwise, you might end up paying expensive and unrecoverable labour costs for installation, only to discover that you could have done it legally, almost – or entirely – on your own.
More than 6000 GA pilots get EU grants to upgrade their comms
€4.3m of funding provided by the EU has helped more than 6000 GA pilots and private aircraft owners to change from their 25 kHz radios to 8.33 kHz equivalents.
This UK issue is essentially no different from New Zealand’s impending switch to ADS B transponders, because in both cases GA operators must incur costs for equipment in a change that profits commercial players in the aviation system and provides little or no financial benefit to the private, non-profit people.
Claimants were allowed to apply for a 20 per cent grant on any purchase of an 8.33 kHz radio. The UK CAA applied for – and won – the funding from the EU in 2016 to assist with conversion of the UK GA fleet.
We think it’s long overdue for the New Zealand authorities to front up with similar help for the low-level GA installers of ADS-B equipment.