Des Lines and Brian Mackie, who manage the GAA social network on behalf of you and more than 1500 other supporters, have agreed to work in alliance with the New Zealand Aviation Industry Group.
This cooperation is intended to better address issues that affect professional and private participants in the New Zealand general aviation system.
Both groups will maintain their freedom of independent action, but will work together whenever they agree that all supporters’ interests are best served by united action. This applies to many developments relating to general aviation, since what affects commercial operators often has wider implications for private pilots.
A link has been under discussion for some time, but two recent developments put the concept into clearer focus.
The first was a decision by the New Zealand Aviation Federation (whose members include RAANZ, Flying NZ, the SAA and AOPA) to seek loans so that the NZAvFed could purchase an additional 20 percent shareholding in ASL, the training business of the industry-owned licensing company.
AvNZ, formerly known as the Aviation Industry Association before a subsequent rebranding, had already publicly admitted that its finances were in ruin due to mismanagement.
We understand, but cannot confirm, that AvNZ was in the red to the tune of $300,000. It is understood to have garnered about $400,000 from its share sale to NZAF, which borrowed the money from some (note, not all) member associations. Individual members, lower down the ‘food chain’ in turn, finance the loaning parties.
In our opinion, this matter requires further clarification and the NZAIG – which was formed by AIA members who were opposed to its much-criticised Aircare safety management programme – asked the GAA to assist in publicising the issue and obtaining some answers to questions.
The second was the CAA’s recent decision – rejecting widespread public protest and aviators’ objections – to prosecute a helicopter pilot. This issue is already in the public domain and is now under judicial consideration since pleas have been entered. It has now gone sub judice, in legal speak, so we cannot make any further comment on the case until legal proceedings are concluded. The NZAIG was alone among established organisations in joining with the GAA to protest against the prosecution.
It became clear that a louder, more co-ordinated and independent voice is desirable when dealing with important, GA-related matters – particularly when they are generated by the CAA, Airways and (as is evident) even by officially recognised aviation organisations.
Since the GAA is not an organisation – it’s an unfunded social network that exists purely because it has supporters – we cannot have a membership vote on this move, although NZAIG members have voted in favour. We hope, however, that you will endorse it.
We believe the established aviation organisations have failed to make a meaningful impact on the course of GA in New Zealand for many years, despite their high membership costs and claimed close “dialogue” with the CAA in particular.
On the other hand, the weight of freely expressed opinion on a number of important issues, voluntarily generated by supporters of the unfunded GAA, has made some real and demonstrable progress.
We believe that it is possible to achieve more for GA by working with the NZAIG, whose major challenge may be in understanding how an unriveted social network operates in an unconventionally democratic way. We think co-operation can be successful and hope you will support us, as we give it a go.
For more information about the NZAIG, click GAA 151020 NZAIG background