National CFZ Network: An idea stretching way back in time

15 February 2013 / by the GAA team / Consultation, Governance, Safety

Back, in fact to 1998. The CAA has been thinking it over, on and off, ever since then.

To get an idea how slowly the wheels can grind, here’s Massey University School of Aviation’s timeline of events since it first tabled its ideas. The best news is at the end…


&#9830 Following the establishment of the Taranaki CFZ in May, Massey tabled the idea of establishing CFZs nationwide.

&#9830 Emailed CAA in August to submit the idea.

&#9830 Received very positive feedback CAA Aeronautical Services Officer and Manager Aeronautical Services. CAA supplied a discussion document it had created in December 1998 suggesting the future development of a national CFZ network.

&#9830 From August, began working with local users in the lower North Island to produce a CFZ network in the region.

&#9830 Concept was tabled at Palmerston North Airport User Group and Feilding Aerodrome User Group, where it was met with full support.

&#9830 Discussed with RNZAF, with full support,

&#9830 Discussed with Airways, which had no objections.


&#9830 January: formal request for establishment of CFZs with draft proposal was sent to the CAA.

&#9830 April (3 months later): received formal reply from CAA Field Safety Advisor (on behalf of Aeronautical Unit) indicating it had been “put on the backburner”.

&#9830 June: received formal reply from CAA Aeronautical Services Officer, informing us the proposal had been put on hold indefinitely as it did not attract a high priority at the CAA.

&#9830 November: Safety Management System (SMS) was introduced at Massey. Through this system, the hazard and risk assessment of the lack of common frequencies and increased traffic flow in uncontrolled airspace was deemed to be unacceptable and the project was revived.


&#9830 During March, a paper was completed by Massey outlining the case to establish a “National CFZ Network”.

&#9830 This document was presented to RAeS, with full support.

&#9830 Tabled at AIA Training Division, which agreed it was a good idea.

&#9830 Discussed amongst Air New Zealand Aviation Institute FTO Partners, with full support.

&#9830 Article published in the August edition of Pacific Wings.

&#9830 Presented at CAA Flight Examiner seminar in August, with 100% support from the group.

&#9830 Communicated to Len Wicks Regional Officer Air Traffic Management ICAO Thailand. He said: “Regional Office fully supports the concept”.

&#9830 RNZAC Flight Instructor Council supports a full review of the radio frequencies used around NZ and would like to be involved with any ongoing discussion on this matter.

&#9830 Early November: Meeting held at Massey with CAA to discuss CFZ proposal and the industry support gained.

CAA indicated it was in discussions with Airways around the use of FISCOM as an alternative means to meet the uncontrolled airspace radio issues.

Meeting outcome: A response will be given to Massey from CAA in 2 – 3 weeks with industry consultation expected before the end of the year, with a suggested implementation by March/April 2013.

&#9830 Late November: Massey checks with CAA on progress. CAA indicates the following timeframe:

Dec 2012, finalise Airways provision or a national flight information service and FISCOM coverage. Dec 2012 / Jan 2013, Discussion document issued to industry in regard to radio frequency, use of FISCOM and review of current common frequency zones. End Feb 2013, consultation complete. March 2013, Final decision made on radio frequency network. April 2013, Finalisation so any charting amendments can be made for Nov 2013.

&#9830 Mid-December: Massey checks with CAA on progress.

CAA responds to say several meetings are under way with Airways and AOPA and things are coming together. Rather than rush it out before Christmas, they would rather address it early 2013. A revised timeframe should be given by the end of the week and a meeting with Massey in mid-January.


&#9830 Late January: Massey checks with CAA on progress.

CAA responds to say higher priority work and one staff member resigning has resulted in a reprioritising of tasks. “You will see we ran an article on ‘The Right Frequency’ in the Jan/Feb CAA Vector“. CAA planning on having a document out for comment by end of February at the latest. Draft for Massey and AOPA by end of next week.

&#9830 Early February: CAA sends draft radio procedures discussion document to Massey for comment. CAA indicates this document will go to industry very soon with a submission period of several weeks.