Working on behalf of all NZ Aviators
Here in New Zealand we have an internationally unique forum of 16 organisations representing just about every aspect of aviation other than the large scheduled commercial operators. Despite their achievements however, the NZ Aviation Federation keeps quite a low profile outside of its individual memberships. Who are those memberships you ask? The NZ Aviation Federation comprises representatives from most major aviation organisations in our country with a combined representation of more than 10,500 aviators who own more than 4,000 GA aircraft and 42,000 model aircraft and drones. Notably, and an indication of the breadth of recreational and general aviation in New Zealand, most of the organisations are non-commercial, with just Aviation NZ taking on the role of representing commercial operators and other commercial aviation businesses. In December of 2021, President of the NZ Aviation Federation, Ian Andrews offered his President’s report to the 40th Annual General Meeting of the Federation. The following are extracts from Ian’s report.
Extracts from the Presidents Report for the 40th NZAF AGM
With so much pessimism in the world and uncertainty in NZ, I thought it would be timely to concentrate on the successes that NZAF and its members have had over the last few years. They are not in any order of importance but chronologically as they come to mind.
We successfully pushed for a reduction to the original medical application fee of $315. CAA proposed a $175 fee after three years of pressure, but NZAF were not happy with that and commissioned an independent report that saw the fee ultimately reduced to $105. That adds up to an industry total saving for our pilots of around a million dollars. We also lobbied for a new PPL medical. Again, after much negotiation and another independent risk assessment, we have what is now a 98% satisfactory medical that costs under $100 with no CAA application fee. That is around a $400 saving on a Class 2 standard medical. The RPL is gone now with only one licence for PPL.
Starting about 2013, AOPA pushed for a Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) to be included in our National infrastructure. Working with Australia, a huge effort went in to convincing all sectors of Government of the need for this system. Both Governments have committed to a system that will cost over $250m. This is now out for tenders with full implementation planned for 2025.
NZAF had a presence at about 100 regular New Southern Skies (NSS) meetings ensuring the rights of General Aviation (GA) were always considered in the huge changes that were being proposed. Added to this was a review of the Ground Based Nav Aid (GBNA) system to establish what is needed in a modern world of Satellite navigation.
After several years of talking, including presentations to the Asia Pacific ICAO forum on ADS-B, NZAF drove a stake in the ground over the ADS-B subsidy, issuing a written statement to CAA saying we would not support ADS-B unless there was a subsidy. The result was the best subsidy for a certified system anywhere in the world.
Aviation NZ have been working with all the Ministries to try and get foreign students back into NZ to revive our training industry. I thought dealing with Transport Ministers was hard, but John Nicholson has had to cross over into Health, Education and MBIE to get some traction. Successfully it would seem with 400 places approved by Government for this year.
Aviation Navigation Infrastructure
NZAF have worked closely with the Ministry of Transport and their ever-changing senior persons, to push for a review of the aviation navigation infrastructure. After four years this review has finally begun, and we are contributing to that review.
Microlight Advocacy - Rotax
SAA had some success in the engine escalation problem with Rotax engines. After a meeting with the then Director a welcome procedure was established.
Microlight Advocacy - ADS-B
There are still issues regarding available ADS-B equipment and then getting certification, but some serious progress has been made in this area with the assistance of Gliding NZ. There is still a way to go with antennas but hopefully NZAF can assist with that.
Microlight Advocacy – Fuel Tax
We presented on the regional fuel tax issue which then resulted in a drawn-out series of negotiations with the Ministry and various Ministers. We just wanted to claim a rebate of the road tax on MOGAS but were thwarted, without notice, by the current Minister who changed the law making it impossible to claim a rebate. The funds are kept by MoT and put towards ‘aviation safety initiatives’.
Instrument Flight Procedures
Immediately following the fuel tax decision by the Government, NZAF applied for a grant from the aviation safety initiative funds to pay for instrument flight procedures at selected unattended airports. With help from the Ministry, we have a two-year grant, for up to $550,000. The small airports group of the Airports Association will attend our next Council meeting to understand how we operate and may look at becoming members of NZAF. This grant will enable greater regional connectivity and allow safer, predictable access to many airfields. It will also enable GA to assist in times of civil disasters, as happened at Kaikoura and Takaka when they were cut off due to the earthquake and a heavy rain incident. GA was instrumental in many recoveries.
Rule Change Advocacy
When CAA tried to slip a rule change in at ACAG for major / minor maintenance, NZAF forced a backdown and change to the proposed NPRM 17-02. A close eye on this is still needed.
NZAF efforts successfully opposed changes to Airspace that were applied for to facilitate drone research in the Hokianga and Alexandra areas. We have been active in bringing common sense to the so-called disruptive technology of drones through Jonathan Shorer and now Chris Jackson from Model Flying NZ. Gliding NZ has also worked on Airspace Changes for areas that they use. Airspace is a complicated issue that needs very specialised skills to evaluate.
We have been active with our members in submitting to the Civil Aviation Act review that is now in its fifth year of the process. Presentations at select committees are next. We have had some changes accepted but there is still a need to have a Tribunal established to allow us to challenge things we consider are not according to the rules. Currently, the only option is to apply for a Judicial Review which is effectively suing the CAA. That is expensive and would probably be heard by a judge with no technical aviation experience.
From 2015, we have grown NZAF from 10 members to 16 members making NZAF a truly representative organisation that supports our members in many ways. NZAF have contributed over $275k to or via our member organisations to facilitate rule changes, airspace changes, district plan changes that threaten landing rights, independent risk assessments, judicial reviews, and events such as Wings over Wairarapa and Wings over Wanaka to promote or assist the growth of GA in NZ.
Youth in Aviation
NZAF is now taking a very active role in promoting youth in aviation. Our latest initiative has the potential to encourage young budding engineers to try the aviation scene as a career. This is an $8,000 Scholarship for a female engineer to gain training at NMIT. This could be the start of several scholarships in various areas of aviation including supporting the STEM programme so actively promoted by Wings over Wairarapa. We have also donated computer equipment for use by students at the Walsh Memorial Scout Flying School.
GA Road Map
We are about to start work with Aviation NZ on a GA road map in the manner of the UK and EU road map of the same name. The Ministry does not have the resources to produce this, but we intend to work with them so that it can be a joint publication.