NZ leader up in the air

John Lanham
John Lanham
New adventure aviation safety standards - the only such formal regulations in the world - take effect today, with international regulators watching keenly but some operators not impressed.

The new civil aviation rule gives the operators of passenger-carrying hang-gliders, hot-air balloons, tandem parachutes and paragliders six months to meet the regulations or they must stop operating.

Microlight, warbirds, aerobatic flight and gliding operations will also be affected, but they have longer deadlines.

Speaking at a Queenstown seminar attended by about 50 people this week , General Aviation Group - Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) general manager John Lanham introduced the rule, which had been 22 years in the making.

"It's a little bit historic in the sense that the New Zealand CAA is the only regulator in the world to introduce an adventure aviation rule," he said.

Mr Lanham said there was interest in the regulations from the United States and South Pacific nations, especially Australia.

CAA sport and recreation manager Rex Kenny expected 30 to 50 certificates would be issued in the next year, certification costing between $1500 and $2000 if applicants followed the process correctly.

However, some operators are not happy about the new standards, including Queenstown tandem hang gliding and paragliding company Sky-Trek. Co-owner Shai Lanuel said after the meeting the new regulation meant "more money for the bureaucrats" and was "not going to help with the safety".

"The commercial operators have all of this in place, anyway, so all it does is just make more paperwork and more money for something that's already existing anyway, so it's not going to improve any safety as far as I can see."

CAA safety data registrar Jacob Halliburton told the seminar the CAA received about 5000 aircraft incident reports a year, about 1000 "miscellaneous" reports - including low-flying aircraft and noise complaints - and carried out between 650 and 660 safety investigations.



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