Uplink ALPA - The Voice of Aviation

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Newsletter. As of April 2020 Uplink ALPA is a 6-monthly publication.

New Zealand News

Robinson helicopters call for watch list removal

Robinson Helicopters presented new information to New Zealand officials on 14 March, in an attempt to remove their aircraft from the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) safety watchlist.

Between 2000 to 2017, Robinson Helicopters have been involved in 143 crashes, with 21 of them being fatal, making up 48 percent of New Zealand’s fatal helicopter crashes.

“My hopes from (meeting with TAIC) is to share new information, things that we’ve been working on that they specifically requested in the watch list.” Robinson Helicopter Company Flight and Safety Director, Bob Muse, told Radio New Zealand.

In October 2016, the Department of Conservation had safety concerns over the Robinson R22, R44 and R66 model helicopters following a fatal crash, which resulted in banning all staff from flying those particular models.

Five other government agencies have since followed suit and ceased all use of Robinson’s aircraft while they remain on the TAIC safety watch list.

Muse defended the company’s stance on the crashes by saying they occurred because of the pilot’s error and training gaps, and that it was not an issue with their aircraft.

“We looked at what was occurring in New Zealand, and if you look at the TAIC accident report that they put together [it] pointed out that there were pilots in New Zealand who were practising and demonstrating in-flight manoeuvres that are prohibited in our aircraft.”

For the full story see HERE.

Call for compulsory RPAS/drone registration

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association has voiced concerns about New Zealand’s current position on RPAS/drones and considers that there is a need for compulsory registration, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The latest incidents saw a drone being flown within 5 metres of a 777-200 Air New Zealand aircraft on 25 March.

NZALPA President, Tim Robinson said laws around the use of drones need to be enforced appropriately.

“Drone-related accidents and incidents have potential to put the welfare and lives of air transport crew and the travelling public at risk.

“There is a need for better education and regulation for the use of drones, as many drone operators are unaware of the risks and rules about where they can be operated,” he said.

“We look forward to working with the Ministry of Transport and the CAA regarding improved education, action and enforcement, including the possibility of registration in line with international best practice.”

Air New Zealand is also demanding tougher rules after this incident.

“The incident is the second example of reckless drone use potentially endangering passenger safety this month, with flight operations at Auckland Airport halted for 30 minutes on 6 March when an Air New Zealand pilot reported a drone within controlled airspace,” Air NZ said.

Airways Chief Executive, Graeme Sumner, is also encouraging registration for drone aircrafts. “We’ve had some extreme cases in other cities where they have banned drones. I don’t think that’s the way to go — these new technologies are going to come in and you’ve got to find ways of controlling and managing them.” Sumner said.

For the full story see HERE.

Plans to make air traffic control centres digital

The New Zealand Herald has reported on Airways’ plans to replace air traffic control towers with new digital towers, starting within the next two years.

The new digital towers use panoramic camera imagery to provide real time, 360 degree footage to a computer screen for air traffic controllers (ATCs) to monitor and analyse. The new technology uses cameras to show a panoramic view of the airfield, which is then sent to large, high-definition screens monitored by ATCs. They can zoom in to track fast moving objects and also small objects such as birds. The digital towers are also fitted with infra-red cameras that provide increased visibility in low light or bad weather.

The new digital control towers will first start in Invercargill and then be slowly introduced to the rest of the country. The new systems are already being placed in busy airports throughout Europe and Singapore.

“The opportunity to continue to work with this technology relies on getting your customers comfortable with them – obviously it’s a very low-risk environment that we can tolerate... and we would have Auckland as a backup to traditional operations before we move on to a fully-digitised environment,” said Airways’ Chief Executive, Graeme Sumner.

New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association’s Director of Air Traffic Controllers, Jim Dunn, is realistic about the new technology but believes that more involvement from controllers is needed as it develops.

“We are likely to have some concerns that we’ll need to work through but nothing is likely to replace humans, and their decision-making, for the foreseeable future” Dunn said.

For the full story see HERE.

Wellington airport extension on hold

Wellington International Airport Limited (WIAL) sought permission from the Environment Court to put their resource consent application for the Wellington International Airport runway extension on hold for nine months, reports the New Zealand Herald.

The application was placed on hold, while WIAL sought approval from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to operate the proposed runway.

As outlined by the Supreme Court in their decision, it is the CAA’s director’s responsibility when assessing the plans to start “with what the rules require rather than what the airport operator proposes.”

When hearing the request to hold the resource consent from WIAL, the Environment Court requested comments from interested parties.

The Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) is currently considering the public need or if the public needed to be re-notified about the proposed runway extension, which was originally notified in 2012. As outlined in an agenda paper to the GWRC Environment Committee, “Parties with an interest in the proposal have been discussing the implications of this delay, and whether the community should be consulted with again given the time that has passed since the application was originally consulted on…should WIAL’s proposal remain unchanged then our preliminary view is that we wouldn’t consider public renotification to be necessary.”

For the full story see HERE.

Claims made to plane hijacker's compensation

Stuff reports that a potential compensation payout for New Zealand’s only female plane hijacker, Asha Abdille, is currently under dispute.

Abdille was awarded $25,000 for undisclosed wrong-doings while in the criminal justice system. Victims of her hijacking were able to make a claim to the Victims’ Special Claims Tribunal for any outstanding reparation or legal aid costs if required. The victims had until Friday 16 March to submit a claim for a share of Abdille’s compensation payout. It was confirmed by the Ministry of Justice that four claims were received, but the Ministry would not disclose details.

In 2008, Abdille hijacked a 19-seater plane flying from Blenheim to Christchurch. In the course of threatening to crash the plan, she stabbed both of the pilots and a passenger who tried to speak to her. As part of her parole conditions, Abdille is unable to enter any airport or travel on a plane.

For the full story see HERE.




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