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Wellington Airport Company withdraws application to extend runaway 

New modelling tools to calculate runway safety distances have forced Wellington Airport Company (WIAL) to withdraw its current application, and reconsider how it will move forward, reports Stuff

The Airport applied for a resource consent to extend the runway to the south into the Cook Strait, in a bid to accommodate direct long-haul services into Wellington. This application faced strong opposition, including from New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association (NZALPA) who opposed the application on safety grounds, eventually prevailing at the Supreme Court in December 2017.

The Supreme Court instructed the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to reconsider WIAL’s application and set out a process for considering the starting point to determine the distance for runway extension safety areas (RESA). 

In its revised application to the Environment Court last year, WIAL’s submission outlined plans for a 300-metre extension, which included a 140m RESA at each end. The application was then placed on hold while the Environment Court waited for a decision from the CAA. 

Earlier this year, the CAA advised WIAL that a new modelling tool for calculating RESAs is being used globally and this tool would need to be used in the application. With this new information, WIAL decided to withdraw the current application with plans to lodge a new one in 2020. 

A spokesman for WIAL said it would review all aspects of the proposal before a new application is lodged. However, WIAL’s chief executive, Steve Sanderson, remains committed to the runway extension.

"It is critical to get this vital safety feature right, and we only have one opportunity to do so. This decision means we can come back with a refreshed application that incorporates the latest international methodology for RESA design,” Sanderson said.

Guardians of the Bay co-chairperson Sea Rotmann, the Wellington group opposing the runway extension on environmental grounds, said that from a political and financial perspective, she couldn’t see them simply reapplying for resource consent. 

"Every single dollar that they have spent on this - and that number is in the millions - that is a very significant amount of ratepayer money that has basically been dropped into the Cook Strait with all these reports, which they're now going to have to redo,” said Rotmann. 

NZALPA will continue to follow this project closely to ensure safety is at the forefront of any application.

For the full story click HERE.

 

Drone not responsible for Waihi plane crash 

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has ruled that windscreen failure caused a crash in Waihi last year. 

Newshub reported that originally the pilot, Rod Vaughan, suspected a drone collided with the plane, as the windscreen “exploded” and air filled the cockpit. 

"The wind coming through was so forceful that it blew my headset into the back of the plane, so I had no communications," said Vaughan. 

The CAA report said the aircraft was flying at an altitude of 1600 feet and a speed of 80 knots when there was a catastrophic failure of the windscreen. This caused the cabin doors to open, affecting the aerodynamics of the aircraft.

Yellow markings on the windscreen found during the investigation led the pilot to believe the accident was caused by a drone, but the CAA found that the yellow markings were UV staining of the glass. 

The high UV levels in New Zealand can cause the degradation of the windscreen's plastic polymers, the CAA found, and recommended aircraft should be stored in a suitable building or with a protection cover. 

For more click HERE.

 

Air New Zealand floats the idea of closing Queenstown Airport 

Shut Queenstown Airport, leave Wanaka Airport alone and look for another area to build a Central Otago international airport. That was the idea, suggested by Air New Zealand last year, and debated at a public meeting at the end of April.

In late April, the Kelvin Peninsula Community Association (KPCA) called a public meeting to explore airport options in the Central Otago area, reported the Otago Daily Times

David Mayhew, the KPCA chairman described Air New Zealand’s idea as “blue sky thinking.” He said they had not determined a site for a new airport, but mentioned it could be around Tarras.

''There's quite a lot of good land around there that could be utilised for a big airport, as I understand it, around Maori Point. But that wouldn't be the only possibility, I guess.” 

Mr Mayhew said when considering the growth of the region, it was ''inevitable'' Queenstown Airport was in the wrong place.

''Why spend more money on that location now, and why spend more money on upscaling Wanaka Airport, if down the line you are going to have to move anyway.'' 

Mr Mayhew said the community ''has to drive the thinking''. 

''If the community thinks this is a good idea, then it might persuade the local politicians and indeed the national politicians to think about it.'' 

Last year, an Air New Zealand spokeswoman suggested a new airport needed to be considered as a better option than the Queenstown Airport Corporation's ''dual airport'' plan to expand Queenstown and Wanaka Airports.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said it was time to have ''a bigger, bolder, braver conversation about creating a new Central Otago airport''. 

For more click HERE

 

World-first 3D printing aircraft repair

Air New Zealand has undertaken a world-first with a fast 3D printed seat repair, reported the New Zealand Herald

The trial involved printing a ‘bumper’, a part in the airline’s Business Premier monitor that prevents the screen from damaging the seat when it is pushed in. 

The airline ordered a digital aircraft part file from Singapore-based ST Engineering. The digital file was then sent to an approved printer in Los Angeles and printed before being installed on the Air New Zealand aircraft, within hours of its scheduled departure from LAX. 

Air New Zealand Chief Ground Operations Officer, Carrie Hurihanganui, said that being able to 3D print and certify aircraft parts in this way could present significant benefits to commercial airlines, though the airline did not immediately detail time or money. 

For the whole story click HERE

 

 

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