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.

NZALPA at the Aviation Community Medical Liaison Group

NZALPA’s Medical and Welfare Director Andy Pender was invited to attend a recent Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) New Zealand Aviation Community Medical Liaison Group (ACMLG) meeting in Wellington. NZALPA has had an affiliation with ACMLG since it was formed three years ago. The group is made up of industry participants including medical examiners, aircraft owner associations, sports aircraft and aero club bodies, and NZALPA representing aviation professionals.

Rob Scriven (Manager Regulatory Investigations, Personnel and Flight Training at the CAA) sees the ACMLG as an essential doorway for the authority to consult with industry, an action he sees as essential in promoting aviation safety. 

“Given the importance of the group, the opportunity to share NZALPA’s medical and welfare initiatives with members of the aviation community, professional and general aviation (GA), was superb,” says Andy Pender. “I selfishly took a lot of the stage time lauding our efforts in bringing pilots and air traffic controllers suffering the ill effects of poor mental health out of the shadows, and extended an open invitation for any of the Royal New Zealand Aero Club (Flying NZ) and Sports Flying Association, and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association members to reach out to the PAN programme, for judgement and riskfree advice on how to get through these issues with respect to the aviation medicine framework.”

There is still a misconception, particularly among the GA community, that anxiety, depression and low mood will permanently ground pilots and air traffic controllers. Andy says this couldn’t be any further from the truth, particularly when the issue is front footed by the medical certificate holder. 

Medical certificate holders can contact the Peer Assistance Network (PAN) at pan.org.nz or 0800 PAN 100 for information on how to advise CAA without fear of retribution. “Although the programme caters for aviation professionals, the programme would be remiss to not take a call from a pilot in the GA community. PAN is there to increase safety in the whole aviation system, not just in airlines and air traffic control,” says Andy.

L-R: Dr Tony Bonert, Senior Medical Officer at the CAA, Dr Dougal Watson, Principal Medical Officer at CAA; Andy Pender, NZALPA’s Medical and Welfare Director; and Dr Claude Preitner, Senior Medical Officer at the CAA.



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