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 aviation news



New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has just granted its first medical certificate to an applicant with type 1 diabetes.

More information about the new CAA approach will follow in the January/February issue of Uplink. 

Meantime, the United States Federation Aviation Administration (FAA) is making it potentially possible for airline transport or commercial pilots with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus to receive a special-issuance medication certification. 

The FAA says applicants must provide comprehensive medical and overall health history, including reports from their treating physicians, such as their endocrinologist. They also need to provide evidence of monitoring and controlling their diabetes using the latest technology and treatment methods.

The FAA says it developed the new protocol based on the reliability of the advancements in technology and treatment being made in the medical standard of care for diabetes, and on advice from medical experts. 

Read more HERE.



One of the newest and largest members of the Airbus fleet made its first scheduled visit to Auckland in October, according to a NZ Herald report. The Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000 will now be a regular visitor here, flying the Hong Kong- Auckland route. 

It wasn’t the first time an A350-1000 has been here, as Airbus brought one of the aircraft to Auckland last year as part of a global sales effort. 

The Cathay Pacific aircraft will carry 334 passengers – 256 of them in economy. This is 54 more passengers than Cathay’s A350-900 aircraft, which it flies into Christchurch. 

Read more HERE.

Singapore Airlines is replacing its Boeing 777s on the Wellington- Melbourne-Singapore route with Airbus A350-900 aircraft. 

Read more HERE.



Former Air New Zealand Chief Executive Christopher Luxon has been selected as the National Party candidate for the Botany electorate in next year’s general election. 

He will contest the seat held by Jami-Lee Ross, who is now an independent member of Parliament after quitting the National Party last year. 

RNZ reports that the Botany electorate has elected a National Party candidate by a large majority each election since the electorate was established in 2008.

Christopher Luxon quit Air New Zealand in September and the airline recently announced his successor, who will take up the new role early next year. 

Read more HERE.



A pilot who dismissed passengers’ concerns about ice on his aircraft’s wings, then crashed shortly after take-off, has lost a High Court appeal against his conviction for operating the aircraft in a manner that caused unnecessary danger to its passengers. 

Stuff reports that the pilot, Yannick Chatachvilly, aged 34, crashed the light single-engine, high-wing Cessna 177 aircraft in August 2017 shortly after taking off from Queenstown Airport. 

While other pilots de-iced a different aircraft, Chatachvilly did not de-ice the aircraft he was using and went to collect his passengers. When two of the passengers pointed out ice or frost on the wing, he said it would “blow off” after they took off. 

The engine failed after take-off and the aircraft crashed onto the grass at the side of the runway. Three passengers were injured.

Chatachvilly pleaded guilty to the charges. The judge rejected an application for him to be discharged without conviction and fined him $2,600. Chatachvilly then appealed his conviction and sentence as “manifestly excessive”, with his lawyer arguing the crash was caused by engine failure and that the reasons for that were speculative. He also argued that a conviction could have career implications for Chatachvilly, which the High Court judge considered was not an “unjust consequence.” 

The earlier conviction and sentence of a fine were upheld. 

Read more HERE.


The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has identified four key factors that led to the fatal crash of a microlight flying between Taieri and Omarama in June 2017. 

The Safety Investigation Report highlighted: 

• The pilot let the passenger (who was also a microlight pilot) fly the aircraft 

• The passenger was not familiar with the ergonomic layout of the Rans Aircraft S-19 

• The sensitivity of the electric trim buttons may cause unintentional activation of the trim system, and 

• The out of trim control stick forces can be significant. The pilot was killed in the crash and the passenger was seriously injured. CAA identified two safety messages: 

• There are risks associated with allowing someone who is not appropriately qualified to manipulate the controls of an aircraft, and 

• Using flight following services can reduce time spent searching for a missing aircraft 

Read more HERE.



A 13 per cent drop in the number of New Zealand flight instructors in just two years is worrying the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and others in the industry.

The number of pilots trained in New Zealand has dropped substantially in the last decade, and there is a global shortage of pilots, according to an RNZ report published on Stuff.

Flying New Zealand, which represents aero clubs, has described the situation as a crisis, with President Tony Page saying the loss of the most experienced instructors meant their skills would not be passed on. 

The CAA says it is watching the situation closely. 

The Stuff article also reports CAA noting that instructor inexperience had played a role in recent incidents during training where pilots did not follow proper flying procedures, and NZALPA’s Tim Robinson saying that as long as less experienced trainers are properly supervised the risk can be managed. 

Read more HERE.

Read the CAA report HERE.



American Airlines has announced it will offer a nonstop service between Christchurch and Los Angeles from next October. 

The service will be provided using a Boeing 787-8 and will run three times a week, according to a report on Stuff

American says it will also offer a direct Dallas to Auckland service and that both of these new services are a direct result of its recently approved joint business with Qantas. 

Read more HERE.



Stuff and Radio New Zealand produced a six part podcast series marking the anniversary of the Erebus disaster. 

The White Silence series can be accessed HERE, and also via Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher. 

The NZ Herald has video episodes and a 10-part podcast series, Erebus Flight 901: Litany of Lies? which can be accessed HERE.



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