Promoting the interests of working helicopter pilots within the industry is a priority for NZALPA as the helicopter membership group continues to grow.
In the coming months, NZALPA will be actively discussing the concerns and interests of working helicopter pilots with both employers and regulators, with a focus on how to improve safety in the sector and the conditions at work.
Part of the process will include communicating directly with the helicopter pilots and encouraging them to participate in the discussions with employers and regulators.
“As working pilots, our GA members can give the best perspective on conditions and duties, and it is important to have their expertise involved,” Buckley said.
As New Zealand has one of the highest numbers of helicopter ownership per capita in the world and some of the most challenging terrain and flying conditions, the safety of helicopter pilots is high on NZALPA’s agenda.
A 2015 risk profile report produced by the Civil Aviation Authority identified that, between 2006 and 2014, there have been 11 fatal helicopter accidents and 91 non-fatal helicopter incidents in New Zealand.
Recent high-profile accidents include the 2015 Fox Glacier helicopter crash, in which all seven people on board died, and the death of pilot and former SAS soldier Steven Askin, who crashed while fighting the Port Hills fires in Christchurch in February.
“Given that helicopter pilots work in notoriously challenging airspace and can experience high workloads and stress, it’s important they affiliate themselves with NZALPA to give them a voice to promote safer working conditions and best practice, as well as access to world-class wrap-around services including peer support, legal and welfare advice and professional insurances,” Buckley said.
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