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OPINION: Balloon pilot not cleared to fly (Feb 23-24) is another example of self- regulation in New Zealand aviation being problematic. The Civil Aviation Authority and Transport Ministry are failing the public.
There are problems within CAA, where audit and enforcement is sometimes lax and blame for accidents and incidents are laid squarely on pilots and operators. Rather than being proactive, CAA is reactive, with far-reaching consequences.
The new safety regime for adventure tourism aviation and the stricter medical process for pilots have benefits, but also a downside. Many operators and pilots now face greater compliance costs, which is counterproductive in tough economic times.
For more than 25 years, New Zealand's third tier of aviation has been a liability. That liability often increases in times of economic downturn, when corners are cut by some operators and pilots. This, combined with CAA's historic cash flow problems, creates difficulties for CAA audit and enforcement. It's a major cause of some accidents.
It will be interesting to see if this cash flow problem changes radically with the new funding model introduced on November 1. I have my doubts. Lives are being lost. Changes need to be made.
- © Fairfax NZ News