A New Zealand delegation came to AOPA headquarters recently to share ideas about ways a planned satellite-based air traffic control system can benefit general aviation pilots.
The three members of the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority—Steve Smyth, Brigid Borlase, and Ray Harvey—came away with a clear message to avoid heavy-handed new rules that require pilots and aircraft owners to install expensive new equipment for which they receive little benefit.
“Mandates are counterproductive,” said Craig Spence, secretary general of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations. “Carrots tend to work much better than sticks.”
As evidence, Melissa Rudinger, AOPA vice president of government affairs, pointed out that half of the U.S. GA fleet has voluntarily adopted WAAS-GPS systems that allow approaches with vertical guidance to thousands of runways even though there’s no FAA requirement for it. In contrast, only 10 percent of the U.S. GA fleet meets the FAA’s Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) “Out” mandate that is set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
The New Zealand delegation got an up-close look at AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines’ A36 Bonanza, which includes an upgraded instrument panel with a full ADS-B system, as well as AOPA Senior Editor Dave Hirschman’s Experimental-category RV-4, which shows weather, traffic, and terrain using non-TSO avionics.
Smyth said the New Zealand delegation has met with aviation officials in Australia, Canada, and the United States and will work closely with aircraft owners and pilots at home before imposing any new aviation regulations.
“We’re not going to grab the latest gold-plated solution,” Smyth said. “The (GA community in New Zealand) is positive and engaged, and no one is banging the table. It’s the Kiwi way to engage people early, and face to face.”