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Expert to help New Zealand pilots reduce risks

22 May 2006

Wire strike expert to help New Zealand pilots reduce risks

The Aviation Industry Association is hosting Bob Feerst , a respected international aviation safety practitioner, to help reduce the risk posed by wires during low flying operations in New Zealand.

Wire strikes are a significant threat for pilots and crews whose operations require flying at low-level. Analysis shows that although wire strike incidents have reduced in New Zealand, the consequences for crews, passengers and aircraft are typically devastating.

Qwilton Biel, Chairman of the Helicopter Division of the Association said, “The seminar programme will highlight the importance of situational awareness and draw attention to visual and other traps that can deceive even experienced crews of both civilian and military when operating at low-level.

“These seminars have been very successful in changing pilot behaviours. Many pilots and aircrew say they have never flown the same way again after having attended Bob’s course.”

Bob was last in New Zealand in 1998. On this visit he will place more focus on the numerous hazards that lead to accidents. He will also introduce new technologies to assist crews to detect wires before they can be seen. Crew resource management techniques will be emphasised including use of non-flying crewmembers (e.g. paramedics, observers, camera operators etc) to enhance early detection of wires.

Qwilton Biel said “this seminar will make an important contribution to the AIRCARE program which is a joint venture initiative by the Aviation Industry Association, Civil Aviation Authority and ACC aimed at reducing accidents and injury in aviation. The skills Bob will teach will be an important addition to the AIRCARE tool box.”

The seminars will be held in Te Anau on 27 May and Napier 29 May. For more information; go to –wirestrike seminar.


A partnership approach to improving aviation safety

- Established in 2003 following industry concerns in 2001 of rising accident rates in the “general” aviation sector (ie non-airline)

- Formal partnership between industry, CAA and ACC – believed to be “a first” in the world

- Aim is to reduce accident rate and prevent injury in GA sector

- Approach reflects 2001 detailed analysis of causative factors

- Has five elements: Education; Reinforcement; Regulatory; Technology; Assessment

- Education via development of a series of DVD’s with a copy being provided to every holder of an “aviation document” (eg pilot license)

- First three DVD’s deal with risk management, decision making, and organisational factors

- Well known weather presenter and private pilot Jim Hickey fronts the DVD’s

- Program addresses on the ground injury (such as hearing impairment and back injuries which are prevalent in the sector) as well as prevention of aircraft accidents

- 2006 will see roll out of nation-wide seminars and formal assessment via the national qualifications framework

- Funding is via the AIRCARE Charitable Trust which receives grants from industry, CAA, ACC, and sponsors.

- In view of success to date, CAA and ACC being asked to increase funding to accelerate accident and injury reduction


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