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Civil Aviation Improvements Must Continue

Civil Aviation Improvements Must Continue, Not Just Following Major Accidents – Pilots’ Union

Changes to the way the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) manages safety inspections have been welcomed by the New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association (NZALPA) but pilots are cautioning that these improvements must continue, not just occur in the wake of tragic accidents.

The changes were announced earlier this week by the CAA at the conclusion of a court case resulting from the crash of a helicopter at Fox Glacier in 2015.
The crash killed the pilot and all six passengers on board the scenic flight.

The helicopter operator and the quality assurance manager’s company were both convicted for health and safety failings in the lead up to the crash.
Today the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) released its report on the tragedy, identifying safety issues relating to the operator’s system for training pilots. TAIC also faulted the helicopter operator’s ability to continue operating in spite of acknowledged non-compliances even with its own training system, as well as instances of managerial oversight.

“NZALPA has been very concerned about what emerged during this accident investigation and how it was being inspected. We’d raised our concerns with the CAA, initially with little response. Naturally we are relieved to see that the CAA has acknowledged its own shortfalls and is responding positively to the outcomes of the investigation,” said NZALPA President Tim Robinson.

“Upping their game on the supply and training of aviation inspectors and working with the helicopter industry to improve standards and practices are overdue and badly needed.

“It is a saddening that it took a major accident like this to force change.

“We only hope that the CAA continues with all the changes it needs to make and NZALPA is offering to help in any way we can, including through our involvement in the current review of the Civil Aviation Act.

”It is also crucial that the CAA is properly resourced to do its work upholding standards in a safety-led organisation.

“The safety of pilots and their passengers depends on it,” Tim Robinson said.

ENDS

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