Since MetFlight-GA received government funding last July, usage seems to have dropped off. This is disappointing given the efforts of many to get government funding. It is suspected that the reason may be that many people are using single logon identification. The CAA would like to reiterate that there is now absolutely no cost for bona-fide pilots to have access to MetFlight-GA.
Some promising work is being done by MetService on the provision of graphical Area Forecasts (ARFORs) – along the style lines of the Graphical SIGMET Monitor (GSM) product. CAA is liaising and providing assistance where it can.
Single GA Portal
The need for a single GA portal for NOTAM, aerodrome, and MET information, promoted by various organisations including AOPA and NZ Aviation Federation, has gained more prominence lately with the two key service organisations, MetService and Airways, meeting to discuss a way forward.
CAA is currently in the process of reviewing the MET syllabi for CPL and ATPL. The review perspective is that anything that does not provide a clear practical benefit in the conduct of CPL and ATPL operations is a candidate for relegation from the respective syllabus.
The CAA has put a large amount of effort into the meteorology area over the last few years as there is a clear need for better understanding and use of meteorological information. The CAA believes that it needs to continue its efforts in an ongoing manner. Ideas on how this might take shape are invited – please contact Peter.Lechner@caa.govt.nz
The CAA is conducting a review to establish whether Queenstown Airport should be elevated to an international airport under Annex 3 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation. This would require a different level of instrumentation and support from MetService. In this regard the CAA is engaging with the various stakeholders to establish the situation before any decision is made one way or the other. The project should be completed in a few months.
Airways, as part of NZs international obligations under Annex 3 is establishing a D-VOLMET service. CAA has been working with Airways in this regard recently – the new service will ultimately replace the old HF VOLMET system. Under D-VOLMET all of the OPMET information for the NZ FIRs will be available – including all SIGMETs in full. The current information is severely truncated due to the lack of broadcast time (5 minutes only!).
CAA continues to work with MetService as they gradually develop their alternate aviation MET production site in Auckland. Having both Auckland and Kelburn production centres able to produce all of the aviation MET data required at any time will be a huge advance in ensuring there are no outages in this important stream of aviation data.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) MET Panel has had a number of meetings over recent months. Two meetings in North America covered the development of the GML/XML progression of MET data, the development of the global space weather warning system, the development of radioactive material SIGMET or warning system, the development of the regional hazardous weather centres, and the development of the MET support for the ICAO global air navigation programme along with the development of a PANS-MET type document to supplement a trimmed down Annex 3 - see Met Panel(external link).
A joint meeting was held in December in Wellington for global experts under both the World Meteorological Organization and ICAO (MET Panel) umbrellas looking at the significant governance and funding issues faced by the global MET community. The meetings were clear about the complex nature of these issues and the need for significant progress along the lines of regionalization and globalization as this is increasingly supported by both technology and fiscal drivers.
Volcanic Ash Exercise
The ICAO co-ordinated VOLPHIN 16/1 volcanic ash exercise this month is focused on the Philippines with the Wellington VAAC (MetService) playing a watching role. In future exercises in the Australia/Pacific/NZ areas VAAC Wellington will play a central role.
The CAA and MetService is looking forward to a visit from Officials from Vietnam who are interested in the way in which New Zealand operates its aviation MET provision and international engagement. We note that for the last decade or so Vietnam has put significant effort into its MET programme and has made tremendous progress.