Senior MET Specialist Retires

Keith Mackersy has decided to hang up his meteorological boots and retire from his current position of Senior MET Specialist, after a long and distinguished career. The majority of Keith’s working life was spent with MetService rising to General Manager Aviation Services, then on to a part-time position at CAA for the last 12 years or so. Keith has represented NZ in many ICAO and WMO forums over this time, with his first exposure to ICAO in 1974, where he was an observer at the 8th ICAO MET Divisional Meeting. He then played an active role in ICAO MET groups, attending a total of 52 ICAO or WMO meetings, including acting as Chair of four different ICAO Asia-Pacific MET groups and as a rapporteur for four working groups. Back home Keith has managed many changes and developments, furthering the provision, use and understanding of aviation meteorology in New Zealand – including the move to graphical SIGMETs and the GAP booklets covering MET.

Keith’s extensive knowledge of aviation MET and his willingness to share his experiences means he will be sorely missed from the aviation MET community, but his colleagues from around the globe all wish him a very happy retirement.

Peter Lechner will continue to provide support to our new Chief Meteorological Officer Paula Acethorp, as needed from time to time.

Global and Domestic MET Activities

Space Weather

Work is continuing by the global space weather centres to set up the operational processes for dissemination of space weather advisories, with an anticipated commencement date for services of 7 November 2019.  Keep an eye out on the upcoming spring edition of Vector for an article about potential space weather impacts on aviation.

Quantitative Volcanic Ash Forecasts

The nine global Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAACs) are looking at how a move to quantitative volcanic ash information might be implemented.  Instead of a polygon simply describing an area of ash contamination, data would instead be provided on the likely concentrations of the ash across the whole ash cloud.  This information would allow operators to make risk based decisions on a route, by calculating a likely ash “dosage” for the aircraft engines.  Information on this research will be presented by VAAC Wellington (operated by MetService) at the next New Southern Sky Working Group meeting, as an example of work undertaken in support of the Global Air Navigation Plan.

3rd NZ Aviation MET Symposium

The 2019 NZ Aviation MET Symposium is planned for 19th September, and will be held at the CAA offices in Wellington.  As with previous years, presentations will include information on global MET developments, activities by Part-174 certificate holders and discussion sessions on topics important to both airlines and GA operators.  In addition, a presentation will be made by a space weather expert on what space weather is and what its effects might be.  For more information, please email

Posted 18 months ago