New Zealand Reminds Pilots Flying Involves Risk

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General aviation safety in New Zealand isn't as good as it should be, according to the Civil Aviation Authority, and as part of a five-year effort to reduce the accident rate by 25 percent, the agency has created a DVD on risk assessment and is distributing it to 15,000 pilots. "Basically what we're trying to do is make them aware of the risks that they're taking," said John Jones of the Civil Aviation Authority. The DVD reminds pilots to get proper weather briefings, file flight plans and check fuel requirements. "It's all about double-checking everything we do, like a suit tailor who measures twice and cuts once," said John Funnell, president of the Aviation Industry Association. The effort is timely, he said, because the Christmas season is often a dangerous time for Kiwi aviators. "In the past we have seen people rushing to complete jobs prior to Christmas and as a result of pushing the limits, had accidents, damaged their aircraft, and injured themselves," he said. Holidays combined with spring weather and long days means pilots travel more and have more time to fly for fun. It's also a busy time for crop-dusting operations. "Across all sectors there is a significant increase in aviation-related activity," Funnell said. The DVD is part of the five-year Aircare project, which is supported jointly by the Civil Aviation Authority, the Accident Compensation Corporation and the Aviation Industry Association.