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This blog site is intended to provide brief information on the current and future work of the CAA relating to:

  • management and development of New Zealand’s aeronautical meteorological system with regard to international obligations and global systems, and
  • facilitation of meteorological services, systems, products, and education within the New Zealand civil aviation system.

Each entry will be dated and contain reference to any applicable web site or document for further background or reading.


12 January 2017

Single GA Portal - We are pleased to advise that the single GA portal for NOTAM, aerodrome, and MET information within the Airways IFIS system has been operational since December. Our thanks to Airways and MetService for getting this project completed in time for use over the busy summer flying season. See: www.ifis.airways.co.nz

Work will continue to find a way of providing graphical MET information over the same platform. In the meantime, the full suite of MET information remains available on MetFlight-GA.

MET Access In-flight - recently CAA Legal confirmed that GA pilots operating VFR can legally access MET information using their cellular/data tablet devices in-flight (MetFlight, IFIS etc). This legal view was sought to clarify a level of misunderstanding in the GA community. Note that this is not the case with any form of IFR operation - cellular/data tablet devices cannot be use in-flight as part of the operation of the aircraft.

Australasian MET Authorities Meeting - In December 2016 the CAA hosted the first of an expected on-going series of collaborative meetings with the Australian MET Authority. The meeting, also attended by MetService, proved valuable with both parties undertaking good actions from the meeting. Generally speaking, the following was covered:

  1. Regulation, compliance, and promotion.

  2. ICAO interaction and responsibilities.

  3. Domestic operations - successes and challenges.

  4. New Zealand automatic instrumentation (METAR AUTO etc).

  5. Strategic development.

Fiji CAA and MET Service - In November the CAA undertook on behalf of the Fijian CAA, a review of the Fiji MET Service with regard to Part 174, Meteorological Services adopted by Fiji. This project proved invaluable in building good relations with both Fiji CAA and Fiji Met Service and we look forward to a good ongoing collaborative relationship with both.

Tonga Met Service - On Boxing day, the CAA was contacted by the Tonga Met Service to explain that the large plume probably visible in satellite imagery was not a volcanic eruption but a very large fire at the main rubbish dump on Tongatapu. This information was passed on the MetService VAAC here in Wellington. The communication is a welcome example of the way Pacific Island States are becoming more comfortable in regional MET development and operational communications.

Graphical GA Weather Product - CAA continues to work with MetService in the development of a graphical low level significant weather product that would consolidate the current ARFOR information into a graphical low level significant weather forecast over the whole country up to 10,000ft.

MetService Resilience - CAA continues to work with MetService as they implement their alternate aviation MET production site in Auckland. Aviation MET production shifts from their new production centre are underway, although this is not easily transparent to the user should they be interested.

MET Liaison Meeting - the CAA is planning to hold a meeting of all parties with MET interests later this year in Wellington (Airlines, GA, MetService, Airways, MoT, CAA etc). The objective will be to provide respective briefings on critical local and international MET developments, identify challenges, and agree appropriate work programmes. It is envisaged that this meeting would become an annual event.

MET Syllabi - CAA is currently well down the track in the process of reviewing the MET syllabi for PPL, CPL and ATPL. The proposals are currently on the CAA web site for public comment. These close 25th January, with expected implementation toward the end of 2017. See: www.caa.govt.nz/pilots/pilot-syllabus-info/pilot-syllabus-assistance/

MET Panel - The ICAO MET Panel had its second full meeting in October 2016. A thumbnail view on the outcomes (see www.icao.int/airnavigation/METP/Pages/Panel-Meetings.aspx for full report):

Space Weather (pivotal support of PBN/TBO operations)

  1. Completed Concept of Operations, and functional and performance requirements for global space weather information,

  2. Completed draft Standards and Recommended practices (SARPs) under ICAO Annex 3, and consequential amendments, to establish the ICAO global space weather information service, and

  3. Completed criteria and process to select provider(s) of ICAO global space weather information capability (with assistance of World Meteorological Organisation - WMO).

Radiation (Covers both accidental and planned/aggressive release of radioactive material)

  1. Completed draft SARP for Annex 3 for the provision of a cylinder-shaped SIGMET (to describe areas affected by the release of radioactive material), and

  2. Completed amendments to current guidance material.

Volcanic Ash (Consolidation of IAVW system)

  1. Completed revision of Volcanic Ash Roadmap, and

  2. Inclusion of development plans for the introduction of Sulphur-Dioxide (SO2) warnings.

XML/GML Met information formats (transition to data-centric approach to MET)

  1. Completed Guidelines for the Implementation of OPMET Data Exchange using IWXXM;

  2. Inclusion of Status indicators and Translation Centre information in IWXXM messages;

  3. New provisions for IWXXM (standard in 2020); and

  4. Draft global MET-SWIM Plan and Roadmap.

Global Operations (operational management of global MET systems)

  1. Successfully transitioned the existing operations groups (WAFSOPSG, SADISOPSG and IAVWOPSG) into the METP Working Group on Operations;

  2. Provision of reference data for visualising WAFS gridded forecasts of cumulonimbus cloud, icing and turbulence;

  3. Creating WAFS Medium Level Strategy for ASBU Block 1 (2018- 2023);

  4. Ceased Satellite element of SADIS service on 31st July 2016 and assisted States transition to the Internet based component of the service; and

  5. Extended the area of responsibility of VAAC Tokyo (now have global coverage from the 9 VAACs).

Hazardous Weather Information

  1. Reports were received on the work being done on the development of regional hazardous weather information systems.

  2. Current thinking is that a new global system of hazardous weather information generated on a regional basis (rather than and FIR basis) will better meet user needs.

Cost Recovery and Governance

  1. Accepted initial draft White Paper the future delivery of MET information to international aviation (out to 2035) – consequential re-draft due in March 2017

18 August 2016

Single GA Portal – Airways is working on the software revisions needed to implement the single GA portal for NOTAM, aerodrome, and MET information within their IFIS system (which in itself is currently undergoing a makeover). Implementation is now expected in September 2016 (note that work will continue past this date to find a way of providing graphical MET information over the same platform).

Queenstown – The CAA has completed its review on the MET needs of Queenstown Airport with respect to its increasing international operations.  As a result the NZQN TAF format will not be changed from its current domestic form but will now be made available through the ICAO OPMET exchange systems (ROBEX bulletins). To better inform MetService forecasters, Airways will provide textual AFIS information directly, and a new 360 degree camera system is expected to be installed. Given the continuing growth of international traffic at Queenstown, a further MET review will be undertaken in a few years.

MET Syllabus – CAA is currently well down the track in the process of reviewing the MET syllabi for PPL, CPL and ATPL. Greg Reeve, MetService Military Meteorologist, has been providing significant expert support to the project. As previously reported the basic idea is to streamline each syllabus ensuring what that it provides a clear practical benefit in the conduct of PPL, CPL and ATPL operations.

MetService Resilience – CAA continues to work with MetService as they gradually develop their alternate aviation MET production site in Auckland with MetService beginning operating aviation MET production shifts from their new production centre in Auckland at the beginning of July. 

MET Panel – The ICAO MET Panel is due for its second Meeting in October 2016. What is becoming clear to all of the Met Panel experts and advisers is that the systems and very nature of provision of meteorological information to international aviation needs to be completely revised. In this regard, several MET Panel working groups are beginning work on future user requirements and technology GAP analyses. In parallel a White Paper on Aviation MET Information Delivery in 2035 is currently being refined for presentation at the MET Panel meeting. The work involved in defining and implementing this global change will be extensive. It will require significant long term support from New Zealand.

One of the key aspects of the new global MET system is likely to be the provision of 4 dimensional seamless hazardous weather information and data (ash, tropical cyclone, icing, turbulence, thunderstorms, mountain waves, radiation).

High Level Ice Crystal Icing – Readers are reminded of this emerging issue. A recently published major incident report noted probable cause as ice-crystal icing. See A346, en route, eastern Indian Ocean, 2013 on Skybrary, and on the CAA MET web page, High Level Ice Crystal Icing.

Importantly it should be noted that that SIGMETs and SIGWX forecasts do not currently provide specific information about ice crystal icing. However, the inclusion of information concerning thunderstorms, especially in tropical areas, can provide pilots with an indication of the potential risk of encountering high level areas of hazardous ice crystals.

VAAC Confidence levels  - Following agreement at WMO Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) “Best Practice” Workshop earlier in 2016,  it was agreed to trial the use of a statement outlining the forecaster confidence in the T+0 ash polygon (T+0 means the time of the observed or estimated ash polygon).  The statement will appear at the start of the RMK section of the Volcanic Ash Advisory message (VAA) and will take the form “T+0 CONFIDENCE HIGH” or “T+0 CONFIDENCE LOW”.  Note – for a VAA to be issued, a forecaster must first have high confidence in the existence of ash.  The confidence statement in the VAA RMK then refers to the area of the ash depicted.

If “T+0 CONFIDENCE HIGH” is used, this means that recent satellite imagery provides strong evidence of the horizontal boundary of the ash cloud.  The ash is clearly discernible on RGB and/or visible imagery.  In addition, the forecaster must also have strong evidence of the vertical extent of the ash cloud – this may be in the form of radar imagery if there is a radar close enough to the volcano, or it could be a volcanologist observation.

If “T+0 CONFIDENCE LOW” is used, this means that there may only be strong evidence for either the horizontal or vertical extent of the ash cloud – not both.  This may be due to the ash cloud being either partially or fully obscured by meteorological cloud, or due to no strong observations of the vertical extent of the ash cloud.

Volcanic Ash Exercise – a further ICAO co-ordinated VOLPHIN 16/2 volcanic ash exercise is being planned with the Wellington VAAC (MetService) again playing a watching role. In future exercises in the Australia/Pacific/NZ areas VAAC Wellington will take a more significant part.

16 February 2016

MetFlight-GA – 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.

Graphical ARFORs – 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.

MET Syllabus – 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.

Ideas Invited – 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

Queenstown – 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.

D-VOLMET – 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!).

MET Redundancy – 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.

MET Panel – 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.

MET Governance – 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.

Vietnam – 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.

31 July 2015

MetFlight-GA – Usage of MetFlight-GA has risen since it received government funding.

Graphical SIGMET Monitor (GSM) – The GSM product is now operational for both NZZC and NZZO FIRs – it can be accessed on MetFlight-GA, Met JET and other MetService systems. The CAA has produced a GSM user guide.

Flight Instructor Seminar 2015 – This year the focus is on How to Teach Met. The two-day flight instructor seminars are targeted at new C-Category (Aeroplane/Helicopter), and microlight, flight instructors. The seminars will be presented by well-respected aviation meteorologist Greg Reeve. The seminars are at Masterton, Ashburton and Auckland. See "Seminars and Courses" for further information.

Asia Pacific Regional MET Development – CAA and MetService will participate in early August in the annual ICAO Asia Pacific Meteorology meeting in Bangkok. Discussions will focus on developing existing products, reducing SIGMET deficiencies, inter-State co-operation and collaboration and new regional hazardous weather concepts.

Volcanic Ash Graphic – The standard Volcanic Ash Advisory Graphic (VAG) has been sharpened up with the implementation of new production methods at MetService. The improved VAG is now operational from the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (MetService) - but there has been no volcanic action in the Wellington VAAC region to trigger it to date.

Ideas Invited – 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. With the conclusion of the AvKiwi effort recently, and the Flight Instructor Seminars at the end of August 2015, 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

21 May 2015

MetFlight-GA – The CAA has confirmation that Government will be funding MetFlight-GA (the web based product for private pilots only) from 01 July 2015 – as part of the 2015 Budget tabled in Parliament yesterday. The funding is contained within the disbursements to Vote Transport for public weather forecasting services for the MoT-MetService public weather services contract. Well done to the MoT Team who picked up this important task.

There will be some transition issues to wash-up existing subscription payments so the actual start of the no-charge service to private pilots may be a bit later than 1 July 2015. MetService is currently assessing how quickly it can implement the IT changes needed.

MetService Backup Facility and Final Radar - The 2015 Budget has also included provision for MetService to establish a new disaster recovery backup facility and to build new weather radar in Central Otago to fill a gap in MetService’s existing radar coverage. Both of these developments will have positive benefits to aviation meteorology.

New MetService Aviation Manager – the CAA welcomes Paula Acethorp to the position of Manager Aviation Forecasting at MetService. Paula is now responsible for the production of all aviation meteorological products. We also wish Marcel Roux, the previous incumbent, all the best in his new position at MetService.

Meteorology Panel – Peter Lechner, New Zealand’s expert nominee, was elected Chairman of the ICAO Meteorology Panel in late April. The panel consists of invited international experts and has started on overhauling the provision of global MET for aviation. The Panel has 4 working groups supporting it, each lead by a Rapporteur who are, in turn, is supported by task or work stream co-ordinators;

        1. Requirements and Integration
        2. Information and Service Development
        3. Information Exchange
        4. Operations

New Zealand has nominated experts to participate in most of the working groups. Also, a small group of experts lead by Peter will be working on the thorny issue of cost recovery guidance.

Graphical SIGMET – The CAA has been working closely with MetService on final development matters around the Graphical SIGMET Monitor (GSM) implementation – still timed for 31 July 2015. The product looks really good and is easy to understand. There will be one GSM for the NZZC FIR and another for the NZZO FIR. Issues on map projection south of 60°S means that the NZZO GSM will cut off at 60°S for the time being. Most likely a second panel for the area 60°S to the Pole will eventually be needed in the NZZO GSM.

Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre – Both CAA and MetService participated in a workshop in London early in May focusing on the further development and alignment of Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre production systems.

Volcanic Ash Graphic –The new product is still expected to be available from the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (MetService) from 31 July 2015.

AvKiwi – The CAA’s AvKiwi theme, Weather Matters, is being well received around the country. The last round of seminars is due to start in Tauranga in mid-June. Refer to the back cover of Vector for the Seminar dates.

AWS Symbols – the CAA continues to work on the introduction of symbols on the aerodrome charts in the NZAIP showing the location of automatic weather stations – but this is currently a lower priority. The intention is to provide contextual information to the AUTO METAR information routinely provided at such aerodromes.

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30 March 2015

MetService Resilience – The CAA continues to work closely with MetService in their planning for the implementation of a new business continuation/systems resilience scheme.. This initiative reflects the strategically critical nature of the supply of meteorological information to aviation.

NSS Related Work – Related to the New Southern Sky, National Airspace and Air Navigation Plan project, a small working group has been formed between Airways, MetService and CAA to define the future Airways operational meteorological information needs. That work is expected to be concluded by the end of the year.

Volcanic Ash Graphic – MetService has completed its work on the implementation of a new volcanic ash graphic (VAG) production system. The new product will be available from the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (MetService) from 31 July 2015. The long delay has been the result of difficult IT issues in moving to a new production platform.

Graphical SIGMET – MetService has completed its work on the implementation of a new graphical version of SIGMET for the NZZC and NZZO FIRs  - called the Graphical SIGMET Monitor (GSM). The product will be available from 31 July 2015 through MetService’s aviation web services, including MetFlight, and will also be added to packages of products provided to commercial operators. The long delay has been the result of difficult IT issues in moving to a new production platform.

AvKiwi – The CAA’s AvKiwi theme this year is Weather Matters. This initiative is aimed at further assisting people in their appreciation of the need for ensuring access to good meteorological information, the understanding of that information, and the critical application of that understanding to decision making. Refer to the back cover of Vector for the Seminar dates.

AWS Symbols – the CAA is working on a proposal to introduce symbols on the aerodrome charts in the NZAIP showing the location of automatic weather stations. The intention is to provide contextual information to the AUTO METAR information routinely provided at such aerodromes.

Meteorology Panel – New Zealand’s expert nominee to the inaugural April 2015 International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Meteorology Panel will be Peter Lechner. The panel consists of invited experts from Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Oman, Russia, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, ASECNA, EASA, IATA, IFALPA, and WMO. It is expected that the Met Panel, working much like an international corporate board, will start on overhauling the provision of global MET for aviation in relation to the ICAO Global Air Navigation Plan and other technical and user drivers.

WMO Expert Team on governance – the CAA is also taking part in a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology Expert Team on Governance. The task of this team is to review the ICAO-WMO letters of co-operation and to provide more detailed guidance and assistance to State meteorological services with regard to their overall management and governance of respective meteorological service supply organisations.

ICAO Ad Hoc Groups – New Zealand is the Rapporteur for two ICAO Asia Pacific Region Ad Hoc Groups.  One is concerned with improving the availability of SIGMET information in the region, especially in States not currently issuing SIGMETs regularly, or not at all.  Another Ad Hoc group is developing SIGMET pamphlets to assist States, expecially in the Asia Pacific Region, with guidance on the correct formatting and issue of SIGMETs. The pamphlets will be provided in pdf format for downloading from selected websites.

Changes in AUTO METAR abbreviations – Some changes have been made in alpha-numeric codes used in METAR AUTO messages:

        • The code NDV with regard to visibility in domestic METAR AUTO messages is discontinued. This change was made for consistency with international standards and to obviate user unfamiliarity. It should be well understood that METAR AUTO visibility data does not provide any directional information.
        • The code NCD will be used when no cloud is detected below 10,000ft, even though the AWS’s ceilometer may still be detecting cloud layers above 10,000ft. This is to be consistent with international standards and practices.

These changes will be reflected in amendments to AIP GEN 3.5-6, GEN 3.5-31 & GEN 3.5-42 and the meteorology reference material on the CAA’s web site.

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22 January 2015

Foreign Operators – The CAA requires foreign air transport operators, whether Part 129 Certificated, private or charter, to uplift their requisite meteorological information from a certificated or otherwise approved supplier of aviation meteorological information. This requirement has been in effect for some time. An explanation and background to the requirement has recently been posted on the Meteorology page of the CAA web site under the heading Weather Information Requirements for Foreign Operators.

MetService Resilience – The CAA is working closely with MetService in their planning for the implementation of a new business continuation/systems resilience scheme. This work and investment is expected to lift the overall uptime of MetService’s aviation production IT systems so it is more fault tolerant and can fully withstand unplanned events. This initiative reflects the strategically critical nature of the supply of meteorological information to aviation.

NSS Related Work – Related to the New Southern Sky, National Airspace and Air Navigation Plan project, a small working group has been formed between Airways, MetService and CAA to define the future Airways operational meteorological information needs. That work is expected to be concluded by the end of the year.

Volcanic Ash Graphic – MetService has almost completed its work on the implementation of a new volcanic ash graphic (VAG) production system. The product will have a much crisper look representing a more robust and accurate production.

Graphical SIGMET – The development of a graphical version of SIGMET for the NZZC and NZZO FIRs, by MetService, continues to progress. Implementation is now expected early late March/Early April 2015.

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14 November 2014

Graphical SIGMET – The development of a graphical version of SIGMET for the NZZC and NZZO FIRs, by MetService, continues to progress. Implementation is expected early in 2015. The product will be called a Graphical SIGMET Monitor (GSM). Essentially it will show all current SIGMET in the NZZC or NZZO FIRs at any point in time, and will be updated on the issue of any new SIGMET or the cancellation of any SIGMETs. An article will appear in the next issue of Vector accompanied by a indicative example of a GSM for the NZZC FIR.

Volcanic Ash Graphic – MetService is working on the implementation of a volcanic ash graphic (VAG) that will show expected ash position at 24 hours from time of issue. The current VAG only goes out to 18 hours. The new product (T+24) is deemed experimental and will only be provided in graphic form. All nine Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres around the globe are or will also shortly be issuing the experimental T+24 VAG. Experience with the product will inform the eventual standardisation by ICAO.

Runway Visual Range at NZCH – The CAA has been working for some time with Airways Corp. in their installation of transmissiometers and associated systems at Christchurch International Aerodrome. This equipment is now operational so Runway Visual Range (RVR) information will be provided to pilots by ATC when appropriate. The RVR system will initially allow Cat I approaches to be undertaken, moving to CAT II and Cat III in due course after gaining sufficient operational experience. MetService has completed its work to ensure RVR information will also be included in METAR AUTO reports for Christchurch.

NSS Met Provision Policy Review – The New Southern Sky, National Airspace and Air Navigation Plan, includes a section on the MET changes and developments needed. The last task line item, Policy and Regulatory Change, involves the review of the provision and funding of aviation meteorological services. It will take account of the markedly different technical and business environment such services are now provided compared to the times of implementing the current system. The lead for this work is most likely to be the Ministry of Transport closely assisted by the CAA.

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05 September 2014

Meteorology Sub-group Meeting – The Keith Mackersy (CAA) participated in this annual ICAO regional meeting in Beijing in August. The meeting reviewed MET deficiencies across the region, and particular attention was given to a long standing deficiency concerning the lack of information on hazardous weather (SIGMETs) for three FIRs in the equatorial area to the north of Australia and New Zealand. These FIRs are affected by frequent thunderstorms and volcanic activity. The meeting agreed to establish a small group comprising New Zealand (lead), Australia, Hong Kong, China and Indonesia, to develop bilateral solutions reasonably quickly. It is expected that this will be an interim solution until an ICAO expert group has addressed the question of developing Regional Hazardous Weather Advisory Centres where needed. This was a key outcome from the Meteorology Divisional Meeting held in Montreal in July.

(The Meteorology Sub-group meeting routinely considers all matters concerning meteorology in the Asia and Pacific region including the World Area Forecast System (WAFS), meteorological advisories and warnings (volcanic ash, tropical cyclones, SIGMETs, wind shear, tsunamis, radioactive material and space weather), operational meteorological data exchange and the transition to digital exchange using XML/GML, support to air traffic management, QMS, meteorological forecaster and observer competency and training)

Supplementary SIGMET – CAA continues in its efforts to broker a solution for passing SIGMET information (for NZZC only), in a easily understandable form, to aircraft in flight.

Graphical SIGMET – The final development phases and implementation of a graphical version of SIGMET for the NZZC FIR, by MetService, is now progressing. Currently implementation is expected before the end of the year.

AvKiwi – work is progressing well on developing material, process and content for the 2015 AvKiwi programme that will focus on understanding and applying meteorological information. Further information on this key programme will be forthcoming early in 2015.

15 August 2014

Supplementary SIGMET – CAA continues in its efforts to broker a solution for passing SIGMET information (for NZZC only), in a easily understandable form, to aircraft in flight. The development by MetService of this special product for Airways use (only) is delayed.

Graphical SIGMET – The final development phases and implementation of a graphical version of SIGMET for the NZZC FIR, by MetService, remains delayed due to its dependence of the completion of the Supplementary SIGMET.

Weather Radar – the final Doppler weather radar in the MetService network was formally opened on 28 July 2014 near Whangaroa , in Northland. The CAA recognises and supports the significance of the particular radar, and the overall network, to aviation safety and air traffic management.  It is expected that the radar output will be made available during the second half of August 2014 – accessible through the MetService aviation and public forecasting web-based products.

ICAO Meteorology Divisional Meeting - The CAA participated in the ICAO Meteorology Divisional Meeting and conjoint World Meteorological Organization meeting over in July 2014 at ICAO HQ in Montreal. Peter Lechner was elected Chairman of the meeting that was attended by 308 participants from 95 States and 7 international organisations. Recognising the strategic direction provided by ICAO’s revised Global Air Navigation Plan, the meeting set out recommendations aligned with the aviation system block upgrade (ASBU) methodology, including the integration of digital meteorological information into the future system-wide information management (SWIM) environment. SWIM is seen as a critical component of the future global air traffic management system. Specific recommendations were made on meteorological services for all phases of flight, including those relating to volcanic ash, radioactive material in the atmosphere and space weather. Institutional issues were also addressed, including meteorological authority designation, cost recovery, regional and sub-regional cooperation, quality management, data quality and personnel competency. These conclusions reflected key elements in the two papers presented by New Zealand (see documentation on: ICAO Meteorology Divisional Meeting 2014). Given the far reaching nature of the recommendations of the meeting, it is expected that New Zealand, including the CAA, MetService and Airways, will need to increase their  development work in the MET field – partly in line with the New Southern Skies programme.

Meteorology Sub-group Meeting # 18 - SG – The CAA (Keith Mackersy) will shortly participate in this meeting in Beijing. This annual ICAO regional meeting considers all matters concerning meteorology in the Asia and Pacific region including the World Area Forecast System, meteorological advisories and warnings (volcanic ash, tropical cyclones, SIGMETs, wind shear, tsunamis, radioactive material and space weather), operational meteorological data exchange and the transition to digital exchange using XML/GML, support to air traffic management, QMS, meteorological forecaster and observer competency and training. The SG also reviews MET deficiencies in the region. Most importantly, this meeting is expected to make recommendations on the early implementation of Regional Hazardous Weather Advisory Centres – RHWACs. (see documentation on: ICAO Asia and Pacific Meeting 2013 Met SG/17). It is likely Australia and New Zealand will work collaboratively on the implementation of the RHWAC concept in the Pacific region.

DeepWave NZ Experiment – This multinational experiment was concluded on 21 July 2014. The project gained a very good set of data on gravity waves, and New Zealand benefited through the immediate economic spin-off. The co-ordinators were impressed that New Zealand was able to step up for the experiment when other countries could not or would not. The performance of Airways in the oversight of flight operations involving the US and German aircraft was professional and faultless – as expected.

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26 June 2014

Graphical SIGMET – work on the development and deployment of a graphical form of SIGMET (as per ICAO standards) has been delayed due to various technical considerations around the shape of the product and the requisite and pending production processes at MetService. The upside of the delay is that the format and approach has been revised  to provide a more easily usable and representative product. MetService is currently working on this project from the revised CAA specification. That specification now calls for a Graphical SIGMET Monitor (GSM) rather than a separate graphic for each and every textual SIGMET issued.  This graphical product will depict all current SIGMETs on one graphic, one for each of the NZZC and NZZO FIRs. As any of textual SIGMETs is cancelled, updated, or new SIGMET issued, then a new GSM product will be issued – hence the GSM will be up to date at all times. Implementation date to be advised.

SIGMET voice transmission – with the implementation of the GSM product and MetServices’ new IBL production systems, the current method of translating the textual SIGMET latitude and longitude information to place names for passing to aircraft in flight will not be possible. Under the new production system the areas of severe meteorological conditions advised in the standard textual SIGMET will be defined much more concisely using a polygon; for example: WI S4130 E17448 – S3927 E17540 - S4329 E17200 - S4130 E17448. The CAA has provided a specification to MetService that is expected address this issue by ensuring Airways ATS offices continue to have a parallel word picture product to convey the SIGMET polygon location to aircraft in flight within the New Zealand FIR (NZZC) – eg:  translating the latitudes and longitudes in the previous example renders: WI 10 S Wellington to Waiouru to 25 W Christchurch to 10 S Wellington.  This supplementary approach will continue to need to be treated as approximate. Implementation date to be advised.

Aerodrome Climatologies – the CAA, as the Meteorological Authority under ICAO, is obliged to ensure that international civil aviation has access to climatological data for New Zealand international aerodromes. To date this has been achieved through the provision of blue book Aerodrome Climatologies compiled by the old Meteorological Service in the 1980’s (for all New Zealand aerodromes). The CAA is currently working with NIWA to update the climateological data for Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown aerodromes. At this stage it is envisaged that the new data will be made available on the CAA web site.

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27 May 2014

DeepWave Experiment – All civil aviation arrangements for the DeepWave experiment are now in place. Airways Corporation has issued its internal operations notice and information on the overall operations now resides in the AIP NZ Supplements (58/14 NZ Domestic and Auckland Oceanic Airspace: Atmospheric Research Project ‘Deepwave’ 15 JUN to 21 JUL 14). Further background information can be seen at EOL - Quick Questions for Deepwave PIs.

Graphical SIGMET – Meetings have been held with MetService and Airways on the introduction of graphical SIGMET (the conventional alpha- numeric SIGMET will continue to be provided). A number of allied production issues remain to be solved before the planned implementation. Work is continuing on these matters within all three organisations.

ICAO Meteorology Divisional Meeting - July 2014. The papers from New Zealand have now been translated by the ICAO secretariat. Numerous papers have been submitted by the European Union which seek to direct future development of MET. A good paper has been supplied by the European Cockpit Association through IFALPA – a Pilots View on Weather (and MET development). See ICAO Meteorology (MET) Divisional Meeting 2014.

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16 May 2014

07 May 2014

        • Graphical SIGMET – The production of a graphical version of notices of significant meteorological conditions (SIGMET) by MetService will commence in late July 2014. Access to this graphical information is expected to remove most of the current concerns in GA over the utility of the international specified alpha-numeric version. The graphical product will be available through MetService aviation on-line products. Pilots using tablet and I-pad devices in flight will also have access. Discussions with Airways continue on access and use by ATS Officers for passing information from the graphical product by radio to requesting aircraft.
        • Aerodrome Pressure Information - a small number of aerodromes were advised on 5 May 2014 that their advertised supply of QNH data (aerodrome level pressure reduced to mean sea level in accordance with the international standard atmosphere) in their aerodrome weather information broadcasts (AWIB), without certification, contravened Rule Part 174. The aerodrome operators were advised however that the Rule Part does allow the provision of Mean Sea Level Pressure (MSL pressure). The work-out is simply to rename the data as Mean Sea Level (MSL) Pressure. See Advisory Circular AC174.
        • NZ Volcanic Ash Advisory System - work with Geological and Nuclear Sciences and others has resulted in the simplification of the official GNS Volcanic Alert Level system. This will shortly be summarised in updates to the CAA’s on-line document, Living with Volcanic Ash Episodes in Civil Aviation These VAL changes do not materially affect the design of the existing triggering and hazard area notification system for aviation. See Volcanic Ash Advisory System.
        • Aerodrome Charts - the inclusion of automatic weather station (AWS) location on aerodrome charts in the AIP NZ is to be considered by the AIP NZ Working Group shortly.
        • DeepWave NZ Experiment – The CAA continues to provide support to the US (National Centre for Atmospheric Research – NCAR) and German (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt - DLR) organisers. See the AIP New Zealand web site - supplement effective 01 Jun 2014.
        • ICAO Meteorology Divisional Meeting - July 2014. Two papers from New Zealand have now been accepted by the ICAO secretariat and are currently being translated:
          • Streamlining Aeronautical Meteorological Information Provision and Related Global Systems Management - the need for the streamlining of meteorological production and the management and oversight of that production to better meet changing user safety and efficiency needs within the context of advancing technological capabilities in meteorological and related communities.
          • Governance and Oversight of ICAO and WMO Working Arrangement - the need for better collaborative governance of global aviation meteorological system management, development and oversight within the context of the review of WMO and ICAO working arrangements. See ICAO Meteorology Divisional Meeting 2014.

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31 March 2014

Notes from the recent ICAO Regional (Asia- Pacific) OPMET exchange (ROBEX) and Meteorological Hazards Task Force (METH TF) meetings held mid-March 2014:

        • The Darwin/Wellington volcanic advisory centres (VAACs) back-up test scheduled for October. The test will also involve the Darwin/Tokyo procedures.
        • Of all the States in the APAC Region, only Australia appears to be experiencing problems with the implementation of latitude and longitude in all SIGMETs.
        • The revision of the Regional SIGMET Guide is to be speeded up by special working group comprising Australia, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and New Zealand.
        • The Nov 2013 SIGMET communications tests were disappointing with limited improvement overall in the Region. The New Zealand component was completed to standard.
        • Australia advised that the Cairns Meteorological Watch office (MWO) has been disestablished.
        • Continuing need expressed for more guidance on the issue of radioactive material SIGMET.
        • SIGMET posters being revised by a group comprising Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand.
        • January tests showed OPMET database availability (ie receipt) of 90% and 92.4% respectively for METAR and TAF in the region for AOP aerodromes. Non receipt of some NZ METAR was noted - the problem probably lying with the Brisbane RODB – issue being investigated.
        • Singapore has successfully implemented digital exchange of OPMET using XML/GML – mainly with UK. The lack of AMHS implementation in the region (and globally) is holding back further progress.
        • A proposal to restructure of the ROBEX scheme will be further investigated and reported together with recommendations at the next meeting.

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26 March 2014

        • WAFS information. The well advised termination of the WAFS upper air forecasts in GRIB1 format ceased in November 2013 in accordance with decisions taken at the World Area Forecast Operations management group. The sole endorsed code form for WAFS upper air forecasts is now the GRIB2 code form. An extra flight level has been added to the specifications for the World Area Forecast System (WAFS) upper air forecasts in November last year. Both the London and Washington World Area Forecast Centers (WAFCs) now provide FL410 (175hPa) data in their routine production.
        • The regular ICAO World Area Forecast Operations management group (WAFSOPSG/8) meeting was held in September 2013. Outcomes of interest were:
          • Agreement to include three more levels (FL080, FL210, FL480) in the WAFS upper air forecasts. The data will include wind, temperature and geopotential altitude. These additions will become effective in November 2016.
          • Removal of the two-hour delay when undertaking scheduled significant weather (SIGWX) back-up tests.
          • Agreement to develop enhanced gridded global forecasts
          • Agreement to develop, increase and enhance the verification of global gridded forecasts for cumulonimbus cloud, icing and turbulence.

See the ICAO World Area Forecast Operations management group (WAFSOPSG/8) web site.

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14 March 2014

        • The CAA notes a suggestion that the position of automatic weather stations on aerodromes be shown on aerodrome charts in the AIP. It is suggested that this would assist in the interpretation of METAR AUTO.
        • The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will be holding the Meteorology Divisional Meeting in Montréal, July 2014, conjointly with the Fifteenth Session of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology (CAeM-XV). The meeting will address strategic issues vital to the current and future provision of aeronautical meteorological services. CAA and MetService people will participate for New Zealand. See ICAO Meteorology Divisional Meeting.
        • The regular ICAO International Airways Volcano Watch Operations Group (IAVWOPSG) management meeting was held mid February 2014. Outcomes of interest were:
          • Volcanic Ash Advisory to be extended experimentally to 24 hours.
          • New Smithsonian volcano database mandated.
          • IAVW strategic plan mandated.
          • Space Weather Concept of Operation accepted.
          • Radioactive Material Release Concept of Operations delayed.
          • VAAC London and Toulouse areas of responsibility expanded.
          • Various guidance materials further developed.

See the IAVWOPSG meetings web page.

        • An MoU has been signed between the Darwin and Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAACs) that provides for respective back-up of the Darwin or Wellington VAAC should either one be unable to operate for any reason.
        • A graphical version of SIGMET for the NZZC (NZ - Domestic) FIR will be made available by MetService mid-2014.  The graphical SIGMET for the NZZO (Auckland Oceanic) FIR will likely follow in 2015. Both developments will be made possible through the establishment of new IT systems at MetService. Although the format for the NZZC graphical SIGMET will differ, an interesting off-shore third party supplier of graphical SIGMET can be seen at  SkyVector Aeronautical Charts.
        • Engagement with the aviation sector on SMS implementation in the Civil Aviation Rules, including Part 174 Aviation Meteorological Service Organisations - Certification, is expected to start later in 2014. See Safety Management Systems (SMS).
        • The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) competency requirements for meteorological forecasters and observers in Part 174 organisations are now in place. See Advisory Circulars.

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