Director of Civil Aviation Awards

The Director of Civil Aviation Awards are presented each year to an individual and an organisation with an overwhelming safety ethos. The winners have gone out of their way to do the right thing. Their actions have directly resulted in safety standards being raised, and they have encouraged others in the aviation industry to do the same.

The Awards are open to all individuals, and to operators and organisations involved in aviation in New Zealand.

The award for the individual features a hand throwing a dart. The dart represents a generic aircraft. The hand is throwing the spirit of aviation forward into the future.

The award for the group or organisation features a pair of hands catching the dart, or generic aircraft. The hands represent aviation safety, the actions of keeping the dart from falling to the ground, protecting it.

The trophies were sculpted by New Zealand artist, Peter Roche of Auckland, and were first presented in 1995.


2017 Director's Awards

A Chief Flight Instructor who ensures his students are at the frontier of aviation technology, a training organisation that enables its graduates to be aviators with a point of difference and an individual who led Air New Zealand’s response to meet many challenges, including continuing to fly safely through the 2011 volcanic ash event, are the recipients of the 2017 Director of Civil Aviation Awards.

Flight Instructor Award

Craig Whyte, Chief Flight Instructor, Massey University School of Aviation

This award was established to acknowledge the importance of good flight instruction and its contribution to aviation safety. 

We’re maintaining this tradition of recognition by presenting the Flight Instructor award to another outstanding instructor, Craig Whyte, a person who is well regarded in the aviation industry, who sets, maintains and demands high standards and who champions efforts to improve aviation safety.

Craig has been the Chief Flight Instructor (CFI) for his organisation for a decade.

He is well qualified, holding a Bachelor of Aviation degree and an Airline Transport Pilot’s License.

He is an ‘A’ category Flight Instructor and a CAA authorised Flight Examiner.

In his role as the Chief Flight Instructor, Craig was responsible for the replacement of the organisation’s fleet of Piper aircraft with a fleet of technically advanced Diamond aircraft.

He faced the challenge of changing from legacy cockpit displays to glass cockpit operations, including transition and type-rating training for instructor staff without impeding the progress of his students.

As a result of the change in technology, Craig was instrumental in working with his team to change their training methodology by developing an innovative Scenario Based Training Syllabus.

Craig plays a vital role in the organisation and discharges his responsibilities quietly, but very effectively.

His technical flying skills and instructional technique are highly respected and his planning and concern for his staff and students enables high professional standards to be maintained at all times.

Award for an Organisation

Massey University School of Aviation

Many recipients of the Director’s Award for an Organisation have had long-standing histories in aviation and the 2017 winner, Massey University School of Aviation, is no exception.

Since it began almost 30 years ago, this organisation has grown to become the leading aviation research and tertiary education provider in New Zealand.

Interestingly, some of the early aviation-related work done by Massey University School of Aviation was a 1986 CAA-sponsored research project into Human Resource Development in Aviation.

The organisation now offers qualifications in aviation from undergraduate to doctoral levels, and claims to its credit 9 aviation PhD graduates over the past 12 years. 

Massey University School of Aviation has a high-profile applied professional qualification, the three-year Bachelor of Aviation Air Transport Pilot major, and is a globally recognised undergraduate degree programme designed to develop professional aviators.

This qualification operates under a CAA New Zealand Equivalence Approval which requires the organisation to operate a transparent level of governance, compliance and accountability.

Massey University School of Aviation also maintains ISO 9001 accreditation, Part 141 certification for all aspects of any training they provide, and successfully introduced a Safety Management System in 2012, well ahead of the current CAA requirement.

Both academic education and flight training are integrated in Tertiary courses taught by aviation practitioners and academic staff.

This special blend of academic knowledge, professional development and technically enhanced skills enables the graduates to be aviators with a point of difference.

Graduates from Massey University School of Aviation are found throughout the aviation industry in New Zealand and overseas. Its unique profile, outstanding performance and significant contribution to aviation education and training make Massey University School of Aviation a worthy recipient of the Directors Award for an organisation.

Award to an Individual

Robert (Bob) Fletcher, Former Head of Operations Support, Air New Zealand (retired May 2017)

Bob Fletcher has, for more than forty years, built a reputation as a true professional in the aviation sector.

His actions, words and deeds both within his organisation - and in contributions to the broader aviation sector - have demonstrated true professionalism and integrity.  

Bob’s focus on safety in his organisation has demonstrated that you can successfully combine sustained commercial success with the highest standards of safety awareness and technical expertise.

He knows about risk and risk management. He knows about people and how to get the most out of them.

Bob’s ability to seamlessly transition between flight operations and engineering –  I understand that he speaks both languages fluently – is no doubt derived from his qualifications and experience. He started in aviation as an apprentice before gaining his aircraft maintenance licence. After that he attended Auckland University – graduating with an engineering degree. 

Bob then moved into operations support at our National carrier – a role in which he was a key contributor to the safe and efficient running of the airline. He recently ended a long period of service as the Head of Air NZ operations support.

Bob is highly respected within and outside his airline for his comprehensive knowledge of operational, safety and regulatory matters. 

He led a number of new and innovative procedures to enhance the effectiveness of the airline, and did so based on sound risk management and excellent people engagement.

He led the airline’s response to a number of challenges, including the continuation of safe operations during the period in 2011 when the ash cloud from a Chilean volcano drifted across Australia, the Tasman Sea and New Zealand.

Bob’s positive influence extends outside his own organisation to the wider aviation system and community. 

He has actively contributed to the development of Civil Aviation Rules, including Extended Diversion Time Operations (EDTO). 

He has been a keen supporter of the New Southern Sky programme, and helped to introduce Performance Base Navigation procedures into Auckland, including consulting with the community about the environmental benefits and the sensitive issue of management of noise.  

Bob has worked closely with the CAA on a range of matters and has contributed to the advancement of aviation and the safe transport of passengers during an impressive career which exceeds forty years.

He has been successful in positively influencing change and decisions through his integrity, credibility, willingness to explore new opportunities, safety-focus, and ability to work with people at all levels.  

This award acknowledges an outstanding career in New Zealand aviation and an ongoing personal and professional commitment to maintaining the highest standards of aviation safety both here in New Zealand, and internationally.

The 2017 Director’s Award to an Individual is presented to someone who epitomizes the values inherent in the concept of senior person responsibility -  Bob Fletcher.


2016

A pioneering CEO and a new skydiving company were the recipients of this year’s Director of Civil Aviation Awards. The Flight Instructor Award went to a Flight Examiner with 15,000+ hours.

Skydiving Kiwis

2016 Director's Award for an organisation

Lee Barraclough (left) accepts the Director's Award for an organisation on behalf of Skydiving Kiwis.
Photo courtesy of Aviation NZ.

Jumping out of a plane at age 19 set Lee Barraclough on the path to representing New Zealand in skydiving, and then running his own company, Skydiving Kiwis – 2016’s recipient of the Director’s Award for an Organisation.

While past recipients have had long histories in aviation, Skydiving Kiwis has only a four-year history. But as Director of Civil Aviation, Graeme Harris, explained, “Skydiving Kiwis has been recognised by many in the sector, and in the CAA, as an example of dedication, and adherence to high standards, with the clear understanding that, in aviation, compliance with rules is simply not enough.”

Lee describes himself as a human body pilot, “Flying with my own body is what attracted me to the sport.

“It was such a buzz that owning my own drop zone became my ultimate goal. I wanted to create the best sport and tandem skydiving facility in New Zealand.

“Skydiving as a sport has come second to commercial tandem facilities. I thought New Zealand was missing a real sporting drop zone. We intended to fill that gap.”

To save time in getting a Part 115 certificate, Skydiving Kiwis used a consultant’s manual to get the company off the ground. But within a year Lee had rewritten the manual to better represent Skydiving Kiwis. The CAA staff involved in safety oversight of the company have been impressed by its drive to operate well above the minimum standards set by the Civil Aviation Rules.

“Writing more than 95 per cent of our Part 115 exposition gave me great insight into the safety aspects of our operation,” says Lee. “If I feel there’s a better way to do something, we make a call to the CAA and discuss it. Constant communication with the regulator is the key.

“With Part 115 being so new, our sector has the ability to shape our own safety culture.”

From a leased Cessna 180, and two second-hand tandem rigs operating out of Rangitata Island in Canterbury, Skydiving Kiwis has moved to Ashburton Airport. There it has steadily grown with a second leased aircraft, six tandem rigs, six new student equipment sets, and a staff of six.

“We have a lot of plans in the pipeline,” says Lee. “New Zealand has so far to go in this amazing sport and we intend to be there every step of the way!”

Richard Rayward

Richard Rayward was the recipient of the Director's Award for an individual.
Photo courtesy of Air Safaris.

Richard Rayward was literally clinging to the side of a mountain in Corsica when he got a text from his son, Tim, that he’d received the Director’s Award for an Individual. With no email access, the CEO of Tekapo-based Air Safaris, texted a speech for someone else to accept the award on his behalf. In those few characters, he demonstrated his humility by saying that he saw the award more as recognition for the whole team around him, and all who had worked to make Air Safaris a success.

Richard started flying in the 1960s in a Cessna 180. He built his experience with venison recovery to cover flying expenses. To achieve this in remote locations, he needed to construct the airstrips himself.

The airstrip construction would continue – although Richard describes himself as “a bit of a reluctant aerodrome operator” – as his business developed. First at Mesopotamia Station when the company started as a certificated operator, and then at Lake Tekapo, when the company moved their operations there. Finally, they took over a shingle topdressing strip at Franz Josef and had it sealed, and a terminal building built.

In the four decades since starting commercial operations, Air Safaris has grown to a fleet of nine aircraft, including Nomads carrying 15 passengers, a Robinson 44 helicopter, and a Cessna 180 used to ferry staff around.

“The 180 is a nostalgic throwback to what we first started with,” says Richard.

In that time, he’s seen a lot of change, especially with scenic flights.

“Now, people are focused on getting great photos or videos on their phones. It’s a pity, as I think most people would get much more out of the flight if they left their cameras at home! But it’s just how things are changing, and we have to change too to ensure we keep meeting the passengers’ expectations.”

Passengers’ expectations, of course, also include safety. And that’s key for Air Safaris.

“Safety is imbedded into our culture. We want to provide a safe operation for our passengers and our staff. For us, safety is a matter of pride,” says Richard.

Peter Dixon

Peter Dixon (left) accepts the 2016 Flight Instructor Award from Graeme Harris.
Photo courtesy of Aviation NZ.

“His firm but approachable manner has endeared him to candidate, instructor, manager, and peers alike. He has become one of the most respected professionals within the flight training sector in New Zealand,” said Graeme Harris when presenting the Civil Aviation Authority Flight Instructor Award to Christchurch-based flight examiner Peter Dixon.

While unexpected for Peter, his peers had nominated him, and his nomination was strongly supported within the CAA, according to Graeme.

Originally, Peter balanced his passion for flying with his career in farming. But eventually aviation took over.

“I’d finally got my PPL, so I thought that the next logical step was to get a CPL. And then of course a flight instructor rating,” says Peter.

He consolidated his flying skills and gained commercial experience and instructional time, before becoming involved in the administration and management of the Canterbury Aero Club, culminating in a three-year stint as president.

In 1988, he joined the Air Transport Division of the Ministry of Transport, and was assigned to the newly formed ASL (Aviation Services Limited) in July 1992, where he has been a flight examiner for almost 25 years. During that time he worked part-time flying with the Christchurch Air Ambulance. This enabled him to gain his ATPL. He now has more than 15,000 hours flight time.

For Peter, the greatest joy in the role is seeing his students achieve success in the industry.

“I’ve boarded countless flights where I encounter former students or test candidates as the captain and first officer. Some of them, I’ve done all their tests right from CPL, to B-cats, D-cats, and instrument ratings.

“Seeing them achieve success is wonderful, but the best is when I know they’ve come away from the exam – whether passing or failing – having learned something.

“It’s not a box-ticking exercise, it’s about learning, and regardless of the result, 99 per cent of them will come up to me after the debrief and say 'thanks' and shake my hand, whether they passed or not.

“So I must be doing something right.”


2015

An outstanding instructor, one of the country’s oldest flight training schools, and an enthusiast for all things aviation are recognised for their exceptional commitment to safe flying.

CAA Flight Instructor Award

It would be fair to say that A-Cat instructor, flight examiner, and CAA Aviation Safety Adviser, Carlton Campbell, was ambushed by his win as 2015 Flight Instructor by the CAA.

He told the gala dinner of the Aviation New Zealand Aviation Leadership Summit in Queenstown in July that he had absolutely no idea he was to receive the award.

“But after a couple of references from Graeme (Harris, the Director of Civil Aviation), I began to think ‘wait, this is beginning to sound familiar!’”

The Director told the 430 dinner guests that while Carlton was an outstanding and highly respected instructor, particularly in the niche field of mountain flying, he (Graeme) had to think “long and hard” about making such an award to a CAA staffer.

But eventually he’d come to the conclusion that since the nomination had come from industry, if  “someone stands out as the best in New Zealand aviation, they deserve to be recognised for their contribution – irrespective of who they work for.”

Carlton says he was lucky enough to have had three terrific mentors – all former chief flying instructors with Wakatipu Aero Club – who’d passed on to him some valuable lessons.

“Never turn down an opportunity to learn more about flying, set a high bar in skill and safety, and understand in concrete terms, what good flying is.”

The former school teacher says there is nothing more satisfying than providing students with experiences that enhance, reinforce or develop their learning.

“Flying is so unforgiving of poor decisions, and a lack of knowledge. You have to teach students how to fly well, not just tell them about it.”

As a regular presenter of the CAA’s annual AvKiwi Safety Seminars, Carlton says he enjoys helping pilots keep current.

“The seminars give you a good sense of purpose and you get great feedback.”

Carlton has also taught at the Walsh Memorial Scout Flying School in Matamata for many years.

“Helping give the students the opportunity to go solo in just two weeks, seeing how they mature in such a short time, it really does remind you of what teaching flying is all about.”

Organisation Award

“We have no desire to be the biggest aviation training school in the country, but we do want to be the best.”

And that aspiration of Bryan Jones, chief executive officer of Southern Wings has been made real in 2015, with the company taking out the Director’s Award for an Organisation.

Graeme Harris said that Invercargill-based Southern Wings – established in 1998 – led the flight training industry in teaching excellence, while “never forgetting that a safe, challenging, and rewarding experience is the most important outcome for all”.

He said the company’s experienced and long-standing instructors had risen to be leaders in the development of the current crop of pilots, and that Bryan Jones set “the highest standards in flight safety and training performance”.

Graeme said the company maintained a “strong and uncompromising approach to safety” even while operating in some of New Zealand’s most challenging weather.

Bryan Jones agrees the weather can be testing for the company.

“We lose a fair amount of potential flying hours to the weather. It’s very changeable. There’s a significant amount of wind compared with other places in the country, and the freezing conditions mean we have to pick and choose when we get the work done.

“But we’re never tempted to say ‘let’s just fly anyway’ because you have limits, and you have to abide by them.”

Bryan says classes at Southern Wings are deliberately small – about 3.5 students to every instructor.

“We’re not here to get them to just pass their flight test, we’re here to turn them into pilots. They get quality training from our instructors who become quite invested in the students and their progress.

“The instructors enjoy making a difference. That’s why they stay with us for so long. We take these 18-year old school leavers and two years later there’s quite a transformation, and not just with their flying abilities.

Echoing a sentiment from the other winners, Bryan says it’s fantastic to watch former students go out into the world and achieve good things.

“It’s great. An awful lot of them stay in touch. And a good number come back and continue to be involved with Southern Wings. To me, that says a lot about what they think of the organisation and its philosophy.”

Individual Award

Perhaps the greatest commitment to flying safety is encapsulated by the Director’s Award for an Individual.

In 2015 that person is Peter Vincent, described by Graeme Harris, as working for many years, “with dedication in a challenging sector, always maintaining excellent safety standards.”

Peter made the tough decision, in 2014, to close his 24-year old company, Vincent Aviation, after market conditions made continued trading untenable.

“I said to the CAA and others ‘I give you my word that if we cannot operate safely, then I’ll close the doors’. And that’s what we did.

“I think that’s where some companies come unstuck. Money gets tight, they skimp on things to cut costs, and that’s where an accident or serious incident can happen.

“Obviously, we wanted to keep the company going. Closing it down was not a fait accompli because we were working on some contracts. But events worked against us.

“I do think everyone in the company understood that at no point could we allow safety standards to be compromised so I guess we just had to be mature about that.”

Peter is understandably delighted that that huge and difficult decision has now been acknowledged by his peers.

Graeme Harris told the gala dinner that Peter was “held in high regard by all who have worked with him.

“Several of the many people who nominated him for this award commented ‘I can think of no person more worthy.’”

Graeme said while creating and growing Vincent in New Zealand and Australia, Peter continued to “bring young pilots into commercial aviation, monitor their progress and act as a mentor”.

Peter is a fan of the contribution small airlines can make to the training of pilots heading to the big airlines.

“It’s so important for those young people to have exposure to flying an Aztec or a Caravan or a PC-12. They learn good stick and rudder skills, they learn to make decisions in that ‘grey’ area of flying, they’re not just learning how to fly via a computer.”

Peter estimates as many as a thousand pilots would have passed through the doors of Vincent Aviation.

“I get so much pleasure in seeing where they’ve gone, what they’ve achieved. Those who left were generally following their ambition to fly larger aircraft.

“But a lot have stayed in touch and a frequent comment they make is ‘I didn’t realise at the time how much you did for me. The training and the variety of work and the comradeship at Vincent were great’.”


2014

CAA Flight Instructor Award

The CAA decided to present this award to recognise the importance of good flight instruction to aviation safety.  The award has been presented seven times since, and in presenting it again tonight I will be continuing the trend by presenting it to another outstanding instructor – a person who is highly respected in the aviation industry, who sets, maintains and demands high standards, who ‘walks the walk’ and ‘talks the talk’ in striving to improve aviation safety.

This year’s recipient of the Flight Instructor’s Award was nominated by his peers and strongly supported within the CAA.

The nomination noted that this instructor is someone that, because he doesn’t like attention and fuss, has escaped the recognition that he really deserves. He just quietly gets on with doing the job, and doing it very well.

He was recognised as an outstanding instructor well before taking on the role of CFI of his training organisation.

He is a great instructor and has been quietly instrumental in initiating and maintaining many of the processes that keep the students taught by his organisation safe.

The 2014 CAA Flight Instructor Award goes to the Chief Flying Instructor of the Nelson Aviation College, Jeremy Anderson.

Organisation Award

The winner of the 2014 Director’s Award for an Organisation is a South Island helicopter operator with an excellent safety record.

This organisation operates a fleet of 10 helicopters and conducts a wide range of commercial operations under their Part 119 certificate – from firefighting operations and precision long-line aerial lifting – to filming, photography and animal tracking.

They provide flight training to commercial pilot licence standard, type ratings on a wide range of helicopters, as well as pest eradication services in conjunction with the Department of Conservation, and a comprehensive agricultural operation under Part 137.

They provide Helicopter Underwater Escape Training using their own specifically designed underwater escape module in conjunction with local dive training professionals.

The company was instrumental in the introduction of Night Vision Goggles (NVGs) in New Zealand. These are now used by many emergency rescue helicopter operators throughout New Zealand.  The company has a Part 145 certificate dedicated to maintenance of NVGs and services NVG equipment for many of the operators using this equipment in New Zealand.

They undertake more than 600 rescue missions each year and are looking to further enhance their service with the ability to operate IFR before the end of the year.

They provide a dedicated rescue helicopter base with three fully equipped, BK-117 twin-engined, winch capable medical helicopters, allowing a 24/7 service with an activation time of  5-6 minutes during the day and 15-20 minutes at night.

The CEO leads by example, setting very high standards, and company’s demonstrated ability to attract and retain high quality staff is further testament to his exceptional capabilities as CEO and leader.

This organisation is continually exploring avenues and opportunities to enhance the services they provide in a safe and efficient manner.

The winner of the 2014 Director’s award for an Organisation is Taieri-based Helicopters Otago Limited, owner and CEO Graeme Gale.

Individual Award

The winner of the 2014 Director’s Award to an Individual has been a strong advocate for safety through his career and has had a major influence on flight safety in the wider New Zealand aviation system. 

He started flying training as a 17-year old in 1963 and has spent his adult life involved in some form of professional aviation.

He progressed along the well-worn GA path of attaining his commercial pilot licence followed by a flight instructor rating. 

This allowed him to consolidate his flying skills and gain commercial experience prior to seeking a position within agricultural flying operations, before returning to flight training as the CFI and Manager of an aero club from 1974 and 1980.

He joined the Civil Aviation Division of the Ministry of Transport in 1980 as a General Aviation Inspector and Flight Testing Officer spending 12 years in CAD and its successor, the CAA, until he was assigned as a foundation member of the newly formed Aviation Services Limited (ASL) in July 1992.  He retired from ASL in May of this year.

He has spent the last 30-plus years exercising the Director’s delegation in the conduct of flight examining of candidates entering the professional piloting stream of aviation.  He is vastly experienced in testing the knowledge and skills of budding commercial pilots, of IFR pilots, and of flight instructors – from E Cats to A Cats.  He has flown close to 17,000 hours in his career, with some 9000 of those hours as a flight examiner; this equates to around 5000 flight test candidates or about 150 each year for 34 years!

His contribution to the safe and professional pathway for flight crew into New Zealand commercial aviation has been immense and his personal conduct throughout has remained at the highest level.  He has exercised his responsibilities in a truly professional manner, and has provided sound advice and guidance not only to the individual candidates of a generation and a half of aviators, but also to his parent organisation, the aviation training organisations throughout New Zealand, and the staff in the CAA. 

His unflappable manner and quiet but firm approach has endeared him to candidate, instructor, manager and regulator alike and he has become one of the most respected professionals in New Zealand flight training.

This award recognises a significant career in New Zealand aviation and a lifetime of dedication to safety.

The winner of the 2014 Director’s Award to an Individual is Graham Leach.


2013

Individual Award

Errol Burtenshaw is a popular and worthy winner of this award. It recognizes Errol’s significant career in New Zealand aviation and a lifetime of dedication to safety.

Graeme Harris said Errol’s influence in his current role, as Manager Operational Integrity and Safety with Air New Zealand, extends to New Zealand and international aviation systems.

Errol said, “I was very surprised and honored to receive the award. I was, in fact, speechless!

“In my 50 years of aviation, firstly with the RNZAF and now with Air New Zealand, I have had great opportunities to train, and be trained, and have always looked for continual improvement in myself and my company,” Errol said.

Graeme Harris also said that Errol is held in very high regard by his company and industry colleagues through his credibility and integrity, and that the travelling public continues to receive the benefits of Errol’s contribution to aviation safety.

Organisation Award

The Director presented his Award for an Organisation to Strikemaster Limited. This company provides passenger flights in an ex-RNZAF Strikemaster jet aircraft.

Owner and operator, Brett Nicholls, said the award was an honor for his operation and people.

“I am surprised, shocked and stunned by our award but it reflects on our capable and very professional flight crew, a great aircraft, and high levels of safety management. We want to make this jet flight a safe and enjoyable experience for our passengers.

“We have embraced Part 115 and we can now provide a sustainable adventure aviation operation into the future,” said Brett.

Graeme Harris commended Strikemaster for their constructive, professional work in gaining operator certification under Part 115.

“It is clear that this operator is very focused on risk management and committed to high levels of safety in their adventure aviation business,” Graeme said.

CAA Flight Instructor Award

This year’s recipient is Dave Brown.

The award recognizes Dave’s significant contribution to training and aviation safety as Chief Flying Instructor for New Zealand Warbirds.

A former RNZAF Flying Instructor, and now a senior Airbus Captain with Cathay Pacific, Dave is also the training manager, and a pilot, for Strikemaster.

“I am very pleased and honored to accept this award.

“It reflects on the organization and importantly, the efforts of Warbirds volunteer instructors throughout the country. They have contributed so much to raising the standards of our pilots and others through training for aerobatics, formation flying, and low level display flying.

“We have also enjoyed working with CAA personnel to help shape Rules and Advisory Circulars, and to help introduce Jet Warbirds,” says Dave.

Graeme Harris said that Dave is personally responsible for the steady improvement in the safety culture and professionalism of the Warbirds and air display pilot community.


2012 Director of Civil Aviation Awards

Individual Award

The winner of the 2012 Director’s Award to an individual is Dennis Millington, Auckland Airport’s Airfield Manager - a person widely recognised and acknowledged for his dedication, enthusiasm, innovation, and proactive efforts in improving safety standards at New Zealand’s largest international airport.

Dennis has played a major part in the introduction of low visibility operations at Auckland, and recently he has been instrumental in the introduction of a stand guidance system and road protection lights at international stands. 

The innovative guidance light system now installed on several international stands at Auckland is an excellent example of his ability to listen to his airport users, and then actively work with them to achieve appropriate solutions.  The result has seen continual improvement in the airport’s safety environment and also provided efficiencies to the benefit of pilots, passengers, and ground staff alike.

His leadership of Auckland’s Airfield Operations Team has created a safety conscious airfield operations staff, and he is the go-to person for any airside related safety issues. He is continually called on for his expertise and knowledge, not just at Auckland, but at other airports in New Zealand and beyond.

2012 Civil Aviation Authority Flight Instructor Award

This year’s recipient of the Flight Instructor’s Award, an A-Cat Instructor and flight examiner, is Gavin Miller.

He came to aviation a little later than many in the industry, but quickly worked his way through to achieving an A-Cat Instructor Rating and becoming Chief Flight Instructor at Massey University’s School of Aviation.  He also joined a dedicated group of instructor’s with wide-ranging experience who introduce New Zealand’s youth to safe aviation through the Walsh Memorial Scout Flying School.

He left Massey to fly with Eagle, even then stating his intention to return to flight instruction.

He is unique in that he continues to make a valuable contribution through instruction and flight examining while maintaining a part-time airline job.  This has enabled him to become a leader and pioneer in his work involving RNAV and the introduction of 'glass cockpits' to general aviation.


2011 Director of Civil Aviation Awards

The Director of Civil Aviation, Steve Douglas, presented the Director’s awards at the Aviation Industry Association’s annual dinner, held in Wellington in July.

Richard Leaper

Richard Leaper was presented with the Director’s award for an individual. The award recognises a long period of effort on Richard’s part, mainly trying to develop New Zealand capability in the field of design and certification of modifications to large transport aircraft.

Passionate about aviation since he was a youngster, Richard opted for an engineering career in aviation. After a degree from Auckland University and a stint with the RNZAF, Richard took on an engineering role with Air NZ in 1986. Over the years, Richard focused more on certification as a means of enabling the sale of modification design to third parties.

Richard considers the 2004 Air NZ Boeing fleet upgrade his biggest achievement. He led the certification coordination of this project that involved five different regulatory authorities and the certification departments of seven major international suppliers.

“This would not have been possible if it was not for the CAA adopting rules based on an organisational approach to delegation much ahead of other regulators,” he says.

Richard continues to be committed to international partnerships and working closely with the regulator.

“My personal mission statement is to create a level playing field for New Zealand aviation certification approval in the international arena to facilitate modification of large transport aircraft in New Zealand.”

Currently, Richard is Chief Design Engineer of Altitude Aerospace Interiors, an Air New Zealand subsidiary.

Skywork Helicopters

Skywork Helicopters was established as direct result of Roger Stevenson’s passion for helicopters, and his desire to own and operate helicopters himself.

Roger and his wife Miriam started the company in 1997, as a specialist agricultural and lifting operator. Now, 14 years down the line, Skywork Helicopters has been awarded the Director’s award for an organisation for the second time.

Skywork Helicopters were recognised for steadily demonstrating operational expertise and maintaining high standards of safety that exceed normal compliance requirements. The operator was awarded the Director’s award for the first time in 2000, recognising and appreciating their approach to certification under the then new Part 119/135 rules.

Skywork Helicopters has had a consistently low risk profile in the Part 135 and Part 137 helicopter sectors in which it operates. Roger, who runs the company with his extended family, says he learnt how to do things safely from his father Neville Stevenson, a highly experienced and successful pilot.

“I would like Skywork Helicopters to be a company with zero accidents and zero fatalities. If you can walk into this industry and retire out of it safely, that’s quite an achievement. That’s the goal for me and all the staff of Skywork,” he says.


2010 Director of Civil Aviation Awards

Director of Civil Aviation, Steve Douglas, presented his Award for an Individual to Air Nelson’s Captain Bob Guard during the Aviation Industry Conference Week in Palmerston North in July.

Steve Douglas said Bob was one of the most respected people in aviation in the country and was widely recognised in the industry for his ‘safety first’ attitude.

“Bob is always striving to ensure that his organisation doesn't just comply with the Rules, but sets and maintains higher standards than the Rules require.”

This is the second time Bob Guard has received the Director’s Award for an Individual – it was also awarded to him in 1999.

“I feel very privileged and humbled,” Bob said. “I am blown away by the fact that the Director had so much faith in my contribution here at Air Nelson.”

Bob is now preparing to retire after 37 years with the Air New Zealand group, the last 20 of which have been with Air Nelson. He’s seen the company grow from being a family business with 70 staff and a small fleet, to a business with 500 staff and a 23-strong fleet, making it Air New Zealand’s largest link service operation.

“While I leave the industry with some sadness, I am pleased with this recognition. It’s a great way to finish.”

Organisation Award

The Director presented Hawke's Bay-based specialist aeromedical provider Skyline Aviation with his Award for an Organisation.

Skyline Aviation Managing Director Mike Toogood said the award was a tremendous accolade.

“We’re very pleasantly surprised, but certainly, it is recognition for our team and culture here, and for the effort we put into running our operation,” Mike says of the company that he started in 1988.

Steve Douglas commended Skyline Aviation for demonstrating a consistent understanding of operator responsibility, being an outstanding Air Operator Certificate holder, and operating to robust risk management and risk mitigation procedures.


2009 Director of Civil Aviation Awards

Every year the Director of Civil Aviation presents awards to members of the industry who have shown a commitment to safety well above the norm. This year the Individual award winner was John Martin, Head of Safety Programmes at Air Nelson. The Flight Instructor Award was won by Richard Desborough, Standards Pilot at The Helicopter Line.

John Martin - John is the Head of Safety Programmes at Air Nelson, and he has done an outstanding job to raise safety awareness among crew and management alike. In his own time he produces Air Nelson’s top class safety magazine, Safety Link, which is widely distributed locally and internationally.  His recent achievements include facilitating an RNAV Human Factors review conducted by Cranfield University, and is currently tasked with managing a Line Operations Safety Audit (LOSA). He recently presented a paper on the Human Factors surrounding the FMS/RNAV review to the Conference of Australasian Air Safety Investigators in Rotorua. He also finds time to chair the New Zealand Airline Flight Safety Committee, fly as a Q300 Captain and complete Flight Examiner responsibilities. “It was a complete surprise to win the award – I was literally lost for words. My colleagues had done an excellent job of keeping it secret. To be recognised for your efforts within the industry, by the industry, was an extremely rewarding experience.” John has been with Air Nelson a total of 18 years, with the last six in the safety area. “There are always plenty of flight safety challenges on the horizon, including the introduction of a Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) program for our Q300 fleet, analysing the LOSA findings, and implementing change so we can improve the way we do business,” said John.

Richard Desborough - Richard is an outstanding instructor who is highly respected in the aviation industry. He is someone who sets, maintains, and demands high standards – in particular he ‘walks the walk’ and ‘talks the talk’. His approach is simple – practice what you preach, or you will have no credibility. He has trained most of the pilots in The Helicopter Line for the past nine years, maintaining an excellent training programme and continually advancing new ideas on how to improve standards. Richard was very surprised to be nominated, “but it wasn’t a secret, the office staff had to make sure I would be in the country to receive the award. “Working overseas as well allows me to keep in touch with the latest ideas and procedures the industry has to offer and bring those back to continually try and improve safety. “In my time here I am pleased with the systems we have put in place to introduce low-time pilots into our operation. We essentially take new CPLs and train them to fly our multi-engine aircraft. It’s a pretty good first job! And it’s kept safe by our structured system that looks after them all the way through. “My next challenge is putting all of our training records and exams online,” said Richard.


2008 Director of Civil Aviation Awards

The CAA has presented its 2008 Flight Instructor Award to Paul Kearney, an ‘A’ Category flight instructor from Massey University School of Aviation, The Director’s Award for an Organisation was presented to Real Journey’s Part 145maintenance organisation.

The CAA Flight Instructor Award is presented annually to recognise and raise awareness of the important role flight instruction plays in aviation safety. The Director’s Awards are presented to the individual, and organisation, in which a safety ethos is apparent.

Presenting the awards at the Aviation Industry Association awards dinner in July, Director of Civil Aviation, Steve Douglas, said the awards recognise and reward individuals and organisations that encourage others to adopt a similar safety culture and philosophy. “They recognise that safety is everyone’s concern, and that aviation can be safe only when individuals and organisations accept their safety responsibilities,” Mr Douglas said.

Paul Kearney is an ‘A’ Category flight instructor, a GA Flight Examiner and the QA Manager at Massey University School of Aviation. Paul has had a passion for safety ever since he attended a CAA Aviation Safety Coordinators Course and loves passing on his knowledge. He believes that instilling safety into pilots at an early stage in their flight training is key. “Right from day one we indoctrinate our students into our safety culture. We encourage our students to report safety concerns, as we believe that others can learn from them.”

Real Journeys Chief Executive Officer, Dave Hawkey, received the Director's Award on behalf of their Part 145 Maintenance organisation. The company has nine full-time and two part-time engineering staff. The average length of service is more than 25 years, with the maintenance controller having been there over 40 years. In presenting the organisation award, Mr Douglas said the company's level of experience, attention to detail, skill, and high quality workmanship had been maintained and enhanced over many years. Dave Hawkey says the company focuses on preventative maintenance, “... and on ensuring that our staff have all the resources they require to do their job properly. The pride the team have in what they do has a direct effect on safety.


2007 Director of Civil Aviation Awards

The flight training industry has swept all three categories of the Civil Aviation Authority’s annual safety awards. Each year the Director of Civil Aviation confers a safety award on an individual and an organisation that has gone out of its way to do things the right way. The awards recognise direct actions that have resulted in a greater level of aviation safety, and that have encouraged others to adopt a similar safety culture and philosophy. Director of Civil Aviation Steve Douglas announced the winners at the Aviation Industry Association (AIA) conference in Auckland during July.

Nelson-based flight instructor Mark Woodhouse was awarded the CAA Flight Instructor award. Mark is an extremely experienced instructor who has taught both civil and military flying on aeroplanes and helicopters, and has experience on aircraft ranging from microlights to the Boeing 747. Among other things, he is currently Chief Flight Instructor of the Walsh Memorial Scout Flying School, which provides a safety-based start to young pilots aged between 16 and 19 in an annual training camp at Matamata airfield. In presenting the award, Director of Civil Aviation Steve Douglas said Mark was an excellent instructor role model for the entire aviation community. “The culture that he encourages is made clear from his often-heard comment, ‘we don’t want to hurt anyone out there’,” Steve said. Mark says he was overwhelmed to receive the award. “No-one achieves without the help and support of others, and I have been fortunate to receive the assistance and guidance of many dedicated, professional and empathetic instructors over the years – from the military, from general aviation, and from within the airlines.” Mark said. He says now is a crucial time for the training industry. “The industry is in a time of rapid change with the draw into the airlines. One of the results of that recruiting is the challenge to maintain experience in the instructing ranks.”

“It will require imaginative and bold solutions. Instructing will need to be restructured to be a career option and paid accordingly. ”He says a coordinated approach is needed from all instructor bodies to achieve this.

The Walsh Memorial Scout Flying School was awarded the Director’s Award for an Organisation. Director Steve Douglas said no-one could have anticipated the effect the school would have had on the aviation industry, given that it has now trained over 1250 students in the last 42 years. “Many past students are now airline pilots flying for major airlines around the world; air force pilots; or members of one of the many aviation professions such as air traffic control, meteorology, or aviation engineering,” Steve said.“The safety culture instilled in them from their early days at Walsh is significant.”School Director Gordon Ragg said the school was a character-forming adventure for students.“Over the two weeks they get eight and a half hours of flying, and can pay for more at a very good rate if they wish,” Gordon says.“They are totally immersed in flying. The training is very intensive, with several flights per day. They get excellent briefings and probably the best set of flying manuals that are around today.”In accepting the award, Gordon paid tribute to the succession of excellent instructors that had volunteered at the school over the years.

“Many of them are now prominent figures in New Zealand’s aviation history. They have taught sound basic skills, good airmanship and self discipline, and a strict culture of safety awareness to a legion of young student pilots.”

Chief Executive of Nelson Aviation College Penny Mackay was awarded the Director’s Award for an Individual. Penny began her instructing career on gliders in the 1970s. She has gone on to head a busy organisation with a strong safety focus. Steve Douglas said Penny had made an enormous contribution to aviation and aviation safety in New Zealand.“She has demonstrated her belief in the principle of ‘giving something back to the industry’ with her flight training standards, and also as chair of the Aviation Industry Association’s Training Division, which has worked closely with the CAA on flight syllabus development.”Penny says she is greatly honoured to receive the award.“It is really nice that the flight training industry has been recognised. I have always been passionate about flight training. I guess there is a lot of teacher in me. I am not just a frustrated airline pilot.“It is also a real honour to work with these amazing young people who come and train with us,” Penny says.


2006 Director of Civil Aviation Awards

The 2006 Organisation Award went to the Northland Emergency Services Trust (NEST). The Individual Award went to Richard McKay, an engineer from Flightline Aviation, Dunedin. They were presented at the Aviation Industry Association awards dinner in Rotorua on 28 July 2006.

NEST operates two IFR equipped Sikorsky S76 twin engine helicopters, dedicated to emergency medical services (EMS) and search and rescue operations, based in Whangarei.

Director of Civil Aviation, John Jones, said NEST was extraordinary. They were issued their Part 119/135 certificate in 2001, and every year since then their quality index score has exceeded 80 percent. That°s exceptional. NEST made a commitment to multi-engine IFR operations from the start and have expanded their operations consistent with this philosophy. They always fly with two-crew on IFR and VFR operations. They have committed to the costs of training pilots up in their own IFR environment, rather than poaching experienced IFR pilots from other operators, John Jones said.

The Director noted that NEST has consistently made time for crews to attend every available EMS safety forum held in Australia and New Zealand. Chief Pilot, Peter Turnbull also coordinated an industry-led safety forum for EMS flight and medical crews in April this year. Attendees were encouraged to raise safety concerns from their own experiences, and international EMS accident and incident trends were studied to see what could be learned from them, to the benefit of New Zealand, John Jones said.

The Individual Award went to engineer Richard McKay. As an apprentice in the early 1970s, Richard worked on engine and propeller overhaul, and regular maintenance, but it was airframe rebuilding that became his passion.

John Jones said Richard°s attention to detail and workmanship is recognised throughout the aviation community.

In the earlier years, Richard worked with very experienced structures tradesmen, such as Ted Walters, and licensed engineers, such as Tom and Ray Mulqueen. These well-known engineers set high standards of maintenance and customer relations, and he was quick to adopt their ethics. Richard°s work adds a level of quality to rebuilds that stands out today, John Jones said.

2006 Civil Aviation Authority Flight Instructor Award

The 2006 award, went to Mark Carter, Massey University School of Aviation°s Chief Flying Instructor. Presenting the award, John Jones described Mark as a truly professional aviator.

Mark runs a very busy training schedule, with many instructors working under his supervision. His management skills have been very apparent to our auditors, and of obvious benefit to Massey. Mark keeps abreast, not only of new technology in aviation, but also of teaching and learning methods and research, John Jones said.


2005 Director of Civil Aviation Awards

The 2005 Organisation Award went to Aoraki Mount Cook Skiplanes. The Individual Award went to Keith Mackersy, General Manager Aviation Services at MetService. The awards were presented at the Aviation Industry Association awards dinner in Christchurch on 22 July 2005.

Aoraki Mount Cook Skiplanes have been involved in the aviation industry for 50 years. Today, they operate scenic flights using Cessna and Pilatus Porter aircraft. They are the only fixed-wing company making glacier landings in the Southern Alps. The company maintains a Unicom and flight following service for its staff of 10 pilots, and it provides aircraft arriving at Mount Cook Aerodrome with traffic information, local weather conditions, aerodrome QNH, and runway in use.

Aoraki Mount Cook Skiplanes have led by example in mountain flying safety. Knowledge of their reputation for safety has spread around the world, contributing to their commercial success. The Director of Civil Aviation, John Jones, said on presenting the award, This organisation°s safety culture is readily apparent from the ticket counter to the cockpit - it is reflected in all activities associated with its operations. Surviving the challenges of operating in a difficult environment for so many years in such a safe and professional manner is an example to all aviation in New Zealand. It is something that the management and all the staff of Aoraki Mount Cook Skiplanes should be immensely proud of.

The Individual Award went to Keith Mackersy. Keith has spent a long and distinguished career providing services that are essential to reducing aviation safety risk, both in New Zealand and around the world.

Keith has been pivotal in establishing a number of global initiatives developed through ICAO, including the International Airways Volcano Watch, to the benefit of aviation safety worldwide. He has been responsible for the development of many products for the heavy commercial end of the aviation market, and he is also largely responsible for keeping a reasonable product available to general aviation when its removal was being dictated by the ´user-pays° ideology of the times. 

His aim to provide a safety risk advantage to the general aviation sector materialised in the development of MetFlight-GA, which has been of immense safety benefit to private pilots and flight training organisations in New Zealand, said John Jones.

2005 Civil Aviation Authority Flight Instructor Award

This year a new award was created, the Civil Aviation Authority Flight Instructor Award. The inaugural winner was Mark Scott of the Canterbury Aero Club. Mark gained his PPL in March 1999, CPL in December, C-category instructor rating in May 2000, and his B-category instructor rating in October 2001. He then put in a major effort and gained his A-category instructor rating in May 2004.

John Jones said on presenting the award, Mark has shown that with dedication and determination, one can gain the highest qualifications and the complete respect of those within the aviation community.

He is a valued member of his organisation, with a talent that is apparent not just in the cockpit and the classroom, but also in the office and the ops room, where his abilities as a training administrator and manager have been noticed by staff, students, and the regulator. He is an asset to the aviation community and a good role model for junior instructors.


2004 Director of Civil Aviation Awards

The Director of Civil Aviation Awards for 2004 were presented at the Aviation Industry Association conference in Auckland. The Auckland Special Event Operators° Group was awarded the Organisation Award, while Jim Wilson was awarded the Individual Award.

The Auckland Special Event Operators' Group evolved from the Auckland Airspace Users Group and has remained virtually the same during periods of intense special aerial activity in the region since 1998. They coordinated flying activities for the Whitbread Around the World Yacht Race in 1998, APEC 1999, the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series 1999 to 2000, sustained media and spectator coverage of the America°s Cup in 2000 and 2002 to 2003, and the Rally of New Zealand each year from 1999 to 2004. They have also coordinated promotional flying over numerous major outdoor events, such as concerts and sporting fixtures, during this period.

The Director of Civil Aviation, John Jones, said on presenting the award, There were no reported incidents or accidents during times of intense aviation activity, and some events had up to 40 helicopters in the air. Even more noteworthy is that, during this period, there have been no known complaints from any event organisers, event participants, other aviation interests, competing companies, or the general public.

Helicopter operators in the group include: Advanced Flight, Ardmore Helicopters, Heletranz, Helilink, North Shore Helicopters, Oceania Helicopters, and Stevenson Skyworks. The award was received on their behalf by group coordinator Qwilton Biel.

The Individual Award went to Jim Wilson, Chief Pilot of Helicopters New Zealand. Jim has been flying commercially for 39 years. He is a rotary and fixed-wing instructor, a licensed aircraft maintenance engineer, and a helicopter flight examiner. Jim has over 14,400 hours total flying experience. This includes over 3,300 hours multi-engine time, 16 Antarctic seasons, and one Canadian Arctic season, totaling over 2,500 hours, and in excess of 2,900 hours as a helicopter instructor. Jim has been Chief Pilot for Helicopters New Zealand for 26 years, overseeing 45 helicopters and 61 pilots on a daily basis.

John Jones said, The winner of this year°s Director°s Award for an individual is a man who is known and respected by everyone in the aviation industry. He has had a long and distinguished career, and he has contributed immensely to aviation safety. In his typically unassuming manner, he leads by example, very much aware that his actions as an industry leader have a great influence on others. He continually strives to ensure that aviation safety is at the forefront of everything that he does.

Two Director of Civil Aviation Commendations were also presented. One went to Graeme Porter, Editor of Aviation News, in recognition of his contribution to aviation safety by promoting CAA safety initiatives in Aviation News, and co-sponsoring the ACE Days with CAA. The ACE (Airmanship, Confidence, Experience) Days have been held since 2001. Graeme recognises the importance of increasing airmanship awareness among GA and recreational pilots in order to raise safety standards.

The other Director's Commendation was awarded to Bruce Brownlie, chairman of Feilding Aerodrome Incorporated. Bruce has managed the aerodrome through substantial growth while keeping safety management to the fore. Over the last 10 years Feilding has developed from an undrained paddock into a well-managed aerodrome, with a sealed main runway, taxiway and apron areas.

Resident aircraft numbers have also increased dramatically from 20 to approaching 100, and Bruce has skilfully managed the safety implications of this increase. This has been made all the more challenging by the mix of aircraft that use Feilding aerodrome. They include: ab-initio flight training, helicopters, microlights, gliders, warbirds, agricultural operators, model aeroplanes, parachutists, a large contingent of private aircraft owners, itinerant aircraft, and the RNZAF.

Bruce has become a role model in the aviation community by setting exemplary safety standards in his own personal operations.


2003 Director of Civil Aviation Awards

The aviation safety achievements of New Zealand's largest international airport and a rural North Island medical examiner were recognised with Director of Civil Aviation safety awards presented at the Aviation Industry Association conference in Wellington.

The winner of the individual award, Dr Dave Baldwin, is a CAA grade 1 medical examiner based in Bulls. He established a flying doctor service for pilot medicals to serve some of New Zealand°s more isolated areas four years ago. The 'Not-so-Royal Bulls Flying Doctor Service' has proved a huge success, and 'Dr Dave' and his Cessna 172 are well-known to the flying communities of the North Island°s East Coast, the West Coast of the South Island, and the Aoraki-Mt Cook, Te Anau and South Westland areas. His nomination was backed by recommendations from several operators.

Auckland International Airport Limited took the organisation award for its runway rehabilitation project. The project involved construction of a standby runway from the main taxiway over a two year period, for use while the main runway was upgraded. It was the first time in the airport°s history flight operations had been shifted to a different runway. Use of the standby runway involved more complex ground movements, different approach procedures and special control procedures to ensure that aircraft used the correct runway. The project was completed successfully with no safety or security incidents, ahead of schedule and on budget. 8730 aircraft movements were conducted on the standby runway over the 23-day period it took to replace about 16,000m^2 of concrete in the middle section of the main runway.

John Jones also presented two Director°s commendations. One recognised the outstanding service and leadership in the field of aircraft engineering over a long period by Mel Payne, who has recently retired after 45 years service with Air New Zealand. The other acknowledged the outstanding efforts of a young flying instructor at the beginning of a promising career - Ardmore-based aviation safety coordinator Claire Walton.


2002 Director of Civil Aviation Awards

The Director of Civil Aviation Awards for 2002 were presented at the Aviation Industry Association conference in Christchurch. Tourism Flight Operators New Zealand was awarded the Organisation Award, while Simon Spencer-Bower was awarded the Individual Award.

Tourism Flight Operators New Zealand was formed a little over two years ago to raise safety standards above the minimum through establishing their own quality benchmarks. Formation of the organisation evolved from the idea of Air Safaris Chief Pilot, Geoff Ensor, (assisted by Russell Baker, Paul Cooper and Tom Middleton) to establish a forum for aviation operators flying tourists over mountainous terrain.

The Director of Civil Aviation John Jones said the Tourism Flight Operators New Zealand was pursuing standards that will qualify members for the Tourism New Zealand Qualmark brand.

"The brand aims at increased quality of service and environmental issues, but safety is the key factor for the flight operators group. Through flight operator meetings at Omarama, Taupo, and a national seminar in Nelson, they have progressed toward achieving their goals - they have launched their own 'above the minimum' standards, and are on track for achieving the Qualmark brand, he said.

Winner of the Individual Award, Simon Spencer-Bower, has a flying career of over 30 years and has trained hundreds of fixed-wing and helicopter pilots. Search and Rescue personnel sought him out for his thoughtful approach to their operations - for his focus on safety, efficiency, and for his compassion.

Simon Spencer-Bower has made a personal and conscious commitment to safety over a long time. He has a great reputation for his training skills, attitude to safety, and overall ability to impart good flying practice in all situations. He has a practical and friendly approach, and the safety ethic he instils through his mentoring approach goes forth with all his students, Mr Jones said.

In the vintage aviation world, he has an enviable record of safe aerobatics and display flying on types ranging from the Tiger Moth through to Spitfire, Zero replica, and the demanding Yak-3.

His safety culture is often commented on by experienced pilots from both rotary wing and fixed wing backgrounds - these pilots, having similar or even greater experience, have no hesitation in going to him for advice at any time. This is a refreshing approach in GA, where we have a shortage of experienced pilots with such an overt safety culture who personally adhere to the high standards they preach, Mr Jones said.


2001 Director of Civil Aviation Awards

Airways Corporation sector manager John McKenzie's contribution to VFR flight planning earned him the individual Director's Aviation Safety Award for 2001.

Mr McKenzie was nominated for his work with general aviation over the last two years, and in particular for progressing VFR flight planning and the creation and introduction of the Internet Flight Information Service www.ifis.airways.co.nz

Director of Civil Aviation Kevin Ward said some excellent nominations were received, and it would have been difficult to pick a second and a third, but Mr McKenzie was an outstanding winner.

"While many in industry were involved in finding a workable solution, without John's expert advice and experience, and without his personal dedication to ensuring the new service met everyone's expectations, the project would not have succeeded. This outstanding service should significantly enhance flight planning by general aviation, and with this, flight safety," Mr Ward said.

Although organisation nominations were strong and across the aviation spectrum, it was felt they did not meet the narrow criteria of the award, and for only the second time, no organisational award was made.

2001 Director's Commendations

Years of service to aviation safety were recognised with Director's commendations awarded to former Air New Zealand managers Ian Diamond and Ron Tannock.

Director's commendations cover conspicuous acts of courage, or conspicuous and outstanding acts or series of acts or service with direct and lasting benefit to aviation safety.

Mr Diamond rose from apprentice electrician to be Group General Manager of Technical Service for Air New Zealand, leading the airline engineering arm through some of its biggest changes. He retired in 2000, after 47 years in aviation, as the Group Technical Adviser to the airline's chief executive.

He also contributed outside the airline, with directorships of the New Zealand Aeronautical Trust, Aviation Services Ltd, the RNZAF Musuem Trust Board, and was a past chairman of the Aviation Travel Industry Training Board.

Mr Tannock began his career in Scotland and retired in 2000 after 40 years in aviation. He held a series of positions, eventually becoming General Manager of Safe Air and overseeing its move from flying freight to fixing aircraft.

In 1992 he became Air New Zealand's General Manager of Operations with oversight of the most comprehensive regulatory change in its history. He controlled aspects of the airline under its Part 119 certificate, controlling safety, operational and service delivery for Air New Zealand's jet operations and a staff of 2400.


2000 Director of Civil Aviation Awards

Skywork Helicopters received the Director's organisation award for safety excellence in 2000. The award was accepted by husband and wife team Roger and Miriam Stevenson.

In presenting the award, Director of Civil Aviation Kevin Ward said the company had very effective systems that were reflected in an impressive audit record. He said Skywork's ability to set and maintain its high standards was an example for others to follow. Skywork was the first helicopter operation to be certificated under Part 135 Air Operator Rules.

Freedom Air's Manager of Airline Operations Michael Young's outstanding contribution to safety earned him the Director's Individual award for 2000.

Mr Ward said the CAA had been impressed with Freedom's professional attitude from the start.

In business for five years, the airline displayed a high level of safety performance and was one of the first New Zealand airlines to achieve certification under the Civil Aviation Rules.

"The airline has set a very high standard for its operations, which it strives very hard to maintain," Mr Ward said.

"But we know that the driving force behind any organisation is generally one person who sets and maintains the culture. Michael has set a very high standard for the rest of the industry, and is shaping up to be a true leader of industry," Mr Ward said.


1999 Director of Civil Aviation Awards

The Royal New Zealand Aero Club (RNZAC) and Captain Bob Guard of Air Nelson were awarded the Director of Civil Aviation Awards for 1999.

RNZAC won the organisational award for its efforts in halving the light aircraft accident rate since 1995. At that time the light fixed-wing-sector was having about 50 accidents per 100,000 flying hours - roughly 50 a year.

The RNZAC set itself the challenge of meeting the CAA's safety target for the sector of halving the rate. It took actions such as actively participating in the CAAs AeroKiwi and safety co-ordinator programmes and establishing it°s own annual instructor seminars.

The proof is in the figures. Of the 12 groups we monitor, the light aircraft sector has led the field in accident reduction and has exceeded its target of halving the accident rate. The RNZAC has been at the forefront in that exceptional achievement, Director of Civil Aviation Kevin Ward said.

Despite its large number of amateur pilots, and large combined fleet of hundreds of aircraft, this organisation has not had a single fatal accident during those five years. The organisation has lead from the front and set an example for today and for the future,î Mr Ward said.

Mr Ward said the individual winner, Captain Guard, had made a very personal and conscious commitment to safety over a considerable period of time.

He has worked very efficiently and professionally as a senior figure in a large organisation ¨ the biggest carrier of its type in the Asia-Pacific region - that has made a positive commitment to safety. He has been a true leader in that process,î Mr Ward said.

He has helped ensure that this carrier doesn°t just comply with the Rules, but sets and maintains higher standards than the CAA and the Rules require."


1998 Director of Civil Aviation Awards

Tim Bartleet of Fieldair Engineering and the Taupo Airport Authority took the Director of Civil Aviation Awards for 1998.

Both winners shared a common belief that safety was a collective responsibility which requires the contribution of everyone in the aviation system.

As Tim Bartlett, company manager of Fieldair Engineering, put it:

I carry the can. I must accept the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that my staff have got the facilities, skills, resources and time to carry out their work safely and efficiently in compliance with the rules. No one else is in a position to create that environment.

The organisational trophy was awarded to the Taupo Airport Authority and its airport manager Roy Carmichael.

There have been significant changes since the tower services were withdrawn and there was quite a challenge to provide more cost effective service while providing an acceptable level of safety. The authority and myself got the award, but their were a lot of other people involved. It was a big team effort, Mr Carmichael said.

Tim Bartleet said safety was about learning from your mistakes and making the right decisions.

There is pressure to make commercial decisions over safety ones, but life°s about establishing the right priorities. You can't give in to meet a pressure that may seem right at the time. If something went wrong, you could never justify it then. I'd rather go bankrupt than see anybody get hurt, and all my people are the same.

Roy Carmichael has also had to prioritise safety in spite of outside pressures.

The aerodrome flight information service was withdrawn because of commercial pressure and costs. We had to take that into account but establish a service and work with industry to make sure we would maintain our safety performance, he said.

In presenting the awards, Director of Civil Aviation Kevin Ward said the Taupo Authority had been faced with substantial change. It had immediately accepted the challenge and was very proactive in bringing together its customers to develop new procedures and introduce new technology and systems.

"Changes have been forward-looking and have been accepted by all parties. I am impressed by an organisation which sets a standard for others to follow and is a fine example of the sort of effort we anticipated with these awards", Mr Ward said.

In presenting the individual award, Mr Ward said engineers should be taking the lead as a key link in the aviation safety chain and should refuse to accept lower standards.

Tim Bartleet has turned down work rather than comply with the operators desire for a cheaper fix. He has established a strong and ardent safety culture within his organisation and is showing leadership within his industry.


1997 Director of Civil Aviation Awards

Even in the largest organisations, one voice can make a difference - in this case the voice was that of Brian Richards, the Quality Assurance Manager at Air New Zealand Engineering Services, Christchurch.

Director of Civil Aviation Kevin Ward said Mr Richards efforts had lead to a wider appreciation of safety systems and a determination to do things the right way.

Mr Richards° nomination said that by strength of character and through persistence and diligence, he had effectively improved the safety ethics and significantly raised the standard of safety within the Christchurch Engineering workshops.

He is continually raising the safety benchmark by setting new standards and goals to ensure that they exceed the basic minimum as set by regulation. This safety ethic has, by his example, spread outside his normal sphere of influence to other facets of New Zealand aviation,î the nomination said.

He has promoted the idea that ownership of a Quality Management System can only be achieved by the acceptance of individual accountability. This accountability has been accepted at all levels within Engineering Services. Brian has spread the individual accountability philosophy and practice to other areas of Air New Zealand. This change has taken place due to his uncompromising leadership and personal example.

He has challenged safety standards and ensured that they are continually improved in order to stay substantially ahead of the changes brought about by modern business management systems.

Mr Ward said that several nominations of a very high standard were received for the organisational award, but none was of distinguishing character. It was decided that no organisational award be made.


1996 Director of Civil Aviation Awards

Tekapo-based Air Safaris won the organisation Director of Civil Aviation Award, and Associated Aviation managing director Russell Jenkins, the individual award in 1996.

In presenting the organisation award, Director of Civil Aviation Kevin Ward said Air Safaris were respected as capable advocates with a sound knowledge of engineering and technical matters.

Their chief executive provides a level head in debates of the area user group and keeps the focus on safety issues. More important by far, they have operated in one of the harshest and cruellest environments - where any mistake will be costly - in a way that has been admired by all. They are a shining example to others,î Mr Ward said. The award was accepted by Richard Rayward.

In presenting the individual award to Russell Jenkins, Mr Ward said the judges eventually settled on someone who had "industry respect for professionalism and doing things the right way. When you walk into his operation it is obvious there is a high standard".


1995 Director of Civil Aviation Awards

Robyn Reid of Nelson Helicopters, took the individual award, and the Queenstown Users Group the organisational award when the inaugural Director of Civil Aviation Awards were presented in 1995 at the Aviation Industry Association conference Wairakei.

Director of Civil Aviation Kevin Ward said some excellent nominations were received for both categories.

In presenting the individual award to Robyn Reid, Mr Ward said: "We eventually settled on someone who has shown a willingness to support, give time and be involved in helping other operators improve their approach to safety management. The company procedures have already been shown to avert disaster."

Mr Ward said the winners of the organisational award had also shown they did the right thing the right way.

"They set standards, fly to them and use peer pressure to demand compliance. They are open to all, follow the ethos of operator responsibility, and put their own ambitions aside in their desire for safety. They are a shining example to others." The organisational award was accepted on behalf of the Queenstown Users Group by chairman Russell Baker.