Part 103 - Consultation

Note: This statement does not form part of the rules contained in Part 103. It provides details of consultation undertaken in making the rules and explains the transitional arrangements.

Background to the Rules

In April 1988 the Swedavia - McGregor Report on Civil Aviation Regulation in New Zealand was completed. This report concluded that aviation safety should be a joint responsibility of both the Authority and the participants in the civil aviation system. There was widespread agreement that a complete overhaul of the civil aviation regulatory system was necessary. As a result, the Government enacted the Civil Aviation Act 1990 to implement the first stage of the report's recommendations. To implement the remaining recommendations of the report the Air Transport Division of the Ministry of Transport is undertaking a complete review and rewrite of all existing civil aviation legislation.

Considerable research was carried out to decide the format for the new legislation. The Authority decided that the most suitable legislative framework should incorporate the advantages from the system being developed by the European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) and from the existing United States of America Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) system. The European Joint Aviation Requirements (JAR) are being structured similarly to the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) of the FAA and aim to achieve maximum harmonisation while allowing for national variations.

New Zealand's revised requirements will be published, in several Parts, as Civil Aviation Rules (CAR). Each Part will set out a series of individual rules that relate to a particular aviation activity.

Accompanying each Part of the CAR will be at least one associated Advisory Circular (AC). These will expand, in an informative way, specific requirements of the CAR Part and show an acceptable means of compliance. For example, an AC will contain the minimum acceptable practice or practices that will be necessary to meet the rules.

The CAR numbering system is based on the FAR Part numbering system. As a general principle the subject matter of a CAR Part will harmonise with the FAR, although the title may differ to suit New Zealand terminology. Where a proposed CAR Part does not readily equate with a FAR number code, a number has been selected that does not conflict with any existing FAR Part.

The FAR has been used as the start point for the development of many CAR, but there are likely to be significant differences in the content of each Part of the Rules. The structure and content of Part 103 generally follows the content of the FAR. Changes have been made to conform to New Zealand legal practices and terminology.

The Swedavia - McGregor Report concluded that the objective of the new rules system must be to strike a balance of responsibility between the state authority and those who provide services and exercise privileges in the civil aviation system. This balance must enable the state authority to maintain continuing regulatory control and supervision while providing the maximum flexibility for participants to develop their own means of compliance.

Section 7 of the Civil Aviation Act 1990 (the Act) allows the Civil Aviation Rules to require participants to hold an aviation document to carry out particular civil aviation activities. Section 12 of the Act requires the holders of documents to carry out their activities safely and in accordance with the relevant prescribed safety standards and practices.

Notice of proposed Rule making

To provide public notice of, and opportunity for comment on, the proposed new rules, the Authority, on 27 November 1991, issued Notice of Proposed Rule Making 91-7 under Docket Number 1026 NR. This Notice proposed the introduction of Civil Aviation Rules Part 103 to provide a regulatory safety boundary enabling the delegation of State authority and for the operation of microlight aircraft.

Supplementary information

All comments made on the Notice of Proposed Rule Making are available in the rules docket for examination by interested persons. A report summarising each substantive contact with the Air Transport Division contact person concerning this rule making has been filed in the docket.

Summary of comment to Docket Number 1026 NR NPRM

There were twelve responses to the NPRM, raising a total of 18 specific points besides general comment on the volume, layout and presentation of the rule and advisory circular.

Several commenters expressed support for the general direction being taken by the Air Transport Division (now the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA)) in endeavouring to give more self-determination to the sport and recreation aviation fraternity.

The specific points raised were:

1 103.13 Duration of Certificate

The view was expressed that, as provision was made for suspension or revocation of the certificate, it should be nonterminating. It was pointed out that CAA was planning to move in this direction for personnel licensing.

CAA response: The "Life-Cycle" approach of issuing and periodically renewing the aviation document of a certificated organisation is one basic principle adopted from the Swedavia - McGregor Report (Chapter 13). In a reverse approach but with reasoning justified by a cost-benefit analysis, the Swedavia - McGregor Report recommended the principle of lifetime licences (Refer to the 'Conclusion' in section 11.4.2 on page 107). The rule will therefore remain as proposed.

2 103.15 Renewal of Certificate

Further to the comment above, if the certificate was made nonterminating, this rule would not be required.

CAA response: As the certificate will be terminating, as explained and justified above, this rule will remain as proposed.

3 103.53 Resource Requirements

The only commenter expressed the view that, as the structure of their organisation is such that the facilities will never be required, the rule is superfluous.

CAA response: As the commenter correctly guessed, this rule could be applied to a variety of organisations. Tailoring the rule for each particular organisation would require considerable time, effort and consultation. The Civil Aviation Authority simply does not have these resources available. Further, should the organisation change its structure and direction in the future, then this eventuality is provided for. The rule will therefore remain as proposed.

4 103.57 Exposition Requirements

Two commenters interpreted that subparagraphs (5) and (6) of this rule required details of all their constituent clubs or branches and the activities at those locations. They suggested that one address for the organisation should suffice.

CAA response: The initial interpretation of this rule was incorrect.

Although the Advisory Circular (AC) said that only "the locations at which the certificated functions were carried out" had to be detailed, the AC will be reworded to clarify the situation.

5 103.57 Exposition Requirements

Similarly to the statement above, again a commenter said that the rule in subparagraph (10)(v) of the NPRM would never be applicable to their organisation and should be removed.

CAA response: The rule to which this paragraph referred has been amended and this rule has therefore also been amended.

6 103.71 Continued Compliance with Certification Requirements

103.73 Records - Personnel and

103.75 Records - Facilities, Tools, Material and other Equipment

One commenter suggested that these rules should, for simplification, be combined with others under one Subpart titled 'Organisation Certification and Operating Requirements'.

CAA response: While there is some justification for this comment regarding the rule as it affects a particular organisation, CAA feels that there should remain a significant degree of commonality between all the rules governing the certification of organisations. Further, the rules in Subpart C (regarding the initial certification of the organisation) will be administered by the Aviation Approvals Branch of the Authority while the rules in Subpart D (about continuing operation) will be administered by the Aviation Safety Monitoring Branch. The layout is also supported by the Swedavia "Life-Cycle" approach of entry, continued operation and exit. The rules will therefore remain as proposed.

7 103.77 Reporting of Defects

One commenter suggested that this rule was both adequately covered in their own manual and by 103.57(10)(vi) of the NPRM. Further comment was made that their organisation had been operating for some time with an exemption from Regulation 177 of the Civil Aviation Regulations 1953 with no adverse effect on safety.

CAA response: This comment was probably made due to a misunderstanding of the rule. Rule 103.77 requires the reporting of defects and 103.57(10)(vi) of the NPRM requires that the exposition or manual contain a procedure for the reporting of defects. In other words, 103.77 is a requirement and 103.57(10)(vi) requires an explanation of how you are going to do it. The requirement for reporting defects is necessary to enable the CAA to carry out its function of regulating and monitoring. Without reports, CAA does not know what is happening and that situation is not acceptable. The method of reporting has been agreed with MAANZ and is given in the AC. The rule will therefore remain as proposed.

8 103.99 Changes to a Certificate Holder's Organisation

Two commenters expressed the view that, for an organisation with democratically elected office-bearers, there could be problems with "prior" notification of possible or proposed personnel changes. [Emphasis is editorial]

CAA response: This matter has been raised regarding an identical requirement in other rules for organisational certification. To allow for a suitable arrangement to be made to cover any transition period, a further paragraph, similar to that in other rules, will be added to this rule. It now reads "The Director may prescribe conditions under which a certificate holder may operate during or following any of the changes specified in paragraph (d)". This will allow the organisation to advise the Director, before an election, that there "may" [emphasis is editorial] be changes and that, pending acceptance of any changes, the current nominees will retain their authority. This procedure will meet the intent of the rule and it will therefore remain as proposed.

9 103.105 Exemptions

Two commenters expressed the view that "subparagraph (9) Basic Instruments and Equipment" should, concerning Regulation 104(e), allow an exemption for microlights from the requirement to carry maps on local flights.

CAA response: Current CAA interpretation of Regulation 104(e), which requires the carriage of maps or charts "appropriate to the route to be flown", is that maps are not necessary on circuits or very local flights well clear of controlled or restricted airspace. It could, for example, be considered imprudent to fly without a Visual Terminal Chart near Auckland or Wellington. However, there probably would be no real problem, in good weather, flying up to 20 or 30 miles from Kaitaia without a map. The rule will therefore remain as proposed, but the Advisory Circular will be amended to better reflect acceptable means of compliance.

10 103.105 Exemptions

There were two comments on the proposed requirement, in subparagraph (13), for logbooks for Class 2 Microlight aircraft. One commenter said that, with an exemption from such a requirement existing to date, there have been no safety related effects from this. It was pointed out that microlight aircraft have no time or lifed components and that as airworthiness is based on owner maintenance, there could be no proof of accuracy for logbook entries. Many Class 2 aircraft do have logbooks, kept voluntarily. Should there be a mandatory requirement, then the logbook might only reflect the minimum required or even false entries, thus hampering safety. The other commenter said that, personally, he had found it very important to keep a logbook record of the aircraft hours, repairs and maintenance.

CAA response: In the early days of microlight aircraft operation, there were very few instructions or recommendations from the manufacturers of the aircraft or their components regarding inspections or overhaul. There have been, and continue to be, significant changes in this area since then. Many manufacturers of both microlight engines and airframes are now producing maintenance schedules. Some of these schedules are called up as frequently as every 25 hours, reflecting the manufacturers' concern regarding proper maintenance. Some components have a "life" as short as 150 hours before replacement. The list of manufacturers includes Rotax, Shadow, Thruster, Solar Wings, Eipper, Quad City Ultralight and several others. When a manufacturer says "The importance of regular maintenance, inspection and lubrication cannot be stressed enough - someone's life depends on it!!", the Civil Aviation Authority would be failing to protect the interests of a passenger if it did not act to ensure that such maintenance can be, and be shown to be, done satisfactorily. There will therefore be a requirement for the recording of the hours flown by Class 2 microlights (those that can carry a passenger). The AC will detail an acceptable means of compliance.

11 103.109 (in the NPRM - now 103.209) Inspection Requirements

Two commenters expressed the view that it was impractical to require both the owner and the operator to ensure airworthiness. While mostly the owner would also be the operator, the responsibility should rest with the operator.

CAA response: The use of the term "owner" here is justified by the definition as given in the Civil Aviation Act 1990. The comment "that the owner cannot be held responsible if another pilot is flying the aircraft away from base on a cross-country flight" describes a situation that exists in many other operations, including air transport operations. However, to clarify the situation, the wording will be slightly modified to reflect that owners, as defined in the Act, have a responsibility for the continuing airworthiness of their aircraft. The revised wording is –

"(a) The pilot-in-command of a microlight aircraft shall ensure the airworthiness of the aircraft before each flight.

(b) The owner of a microlight aircraft shall take such action as is necessary to ensure the continuing airworthiness of that aircraft."

The rule has been transferred to Subpart G, Airworthiness and Maintenance.

12 103.111 Pilot-in-command Requirements

One commenter suggested that the inclusion of the words "without any cross-country restrictions" was unnecessary.

Two commenters further suggested that the requirements of subparagraphs (3) and (4) could be adequately met by taking instruction from and to the satisfaction of a MAANZ instructor. They suggested that the wording of CASO 19 was satisfactory.

CAA response: The Authority accepts the first comment and has amended the wording of the rule accordingly.

The Authority has also amended the remaining wording to facilitate microlight flying, eliminate the need for holders of Flight Crew licences to pass written examinations and receive instruction for a specified minimum period. The revised wording is --

"(3) is the holder of a current private pilot licence (aeroplane) or higher category flight crew licence (aeroplane) issued by the Director and has demonstrated competence to a flight instructor in the piloting of a microlight aircraft."

13 103.115 Placard

There were three comments on this rule. It was pointed out that originally there was no such requirement. There could be difficulty in meeting the requirement (of the placard being "in clear view of the seated passenger") in some "wire and tube" type microlights, and some objection was expressed to the proposed and current wording of the placard. Indeed, it was thought that many passengers would not understand the implications or significance of a placard. It was also felt that, while there was some justification for such a placard, the wording could be specified in the organisation's manual.

CAA response: When the first microlights were introduced, they were single seat machines and there was, obviously, no need for any placard. The need arose with the introduction of passenger carrying microlights.

The placard is required to bring to the passenger's attention the fact that microlight aircraft safety standards are different from those for certificated aircraft. While occasionally the passenger may not fully comprehend the wording, the wording should be enough to alert them to the intent of the placard.

It is usually relatively easy to find a suitable location for the placard in "wire and tube" type microlights. It has been done quite satisfactorily in the Eipper Quicksilver, for example, and a little thought and ingenuity will solve the problem for others. There are two options for the wording in the rule; the first is the existing requirement and this has been retained so that, unless the owner so wishes, change is not necessary. The second is considered an acceptable alternative. The rule will therefore remain as proposed.

14 103.151 Hazardous Operations

The one commenter suggested that, for operations under the provision of paragraph (b), it would be advisable for microlight aircraft competing in "flour-bombing" or similar competitions to descend to 200 feet on their "bombing" run. This would achieve greater accuracy and reduce the risk of a hazard to persons or property.

CAA response: While there is some justification for the "lower is more accurate and therefore safer" argument, just how low does one go? The Authority view is that the aircraft should not be so low as to remove a reasonable margin for recovery in the event of an abnormal or emergency situation occurring. It is considered that 200 feet is acceptable for competition dropping and 103.153 will be amended to include this dispensation. It should be noted, however, that aircraft on such operations may not be flown closer than 500 feet to any person not directly connected with the operation. The judges of the dropping accuracy, for example, are considered to be directly connected.

15 103.153 Minimum Heights

There were three commenters on the provision allowing microlight gyroplanes to fly circuits at 200 feet, although the reasoning was different. One commenter suggested that aircraft descending from 500 feet would descend on the microlight gyroplanes. Another felt that training at 200 feet could lead pilots to conduct, habitually, other operations at low height, with enhanced nuisance and risk. The third commenter felt that microlight gyroplanes should not be granted special conditions at a time when they are joining the microlight system, they could be mixing with topdressing aircraft, and, if that can be justified, then they should have a strobe light.

CAA response: Regarding the first comment, a similar situation does occur in many other situations. Any aircraft descending from 1500 feet to circuit height on the dead side of the circuit would be in a similar situation. The solution is to maintain a good scan for any other traffic. The concept of "see and avoid" is one of the best safety measures available. The response to the second comment is that the matter should, and will, be addressed by both the clear wording of the rule and advisory circular and by pilot education during their training. While the gyroplanes are being granted some "special conditions", there are also variations in the requirements for different types of microlights. Single seat machines do not require a placard, flight authorisation documents or logbooks. Different aircraft also have significantly different characteristics that justify different conditions. An increasing number of microlights are fitting strobe or similar lights and such action is highly recommended. The rule is, however, now written as a reference to CASO 19 which is amended to effect a low flying approval under regulation 38(3)(b) of the civil aviation regulations 1953. This mechanism is being used temporarily to make these height exceptions legally valid pending the transfer of regulation 38 to Part 91 of the new civil aviation rules.

16 103.155 Flight Criteria

Four commenters requested that microlight operations be permitted, as now, between the start of morning civil twilight (MCT) and the end of evening civil twilight (ECT). The justification was that these periods were usually of ideal conditions for microlight operations and that other aircraft are permitted the same criteria.

CAA response: The comment is justified and the rule modified accordingly. Another criterion that was omitted from the draft rules, although included in the MAANZ manual, is the restriction on flight over built-up or populous areas. A rule restricting such flights is therefore included but the wording is now similar to the less restrictive requirements of the US Federal Aviation Regulations.

17 103.201 Type Acceptance

The one commenter suggested that all Class 2 microlight aircraft should conform to the British Civil Airworthiness Requirements Section 'S'.

CAA response: While the British standard is one with a reasonably high degree of safety, it is not the only standard in existence. The other standards quoted are equally acceptable. It is not the Authority's intention to limit the scope of microlight operations by imposing requirements that limit the scope of the individual to make a free choice, provided basic safety standards can be observed. The rule will therefore remain as proposed.

18 Advisory Circular explanation of 103.3 Definitions

There were three commenters on this section of the Advisory Circular.

One asked the justification for different weights for single and two seat aircraft.

Another made the point that many microlight gyroplanes two seat aircraft are above the weight limits quoted and sought relief from the problem.

The third commenter questioned the method of demonstrating the minimum speed and queried the associated calculations.

CAA response: Regarding the first comment, it is standard international practice for two-seat microlight aircraft to be permitted to operate at higher weights than single-seaters. This is reflected in, for example, the USA, Australia, Canada and through the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. The practice will continue in New Zealand.

It is accepted that the different design and construction requirements of gyroplanes (as distinct from other microlights) could justify modification of the wording in the Advisory Circular of the definition of a microlight aircraft in regard to weight. This change has been put in place for the final documentation.

Regarding the third comment, it was suggested that the wording of the Advisory Circular was deficient in the acceptable method of determining the minimum speed of a microlight. It was suggested that operating with a significant wind component along the course could produce a result other than that intended. The example was given that, with a 20 km per hour wind along the course, ground speed of a machine flying at 40 km per hour airspeed would be 20 km per hour one way and 60 km per hour the other. These figures would result in an average speed over the course of about 30 km per hour and not reflect the true airspeed. This is accepted. The rule, however, does not require the determination of the average speed over the course but "the average of the timed speed in each direction". This figure is, in this case, the numerical average of 20 and 60 which is 40. Thus the wording of the rule is different to the example given. The wording of the rule does meet the required intent and will therefore remain as proposed.


We conclude that, in the light of comments received, most microlight owners, pilots and organisations favour the general direction and content of the new rules. Specific issues that have been identified in the comments have been addressed and, where appropriate, changes have been made to meet the concerns raised. The comments and all background material used in formulating the rules are held on the docket file and are available for public scrutiny. Persons wishing to view the docket file should call at the Civil Aviation Authority, Level 15 Asteron Centre, 55 Featherston St, Wellington 6140, and ask for Docket file 1026.


The rules will come into force 28 days after their notification in the New Zealand Gazette.

Transitional Arrangements

The Microlight Aircraft Association of New Zealand (Inc) may continue to issue and renew microlight pilot and instructor certificates as it has in the past. This may be done, pending certification under this Part, under the provisions of Civil Aviation Safety Order 19 for up to twelve months from the date on which this Part comes into force. It is intended that CASO 19 will be amended soon without further notification or consultation to remove those sections or parts that have been superseded by Part 103. Notification of the availability of the revised CASO will be given through the normal process of advice by Aeronautical Information Circular.

All the requirements of New Zealand Civil Airworthiness Requirement Section K.1 Airworthiness Standards – Microlight Aeroplanes have been incorporated in Part 103 and that section will be cancelled on the effective date of Part 103.

Before the end of the twelve-month period, the Microlight Aircraft Association of New Zealand (Inc) will be required to submit all documentation needed to show compliance for certification. Any other Associations wishing to engage in the control or administration of microlight operators must gain certification before commencing. In each case an assessment will be made of the organisation's documentation including the exposition required by this Part. If the documentation complies with the rules, arrangements will then be made to schedule a meeting and an entry control inspection to assess the organisation's facilities against the submission.

If the inspection is satisfactory, then a certificate will be issued, initially for a period not exceeding twelve months. An audit programme will be agreed between the organisation and the Authority at this time. Then, subject to satisfactory performance throughout the period, the document will be renewed for a further period not exceeding five years.

Once certificated, the organisation may request delegation of the authority to issue or renew, as appropriate, aviation documents. These may include pilot or instructor certificates and permits-to-fly or flight permits. The delegation of this function of the Director will be conditional on the organisation remaining a certificated organisation under this Part. It should be noted that, in accordance with the provisions of the Act, the certification or the delegation(s), or both, may be suspended or revoked if considered necessary in the interests of safety.

Regulatory Evaluation

Subject to any fine tuning necessary to satisfy legal requirements, the following action will occur at the time of commencement of this Part:

  1. New Zealand Civil Airworthiness Requirement Section K.1 will be cancelled;
  2. Regulation 4(1) will be amended by the substitution of the definition of "Microlight aircraft" for "Microlight aeroplane";
  3. Regulation 19C will be amended by:
    1. the substitution, in six places of "microlight aircraft" for "microlight aeroplane" in the title and subclauses (1) and (2); and
    2. the deletion of subclause (3);
      [Note: This will allow the retention of that part of CASO 19 governing the grant and renewal of microlight pilot certificates pending the certification of an organisation under Part 103.]
  4. Regulation 109(1) will be amended by the substitution of "microlight aircraft" for "microlight aeroplane".
  5. Regulation 136A(8)(g) will be amended by the substitution of "microlight aircraft" for "microlight aeroplane".
  6. Regulation 161A will be amended to remove microlight aircraft from its application. Documents certifying the airworthiness of Class 2 microlight aircraft will now be issued under Part 103 as "flight permits".
  7. Civil Aviation Safety Order 19 will be amended and reissued. It will only contain those parts or sections necessary pending the certification of an organisation under Part 103 or necessary to give effect to civil aviation regulations.

Legislation will be introduced at an appropriate date to revoke the amended Regulation 19C and cancel what remains of CASO 19.