The RNZAF’s valued public service

It might not be the most dignified way to board a ship, but a shipwrecked Norwegian yachtsman is doubtless thankful to be hauled aboard the Southern Lily in rough seas 400km northeast of Auckland, as seen from an accompanying P-3 Orion in the New Zealand Defence Force’s second successful SAR operation during the weekend of 18–19 November. Rescuers battled southerly winds of 25kt and swells of up to 3.5m to reach the Ilanga.

November was a busy month for RNZAF SAR services. One of the searches, on 18 November, involved the yacht Waimanu with an activated emergency beacon about 166km east of Norfolk Island, reportedly with one person on board and in unpleasant conditions with a 30kt southerly and a 3m swell.

The Rescue Coordination Centre requested NZDF support to locate the yacht, and the RNZAF sent a C-130 Hercules whose crew spotted the Waimanu’s Kiwi skipper waving from a life raft, a few minutes after reaching the yacht’s reported location. They established communications with him and dropped a survival pack with water, food and a note.
The Hercules stayed in the area until MV Norfolk Guardian arrived and was able to take the sailor on board and then sail to Norfolk Island to disembark him.

The RNZAF was then called on a third time in little more than a week to help in the rescue of a sailor who had sent a distress call, again on 18 November, some 400km northeast of Auckland.

In the weekend’s second SAR operation, a P-3 Orion was deployed to support the rescue of the yacht Ilanga’s Norwegian skipper by commercial vessel MV Southern Lily. The Rescue Coordination Centre had picked up Ilanga’s emergency signal and requested NZDF support the previous day....


Readying for takeoff at Momona

Dunedin International Airport at Momona is a busy place, and some unusual flights have taken off from there, including the first flight to view the aurora australis. Now the airport is the venue for another first.

The “Run the Runway” event will take place on 22 January, providing a chance for people to run or walk Dunedin’s 1.9km runway from 6.15 am to shortly before 8am. The event has been enthusiastically supported by the airport management and approved by the CAA.

Airport pricing under careful scrutiny

On 20 October the Commerce Commission released a process and issues paper for its review of the prices Auckland and Christchurch International Airports have set to apply for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2022.

Under Part 4 of the Commerce Act, which regulates markets where there is little or no competition, the airports are subject to information disclosure regulation. While the Commission does not regulate the prices the airports charge, its role is to review airport pricing decisions to promote greater public understanding about their performance. 

Commission deputy chair Sue Begg says the paper outlines how the Commission intends to approach the review. “Areas we propose to focus on include the reasonableness of the airports’ target returns, forecast capital and operating spending, and the efficiency of pricing,” she says...

Virgin strikes flying rabbit

Bird strikes on aircraft are not uncommon, although they fortunately seldom result in such drama as the January 2009 US Airways flight 1549 that ended up in the Hudson River after running down a flock of geese.

But a Brisbane-bound Virgin Australia B737 last month also suffered an unusual strike, hitting both an eagle … and a rabbit.

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