Published date: 1 June 2021

An investigation has led to charges being laid over a Wanaka man allegedly offering tourists unauthorised tandem paragliding flights, the Civil Aviation Authority can confirm today.

The CAA launched an investigation in November 2020 after a concern was raised about a Wanaka-based paraglider pilot who was allegedly charging for tandem paraglider flights he was not authorised to provide, using a paraglider which did not have the necessary warrant of fitness.

In New Zealand, adventure aviation organisations can operate only if they have successfully gone through a thorough CAA certification process and have been issued with an adventure aviation operator certificate under Part 115 of the Civil Aviation Rules. These certificates are usually displayed by the organisation concerned and can be seen by the public.

The Part 115 rules cover the wide range of commercial adventure aviation flights offered in New Zealand, including flights in paragliders and hang gliders, hot air balloons, warbirds, microlights, gliders, as well as tandem skydiving jumps.

CAA Deputy Chief Executive Dean Winter said New Zealand’s commercial adventure aviation sector had developed a strong safety record and it was important that was maintained through all operators having gone through a robust certification process.

“By bringing these charges the Civil Aviation Authority is working to protect tourists who rightly expect an exciting but safe adventure flight,” Mr Winter said.

“Taking this prosecution also helps maintain a level playing field for the hard-working adventure aviation operators who do the right thing.”

Click here to see a list of adventure aviation operators who have been issued with a Part 115 certificate.

Notes to the editor:

The Part 115 rules were introduced in 2011 to improve safety in the commercial adventure aviation sector and to provide a level playing field where all operators needed to meet the same stringent safety standards.

The CAA laid two charges against a 31-year-old Wanaka man in the Queenstown District Court on 26 May 2021:

  1. Knowing that a current Adventure Aviation Operator Certificate must be held before he could operate an aircraft, namely a paraglider, for reward, and knowing that he did not hold an Adventure Aviation Operator Certificate, operated an aircraft, namely a paraglider, for reward.

    Under s46(1)(a) of the Civil Aviation Act 1990 and Part 115.5 of the Civil Aviation Rules.

  2. Operating an aircraft, namely a paraglider, without a prescribed current warrant of fitness.

    Under s100(1)(b) of the Civil Aviation Act 1990; clause 4 of the Civil Aviation (Offences) Regulations 2006; and Part 106.17(b) of the Civil Aviation Rules.

The CAA will not be able to comment further while this matter is before the courts.

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