The Authority is considering the recommendation made by the Commission in the context of the actions we have already taken to address the safety concerns highlighted in the accident investigation report.
In response to the incident the Authority contacted the four commercial balloon operators currently operating in New Zealand to remind them of the safety risk of balloon pilots not wearing pilot restraint harnesses. All four operators have subsequently incorporated in their Safety Management Systems a requirement for pilots to wear pilot restraint harnesses during critical phases of flight — consistent with the Commission’s Recommendation to change Civil Aviation Rules to require pilots to wear restraints harnesses during critical phases of flight. The Authority is heartened by the response of commercial balloon operators to adopt this practice.
The CAA is following up on other recommendations such as safety briefs. Through our monitoring activities, we will check on progress and the practice of wearing safety harnesses to ensure ongoing voluntary use of safety harnesses.
“The best way to ensure safety in aviation is through voluntary best practice behaviour. In this case, due to the small number of operators and their willingness to improve safety procedures beyond the requirements of the rules, we are satisfied that this risk is mitigated.
“In the event that new information arises, or we become aware of any non-compliance with operator requirements for pilots to wear restraint harnesses, further action will be considered accordingly.”
Deputy Chief Executive, Aviation Safety