Published date: 10 February 2023

The Civil Aviation Authority has this week withdrawn charges against Sky Sports Ltd, and its director Martin Lloyd, for alleged breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

The charges followed an investigation into a fatal accident at the Hood Aerodrome in Masterton in 2019. The CAA investigated the circumstances of the accident, looking at the radio communications, flight paths, compliance with aerodrome rules and the operations of Sky Sports Limited and other aerodrome users.

The charges had alleged that the company and its owner had not done enough to ensure safety for its workers and others.

Prosecutions require a robust process of evidence analysis to be followed and high standard of proof to be met. The CAA must also constantly review its prosecutions, to ensure it is fairly discharging its responsibilities as a safety regulator and does so by using expert evidence and prosecution specialists.

Shortly before trial, the CAA received defence expert evidence that focused on an alternative view of the key crash factors. Considering the defence perspective, combined with ongoing review and analysis by the CAA of the evidence, led the CAA to make the difficult decision not to proceed to trial, and that it was not in the public interest to do so.

The CAA has advised the families of the victims, the defendants and the District Court, of its decision.

Hood Aerodrome is an uncontrolled aerodrome - where pilots must comply with flight circuit procedures in order to fly safely without air traffic control. Local aerodromes produce local procedures for their circuits and the CAA’s safety message to pilots is that those procedures, known as the AIP (Aeronautical Information Publication) must be followed. Shortly after the accident the CAA issued a formal safety message to reinforce this. *

Since the accident, the grass runway involved in the midair collision was closed, and Hood Aerodrome is seeking to implement a new safety system while operating the two remaining runways.


Please attribute to: David Harrison, Deputy Chief Executive Aviation Safety, CAA


* [PDF 476 KB]

Media team contact phone (027) 763 0000 or email

Key actions taken by the CAA since the mid-air fatality at Masterton’s Hood Aerodrome in 2019:

  • The special safety message referenced above
  • Attendance at Hood Aerodrome user group meetings, establishing regular and ongoing supporting interaction with Aerodrome Management including ongoing assessment of the Aerodrome Master Planning
  • Presenting at the small aerodromes sub-group of the NZ Airports Association particularly on the topic of “safely re-joining the aircraft circuit”
  • Support and regulatory guidance to help the aerodrome obtain a Qualifying Aerodrome Operator Certificate

Ongoing actions across all aerodromes

  • Ongoing education programmes for pilots about the importance of good lookout and radio calls through instructor seminars and CAA publications.
  • Our aeronautical services unit are heavily involved with aerodromes throughout New Zealand. This includes data gathering to support intelligence led risk-based interventions.
  • Promotion of Qualified Aerodrome Operator certification.
  • Provision of technical and regulatory advice at meetings of aerodromes users.
  • Councils account for most non-certificated aerodrome operators/owners and the CAA regularly advises them on their civil aviation and health and safety at work obligations.
  • Provision of flight training safety training programmes.