Aardvark DailyNew Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.
Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk
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As regular readers will know, I take the fight to protect the freedoms of future generations of model fliers very seriously.
To this end, I have held CAA (The Civil Aviation Authority) of NZ to very high account and challenged their culture, competence and objectivity on a number of occasions.
Most recently, I have proven beyond any doubt that this culture, competence and objectivity is sorely lacking, simply by highlighting a number of ridiculous actions on their part and by publishing some of the document-drop I received as part of an OAI request into their investigations regarding my activities.
As I've said previously, I'm not one to criticise without offering a solution and thus I invited CAA to come to our local airfield and be "educated" as to the difference between drones and RC planes, as well as seeing for themselves exactly what risks were (or were not) involved in their use.
I published that invitation for all the world to see... and awaited their response.
Many people suggested that they would refuse the invitation, since it would require them to actually engage their brains and perhaps learn something that would be contrary to the official policy.
Others, including myself, were hopeful that the invitation would be accepted and we could all work towards ensuring that CAA were operating from a well-informed position and better able to evaluate risks and thus meter out penalties when appropriate.
Nobody, not even me, was expecting the response that I actually got.
Here is the email I received from Mr Dean Winter of CAA:
Dear Mr Simpson,
Thank you for your invitation to attend the Tokoroa Airfield, the CAA is happy to engage with representatives from all sectors in the aviation community.
Unfortunately recent online activity, in particular regarding a violent video about ‘How to save the hobby of drone and RC flying’ by depicting a ‘CAA’ labelled monster being shot to death by a person labelled as a drone user, advising then that the ‘hobby is worth fighting for’, has raised some concern about how this may be perceived or influence behaviour of people that follow or see those posts.
The CAA is concerned enough that a complaint has been laid with the Police so those concerns are recorded and Police can make their own assessment.
Until that complaint has been assessed or actioned in some way we respectfully decline your offer, as meeting with representatives that may share these online views raises a risk that is unacceptable to the CAA.
CAA have laid a complaint with the police over this video meme?
Does this not totally prove my case that CAA is completely out of touch with the community of drone and RC fliers it seeks to regulate?
Now if Mr Winter honestly believed that the meme video was a veiled threat of violence against himself or anyone else at CAA then I could understand the need to log this with police as a piece of evidence to perhaps be used at a future time -- but seriously?
Could it be that right now the FAA and CASA are also filing complaints with their respective police forces for fear that this inciteful meme will result in armed attacks on their employees? I suspect not.
No, it seems that there are no "real Kiwi blokes" left in positions of authority here in New Zealand. All we have are a bunch of panty-warming sissy-boys who clearly believe that there is no point in having power if you can't abuse it. Choosing to feel threatened by a meme based on a science fiction story about underground monsters is (IMHO), simply Mr Winter's strategy for avoiding doing his job by accepting my invitation to engage.
Clearly the statement made in the first line of his email os a bald-faced lie, betrayed by his conjuring up the excuse that a meme video constitutes a threat to safety.
Most drone fliers are younger people, extremely active on social media and for who memes are an integral part of their culture. For the CAA to perceive a meme as some kind of threat simply further burns the bridges they've already incinerated through their needless victimisation of two innocent 14-year-old kids a month or two ago.
I have repeatedly held out the olive branch and given CAA the opportunity to rebuild those burnt bridges, re-establish the respect of the drone/RC community, extending them the benefit of the doubt so often that I am beginning to look foolish. Each and every time (especially this time) they prove that they are incompetent, disconnected and totally unsuited for the role given them by government.
It saddens me that, for the lack of a little commonsense and humility, CAA could be winning the hearts and minds of the very people they wish to regulation but, instead, they choose to further alienate them by showing that they are simply a bunch of "suits" consuming biscuits and coffee with scant regard for things such as "safety" and far more concern about "compliance" and saving face.
There is no room for this level of arrogance in an organisation which is tasked with creating a safe aviation environment. Their complete disregard for the importance of earning the trust and respect of those you regulate shows that CAA can not function effectively as a regulator within the drone communities.
Dean Winter must go.
I've already invited my YouTube subscribers to assist in this process and if Aardvark readers feel similarly inclined the please exercise your rights as members of a democratic nation.
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