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New Zealand Helicopter Pilot prosecuted after saving two lives

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New Zealand Helicopter Pilot prosecuted after saving two lives

Old 14th Oct 2015, 06:31
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Angry New Zealand Helicopter Pilot prosecuted after saving two lives

Kaikoura Helicopters director and pilot Dave Armstrong went from hero to zero after saving the lives of two hunters trapped in the remote Puhi Puhi valley. For instead of lauding his courage, the Civil Aviation Authority is taking him to court, because his flying paperwork was not in order.
When Dave rescued injured hunter Lee Scott and his girlfriend Lisa McKenzie on April 5 2014, his medical certificate was not valid following a medical diagnosis that was already in question and was subsequently overturned.
The CAA has charged him with violating a clause in the Civil Aviation Act 1990, which denies legal protection under what’s known internationally as the Good Samaritan law.

Following the rescue, Dave’s offices were raided, his logbooks were removed and his business was forced to close by the CAA. His pilot son had to return from work in Antarctica to retrieve the books and get the business re-opened.

Now Dave faces prosecution on charges that carry a maximum sentence of $10,000 or a year’s imprisonment. The prosecution is thought to be the first of its kind in New Zealand for a pilot performing a search and rescue mission.

Despite a public outcry and protests from aviation organisations, the CAA has refused to reconsider the prosecution, even though its Director has the power to change the decision. It is tight-lipped, saying the matter is sub judice.
The General Aviation Advocacy group (GAA) and the New Zealand Aviation Industry Group (NZAIG) are extremely concerned about this prosecution. We say that a court case will have no beneficial result for aviation safety and that Armstrong is being persecuted simply because his paperwork was deficient.

Dave Armstrong really had no other moral choice on the day. He is a highly skilled pilot who knew the terrain extremely well – and the dangers. He was the only man available. Did the CAA expect him to refuse police and SAR requests, walk away and possibly have two deaths on his conscience?
This is an appalling decision, which will very seriously damage relations between aviators and the CAA if it is not withdrawn. However, after recent communications from the CAA, the likelihood of that happening seems now to be non-existent as the CAA has adopted an intransigent stance.
With this in mind, we will continue to support Dave in whatever way we can because we believe that there are strong moral and ethical principles at stake.

Both groups are seeking a change in the Civil Aviation Act, currently under review, to enshrine the Good Samaritan principle in law.
GAA has launched the ‘Save Dave from the CAA!’ campaign and is appealing to the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Transport, Conservation and Sports and Recreation to step in.

If you wish to voice your support for Dave and make your views known to the CAA, the relevant email addresses are:
CAA Director: [email protected]
CAA Chief Legal Counsel: [email protected]
General Manager Policy & System Interventions: [email protected]
General Manager General Aviation: [email protected]
If you copy your email to GAA at [email protected], we will be able to gauge the level of GA support for all air rescue pilots, who at some stage could face a similar situation to that of Dave Armstrong.
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Old 14th Oct 2015, 09:33
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Old 14th Oct 2015, 09:54
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Even earlier thread: NZ CAA prosecuting 'rescue' pilot
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Old 14th Oct 2015, 10:08
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Larger Story?

I cannot and will not believe that the CAA is that stupid; there simply must be more to this tale than is reported here. In addition to the overturned medical issue cited, what Other History does this pilot have with the local authorities. Has he Never Before been on their Radar?
In the interest of honesty and fairness, the reportage must include ALL of the relevant history from Both Sides, especially for the international readership who likely have no prior knowledge of this gentleman or his historical relationship with CAA. He may well be a genuine hero, but until we learn far more historical detail and objectively, it is difficult to offer support. The original post at the top of this page has Nothing in Common with Objective Reporting and is blatantly bias.
Like many, I WANT to support the gentleman pilot and offer my congratulations. Until I learn a LOT More, I cannot do so.
Does someone else know the details? Frankly, it is horrible reporting.
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Old 14th Oct 2015, 11:37
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I'll second NFZ. NZ is one of the 'cleanest' countries in the world when it comes to governance & rule of law, I would really wish to hear the other side of the story before coming to any conclusions. Perhaps if someone at the NZ CAA reads this (as am sure you do), would you be able to present your position?
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Old 14th Oct 2015, 13:11
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NFZ and Andrasz you two have led extremely lucky lives never having met a vindictive bureaucrat. These jobsworths have zero interest in justice or fairness only in the blind imposition of rules. They see this as 'their job' (hence "job's worth") and are usually mentally incapable of seeing the wider repercussions of what they are doing and if they do then they see those repercussions as 'someone else's problem' certainly nothing for them to care about.

You should read the other thread http://www.pprune.org/pacific-genera...ecution-2.html
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Old 14th Oct 2015, 13:16
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Helicopter Pilot Faces Jail Time for Rescue | Flying Magazine

A report here says that he was with a safety pilot and only manipulated the controls after the other pilot got in to some difficulties manuevering through the area, it isn't clear, but I imagine that Armstrong was not PIC on this flight, though the cockpit hiearchy would have made him the more experienced pilot.

It would also be interestimg to know if the company sent an invoice to anybody for search and rescue services as this might be a factor in the CAA's stance
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