Friday, May 22, 2015

NZ 2015 BUDGET NEWS: Free access to Metflight will be returning soon!

In completely unexpected, but very very welcome news from the 2015 budget, recreational pilots will soon have free access to Metservice's excellent Metflight GA product reinstated!

I had completely missed this [ok, I find the Budget rather boring and I didn't take much notice], but it was pointed out to me today that there is provision in the budget for recreational pilots to have free access to Metservice's excellent Metflight GA product, from 1 July 2015 [or thereabouts]!

For those with long memories, you may recall that in the distant past, Metservice created a product called Metflight GA. This was designed to provide aviation-specific weather information for recreational pilots. This was "sponsored" [paid for] by CAA, at least partly to ensure that all recreational pilots had access to up to date, good, aviation-specific weather forecasts and reports.

In 2011, CAA decided to cease funding this [from memory in the order of only $100K per year?], and decided that unlike everyone else in the country [such as the general public, mountaineers/ hikers, sailors], pilots should have to pay for access to the information themselves. I hear that there were very very few subscriptions purchased relative to the number of pilots.

Now, finally, in 2015, it appears that someone may have seen the fallacy of this. The Government has decided to make provision for public funding of this service, in the same way as for other users of weather information. Hurray!

Anyway, here's a Government announcement from the Minister of Transport, Hon Simon Bridges:
Additional funding of $15.9 million over the next four years will allow MetService to replace its meteorological forecasting system, establish a new disaster recovery backup facility and provide free weather forecasting services for the recreational aviation sector.
“Transport systems and transport users rely on accurate weather forecasts. They’re essential for businesses, government and the public to minimise risk to life and property from weather events.
[source: https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/budget-invests-249m-extra-transport-priorities]

Next up, here is what Metservice themselves had to say when I tweeted them this afternoon [and thanks for the fast response, it is much appreciated!]
  1. Yes Rodney, that's right - we're working through it now and will keep rec pilots informed of progress on MetFlight GA :) ^JB

    Tweet text
Last up, is an announcement from the CAA congratulating the Ministry of Transport on fixing up a hole that CAA dug for them in the first place :-)
21 May 2015
MetFlight-GA – The CAA has confirmation that Government will be funding MetFlight-GA (the web based product for private pilots only) from 01 July 2015 – as part of the 2015 Budget tabled in Parliament yesterday. The funding is contained within the disbursements to Vote Transport for public weather forecasting services for the MoT-MetService public weather services contract. Well done to the MoT Team who picked up this important task.
There will be some transition issues to wash-up existing subscription payments so the actual start of the no-charge service to private pilots may be a bit later than 1 July 2015. MetService is currently assessing how quickly it can implement the IT changes needed.
[source - http://www.caa.govt.nz/Meteorology/met_blog.html]

3 comments:

Nicks BIGSKY Aviation said...

To little to late although my use it at some point.

Just watch news at night for weather look at sky ring someone where ya going.

One thing they were upset about CAA was the total lack of people using NOTAMS as ya had to pay for it.

Not rocket science eh.

Anonymous said...

A little unclear on what you’re saying, but I hope that it’s not that you have to pay for NOTAMS. They’ve always been free from Airway’s IFIS system, and AIP supplements are also available from Airway’s AIP site. But hey, it’s just there to stop people getting cleaned up by UAVs, live fire weapons tests, air shows, closed runways etc.

Rodney said...

Yeah, that was what confused me also. NOTAMs have always been free to access... As for the weather, I suspect there has continued to be a fair amount of usage... Just not many people paying for it! I think you might have got it wrong this time Nick...