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:
[source: https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/budget-invests-249m-extra-transport-priorities]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.
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!]
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 :-)
[source - http://www.caa.govt.nz/Meteorology/met_blog.html]21 May 2015MetFlight-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.