30 Jun 2020

Powered by the dedication of industry, the NSS Programme recently completed its project to produce an Aeronautical Information management Systems (AIMS) Concept of Operations document (CONOPS). As directed by the National Airspace and Air Navigation Plan (NAANP) the Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) to AIM workstream is to ‘enable processes to ensure, reliable, quality-assured aeronautical data is available to systems and users in a secure manner in near real-time within the digital environment of the future’.

With the current AIS contract due for renewal in 2023, this project aimed to provide an opportunity for valuable expertise and insight from across the aviation sector to contribute to a stakeholder view of the important aspects of the present and potential future of AIMS in New Zealand. The result was 37 participants providing perspectives from 15 different aviation user group areas, from General Aviation (GA) and gliders, to UAV and airlines big and small.

NSS spoke to James Stokes (a commercial pilot, mountain flying instructor, airline flight examiner and Managing Director at Glenorchy Air) about his experience participating in the project.

“Aeronautical Information Management is all about how we access the information we need (such as Navigation, MET, NOTAM, Traffic, airport conditions etc), and how we apply it to our operations. This can vary widely between different sectors and aeronautical activities including VFR/IFR GA/Airline and recreational/commercial aviation.”

“I volunteered to represent both Glenorchy Air and Queenstown Milford User Group (QMUG) in this project as I have a keen interest in the New Southern Sky programme and the management of information in the modern age. I believe it is important to ensure the needs of the GA sector are being considered when developing AIMS concepts.”

“My workshop (1 of 3 different groups) was very worthwhile, a large cross section of GA was represented including Agricultural, Helicopter, Fixed wing GA and Glider. We were able to work together well to present a good range of ideas which would benefit our sector within the overall aviation system.”

“I found it very interesting to engage with the various parts of the GA sector and gain an understanding of the different requirements for information and how it is managed.  A one size fits all solution won’t do the job.”

“High quality, reliable and current information is important for all sectors of the aviation system, it is particularly important for VFR operations in the mountains as all conditions can change rapidly. The better the information we have, the safer and more efficient the operation can be.”

Chris Ford, project sponsor and DCE Aviation Security and Infrastructure at the CAA had the following message of thanks:

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all stakeholders involved in the development of this Concept of Operations (CONOPS) for their commitment and effort through what have been uncertain times in light of the impact of Covid-19 on New Zealand’s aviation system. That all involved continued to contribute positively and with a forward-looking focus is testament to their commitment to the continued safe and efficient development of our aviation system as we continue to move into a digital aeronautical information environment. It is also reflective of the collaborative approach between the Civil Aviation Authority and stakeholders that has been a hallmark of the New Southern Sky programme since its inception. The great work done allows for up to date guidance for stakeholders as we continue moving into a digital information environment and will be immensely useful in informing the next Aeronautical Information Publication contract to be let in 2023. Once again, thank you very much to all involved for their commitment, effort and the depth of knowledge and understanding that was brought to this important piece of work.”

The AIMS CONOPS document is available for access HERE