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Kāpiti Aero Club flies into Te Horo spat


A proposal by the Kāpiti District Aero Club for a low flying zone over a patch of Te Horo has been put on hold by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) pending further consultation.

The club wanted the zone just to the east of Swamp Road so trainees could practise low flying below 500 feet (150 metres), the usual minimum flying height. The club says it consulted with the two property owners within the zone, but some Te Horo residents are concerned that nearby property owners have not been consulted.

They say there are issues such as health and ecological damage, and that flights into and out of the area will also be flying low.

Aero club chief executive Mike Elston, however, says no planes would fly below 500ft outside the zone.

“To be legal we have to be 500 feet above the ground outside that zone,” he says. “We would exit that zone back to a legal height.”

For the people around the area, nothing would change from the current situation where planes can fly to a minimum 500 feet.

A Kāpiti Coast District Council map with the proposed low flying zone outlined. The outline was composed from information obtained by Te Horo resident Dr Hans Itjeshorst.

The club and Ōtaki Aerodrome had discussed flying in and out of the zone only from the south.

“We don’t want to encroach on their final approach into their strip. We’ve got no problem with that in principle.”

In a Facebook post, Te Horo local Dr Hans Itjeshorst said residents should consider several issues, including:

  • disruption to the ecology over the Ōtaki River estuary where endangered birds breed

  • the amount of lead from aviation fuel that planes at low altitude would drop on properties, potentially leading to a variety of diseases

  • distractions for drivers on the old highway and expressway

  • devaluation of properties.

Waikanae Community Board member and Te Horo Beach resident Michael Moore says he emailed CAA about the club’s lack of consultation with residents. In response, CAA said after its own consultation in March “it became quickly apparent that Kapiti Aero Club should conduct its own consultation with affected airspace users such as Otaki Aerodrome and other affected local groups.

“This is to meet their obligations under the Civil Aviation Rules to provide the CAA with this information prior to CAA making any decision on low flying zone airspace.”

Rob Kofoed of Ōtaki Aerodrome confirmed aerodrome members had not initially been consulted.

Michael Moore says he’s also emailed the Kāpiti club but they have not communicated with him.

“I am concerned about the lack of transparent and good-faith consultation with our Te Horo community,” he says. “The area in question affects residents more than just the identified LFZ but also includes south of Otaki River, Addington Road  Swamp Road, Te Waka Road, Katihiku Marae, and west of Old State Highway 1.

“All I’ve heard is that the club has made an Official Information Act request to see my correspondence on the issue.

“If we could talk to them, we might also be able to discuss flights over Katihiku Marae when the marae has events, including tangi. That’s just disrespectful.”

Asked about Ōtaki Aerodrome not being consulted, Mike Elston said his club lodged the application with CAA and waited to be told what to do next. He said the flight instructor dealing with it left and didn’t pass the message on that they should talk to Ōtaki.

“It was an oversight,” he says.

Mike said the club would “absolutely consult with everyone we need to”. Concerned that the public did not well understand air activity, he said a public information evening was planned at the club in July.




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Kāpiti Aero Club flies into Te Horo spat


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