Meteorological limits on the use of New Zealand airports for flight training | The Meteorological Society of New Zealand

Meteorological limits on the use of New Zealand airports for flight training

T. Steiner

An analysis is made of the suitability of New Zealand airports for flight training. Examination of published data on sunshine, and frequency of days with strong wind gusts and with fog identified airports worthy of further study. For a selection of such airports, the airport climatology publications produced in the 1980s were examined. Data extracted from the publications indicates that Nelson, Woodbourne (Blenheim) and certain airports in the centre and northeast of the North Island are the most favourable. However the publications do not consider cloud and visibility thresholds as stringent as those for flight training. It was therefore necessary to access the archive of airport meteorological data. Synoptic (three hourly) weather reports were examined for a selection of eight airports, which the earlier parts of the study suggested might be favourable. Nelson, Woodbourne and Gisborne are found to be the most suitable for ab initio training and Woodbourne is the most favourable for more advanced students. The results need to be treated with caution. Other meteorological parameters such as turbulence and the extent of the favourable weather beyond the airport are not assessed and nor are non-meteorological logistic issues. Some further applications of the analysed series are suggested.

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