Wanaka man charged with selling unauthorised tandem paragliding flights to tourists

He didn't have the necessary warrant of fitness.
He didn't have the necessary warrant of fitness. Photo credit: Getty Images

An investigation by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has ended with it charging a Wanaka man for allegedly offering tourists unauthorised tandem paragliding flights.

The CAA launched an investigation in November 2020 after a concern was raised about a paraglider pilot for allegedly charging for tandem paraglider flights he was not authorised to provide, using a paraglider which did not have the necessary warrant of fitness.

Two charges were laid against a 31-year-old in the Queenstown District Court on May 26.

In Aotearoa, adventure aviation organisations can operate only if they have successfully gone through a thorough CAA certification process and have been issued with an adventure aviation operator certificate under Part 115 of the Civil Aviation Rules. These certificates are usually displayed by the organisation concerned and can be seen by the public.

Part 115 covers the wide range of commercial adventure aviation flights offered in New Zealand, including flights in paragliders and hang gliders, hot air balloons, warbirds, microlights, gliders, as well as tandem skydiving jumps.

CAA Deputy Chief Executive Dean Winter said New Zealand's commercial adventure aviation sector had developed a strong safety record and it was important that it was maintained through all operators having gone through a robust certification process.

"By bringing these charges the Civil Aviation Authority is working to protect tourists who rightly expect an exciting but safe adventure flight," Winter said.

"Taking this prosecution also helps maintain a level playing field for the hard-working adventure aviation operators who do the right thing."