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Tokoroa Airport temporary closure

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:56 pm
by Stuart Hellyer
Good afternoon,
The NZJMA has been advised by the owners of the Tokoroa Airfield, (South Waikato District Council), that approval for all model flying on the airport has been temporarily cancelled.

This applies to all model flying, regardless of club, type or size.

It has been introduced due to a lone individual on the airport intending to carry out experiments on 2.4 ghz which may erode the safety standards of model flying operations to an undetermined level.

The NZJMA and the local club (SWIM) are actively pursuing a resolution to this restriction and hope to have it resolved within the next couple of weeks.


Stuart Hellyer
NZJMA Chairman

Re: Tokoroa Airport temporary closure

PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 7:36 pm
by jonathanshorer
This week, Bruce asked for help in lobbying CAA to change their position regarding his refusal to accept the exemption that had been granted to him. This is the email traffic:

From: Bruce Simpson <>
To: Jonathan Shorer <>
Sent: Monday, 21 April 2014 7:29 PM
Subject: Tokoroa flying

Hi Jonathan,
As you are probably aware, *all* RC flying at Tokoroa airfield has been suspended until further notice.
Obviously the catalyst for this was the fact that I was not prepared to accept the CAA's exemption with its previously unmentioned restrictions, particularly in light of the inordinately long delays created by SWIM's failing to sign for nearly two months. These restrictions effectively make it impossible for me to carry out my SAA testing and impossible to reasonably create videos for my YouTube channel as was promised under the MOU.
The only way forward that I can see in this matter is, as I have related to Rex Kenny, to have those restrictions removed -- since they are not at all related to safety and solely related to political matters. This would allow me to perform my airborne-testing (rather than the ground-based testing on 2.4GHz) and effectively remove concerns that the SWDC/CAA may have over the safety of flying at the airfield.

Rex has advised me that the exemption has not yet been rescinded and he's hopeful that something can be done about resolving the issues before he returns to work on the 28th
In response to that, I made this offer to Rex (which I'm now also presenting to you and the MFNZ executive).
I offer to refrain from making any further public statements regarding MFNZ, its executives, its members and its actions in return for the removal of the restrictions that currently accompany the exemption. This would mean that for all intents and purposes, the exemption would provide me with the rights and privileges of an MFNZ "wings" holder (insurance and other provisions of MFNZ membership notwithstanding) including the right to supervise another RC flier, as-and-when deemed necessary for assisting with the SAA development work, the creating of the videos for my YouTube channels and helping others within the hobby.
This offer would appear to be the best way forward -- since it would relieve your organisation of the bad press and the damage to its reputation that continues to stem from the present situation. This resolution also allows your executive to resolve the matter without losing face.
Likewise, it allows me to get on with my roles of continuing the development of a very important piece of aviation safety technology, promoting the hobby and educating/assisting the members of that hobby so as to allow them to become better/safer fliers.
All of this is, of course, contingent on the SWDC agreeing to allow me and others to fly at the field again.
It would be a shame if this wonderful resource (the Tokoroa airfield) was lost to the hobby, as I have no doubt it will be if a prompt and *effective* resolution is not reached. Note that it very much appears to be the mean-spirited actions of SWIM that have sunk the last attempt and I really do urge you (the MFNZ executive) to do something about this sorry excuse for an RC club.

SWIM must surely be the only club in NZ that has gone from such a high starting point to lose so many members that it is now really just two or three regulars. I understand that its two newest members are also about to seek "sole member" status from MFNZ after being effectively locked out of the democratic process at the recent AGM. Trust me, if this club isn't sorted very quickly, then all attempts to retain the Tokoroa Airfield as an RC flying location will be lost forever.
There are about a dozen locals who would love to join an MFNZ-affiliated club and fly at Tokoroa but they refuse to join SWIM, for obvious reasons. This lost membership includes families and young people who are keen to get into the hobby but have no avenue for doing so as things stand. I believe that others would like to create a new MFNZ-affiliated club to cater to this need but the move has been vetoed by both SWIM and the NZJMA.

And, FYI, Just last weekend, members of SWIM were again seen to be flying without observers and without a radio. The contempt for MFNZ rules and CAA regulations remains as strong as ever and eventually, something bad will happen. I understand they now believe that unless they are flying over the airfield-proper, they do not need an observer -- which is clearly a breach of CA101 that states an observer is required at "or within 4Km" of an airfield. I would suggest that a field adjacent to the runway is certainly "within 4Km".
So, if MFNZ agrees to my offer and CAA is willing to remove the exemptions, MFNZ can get on with whatever it does and its members (including the NZJMA) can continue to break the rules, regulations and law without any scrutiny, complaint or comment from me. Such reporting and enforcement is a job I will leave entirely up to you.
A degree of alacrity is essential in this matter -- Rex has to make his decision by 28th.

ps: although I have no free steak knives to throw in, I do have a couple of domain names you might like which I'll relinquish all claims on as well.

On Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 5:11 PM, Jonathan Shorer <> wrote:

Hi Bruce,

Thank you for your email. I'm afraid that you have the impression that I and the executive have played a larger part in the current situation than is actually the case. You may, thus, be over estimating my power to assist you. Although I saw a copy of the MOU in mid Feb, I have had no input to it's content. I have not seen the exemption letter that CAA have produced and had no discussion with CAA about what should or shouldn't be in it. Likewise, we have had no discussion with SWDC about the issue of your conducting testing on the 2.4Ghz band. I can find no reference in the MOU that promises that you will be able to create videos for You Tube and assume that you must have had some discussions with Rex of which I have no knowledge.

I welcome your offer to refrain from making statements about MFNZ but can't see the connection to attempting to influence CAA to change their position before 28th April, particularly as you say that Rex is out of the office until that date.

I can understand why SWDC feel that they must take some action after you have told people that there may be some impact on 2.4Ghz users caused by your testing. I'm not sure why your ground testing can't take place somewhere other than at the airfield, since it is by definition, ground based. Indeed, I cannot see any reason why you cannot develop your SAA system without you personally flying a model aeroplane.



Hi Jonathan,

Clearly you have no understanding of the technology or the testing processes involved -- otherwise you'd realise why my testing needs to be immediately adjacent to my workshop with its array of test equipment.
You must also appreciate that I have a huge investment in my presence on the airfield and see no reason why I should be dispossessed by a group of people (mainly SWIM) who have openly stated their objective to get me kicked off the airfield. Likewise, given the way I have been treated and deceived on two occasions by MFNZ, I see no reason to extend any favours in the direction of any of its affiliated clubs.

In speaking with Rex Kenny, his reasons for adding the restrictions were because he felt it necessary to preserve MFNZ's monopolies in respect to the control of RC flying at and within 4Km of an airfield.
If you were to advise him that you have no problem with the restrictions being removed he may realise that you are not so concerned about an illusionary threat to MFNZ's monopoly.

I also believe that if MFNZ had moved to ensure SWIM acted with more alacrity in signing the MOU and didn't go (yet again) whining to the SWDC about me, the current situation may have been more easily resolved. The fact that I have lost the best three months of the flying year to SWIM's belligerance and unwillingness to sign the MOU in a reasonable timeframe means I now have no option but to train/supervise assistants to help with airborne testing or (as now seems inevitable) engage in ground-based testing so as to make the most of even the wettest/windiest days.
But if you can't help, you can't help. I gather that the SWDC has now more or less put all RC flying at the airfield off the table -- pretty much forever -- for which I lay the blame squarely at SWIM's insistence on the restrictions that were applied to the CAA exemption and the delay they took in signing the MOU.
The only remaining hope for model flying a the Tokoroa Airfield now is via the international model park initiative, which has scored the backing of a very large local industry (employer) who has significant clout with the SWDC due to its support of community groups and charities. Unfortunately, since MFNZ are clearly not a supporter of the model park, neither they nor their members are likely to have much say in its structure or operation.
The offer I made remains open until Rex returns and makes his decision.


Hi Bruce,
I am responding to your previous email because you have asked for my help in resolving the current situation. You seem to have the impression that every single party other than yourself is totally wrong in their understanding and actions and that you are the helpless victim of a conspiracy. However, your last reply contains several misconceptions that I feel should be corrected. My understanding of your testing regime comes from what you have told me. In a previous conversation, you said that it was important that you and no-one else flew the SAA test plane as all of the data was gathered on board and downloaded to your test equipment at a later date. From this, I deduce that the location of the test is not tied to your hangar. I’m sure that none of your test equipment is so bulky that it wouldn’t fit in your truck and thus testing could easily take place elsewhere.
I can’t verify that Rex Kenny said that he needed to preserve “MFNZ’s monopoly position”. In view of your attempts, twice in the recent past, to create a rival model flying organisation “with 10,000 members” in order to displace MFNZ as the sole body that CAA were prepared to deal with, I can see where he gets the idea from. I have no fear of your ability to create a rival organisation that was anything more than a distraction.
You have a skewed view of the timescales involved in this latest episode. I got a copy of the MOU on 11 Feb. By late march, you were growing impatient with the process. Some of the time taken was because you chose to take video of yourself flying without a Wings qualified supervisor and then publish it on You Tube. Not testing your SAA equipment as you had told everyone that you needed to do, 7 days a week, but demonstrating your skill flying a foamy on a windy day.
The only reason that SWDC have been forced to suspend model flying is because of your declared intention to conduct radio frequency testing at the airfield that you say could be disruptive. The blame lies at no-ones door but your own.
Had SWIM chosen not to sign the MOU it is unlikely that it would have affected the processing of your exemption by the CAA. The Clubs reservations are understandable and have been recognised only in part by CAA.
Having watched a similar but much better established facility to TIMP blossom and then, shortly afterwards, die, in UK, where there are 35,000 BMFA members, I reserve judgement on your project. I await the production of your business plan which you promised me was nearly ready nine weeks ago.
Many people have gone to extraordinary lengths to allow you to work on your SAA system and it seems that you have rejected CAA’s initiative for reasons not connected with its development. The responsibility lies with you to produce some tangible outcomes rather than trying to find other people to blame for the lack of progress. Your current actions could be interpreted as those of someone who knows that his plans are not going to work and is looking for an alternative home for the ignominy of failure. Since your SAA development time is so precious, please do not waste any of it replying to this email as we have spoken at length and you are aware of my views.

Hi Jonathan,
You said:

"I’m sure that none of your test equipment is so bulky that it wouldn’t fit in your truck and thus testing could easily take place elsewhere"

Clearly you don't have a clue about what's involved in this testing or what equipment is required as part of the process. Then again, I know from experience that MFNZ doesn't operate on the basis of "fact" -- simply "presumption" so I'm not surprised by your statement, albeit I'm disappointed to see that nothing has changed within the ranks of the MFNZ executive in respect to the distinction between fact and fantasy.

I guess you're as "sure" about this as you are that MFNZ members are following the organisations rules and CAA's regulations at the Tokoroa airfield eh?
And let's not forget that there can be no question that the best place to test a technology which is designed to "sense" aircraft is... at an airfield. There's no point testing it in a grassy field where there's never going to be anything to "sense" is there -- which makes your suggestion that I should find somewhere else to do my testing a very silly one.
You are correct however, when you suggest that originally I was planning to fly the model for SAA testing myself but now, due to the protracted delay in the issuing of the exemption, that's no longer practical. As you yourself must be very much aware, the best flying weather of the entire year is packed into the few months between January and early April. These were the months I was intending to use for the bulk of my flight testing but -- because SWIM refused to sign the MOU in a reasonable timeframe, the exemption was not issued until the weather had already changed. Indeed, it began raining on the day Rex notified me that the exemption was in place and we've had only one or two days of half-decent weather since -- with the long-range forecast for this part of the country predicting rain for the next 10 days and probably significantly longer.
If I am to take advantage of the very few suitable days for test-flying the SAA system then I will need an assistant and, since MFNZ have made it very clear (especially in *my* case) that "wings" are not to be used for commercial purposes, I have no choice but to supervise someone without wings to assist me --- and train them to a suitable level of competence if required.
This was not a situation of my making -- it was entirely down to SWIM and MFNZ's unwillingness to get involved and toe the line.
Now we have the result of that -- an exemption that is not fit for purpose, due to the restrictions accompanying it and an airfield that the SWDC believes is unsafe for RC model flying because I am now (reluctantly) forced to conduct my testing from the ground using transmissions that are 100% legal on a band that was designed for such activities (scientific, industrial and medical applications) -- where RC model fliers have no priority over any other user (re-read Barry's article in the latest MFW if you're in any doubt about this).

If, by refusing my offer, MFNZ is happy to be seen as an organisation that pays nothing more than lip-service to the issue of safety (as will be evidenced by the videos I will be posting that show two years of consistent, repetitive and habitual rule/law-breaking by MFNZ members at the airfield with no action taken by MFNZ) then so be it. If MFNZ wants to explain to the wider public why it puts the recreational interests of "grown men with toy planes" ahead of the development of a very valuable piece of aviation safety technology that has the potential to save lives and create a valuable new industry for NZ -- then so be it (but be prepared for the very negative public opinion that will flow from such a stance). Personally, I would think it far more prudent for your organisation to be exploring every avenue for resolving this situation -- but if grumpy old men are unable to get over their personal dislike of me then -- so be it.
As for TIMP... I think even you will have to acknowledge that the proposal I'm pushing is hugely different to anything that has come before it. Not only do I have massive levels of international support (and financial backing) for this initiative but we are now also living in very different times, from the perspective of model flying. Just a few years ago, the majority of RC model fliers were MFNZ members -- but today, the majority are not. There are far more RC fliers who have no need of a national body. They fly in parks and in other areas either alone or in small groups. Even the membership of the Parkfliers club is tiny in relation to the number of those actually flying outside MFNZ's domain.

MFNZ offers nothing to these people but they are exactly the type of person who would be attracted to membership of the model park because it will give them somewhere to fly, without the constraints of a city park and where they can regularly meet up with like-minded individuals to share the fun and enjoyment of the hobby. Many of these people are flying foamies, multirotors and/or FPV craft -- all areas where MFNZ is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

And let's not forget "me".
Love me or hate me, even you have to admit that I'm now a powerful force in the hobby and through my YouTube channels, media connections, magazine columns and other work in the hobby, I'm able to promote initiatives such as the model park to a far greater degree than anyone else in the history of the hobby here in NZ (and overseas).
I didn't generate this level of influence and support by sitting on my arse. I have worked tirelessly to promote the hobby, educate and inform its members and to help people around the world. It is a shame that MFNZ still considers me an enemy and makes very obvious to everyone watching that something is badly wrong with the organisation.

Don't judge TIMP's chances of success on the results of previous far less effective half-baked efforts.
Perhaps it's that MFNZ sees TIMP as (yet another) threat to its monopoly status? Are you worried that if enough people join TIMP then it will have grounds for being "recognised" by CAA and thus be able to offer such things as "wings"?

Paranoia seems to be rife within the ranks of the grumpy old men!
I'm no longer interested in creating an organisation to rival MFNZ -- because I don't believe that the new generation of RC fliers need any form of group representation -- that's 20th century thinking. The internet and modern technology is rapidly eroding the raison d'etre for organisations such as MFNZ or similar bodies.

Anyway, the bottom line is that I've made MFNZ an offer that they should be considering very carefully as a method for resolving a situation that will not go away any time soon. You've turned it down, as is your prerogative - but I really don't think you have done so with your membership's best interests in mind and I'm sure many people (at many levels) will question the reasons behind such a decision and question MFNZ's effectiveness as a governing body that allows such reckless disregard for its own rules and the laws of the land to go unchallenged for so long.


Re: Tokoroa Airport temporary closure

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:26 am
by GFriend
Perhaps it's time to talk to the council about getting a 'certain individuals' lease terminated.
To date I cannot see any publicly available evidence of that lease holders actions being beneficial towards to any of the other users of the facility, on the contrary, and based on what information I have read, his actions look to me at least to be nothing short of negative towards all other users, and in blatant contempt towards the owners and the rules & laws applied to the field as demonstrated in his own youtube video where CAA law relating to RC flight at said or any airfield were apparently initially ignored. The communications listed above only help to fuel this feeling further.
Christ only knows how bad things would end up like if he got his way and had the airfield de-registered and this self fulfilling TIMP idea got off the ground, despite the same general business model having failed in a much more populace and accessible country previously.

Re: Tokoroa Airport temporary closure

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:25 am
by SimJen
What an ass Bruce is! An overwhelmingly ridiculous sense of his own self importance!
Love the blackmail about refraining from making public statements!
This shows the ridiculousness of the man. His history of conflict with all authority makes for interesting reading.
Lets hope he gets sick of this tirade and moves onto the next conflict....maybe the IRD again? Lol

Re: Tokoroa Airport temporary closure

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:53 am
by SimJen
GFriend wrote:Christ only knows how bad things would end up like if he got his way and had the airfield de-registered and this self fulfilling TIMP idea got off the ground, despite the same general business model having failed in a much more populace and accessible country previously.

It will never work, his forums he has setup for it have been unused for pretty much a year! People are discussing him on there too, which is hilarious as he obviously doesn't log in very often!
He seems to be full-on on a project then loses interest.
He's told me today that he will be submitting his amazing business plan tomorrow at 2.10pm to SWIM. I find it hard to believe that it will make any headway a place like Tokoroa! In a country of only 5000 flyers max? There can be no business sense to that!
He has a list of pledges for $10 from thousands of his Youtube viewers, but given his previous history of not supplying, it sounds like a con!

Re: Tokoroa Airport temporary closure

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:34 pm
by GFriend
He's been talking about this 'business plan' of his for ages. I can never see it happening though, as you only need to read up on his string of failures from the whole xjet thing to the pulse jet videos to his dealings with the IRD, MFNZ, CAA and the SWDC to understand where this whole crappy TIMP ideal will go once the donations start to dry up.

I'm still of the opinion that as it only apparently costs him "a thousand dollars a year" in rent, that someone should have use and available expenditure to take over the lease of that hangar. I'd vote for MFNZ to take it up on a 10 year deal (it'd be worth the money IMO).

Re: Tokoroa Airport temporary closure

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:37 am
by Slayer
Its good to see that you have fully progressed to the Darkside Graeme ;)

Re: Tokoroa Airport temporary closure

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:28 pm
by GFriend
Something like that! lol

I judge a man by the way he carries himself, so I guess it was inevitable that the public persona would wash off with me at some point.

Re: Tokoroa Airport temporary closure

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:34 pm
by GFriend
It's a scary thing that not only is he taking donations with the intention of getting this shitty TIMP idea off the ground (and himself by default), but now he's after $175K of SWDC's rate payers money to make things all nice and pretty for the 10's of people who will be 'flooding' in from overseas each year.
I wonder how long he's told the SWDC it'll take them to regain their investment should they be stupid enough to fork up? (30-50 year's perhaps?)

Re: Tokoroa Airport temporary closure

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 10:48 am
by SimJen
He's been promising that business plan to everyone for a long time! I've asked him a few times about it but to no avail!
His "pledges" are just that! Mostly from his 90k subscribers to his channel, mostly from Overseas and mostly no doubt 12-15 year olds judging by the responses to his videos! I seriously doubt he would get more than 10% of them to be honest!
How many would travel from overseas to this seemingly massive international model park? And when they get there they are greeted by Bruce in his swanny, Barry looking like Forrest Gump and a couple of decrepit old buildings! Scary!
The way he talked of the $175k, it was going towards the build of a building, a lake, a track! It doesn't sound feasible to me. I reckon he'll need considerably more than that, especially once you consider consultants,architects, engineers, excavation etc. I work in this field and I'd be doubling it at least. Which is why I'd like to see the business plan!
Council would be fools to give $175k to a bankrupt muppet who even in his latest video is still slagging off the councils "bureaucrats!"

Re: Tokoroa Airport temporary closure

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:55 am
by walrus
I am somewhat surprised at how one person can seem to exert such a polarising influence.
What is TIMP and what is the nature of the 2.4GHz ground experiment that could pose a threat to model flying safety?
What is the overall aim of this person.......commercial gain or publicising the sport of aeromodelling in general?
Some clarification would help me better understand what is going on.
Thank you

Re: Tokoroa Airport temporary closure

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 12:01 pm
by SimJen
You can get all the information from a google search and a few posts on here.

Re: Tokoroa Airport temporary closure

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 2:01 pm
by GFriend
"What is the overall aim of this person.......commercial gain"

You answered it in one as far as I see things.

Re: Tokoroa Airport temporary closure

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:37 pm
by SimJen
CAA's legal team has been notified, and the SWDC are well aware of his actions and past history.
I can't see him getting anything soon!
He earns good money on his youtube channel, and given the fact that these arguments seem to increase his views, he is cleverly using it to his monetary advantage!
If anybody ever sends him money.... I pity the fools!

Re: Tokoroa Airport temporary closure

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 8:57 pm
by GFriend
The beauty with his Xjet channel is that of late a lot of people other than myself have started to vocally challenge his claims, methods and motives, causing the debate to naturally have another side than just his for once.
It's be nice to see more taking up their queries with him on his favorite forum.