Tokoroa Airfield (NZTO)

Updated: 17 November, 2017

Tokoroa Live Weather data from Colson's Hill

Calendar Of Events/Closures (2017)
18/19 November 2017 Caution: RC model jets flying to 1000ft AGL (airfield remains open)
25 November 2017 Caution: Model aircraft flying (airfield remains open)
26 November 2017 Closed for drag racing preparations
1 December 2017 Closed from mid-day to midnight: drag racing
2/3 December 2017 Closed to all aircraft: drag racing
9/10 December 2017 Caution: Drone Racing (airfield remains open)
14 December 2017 Closed: driver training
16/17 December 2017 Caution: RC model jets flying to 1000ft AGL (airfield remains open)

News

Landing Fees To Be Enforced

Traffic movements at NZTO are now being monitored by the Aimm service and therefore those who do not pay their $10 on the day will be billed $25 by way of invoice.

A reminder that NZTO is a multiple-use facility that sees significant non-aviation activity at times and pilots should always use their radio to advise other airfield users of their proximity to the airfield and their status in the circuit. A Standard overhead join is also highly recommended so that pilots can adequately identify any potential risks to safety on, or adjacent to, the runway and so that RC model fliers have adequate time to land their craft.

NOTIFICATION/UPDATE

For the second year running the airfield owners (The South Waikato District Council) have put the kibosh on running a summer of aviation events at the airfield.

Even though we had an arrangement to work with Warbirds over Wanaka this year to bring people to NZ for an event in Tokoroa and then feed them on down to the airshow, the council has said no.

In an article published in Stuff, the council has also admitted that in respect to the responsibility of running the airfield "we are not resourced to do this, nor are we the experts" -- yet they continually refuse to accept advice and help from those who do have the necessary knowledge and resources. This admission explains why NZTO has gone from a busy regional airfield just 10 years ago to what amounts to an all but disused one today.

CANCELLED: Tokoroa Summer of Aviation

Like last year, an attempt is being made to lease the Tokoroa Airfield (NZTO) from its owners, the South Waikato District Council, over the summer of 2018 (January through March inclusive).

If this bid is successful, a full summer of manned and unmanned aviation events are planned for the airfield, including regular fly-ins (GA, Microlights, gliders and RC models, summer picnics, crossover-events (allowing for unmanned aviators and manned aviators to exchange ideas, opinions and experiences).

The airfield will also be opened up on specific dates to other community-based users such as the local hotrod club and other groups who may wish to benefit from their investment (by way of annual rates).

Bookmark this page and stay up to date with the progress of this initiative. CANCELLED

Tower to be demolished

Although it is perhaps the most distinctive feature of the Tokoroa Airfield, the South Waikato District Council are moving to demolish the airfield tower that has been in place since erected for a movie back in the 1980s. Many Airfield users are extremely disappointed at this proposal by council and it speaks to a further disconnect between the SWDC and the aviation community.

IMPORTANT NOTE

After many years of trying to get the airfield owner (The South Waikato District Council) to engage with the aviation community and accept the many suggestions that have been put to them in order that they can better manage this airfield, I have given up on any hope that this will ever happen.

Use of the airfield has declined steeply in recent years, almost entirely due to ongoing mismanagement by the SWDC.

An attempt to lease the airfield over the summer so as to organise and promote a series of aviation events was refused by the SWDC whose staff claimed "there is no benefit to Council" in such a proposal, and as a result, use continues to decline into 2017. How sad is it that such a wonderful resource is being mis-managed into oblivion by people who admit they have no knowledge, understanding or experience of aviation -- yet refuse to engage with those who do.

As a result, this website may not be renewed when its hosting term expires. I have worked tirelessly to try and promote the airfield but been knocked back at every step by the SWDC and I have had enough.

The SWDC said that it wasn't worth creating a website for the airfield "because not everyone has the internet" -- which kind of sums up their 1960's mentality and clearly points to just some of the reasons our airfield is in such steep decline. This no doubt springs from the CEO's claim that "the internet isn't important" and thus resulted in me investing my own time, effort and money to create this website and provide the many other services (such as WiFi, a friendly cuppa, tools, rides into town, etc) that pilots have often availed themselves of in the past.

Rumours are now circulating that the area on which the airfield sits will be rezoned for residential development and I would not be surprised if this was the case.

Sadly, when it comes to airfields, the SWDC couldn't organise a fart in a bean-factory and I'm not going to do their job any more when it comes to trying to make this airfield work.

Signed: Bruce Simpson, NZTO's unofficial caretaker, weather guy and cheerleader (formerly).
Phone/SMS: 021 1131962

Drone Racing

Drone racing is now a regular activity at NZTO and any CPL, PPL, RPL or microlight pilots wishing to watch or learn more about this sport are welcome to drop in and take a look. Borrow a set of our video glasses and come for a ride! Racing takes place mostly on weekends.

FLARM receiver installed

To help with improving safety, a FLARM receiver is now located at the Tokoroa Airfield and is part of the Open Glider Network feeding the Spot The Gliders website. The housing, power and internet connection for this service has been donated by Bruce Simpson.

Free WiFi now available at NZTO

Pilots are advised that free wifi internet access (courtesy of Bruce Simpson) is now available at NZTO. For access details and a password, please call 021 1131962.

Landing fees now apply at NZTO

The airfield owner, the South Waikato District Council, has now installed an honesty box for the collection of landing fees for all aircraft using the Tokoroa Airfield.

The fees are:

The honesty box contains envelopes into which cash can be placed and your details written on (name, date, time aircraft registration, etc). The envelopes can then be pushed through the slot provided.

For more information, fliers are invited to contact the SWDC on 07 885-0340.

General information

The Tokoroa Airfield (NZTO) is an uncontrolled airfield, located in the South Waikato district of New Zealand and consists of a 850m sealed runway with a total length of 1100m including grass runoffs.

The runway runs NW to SE and has the designators 13 (for approach from the NW) and 31 (for approach from the SE).

During the winter months, the prevailing wind direction is SW (direct cross-wind) which can make landings at NZTO rather challenging on blustery days, as witnessed in this YouTube video

Owned by the South Waikato District Council (SWDC) on behalf of the wider community, any use of the airfield by pilots or others requires prior permission from the SWDC and this is noted in the AIP entry for this airfield.

Facilities

There are very few facilities at the Tokoroa Airfield. No fuel or refreshments are available although recently a public toilet was installed. There are no aviation-related service operators domicile at the airfield and no scheduled air-services to/from NZTO.

The town of Tokoroa is a good 30 minutes walk away from the airfield and there is no scheduled public transport on this route. Note also that the gate to the airfield-propper is normally chained and locked at all times, by order of the SWDC.

Users of the Airfield

NZTO is increasingly used by RC model aircraft fliers and their operations area can be seen by way of the mown rectangle to the SW of the sealed runway between the two grass taxiways. All model-flying takes place to the NE of the sealed runway inside the NZTO circuit. Model fliers are respectful of full-sized aircraft and are always happy to cooperate with their activities. It is recommended however, that pilots do perform an overhead rejoin before landing on runways 13 or 31 as this ensures that sufficienty time is given for all models to be landed safely before any aircraft turns onto finals.

A national model flying meeting is held in mid-February of each year during which time the airfield is closed to full-sized traffic and a NOTAM is issued.

Locals and visitors who are interested in flying RC model aircraft in the South Waikato District are invited to contact The Forest Fliers

The Tokoroa & Districts Aero Club (Inc) meets on the second wednesday of every month (in summer) but consists of only a small handful of active members and has only one event per year, their annual "fly-in". Video of the 2011 event can be seen here

The local hot-rod club holds drag meetings at the arfield twice a year in December and February or March. A NOTAM is issued to cover these events and the airfield is closed to all air-traffic for these days.

The Ford Advanced Driving School uses the runway every 6 weeks or so to hold training courses. At these times the runway is closed and a NOTAM is issued to reflect this fact.

Hangars

There are nine hangars on the airfield although there are only three or so airworthy craft domicile at the airfield as of December 2015 and most are flown very infrequently.

Weather/status reports

Anyone wanting weather reports or updates as to the other activities operating on the airfield can ring or txt Bruce Simpson on (021) 1131962. Note, this is not an official service, nor is it endorsed by the airfield owner (SWDC).

An unofficial automated weather station is available online via this website.

Recent Activity at the Tokoroa Airfield