Cessna 180 ZK-FMQ findlostaircraft.co.nz threads Aug 12, 2015 13:28:30 GMT 12
Post by grgrimmer on Aug 12, 2015 13:28:30 GMT 12
Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:23 am Post subject: Hokitika River / Whitcombe Pass
Just a thought about that last sighting report (16) of wreckage in the Whitcombe Pass area, thought to possibly be ZK-CSS - if the cans of condensed milk in the Hokitika River (sighting report 2) were indeed from ZK-FMQ then perhaps the Whitcombe Pass wreckage may be ZK-FMQ, as this is where the Hokitika River originates?
Posted: Sun May 16, 2010 11:49 pm
I finally have had a chance to check out your suggestion, although I have not gone into it in depth yet. For a North Island fella, I'm learning all the time, but it does appear on Google Earth to be a real natural low lying route through the mountains. Once you get over the Whitcombe Pass (Elevation - a little over 4000ft - the highest point of the whole route) it is all down hill back across to the East Coast, and most of that is down the Rakaia River where there is lots of places you could put a aeroplane down probably quite safely, or at the least walk away from it. I must fly it myself one day as it looks a real good route.
According to Chris Rudge's book (MISSING), one of the last observations thought to be of Ryan was of him flying up 5 miles north of Lake Kaniere and then turn and fly south again. As he was being "hounded" by shocking weather on the West Coast, it is then feasible that he may have attempted to fly back to the East Coast where the weather was much better.
Quoting from MISSING," Ryan was familiar with the area to the south-east of Hokitika, as he had often flown through the Browning and Whitcombe Passes."
I often wondered why he had flown inland as far as Lake Kaniere as it seemed a strange thing to do, unless of course the weather was too bad towards Hokitika. It appears that maybe he was looking for a way back across to the East Coast rather than land at Hokitika or Greymouth, and so was checking the two valleys that headed into the Browning Pass to see if they were clear enough to get up to the Pass. 5 Miles north of Lake Kaniere would put him in a position to be able to see up the Arahura River Valley - the northern most valley that leads into Browning Pass and he had not long before been observed at the mouth of the Styx River Valley - the other valley to leads also to the Browning Pass. It all starts to point that he may well have then settled for the Whitcombe.
The only way that he would not be able to land in Hokitika was if it was totally in cloud, but as far as I know that was not the case.
I do know that an aeroplane landed at Greymouth around that time in the afternoon, so you can't say that it was impossible to land in that area.
Maybe he decided that as he couldn't get home, that he decided to get back to the East Coast to stay the night or two at a mate's place?
Did he have a girlfriend on the East Coast?
Hopefully, someone that reads this maybe able to answer this for us.
The more I look at it, the more I think you are right!
If only we could locate that helicopter pilot.....
Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:00 pm Post subject: Sighting
At the time of the incident I was only 3 but my family were camping at phantom huts near Lochaber station, We were at the phantom river with a fire on near dark when we heard an aircraft in the area, we never sighted it. When we heard the next morning a plane was missing we thought we may have heard it. Since then there was a search around the Mt Peel area last year. I dont know if this is any help, but it certainly could make someone click as to any other sightings. As is said in your resources you believe he headed for West Melton, he may have seen a 'clearer' route through the Rangitata river, which is near to the Phantom huts, If this si the case I believe he may have been disorientated and flown down a wrong valley of which he couldn't get out or the weather deteriorated.
Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:27 pm Post subject: Torlesse Range? Or Craigeburn?
Hi Gavin, marathon effort on FMQ!
However, I think a fire on the back of the Torlesse Range would be quite obvious to all the traffic coming down the highway from Arthur's Pass, unless it was above the ceiling of the cloud that was present in the area that day. Canterbury Aero Club also fly past there a lot as it is on one of their PPL cross country routes. Its quite bare and I'm sure a crash would soon be noticed.
Perhaps the Western side of the Craigeburn Range (ie Mt Olympus area where a plane was heard) is more likely to hide wreckage? Also it would still be in the direction of the fire witnessed from Oxford.
Do you know much about the time interval that the aircraft engine was heard to stop and start three times? Was it all within a matter of seconds or over a couple of minutes?
One positive about this new area is that it is much easier to search from this side.
Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:54 am Post subject:
Sorry, this is another Post I have missed (Gosh, I'm hopeless at these Forums!)
Yes, it is possible that a fire could have been seen by traffic on the Arthurs Pass Road, but how many off them would bother to think anything of it?
The impression I get from the weather that day, is that there was cloud over all the area right up to the western side of Mt Torlesse, so for people travelling on that highway, they would not have been able to see the mountain.
Have you ever seen a crashed aircraft burn? I have, and they burn very quickly, and very intensely, so the time frame would not last a long time reducing the chance of it being noticed.
When aluminium aircraft burn intensely, they generally just melt down to puddles of molten metal and all that remains of them is generally the wing tips. All that is left to see from the air would be a black sooty spot, and after all these years, probably not even that!
I considered the options such as Mt Olympus, etc., but when I did the calculations, it would have meant the smoke plume would have had to have gone up several thousand feet before it would have even started to become visible over the elevation of the closer ranges to Oxford, and of course the further away, the harder it would have been to see it.
In my calculations, I allowed the maximum height a plume of smoke was likely have got up to was 1000 to 1500 feet. Smoke may be able to get higher than this, but it needs an enormous amount of heat generated below it such as a bush fire. Next time you're flying at a 1000' agl have a look at any burn offs (that are about the size of a good bonfire) around you and see how high the smoke gets to. If it gets to 1000' it's generally dissipated quite a lot by then.
By memory, the time frame for the motor turning on and off three times was over a few minutes.
After my recent trip to the South Island (Feb 2012) I'm hoping to upgrade the subject on FMQ with another possibility further south...Ben More....when I get time.
Posted: Sun May 06, 2012 11:07 pm Post subject: Out Of Interest
I wonder given the weather conditions, if Ryan at any stage configured the aircraft into a bad weather configuration or even setting the aircraft up for endurance.
Also landing on the beach with possible breezy conditions could lead to possible sand contamination while refuelling. Unless he had previous experience of landing on the sand I believe he would have chosen a field over the beach, unless he had no choice.
Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:28 pm Post subject: Boxing Day '97 Sighting
In Chris Rudge's book Missing! on Pg 147 he writes -
"Hopes of finding the aircraft were raised on Boxing Day, when two trampers reported to a farmer that they had seen a large piece of red wreckage in the Styx River area, east of Kokatahi. The Hokitika police did not receive the report until early in Januray 1998 so it was not until Saturday 10 January that the area was searched. Constable Terry Beatson stated that an air search of the area failed to locate any wreckage but considered it possible that recent flooding could have moved the wreckage since it was first seen."
Interesting that the sighting by the trampers was told to a farmer, whom I guessed then told the police. I wonder if this farmer has anymore details (or even if he went for a look himself/herself) or the policeman Terry Beatson mentioned (after a quick Google search there is a Terry Beatson that was working on the North Shore).
Also recent flooding had been mentioned. Wonder if there had been other flooding within the 2 months from his disappearance until the wreckage was found that could have moved it?
Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:36 am Post subject: Remote airstrips
Also of interest with the possible flight path to/near Lake Coleridge, is that at the other side of the lake near Haycock, either side of it is 2 little airstrips. I wonder if these were there at the time and if Ryan knew about them and he was aiming for them as fuel was getting pretty low. The Mount Hutt airstrip is not too far away either. Even an airstrip at the meeting of the Rakaia and Wilberforce rivers, and one at the Coleridge Intake Road. Be interesting to know which airstrips Ryan knew of.