This Site is dedicated to all those families of the people that have tragically disappeared on flights in and around New Zealand. I  only hope that from all the effort in building this site and from all the effort of those taking part in this venture, that it will bear fruit in bringing ‘closure’ to their memories!
Gavin Grimmer
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NZ5544 Corsair
And his reply dated 3rd January 2008:
Gavin you are correct on all three

My experiments that I conducted with ice as mentioned in the email to Richard confirmed that a fabric covered wing would in fact take quite a lot longer to thaw out due to its insulation qualities and being white, would probably help to reflect the sunlight, hence would not absorb as much heat.
With all this information in hand, (and much more – there isn’t room to mention all of it here in this article) on the 29th January 2008, Greg McNicol and I set off in the Maranda down south again (from Hastings) but only made it as far as Dannevirke (for reasons that I won’t mention here). We returned home and set off again the next morning but only made it to about 10 miles south and had to return due to weather.
The next week the weather forecast down the West Coast was looking exceptionally good for Wednesday and Thursday so on the Wednesday morning, 6th February 2008, I was in the air by 7.00am on my way down on my own again as Greg was unable to go then, due to work commitments.
By 1.30pm that afternoon, I was in the terminal building at Franz Josef airfield downloading my latest photographs of the object area as I had already been right up to the site and back!
On examining them on my laptop (that I had bought off TradeMe especially for this project) it appeared that the object was no longer there, but I was not sure, as I had taken them from quite a distance. Trying to fly an aeroplane in a dead end canyon in very mountainous conditions, with 7,000ft of mountain above you, (I was already at 5,000ft!) was daunting enough as it is hard to keep some sort of horizon, and then to adjust your eyesight to looking through a camera lens, focus on a point that is moving past you quite quickly, take a photo and then readjust your eyesight to a lack of horizon before you lose control of your aircraft, and all this with your knees knocking together, is quite an undertaking, to say the least!
On the previous trip down I had met a nice fellow by the name of Gerry Findlay, who owned a Bed & Breakfast home ( just down the road from the airstrip so I contacted him and he graciously came up to the airfield in his Land Rover and collected me, cameras, laptop, etc., and overnight bag.
On talking to him, it turned out he was a retired 9000 hr Helicopter Pilot and he had also done a few hours in Piper Cubs. I asked him if he would like a flight up into the mountains in a very unusual V8 powered homebuilt aeroplane (mine of course), and he said he would love to.  We set off at about 7.00pm that evening. We removed the windows from both doors and we just cruised, “chugging” away all the way back up to the site, in beautifully calm, cool conditions. I flew up the canyon, made the turn and he would take over the controls and just keep it straight and level while I zoomed in with the telephoto lens and took several shots. I would then take over the controls again, do the turn, fly back up the valley, turn again, and do the whole procedure again. We did this several times and I managed to get in quite a lot of real good shots.
We were very pleased that we had removed the windows as coming back down the valley was almost directly into the sun, which made it almost impossible to see out the windscreen!
To overcome this problem we would just hang our heads out the open windows and could then see very clearly.
That evening I downloaded all the latest photo’s onto my laptop and spent a little while going over them and it appeared that the object last observed on the Google Earth Image of 4th May 2006 was no longer there!
On arriving back at home in Hastings, I spent hours going over the photo’s and comparing them with the Google Earth Images and the previous photo’s that I had taken and eventually came to the conclusion that it was definitely no longer there!
    The  position of the object seen on Google Earth (rough outline in orange)
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