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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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

Early December 2008 saw Phil Sowersby, Peter Walsh, and myself traveling down the West Coast in Phil’s Hiller FH1100 gas turbined helicopter. The fuel for this trip was kindly donated by Shell Aviation (Great Company!) and the helicopter running costs by Phil. - Many, many thanks Phil!

 

Our intention was to check out three “highly probable” sites and a couple other “possible”

sites.

These “highly probable” sites derive from extensive research that I have done as I  now have what appears,( and measures up correctly), wreckage of Dragonfly ZK-AFB,  Cessna 180 ZK-BMP, and Corsair NZ5517, on aerial photos all taken within three years from the respective times that each one went missing.

 

The only site that we managed to land near to, was the Corsair. The others were in very rugged country  with nowhere suitable to land.

I took hundreds of photos and lots of video footage of all the sites as we hovered over them, but to date I have been unable to find anything conclusive on them.

 

After downloading the GPS tracks from our Garmin hand-helds, I found that we had missed on that ground search what appears on the photo to be the Corsair wreck, by anything from 20 to 200 ft!

 

Had the weather held out in our favour a couple more days, then it was our intention to revisit the sites of the Dragonfly and the Cessna with the doors removed and no luggage in the helicopter. This would have allowed Phil to put Peter and I off on a rock and then return later to pick us up after we had ground searched those sites - but alas, this was not to be!

 

I have since found out from other peoples experiences that it is near on impossible to spot wreckage from the air amongst trees if the aircraft has been there long enough for algae to camouflage it or for plant growth to grow over it.

It has all been a huge learning curve, but hopefully we are one step closer to finding them.

 

Peter, Phil, and I, are currently looking at building a Synthetic Aperture Radar device that we can attach to our aircraft to enable us to identify metal objects on the ground. This maybe the only way we will ever find these lost aircraft, but in the meantime, I am planning another trip down the West Coast - this time on my own, in my Van, in the very near future.

I intend to walk  into the three sites and either find, or eliminate these sites from the search - once and for all (hopefully)!

 

Consequently, as a result of all this, I am unable to finish my book, but is still work in progress.

 

Watch this site as I’ll post updates as they become available!

 

Gavin Grimmer