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They Flight Planned at 200 mph which gives a ground speed in zero wind of  3 1/3 miles/minute.

At around 3 1/3 miles/minute ground speed they would have only managed three tight-ish circuits of Westport in 5 minutes and as one of them was on his own doing aerobatics, then I’m sure the others would have given him a wide berth.

On the 5th Feb., 1945,  Reynolds was shown the report of what appeared in the “Westport News” on the 13/11/44 and also a transcript of what was obtained by Wing Commander Gibson (as shown above) and this was not disputed.... only that he denied any suggestion of low flying and stated that he circled the town once only at a height of 2000 - 3000 ft.  He was probably correct with this statement as he then broke away and did aero’s... so had only done one circuit! The point is: If they had not overflown Denniston, then I’m certain he would have disputed this also.

5 x Minutes - 3 x Orbits = 16.5 miles

Then if the observer was correct, it would have taken about another 3 minutes to reach Denniston.

 

Sheppard said,”At Westport we broke formation and after circling for a few minutes we set forth for Christchurch in close formation. Approx 5 minutes later, we commenced climbing into cloud.“

This would have been his estimation of the time to fly to Denniston, circle and then set course for ChCh. From Denniston they would have needed to climb to get over the ranges.

Reynolds was facing some serious charges for deviating to Westport and then doing aerobatics over the town (not to mention reports of low flying and beat-ups!)  Obviously they were not being too forthcoming of volunteering any further information that would incriminate him any further!

 

The following is information given to Wing Commander Gibson within 1 month of the disappearance:

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