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6/ And could well explain the whole mystery of why it disappeared:

 

If it was likely to have used twice the fuel as per the article warning of the danger of leaving the Auxiliary Pump on, then this would halve the endurance. I believe MDX’s total endurance was around 5 to 5 ½ hours.

Where this person saw it ‘go in’ would have taken MDX around 2 hours 55 minutes….

 

There was another sighting over by Craven of seeing a plane ‘on fire’ flying presumably to the south west, as they saw it disappeared behind a mountain, and then reappear further south on the other side of the mountain. This could very likely be explained as MDX passing just to the west of Big Ben Mountain?

 

The woman at ‘Nebo’ saw the bright light come across the range, but said it disappeared before it got to her position. The wind at the time was howling and so she was unable to hear any other noise. To me, this light disappearing could ‘speak’ of yet another possibility… an electrical fire in the cabin…
Take note of the procedure recommended in the Cessna 210 manual pertinent to this particular Model (210M):

If the ‘fire in the cabin’ had reoccurred, and it was electrical, then this could easily explain why nothing was heard from MDX again, as according to the “Father and Son” report, this plane had it’s landing lights on, so maybe if Mike then tried at that point to radio again, this extra electrical drain could have set off the fire again?

Maybe we still have the 5000 ft call point still not far east enough yet, as by memory there was a report somewhere on the Web of another faint call “Sydney” about 1 ¼ minutes later, but I’m not sure if this is true though. The point where this light disappeared is around 6 minutes flying time after the 5000 ft call.

Maybe it took a further few minutes for this electrical to manifest before Mike reacted and started the procedure by turning the Master Switch off and in so doing turned all the lights off including the Landing Lights?


If Mike had turned off the Master Switch to isolate a short, he had to have turned it on again as the person that saw it ‘go in’, saw the navigational lights of the plane.

 

And another report from Jesse Miller:

 

Report from Craven township... “There was a fire observed to the SE in the hills around 15 miles”

 

This fire is very interesting as there was another observation of a fire that night somewhere between 10 to 15 miles south of Craven but observed from just one mile north of Stroud.
I was told by long time resident farmers that this fire would not have been deliberately lit as it was the wrong time of the year there for burn offs... especially on that night as these observers also said it was raining.

 

I know the old argument will come up again claiming that it is very unlikely Mike could have kept the aircraft under control with the limited instruments he had available, but once again it needs to be pointed out that he did have a rudimentary auto pilot at his disposal… a Cessna ARC Navomatic 300A unit which had reverted to basically just a wing leveller having lost input from the vacuum operated gauges and hence lost it’s ability to fly to a heading.

 

Quoting from one article I’ve read on it :

 

 "This autopilot is all electric, thus if you lose vacuum the 300A could keep the wings level. Yes, the vacuum directional gyro would cease to function but still the little 300A could save your bacon if you experienced a vacuum failure during IMC"

 

According to a very experienced Avionics Engineer that I know, he says that this unit would lag a bit when in very rough air and so would end up ‘chasing itself’ a bit... but this doesn't mean it was of no use.

 

Of course, if you also lost the electric supply to this unit, then that would be a different matter. Maybe this was what eventually caused them to crash… a reoccurring fire in the cabin causing a loss of power to this unit?

 

 

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MDX pg 40