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I’m also puzzled by this rain as to get rain, you need clouds, yet according to the report from Pawnchee Hamid (VH-ESV) who flew through that area at virtually the same time heading towards WLM and shortly after heading back up to check out a fire, he said:

Maybe this cloud was at a lower height that he was unable to see in the darkness and was more confined to the Stroud Road township area (spoken of in a further report in this article). One needs to keep in mind that this accident was in 1981 and people’s minds get confused all these years later!


From the Faulkland Trig that they would have needed at least 2200 ft to clear, it appears they have lost altitude as Mrs Krane estimated that they were down to something like 200 meters (650 ft) AGL  (Ground level there was 200 ft which makes the height this plane was flying at about 850 ft ASL) and with those winds on that night, the only way anyone would fly that low in amongst those hills would be only if they had no option.

She said she was south of Weismantels and here in lies a problem. Weismantels is more of an area than a place, so this makes it difficult to pin point exactly where Mrs Krane was when she first saw the plane.  The plane was coming from the West to NW of Riverwood which is obviously the name of a farm called Riverwood Downs shown in the image below.

It would obviously be logical for a pilot to follow a highway heading in the direction of where you wanted to go as it would have been much easier to follow the car lights dotted along the highway, and also be able to judge the height of the land below you from those lights ... not to mention the lights of the towns also visible along that route, although at the time and height they were when Mrs Krane saw it turn east down Bucketts Way, a view of the towns would have been blocked by terrain at that stage.
With the tailwind behind this plane at that point of time, would mean that the likeliest point of intersection overhead Mrs Krane’s car would have been somewhere just before the intersection of Monkerai Road and the Bucketts Way.
Mrs Krane continued to see the plane as it flew ahead of her, and as she no doubt was traveling at the speed limit of 100 kms (60 mph / 52 knots) if Mike was still at 90 - 100 knots trying to ride out the turbulence, that would mean he had a ground speed at least faster than 52 knots – faster than Mrs Krane as she could see it out in front.
She followed it along the highway for about a minute or so which would mean at 80 - 90 knots ground speed – allowing for the crosswind component - the plane would have traveled between 1.3 nm to 1.5 nm from where it first intersected her position to the position where she observed it turning for the coast.  

You need to stop and think on this... If you have intercepted a main highway which should have been easy to follow – and going in the direction you wish to go, so why turn off it and head for the dark featureless hills?  Maybe Mike wished to go to Bulahdelah 16 nm away, but seeing as he was down fairly low, he wouldn’t have been able to see the lights of that town anyway as the hills between them and Bulahdelah were higher than what they were - obscuring the view. It also would have meant they would have had to climb to get over the hills... something that seemed a bit impossible as they seemed to be getting lower and lower. When you are down in amongst the hills in high winds, you’d be putting on the power and climbing to get into less turbulent air, not staying down low, so it is an obvious conclusion seeing as the plane was seen there at low altitude, that they were unable to climb.

 

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MDX pg 54