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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A fact that backs up all these farmer’s seeing it flying through this valley, is take a look at the course MDX would have been on if tuned into the Mt Sandon NDB or VOR from Forster!:

 

                    Green line = Track Forster to Mt Sandon VOR/NDB – initial deviation from track would have been to skirt around high ground.

 

From there they were observed at about 12 nm east of Tamworth circling by at least a couple of independent observers. Just west of this position I am told was where the snowstorm front was, with the front extending out towards Woolomin, so my guess is they were circling hoping for a break in the front allowing them to get into Tamworth. The account I heard was they were circling for about 1/2 an hour, but that would seem a very long time to be hanging around. A plane circling for 10 minutes would probably seem like half an hour to people on the ground who had no reason to time it – but who knows... maybe it was?

It’s a pity we don’t know for sure as then we could calculate how much further it could have traveled with the fuel they had available at that point of time.  It was seen to eventually head east towards Duncans Creek/Hanging Rock/Nundle area.  Why they would head in that direction initially would seem a bit of a mystery, but on hearing that the snow storm front was extending close to this area would mean they were simply flying around the out skirts of it.
This would make sense as the front extending out towards Woolomin would be correct due to the prevailing wind and the ridge line. Presumably this front moving towards them forced them at that time to abandon all hope of getting into Tamworth and so they headed SE along the front of the storm.

 

 

The next people that reported seeing a low flying plane was at Tomalla  (seen to the west from there), and from Ellerston (seen to the east)... Both observations saw it at at low level and heading in the direction of Moonan Flat. There was another observation - south of Tomalla, that heard a plane to the north and it came down the valley in a SW direction which tends to confirm the previous two.

 

The interesting part with the Ellerston Report is he thought he saw a small flame coming from the underside of the plane... something that quite a few people reported. After much thought over a period of years, I now believe I know why so many thought this. MDX’s landing lights were mounted in the engine cowling just in behind the propeller. And so from looking from an angle of the passing aircraft, the landing lights reflecting off the propeller arc would give a flickering effect as that of a flame – especially if it was raining at the time.

 

Then another woman at Moonan Flat said she could hear a plane to the east but could only make out a red beacon flashing in the distance. MDX had such a red beacon mounted on the top of the tail fin as shown in this photo.

MDX pg 67

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