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The difficulties lie with discrepancies in the memories of the Pilot and eye witness. The eye witness remembers seeing the aeroplane on the trip into Milford, but the Pilot remembers it as on the trip out. The eye witness also remembers flying over rolling sort of treeless, barren country and then the plane descending rapidly where he saw the aeroplane near the top of the bushline.

The Pilot remembers being in a downdraught and working hard to find an updraught. He said that if it hadn’t have been for the downdraught, then he would have turned the plane back and had another look.

If this downed aircraft was seen in the Chair Creek area, then this is my scenario and my reasoning, that best suits the description of both memories:

The witness was sitting on the right hand side of the plane so it is unlikely that he would have seen it on the flight towards Milford as he remembers seeing it out his (right hand) window.

If the downdraught was in the Lake McKerrow area, then with the south easterly wind blowing, it would have been a simple matter of heading to the western side of the lake to get out of it, and so the pilot’s memory of “trying to stay in the land of the living” would surely have been stretching it a bit?

With a reasonably strong south easterly wind blowing, (which there was at the time) there would have been a downdraught (and very rough conditions if low down) in the Chair Creek valley.

The pilot had made a quick decision to fly through a gap in the clouds in the area at the head of the Chair Creek Valley, and if he had encountered a downdraught there, he would have had to work very hard to stay alive  - Trust me, I’ve been in a very similar situation. It would take all your training and a lot of luck to get out of it!  Due to the low cloud base, he would not have enough height to avoid a downdraught.

 

Once he had got over the range and out of danger, he would most certainly not be interested in going back to have another look, so this scenario fits the description much better than the Lake McKerrow possibility.

The other factor that makes this scenario more believable is that the wreckage that was found was not in the Chair Creek Valley, but in the creek just further south.... which would have been visible from the right hand side of an aircraft flying up that valley.

The object that was shown in the aerial photo in the Lake McKerrow area would have been on the left hand side of the plane on the outbound trip and the right hand on the inbound one, but there would have been no reason for concern if there was a downdraught there on the inbound trip as they would have been descending into Milford anyway.

The 1980 aerial photo that I have, covers some of the Chair Creek area, but not all of it,  so I’ve ordered the next photo south, in the hope that I may find something of interest.

Unfortunately, you never really know what you are looking for as you don’t know how much damage was done in the crash. The piece of wreckage found, if it is from ZK-BMP, indicates that at least part of the airframe broke up, but if this was the aircraft that the witness saw, then we know that there is a good chance that we may pick something up on the photo.

Time will tell.....

 

9th May 2011

 

Unfortunately, I was unable to find anything on the above mentioned  photo that I had ordered.

All of this searching to date has been on the presumption that the downed aeroplane seen from an over-flying aeroplane was ZK-BMP, but new information has come to light that suggests that this may not be the case!

 

READ ON.......

 

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