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The “blind” area behind Mt Adams covers a distance of just over 3 miles at an altitude of 7500 feet and would have meant no reception for roughly 1½ minutes. The weather that was given to Roy took around 30 seconds to read back, so you can see Roy would not have heard it. Hence the need for him to call again 7 minutes later when clear of the mountains, and by that time 13.3 n.miles further along the track - a distance of 60.8 n.miles since take off. This places him just east of Lake Mapourika close to where a plane was heard flying back and forth (circling?).

On this final radio call, he had ample opportunity to inform them if he had changed his intentions to fly to Fox Glacier, but he did not.

 

As already stated on the home page of this article, the observer inland from the Whataroa Bridge said there was an unusual weather front came up from the south underneath the high overcast sky, and on further questioning of him to try to get the ‘picture’ clear in my mind, it turns out that I misunderstood him as in the direction that this weather came from. The weather just before he heard the plane, was high overcast sky with no wind.

At about the same time as he heard it, the wind came up and a heavy shower came up the river valley towards him from the direction of the sea in what we know as an anabatic wind. The observer thought at the time, that the pilot of the aeroplane had seen this weather coming, and so rather than attempt to fly out the Whataroa into this squall, he had instead elected to carry on across from the Perth River into the Whataroa River Valley and cross the Ranges probably in the Gunn River area.  The observer said, “The plane may have been under the cloud and I may have missed seeing it, as by the time the sound would have reached me, the plane could have been much further ahead out of sight.... but then again, it could also have been above the cloud.”

Whichever way, I believe the Turner’s were above cloud at that point, and maybe even between cloud layers once he crossed the ranges, as he asked Hokitika if they had a weather report at Franz Josef. Once across the ranges, if he was below cloud, this request for weather (for Franz Josef) would have been totally unnecessary as he would have been able to see for himself what the weather was doing at Franz Josef.

 

As a result of researching for this article, I managed to track down who this person was that heard a plane “circling” in that area.

He said that the weather for an hour or two before, and a few hours after he heard it, was misty, and drizzling, the type that just hangs around as there was no wind to blow it away.

He heard a plane at an estimated height of  2000 to 3000 ft - maybe lower, over to the west of his property in the area of Alpine Lake.  He estimated he heard it for about 30 seconds and then found it strange that he again heard it about 5 to 10 minutes later for about the same length of time in the same area. His impression at the time was that this aeroplane was trapped in that area by the weather, and when he didn’t hear it anymore, he presumed that the pilot had found a clearing in the low lying cloud/mist and had left the area. He didn’t know until a couple of days later that there was a plane missing.

 

 

 

 

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