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!
Several people, camping at Ryton Bay, Lake Coleridge, heard an aircraft engine revving up and down three times and then stop. They heard this to the NE of their position in what seemed towards Mt Olympus / Lake Ida. They said it sounded like it was flying low. One person that heard it, explained to me that the general consensus of those that heard this noise was that whoever was in this aeroplane ‘was a goner!’
This report was given to the RCC five days later when they got back to civilisation and found that there was a plane missing, but was told that it was in the wrong area. The time of the observation was remembered as about 2.30pm, but when questioned about this, the comment was it was only a guess as they weren’t wearing watches. ECT (Evening Civil Twilight) in that area was NZ Daylight Saving Time of 9.55pm, so after 5.00pm would probably seem like mid afternoon to someone who was on holiday and didn’t need to take note of the time.
Lake Coleridge may seem like it is a long way away from Lake Kaniere yet it is only 14 mins, or so, for a C180. With an allowance of four orbits over Lake Kaniere and then departing towards the east to roughly an area where this aircraft engine was heard close to Lake Coleridge, is about 35 n.miles which calculates to:
100 knots = 20 mins + time from Ross = 37 mins = 3 to 23 mins fuel remaining
110 knots = 18 mins 35 5 to 25
120 knots = 16 mins 32 8 to 28 <
130 knots = 15 mins 30 10 to 30
According to Niwa, the predominate wind was NW so I’d say that he had a tailwind, so it would be in the region of 120 to 130 knots.
Ryan would have realised that he was in dire straits with the fuel, so it is possible that he may have set, or at least changed course to the Wilberforce/Rakaia River Valleys as I’m sure he knew these valleys well. These valleys have huge flat river beds in them, that you could easily put down on, at the very worst - you’d wreck the aeroplane but at least you’d walk away from it. Unfortunately, according to the observers at Ryton Bay, there was low cloud covering the whole valley.