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North Islander as the Canterbury Plains is just one big open space, and I found using the Garmin made me quite disoriented.

Most of the problem I noticed, was that the Moving Map screen was oriented “North Up”, and as I was traveling south, this meant I had to reverse everything around in my head.

 

Earlier in the week, I had woken up in the middle of the night feeling that I was onto something that could explain why Campbell (known as Cam), Hannah, and ZK-HNW had disappeared.

 

This got me thinking, and when we were in Martins Bay on the 13th February,  I removed the Garmin from my plane and spent time working out how to change the screen to “Track Up” - which I eventually worked out how to.

 

With the GPS moving map screen now oriented to “Track Up”, I got it going in Simulator Mode and ‘placed’ myself  9 miles out on a compass heading of 272 and as shown on page seven of this web article, Cam had to have been tracking on a south westerly heading when he intersected the 272 heading.

Cam had said his intention was to descend out west on to a lake, and said he had a good location of it on the GPS.

 

I do believe, in fact I have run into it several times, is that us North Islanders all seem to recognise North/ South as being basically in line with the Mountain Ranges and Coast Line as they are in the lower half of the North Island, and fail to remember or even realise that they actually run NE/SW in the South Island.

 

Cam said in his last transmissions that he was 9 miles out, turning onto the heading of 272 (for the field [Milford]). I now don’t believe that he intended to stay on that heading as he said (once again) he was intending to descend on a lake out west and the only lake out on the coast that shows on the GPS screen is Lake Ronald although it is not named on the screen.

 

What I discovered is that from the direction that Cam would have been traveling towards the intersection point of the 272 heading, (with the “Track Up” function selected) then he would have seen an unnamed lake out west and by comparing it with his Aviation Map, it would have appeared to be Lake Ronald, when in fact it was Lake Quill!

Lake Quill also appears on the screen as out west.

Lake Quill and Lake Ronald are both about the same distance away from Cam’s position at the time.

Certainly, if he had looked closely, he would have noticed Lake Ada shown on the screen and that it was on the wrong position, but it is a known fact and I’ve also experienced it myself many times, that when you are under stress, you tend to overlook things and just see what you want to see.

On the left screen image you will notice the North Pointing Arrow in relation to the direction of travel(heading West), and the MAPWPT which is the waypoint placed on Lake Quill by moving the cursor (circle with cross-hairs shown to the right of the miniature plane) over area until the small picture of a lake changes to a little box with “WATER” written inside it, and then by pushing “GO TO”it draws a track to that point.

Scale of screen image is as  

 

though it was taken from a satellite 20 Nm up - depicted in bottom RH corner.The right hand screen image is zoomed into 12 Nm and Cam may have had it zoomed in even further and this of course, could have made it less likely for him to have realised he had made a mistake.

 

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