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!
The weather was finer next morning when I awoke and by the time I had made and eaten breakfast and got ready, it was getting close to 8.00 am.
One thing I’ve learnt is that if you want to go flying in the mountains on the West Coast, then you have to do all your flying in there long before 10.00am otherwise the clouds are likely to start packing in there from that time onwards until later in the afternoon.
Anyway, I normally taxied to the southern side at the eastern end of the runway, which wasn’t very far, and sat there to warm the motor up before lining up on the runway to take off.
This time, because I was running late, I decided to start the motor after checking the engine bay over first, to allow it time to warm, and then continue doing the other checks around the airframe. I started at the left front side and worked my way around to the right side and the last thing to check was under the front of the motor (remembering to keep clear of the propeller).
You can only imagine my horror when I saw liquid pouring out from the engine bay. I dived into the cockpit and quickly shut the engine down. On further investigation, I found that the liquid was PETROL!!! I shudder to think what would have happened if I’d taken off with the aircraft in that condition!
I very hurriedly fixed the problem and got airborne. – Someone was obviously looking after me that day.
Two days later, I sent this email to Richard:
I am now home again arriving back in Hastings at 8.00pm last night.
After downloading my photo's and being able to examine them on a "big screen" I have been able to determine that I did actually get the object on the first flight into the area and I have attached one of the photo's to this email - have drawn around it - but as you will see that it is still frozen over!
To give you a perception of the size of everything the white line that I have drawn is according to Google Earth about 120 feet long!
Either it is just a lump of permafrost or possibly it has remained frozen at this point due to its bulk - who knows at this point?
I returned to the area yesterday morning and got closer shots of it and got a good movie of it with my movie camera mounted on a tripod in the aeroplane - did seven orbits flying up and down the dead ended valley and had to resist doing anymore as it became quite hypnotic, and cloud was forming, so I had to leave before it became too dangerous.
On Friday, using Air Safaris Computer and broadband link, I discovered that Google Earth has upgraded their satellite photo of the area to one dated 4th May 2006 and sadly is in shade, but you can still just make it out if you know exactly where to look.