Update 9 February 2014
A reader that was a friend of Roy Turner, recently emailed me this incredible photo of ZK-CSS flying over the Turner’s holiday home in Coromandel (Many thanks). He sent it with a note that it was not painted dark green on top of the cabin as per the information I had received. This then makes the object shown in the NZAM aerial photo more than likely just another illusion. I’ve since considered that maybe the object shown was possibly ZK-CSS upside down, but you’ll notice that the underside of the fuselage was also white, so this also rules this possibility out..... so what was the object in the aerial photo? We found nothing to explain this object when we searched there.
PENNY FAMILY COLLECTION
This does bring into question why we seem to have so much difficulty finding at least explanations of what I find on these old aerial photos. From our recent experiences in the search for ZK-WAC , it has become apparent that it’s possible that some of these objects move around over the passage of time. I have recently finished reading a great book on early aviation in New Zealand, “George Bolt, Pioneer Aviator” written by A.E. Harvie and first published in 1974. It’s a fascinating book with lots of early photos on George’s early career with the Walsh brother’s NZ Flying School in Kohimarama, Auckland, In it George Bolt tells the story of an event in Hutt Park, Wellington, “ The DH6 was picketed close to some macrocarpa trees, the Avro (504) near a fence. They seemed secure enough. But when we arrived next day we found that during an overnight gale the Avro had pulled her pickets, been blown up into the air and come down with her tail on top of the fence. In that attitude she stayed put. But the DH6 was nowhere to be seen! Later we found her on the other side of the macrocarpas. While riding out the gale, she had broken her moorings, been blown right over the trees, and landed on her wheels facing the same direction from which she had started. The tail was slightly damaged but a spar in one of her top wings smashed. We found other serious damage later.”
It needs to be borne in mind that these aircraft were a lot heavier than Cessna 172’s and Piper PA 38 Tomahawk’s (ZK-WAC). If these planes could be moved/thrown around that much in a gale, then it is not unreasonable to think that aluminum clad ZK-CSS, ZK-BMP, ZK-EBU, and ZK-WAC could have moved in at least one of the Cyclones that have gone over NZ in the many intervening years since they disappeared. This presumption is only if they were still in relatively one piece and were not wedged down between large trees.
As it appears that the object on the 1985 NZAM photo could not have been ZK-CSS, then I am of the belief that ZK-CSS is most likely somewhere in the bush cladded hill further to the west of this location as per my original scenario on Page 8 of this article. In February 2013, a few of us attempted to search this hill, but found it was very difficult bush to get through... the most difficult I have ever been in anywhere! A lot of the hillside is totally overgrown with Keikei which has leaves like a cabbage tree, but grows like a vine. At times we were 10 ft above the ground, climbing through these vines, moving at about on average one ft per minute! Progress was so slow, it really had me wondering if we were even going to get out of the bush before dark, and when we eventually did, we were on the brink of total exhaustion... at least I was! Ground searching in that area is totally futile and will have to wait until we develop better technology.
After an interesting telephone conversation with Don Trask who used to work for NZAM, I revisited the aerial photograph object shown on page 12 and also the next photo taken shortly after on the same run. The conclusion I came to was that the object “wings” was simply a scratch mark on the negative when the film was advanced to the next photo frame.... another learning curve!!!
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