Update 7 May 2015
Mike Wellesley/Smith from TV3 (with help from myself) had spent a lot of time traveling around New Zealand interviewing various people that had had some form of involvement with this disappearance over the years. As a result of this, the “Campbell Live” show had aired a full half hour programme on the 5th March 2015:
And on the 13th April they aired a sequel to that story (roughly the last 8 minutes of the programme):
As you will see, Mike made a very professional job of it, went to extreme lengths to avoid sensationalism, and to date have not heard one bad word about the programme. Great stuff, Mike!
Mike also initiated the Ground Search in conjunction with LandSAR, The Western Adventurer Scouts, many family members, and of course myself and several members of my volunteer team. LandSAR set the date as the weekend of the 11/12th of April so as to make it possible for some of their members to attend.
Clive Jenkins, Nathan and Jonathan Mauchline, Matthew (Jonathan’s mate), Les O’Shea, and myself attended the site on the 8th April to complete 3 days searching before the event to ensure the best coverage possible. I was given the task of working out what where I thought the most likely areas that ZK-EBU could be in, and to be honest, after our previous searches - I didn’t have a clue!
Jenny Barratt had visited me at my home in Hastings a couple of weeks earlier, and had confirmed my suspicion that maybe Ned Morrison (pilot of ZK-EBU) had not flown back up the Moeraki River as such, as per what I had originally assumed. This original belief was based on the image shown on page 13 of this article (and shown here below right) as ZK-EBU circling the rocks out to sea and then flying back inland overhead the shed on their property. After lots of recent thought, I had come to the conclusion that a fully loaded Cherokee Six in a steep turn would cover a much greater radius on the turning circle that what I had allowed on the page 13 image. Being in bad weather, Ned would have slowed the aircraft down to a much safer speed in the region of 90 knots... And at 90 knots they would be covering 1 ½ n.miles per minute. A pretty steep turn of “Rate 2” equates to a 360 degree turn of 1 minute and hence a 180 degree turn = ½ minute. Half a minute hence equals a distance ¾ of a n.mile distance traveled. Place this distance on a circumference on Google Earth and this is what you get:
A much larger radius
Correctly Plotted Original Belief
This of course means that when EBU approached the land after the turn, it was traveling in a more northerly direction, and taking into account the bad weather conditions, it was very feasible that they actually unknowingly flew directly into the hill given the lack of forward visibility when encountering heavy rain in a Cherokee Six. In rain on the windscreen and in dull conditions, the cloud and terrain would very likely have blended into one. From this possibility, I was then able to calculate the most likely areas of impact and so I plotted four areas to search:
The yellow and white lines are the GPS tracks from the Feb 2013 search. The green lines shown are lines plotted as an intended search grid... More on this later.
ZK-EBU Pg 15