The search areas that I thought most likely are numbered in the order of the most important areas, and the green lines are the search grid that I set up of which I will talk more of under a separate topic named “Search Techniques”. This was the first time we had ever tried this ‘technique’, so it was a bit of an experiment, but it turned out far superior to anything we have tried before, although it takes more ‘homework’ to initially set it up,
I had spent a lot of time searching the Internet, and had also tried appealing to the readers of the “Wings over New Zealand” blog site: http://rnzaf.proboards.com/ (which is in my belief that this is the number one aviation blogsite in NZ) to see if anyone had any copies of the Aviation Maps dated prior to Dec 1987, as I wished to view what information Ned had available to him to hopefully gain any clues as to what he may have done. I had several replies and was sent several old maps, but none of the era that I required.... And then I remembered that I actually had one amongst the original search files that I had copied from the National Archives! Of the maps sent to me from the blog site readers, there was a landing chart for Haast airfield dated 1 Jan 1976
(many thanks Jim) which would have been the same as the one available to Ned at the time. On this chart it shows two addition runway vectors to what is there today. I thought I would overlay it on Google Earth and as I was doing that, it occurred to me that Jenny Barratt reported a strong northerly wind blowing at the time and there was a runway virtually directly into wind (03)... the one Ned would have been joining for if he thought this was Haast. The chart says that it is a left hand circuit for 03, so this opened up another possibility... That he may have been joining for this perceived runway.
When this action is translated back to the Lake Moeraki area, it opens up another area in need of searching... The side of the hill shown in this image on the left. Once again, if Ned had flown into here in the murk, he may well have not seen this hill in front of him.
As Nathan, Jonathan, Les, and myself all live in the North Island, it is a bit pointless traveling all that way down just for two days searching so we all left several days early and met up at Clive and Michelle’s place in Franz Josef on Tuesday 7th April and were down in the bush at Lake Moeraki on Wednesday the 8th in the afternoon, after setting up camp just along the road from Blair and Sarah Holt’s place. We managed to cover areas 1, 3, and 5 before Friday evening - finding nothing of interest. In places, the searching was extremely hard having to fight your way through Supplejack, Keikei, and Cutty grass, but we found our new method of searching via way of GPS grid lines very useful as it helped us stay reasonably on line. Normally when you got to a very dense patch of bush, it was very easy to divert around it, whereas it became a challenge to stay on the grid line shown on the GPS so the tendency was to just persevere and fight your way through it, making a much more thorough search pattern.
ZK-EBU Pg 16