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Gavin Grimmer
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I spent a lot of time, even checking out the logbooks of all the trampers who stayed in the DOC huts and then attempting to track them down, to see if they were the ones that claimed to have seen wreckage in the Stxy River, but to no avail. I manage to eliminate a few, but some were probably from overseas and had long left the Country.
I obtained aerial photos of all that area and spent a lot of time going over them.
Bruce Dando of Kokatahi Helicopters was most helpful in checking anything out that I thought might be a possibility. (Many thanks Bruce) Needless to say, he didn’t find anything of importance.

Back to the calculations:

If Ryan added 60 litres extra fuel, this would mean that he had about 1 hours endurance on board at Ross - if he added 80 litres... 1 hour 20 minutes.
Ross (reported time 5.00pm) to Jackie Gurdan’s position - the end of the track shown on the previous page (reported time 5 to 5.30pm) = 34 n.miles:

100 knots = 20 mins - which equals 20 minutes into added fuel reserves =  40-60 mins left
110 knots = 18 mins                          18                                                            42-62
120 knots = 16 mins                          16                                                            44-64
130 knots = 15 mins                          15                                                            45-65

Two of the observers, one at Ross and the other at Upper Kokatahi reported that they thought he was circling, so these times could have been even longer, eating further into his fuel reserves.

A few days ago, I noticed another report that I had overlooked, mainly because it didn’t seem to fit in:  4.00 - late pm - Jim McIntyre heard light plane circling Lake for quite some time.
This observation didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the reports in the area as why would he circle Lake Kaniere and then fly up to the Van Beek’s property and then return?
One explanation was that he was lost, but I don’t think this was the case.

On reflection, I now think he was on the way back south from Van Beek’s, either circling (biding time) working out his compass heading to track to West Melton (or another destination), or programming his GPS to the same. But the most likely scenario is climbing up through a hole in the cloud to go over the top, seeing as he couldn’t get through any of the Passes.
This circling was heard at the northern end of Lake Kaniere. To the west of this location, there is only basically flat land, and to the east there is a 3500 ft range.
With the prevailing wind (according to Niwa) of a westerly of 15 knots, gusting up to 39 knots, there would have been a good fairly smooth updraught in this area which would give two probable results - good lift, and a hole in the upper cloud layer - an ideal place to get through to go over the top.

Is there anything to substantiate this?.....Yes!
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