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!
Gavin Grimmer
Find lost aircraft HOME. ZK-AFB. ZK-EBU ZK-BMP find lost aircraft links ZK-HNW ZK-FMQ ZK-CSS Cessna 172 ZK-ALT ZK-AJV Tiger Moth G-AUNZ NZ278 NZ964 NZ332 NZ5517 Corsair NZ5544 Corsair NZ-WAC Piper Tomahawk About Myself. Sighting Reports. NEWS 31 December 2008. FORUMS. GREAT BOOKS. Additional info. to my book. NEWS Dec 2009. SITE MAP.  My E-Book Free. C O N T A C T. Site Updates. Downloads. NZ5544 Corsair North Head Boeings. Search Techniques.



P: +646 222 6322



Several people, camping at Ryton Bay, Lake Coleridge, heard an aircraft engine revving up and down three times and then stop. They heard this to the NE of their position in what seemed towards Mt Olympus / Lake Ida. They said it sounded like it was flying low. One person that heard it, explained to me that the general consensus of those that heard this noise was that whoever was in this aeroplane ‘was a goner!’
This report was given to the RCC five days later when they got back to civilisation and found that there was a plane missing, but was told that it was in the wrong area. The time of the observation was remembered as about 2.30pm, but when questioned about this, the comment was it was only a guess as they weren’t wearing watches. ECT (Evening Civil Twilight) in that area was NZ Daylight Saving Time of 9.55pm, so after 5.00pm would probably seem like mid afternoon to someone who was on holiday and didn’t need to take note of the time.

Lake Coleridge may seem like it is a long way away from Lake Kaniere yet it is only 14 mins, or so,  for a C180. With an allowance of four orbits over Lake Kaniere and then departing towards the east to roughly an area where this aircraft engine was heard close to Lake Coleridge, is about 35 n.miles which calculates to:

100 knots = 20 mins + time from Ross = 37 mins =   3 to 23 mins fuel remaining
110 knots = 18 mins                                   35               5 to 25   
120 knots = 16 mins                                   32               8 to 28 <
130 knots = 15 mins                                   30             10 to 30

According to Niwa, the predominate wind was NW so I’d say that he had a tailwind, so it would be in the region of 120 to 130 knots.
Ryan would have realised that he was in dire straits with the fuel, so it is possible that he may have set, or at least changed course to the Wilberforce/Rakaia River Valleys as I’m sure he knew these valleys well. These valleys have huge flat river beds in them, that you could easily put down on, at the very worst - you’d wreck the aeroplane but at least you’d walk away from it. Unfortunately, according to the observers at Ryton Bay, there was low cloud covering the whole valley.

Yellow line is direct track Lake Kaniere to West Melton, orange is the rough estimate of end of track for FMQ.

Whilst pondering over why he would fly  over the top, knowing that he was low on fuel, it occurred to me that maybe there was an airstrip close to a dwelling that he knew of and may have been able to get fuel from, or at the least, get them to drive into town and get fuel for him. I checked out all of the strips within range east of Lake Kaniere and found that there was only one and that is at the northern end of Lake Coleridge at Glenthorne Station. This strip is over 2400 ft long.

I contacted Laurie Prouting  (via email) who owned Mesopotamia Station as I remembered that either he, or his brother Frank, used to employ Ryan. I asked Laurie if there was any chance Ryan was familiar with Glenthorne Station  and this is what he said in his  reply: “Re Ryan, I am sure he did know of the Coleridge airstrip as he worked for my brother Frank, (he did not work for me) and Ryan I am sure would have been flying with Frank as he often called to visit our sister who lived at Glenthorne Station.” Laurie continued, “Frank also knew Ryan's aviation history and behavior better than anyone”.

Next page. Next page. Previous Page. Previous Page.

Page 15 of 26