It's possible that once Milford had stopped transmitting (Milford spoke for quite a while after the last call from HNW) that HNW would have lost radio contact by moving away from the reception area, and so that was why no-one heard from HNW again.
Presuming that HNW flew towards Quinton, the Garmin GPS 195 (the GPS model that was in HNW) doesn't show Quinton as a standard waypoint, but it is possible that Cam programmed it in at an earlier time as an alternative, or he had just flown toward Lake Quill (shown on that model GPS) hoping to find a hole in the clouds.
Maybe he programmed it in if he was above the clouds - a difficult task, but one you would probably try to do if your life depended on it!
According to the files, there was a Mountain Guide that was at the time between Boatshed and Dumpling huts further down the valley from Milford not far from the Quinton airstrip/ Lodge that radioed Milford, at 9.10 a.m., to say that she had heard a strange “helicopter-ish”noise and evidently there was another guide at Quinton, who at about the same time heard a “crash” noise in the direction of McKinnon Pass. I’m told she also called the Tower at about the same time.
If HNW had crashed in this area, using these scenarios, by calculation he would have crashed at about 9.03 - 9.05 p.m., giving the Mountain Guide, between Boatshed and Dumpling huts, a few minutes or so to report hearing a strange noise, obviously by radio. She would not have even known by then that there was a helicopter missing - and neither would Milford!
Campbell had done some simulated instrument flying as part of a night rating, reportedly 10 hours, and HNW did have an Artificial Horizon, so he had enough instrument training to be dangerous! He very obviously had some ability, but did not have enough to become safe.
I have more simulated time than he had, and although I feel that I may be able to fly in cloud, I have enough to know not to go there!!!
He was not unfamiliar with flying into Milford as he had flown into there via the Sound five days earlier.
When he left Milford on that trip, according to one of his passengers, they "went back out via the inlet then south over toward Te Anau".
This would have given Cam plenty of time to observe the Clinton Valleys into Quinton, and also the Arthur River into Milford approach.
"South over towards Te Anau" would have also taken them directly over Quinton airfield and the Lodge that is situated there.
They may well have flown along the Clinton River. Helicopter pilots are not known for flying at great heights!
With all this in mind, I wonder if there is anyone out there who was walking the Milford Track that day and heard something.
If you, or know someone that was, then please get hold of me as you/them may have crucial information to help find them!
The Final Piece Of The Jigsaw Puzzle?
16 February 2011
On the 3rd February, 2011, my neighbour Les O’Shea and I flew in my home-built aeroplane, a Maranda Super 14, firstly to our Aircraft Homebuilder’s bi-annual Flyin at Ashburton and then on to Martins Bay / Lake McKerrow to do a ground search for Cessna 180 ZK-BMP.
I had managed to buy off TradeMe a Garmin GPS195 - the same model that was in ZK-HNW and what’s more, it still had the same database as what was in HNW’s also.
I had installed it in my Maranda and although I had spent days learning all the functions using the manual, when it came to using it all I got was confused. Fortunately, I still had my old trustworthy Magellan Skyblazer GPS installed also, so I was able to compare them. When I couldn’t work out where I was with the Garmin, I could at least refer to the Magellan.
Trying to navigate past airspace restrictions, etc., west of Christchurch can sometimes be daunting to a
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