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Gavin Grimmer
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With the photo overlaid on Google Earth, you can see it is in a steep valley, and it is also now able to be measured using the “measuring tool” and yes, it is in the range of what it should be.

The question then is why has no-one seen this object from the air over all these years?... Quite simply that most pilots are normally looking to where they want to be, and not at the rugged bush below them. Due to it being in a steep valley, they would also have to be looking in the right direction at the right time. The next photo taken in this photographic run looks into this valley, but from a different direction and it is not really visible, although a small bit of it is - but not enough to draw a person’s attention to it. If this is in fact ZK-WAC, it appears to be hanging in the top of the trees and therefore would only need the right conditions such as a bad storm to cause it to fall out of sight.

It was never known for sure which paddocks Paul was using for the forced landing practice, but I’m told that they often used the paddocks south of the Pinnacle Hill region near Maungatawhiri, and if this is so, this is what I think probably happened. As previously mentioned, Paul took off towards the west on runway 21 Ardmore, and was then seen overhead Papakura heading towards Ponga Hill.

If you take the general direction from Papakura towards Ponga Hill and continue on that line, it takes you pretty much right over the area that this object is in. Hence to me it would be common sense that Paul would be practicing his stalling (once he got to a reasonable height) on his way to the suitable forced landing paddocks.  I think that there was a strong likelihood that he may have allowed the stall to advance to a wing drop, tried to correct it with a little amount of aileron and it has dropped the opposite wing and flicked over onto its back. Believe me, this can happen... as I’ve done it!

If it wasn’t for the Instructor taking over, I really don’t know what I would have done as it took me so much by surprise (and the Instructor), that I doubt that I would have recovered before hitting the ground... and I was a lot more current and had more flying hours than Paul had... It really scared me! Being over a hilly area, meant that he had even less time and height to recover.

With the help of David Peters, we came across a couple of Accident Reports of PA38-112 Tomahawks spinning into the ground. One in America, and one in Belgium.

Take note of what the eyewitnesses said about their observations of seeing these planes just before they crashed:

*Both saw the airplane diving vertically and colliding with the ground. One of the two witnesses also reported having seen the airplane spinning.....

**he noticed a “cigar shape” which he assumed was an aircraft in a steep descent; he later thought that it might have been turning....

***He saw an aircraft descending “vertically”, nose down....

****she looked up to see an aircraft in a steep “vertical” descent.....

Now compare these accounts to what the person saw from where he was in Pinnacle Hill Road:

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