The following is the Ardmore Aircraft Movements 1700 to 1831:
TIME Regis. Model Colour Landed From Departed to
1702 EWD C172 Blue & White Great Barrier Island
1704 EOA C172 Waiheke Island
1707 EJF C152 Brown & White NZAA (Auckland Int.)
1712 EJC C207 Brown & White Waiheke Island
1712 ELK PA32 White, Blue & Gold Stripe Waiheke Island
1718 ENX PA32 White, Red & White Stripe Kaikohe
1726 DSK PA32 Olive green & White Local Flight
1727 CGM Victor Yellow Local Flight
1728 EOA C172 Waiheke Island
1729 HKG H300 Circuits
1739 ENX PA32 White, Red & White Stripe NZAA
1743 NDA PA32 White, Light & Dark Brown Stripe NZAA
1749 EJF C152 Brown & White NZAA
1758 NDA PA32 Whangarei (NZWR)
1800 DRQ C172 Red & White Great Barrier Island
1802 ENX PA32 White, Red & White Stripe Circuits
1809 WAB PA38 White Local
1812 WAD PA38 White Local (Returned 1856)
1820 EWD C172 Blue & White NZAA
1831 WAB PA38 White Local
You’ll note that the only aircraft that were on local flights that could explain the aircraft seen SW of Hunua heading towards Ardmore is Victor Airtourer ZK-CGM and Waitamata’s Piper Cherokee ZK- DSK, and seeing as it appears ZK-CGM approached and joined from Clevedon, then the aircraft seen had to be ZK-DSK. This aircraft flew: AR - PK East- Ramarama - AR on an earlier flight flown between 1651 to 1726.
This was a flight of 35 minutes and would have covered about 60 n.miles, when allowing for lower ground speeds for take off and landing.
Below is the possible flight path shown on Google Earth (yellow line) and although this course measures out to a bit over 50 nm, it would only take an orbit (or two) over an area of interest (such as a friend’s house) to increase this distance.
This course gives even more credence to the sighting of a plane in the direction of Paparimu School as being ZK-WAC as if ZK-DSK had flown further south, I’m sure it would have recorded the course as to at least Bombay (or further) to allow for it to be in that area. It was in this area later in the evening when it was searching for ZK-WAC. I have drawn the track heading over to the area near Hunua township for two reasons: One being as an explanation for the sighting of a plane heading towards Ardmore at about that time, and the other being that the Waterworks is a natural reporting point recommended for pilots approaching or departing the area. As the wind was favouring the 21/25 runways, this would have been a good area to join from.
The Pinnacle Hill eyewitness saw a plane diving on an steep acute angle towards the ground, and this to me could only be a plane in trouble or an aerobatic plane doing aerobatics... certainly not a Piper Cherokee, or Tomahawk on a training flight.
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