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From Taree onwards get rather interesting. It puzzled me for quite a while how he managed to work out how he was over the township of Craven when he was in the dark of night. Sure he would have been able to see the lights, but it would have been very easy to mistake another town as being Craven. After a lot of research and thought, I came to the conclusion that he was using an IFR map and Craven was only a waypoint further west of the township and I’ll refer to it in this article as RP Craven. He was navigating using his ADF and VOR and hence the need to write in the frequencies on his flight plan. I had spent a lot of time doing calculations to see if it was possible that he had turned inland further up the coast from another township that he may have mistaken as Taree. Had I realised at that point he was using the Nav-Aids, it would have saved me a lot of time. If you have a look at his Flight Plan that was filed before they departed from Coolangatta, it reveals many bits of interesting information:

You'll note the red stamp that says there are “DELETIONS MADE UNDER SECTION 22 OF THE FCI ACT”.  This is a bit of a worry as to what parts would need deleting?

There is however, plenty of information still there.

One obvious thing with this Flight Plan is that it appears very 'messy'. After some thought our Aero Club CFI noticed that the columns “HDG MAG” (Magnetic Heading) and “GS” (Ground Speed) seemed way out of sync and then the 'penny dropped'.... this copy was not the original, but a carbon copy of the original. Mike had filled out everything bar the two columns just mentioned and then gone back making all the calculations to fill in the remaining. As we know, he was in a hurry to get going at Coolangatta, and in his hurry he had not noticed (or didn't care) that the top copy was not aligned with the bottom copy.

With the use of  photo editing software, I 'photo-shopped' (cloned) the column errors into their correct places and this below is the result of that:


A point of interest - the ambiguous Waypoint between MQD (Mt.McQuoid) and BK (Bankstown) can be determined by using the Flight Plan of VH-AZC and that shows this location was known as “HWK”.

It's also interesting that Mike's heading from HWK to BK is not correct... it is the heading and distance to Sydney as correctly shown in AZC's Flight Plan (above) and AZC's F/P shows that from Sydney they would then fly to Bankstown although there is no magnetic heading for this entered.

Mike's mistake here tends to confirm the hurry he was in to get moving at Coolangatta as commented on by eye-witness accounts at that stop-over.


I made an enquiry as to the position of  “HWK” from the Australia Aviation Historical Society and I got this reply from them:


The abbreviation HWK was actually for Hawkes, which was a Dead Reckoning position (sort of) on the then inbound IFR track from northern airports to Sydney via Singleton thence Mt McQuoid and Hawkes, located on the Runway 16 centreline (Localiser) at 30nm DME Sydney.  Aircraft could also track from Pelican or Williamtown (with ATC approval) via Calga to Hawkes, then via the RWY 16 Localiser to Sydney.  It also coincided with the direct track from Scone to Sydney (the 339 radial from Sydney VOR) and aircraft were cleared to intercept the Localiser at Hawkes.  There was not ever an NDB or any other navaid at Hawkes.

The dog-leg track described above was provided to separate outbound IFR

traffic from Sydney heading north via West Maitland.

“HWK” mystery solved... Many thanks you guys!


Knowing the exact position of this waypoint does not help finding MDX though, but it certainly is intriguing....

Larger Versions of these Flight Plans can be found on page 8 and 9 if it is too small to see properly.

MDX pg 3

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