I see all of this mystery as being like a huge jig-saw puzzle, and we all have a part to play in it. My part I believe is to use my many years of experience, not only that gained from flying, but from all that experience gained from researching the many missing aeroplanes in New Zealand. Many of the similarities between all these missing aircraft is actually quite uncanny!
In the process of trying to give all the participants on that blog something out
of the ordinary to think about, I have also had to broaden my own outlook by 'standing
back’ and looking at the overall picture differently.…
I came across an article on Nev Dennard’s blogsite, written by Mike Hart who was involved with the original searches, and part of it was very interesting:
“There were it turned out quite a number of older wrecks around the area north and east of Barrington Tops and these were repeatedly found over and over again during the search.”
For a search to be as intensive to even find old wrecks, I would find it very unlikely that MDX crashed in that area. With the strong tailwind involved on that night, if MDX had crashed in that area… they would have found it, as the damage to the trees would have been very apparent!
I came to realise that the only reason anyone thought MDX crashed up in the Barrington
Tops was the blind panic that was very obvious in Mike’s voice in his last call of
In our minds it is very easy to fall into the trap of believing that this is where they crashed.... but is it?
I believe there is much evidence available that strongly suggests this was not the case...
- things that have been overlooked by many, or even misunderstood:
1/ It seems to have been overlooked that Mike had one instrument left that he could rely on... the VOR. He could have at any stage simply dialled in the frequency to West Maitland and simply flown there!
This to me shows that, apart from where he was identified on radar, he was never
lost for any length of time...
When he was told the position of where he was identified, he shortly after reported that he was at that point on a general heading of 220 degrees (magnetic) and if the Controllers had not unknowingly confused him and left him on this compass bearing, he would have made Singleton!!!
Unfortunately the lag in the radar plots (12 seconds) made it very difficult for the Controllers to understand what Mike was doing and so was the cause of the confusion....
His situational awareness was again proven when he was instructed to turn right,
and he corrected them saying words to the effect of “don’t you mean left?”
The bearing he requested to West Maitland was not so that he could fly there... it was to verify his current course that he had worked out. Remember he was a 4000 hr Canadian Airforce trained Navigator.
However, as on the 26th November 2018, I’ve come to the conclusion this was not the only reason he wished a bearing to West Maitland…. He was dealing with the ‘possible fire in the cockpit’ and wanted an easy way to get to a place to land in a hurry in the event they could not extinguish it. Note what was being said here:….
07:29:42 (MDX) Can you give me a vector to West Maitland please?
…. nearly 5 minutes later:
07:34:36 (Sydney) The lights are on at Maitland, if you wish to divert and make a landing at Maitland?
07:34:43 (MDX) Nah, ah, we thought we had a ... just to compound things, we thought we had a cockpit fire but we seemed to have resolved that little problem...... for ah thee, West Maitland, but would appreciate it if you could leave the lights on for a while.
What he was apparently saying is what I have put here in more correct grammar:
(MDX) No thanks, we no longer need to go to West Maitland. We thought we had a
cockpit fire but we now have seemed to have resolved that, but we would appreciate
it if you could leave the lights on for a while…. just in case…. and so to make it
easier to identify where we are when we get closer to that area.
2/ After being confused as to where he was due to the conflicting information he was getting from the Controllers (no fault of the Controllers though), when he popped out of the cloud and could see the lights out on the Coast, this gave him a bearing back towards what he had dialled into the
only instrument he could trust.... the Mount Sandon/Craven radial that he had used on the earlier course of what he thought at the time as being towards Singleton... as a method of knowing when he was over “Craven”.
MDX pg 33