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If Mike was not happy when conditions were "not VMC" (Visual) then it would be natural for him to pick a location that he could identify by visual sight i.e. the lights of a town. The other NDB’s of Taree and Singleton could also be identified by the towns in relative close proximity to the NDB.

The implications of using the radial that emits from Mt Sandon to the Craven township (rather than that to the “Craven” waypoint) is immense as it alters everything... right back to the course MDX would have flown from Taree - to where they were radar identified, and then down to the 5000 ft point... which would make that point yet further east to where I originally calculated it to be (now somewhere between 1 ¾ nm W to 2 ¼ nm SW of Invergordon as per the “Father and Son” sighting)... and then to where he would have intersected it again (if he did?).

Hence we now have two possibilities of where MDX went after the 5000 ft call. Either over the area of Big Ben Mountain and towards Nebo, or overhead the Craven township and down towards Stroud Mountain.

First we need to back-track a little to explain what a “Fohn Wind” as that is what would have been happening with the mountain wave that night.…

From Wikipedia:

A föhn or foehn is a type of dry, warm, down-slope wind that occurs in the lee of a mountain range. It is a rain shadow wind that results from the subsequent adiabatic warming of air that has dropped most of its moisture on windward slopes. As a consequence of the different adiabatic lapse rates of moist and dry air, the air on the leeward slopes becomes warmer than equivalent elevations on the windward slopes. Föhn winds can raise temperatures by as much as 14 °C in just a matter of minutes. Central Europe enjoys a warmer climate due to the Föhn, as moist winds off the Mediterranean Sea blow over the Alps.

Where I live in Hastings, New Zealand, we experience this very thing, so I am very familiar with this very phenomena.

Hence, to think that MDX crashed due to icing is just futile thinking, as although his initial descent may have started off from icing, they would not have been iced up very long due to the warmer air they would have descended into.

Also, take note that the last proper communication MDX had with the Sydney Controller was to continue towards Williamtown, yet at that point MDX was still heading east:


07:38:02  …...if you continue heading towards the coast, towards Williamstown, Sir

1st possibility  

MDX continued out until he intersected the existing radial that he had previously dialled into his VOR to let him know when he was overhead Craven township at the time that he was heading east.

When he got overhead Craven Township, he would have seen the lights of Gloucester, and all the towns south of there, and would have a pretty good idea of which one was Craven as that was the only town on that particular radial. From there, if he tuned his ADF to WLM (and ignored the swings of it every time lightning occurred out to sea), or even just headed towards the lights of Newcastle/WLM, either way of flying towards WLM in the dark would have the same effect… a drift further towards the east.

2nd possibility

Once they were out of cloud, MDX turned south in the general direction of WLM in the area of Invergordon (as per the “Father and Son” sighting). Mike would have been able to see the lights of WLM/Newcastle from there and so simply turned towards them. It may well have been difficult (if not near impossible) making allowances for the strong SW wind drift towards those lights in the dark, and so was experiencing quite a drift further towards the east off a direct line track to WLM, without him even realising it.

Maybe now that he was out of cloud, he could see the electrical storm out to sea and would have then realised what was mucking up his ADF and compass, and so had retuned his ADF to WLM?

Both of these scenarios presented here, appear to be possible from the above mentioned reports, but obviously only one could be correct... if in fact either are?

Of these, the one that makes the most sense to me is the “Father and Son” and “Nebo” reports, as this seems the simplest, most logical of the two.

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MDX pg 36