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Gavin Grimmer
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I will quickly summarize it now.  Turn on the master switch, bring the mixture, prop and throttle fully forward, turn on both sides of the EAFBP, observe a rise and peak on the fuel flow meter and then turn both sides of the EAFBP off.  Remember that the left (red) side of the EAFBP is spring-loaded to the off position.  The right side is not.  If you merely release the switch – rather than actually clicking it positively to the off position – then the low side will continue to run even though the high side is off.  The fuel will be injected continuously into the intake ports of the cylinder heads.


06:57:18  MDX, They advise that clearance coastal may be available up to a highest level of six thousand. That clearance is not yet available & I will advise as soon as possible. You may have to hold outside air… controlled airspace to gain that airways clearance. Confirm you will still track back via Craven?

There seemed to be a reluctance for Mike to take a clearance through WLM’s airspace at a lower altitude… or maybe it was just he was getting impatient and didn’t wish to wait any longer?  I guess we may never know, but it does make one wonder…. Height is considered ‘money in the bank’ to a pilot… especially if he’s worried about the engine!

When you take in the following accounts of possible problems with the electrics or gyros at Coolangatta contained in the NAA file:  

It appears Mike was possibly attempting to ‘nurse’ what appeared to him a suspect aircraft back to Sydney!  

When things start to go wrong in an aeroplane, take it from me, a pilot tends to lose faith in everything in that aeroplane… I’ve been there! Had it not been for maybe good luck and an updraught at the correct time, it’s possible I would not be here today writing this. I started thinking everything was ‘stuffed’ in the plane to the point that it could have killed me… I simply lost faith in the aeroplane, and so made wrong decisions…. Not a good place to be!!

As you lose faith in it, you start becoming complacent, and so I think it may have caused Mike to become careless and in so doing overlooked the auxiliary pump switch not being switched off… either that or there was an electrical fault causing it to remain on.

He also should have been able to pick a fault up such as this on his instruments, but was it just a case of so many things appeared to be wrong with the aircraft that he just disbelieved everything?

Over the last few years, there have been several Airliner crashes put down to this very thing… pilots not believing their instruments – or not being able to work out what the information given by those instruments was trying to tell them!

Why do I suspect this?

1/ As noted above, this could explain the reports by several people of the plane being on fire and the motor sounding very noisy.

2/ Could explain the extra revs noted as they taxied… (Motor would quit if it ran slower)… and the harder to start?

3/ Could explain the inability to climb.

4/ Could explain the possible thought of fire in the cockpit noticed after 5 minutes of full throttle attempting to climb from 8000 ft to 10000 ft (burnt paintwork, hot metal under the floor) and the smell of burning disappearing after accepting they couldn’t get higher, and so throttled back?

5/ Could explain being at the mercy of the wind due to lack of power and engine power changing due to plugs fowling and clearing from the rich mixture (Updraughts/Downdraughts at a height above the terrain where there shouldn’t have been anything very noticeable… according to experienced Glider Instructors.)

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MDX pg 39