This Site is dedicated to all those families of the people that have tragically disappeared on flights in and around New Zealand. I  only hope that from all the effort in building this site and from all the effort of those taking part in this venture, that it will bear fruit in bringing ‘closure’ to their memories!
Gavin Grimmer
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14 February 2022... ZK-AFB - 60 years and two days long overdue to be found!


It has been nearly 8 years since my last update on ZK-AFB... long overdue also!
Gosh, how time has flown, and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.
Much of my time over this period has been spent on ZK-EBU and VH-MDX which also involved a couple of ground searches in Australia for the latter.
As always, it has been a huge learning curve – much due to observing observer reports and the associated common mistakes made by many of them such as getting east and west mixed up. Mistakes like these can have profound consequences on attempting to locate a missing aircraft,
People genuinely want to help, but in doing so, if they don’t manage to portray what they observed accurately, then it would be more helpful if they didn’t!

However, to be fair much of the problem is in the ability of the person interviewing to ask the right questions when recording the event. As in east versus west incidences, it would be better to avoid or expound on that with a query of maybe “towards the mountains or towards the coast” or the like. That way there can be no doubt.
Going by memory, as I am now a lot older (68), and my memory is fading a lot, I do recall at least one more ground search in the Jacobs River (maybe two). One was carried out without me, and many thanks to ‘my’ team for that search. I was tied up with one for ZK-EBU in the Lake Moeraki area at the time and if I remember correctly, most of the team joined me after they got out of the Jacobs.

In 2021, I was sent an 8mm video from Robin Fautley in England, of a flight with Brian Chadwick in his Dominie ZK-BCP a couple of weeks before the disappearance of Brian, ZK-AFB and his passengers. The video was taken by Robin’s father and Robin was even in the video as a 14 year old, very excited boy at the time!
I spent many an hour studying this video, comparing scenery in it to that on 3D Google Earth trying to confirm the location where each shot was taken so as to ascertain the course they flew, and also to get a ‘feel’ for Brian’s flying patterns.

I also learnt lots about 8mm cameras so as to be able to explain some of the unusual features shown – features that the average person probably wouldn’t notice. This all helped explain what was going on in that aircraft on that day.

One of the important things I gleamed from this video was pilots flew and did things in 1962 that we wouldn’t dream of doing today, as we have had the benefit of observing how the innocent flying practices of pilots in those days, purely through their unknowing ignorance of the dangers, killed them! CAA to their credit, back in I think the late 70’s or early 80’s, realised that it was better to publish these accidents and causes to all pilots so that we didn’t go and make the same mistakes these days, and thinking back, the knowledge of these unfortunate accidents and consequently how to avoid them would have saved my life many times over!
Much can be gleamed from this 8mm movie, and one of the eye-openers was how Chadwick seemed to have (in my opinion at least) a habit of ‘flirting’ with the cloud. There was a lot to be learned in not just what was in the footage, but also what was not in the footage.

Think about it... 8mm film in 1962 was precious. A roll of film only lasted 2 minutes and then one had to pull the film out of the camera and reinsert it for it to record on the other side of the celluloid... giving another 2 minutes. One certainly wouldn’t have wasted taking footage of above cloud – scenery that could be observed anywhere else in the world!

You could see a huge cloud bank along the mountain range as they flew close to Godley Glacier, and the next scenery shown was over on the West Coast.

I now realise that due to having a different perspective than what Brian Chadwick would have had to “risk taking” in 1962, in doing my research I had come to different conclusions to what I believed happened as I was using different flying safety guidelines.


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