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I then found a photo of a Tiger Moth taken as closely as possible to the angle I believed the “Tiger object” was on, converted it to black and white (the Tiger Moth being white), overlaid it on GE, and then scaled it down to the correct measurements, again using the measurement tool on GE.

I was then able to overlay on GE the photo again over the top of this scaled Tiger Moth image and then fade the photo in and out again to see if it appeared correctly as likely being a Tiger.

As you can see, apart from the angle being the wrong way of the rudder and the apparent broken wings, the scaled upside down Tiger fits pretty well. Unfortunately I was unable to find a photo of a Tiger Moth taken on the correct angle, but if it genuinely is an upside down Tiger, then the rudder is quite likely to have been bent over anyway.

I contacted a friend - well known, Pilot/ bushman, Charlie Janes who knows the area well and told him of my find and the area it was in, and his comment was that if you were a pilot unfamiliar with the terrain, flying down the river at low level in the murk, then it is quite possible that when you saw the huge white cliff face (approx.400 ft high) then it is likely that you would turn left instead of the correct way - to the right.

This would place an unsuspecting pilot and aircraft right where this image is!  


I spent a considerable amount of time marking the locations of all the recorded sightings and observations of this airplane on Google Earth, and came up with a few scenarios that seemed to fit a lot of the observations, but could not find a scenario using elapsed times to fit all of them at the same time, which meant that there had to be two aircraft flying that day. I believe the aircraft observed in the area from Taupo to Lake Tarawera was a Tiger from most likely Tauranga - either ZK-AJT or ZK-AJU.


The final scenario that I eventually settled on was that John Tacon got as far as maybe the Rangitaiki area and landed there for a while, hoping for the weather to improve.

This theory is also based on the fact that he never made it to Taupo.


When the weather did not improve, I believe John attempted to return to Hastings and with some difficulty managed to get back following the Napier/Taupo Highway to as far as the last range before Napier, the Titiokura Range, but found that the passage was blocked by low lying cloud.


From there he flew to south of the junction of the Mohaka and Repia rivers - Pakatatau Station - where he was observed flying low, circled a clump of trees twice, and then headed north back towards Te Haroto. This would have been the most logical direction to fly from the Napier/Taupo Rd to see if you could find a way across the range to Hastings.


A course that I know several pilots have taken when they couldn’t get across the Titiokura Ranges was to fly down the Mohaka Valley until they reached the coast and then fly along the coast to either Napier or Bridge Pa, Hastings.

This to me would seem to be the logical course that John would have taken especially as he had found that the way through south was blocked.

I presently believe, going by the account of a Tiger Moth wreck being discovered by Trevor Crabtree in the Willowflat area, that John Tacon made it as far as there.


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