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!
In late April 2011 I was sent all the files that some of the family members of these missing people onboard ZK-BMP had collected over the years. This included copies of the Police files and many files from Archives NZ that included the SAR files.
I’ve been told several times in my life that my thinking processes are different to most other people – mainly, I’m told, because I’ve never been trained in ‘this is the way to think’. I’ve had to work it out for myself.
I’ve learnt to read over the files allowing a general picture to build up in my mind of the conditions that faced the pilot on the day, and then get into the “head” of the pilot to see, feel, and understand what was going through his mind at the time.
Having a general knowledge of the area he was flying in, also helps to build this picture.
By photographing all the files, I’m then able to digitally store and collate them into the various accordingly named folders on my computer so as to make the information easy to find.
I then find that by writing to try and explain everything into a letter, or essay, helps me to get all the facts correct as I refer back to all these files in their respective folders.
The following pages explain what I have found:…..
1/ A Fuel Discrepancy
According to the files, they left Riversdale with full tanks (240 litres) travelled up to Big Bay, then did two trips to the Hollyford Airstrip and two to the Upper Pyke airstrip. By using Google Earth, I can measure this distance as 280 nautical miles - and that is allowing for plenty of extra.
That model Cessna 180 had a cruise of 130 to 135 knots, so to be on the safe side, by using the lower speed we can easily calculate that they would have flown for a maximum of 2.15 hours. 280 divided by 130 = 2.15 hours (2hrs 9 mins.)
You’ll see that I’ve tried to use the “worst case scenarios” so that no one can say that I’m juggling the facts to support my theories.
According to a site on the Internet, the Cessna 180 burns 10 US gals/hour which equates to 40 litres, yet on talking to a friend who has a C180 with the same model motor as BMP, he says he burns 52 litres/hr (he has a certified fuel flow meter to prove it), but just to be sure, I'm told they generally use a figure of 60 litres/hr for flight planning purposes: 60 x 2.15 = 129 litres burnt (240 L minus 129 L = 111 L still in tanks)
It is reported in the files that Father Crosbie twice added fuel: 20 litres and 45 litres = 65 litres, which means he should have had 176 litres on board when he departed Big Bay! (111 L plus 65 L = 176 L)
Copied from a Cessna 180 site on the Internet:
(Note FYI: ZK-BMP was a 1953 model - I have the logbook for her from 1959 to 1963! She first started life as ZK-BEK s/n 30603, was rebuilt after a crash and then registered as ZK-BMP in 1959. Rural Aviation Ltd rebuilt her and gave her a new s/n of RA1-59. – Also Note: The quotes below are US gallons. [ 1x US gallon =4 litres ] )
The fuel system is a simple gravity-flow type with wing mounted fuel cells.
Standard gas capacity is 60 gallons total for the 1953-56 models and the
standard capacity is 65 gallons for the 1957-64 models. In 1961, large optional
tanks totalling 84 gallons were offered for the first time on the 185, in 1962
they became available on the 180 also. The 1953-61 models have a single outlet
in each tank. Beginning with the 1962 models, two fuel pickups are used in each
fuel cell, fore and aft, rather than one. Addition of this second fuel outlet in
each wing cell has the effect of giving less unusable fuel in some of the
adverse attitudes of flight. The fuel outlets are coupled through a
four-position selector valve and both tanks can be used at once or each
separately. The fourth position is off.