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I still believe that he intended to fly over to the western coast and hence was talking out loud his intentions i.e. "making descent out west...descending on a lake...", and then fly into Milford "via the Sound".

He said he was intending to descend out towards the west and I now believe that his intention was, when he got directly overhead Milford, to use Lake Ronald as a heading to descend towards.

After many hours deciphering a very hard to decipher section of the transmissions I believe his last few words were, "closer to 8600 feet, turning onto 272" when just 22 seconds before on his previous transmission, he said he was at 8500 ft.

He did not say that he was going to descend to sea level, only that he was going to descend on (meaning "towards"?) a lake.

He was not disagreeing with "track overhead" or "return up the Sound", especially as he had previously asked for a briefing for "via the Sound if possible". He was disagreeing with the "descend on the coast".

Lake Ronald, shown on the GPS map screen, would have been a good target to head towards knowing it was south of the Inlet.

The highest point shown on the Visual Navigation Chart between Milford and Lake Ronald is 6316 feet at about halfway between them, so if he was at 8600 ft or higher, means that he could safely descend down to at least 6500 ft  to about 7 or 8 nm out from Milford and then the highest point shown is just west of Lake Ronald at 2552 ft.


You need to remember that only five days prior that he had come out of Milford Inlet and flown south and would have seen Lake Ronald. It would be quite natural for him to want to return back to Milford this way.


We do know that he never arrived overhead Milford, in the cloud, above the cloud, or otherwise, as pilots on the ground at Milford, after hearing the conversation over the radio, said they were listening out for him to fly overhead - and they never heard him.


This means that either he had crashed before then (did anyone ever check Lake Adelaide with a Sonar?) or he had diverted else where. I’m sure they would have checked for oil slicks though.


It's possible that he popped out on top of the cloud not long after his last contact (especially if he was still climbing) was confronted with an even larger cloud bank towards the west and so decided that it would be better to divert to Quinton - remember that it appeared that he was trying to get through to there from Dore Pass.

I get the impression, reading the reports, that the weather may have even been a little better further south.


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