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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I did some observations with our Piper Tomahawk trainers here in Bridge Pa, Hastings, to see how far I could see them away from where I was. From the time they took off to the time that they were getting really hard to see was only about 1 to 2 minutes. This calculates in the vicinity of 2 miles, so with this in mind, what appears to be an aeroplane a long way away is not actually the case.  I travelled up to Pinnacle Hill Road, Auckland and took a photo unfortunately on a hill from above and slightly to the south of the persons property due to there were now tall trees all the way down the road near the property making it impossible to get a clear view of the direction that he said he saw the plane in. This photo is still good enough to get the general idea though.

Seeing as this eyewitness is no longer with us, this creates the problem in that we will never really know exactly what he saw - only that it was “diving on an acute angle very steeply towards the ground.”

Had I been able to question him further, an obvious question would have been, “In which direction?” The reason for this becomes obvious when we draw a line on Google Earth in the  direction it was viewed from.:

You note all the native bush and scattered smaller clumps of bush just to the south of that line.

If this eyewitness saw this plane diving steeply to the south, then this makes it much easier to determine where it likely ended up... if it in fact was ZK-WAC?  If he saw it diving in any other direction, then there is nowhere for it to remain hidden all these years. The Placemarks along the line numbered A to E are one mile markers, so therefore the most likely spot is between the A and B+ markers due to him being able to see it. It would depend on how high up and just how steep the angle of dive was, as to how far south it’s impact with the ground spot would be. What was meant by “Travelling: over Mangatawhiri Valley” is obviously unclear, as there was no way that he could have seen a small plane from this distance. I suspect it could mean that it appeared it was travelling towards Mangatawhiri Valley and the word  “to” was simply missed out. Judging by the photo above, that would back up my scenario.

This whole scenario however, is all pure speculation as there is another sighting that could tie in with this sighting, although the above area certainly would be a good area to search - just to be sure.

Further to the north, according to the time given -  just 10 minutes later, (1730) there was another sighting:

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