View Full Version : Small A/C Threatens Sky Tower

Speeds high
17th Sep 2005, 09:46
9:40pm, a small aircraft stolen from ardmore airfield is threating to crash into the sky tower, police are in contact, it is currently circling above West Auckland.

Sorry thats all i got at this stage!

Speeds high
17th Sep 2005, 09:54
The said aircraft has crashed onto a beach near mission bay, apparently the pilot is on the shoreline (presumably alive).

17th Sep 2005, 09:55
The a/c has just crashed into the water off St Heliers.

Not known how many on board, nor the extent of any injuries.

Anyone know any more?

Unofficial update:

Only one person on board.

17th Sep 2005, 10:26
Apparently crashed near to National leaders Don Brashs house


17th Sep 2005, 11:17
One of my mates who lives on Tamaki Drive went across the road to the beach and was around 100m from it but couldn't really see much. I saw a short clip on the One News bulliten around 11pm and to me it looked like a Cherokee tail when it flashed up in the light. Apparently a middle-aged man was pulled out of the water with injuries and taken to hospital.

the wizard of auz
17th Sep 2005, 15:07
Now, none of that would have happened if you in unzud had adopted security checks, photo licences and airside cards like we have been forced into doing. you think this bloke would have paid his $200 to obtain all the correct checks and licences?. :hmm: :hmm:
It was just lucky that he wasn't one of Osama's mates or he could have killed and maimed thousands in some sort of terrorist attack. or thats what our government would have us believe anyway. :hmm: :hmm:

17th Sep 2005, 16:04
Wizard....agree to some extent....seems that most of the reports have come from the media(and we all know these reports to 100% true)when these jokers are not reporting they are practising pilots :E ....would rather wait until the official explanation is given by somebody "in the know".....hui

17th Sep 2005, 19:31
Airplane plunges into sea after evacuation

By Amanda Cameron

A man in a stolen plane forced the evacuation of terrified diners from Auckland's Sky Tower last night before crashing into the sea at St Heliers Bay.

A man was believed to have stolen a Piper Cherokee from Ardmore Airport around 7pm yesterday intending to fly into the Sky Tower.

The plane flew near the tower around 9pm and crashed into water about 50m off Kohimarama Beach around 40 minutes later.

The man was taken by police escort to Auckland Hospital by ambulance. His condition was listed as serious but not critical.

Diners and revellers at Sky City poured out into the street after a warning from emergency services prompted Sky City management to stage an evacuation soon after the plane flew past the windows of Orbit Restaurant.

Police said after the incident saying neither the plane nor any of the occupants were regarded as a threat to any buildings or people.

But witnesses at the scene - some who had been evacuated and others who had left the building voluntarily after cellphone warnings from friends and family - had been concerned for their safety.

John Ewins, who had been celebrating his 37th birthday with four friends at Orbit Restaurant, had been tucking into a seafood smorgasbord when he saw "a set of lights" pass by the window about 9.15pm.

Shortly afterwards, a waitress told them there was a bomb scare and asked them to leave the building.

Mr Ewins immediately left his table and headed for the stairs - all 57 flights - with eight others.

Kim Lyall, a St Heliers resident who witnessed the crash, said he was sitting outside when he heard a low-flying aircraft overhead.

"I ran outside and saw the plane. It was flying erratically. It seemed to slow down before hitting the water."

Michael Donahue, an American visiting on consultancy work, said plain-clothed policemen dived into the water to rescue the man.

"At one stage, they were dragging him by the neck. They were treating him like a real criminal. He couldn't move his hands or legs. They appeared to be broken. He was totally conscious."

Police told the Herald on Sunday the fact the incident was on election night was "an amazing coincidence". The police said they knew the man's motive but last night wouldn't say what it was or whether he was a New Zealander. He faces numerous charges.


17th Sep 2005, 21:05
Crickey the media can't get anything right.
It actually crashed off Kohi beach, and this is nowhere near Brashs house which is 2 suburbs away in Glendowie!

The aircraft belonged to Massey University. Still not sure of its rego - the one quoted (MBO) by the media is a Seminole I think.

Apparently an ex Massey employee.


Cloud Cutter
17th Sep 2005, 21:06
A flight instructor gone off the rails? Watch this space. I think MBO is a seminole now opperated by CTC

rescue 1
17th Sep 2005, 21:26
And no fighters to have a closer look. Might be something the new government coalition will need to look at.

Security at Ardmore consists of 30cm fence!

17th Sep 2005, 21:45
Just went down and had a look and was in time to see them bring it up and put onto a barge.

It is about 80 meters off shore form the Kohi yacht club and the weather is c%#p.

It is/was a PA28 could be MBQ.

I have some good pix if someone could tell me how to post them here?

17th Sep 2005, 22:03
Cherokee MBQ was here at AR yesterday..not here now..flew return to Hamilton around midday but wasn't refuelled on return. It was still parked outside the deserted Massey building at 1730 last night.
The 172 parked next to it looks to have been fiddled with last night too, not a Massey A/C but it could be the wind that has blown the cover half off. Interestingly there does not seem to be any cars parked nearby..a local perhaps? Plenty of cars left overnight at the Aeroclub bar though;)

17th Sep 2005, 22:34
And no fighters to have a closer look. Might be something the new government coalition will need to look at.

Perhaps they should have scrambled an Aztec to take a look - the Aztec is perhaps the finest aircraft the unzud air farce can cross hire (just watch out for the dicky door) :}

17th Sep 2005, 23:23
I heard the Naval Helicopter SeaSprite buzzing around when I went to take a look, with that distinctive rotor noise. Maybe that was sent up?

17th Sep 2005, 23:50
the police chopper eagle (as-355) was tailing it apparently

18th Sep 2005, 02:18
A pic of the pilot appeared in the Herald on Sunday today - and he looks like someone I know, and an A cat instructor, too. I really hope I'm wrong...he'd be the last person I'd have suspected stressing out on anything.

If you have stress in your life, do something about it fast - before this happens to you....

Cloud Cutter
18th Sep 2005, 02:26
I'm afraid you are not wrong

king oath
18th Sep 2005, 03:12
THe missus says after watching the news,"why don't they just send the airforce up and shoot it down?"

What air force? Here's a country with no means of defending itself. And they just voted the chick with a voice like she has cojones, back in as PM.

18th Sep 2005, 04:18
Well, I'd have to say that let's say NZ did have some fighter a/c....do you really think that there would be a green light to start shooting missles and/or bullets the size of your fist over a highly populated city? The same thing happened in the US (twice)and due to the speed (let's say 100kts) compared to 500kts of a fast jet and the fact that shooting it down would kill/injure more people than letting him fly around the city I think that the appropriate course of action was taken. More people would be injured if someone drove their family car into a restaurant than a cherokee flying into a building. Let's keep this in perspective. As much as the thought of the military being able to sort this problem out the reality is totally different. My sympathies go out to this guy (most people from Ardmore will know him). He has obviously had some major turmoil in his life and things have turned out very very bad for him. Not only is he never going to be abe to fly a plane again but he has some extremely serious criminal charges to face.

18th Sep 2005, 04:29
Some news sites (and pictures - it is certainly MBQ) here (http://news.google.co.nz/news?hl=en&lr=&cr=countryNZ&rls=GGLC,GGLC:1970-01,GGLC:en&tab=nn&ie=UTF-8&ncl=http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/newsdetail1.asp%3FstoryID%3D80434).

So is there anything definite on who it is? I have not seen today's paper.

I hope that, whoever the pilot was, he's able to get his life back on track, even once the legal issues have been dealt with.


18th Sep 2005, 04:32
Oktas...if you go and buy the "Herald on Sunday" there is a picture of the pilot after he was dragged from the water. If you know the guy you will instantly recognise him. I think it may be better to not have his name splashed over this forum. Already released......a-cat, former Massey Instructor...his name may be next.

18th Sep 2005, 04:37
Yes nice bloke..pity..he did have the authority (and key) to that aircraft so he didn't steal it..so he shouldn't get charged for that..as for all the other stupid things he did...temporary insanity seems to be a plea that does very well in the NZ courts these days..

..lets say he is just the First to loose it in an increasingly stressed out industry.:uhoh:

18th Sep 2005, 04:46

The guy did my "b" cat some years ago. I have flown with him, drank with him, worked with him, and laughed with him.
This is so far out of character I am stunned. I feel for you at the moment buddy. Life WILL get better......
Please can all you other fellow aviator's keep his name away from here as I am sure those media LEECH WORM'S will take care of that.. BUGGER:uhoh:

18th Sep 2005, 05:15
fighter jets wouldnt have made much difference considering they were based at ohakea a couple of hundred kms south, navy seasprite from devonport might have had a bit of firepower though, but as some other posters have said it would have been more dangerous to those on the ground

18th Sep 2005, 05:15
I totally agree. Let's remember that the media monitor's these forums. His name will no doubt be released in the coming week but everyone has a family and it would be better for them to find out through a relative than via the media and/or here.

Remember, everyone has a breaking point......

18th Sep 2005, 05:45
yes indeed whiteknuckles.....the filth of the media do lurk in here...the media are bath tub scum suckers!

Everybody has a breaking point as you mentioned. I am not defending his actions at all, however, for those of you who do not know him he was... polite. mild mannered. sociable... a great instructor and a general good bastard! So again be careful not to give to much away on here for now fellas:::yuk:


18th Sep 2005, 05:50
Whether this guy had a problem is beside the point. He could have had it packed with explosives and kamikazed into a major public venue. Better it falls into the city elsewhere. In this case there was no option but to accept the consequenses of his actions. We had no possible means of taking out this guy and what if it had been something bigger?
You never know, he might have crashed into Helen Clark's office.

18th Sep 2005, 05:52
Thinking objectively, no call for military action for this type of event. The Rockwell Commander 112 TC that hit the building in Milan, and the 172 into the building in Tampa, in both cases the aircraft and persons in them came off second best.

Even in the US with the 172, they sent an unarmed coast guard helicopter after it, not fast jets.

I think the action taken was appropriate, the situation looks like it has been diffused without any life being lost.

I hope former colleagues and students of this person rally behind them to help them through this difficult time.

Well done to the police for not exaggerating the incident beyond what it was, a cry for help.

18th Sep 2005, 05:55
Thats so sad, I flew MBQ a number of times and it was one of better PA28s in the fleet. Its a shame because they really need more cherokees to ensure everyone is completed on time this semester, looks like MBC might have to pressed back in to service.

I find it suprising that in a situation like this that people think that shooting down the aircraft is the solution. If fighters were based at Whenuapai then it would have been feasable, stupid, but feasable but they would't have been able to do it if fighters were based at Ohakea. Negotiators on the frequency would be able to ascertain if the threat to the sky tower was credible and as someone else has mentioned shooting it down would probably do more damage.

Oz Ocker
18th Sep 2005, 06:12
Geez it don't take sum of youse long ta ferget 911 (the Twin Towers, and Pentagone) does it!

Nice bloke or not, this fella has just highlighted to any pertential suicide fliers, a major flaw in New Zealands Non Defence Force.

Seems like sum of youse might've also forgotten the flight manuals linked to sum terrorists that were found in New Zealand just after 911 as well.

Be seein youse round.

18th Sep 2005, 06:25
What was the APPROPRIATE action? They had no choice but to let this guy( terrorist?) do what ever he wanted to do.

18th Sep 2005, 06:31
Skol, you miss my point.... This is a cherokee which let's use your argument, had been packed with explosives. Look at the useful load of a cherokee and the amount of explosives you could pack. High explosives are difficult to source. Fertiliser is the next option which wouldn't have done much in a light a/c. This is not the first time and unfortunately not the last time this will happen. Without giving too much away I am in a position which regularly reviews terrorist possibilities. This is simply someone who has had things spiral out of control. If he had driven a car (which is heavier than a cherokee) into a restaurant there would have been more dangers. The Tampa situation which has been mentioned is in the US of A with one of the largest militaries in the world yet they did not shoot down that light aircraft. Why?...because it would have most likely caused more destruction on the ground. When there is a threat it must be looked at objectively. Could a light aircraft be packed with explosives?......possibly but certainly not probably. I would be extremely surprised if any country in the world would shoot down a light a/c over a major city. A light a/c even crashed onto the lawn of the White House not so long ago.

I say again....let's keep this in perspective.

I watched One News tonight and they released the pilot's name. Those of us who already knew this did not release his name here. Let's not start any sort of character assasination here as has been the case with some a/c accidents. He obviously needs some help in rebuilding his life and those of us who know him should not make this any harder.

I repeat......keep this in perspective...this was not a terrorist attack.

18th Sep 2005, 06:37
18.09.05 1.00pm

It has emerged the man who allegedly threatened to crash a light plane into Auckland's Sky Tower last night, is a former instructor at Massey University's flying school.

The man took the Piper Cherokee without authority from the school's base at Ardmore aerodrome, and flew low over the city centre.

A police helicopter shadowed the plane's movements until it eventually crashed into the sea off Kohimarama beach in East Auckland.

Auckland city police communications manager Noreen Hegarty said in a statement to NZPA today that the pilot, who was taken to hospital about 9.40pm last night, was to be interviewed by police today.

He is believed to be in a serious but not critical condition.

The restaurants in Sky Tower had been evacuated as a precaution because of the plane's flight path, police said.

Police are carrying out a criminal investigation in tandem with the Civil Aviation Authority's safety investigation. The aircraft was recovered from Kohimarama Beach this morning when it was put onto a barge and delivered to land-based secure storage where the CAA investigators will continue their work.

Despite early conjecture that the man's actions may have been politically motivated, it is understood the man was emotionally upset over recent relationship difficulties.

He remains in Auckland Hospital with his injuries and under police guard.



Text-book wreckage recovery effort in Auckland has the Civil Aviation Authority on target for a quick crash investigation.

The plane crashed into the sea off St Heliers just before ten on Saturday night.

CAA spokesman Bill Sommer says a wing had separated from the aircraft, but there were no real recovery problems.

The team had arrived at the scene early because they were concerned the winds and tides might hamper the recovery effort, but it was actually a quick and simple retrieval.

Mr Sommer says the salvage team had most of the plane in before lunchtime. The wreckage has been taken to a secure facility so investigators can figure out why the plane went into the water.

He says the CAA is concerned only with why the plane went down. Other issues are being investigated by police.

The man who allegedly threatened to crash the Piper Cherokee into Auckland's Sky Tower, is a former instructor at Massey University's flying school. It's alleged he took the Piper Cherokee without authority from the school's base at Ardmore aerodrome, and flew low over the city centre.

A police helicopter shadowed the plane's movements until it eventually crashed into the sea off Kohimarama beach, from where the wreckage has been retrieved.

It is understood the man was emotionally upset over recent relationship difficulties.

During the height of the incident about 500 people were evacuated from Auckland's Sky Tower observation deck and restaurants, however, the SkyCity Casino at the base of the tower was not evacuated.


One of New Zealand's most respected pilots was responsible for an election night security scare by threatening to fly a stolen aircraft into Auckland's Sky Tower.

Police have interviewed .................... who took the Piper Cherokee, owned by Massey University, from Ardmore Airport in South Auckland on Saturday night.

.................... was at the controls as the plane flew over the city for several hours before crashing into the sea off Kohimarama Beach.

Police said the qualified pilot was believed to have stolen the plane at 7pm from Ardmore, south of the city.

International airport control tower staff notified police of an unidentified aircraft at about 8.15pm.

Police say they had no direct contact with the plane, instead the pilot was talking to air traffic controllers, telling them he intended to crash into the Sky Tower.

"While there has been some speculation about the pilot's motivation, police at this stage do not believe his actions were politically motivated," police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty said.

About 500 people were evacuated from Sky Tower's observation deck and restaurants around 9pm after it became apparent the light aircraft was approaching the structure - the tallest in the southern hemisphere.

Orbit Restaurant diner John Ewins said he saw a set of lights pass the window about 9.15pm and shortly after patrons were asked to leave via 57 flights of stairs.

The Sky City Casino at the base of the tower was not evacuated.

"Not long after the evacuation was completed, the plane crashed into the water about 50 metres offshore on an outgoing tide at about 9.40pm," Police Inspector Jim Wilson said.

"The pilot was able to make his way - unassisted - to the beach where medical treatment was administered. He was taken to Auckland Hospital by ambulance."

A bystander at Kohimarama Beach near where the plane crashed said plain clothes police used force after diving in to rescue the pilot.

"At one stage they were dragging him by the neck. They were treating him like a real criminal," Michael Donohue said.

.................., one of New Zealand's most respected light aircraft pilots, is a former instructor with Massey University's flying school. He and his wife had just returned from Fiji where they had been living for six months. Those close to him say ................ was upset as the pair had recently parted.

.............. is in a stable condition and under guard at Auckland hospital.

The aircraft was recovered by barge on Sunday morning and taken to a storage facility for a Civil Aviation Authority investigation.

CAA spokesman Bill Sommer says if it appears the man ditched the plane intentionally, the investigation will be solely a police matter.

The incident was the second major security scare in New Zealand in a week, after a man with a fake bomb occupied a high-rise hotel for more than 12 hours in Tauranga on Thursday.

18th Sep 2005, 06:47
The police say it was not a terrorist attack but who knows the truth?
It could have been a bigger a/c packed with explosives.
What would have happened, who knows. Very naive I would say.
We have absolutely no means of protecting ourselves. Tell us all(with your inside info) what the plan is if this guy was really serious?

18th Sep 2005, 06:58
Skol, the appropriate course of action WAS taken. No one was injured other than himself. As for naivity.......if we had a squadran of F-18's the same action would have been taken. The same thing would have happened in Sydney, London and Washington. This is not the movies. A missile would have been ineffective. A cannon projectile would have gone through a light a/c like it was paper and would have caused far more problems on the ground.

As for "The police say it was not a terrorist attack but who knows the truth?".....I can categorically say that this was NOT a terrorist act.....what exactly do you mean "if this guy was serious"? What do you propose should have been done if all the resources in the world were available to you?

The pilot has been hospitalised and will be able to rebuild his life...no one else was injured. A perfect resolution I must say.

18th Sep 2005, 07:08
How do you know this was not a terrorist attack (with your inside info)? It may well have been. No court case has been held yet. Reports on the news say this was one of the country's most "respected pilots". Is this what the country's most 'respected pilots" do?
Answer the question (with your inside info), what will happen if it is the real deal, in your judgement, (with your inside info)?
Let us all be thankful he's not a 747 captain.

18th Sep 2005, 07:33
Skol, this is getting out of hand. I know this was not terrorism. There are safeguards in place with multi-crew situations if he was a 747 captain. I know this guy personally as do a lot of other posters here and this is so out of character it is a real shock. As for not having a court case yet, the "sub judice" rule applies.

As for "the real deal"? I presume you mean a terrorist threat?

The response will be limited but you have to guage the threats on a risk basis. Is it more likely that a truck full of fertiliser is detonated (Oklahoma - Timothy McVea) than an a/c is used as a weapon (Sept 11)? A light a/c poses such a small risk that it is not deemed to be worth trying to combat. This is an ICAO decision not just my opinion. How could you combat a light a/c taking off from an airstrip somewhere? Aviation Security conferences have deemed that an a/c of a certain category are of sufficient risk that they need to be protected. An a/c weighing a couple of thousand pounds would not cause much of an issue. It is also a factor of momentum (The weight of the object and the speed it travels). Therefore there is upgraded security where jet a/c are concerned. You didn't aswer my question Skol. What would You have done if all the resources in the world were available to you?

This situation is a tragedy for the pilot not for anyone else. Let's not "talk this up" and make it more than what it is.

18th Sep 2005, 07:55
I notice you only registered yesterday, after this incident.

You DO NOT know this was not a terrorist attack because all the facts are not yet known and the matter is yet to come before the courts, so stop jumping the gun.
You say the a/c couldn't do much damage because it only weighed a couple of thousand pounds. Depends on the speed, as you say. What if it was a Fouga, say, or other light jet from Ardmore, single pilot, does that count?
They'll do a few hundred knots.
Your damage control exercise is strange to say the least, read Oz Ockers post above.
I said before that this deranged individual could have decided on a large public venue, maybe one softer than the Skytower. If force was necessary, then that's what's required, in order to protect the public interest, even if a small number need to perish to protect a far larger number.
I'm a multi crew pilot as you call it, tell us all about the safeguards in place. I don't know what you're talking about. Are you sure you're in the aviation business?

18th Sep 2005, 08:05
unfortunately for xxxxxx, it's nothing short of basic theft:

Crimes Act 1961

[219.Theft or stealing—

(1)Theft or stealing is the act of,—

(a)dishonestly and without claim of right, taking any property with intent to deprive any owner permanently of that property or of any interest in that property; or

(b)dishonestly and without claim of right, using or dealing with any property with intent to deprive any owner permanently of that property or of any interest in that property after obtaining possession of, or control over, the property in whatever manner.

(2)An intent to deprive any owner permanently of property includes an intent to deal with property in such a manner that—

(a)the property cannot be returned to any owner in the same condition; or

(b)any owner is likely to be permanently deprived of the property or of any interest in the property.

and basic threats:

[307A.Threats of harm to people or property—

(1)Everyone is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years if, without lawful justification or reasonable excuse, and intending to achieve the effect stated in subsection (2), he or she—

(a)threatens to do an act likely to have one or more of the results described in subsection (3); or

(b)communicates information—

(i)that purports to be about an act likely to have one or more of the results described in subsection (3); and

(ii)that he or she believes to be false.

(2)The effect is causing a significant disruption of one or more of the following things:

(a)the activities of the civilian population of New Zealand:

(b)something that is or forms part of an infrastructure facility in New Zealand:

(c)civil administration in New Zealand (whether administration undertaken by the Government of New Zealand or by institutions such as local authorities, District Health Boards, or boards of trustees of schools):

(d)commercial activity in New Zealand (whether commercial activity in general or commercial activity of a particular kind).

(3)The results are—

(a)creating a risk to the health of one or more people:

(b)causing major property damage:

(c)causing major economic loss to one or more persons:

(d)causing major damage to the national economy of New Zealand.

Cloud Cutter
18th Sep 2005, 08:16

The speculation on your behalf is what I would concider 'jumping the gun'. This was never going to be a torrorist attack and it is ignorant of you to think so. As stated, the maximum kinetic energy and therefore destructive power of a cherokee makes it an unlikely weapon, and not really worth worrying about when compared to a truck full of fertiliser and diesle. Shooting down a light aircraft would almost never be the best option.

I think we are dealing with a well respected individual who for various reasons has become unstable. It's safe to say he had no real intention of hurting anyone but himself. Unfortunately these things happen and he will hopefully get the help and support he needs.

18th Sep 2005, 08:17
Skol, let's keep this objective. I only registered today not yesterday. I registered because I felt I needed to comment on this. (I have previously been a member here)

As for a fouga....it crashed in the Firth of Thames with a tragic loss of two lives.

Why is my argument strange to say the least? It is not my argument but that of ICAO and all regulators around the world. OZ Ockers argument adds nothing new to this. I find it difficult to compare sept 11 with jet airliners in a co-ordinated attack to a lone Piper Cherokee.

It is you Sir, who is "jumping the gun". When everythings points to this not being an act of terrorism why stir things up by suggesting it is? A court case such as this may take 6 months to resolve.

He was NOT a deranged individual, just somoene who has found things too tough and this is a call for help.

I say again, for the third time, what would YOU have done differently?

I guess you think the Tauranga "cordon and contain" approach with the recent bomb threat was a soft approach?

Do not make this more than it is. It is irresponsible and unfair to the person involved.

Chief Chook
18th Sep 2005, 08:30
Some photos courtesy of spindoctor
And this one also from spindoctor

18th Sep 2005, 08:36
Also Skol, as for safeguards in a multi-crew situation, if one person was to try and commit suicide the crew would not let them. It is CRM. If you do not agree with the course of action you comment, if you do not get a reply, you intervene. As for me being in the aviation business, please do not get personal (I hold an ATPL for the record).

Oz Ocker
18th Sep 2005, 08:40
Whiteknuckles ya don't really get it do ya mate.

It wouldnt matter if no=one was killed.
The aim of terrarists is to create TERROR and panic in a society.
Intentionally crashing a plane into a high profile city high rise buildin will do exactly that.

Loaded full of fuel, and few hundred extra kgs inside is gunna make for a pretty impressive inferno that's guarenteed to get full press covrage.

18th Sep 2005, 08:58
OZ, I totally agree, that is what terrorism is. What I am saying is that this was NOT terrorism and there is very little anyone can do to prevent a light a/c from doing just that. A light a/c will do very little damage hence the ICAO security provisions. What don't I get?

Oz Ocker
18th Sep 2005, 09:07
A light a/c will do very little damage
"Relative to 911", is what ya fergot ta add.
It is still capable of creatin a bl00dy lotta TERROR and panic and makin a spectacular fireball fer a few hours Sirens wailin, streets blocked orf, lotsa spectators and media.What I am saying is that this was NOT terrorism But no-one knew that AT THE TIME when they evacuated the buildings mate!

Who knows that the poor bloke involved wasn't thinkin of drivin it into the Sky Tower initially, but at least realised that if he did do that he'd kill people.

Be seein' youse round.

18th Sep 2005, 09:16
This is getting melodramatic.......they DID know at the time hence the delay in evacuation. They were in contact with him (I know this).

This was NOT, I repeat NOT terrorism....it is an unfortunate event which has torn the life of one good bugger to pieces. Have some respect.

18th Sep 2005, 10:17
Last time I looked, there was no definition of "fit and proper person" to hold an aircrew license in NZ.

This is left to the director to decide, whether this is consistant or has oversight/transparancy is not clear...

Therefore, your colleague could be back at work before you know it:ok:

18th Sep 2005, 10:25
Hi to all

I agree that this is a very sad occasion for all involved. But what saddens me more is that this will inevitably be another nail in the GA coffin.

This is the last thing we need.


18th Sep 2005, 10:29
? Last time I looked, there was no definition of "fit and proper person" to hold an aircrew license in NZ.

But with criminal convictions for 'Stealing an Aeroplane' and 'Threatening to Fly It Into the Sky Tower', he's not going to get too far is he

18th Sep 2005, 10:49
Show me the law that says so...

But seriously, I'm with you sir pratt.

Point is, there is nothing black and white to say yes or no.

So, on your side of the ditch, the ludicrous situation is, there is really nothing to prevent it, other than how the director feels that day. A new director may feel this is ok. Another might not like folks with speeding tickets.

I'm off this now - just giving you food for thought

18th Sep 2005, 10:57
There are several stupid things going on here.

Firstly, his name is all over the news and will be in every paper tommorrow, so why the reticence to publish it here? It is a matter of public record.

Secondly, there was never a terrorist threat. It appears that ATC knew very early indeed that the problem was an emotional one. If the guy had intended to fly into the Skytower, there would have been a big bang before anybody really knew what was going on. He wasn't even trying to be stealthy - he had his trobes on.

Thirdly, the Skytower was evacuated because they had absolutely no option - not because they thought it was about to sprout a Cherokee.

Fourthly, no amount of security would have prevented this.

And lastly, the chap concerned is about to pay for his actions - I doubt he will ever be permitted to hold a medical again. I actually applaud him for having the sense, in the end, to not endanger anybody else by his actions. It appears that he just wanted to die, hopefully those who know him will be able to offer some support.

And finally...


Last time I looked, there was no definition of "fit and proper person" to hold an aircrew license in NZ.

The Civil Aviation Act 1990 (as amended), Part 1.10 specifies the "criteria for fit and proper person test".

This test is for "for the purpose of determining whether or not a person is a fit and proper person for any purpose under this Act".

"Any purpose" clearly includes holding a flight crew licence. It is there in black and white.

Oz Ocker
18th Sep 2005, 11:19
It appears that ATC knew very early indeed that the problem was an emotional one.
Read on...

On January 5th 1977, Alice Springs had its own “September 11” when a suicide pilot flew a stolen aeroplane into the Connair complex at the airport, killing himself and four staff members.

Connair was the local airline. Launched back in 1939 and initially called Connellan Airways after its founder Eddie or ‘E.J.’ Connellan, it began as a mail shuttle from Alice Springs to Wyndham, W.A. At its peak, it served 132 towns and cattle stations, delivering mail and passengers as well as doing flying doctor runs. In the 1977 tragedy, not only did Liana Nappi, a secretary in the airline office, lose her life but Eddie Connellan’s son Roger and two aircraft engineers also died.

I first heard about the tragedy when I took my father to visit the Central Australian Aviation Museum in 2002. He said he vaguely remembered the incident having happened in Alice Springs in the 1970s. I had been living in the town for nearly four years and I had never heard anything about it. I wondered whether he had his facts straight. I felt sure I would have known about something so dramatic and decided it probably happened elsewhere.

There was nothing about it in the museum and Perry Morey, the historian there, explained why. He said the families of the dead hadn’t given permission for this chapter of aviation history to be included in the exhibits or for any commemoration ceremonies; they felt it was too soon. Mr. Morey had proposed a short summary of the incident for the museum but until family members gave permission, it remained classified information.

I could understand that. A boy with whom I was at primary school in Adelaide lost his twin brother in New York on September 11, 2001. It is a knife to his heart each time he sees those TV images of smoke pouring out of the twin towers. No one seems to care how relatives feel every time that footage is repeated.

Still, I was curious to find out more about the Alice Springs tragedy.

The next day I came across a web page by a Professor David Dolan from Curtin University of Technology in Perth, upset that there was no information about the tragedy beyond a mention in the museum’s brochure that Roger Connellan was killed in an aircraft accident in 1977. Professor Dolan was concerned because when he was at the museum, he overheard a couple discussing the incident, the man insisting that Roger Connellan had been not one of the victims but the suicide pilot! Dolan feared that inaccurate versions of the event might increase pain for the bereaved relatives.

Perhaps I could set the record straight, I thought, as I wandered among the graves of the Connair staff in the Alice Springs General Cemetery. There is also a memorial to them in the Rotary Park near Heavitree Gap and a Roger Connellan Water Fountain at the Araluen arts centre. Liana has a road at the airport and a block of flats in Nicker Crescent named after her and a Liana Nappi Memorial Award is given annually to the best local drama students.

I started with Jose Petrick’s book and then looked up back copies of the local newspaper, The Centralian Advocate, to try to piece together what happened.

The suicide pilot was no fundamentalist Arab nor crazed war veteran but an unhappy young Englishman called Colin Forman, who had worked for Connair for a short time in early 1976. He had stolen the twin-engine aircraft in Wyndham before daylight and crashed it just before eleven o’clock that morning.

The plane smashed into the middle of the Connair complex, carrying 32-year old Roger Connellan with it. His body was found in a drain on the other side of the building. He had been decapitated by one of the propellers.

to be continued

The explosion of the fuselage also instantly killed two aircraft engineers who had been working in the machine shop. One was a 31- year-old Swiss immigrant called Markus Chittoni, whose widow took their baby daughter back to Switzerland afterwards, and the other was 48-year-old Ron Dymock, who was on a working holiday with his family and whose body was sent back to Brisbane.

Four other aircraft engineers were injured, two seriously. One of the less injured was 60-year-old Leo Butler, who managed to pull the 19-year-old Liana Nappi from the flames and later received a bravery award for it. She had only got the job as a typist a couple of weeks previously and as it was just after Christmas and New Year, she had only worked there a few days. She had been wearing nylon clothes that burnt straight up and she was screaming, which made the fuel go down her throat. She received burns to 60 percent of her body, mainly the top half, and died a few days later.

The people that the disgruntled ex-employee had wanted to kill, as mentioned in his suicide letter found later, didn’t even work at Connair any more.

I went to see Monique’s mother, Liana’s younger sister Laura, to see what she thought about me doing a story about this horrific event and she put me on to the two aircraft engineers who had been seriously injured, Tony Byrnes and Kym Hansen. Of the two survivors, Tony was a man of few words while Kym was more talkative.

Tony was 21 at the time of the disaster. He had been doing an engine conversion on a Heron when the plane hit.

“I didn’t hear a thing – I didn’t know what happened.”

His mate Kym, 23, was just about to walk out of the workshop when a flying brick knocked him out. When he came to, he went to the toilet to wash his hands. “The skin was hanging off them,” he said. He hadn’t known what had happened either and thought that a tray of petrol, used for cleaning engine parts, had ignited.

Although both men were badly burned, Kym’s loss of consciousness had saved him from burns to the face. There was smoke everywhere and they staggered outside to escape the incredible heat, realizing when they saw the hangar that something major had occurred.

Once they were in a stable enough condition to travel, they were sent to the Burns Unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, where they spent three months. Tony had burns to 58% of his body and Kym to 56%. They had to wear anti-scarring suits to make sure the skin didn’t shrink as it healed and do physiotherapy to keep their joints moving. The painkillers were never enough to ease the agony.

Kym says he was a bit aggressive while in hospital and told everyone to “piss off”. Partly it was the drugs, partly his volatile nature. The hospital staff called in a chaplain but having religion forced on him only aggravated matters.

While it was Kym’s in-built will to survive that got him through these difficult months, Tony credits the support of his family and girlfriend. He had only been going out with Colleen a couple of weeks when the crash happened but she followed him to Adelaide and stayed with friends. Every day during those three months she would take two buses to the hospital and then home again.

Colleen says that the circumstances would normally have pulled two 21-year-olds apart but there was something deeper there. Twenty-seven years and four kids later, they are still together in the town where Tony was born. He now owns his own aircraft engineering company while Colleen runs a sewing shop.

Tony and Kym spent the rest of 1977 in and out of hospital, having skin grafts. “Everything was a challenge,” says Kym, “even a shave was a pain in the arse.”

Around a year after the disaster, Tony and Kym went back to work, doing light duties. This was 12 months sooner than doctors recommended but both men were keen to put the past behind them and get on with life. Kym describes his first day back in that same machine shop as a “bit scary”, especially when someone accidentally ignited a tray of petrol!

Neither of them has had any psychological counseling but each has been helped by the knowledge that the other was in the same terrible situation. The two friends have dealt with their trauma by refusing to dwell on it. Both Speedway fans, they got back into their favourite sport as soon as possible.

Eighteen months afterwards, Kym married, then had two sons and is now a grandfather. He worked for Ansett until it folded and recently started work for Chartair, running the engine overhaul shop, which is right next door to the old machine shop. “It was weird walking back in there 30 years later” [since his first day with Connair].

Occasionally, the past comes back to haunt Kym. He was quite on edge, visiting the Backdraft set at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, and seeing photos of Bali bombing victims brought back his own memories of horror. The people he felt for most on September 11, 2001 were those escaping the fires in the Twin Towers, “those poor bastards coming out of the bottom,” he said. “It’s not something people can really understand unless they’ve been through it themselves. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”

If Tony and Kym speak rarely of the accident, then the people of Alice Springs don’t talk about it much either. The attack was like 9/11 in miniature; the whole community was stunned and people still carry with them the horror of that time. The population was half what it is now and everybody knew someone who was personally affected. The tragedy made world news, although it was soon forgotten elsewhere. Less than two weeks later, the Granville train disaster happened in Sydney.

On a blustery October day, Kym Hansen showed me around the old Connair building. He pointed to where he had been standing when the plane hit and where the two engineers had died. He said they were charred and their bodies were still standing when the firemen came in. He showed me the stairs that Roger had been about to come down and the office where Liana had been sitting, in a room that faced the runway. No one will ever know whether she saw the plane coming.

Chartair only use the hangars and the workshop; their offices and passenger lounge are in another building. No one works in any of the rooms where people died. Only a handful of people work in that building compared to about 30 when Connair used it.

So well did Kym describe the approach of the killer plane that it sounded as if he had seen it but he said he had not. Roger Conellan’s younger brother Chris put me on to the only eyewitness, a man called Brian Cairns. Brian still goes cold when he thinks about what he saw.

The former engineering manager and his 15-year-old son Mark, who was on work experience, had been working on electronic equipment for a DC-3 that was parked outside the hangar. They had just stepped outside when Brian noticed an aeroplane approach the building from the far side of the runway. It had been heading east and swung around to the north. It was coming low and fast and Brian wondered aloud what the pilot was doing. It flashed through his mind that maybe he was in trouble.

Then when the plane was headed straight for the Connair complex, they heard the engines go into full power – when they really scream. “Run,” Brian shouted and they both dashed in the opposite direction. At the last moment, Brian turned round to see the plane bank to avoid the nose of the DC-3 before it plunged into the building. The fact that the left wing had lifted to avoid the DC-3 was key evidence in the coroner’s report that the plane was under control and that the pilot’s actions were deliberate and not accidental.

After the impact, there was total silence. “It felt like five minutes but it was probably only half a minute. People were in total shock. No sirens went off or anything – even people in the control tower were stunned.”

Brian was one of the first to move and, after they got everyone out, he went next door to the SAATAS building and rang E.J’s personal secretary, Leslie Oldfield. He told her what had happened and got her to ring the police, fire brigade, ambulance and E.J, who was out at his station, Narwietooma. “Just come,” she told E.J., who flew down immediately while his wife Evie and younger son Chris drove in.

As for the airline, it was service as usual. The flight to Ayers Rock left on time at 2.30 that afternoon.

Local businessman Reg Harris met E.J. on the airstrip. “Is Roger among the dead?” was the first thing he wanted to know. Reg said the police would talk to him. E.J. didn’t want to believe it and would only hear it from Brian Cairns.

As well as doing engineering, Mr. Cairns also buried the dead. In 1972, his son, daughter-in-law and grandson had been killed in an air crash. The family had to wait ten agonizing days to bury their dead and afterwards, Brian decided to start up Centre Funeral Services. Reg Harris agreed that the town needed a decent funeral director and assisted with premises.

Of the victims’ funerals, Roger Connellan’s was the largest. Four hundred people packed the Catholic Church and three aeroplanes flew over the cemetery during the burial.

The suicide pilot, Colin Forman, got a quiet Anglican burial in an unmarked pauper’s grave, not far from the final resting places of Roger Connellan, Markus Chittoni and Liana Nappi.

I felt very nervous about going to see Liana’s parents, Mario and Fiorella. When Jose Petrick had interviewed Liana’s mother for her book some years earlier, it had been quite traumatic for both of them and Liana’s sister Laura had said: “Mum still cries when she talks about her.” But Fiorella didn’t cry as she told me of her daughter’s last days. Over the years, she has come to terms with her loss as best she can.

Early on the 5th of January, Liana arrived at her parents’ house because her car wouldn’t go properly. Laura, who was 13 then and on school holidays, remembers grouching at Liana because she’d woken her up and spoilt her lovely sleep-in. That was the last time Laura saw her older sister and she still regrets that last argument.

Mario had a look at the car and it turned out that there was no water in the radiator. “It was one of those mornings,” said Fiorella. “She hadn’t had breakfast because she was worried about the car so I gave her breakfast. She didn’t feel like going to work. I told her, ‘don’t worry about going to work’. It was just after the holiday period and she wouldn’t have much to do anyway. But as the new girl, she felt she’d better go.”

Late in the morning, Laura heard the news on the radio and told her mum, “I think something’s happened at the airport.” Fiorella sent Mario down to investigate and he was gone ages.

He got no closer than 200 metres from the airport as there was a roadblock and security guards. “They put the cord around.” All he could see was distant smoke and he was told that the firemen were still working there. Eventually some ambulances came out and he followed them to the hospital.

“When we arrived at the hospital, Liana said, ‘I told them not to let you look at me,’ and that was about the last thing she said. Liana was really angry that they let us see her.”

Liana had always taken care of her appearance and never stepped out of the house with a hair out of place. Now her hair was all singed, her face was black and only the top of her head was okay – that was where her mother stroked her, soothed her.

The next few days are a blur for Fiorella. She flew to Adelaide, where Liana was being treated, and remembers getting off the plane and being asked if she wanted to talk to the media. When she told them no, they led her down a different passage. Mario joined her a day or two later.

At the hospital, Fiorella’s heart sank lower each time she talked to the doctors about her daughter’s condition. Liana was mainly unconscious and dosed up on morphine. She was unable to talk and could only move one arm a bit – she was wearing a special suit. Conversations between her and her mother were by intuition – Mum would ask her simple questions like ‘do you need a drink’ – although Liana wasn’t actually able to drink. As time went by, it became clear that she wasn’t going to live and she died on January 10.

“If she hadn’t been burned inside she would have survived but it would have taken years of painful operations to make her look anything like before,” said Fiorella.

After the funeral, Fiorella took to her bed a lot – there was not much worth getting up for. The atmosphere at home was tense, with Laura and her younger sister Linda having to “tiptoe around”, figuratively and literally. Their father reacted by being even stricter with them than he had been with Liana and Liana’s life had been repressed enough.

“She died before she lived,” Fiorella says. Liana had left home and got a flat a month or two before the tragedy but had had no time to enjoy adult life. On the other hand, age would not wither her nor the years condemn. Liana was saved from becoming a disillusioned forty-something, full of lost hopes and almost-forgotten dreams. She was spared from the pains of future tragedies, of growing old and being forgotten. She will always be a bright young thing.

Fiorella now believes that our destinies are pre-written and after finding some of Liana’s poems in the Alice Springs High School yearbooks of the early seventies, I wonder if somehow Liana knew subconsciously what lay ahead.

“Fate is a strange thing,” says Fiorella. She doesn’t blame anyone in particular for what happened, not even the pilot. “He had his grudges because he had been sacked and wanted to hurt the company, not anyone in particular. I think he wanted to prove himself and damage the company – little did he think about the people – he didn’t even know anybody.” Mario adds: “It’s like those people in the United States who get the sack and bring a gun to the office.”

It seems that Colin Richard Forman was the classic misfit, the type of angry loner who may end up shooting his high-school classmates. The Centralian Advocate quoted his fellow work mates as describing the 23-year-old as a “shy young man with a chip on his shoulder”. He was arrogant and hard to get along with, they said, and people used to laugh at him.

Kym Hansen says: “He was a bit plump and walked funny – he had splayed feet or something. While the other pilots carried fancy leather cases, he had a crappy cardboard satchel.”

No one I have come across knew him personally, as he didn’t make friends easily, and details about him are sketchy. I tried to track down his family in England but couldn’t even find out their names.

NT Archives had a little information in a 1996 interview of Reg Harris [Reg Harris, Oral history interview, NTRS 226 – TS 859, Northern Territory Archives Service]. Apparently Colin Forman migrated to Australia alone in the early 1970s and drove trams in Melbourne. It was difficult for him to adjust to being so far from his family and in 1974, he was so homesick he forged a QANTAS ticket back to England and had a conviction recorded against him.

He was obsessed with flying and in November 1975 got a commercial pilot’s licence at what was the Nationwide Aviation Space Academy at Cessnock, NSW. He came to Alice Springs after graduating and got a job with Connair in January 1976. According to ex-Connair pilot Dave Frederiksen, on the day of his interview he walked all the way to the airport from town in his flying school uniform.

They employed him as ‘second crew’, as they did all new graduates, and he flew on the Herons. ‘Second crew’ members were really cabin attendants who got to sit in the cockpit to see how things were done. To be promoted to First Officer he had to be competent at various tasks and he failed his instrument rating, so he was sent to Darwin. It was there that they discovered the ticket forgery, so they dismissed him.

He got another job flying with Ord Air Charter, based in Kununurra, but he still brooded about his time with Connair, which he described in his suicide letter as the happiest seven weeks of his life. He only lasted a couple of months because he would dive at the airstrips and only straighten out at the last minute. After too many complaints from station owners, he was sacked from Ord Air Charter in the September.

For some reason, he blamed Connair for this unhappy chain of events and began plotting his revenge. Christmas was approaching but instead of decorating trees he was making plans and posting death threats. By then, he was living in Mount Isa but he’d worked out that the planes he had access to at the aero club there wouldn’t do enough damage. So after New Year, he drove to Wyndham, where he knew he could get access to planes and he knew where the keys were hidden.

The first plane he tried was a decent-sized flying doctor plane but he could only get one engine going, so he had to leave it and go for a smaller Beechcraft Baron with the registration number VH-ENA. Before he left he wrote in his pilot’s logbook:

“January 5 1977 VH-ENA Wyndham
-Alice Springs Suicide Mission


He had a four-hour journey ahead of him but actually took five hours because he circled the plane for an hour. He had wanted to crash at smoko time, which was just after 10am, as he wanted “to kill and maim as many employees of Connair Pty Ltd as possible”. He’d forgotten about the time-zone differences and didn’t arrive until just before eleven.

As he approached the airport, he switched on his radio and broadcast one final message: “It is better to die with honor than live without it – Echo – November – Alpha.” Seconds later, he crashed.

Fiorella Nappi says that if someone could have contacted him during the flight, they might have talked him out of it. “It shouldn’t have happened but there was no warning, nothing we could do about it.”

Brian Cairns says that if he had managed to get both engines started on the RFDS plane, he would have run out of fuel before he got to Alice Springs.

Kym Hansen thinks a lot about “what if” as well. He had been out on the town with his mates the night before and he’d arrived at work about 15 minutes before the plane hit. After a “grilling from the boss” he was just walking into the machine shop. If he’d gotten to work on time, perhaps he would have been killed.

As Liana’s mother says, “A tiny little word means everything in life – if.”

Tarla Kramer

18th Sep 2005, 12:58
Not sure what your point is, but a disgruntled employee trying to take out his ex-employer is one thing, and a guy hurt by a broken relationship with his partner is something else.

Also, in your example there was no warning, whereas in the Auckland incident, there was apparently a lot of communication on the radio.

Lastly, in one of my previous lives, I was involved in counselling. One thing we learned was that people who really want to kill themselves just do it, they don't tell anyone. The ones that announce their intention are really asking someone to stop them.

The guy in your story was screaming out for help.

Horatio Leafblower
18th Sep 2005, 13:54
A bloke I know was a member of the Mt Isa Aero Club at the time. He tells me that young Col was more than a little bit wierd.

He drove a Datsun 120Y (which he referred to as a D-One-Two-Zero-Yankee) and used to do a "Pre-start checklist" before turning the key:ooh:

Sounds like a very different situation to the poor bugger in NZ.

Oz Ocker
18th Sep 2005, 14:29
Colin was an extremely intelligent, and clever individual, who passed all of his exams - including ATPL subjects - at the first sitting.
He did attempt to contact his (probably) one and only friend, George, for days prior to the crash, and left messages on George's answering machine.
His passion was flying - that dream was destroyed when the young Connellan fired Colin, due to Colin's inability to hold an airport security pass because of his prior conviction.
He came from a very poor family, and had scrimped and saved every penny he'd earned to pay for his flying, which meant foregoing clothing, and having money to go out "with the boys", hence a lack of friends.

On the day of the crash, he was singing hymns on the ATC frequency, immediately prior to flying into the hangar.

18th Sep 2005, 18:58
For some reason some on this thread seem to trivialize the matter because he was 'good bloke' and 'needed help'. Mohammed Atta may have been a good bloke too and probably needed help. Who knows.
You keep saying this was not terrorism. The police are not so sure, see below, but of course you have the 'inside info' none of the rest of us are privy to.

Definition of terrorism:
!. The act of terrorising.
2. The use of violence or intimidation to achieve some goal.
Definition of terrorise:
To control by use of violence, fear or threats.

You say in a multi crew situation another pilot or pilots would intervene. It would be simple for another pilot to incapacitate another and do what he wanted. I've been a multi crew pilot since 1968. I'm not sure of your experience as a pilot.

The police admit this morning that they were powerless to do anything. They had no plan to bring it down they admitted.
They said that they could not have police on the ground shooting at it.
They were 'confident' he was not a member of a terrorist organisation.

No doubt these matters will be decided by the Courts.

My position is that if a Skyhawk was available and it became necessary to bring down a Cherokee or anything else for that matter then that is what has to be done if it is in the greater public interest.

18th Sep 2005, 19:54
You keep saying this was not terrorism. The police are not so sure

They were 'confident' he was not a member of a terrorist organisation.

Well ovbiously the Police don't believe he was a terrorist they just haven't completely determined if he was a member of the National Front, Exclusive Brethren or Country Womens Institue.

Please give an example of a situation where an aircraft, light or otherwise has been shot down over a populated area. If the daft action of shooting it down was taken surely this could have been accomplished in a similiarly daft way with a Seasprite or even the Eagle Helicopter. It could have been imobilised by shooting out the engine, where it would have still been possible to glide reducing the risk of hitting a building.

Still any action against the aircraft would have been likely to cause more damage than ascertaining the threat and monitoring the situation. It seems in this case that was done, a very emotionallly distressed man made threats of hitting the Sky Tower he was kept on frequency, clear that he only wanted to hurt himself and not others, it looks possible the aircraft became low on fuel and it was ditched in the water.

On another note it does seem that some posts here are of a journalistic nature despite the background posts that have been created.

18th Sep 2005, 20:17
Find another thread. You obviously don't much about shooting or aviation.
Shoot an engine from a helicopter? Never heard of anything so absurd in my life.
Next time I see the Westpac Rescue helicopter boys I'll ask them about their armoury.
No accident report has yet been published but you already have all the facts.

18th Sep 2005, 20:42
P.S. anyone know what that little http://www.pprune.org/forums/images/infopop/sendpm.gif button is for ?

Some of the comments above could have been offline via PM.


18th Sep 2005, 21:21
Oh dear, have we nothing better to argue about? Sadly NO amount of moaning and complaining is going to bring back the RNZAF strike wing so therefore this is all a little academic. Secondly IF there was a strike wing then I don't believe they would have reacted in time, because as MOR states he would have just gone and done it, not just talked about it for two hours. Did mohammed and his mates blab on the radio about how they wanted McDonalds out of Kabul and Ryiad? No , they just went and did it with no fu**ing about.

18th Sep 2005, 21:49
Of course its a stupid idea! Where did I say I had all the facts? I just don't believe that you need to create quite the hysteria that you are trying to create.

Ronnie Honker
18th Sep 2005, 23:11
Reality Check.
Lots of "good bloke" (he's and she's) pilots (train, bus, and truck drivers) go through stressful relationship break-ups, but don't resort to the actions of this person.
If YOU had been sitting in the Sky Tower with your family, and saw a light aircraft apparently threatening it, would YOU have continued merrily along, consoled by the "he's really a good bloke just going through a tough time" line?
Or would you have evacuated, because there was a possibility he WOULD drive the aircraft in?
(Don't worry, it's only a light aircraft, they don't make big bangs!)

My guess is this guy's career as a pilot is over.
He acted irresponsibly by stealing an aircraft, flew it illegally, used it in a threatening manner, as a potential weapon, and crashed it due to fuel exhaustion.

And SOME of you actually are trying to CONDONE his actions?!:mad:

Yes, he needs therapy - and I'm absolutely sure he'll get that, because he is a square peg in a round hole in society right now.
He'll probably also receive punishment for his CRIMES, but these will undoubtedly pale into insignificance compared with the loss of his profession as pilot, and the dollars and time he spent achieving that.
THAT will undoubtedly have a further impact on him psychologically.

18th Sep 2005, 23:45
You have to feel sorry for the guy, life obviously taken a bad turn for him but i imagine its nothing compared to what he's got in store for him now. Police really have no option but to throw the book at him. (regardless of his personal problems) If you want to get hung up on difinitions then yes it might be classed as terrorism. I beleive if the police had been really concerned then they could and would have brought him down.
Not and isolated incident in NZ. I remember 10+ years ago a man in Westport stole a 140 and crashed into the sea. Another incident dating back to the 60's when a crimm stole a C150 and ditched it in a lake in Fiordland with the intention if faking his own death and living bush for a while. Eventually he missed his local and retuned, the police caught him and he told them where he "parked" the aircraft. The real interesting part is that they actually retreived the 150 and its still flying to this day. (i beleive in Wellington)
Its a very hard thing to protect against and as was earlier noted, only makes it harder for the rest of us in GA and gives lots of whack jobs out there with a point to prove an idea.

Skol- its a small game and alot of people are mates with this dude, you really expect them to let you get stuck into him and compare him to a terrorist nut case? Drop it, you've made your point. By the way the police also have a helicopter, i doubt they'd throw westpac a couple of machine guns and ask them for a favour.

19th Sep 2005, 01:39
Shooting it down over the city would never happen for obvious reasons. Just evacuate the "target" and let him get on with it (which is what they did).

If you did want to shoot it down, and you couldn't wait for a military helo to do the job (far more effective than a Skyhawk would ever be), just stick the Armed Offenders boys in a civil helicopter and let them shoot it down - they have the firepower to do so.

You should all be impressed that the various officials involved in this drama didn't jump to conclusions, but did the most important thing - communicate with the guy - and create an acceptable outcome. He clearly wasn't threatening the Skytower by the time he crashed. If it was fuel exhaustion that did it, he may well have been on his way back to Ardmore.

Some of our more excitable posters need to calm down, take a few deep breaths, and see this for what it actually is - which is not a terrorist attack.

Foreign Worker
19th Sep 2005, 01:49
Some of our more excitable posters need to calm down, take a few deep breaths, and see this for what it actually is - which is not a terrorist attack.Some of our cuddly, huggies need to realise that this person was obviously in an unstable psychological frame of mind, and just because he may have told them one minute he wasn't going to do anything disastrous, the same sort of impulsive mood swing that had him steal the aeroplane and buzz around the building might just have easily caused further unpredictable behaviour.

Read Oz Ocker's post about Colin Forman and Connellan.
It took him 4 hours to fly there and he circled for another 1 hour before crashing.

Fail passive
19th Sep 2005, 03:15
Heard this guy was away from NZ for 6 months. I exactly know where and I think it would explain why his relationship did not last and why he just lost it.

Know of a couple of blokes who did the same (working there) and actually lost it too only to return to be stronger, better pilots. But as we all know, we aint all the same.

Hope he gets help. Sad to see a pilot who worked extremely hard to make his dream a reality lose it all.

19th Sep 2005, 03:52
Pilot Arrested (http://www.police.govt.nz/news/release/2115.php)

Pilot arrested
National News Release, 11:01am 19 September 2005

A 33 year-old unemployed Titirangi man has been arrested and will appear in the Auckland District Court today to face a charge of unlawfully taking an aircraft.

His arrest follows an incident on Saturday night when a light aircraft was allegedly stolen from Ardmore Airport and flown over Auckland city for about two hours, during which time a threat was allegedly made to fly the plane into the Sky Tower.

Police will request that the man be remanded in custody without plea and will oppose bail. He was discharged from Auckland Hospital late this morning.

Issued by Noreen Hegarty
Auckland City Police Communications Manager
Ph 09 302 6947 or 0274-951-589
Website: www.police.govt.nz

19th Sep 2005, 05:03
Lets just say it one more time for all those in the Media and on this forum who continue to get it wrong..

..he was an authorised instructor on the aircraft and didn't "steal it"..

..plenty of other things to charge him with but not theft!

19th Sep 2005, 05:28
Skol, your example was a 747, which would be a lot harder to take over single handedly when talking about incapacitating people as there is more than one. I bow before you as you have been multi-crew prior to my birth. My background is military, police and aviation. The same news conference which the Police admit to not being able to take him down also stated that if there were military aircraft available shooting him down over the city would be far more dangerous. You quite sarcastically refer to my "inside info" which I do indeed have. I know this guy's background and problems and the whole event from start to finish. This was not an organised terrorist event.

He has had problems and has forfeited his right to fly ever again. If you were to ever decide to kill people then a cherokee would be one of the most pathetic ways to do it.

As for theft, he has not been charged with it but "unlawful taking" which is legally different. It means that he didn't own it and didn't have the authority to use it the way he did.

Skol, I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree. I believe that shooting him down would never be in the best interests of the public. Perhaps a large jet, but not a light a/c. Unfortunately in NZ we do not have that option. No amount of bluster will change that fact but a new Government. I personally believe we need military jets but this incident would not be the reason.

Although I feel sympathy for this guy I also believe that he needs to face the music for his actions which he inevitably will be doing. I in no way condone his actions but to say this is terrorism is ridiculous.

Oz Ocker
19th Sep 2005, 05:40
Knuckles, matey - if someone suddenly comes onto the radio and says he's gunna fly the light aircraft he's in, into a school fullov kids, and buzzes around the school half a dozen times, are you gunna tell the school kids and there parents, "Don't worry, he said the banks just repossessed his home, and he can't take any more. He's just having a bad hair day."

Note to terrorists in New Zealand: On yer next suicide mission, just tell air traffic control that you've busted up with your partner, that way they won't really believe that yore gunna drive it in.
And if it's a little airoplane, they'll take even less notice of you, because they KNOW that you can't make a big BANG (like those cars in Iraq that can kill 115 people at once.)

19th Sep 2005, 06:33
:yuk: :yuk: :yuk: :yuk: :yuk: :yuk: :yuk:

oz you really do have a small simple wee mind dont you.... :hmm:

you have gone so far off the topic it shows how little your replys contribute to this thread .
I knew and worked with the guy. (some years ago know)
I DO NOT CONDONE what he did! Infact it was totally bloody stupid what he did......
However somtimes people snap..
Go back to the desert mate.... find a lonely kangaroo etc etc etc.:E

Oz Ocker
19th Sep 2005, 06:52
My apologys muppet.
Your right somtimes people do "snap".
It's just that when a professonal pilot "snaps", I don't expect them ta unlawfully commandeer an airoplane and threaten ta fly it inta a public building full of innocent people.
That's one've the points i'm tryin ta make.

It wasn't stupid - it was dangerous, potentially life-threatening, and irresponsible.
As nicer a bloke as he might be, this was the actions of someons who should not be allowed near an airoplane (as a pilot) ever again. Sorry if the truth offends some of you sheep shaggers.

19th Sep 2005, 07:28
The PC huggies say it's a cry for help. It's always someone elses fault, sexual abuse, the missus, stress, the boss, beaten as a child etc. Not many seem to want take responsibility for their actions as dumb as they may be. Especially in PCNZ.
A couple of posters say I've made my point so I'll give it a rest.
Here endeth the lesson.

19th Sep 2005, 07:42
I doubt if you would be capable of giving it a rest. But I'll watch in hope.

19th Sep 2005, 07:42
sorry matty, but you don't seem to understand the notion of 'colour of right' in relation to theft. look it up, it's in the crimes act, then get back to us. anyway, it appears that he's been charged with 'unlawful taking', which is different again.

and seeming how you seem to know so much, what 'other things' could he/should he be charged with?

Luke SkyToddler
19th Sep 2005, 07:53
Well it seems a bit silly that TVNZ (http://http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/411365/612043) and the Herald (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10346257) published his name 24 hours ago and we're all still skirting around the edges of it in case the journalists find out ...

I just can't believe that an intelligent bloke like Dave Turnock would flip out like that ... I'm as amazed as all of us are who know him well. He's not exactly a bloke who's renowned for having a tenuous grip on reality, at least he wasn't when I last caught up with him. Whatever was going through his head on Saturday night I don't know obviously, but I am still bloody glad that no one shot him down as you all seem to wish.

All you trigger happy types out there need to get a grip, you must surely be aware that the police and security professionals do in fact have ops manuals just like we do, there are procedures in place to quickly analyze the threat level and respond according to that level of percieved threat. Sounds to me like they did their job exactly by the book, as it relates to armed offenders / hostage type situations, as it relates to acts by lone individuals and particularly when you determine that the motivation for the actions is short term individual stress (such as relationship breakup) then I believe a much higher percentage of safe outcomes are achieved by negotiation as opposed to going in there with guns blazing.

Of course if your threat analysis determines that you have a Mohammed Atta or a Beslan situation going on, then there is going to be a different response. And I wouldn't be entirely surprised if the NZ security forces actually still have some ability to respond to those type of truly extreme situations, even though we no longer have the old Skyhawks. Best we don't really analyze that possibility any more deeply on a public internet forum though, and I'm sure we all pray we never have to find out what that response might be.

Well I for one am still proud to call DT a mate and I'm going to stick by him, whatever rough times he's going through, now is the time when he's maybe going to need his mates to stick by him and help him get through this. No doubt he's going to find it difficult to get his pilot's licence and/or flying job back again but I hope for aviation's sake he can get whatever help and counselling he needs, someone can find a way to help him get his sh!t sorted / get his life back together, and he can continue in some way to make the enormously positive contribution that he's made to the kiwi industry for the last couple of decades.

19th Sep 2005, 08:10
Luke SkyToddler

Voice of reason mate.

Oz Ocker

You sound like a reasonably intelligent individual. As a fellow countryman, I'm asking you - is there any chance you could stop writing as though you're standing knee deep in sheep dip chewing on a piece of hay with your Akubra tilted to one side? It would make it a lot easier for the rest of us to figure out the point you are making.

Thanks :ok:

19th Sep 2005, 08:42

Your ignorance is showing again.

A "cry for help" is not the same thing as blaming everybody else for your problems.

Such a person is simply giving you a warning that they have reached their breaking point. Nobody cares why at that point, and many psychologists differ about how "blame" should be allocated. Smart psychologists don't even try.

Also, "taking responsibility" won't help when somebody reaches their personal limit, because at that point their view of the world is so distorted that the concept is meaningless.

Of course we could try your approach, which is probably putting a cattle prod up their arse until they agree with everything you say... :rolleyes:

19th Sep 2005, 09:53
I'm glad that there are people giving this their attention and opinion. There is a time for force and there is a time for restraint- it is threat and risk analysis. This was a time for negotiation and restraint.

The guy will NEVER be allowed to fly again and I believe this is correct.

As for the charges.....wait and see. There is, at this stage, an "Unlawfully taking a motor vehicle" and most likely some type of "threatening" offence. The colour of right argument is correct.....he did not have colour of right and therefore no authority to take this a/c.

Let's not try and crack a wallnut with a sledgehammer....

19th Sep 2005, 10:46
Mate, you do the crime, you do the time.

If it was not a crime, let him go home and relax, kick back and enjoy the week.

On the otherhand if he committed a crime - I'm sorry but we are all responsible for our actions and must face the consequences. Too often do we see this PC world excuse someone because we no longer believe people have to stand up and be responsible for their actions.

I hope he gets all the help possible just like any other person would be entitled to. Let us not pretend this was not what it is: an action designed to cause a reaction. Unfortunately that action involved the breach of rights of other innocent civilians.

Capt W E Johns
19th Sep 2005, 11:19
I wouldn't be entirely surprised if the NZ security forces actually still have some ability to respond to those type of truly extreme situations, even though we no longer have the old Skyhawks. Best we don't really analyze that possibility any more deeply on a public internet forum though,

Two questions:

(1) What makes you believe that - do we have some other anti-air capability spread around NZ that we don't know about?

(2) Why not analyze that on a public forum? If a bunch of half-informed spotters on an obscure website can find the achilles heel in NZ's fortress-like defences, I'm fairly sure that anyone who really wants to has already done the same.

Also, a comment on the preceding posts: a air attack force would not have helped in resolving this situation, unless you propose having two jets on ready-5 alert 24/7 near every major city in NZ. And even the US can't do that.

Shiny Side Up
19th Sep 2005, 19:23
Jesus, a PA28 would bounce off the bloody skytower anyway.

All you terrorism chicken littles need to remember - NZ hasnt been ar*e f**cking the middle east with dodgy foreign policy for 20 plus years. I really dont see NZ as a major target for terrorism, do you?

19th Sep 2005, 22:56
Regardless of what sort of person he is and the reasons for his actions how about considering the repercussions of his little escapade.

What about the people that dived into the water to drag him out, the crews of the Police, Westpac and other choppers. The loss of revenue from those businesses that were forced to close etc. What about the owner of the aircraft? They are now facing loss of revenue, increased insurance premiums, bad publicity etc. And as he flew over my house he put me and my family as risk (low on fuel, upset, bad stormy night etc).

TV3 ran an item last night showing how easy it is to steal an aircraft from Ardmore which included Peter Clarke telling the world that it is easy to hotwire one! Plus that in Australia they have increased security on GA aircraft and fields.

So what now? Am I going to have to pay out of my pocket for new fences and security around the country? New locks etc for my aircraft? More in premiums? Closure or restrictions of airspace etc.

Whatever his motive or intentions and putting aside that he may be a “good bloke”, what he did was rather selfish.

19th Sep 2005, 23:44
Luke Sky Toddler,

You said " and he can continue in some way to make the enormously positive contribution that he has made to the kiwi industry for the last couple of decades"

The New Zealand Herald reports that a 33 year old man has been arrested in connection with this incident.

Is it the same person?? did a 13 year old commence making this "enormously positive contribution" to the kiwi industry??

As spindoctor states, many people will now have to modify their activities because of this act of stupidity.


20th Sep 2005, 00:44
LST, good to hear from you! Its just unfortunate that it had to be in relation to something like this.

DT was(is) a bloody good guy, extremley intelligent and has alot to offer the industry. Unfortunatley due to major relationship problems he has tipped over the edge.

I'm not going to defend his actions in anyway, I think what he did was possibly the dumbest thing he will ever do in his life. However think about it, DT was going to end his life that night the consequences of his actions most likely wouldn't have gone through his mind.

DT is not a terrorist, if he was had the skill and knowledge to go through with hitting the sky tower before anybody knew what was happening.

DT, good luck to you horse take your punishment and do the best to patch up your life.

20th Sep 2005, 01:07
I think TV3 bought up quite a valid point re the security at aerodromes, Ardmore in particular. Because there is no scheduled commercial activity security is somewhat neglected compared to the control there is at the designated security aerdromes.

Ardmore however is NZ's busiest aerodrome and there are a lot of aircraft that can be very easily accessed with no trouble at all as the TV3 item showed.

The Australian approach with the ASIC cards does have some merit but graft that onto an Ardmore type aerodrome in NZ and the costs would be prohibitive to already tight operations.

It has been mentioned in the media that in general the threat is low because people who do gain access to an aircraft will either not be able to start or even fly the thing or they will be deterred by the consequence of their potential actions. This may not always be the case have we have seen.

It is not possible to account for every imaginable scenario but is a new approach to security at aerodromes in respect of light aircraft required?

20th Sep 2005, 01:30
If you did that, you would probably put half the operators out of business. Fences, security guards, lights, ID cards, it would cost a fortune.

Far better solution would be to simply secure the aircraft properly. A nice big chain from the tie-down to a ring in the ground attached to a large lump of concrete should do it.

Of course none of measures suggested on this thread would have prevented this incident.

More to the point, how many aircraft have been stolen over the years? (Apart from CGI?)

20th Sep 2005, 03:41
I just had to say that I have known DT for quite some time - and a lot much have happened for him to get to this point - however, I can be assured that he is not a terrorist and I wish him all the best in getting back on track.
I for one would have no hesitation in spending time with DT and you'd struggle to find a more genuine caring guy.


What time is ECT?
20th Sep 2005, 07:14
I do not know the pilot concerned, even though I am Ardmore based. From all the posts, it seems like a small personal situation (which happens hundreds of times every day in New Zealand) spiralled out of control and lead to some very foolish decisions.

A problem shared is a problem halved. If you want someone to talk to, then contact me (or another of your mates). I will find the time, even if it is three in the morning.


20th Sep 2005, 08:40
ECT that was the most constructive thing anyone has said on this post so far!

Good on you, if there was more pilots with your attitude at Ardmore it wouldn't be falling apart like it is now..

Oh and Massey058
..Ardmore was NZs busiest field..not now..I'd say TG or HN would have more going on on any given day..if you want to know why..just look in the Airport Companies direction
:yuk: :yuk: :yuk:

20th Sep 2005, 08:52
On the issue of aerodrome security....there are a couple of posters from Australia critical of NZ aerodrome security. It is almost impossible to stop someone like this obtaining an aircraft. He had a photo id card and would have had access airside if there was a fence there. How could NZ or even Australia.....or even the US....fence every airstrip which has the possibility of a plane being overnighted? The americans don't do it as it is not practical. Once a fence is there you need a lot of manpower to police it. There are literally dozens of incidents around the world each year including one recently in Sydney where the international airports have had someone scale the fence and board a vacant jet. It would cost billions of dollars and there is no way that the industry could sustain that cost. It is about risk mitigation not elimination. Where someone has a will, they will find a way. Before I am labelled soft, it does not mean we should not do everything in our power to stop this. Who knows what the answer is? Imobilisers like cars? Runway obstructions? The list could go on but to eliminate this we would almost have to shut down an airport and thus remove it from being an option in an emergency.

20th Sep 2005, 09:38
In terms of security, we need to look at how secure the keys are and also, was the cherokee hotwired (doubtful but a consideration now after whatshisnames tv3 outburst).

If the cherokee was hotwired, im sure engine immobilisers would suffice in place of fencing off AR. Plenty of you have engine immobilisers fitted to your cars and some of you may have pagers that go off when your car is being broken into/started.

If access to keys are the issue, can't they be held offsite after hours?

20th Sep 2005, 10:00
Mike. Immobilisers were suggested some years ago but the FAA did not like the idea at all!! Just something else to go wrong that could definately cause the engine to go quiet - just when you need it!!

Some years ago we put a hidden kill switch in a magnetos earth lead. Very effective but for reasons above, I doubt that would ever be approved!

It seems to me a chain wound around the prop and padlock takes a lot of beating for low cost and effective immobilisation!


20th Sep 2005, 11:12
Well i guess it's time fbo's have someone take the keyboards home withthem. im suprised they leave them at base.

roger forty-one out.

20th Sep 2005, 14:41
A nice big chain from the tie-down to a ring in the ground attached to a large lump of concrete should do it.

Apologies for the flippancy but I recall twice seeing a Chipmunk in Tasmania taxi to the holding point with said block of concrete tied to the tail.

Fortunately the Tower controller spotted it before the guy attempted the impossible.

TAY 611
20th Sep 2005, 22:31
Knew this pilot a few years back and yep I agree he is a top bloke who is well experienced, qualified and has had a good reputation. I am shocked though I understand that people, and good people, can reach a breakdown point (message to us all here) and lets not kick this guy while he is down! Let the law take it's course. I believe that everyone desrves a fair deal and a second chance and I am sure that the last thing on this persons mind was doing others harm . It took a while to wade through this thread and many have had their say with skol and Oz ocker showing extreme attitudes (now theres a term thats been around a lot since 911) verging on ranting and raving proving the worlds paranoia since the twin towers incident (just as mr bin laden would have planned). This individuals career and his life have just taken a rapid turn in a moments action and I hope he has the strength and support to come out the other end and get on with his life.
Good luck..

21st Sep 2005, 00:41
Woomera...ditto on the padlock idea...worked for a company flying Twin Otters.....the boss forgot to pay the IRS $600K....they showed up,padlocked all the props...and YUP,its sure hard to try to fly them :* Bottom line in this situation,at least no one else was hurt......kapai

21st Sep 2005, 07:44
Sory guys ,I can't help myself.

Luke says in a previous post, "he's not exactly a bloke who's renowned for his tenuous grip on reality".

My experience is that you can pick the ones that are going to cause you some grief way in advance and I'm betting this will be a classic case.
Wait for it to come before the court.

Don Won
21st Sep 2005, 08:46
Glad to hear pilot is ok, can't help but feel sorry for him, but now it's time to take the concequences for doing a very silly thing, I mean what a nut bar!
Hope he knows how lucky he is to be alive. (not the first time this guys bent a plane)
I also feel a bit sorry for all the pilot's that has this guy's john hancock in their log book.
Ooh well at least brighted the election night up.....
If anyone's talking to .... let him know eagle are running interview's for fleet captian; probly just the kind they looken for

21st Sep 2005, 09:14
Has anyone thought to actually stop alot of these posts? The pilot a crazed loon, a person hell bent on destruction, or someone with many problems....NO IDEA!
You lot slanging at each other is why we have a lot of hassles in GA and aviation full stop.

It happens in ships, cars, large machinery, armed forces and yes even in aviation. People get themselves motivated by whatever source and do bloody stupid and dangerous things. They break the law, they must then reap what they sow.

Off topic... I know both Kym and Tony from that story many posts back and both are damn nice blokes, sad that a building and extras were dumped on them.

21st Sep 2005, 15:37
maxgrad....could,nt agree more...these type of actions are not new to the aviation industry or to others...as rightly pointed out,there are numerous instances that one can refer to...several posts have refered that you are able to spot "these blokes"a km away....NOT!!!!!Ihave been privy to several situations in my own company where by the individuals have been regarded as the "salt of the earth" types and gone and done something so out of nature,that you dont even want to believe it........when it is all said and done, the catalyst that started the whole thing itself is unbeliveable......I am part of the FFDO,..Federal Flight Deck Officer programme,....sometime,s I have to look twice at who,s "packing the heat"...I went through the programme,hopefully nobody goes crazy......peolpe do strange things..even if "certified "as "Normal" ...tukukitanga

TAY 611
21st Sep 2005, 21:43
As aviation personnel we are trained extensively to operate in a proactive fashion towards flight safety and become very practised in the art of what is percieved as "the norm" and spend our whole lives avioding anything that could possibly take us out of this norm, this is healthy as it keeps us out of trouble. As a result we tend to have very little understanding about the aftermath or what actually happens when it does go pear shaped and don't have the skills to deal with such events and often fall into denial and redicule of those unfortunate enough to be involved which is a shame as there may be lessons lost with such events that could possibly only be a moment away from reality to ourselves or our colleagues.

22nd Sep 2005, 08:01
I've copped a bit of flak for my posts but aviation is not very tolerant of stupidity or incompetence. There's plenty of it around and eventually it catches up with you but as I mentioned above the small majority who have a history are the ones that cause the problems and I reckon you can see it coming.
A psychology test when applying for a job is all well and good but people change and errant behaviour amongst our colleagues needs to be noted and reported if it becomes necessary. There is a process available and if you think someones load is shifting then it is incumbent on you to report it.

Luke SkyToddler
22nd Sep 2005, 09:31
And let me tell you skol, that you sitting up there yet AGAIN in this thread, damning a good bloke by implication yet AGAIN with yet ANOTHER smug little psychoanalysis, is utterly offensive garbage.

Talking about 'stupidity' and 'incompetence' with regard to Dave T is absolute ****ing bollocks that shows total disregard for a top man / professional aviator / 'A' cat instructor / examiner / general aviation guru type who I'll bet has forgotten more about flying than you are ever likely to know.

The only facts that appear to have been published are that the man's wife had just walked out on him, for reasons that are none of our business to discuss. I can tell you though from my casual observations, that if my marriage was as loved up and happy and committed as Dave's seemed to be, and then it all of a sudden fell apart, I imagine that it would be one earth shattering event that would test the depths of any man's stress handling capacity. Whatever else was going on in his life I aren't interested in speculating on, but the point is that we've ALL got a breaking point, every one of us, and maybe we should just be glad that most of us will never get to find out what that breaking point is and how we would react.

Try and show a bit of compassion towards a good man that you've never even met skol, rather than sitting up there handing out yet another :mad: ing sermon about how we should have all spotted this nutter who was clearly hiding in our midst all these years. If you can't handle that then please p!ss off out of this thread, because your continued ignorant pronouncements are about as welcome as a plate of ham sandwiches at a jewish wedding :mad:

22nd Sep 2005, 10:10
Maybe I need to stop proof reading my posts to fit in these days!

sh!tloads of hip shots being fired here.

My points on this topic:

Super surprised, can't believe it. The last guy I would have expected to spit the dummy.

I wish him well in the re-hab, not a quick fix by any stretch of the imagination.

I think he picked the wrong method, and in such has created some serious questions at many levels as a result.

No doubt he will now have to face up to the consequences and good luck to him.

Dissappointed that some here have harped on about the terrorist implications even after the real truth was known. Agreed that there are potential scenarios, none of which haven't been considered before: more credit must be given to the appropriate authorities. They are quite good at their jobs!
Given the nature of this situation and the now well known storyline, continuing that line of argument is not going to have any sort of positive outcome (general agreement), particularly when compared to the general tone of this thread.

We may very well have collectively dodged a bullet, but reality is indeed a multi-layered beast and to focus so much single minded energy on any one aspect is being naive and stubborn.

Anonymous or not, surely we can debate at a higher level than we have been?

Raw Data
22nd Sep 2005, 10:11
Monitoring only works if the person being monitored is in stable, long-term employment - that is the only way to detect behaviour patterns that are not normal for that individual.

Secondly, if a person reaches their limit, and yet is lucid enough to get in an aircraft and fly it perfectly competently to the scene of the crime, they have clearly made a series of quite deliberate bad decisions. You can't entirely excuse those decisions on the basis of his personal life, or perceived status as aviation hero and all-round great chap.

I think you only really find out a persons true character when they are under tremendous stress. This is certainly true in aviation - some fight all the way to the end, others give up when it all gets too hard. I remember watching the program about the Alaska Airlines MD80 that lost elevator control - those guys were still thinking and fighting all the way to the end. They never gave up.

In the current case, this guy lost it in the face of severe personal stress and chose the wrong path entirely. Some of you here may like him or count him as your friend, but I am afraid he has displayed the opposite qualities to those you would expect.

I feel desperately sorry for him, and wish I could help in some way - but I would never, ever want this guy flying my family around. Sorry.

22nd Sep 2005, 13:08
This whole episode is a salutary lesson for us all. When our world starts to collapse, as it surely will sometime in our lives, it becomes incumbent upon us to still think of others and not just ourselves. Just because life seems to be at an end does not mean that you make a series of conscious decisions that will obviously endanger others as well as yourself. There simply can't be any justification for endangering actions or we should do away with community laws designed to protect all of us.

Please believe me when I say that I empathise with this man and I do wish him the best of outcomes given the circumstances. I don't know him personally and you can all say "butt out" but I agree broadly with Raw Data's opinion.

With regard to it being classified as a terrorist action, how could anyone have known what it was in the heat of the moment?Surely the best option is to assume the worst and act quickly on that assumption. Even a small aircraft in the hands of a clear-minded desperado could have wreaked havoc if it was loaded with plastic explosives and/or toxic substances. Some would say that the pilot would not have broadcast his/her intentions in such a scenario but, once again, post 9/11, how do we know what a terrorist looks like or how he will act.

Safe flying guys!

22nd Sep 2005, 20:08
You are the one intent on sticking the knife in to anyone who disagrees with you. I am making what I consider to be objective unemotional observations. Public safety first, everything else second.

Your mate may well know more about aviation than me-if he started flying before March 7th 1965.

23rd Sep 2005, 02:23
Have to agree with skol here. A load of emotional twaddle from Luke SkyToddler.

To draw a parallel for a moment, if you had just had an accident and ended up in A&E requiring major surgery to repair your shattered body, would you be asking the surgeon about his emotional state? Or would you assume that, professional that he or she is, they would either rise above their personal problems or decline to do the surgery on you? Remember, it is YOUR life at stake.

Doctors, pilots, even bus drivers are held to a higher standard than the rest of the population. Part of being a professional is having the ability to recognise when your stress level is too high, and to choose not to engage in your profession whilst so affected.

This guy was thinking only of himself, he acted in a totally unprofessional manner and whilst I feel sorry for him, you simply can't allow that sort of thing.

23rd Sep 2005, 07:16
This guy was obviously popular and a good instructor in the past.
BUT if all of us used a relationship break up, or indeed any other trauma as an excuse to take someone else's property and destroy it, (whether he had access to the keys or not doesn't mean he didn't steal it) as well as all the other trouble and expense he caused, where would the world be?

If he wanted to destroy property as a "cry for help", then couldn't he at least have destroyed something of his own? Even targeted the reason for his angst rather than wreck an aircraft?

This is why I can't undestand those who are defending what he did because he's "a good bloke going through a bad time" would they feel the same if he had stolen their car, or landed the plane on their house, maybe threatened to kill their family, out for a treat in the restuarant?

Sad when people crack, but you cant defend the indefensible.
Can't wait to see what new draconian measures we are all going to have put up with in the name of "security" thanks to this guy's actions.

Luke SkyToddler
23rd Sep 2005, 11:14
All right fair call. I'm not defending what he did because it is indefensible, and I absolutely agree 110% that he is not welcome anywhere near an aircraft of any sort, until he's had a LOT of professional help and the people who are responsible for such things have determined that he's cured of whatever went wrong with him that night. Stealing other people's highly valuable aircraft and trashing them is a crime that absolutely deserves to be punished, and I'm sure that it will be. Threatening to take out the Sky Tower while you're doing it is just ... well I don't know what the word is but it's certainly a big old cry for help among other things.

But the real thing that bothers us who know him, nike, splat, myself and I'm sure a few others on this thread, is that he's just one of the boys. It certainly shakes your belief in the fact that it's only feeble minded people or nutters or people with psychiatric histories who do that kind of stuff, because he just doesn't fit into any of those categories at all.

It certainly makes you think about what all the other normal everyday people around you are capable of, maybe even makes you wonder how you would react.

Enough said. Dave if you're reading this from your jail cell or whatever then just know that Im thinking of you mate, I've got faith in you to get through this sh!t and I wish you all the best.

Luke out.

24th Sep 2005, 01:00
a few times and new him from Massey and all i can say is what a tool he is and what a tool he was back then...How the mighty do fall what a loser..hope they through him in jail

25th Sep 2005, 02:36
They obviously don't teach spelling and grammar @ Massey....

Capt. On Heat
4th Oct 2005, 05:20
Have to agree with Ronnie Honker a while back on page 4. There's too much defending of DT considering what the bugger got up too. Yeah it's sad but I always thought the guy was a complete prat and I'm not that surprised by what happened. Obviously how I knew the bloke and my opinion is in stark contrast to some of you others, I just want to offer another point of view to those that didn't know him. I suppose that's 2 crashes he can put in his logbook now and at least it shows that Eagle Air's interview process is good for something!

6th Oct 2005, 02:44
He's a nutcase and should be sent packing!

No he's not, he just had a tough time

You can't defend his actions

But me and me cobbers had a beer with him!

He's a nutcase........................

Etc,etc, etc :zzz:

7th Oct 2005, 04:37
He was a Madman though wasn't he:}

7th Oct 2005, 08:52
Had the pleasure of flying into Auckland from Oz on the night in question.

The controllers told us that they had a "rogue" aircraft not responding to any ATC transmissions and told us to expect vectoring and/or holding until it could be sorted out.
It was also suggested that they may be making a "political" statement.

Fortunately the character in question had flown into the water (unbeknownst to us) and we were given normal tracking.

It was only when we listened to the radio on the way to the pub did we realise what had happened.

It amazes me that individuals come to the defence of this person that could have conceivably wrought untold carnage to the Skytower with the resultant massive losses of life and property.

Imagine if this individual did what he set out to do?
What would the reaction and attitudes have been then?
How would this damage New Zealands reputation worldwide?

If this was any other country in the world he would have been shot out of the sky using any means available.

In my opinion this person should never, ever be let loose around an aircraft again and should be banned from all airports nationwide forever.

Yes, we all have extremely low points in our lives but tragically some individuals take their own lives rather than threaten the lives of hundreds of others.

Luke Skytoddler - this person should never ever be allowed anywhere near an airport or aircraft again....period.
All we need is for some idiot soft-cock shrink to cut another one loose with no follow up supervision.

This person stole an aircraft, violated numerous air navigation rules/regs, endangered the lives of everyone on the ground and endangered property.

Perhaps Luke Skytoddler would prefer we use harsh language as a treatment?

7th Oct 2005, 09:50
Nah, Luke's his mate. He just wants him to get out of jail ASAP and resume flying because, after all, he's just one of the boys, and we would all do the same in his shoes.

Right? :rolleyes:

7th Oct 2005, 20:47
Ahh now the truth is starting to come out..a tragic story of broken dreams, broken promises..intrigue, deception, sex..

just aviation really.

Dave, mate..didn't know you that well but that was a tough deal to cop.

Don't condone your actions but I'm starting to realise how bad you must've felt.:ugh: :ugh:

8th Oct 2005, 03:14
Why the empathy?
How could it be soooooooo bad

Thump & Go
8th Oct 2005, 22:38
TIMMEEEE could we have a bit more melodrama with your next post please!

It amazes me that individuals come to the defence of this person ...err...no, people have come out in support of this person.

could have conceivably wrought untold carnage to the Skytower with the resultant massive losses of life and property. err...lets have a little more cheese please! If the A/C hit the main body of the tower the only carnage wrought would have been to the poor little Piper, at window level, yes no doubt some casualties + those on the ground - still not what I'd call massive.

Imagine if this individual did what he set out to do? He did, attract attention. (The tree-huggers might say "cry for help" - whatever floats your boat). He made transmissions to ATC that gave clues to his motivation, and the police were quickly able to gauge the seriousness of the threat and react accordingly, that's their job and,if people are honest with themselves they do it very well (unless you're a conspirisist(sic?) that thinks they frame the David Bains & OJ's of the world).

Why are a bunch of Ozzies with no knowledge of the situation that led to this course of action intent on labelling this "real terrorism"? What's the size of your head if you think you can pick the threat level better than law enforcement/counter-terrorism authorities in the country that it occurred?
Rest assured most of us are as p!ssed off as you and other allies about our PC,greenie defence policy that de-clawed the RNZAF and seriously affects our ability to contribute (albeit in a token way)in foreign policy. Please make your political statement elsewhere, maybe you could start your own thread on it instead of swinging every existing one into "we've got an air force & you haven't".

What would the reaction and attitudes have been then? You lot would still be Monday Quarterbacking.

If this was any other country in the world he would have been shot out of the sky using any means available. err...really? Like the US did in Miami,or with Payne Stewart, like the Greeks did with Helios, like the almighty RAAF did with the rogue King Air or did you mean like the Soviets did in 1983 when they so obviously got it right?

In my opinion this person should never, ever be let loose around an aircraft again and should be banned from all airports nationwide forever. I have no doubt he will.

See you in 10 days, and guys, get outside with the Mrs and kids -there's a real world out there somewhere, then when you want a laugh log on to prune to get the worldly opinions of "professionals". Bahaha

8th Oct 2005, 23:57
How do you come to the conclusion that the 'police were able to gauge the seriousness of the threat and react accordingly', when they admitted publicly they had no means of stopping this individual and they had run out of ideas?

Ronnie Honker
11th Oct 2005, 23:15
Has this fellow been sentenced yet?
Has he been released from custody?

12th Oct 2005, 01:17
Thump and Go .....if this little quip from Luke Skytoddler isnt coming to defence of this guy I think you should pop another little red pill and comtemplate the friggin obvious:

and I absolutely agree 110% that he is not welcome anywhere near an aircraft of any sort, until he's had a LOT of professional help and the people who are responsible for such things have determined that he's cured of whatever went wrong with him that night

If that aint support then I'm a member of the Royal Saudi family!

As Skol so eloquently put it the police were absolutely powerless to do anything.....and this is in your main city where resources are supposed to be more readily accessible.

If anything this has highlighted just how easy it is in NZ to steal a light aircraft and cause damage.

Your right Thump and Go - it doesnt have to be much in terms of damage, but if this person did fly into the Skytower or anywhere else in the CBD the media would be onto it non stop 24/7 and yes - it would damage NZ's tourist industry worldwide for a long long time.
No it didnt happen but in another state of mind............

Maybe T&G whilst you are away on your little 10 day sojourn you will see it really is a dangerous world out there.
Just because you cant see it doesnt mean it exists.

As for your statement:

Why are a bunch of Ozzies with no knowledge of the situation that led to this course of action intent on labelling this "real terrorism"?

Well this aussie was airborne on the night in question and was within minutes of having to share proximate airspace with this twit.
I spent the next few days in NZ and was barraged by the same media that you did Thump and Go so cut out the whining aussie bashing crap.
If by somehow being in NZ at the time of this farce, reading the same newspapers and watching the same tv as yourself and deriving my own opinions offends you T & G then too bloody bad.

All I did was to ask what if? and you go off on a tangent.

Me thinks your skin is a little too thin and some calcium needed for your backbone.
I wont even mention the chip on both your shoulders!

13th Oct 2005, 09:27
I had the misfortune of being in the US during 9/11 and also in London during the recent bombings.
Terrorism can come from anywhere ranging from disgruntled individuals through to organisations and franchises such as JI and Al-Quaeda.

I think that Thump & Go is being overly harsh in his diatribe, not to mention being patronising as well as insulting.
Thump & Go carries on as if its a personal insult.

What if the pilot in question had ran out of fuel and landed in the city or even "snapped" and carried out his original intentions?
Timmee correctly states that the NZ economy would be damaged severly by the worldwide media that just loves that sought of thing.
Imagine CNN going crazy on that one!

I agree with Timmee that this would have been the case and if so alot of questions would be asked about airport security - including GA airports.

NZ is not immune Thumper and I pray that both NZ as well as Oz remain immune.

I believe Luke Skytoddler as being misguided in his support of this person stating that he shouldnt be allowed near aircraft until he has had treatment.
People like this should never be let near an aircraft....ever !!

I trust this person gets treatment and retires from aviation permanently.

13th Oct 2005, 13:33
Interesting thread, as usual all pertinent angles have been covered. I believe this is damaging for all pilots alike, and there public perception. A time bomb like this seldom goes off without warning and its unfortunate none of his so called friends noticed. Was this work pressure from Massey? Or as the media says Personal relationship problems? Probably a combination. Anyways i can believe some have encouraged the pilot toward a speedy recovery and entertain the idea of flying again. WTF

26th Jan 2006, 23:51
sentence handed down 60 minutes ago

2 years 3 months in the clink

what do you think?

27th Jan 2006, 10:42
Seems a bit steep to me. Sure, take his licence off him and give him some community service or something... I didn't seem (to me) that he really wanted to hurt anybody other than himself.

People that steal cars and then crash them following high-speed (ie dangerous to the public) chases always seem to get off a lot more lightly.

Surely it is enough that the guy loses his career and his marriage... or maybe I'm just getting soft in my old age!

27th Jan 2006, 21:24
People that steal cars and then crash them following high-speed (ie dangerous to the public) chases always seem to get off a lot more lightly.

Well, yes, but then stolen cars don't cause national furore for days. Not saying one is worse than the other, but society tends to treat aviation with more shock and awe than other forms of transport. Can't complain though - it works for pilots (salaries, glamour) as well as against (DT, poor sod).

Before you shoot me down, I'm talking about public perception, not reality.

I suppose DT has already spent a significant part of the sentence on remand, so - will he be out soon on good behaviour? But then apparently NZAR inc. and Skytower inc. want megabucks for damages. Not sure how that will pan out.

27th Jan 2006, 21:26
MOR mate...a little soft in your age I reckon....it is one thing to give a sentence that fits the crime,it is also another that also sends a message.

I agree with your comments,and this whole thing from the get-go is a sad case,my concern was/is the potenial consequences that could have occured from this blokes actions,the most extreme outcome of his actions is also worth considering?.....PB

27th Jan 2006, 23:07
Yeah, you're right, I'm getting soft!

The consequences could have been nasty, and yes that should be considered. However, the point of prison is that it is supposed to be for those who are a danger to society, and who need to be locked away to keep the public safe. I'm not sure this guy fits into that category, it seems to be more a moment of madness.

Of course if he had some indigenous blood in him, he would get a "restorative justice" hearing, a quick one-on-one with his "victims" (I guess the Skytower management and the aircraft owners), a slap on the wrist and released into the care of his parents...

Hmmm, now I'm getting cynical! ;)

Semi Rigid
29th Jan 2006, 01:44
Luke Sky Toddler
Your sense of character judgement must be located in the midst of your toe jam. Sounds to me that you would not be adverse to going and hanging out with DGT at one of Her Majesty's Pleasure Palaces. Free Sky,food & sex.

How was it that DGT was awarded an 'A' Cat instructors ticket after crashing the 152 short of the threshold 21(?) at Ardmore back in 1999? What was the FTO thinking? Surely the flight test practical would have to be re-visited and maybe they could have discussed taking a 10% fuel reserve/contingency along to prove proficiency with a bit of lateral and dynamic thinking.

An 'A' Cat in any discipline should be capable of some prior planning.

29th Jan 2006, 01:53
MOR - I thought the purpose of prison was to punish rule-breakers. Isn't it only a relatively recent idea that criminal penalties should primarily serve to protect society?

In western society, I think we're at a crossroads of the justice system - founded on "break the rules, get punished, hopefully criminals learn to behave", but now gradually moving towards "hurt someone else, government seeks to protect victim, oh well I suppose criminals have to be moved somewhere else, hopefully criminals learn to behave".

Interesting philosophical difference.

Sorry about the thread creep - I'll try to behave in future... ;)


29th Jan 2006, 04:28
There are many forms of punishment, prison is only one of them. The original purpose of prison was to keep dangerous people locked away to keep the public safe. Of course, it has changed over the years and is now seen in some quarters as society getting it's retribution.

Of course, as Mr Turnock is about to find out, the real punishment is what happens inside the prison walls, not the actual confinement itself.

29th Jan 2006, 06:58
Before too many people get upset about the severity of the sentence.....2 yrs 3 mths......Dave will go to a low security prison farm...spend about 3-4 months, apply for Home Detention (2 yrs being the maximum), be granted it, spend 12 months at home (wherever that may be) with an ankle bracelet and then be granted parole. He'll file for bankruptcy and never have to pay a cent towards the cost of the a/c.

I think he is lucky that he didn't get more. The anti-terrorism charge was thrown out on a technicality and there has not been a precedent to dilute the sentence. I for one would like to know who his lawyer was because he did a hell of a job mitigating the sentence. Personally I think it should have been a bit more as this is now the benchmark for this type of behaviour. BUT, then again, I just think people should go to jail for wrongdoings.....call that retribution if you like.

Remember, he will never be able to fly again, his life is shite, and the only victim at the end of the day is an insurance company.

29th Jan 2006, 08:01
What behaviour are you referring to when you say "is now the benchmark for this kind of behaviour" ?
interesting thoughts. Is prison, or rather the justice system we have (or should have) punitive, for society's protection, for rehabilitation, or a combination of any of those? Because in many cases it seems not to work too well at any of those roles. Or is it for something else?

29th Jan 2006, 23:06
Markjoy.....behaviour as in Unlawfully Taking an Aircraft, intentionally crashing said aircraft, dangerous operation of an aircraft etc.....

If anything happens in the future of a similar nature this will now be referred to in case law for sentencing......this will be the benchmark similar offending will be measured against.

29th Jan 2006, 23:38
OK. Thanks.

30th Jan 2006, 08:21
the only victim at the end of the day is an insurance company.

And the shareholders of that insurance company... and all those who have policies with that insurance company... and all those who hold aircraft insurance policies with other insurance companies... :rolleyes:

It is a serious error to see it as a victimless crime. That is the same rationale used by car thieves and white collar criminals.

30th Jan 2006, 15:01
MOR mate...thats why this bloke has to go to jail.....so that all these people have a chance to sit around,think this out,come to some sort of conclusion.....at least they will all know where he resides in case of any unanswered questions..........wouldnt want him to buggar off to Oz and get a job in the outbacks driving a bulldozer now would we...((you knowthat story)

30th Jan 2006, 18:31
I'm really sick of reading this 'crim is the victim' crap.

Time will tell.. as the ozzies and the yanks have discovered, the victims who pay for his behaviour might be as widespread as 'every single person who ever has reason to visit a GA airport'. It depends what sort of policy changes are enacted as a knee jerk response to this thing. An expensive upgrade in perimeter fencing at Ardmore (maybe 'all airports') with a big increase in security patrols would be fairly predictable, as will the massive gouge in landing fees that go with it.

The insurance companies could predictably ratchet up the premiums on all GA aircraft across the board, as they did after 9/11 in the US. (which of course had nothing to do with a 210 parked in a Kansas cornfield, but Farmer Brown paid through the nose anyway, as did every passenger of every part 135 operator as a result). Yip, potentially EVERYBODY will pay for this f#@!wad and his little tantrum. How anyone could support anything other than a prison sentence for offending of this nature is just beyond belief.

He pissed in the face of all NZ pilots, and clearly doesn't give a toss about any of you.

30th Jan 2006, 22:07
you are so right.
He needs mental health care as well as a jail term.
To steal an aircraft, under the influence, threaten to crash into a building, threaten to kill himself. etc, he is a victim AND a criminal, (mentally disturbed-which sent him over the edge)

Many people in this world have devastating family issues, but manage to cope without making world headlines.-highlighting the need for professional help, to be perhaps, more readily available and accessible.

The security issues have already been raised, in this PC mad world, we will soon see some knee jerk reaction re this episode.

After hours gates are currently under investigation for Ardmore(this pre-dates Dave's little episode) mainly to deter undesirables from entering the Airfield after hours, but even security fences wont stop a determined person.(Or someone in the industry!!)

:* :uhoh:

Two Cocks
31st Jan 2006, 13:01
DT is a good man (Present tense!!!). I feel for him at the moment with the sentence that was passed down to him.

Sure his actions were done under a pressure situation and he now doing his time , so to speech, but how can we now give him the help that he needs right now. Where is the support that he needs?

DT you are still the man!!! Friends stick by friends in all situations!!!