View Full Version : A superb feat of Airmanship re-visited.

6th Jun 2018, 13:56

Just under 40 years ago, before many of todays pilots were even born, a wonderful feat of superb airmanship took place high over the Pacific between Fiji and Norfolk island. I remember it well as at the time I was piloting Boeing 737's of Air Nauru over nearby areas of the South Pacific.
I was reminded of this when reading the Pprune Australian forum on the various theories surrounding the mysterious disappearance of Amelia Earhart in 1937 during her ill-fated long distance flight in her twin engine Lockheed from Lae, New Guinea to Howland Island in the Central Pacific.
The story goes thus:
On 22 December 1978, a small Cessna 188 aircraft, piloted by Jay Prochnow, became lost over the Pacific Ocean. The only other aircraft in the area that was able to assist was a commercial Air New Zealand flight. After several hours of searching, the crew of the Air New Zealand flight located the lost Cessna and led it to Norfolk Island, where the plane landed safely. Read on.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cessna_188_Pacific_rescue (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cessna_188_Pacific_rescue)..
Details of how the navigation numbers were crunched by the captain of the Air New Zealand DC10 are in the link below. I learned those numbers in case the occasion should ever arise that another ferry pilot may get lost and who knows we may have been able to help. My maths were awful at school and not much better in 1978 so it was probably good luck that I had never had the opportunity to try my calculations for real.
Mayday in December (http://www.navworld.com/navcerebrations/mayday.htm)


7th Jun 2018, 06:31
That is a great story, thank you for posting it.

7th Jun 2018, 11:39
For the illiterate audience there was a movie about this released in I think 1993 called Mercy Mission: The rescue of flight 771

edit: The movie was more Hollywood than documentary of course, but all things considered not a bad explaination for a layman I thought.

Bull at a Gate
7th Jun 2018, 13:49
The movie, you may not be surprised to learn, was not an accurate representation of what occurred. For example, in the movie both flights land at Auckland and the pilots greet each other on the ground. Still a compelling story though.

7th Jun 2018, 16:40
Salvatore ‘Robert’ Loggia played the ANZ skipper.

8th Jun 2018, 03:11
Great read, thanks for posting!

8th Jun 2018, 09:01
And here I am after spending all day working on a 188B.
I wonder what the rego or serial number of the aircraft was, as I come into contact with a few of them.