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Forty Years On

Old 21st Oct 2018, 07:13
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Forty Years On

Today marks 40 years since Fred Valentich disappeared on a flight to King Island.



Last edited by Stationair8; 21st Oct 2018 at 09:17.
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Old 21st Oct 2018, 07:45
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I was part of the search, my log-book shows 3.20 in VH-MBT (a Chieftain from AAC). Covered a lot of sea without a trace on the 24th. Very strange that one. VH-DSJ, a C182 if my memory is correct?
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Old 21st Oct 2018, 07:51
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VH-DSJ, a C182 if my memory is correct?
Correct on both counts.

DF.
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Old 21st Oct 2018, 08:53
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My God is it that long ago? I remember it as I was working at EN at the time, he's still out there, somewhere! Cant imagine what that time must have been like for his family/friends, even ATC, very disturbing:-(
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Old 21st Oct 2018, 09:04
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Time marches on; hard to imagine it will be 32 years next January since the tragic suicide into Connellan's hangar at Alice Springs.
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Old 21st Oct 2018, 09:05
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His father, Guido, was a lovely man and he never gave up the search for his son.
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Old 21st Oct 2018, 09:18
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It may come as a surprise to many “believers” that they did actually find wreckage from his aircraft a fair while after.
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Old 21st Oct 2018, 09:24
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It may come as a surprise to many “believers” that they did actually find wreckage from his aircraft a fair while after.
Do tell, Squawk7700. A genuine request BTW; I'm not criticising your post.
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Old 21st Oct 2018, 09:39
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Who was this person? Was he famous? I've only been in aviation for 27 years, but have a keen interest in old stories.
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Old 21st Oct 2018, 09:48
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Old 21st Oct 2018, 09:48
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Originally Posted by Pinky the pilot View Post
Do tell, Squawk7700. A genuine request BTW; I'm not criticising your post.
I do recall reading, in the files, a cowl flap washing up on flinders island a few years later. It said it came from an aircraft of that type but there was no statement saying it was definitively from DSJ. There was an issue with a fuel leak too if memory serves me correctly. Must check it out. There was a piece in the Herald Sun during the week.
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Old 21st Oct 2018, 11:05
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From WikiPedia,

A Department of Transport (DOT) investigation into Valentich's disappearance was unable to determine the cause, but that it was "presumed fatal" for Valentich.[2] Five years after Valentich's aircraft went missing, an engine cowl flap was found washed ashore on Flinders Island. In July 1983, the Bureau of Air Safety Investigation asked the Royal Australian Navy Research Laboratory (RANRL) about the likelihood that the cowl flap might have "travelled" to its ultimate position from the region where the aircraft disappeared. The bureau noted that "the part has been identified as having come from a Cessna 182 aircraft between a certain range of serial numbers" which included Valentich's aircraft.
What would be prudent would be to find out the serial number of the 182 that was damaged on Flinders was within the range of the cowl flap that was found. It also sounds like a bit of a stretch that based on his departure time etc that the cowl flap could have made it all the way to Flinders island over a period of 5 years (I think it was).



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Old 21st Oct 2018, 11:09
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How would a cowl flap float? Or to what would it be attached to that would float?
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Old 21st Oct 2018, 11:11
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In their words, it crawled the sea floor.
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Old 21st Oct 2018, 11:18
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I’ve read quite a bit into this incident, I find it interesting.

The ATSB (or whatever they were called at the time) refused to ever release the ATC recordings, is this normal?

He did report rough running of his engine, if he lost engine power I imagine his AH was ran off the engine vac pump, not the best thing to lose at night.

I’ve seen quite a few displays of shooting starts on clear nights, sometimes I would swear it was a light about to come through my windscreen.

i would love for this mystery to be resolved, I imagine after 40 years in the shallow ocean there would be bugger all left of a light aircraft, maybe just an old rusted engine block.

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Old 21st Oct 2018, 11:38
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Don’t forget though, that this individual was apparently obsessed with UFO’s and that was well known...

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Old 21st Oct 2018, 12:55
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he lost engine power I imagine his AH was ran off the engine vac pump, not the best thing to lose at night.
And with only 150 hours and a couple of hours under the hood where it is easy to look outside, a pilot of that low experience could no way be expected to maintain control at night using only an electrically powered Turn Coordinator or Turn and Bank indicator. Even nowadays it is unheard of to find private pilots practicing limited panel flying (no artificial horizon) on their desk top simulator or flying school FTD; despite they would be wise to do, however.
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Old 21st Oct 2018, 17:52
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ATC recordings
He was talking to Flight Service, not ATC. I heard a copy of the FS tapes when I was a sprog FSO in Melbourne, and worked with the FSO who was on that end of the radio. Can't really remember much from the recording, except that, to me, he sounded confused. I find it strange that 11 mins from Cape Otway, heading into the darkness with a rough running engine, he elected to continue to cross Bass Strait towards King Island.
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Old 21st Oct 2018, 22:27
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Originally Posted by Squawk7700 View Post
Don’t forget though, that this individual was apparently obsessed with UFO’s and that was well known...

Correct, and a good point.

if this was self inflicted and he wanted to remain a mystery, he’s done a great job. 40 years later and we’re still scratching our heads.

Although i think I read that the possibility of suicide was completely ruled out by those close to him.
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Old 21st Oct 2018, 23:22
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Originally Posted by Flyboy1987 View Post

Although i think I read that the possibility of suicide was completely ruled out by those close to him.
I doubt anyone could really ever say this with confidence. (Not disagreeing what you’ve said FYI)

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