ZK-KFU Convair CV-580 Crash
Kapiti, New Zealand
03Oct03 2128NZST (0928GMT)

thumbnail Air Freight NZ NEW ZEALAND Palmerston North; Auckland 1989-
Formed by Fieldair. Acquired by Ronberg Enterprises.

Fieldair's Fleet of Convair CV-580s
ZK-FTA
ZK-FTBCrashed off the end of the runway and landed in the Manukau Harbour
ZK-JDQIn storage in the USA
ZK-KFH
ZK-KFL
ZK-KFU3 Oct 2003 Crashed into the sea near Kapiti Island
Flight Manual
GPWS Exemptions

Convair CV-580 Incidents
The interaction of lightning with airborne vehicles
thumbnail M.A. Uman*, V.A. Rakov
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Abstract
We review the available information on the mechanisms of lightning-aircraft interactions based primarily on studies involving four different instrumented aircraft [including a CV-580]. Further, we present available statistics on lightning-related aircraft incidents as a function of aircraft altitude and of ambient temperature. Finally, we examine the most signi.cant aircraft and launch vehicle accidents attributed to lightning.

Bruce Hoult's photographs of the area
thumbnail Pekapeka township. A sheet of metal identified as a wing cowl was found on a property here.
thumbnail Waikanae Beach
thumbnail Paraparaumu

Satellite photo
thumbnail
ZK-KFU
thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail CONVAIR Production List - CV-340 / CV-440 - Last update Aug 18, 2003
17       CV-340-31      N73113
CONV.    CV-440         (N547Z)   TI-1018C  N73113    N8428H
                        N5809
CONV.    CV-580         N5809     C-GKFU    ZK-FKU
     
UNITED AIRLINES INC. (UA / UAL)
Acquired Capital 07/61
CONVAIR 340
N73113  31        17                          10/52    07/60 STOCKTON
     
TI-1018C 1960/09/01 Convair 440-31 LACSA 17 [Warning: Excel spreadsheet]
It seems to share TI-1018C with Douglas Production List Part 22 Last update Aug 07, 2003
C/n      Type           Line    Regs. . . . . . .
43530    DC-6B          261     N6530C
CONV.    DC-6A/B                N6530C     TI-1018C   TI-LRD     TI-ALW
                                N653PB
     
ALLEGHENY AIRLINES, INC. (AL)
START: 01/53      STOP: 10/79
N/C FROM ALL-AMERICAN AIRWAYS 01/53
ACQUIRED LAKE CENTRAL AIRLINES 07/68
ACQUIRED MOHAWK AIRLINES 04/72
N/C TO US AIR 10/28/79
CONVAIR 340
N8428H  31        17                 N73113   07/62    11/65 cvtd to 440 (std)
     
ASPEN AIRWAYS, INC. (AP / ASP)
START: 01/66      STOP:  06/91
OPERATED AS UNITED EXPRESS FROM 09/86
ACQUIRED BY AIR WISCONSIN 05/90-OPERATED SEPARATELY UNTIL 06/91
CONVAIR 580
N5809             17                 N8428H   01/78      /   cvtd 340-31
     
A collection of photos of N5809

ZK-KFU Registration history from http://aerotransport.nexenservices.com

KFU

General Dynamics Allison Convair 340/580 017 24131 Aeroplane Air Freight NZ Ltd P O Box 73088 Auckland Airport AUCKLAND 1730

This is believed to be the aircraft which was lost 3rd Octocber 2003.

MSN 17
Status Destroyed while used by Air Freight NZ

Accident Description
Status: Preliminary      [legenda]
Date:	03 OCT 2003
Time:	ca 21.30
Type:	Convair CV-580F
Operator:	Air Freight NZ
Registration: 	ZK-KFU
Msn / C/n: 	17
Year built:	1952
Engines:	2 Allison 501-D13
Crew:	2 fatalities / 2 on board
Passengers:	0 fatalities / 0 on board
Total:	2 fatalities / 2 on board
Airplane damage:	Written off
Location:	off Waikanae (New Zealand)
Phase:	Cruise
Nature:	Cargo
Departure airport:	Christchurch International Airport (CHC)
Destination airport:	Palmerston North Airport (PMR)
Remarks:
     
The Air Freight NZ Convair CV-580 operated on a mail and parcel flight from Christchurch to Palmerston North. It was already dark when the flight departed Christchurch around 20:30h. Weather at Christchurch included clouds, rain and a 13-15kt wind. Approximately one hour after departure, Kapiti Coast residents reported hearing engine noises, a bang and seeing objects fall from the sky.

C-GKFU 580 82 Kelowna Flightcraft, Edmonton. Coded 516.
Perhaps C-GKFU has been assigned to a different airframe ...

3Oct03
The Crash I was dozing on a friend's couch close to the Waikanae Pool in Ngarara Road. There had been steady heavy rain for some hours, with occaisional up and downdraft activity with possible hail. In this context a clap of thunder was not unexpected, But this thunder had a strange sound to it's latter rumbles - it was suffused with a tuned note. After a short time one of the kids came in to comment on the strange noise and after a short conversation about thunder I looked at my watch. It read exactly 21:30NZST.

Light plane crash feared off Kapiti Coast
NZ Police, 3 October 2003

Search for missing pilots to be reviewed tomorrow . police
Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand  - 3 Oct 2003
Police will tomorrow review a search for two men missing after their freight plane crashed on the Kapiti Coast, north of Wellington, in bad weather on Friday...

Search for missing pilots to be reviewed tomorrow
New Zealand Herald, New Zealand  - 3 Oct 2003
Police will tomorrow review a search for two men missing after their freight plane crashed on the Kapiti Coast, north of Wellington, in bad weather last night....

4Oct03
Weather Imagery at 0600NZST 4th October 2003
thumbnail The rain radar images probably represent the images taken at 0300NZST.
The satellite pictures are updated irregularly between 90 minutes and 10 or more hours.
The isobaric maps are usually based on 0000 or 1200 local time to where the map is generated.
Met Service images from TV One Weather
thumbnail Note jetstream through active trough
WeatherChannel Australia

Freight plane downed off New Zealand; crew missing
Friday, October 3, 2003 10:45PM EDT By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - A freight plane with two crew aboard went missing in stormy conditions overnight north of the New Zealand capital and is likely to have crashed into the sea, police and a rescue official said Saturday.

A massive search operation for the two crew was under way Saturday on land, sea and air in the Kapiti Coast area northeast of Wellington where wreckage of the two-engine turboprop Convair plane had washed up on the shore. ...

Litter found in Queens Road Waikanae
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Missing plane's crew named
theage.com.au, 4 October 2003
A plane that went missing on NZ's Kapiti Coast is likely to have crashed into the sea, a search and rescue advisor says.
Two men - pilot, Barry Crowley, aged 57, of Kaiapoi, Christchurch and colleague Paul Miller, 50, of Auckland, who has recently been based in Christchurch - were on board the freight plane.
A massive search operation was launched on Friday night after the public reported hearing a plane flying followed by a loud bang.
Search and Rescue land advisor Laurie Gallagher told NZPA that a concentration of debris had been found in the water and on beaches just south of Peka Peka, about 6km north of Waikanae.
He said the debris was drifting southwards and may have travelled some distance overnight.
Mr Gallagher said he was "pretty sure" the plane had gone down in the sea.
It was hard to say if the crew could have survived.
"They would need to be lucky with the way they landed and need warm gear and life jackets," he said.
Searchers are continuing to scour the Kapiti Coast between Paraparaumu Beach and Peka Peka for the pair who were operating the Convair plane - a Parcel Line Express freight service - that had left Christchurch at 8.30pm on a routine flight to Palmerston North.
Senior Sergeant Mike Coleman of Kapiti Police confirmed wreckage had been found at Peka Peka and said other wreckage along with courier bags and parcel freight has been found in the water or washed up on the shoreline.
"We don't know exactly what happened to the flight but the weather was appalling last night with low visibility, driving rain and strong winds," Mr Coleman said in a statement.
Ohakea air control lost radar contact with the plane around 9.30pm.
Mr Coleman said it appeared the plane turned back in the Peka Peka area and residents reported hearing low flying and a sound like thunder.
There was also a strong smell of aviation fuel from Paraparaumu Beach north up the coast.
An Air Force Iroquois, supported by a fixed wing aircraft, searched until 3am Saturday.

Police stretched to cope with plane crash and flooding on Kapiti Coast
NZ Police, 4 October 2003

Search continues on Kapiti Coast for crashed plane
NZ Police, 4 October 2003

No sign of plane crash victims
NZ Police, 4 October 2003

Search scaled back for Kapiti plane crash
NZ Police, 4 October 2003

Search for plane pair continues
Stuff, 4th October 2003

Search for data recorder
4 Oct 2003 NZ City, New Zealand
Searchers looking for the wreckage of the plane which crashed off the Kapiti Coast are hoping to recover its data recorder intact. ...

Plane Crashes Off New Zealand, 2 Missing
Saturday October 4, 2003 2:01 AM
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - A freight plane with two crew aboard went missing in stormy conditions overnight north of the ...

5Oct03
Heroic pilots died trying to save lives

Pilot Paul Miller with his wife Frouk - he and other aerial spray pilots had received generic death threats.
Stuff 5th October 2003
By OSKAR ALLEY and JONATHAN MILNE
A mid-air explosion or lightning is believed to have brought down a cargo plane during the weekend's violent storm, killing the two pilots and strewing wreckage over residential areas and the sea.
But it emerged last night the two pilots may have been heroes, steering their stricken aircraft away from properties and into the sea.
The search for the bodies of Barry Cowley, 57, of Kaiapoi and Paul Miller, 50, of Thames, resumes today off the Kapiti Coast, north of Wellington, after their Convair freight plane crashed late on Friday.
Their bodies are believed to be in the main wreckage of the Convair, parts of which were found on coastal properties yesterday. One of the pilot's caps, their baggage, and some of the plane's mail freight washed ashore yesterday.
Miller was the regular pilot of the Fokker Friendship aircraft involved in the controversial aerial spraying campaign against the painted apple moth in west Auckland. Opponents of the campaign have made generic death threats against the pilots involved - but there is no evidence Friday's accident was a result of sabotage at this stage.
Debris found points to a mid-air explosion or lightning strike, according to expert sources on the ground.

Sonar equipment searching sea floor for plane wreckage
05 Oct 2003 New Zealand Herald, New Zealand
Sonar equipment is being used to search for a plane that crashed into the sea off the Kapiti Coast north of Wellington on Friday night. ...

Sonar used in search
05 Oct 2003 NZ City, New Zealand
Sonar will be used this afternoon to try to pinpoint the wreckage of the twin-engined Convair freight plane that crashed into the sea on Wellington's Kapiti ...

Search for plane's data recorder
05 Oct 2003 New Zealand Herald, New Zealand
11.00am Searchers looking for the wreckage of the plane which crashed off the Kapiti Coast are hoping to recover its data recorder intact. ...

Search For Plane Data Recorder
05 Oct 2003 Xtra News, New Zealand
Searchers looking for the wreckage of the plane which crashed off the Kapiti Coast are hoping to recover its data recorder intact. ...

6Oct03
Pilot's widow tells of love
6 October 2003 By MATT CONWAY.
Canterbury pilot Barry Cowley's cool head saved certain disaster at least twice during his 41-year flying career. ...

Search for pilots continues
Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand  - 06 Oct 2003
By MARIANNE BETTS.
Sonar equipment will be used as the search continues at first light today for the crew and wreckage of a downed freight plane. ...

06Oct2003 - a report from an impeccable source quoting two others as stating that they had seen the explosion.
Storm Damage at Paekakariki
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7Oct03
Plane search focuses on seabed objects
thumbnail 07.10.2003
By CLAIRE TREVETT AND NZPA
Police divers will today investigate large objects found on the sea floor off the Kapiti Coast, where an aircraft is believed to have crashed on Friday night.
A boat with sonar equipment searched the seabed yesterday for the wreckage, which is believed to contain the bodies of pilots Barry Cowley, aged 58, of Kaiapoi, near Christchurch, and Paul Miller, 50, of Thames.

Waikato crisis talks on spraying
thumbnail 07.10.2003 By ANNE BESTON environment reporter
Biosecurity officials held emergency talks with lawyers yesterday as they prepared to fight a legal challenge to a planned $11 million battle against a moth pest in Hamilton.
A group opposed to the aerial insecticide campaign against the asian gypsy moth has taken its case to the High Court at Hamilton, where an urgent hearing will be held today on whether the planned operation should be grounded.
Spraying is due to begin tomorrow, covering 1250ha of Hamilton West suburbs.
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry forest biosecurity director Peter Thomson met lawyers from the Crown Law Office to discuss the legal action. The lawyers will attend today's hearing on behalf of MAF.

Firm stands by air safety procedures
07 October 2003 By COLLEEN SIMPSON
Air Freight NZ's owner is standing by the company's safety procedures.
Freightways managing director Dean Bracewell said yesterday that Air Freight's safety record was highly regarded within aviation circles.
The only other accident on its record occurred in 1989 when three people were killed after a Convair 580 operated by Air Freight crashed at Auckland Airport, hitting an embankment soon after take-off.

An official source: 07 Oct 2003
The aircraft was tracking north at 14,000 feet over Pekapeka where it turned sharply to port, and plummetted.
A large number of pieces of aircraft were found by sonar off Pekapeka where the aircraft disappeared from radar.
Pieces of aircraft were also found off Paraparaumu.
The pilot's briefcase has been found empty.

Air crash team directs divers to seabed finds
07 October 2003 By HAYDON DEWES and NZPA
Divers will investigate today large objects found on the sea floor off the Kapiti Coast, where a plane is believed to have crashed.
Yesterday a boat with sonar equipment searched the seabed for the wreckage, which is believed to contain the bodies of pilots Barry Cowley, 58, of Kaiapoi, near Christchurch, and Paul Miller, 50, of Thames.

Plane crash area known for icing
7 October 2003 By PAUL GORMAN
Severe aircraft icing could have been a major factor in the crash of the Air Freight NZ Convair somewhere off the Kapiti coast.
An aviation weather forecaster revealed yesterday that the area is known by pilots as a black spot for aircraft icing, particularly in conditions such as those which battered the west of the North Island on Friday.
Damaging turbulence and lightning strikes are now thought less likely to have been present at the time of the accident, about 9.30pm on Friday.

8Oct03
Heavy swells hamper air crash search
WEDNESDAY, 08 OCTOBER 2003 By HAYDON DEWES AND SUE ALLEN
Poor visibility and big swells have hampered a search for the wreckage of a plane believed to have crashed off the Kapiti Coast.
Search coordinator Senior Sergeant Mike Coleman said six police divers spent yesterday trying to retrieve what was thought to be plane wreckage identified by sonar. ...

Bad weather hampers search for crashed plane
WEDNESDAY, 08 OCTOBER 2003
Difficult weather conditions look set to again hamper efforts to search for wreckage of a plane which crashed off the Kapiti Coast on Friday.
The Airfreight New Zealand Convair 580, flying from Christchurch to Palmerston North, crashed into the sea about 9.30pm during a storm.
A boat with sonar equipment has found objects on the seabed during searches for plane wreckage which could contain the bodies of pilots Barry Cowley, 58, of Kaiapoi, near Christchurch, and Paul Miller, 50, of Thames.
Police divers tried twice yesterday afternoon to check the items, but their efforts were thwarted by murky water and a dangerous current. ...

Plane eludes divers 08.10.2003
Divers looking for pieces of a plane that crashed on Friday off the Kapiti coast have been hampered by murky water and a dangerous current.

9Oct03
Friends find plane part
09.10.2003 06:05 am
A part from a plane that crashed off the Kapiti Coast on Friday has been found off Wellington by friends of one of the dead pilots. ...
Yesterday friends from Thames found a piece of propeller casing washed up at Ohau Point near Wellington. ...

Wreckage eludes hi-tech scan
THURSDAY, 09 OCTOBER 2003 By HAYDON DEWES
After two days of scanning the sea floor using hi-tech sonar equipment, navy experts have yet to find the wreckage of a plane believed to have crashed off the Kapiti Coast.
The only debris found yesterday was a piece of propeller casing picked up by friends of missing pilot Paul Miller, 50, of Thames. Mr Miller and fellow pilot Barry Cowley, 58, of Kaiapoi were flying the Air Freight New Zealand Convair 580 that disappeared during storms on Friday night. ...

Emergency to end in flood town at midday
THURSDAY, 09 OCTOBER 2003 By KATHRYN POWLEY
A state of emergency will remain in place in Paekakariki till midday today as the cleanup of the town continues.
The Kapiti Coast town was hit by a massive downpour that brought tonnes of debris, mud and gravel off Paekakariki Hill, burying a motel and causing parts of the town to be flooded in waist-deep water.
Streets are nearly clean again, but 10 houses are likely to be uninhabitable for some time, and at least one might have to be demolished. ...

Weather, currents hamper search for crashed plane
THURSDAY , 09 OCTOBER 2003
Strong currents and deteriorating weather are threatening efforts to find wreckage of a plane that crashed off the Kapiti Coast on Friday night.
Barry Cowley, 58, of Kaiapoi, near Christchurch, and Paul Miller, 50, of Thames were flying an Airfreight New Zealand Convair 580 to Palmerston North from Christchurch when it is believed to have crashed into the sea during a storm about 9.30pm. Their bodies have not been found.
Today police search co-ordinator, Senior Sergeant Mike Coleman of Paraparaumu police, said divers had been sent down about 6pm yesterday to check out an 8m object.
"Unfortunately this turned out to be an old (boat) wreckage," he told National Radio.
The continuing search for wreckage was weather-dependent and searchers were concerned about forecasts of deteriorating conditions.
Sonar efficiency was affected by heavy swells, and a seven-day forecast indicated conditions were due to deteriorate, possibly as early as late today, Mr Coleman said.
Kapiti Island could help to keep the swell down, but part of the area being searched was outside the sheltered area.
Also, the sea where the plane crashed had a mainly sandy bottom, and some debris would be covered with sand, he said.
"We do have quite a strong offshore current where we are searching and we also have the channel going between the foreshore and Kapiti Island that takes stuff out to the Cook Strait."
Searchers remained confident of finding some wreckage, but the amount found would depend on the impact made by the plane when it crashed.
The weather-dependent search, in an area of about 12sqkm, would continue using the sonar-equipped naval vessel Wakakura, which joined the search yesterday, as well as a second sonar-equipped vessel.
The equipment on the Wakakura was proving to be very good. The ship had worked through the night and would continue as long as the weather was suitable. The results from the overnight work were to be analysed today.
Yesterday Mr Miller's friends from the Thames search and rescue squad were out helping with the search for wreckage. They found part of the plane - a piece of propeller casing - which has washed up at Ohau Point near Makara.
Mr Miller and his wife Frouk had been involved in dozens of search and rescue missions in the Coromandel.
A large amount of lighter flotsam from the crashed plane has washed up at Ohau Point, about 50km south of Paraparaumu, mainly parcels and teddy bears the plane had been transporting.
Weather permitting, sonar work is likely to be completed by tomorrow after which the search operation is to be re-evaluated.
A ten-strong navy diving squad is to be on hand today.
Navy spokesman Lieutenant Commander Blair Gerritsen said the squad had a two-person compression chamber on board their boat, allowing divers to safely descend to depths of about 50m without getting the bends.
The deepest part of the search area is estimated to be that deep. Police had requested the navy's assistance, as their own divers could not dive to this depth.

Navy boosts search team
Search for freight plane and 2 pilots off Kapiti Coast boosted by contribution of Navy survey ship and dive squad
9 October 2003
A Navy survey ship and the Navy dive squad have joined the search for the freight plane thought to be sitting in deep water off Peka Peka on the Kapiti Coast. ...
Senior Sergeant Mike Coleman says searchers are combing a seven-kilometre-square area between Kapiti Island and the coast. ...

10Oct03
Police likely to scale down search for plane
FRIDAY , 10 OCTOBER 2003
Police are likely to scale down the search for a plane that crashed off the Kapiti Coast, after another fruitless day scanning the seabed.
Police and navy divers and two sonar-equipped boats have spent the past week searching for any signs of the plane in what Senior Sergeant Mike Coleman described as a 12-square-kilometre "high- probability area". ...

Overseas aid for flood-hit Paekakariki
FRIDAY , 10 OCTOBER 2003
Paekakariki residents are to benefit from overseas aid that nearly matches the amount given by the New Zealand Government for the town's recovery.
As the cleanup continued yesterday at the town, on the Kapiti Coast north of Wellington, following Friday's flood, Lions Clubs International Foundation made a $US10,000 ($NZ16,700) donation. ...

No plane or crew causing problems for crash investigation
10 October 2003
The failure to find the crew and a significant part of the plane that crashed off the Kapiti Coast last Friday is posing problems for the investigation of the accident.
A meeting today is to decide how to proceed with the search. ...

Plane wreckage found off Kapiti Coast
NZ Police News Release, 10:59, 10 October 2003
Police and Navy divers have found what they hope is wreckage from the Convair freight plane which crashed in the sea off Kapiti Island during last Friday night.s violent rainstorm.

The bodies of the two aircrew, pilot Barry Cowley and co-pilot Paul Miller, have yet to be found.
Police search spokesman Senior Sergeant Mike Coleman, says some wreckage was touched last night on the last dive of the day.
"Visibility was just about zero so the area was marked and the divers returned to the site about 10am today," he says. "It could be another few hours before we know for sure but we.re hopeful that the wreckage is from our missing plane."
Mr Coleman says the families of both men have been advised of the latest developments.
Sonar readings from overnight were still being analysed late this morning but it.s thought the wreckage is scattered over a two kilometre area on the seabed, about three kilometres offshore in the channel between Kapiti Island and Paraparaumu.
Several large objects have been detected, one approximately 10 metres x five metres x three metres is possibly part of the fuselage. The wreckage is sitting about 35m below the surface.
Mr Coleman says underwater visibility is still very poor although the surface conditions are good.
"The divers are still in the process of inspecting the objects to see if they are from our plane," he says. "We.re working closely with the experts including an engineer but it may be this afternoon before we know more about the significance of the find."

Large Object Seen On Kapiti Sonar
Fotopress - Ross Setford 10/10/2003 11:18 AM
Police divers searching for the plane that went down off the Kapiti Coast are taking a closer look at a large object identified by sonar. ...
Mr Coleman says conditions are not good for the divers, with the object some 35 metres down in zero visibility. ...

Few remnants of the Convair 580 have been found since the discovery of this nose cone piece soon after the crash

Black boxes recovered from crashed plane off Kapiti
NZ Police News Release, 23:02, 10 October 2003
Divers have tonight recovered the two flight recorders or .black boxes. from the Convair freight plane which crashed into the sea off Kapiti Island a week ago.
Police search spokesman Senior Sergeant Mike Coleman, Kapiti Police, says the boxes were found in the plane.s tail section, lying on the seabed about 35m below the surface.
"They were recovered from a section of the plane measuring about 10m x 5m x 3m," he says. "They.re in our possession overnight and will form part of the air accident investigation."
Some cargo harnesses were also recovered but as yet there is no sign of the bodies of the two air crew -- pilot Barry Cowley and copilot Paul Miller.
"It.s amazing the divers were able to recover anything today," Senior Sergeant Coleman says. "The water visibility was simply atrocious."
He says the divers have sighted a large cargo container and the whole area has been buoyed and marked.
The police and navy dive teams were joined today by the Wellington Police launch Lady Elizabeth III which has been undergoing a major repaint and survey work in Nelson. The Lady .Liz. left Nelson late today and diverted to Mana overnight to pick up extra equipment needed in the search.
Divers will resume their painstaking trawl of the seabed at 8.30am tomorrow.
Police are asking recreational boaties to stay away from the search area off Kapiti.
"We know there will be a lot of vessels out being a weekend and there.s a lot of interest in the recovery operation," Senior Sergeant Coleman says. "The search area is marked but it.s a safety issue too that we keep the target zones clear for the search vessels and the divers."

11Oct03
Search resumes for missing crew after black boxes found
SATURDAY , 11 OCTOBER 2003
Police and navy divers resumed their search this morning for the cockpit section and other wreckage from the Air Freight New Zealand Convair 580 plane which went down in atrocious weather eight days ago.

Search resumes for missing air crew after black boxes found
11.10.2003
Police and navy divers resumed their search this morning for the cockpit section and other wreckage from the Air Freight New Zealand Convair 580 plane which went down in atrocious weather eight days ago.

No Sign Of Cockpit From Kapiti Crash
thumbnail 11/10/2003 07:06 PM Newstalk ZB
Police and navy divers still have not found the cockpit of the plane that crashed off the Kapiti Coast.
The freight plane went down during the storm that lashed the lower North Island eight days ago.
On Friday night, two flight recorders were found at one of the nine dive-sites.
Fourteen divers have continued the search for the cockpit and the bodies of the two pilots on Saturday.
Senior Constable Keith Allen says the zero visibility they are working with is related to the storm, due to the amount of dirty water from rivers.
He says the weather on Saturday has been calm.

Body found from Kapiti plane crash site
NZ Police News Release, 20:52, 11 October 2003
Police and Navy divers have tonight found the body of one of the two air crew missing from a freight plane which crashed off Kapiti Island a week ago.
Kapiti Police search spokesperson Sergeant Steve Kendrick says the body was found about 6.45pm tonight in the extensively damaged cockpit area of the Convair plane.
Police have advised the families of pilot Barry Cowley and co-pilot Phil Miller. A formal identification will not be possible until the body is recovered later tonight and taken to Wellington Hospital for a postmortem tomorrow.

12Oct03
Body retrieved from Kapiti plane crash site
New Zealand Herald 12.10.2003 1.15am
Police and navy divers have retrieved the body of one of the two pilots who died when a freight plane crashed off Kapiti Island a week ago.
The cockpit of the Convair plane was located on the sea floor at about 6.45pm Saturday, with the body inside. ...

Search resumes for second pilot's body
thumbnail
Ken Mathews of the Transport Accident Investigation Commission examines the flight data recorder and flight voice recorders.
Stuff 12 October 2003
Police and navy divers have retrieved the body of one of the two pilots who died when a freight plane crashed off Kapiti Island a week ago.
The cockpit of the Convair plane was located on the sea floor at about 6.45pm last night, with the body inside. ...

Slim hope for second plane crash victim
NZ Police News Release, 15:27, 12 October 2003
Searchers say there is a slim hope for finding the body of the second victim of last week.s plane crash off Kapiti Island.
Police and Navy divers last night recovered the body on one of the two men on board. Dental records will be used tomorrow to formally identify the victim and a postmortem will be held at Wellington Hospital.
Senior Sergeant Mike Coleman, search spokesman, says divers have today further inspected the wrecked cockpit of the Convair plane, which is sitting about 35m underwater.
"The cockpit is extensively damaged and they were unable to find the second body," Senior Sergeant Coleman says. "The Navy divers are now being stood down from the operation as the chance of finding anyone else is very slim."
He says the families of both men -- pilot Barry Cowley and copilot Paul Miller -- have been advised.
Senior Sergeant Coleman says the salvage operation will start in earnest tomorrow. The cockpit will be one of the first items to be brought to the surface. It will again be checked by police divers to see if there is any sign of the second body.

13Oct03
Police hope to recover cockpit of crashed plane
thumbnail 13 October 2003
Police plan to raise today the cockpit of the freight plane that crashed off Kapiti Island 10 days ago, but admit there is only a slim hope of finding the remaining missing pilot.
Navy and police divers found the plane's extensively damaged cockpit in 30 to 35 metres of water, about three kilometres off Waikanae Beach yesterday evening.
Pilot Barry Cowley and co-pilot Phil Miller went missing after their plane crashed into the sea on October 3.
Divers recovered one body from the wreckage but there was no sign of the other body.
The recovered body has not been identified and dental records will have to be used. The body was sent to Wellington Hospital for an autopsy yesterday.
Senior Sergeant Mike Coleman of Kapiti police said police held discussions with salvage experts today.
Mr Coleman, the search co-ordinator, expected the Sounds Image salvage vessel used earlier in the search to be called in and an attempt made to recover the six-metre long, 1000-kilogram piece of fuselage today.
But he said the chances of finding the other body were slim and the police divers had been stood down.
The salvage team intended to float the wreckage to the surface and winch it on to the ship, he said. Searchers hoped to find the second body in the cockpit.
Mr Coleman said police and navy divers had continued to search for the second body yesterday, but stopped at 2pm because of poor conditions.
"They've checked the wreckage pretty much as far as they can but it's too damaged to do a full inspection." ...

Hopes for second body fade
13.10.2003
Searchers say they hold only slim hopes of finding the body of the second man who died in last week's freight plane crash off Kapiti Coast, north of Wellington.
On Saturday, divers retrieved the body of one of the two pilots from the cockpit area of the Convair plane, which is lying on the seabed at a depth of about 35m.
Police hope to salvage the cockpit section of the plane today. ...

Bad weather halts effort to raise plane's cockpit
13 October 2003
Bad weather has halted efforts to raise the cockpit of a freight plane that crashed off Kapiti Island 10 days ago, killing two people.
Transport Air Investigation Commission (TAIC) salvage experts had hoped to lifting the large cockpit section today, search co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Mike Coleman said.
But salvage and dive teams decided to stand down after strong wind gusts were forecast.
The operation would begin again early tomorrow.
...

Identity confirmed for plane crash pilot

NZ Police News Release, 16:27, 13 October 2003
Dental records have helped confirm that the body recovered from the seabed off Kapiti Island is that of Barry Ronald Cowley.
Mr Cowley, 58, of Kaiapoi, Christchurch, was the pilot of the Convair freight plane which crashed into the sea between Peka Peka and Kapiti Island during the height of a rainstorm on Friday night, 3 October.
Police search spokesman Senior Sergeant Mike Coleman says Mr Cowley.s body was recovered from the cockpit on Saturday night. Dental records and papers found on the body helped confirm Mr Cowley.s identity.
A post mortem was held in Wellington today, the results of which will be passed to the coroner.
Mr Coleman says winds and rough seas prevented any salvage operation taking place today.
"We hope conditions will be more favourable tomorrow although the chances of finding the co-pilot, Paul Miller, are very slim," Mr Coleman says.

Pilot's body identified
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Barry Cowley
13.10.2003 6.00pm
A body recovered from the sunken cockpit of a freight plane that disappeared off the Kapiti Coast 10 days ago was today identified as pilot Barry Cowley, of Kaiapoi, near Christchurch.
The aircraft he was co-piloting with Paul Miller, of Thames, went missing in stormy weather on October 3.
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A post-mortem examination using dental records was completed in Wellington today and confirmed Mr Cowley's identity, Senior Sergeant Mike Coleman, of Paraparaumu police, said.
Papers found on Mr Cowley's body had also helped confirm it was him.
The post mortem results would be passed to the coroner.
A spokesman at the Cowley's family home tonight sent thanks to the searchers and all involved since the plane went missing.
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A Transport Air Investigation Commission (TAIC) salvage team and diving experts will tomorrow attempt to lift the large cockpit section, after bad weather halted efforts today.
Mr Coleman said the operation would begin again early tomorrow.
The 6m by 3m cockpit section would be lifted on to search vessel Sounds Image and transported about three hours away to Mana Harbour in Paremata, Mr Coleman said.
If the section, which weighed at least a tonne, did not fit on Sounds Image, TAIC would keep it afloat at the site and tow it to Mana on a barge.
The salvage team would also look at raising other "big bits" of wreckage from the seabed, Mr Coleman said.
TAIC inquiry head Captain John Mockett said the plane's flight data recorder and cockpit recorder were being sent overseas for examination.
Investigations so far indicated the plane had partially broken up in the air.
It was on a "very, very steep descent" from about 14,500ft, when it vanished from the radar.
However, investigators were not sure if it broke up at that height or on the way down, he said.

Pilot's body identified

13 October 2003
A body recovered from the sunken cockpit of a freight plane that disappeared off the Kapiti Coast 10 days ago was today identified as pilot Barry Cowley, of Kaiapoi, near Christchurch.
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15Oct03
Cockpit salvage bid delayed

15 October 2003
Salvage experts and police will try again today to raise the cockpit of a freight plane that crashed off the Kapiti Coast, killing two people, 12 days ago.
The body of Barry Cowley, 58, of Kaiapoi, was found in the cockpit on Saturday. The body of co-pilot Paul Miller, 50, of Thames, has not been found. The men went missing after their plane crashed in stormy weather on October 3.
Search coordinator Senior Sergeant Mike Coleman said plans to salvage the six-metre-by-three-metre section of plane yesterday was cancelled because of a heavy swell after high winds overnight.
Better conditions were forecast for today. Transport Accident Investigation Commission salvage experts and police divers were expected to try to lift the wreckage about midday.

Divers retrieve items from sunken plane
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The crew of the recovery vessel Sounds Image are preparing to raise the cockpit of the crashed Convair.
15.10.2003 1.00pm
Police divers this morning retrieved items from the sunken cockpit of a freight plane that crashed off Kapiti Island 12 days ago, killing two people.
The divers brought up several "loose items" for examination, but were hampered by poor underwater visibility and strong currents, Transport Air Investigation (TAIC) spokesman Peter Northcote said.
TAIC planned to lift the cockpit late this afternoon on to the search vessel Sounds Image and ship it to Mana Harbour, about three hours south, for examination.
If the 6m by 3m cockpit was too large, it would be kept afloat to be transferred to a barge for the journey.
"At this stage it's unclear if the cockpit will come up as a whole piece," Mr Northcote told NZPA.
More divers were arriving on the police boat The Lady Liz today.
The body of pilot Barry Cowley was retrieved on Saturday, but divers have found no signs of co-pilot Paul Miller, Mr Northcote said.
The aircraft's black box arrived in Canberra yesterday for examination.
Investigations so far indicated the plane partially broke up in mid-air. It was on a steep descent from about 14,500ft (4420m), when it vanished from the radar.

16Oct03
Hopes of finding lost crash pilot fade
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Diver Mike Slade in the remains of the crashed Convair's cockpit.
16.10.2003
Divers have recovered the badly smashed cockpit of a plane that crashed off the Kapiti Coast nearly two weeks ago.
But hopes of finding the body of its missing pilot are fading.
Work to salvage the freight plane had been hampered by rough seas since it crashed in a storm on October 3 with two people on board.
But yesterday, perfect conditions enabled the cockpit to be brought to the surface, Kapiti police Senior Sergeant Mike Coleman said.
Salvage experts and police divers worked from about midday until late afternoon between Peka Peka beach and Kapiti Island, where the plane went down.
Mr Coleman said the 1000kg, 10m cockpit section that was floated to the surface and winched on board a salvage boat was "a mess" and very jagged.
There was no sign of missing pilot Paul Miller, 50, of Thames.
The body of co-pilot Barry Cowley, 58, of Kaiapoi, near Christchurch, was recovered from the sea on Saturday.
Mr Coleman said police would not give up hope, but only a "very slim possibility" of Mr Miller's body being found now existed.
A memorial service for Mr Miller will be held in Thames on Saturday.
Four police officers yesterday checked points on land south of Kapiti, around Makara and Titahi Bay, known to collect debris, but found no trace of him.
Transport Accident Investigation Commission chief investigator John Mockett said salvaged items would be taken by sea to Mana in Porirua, then trucked to a Seaview warehouse for examination.
He said analysis of the plane's flight data recorders in Canberra should be completed at the weekend.
Investigations indicate the Airfreight New Zealand Convair 580 broke up in the air on the way from Christchurch to Palmerston North.

Missing pilot, cockpit recovered
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MANGLED WRECKAGE: The wrecked cockpit of the crashed aircraft, recovered from the seafloor off Peka Peka Beach.
16 October 2003
Divers have found the body of the pilot of the cargo plane that crashed off the Kapiti Coast nearly two weeks ago.
The police launch Lady Elizabeth III brought the body of Paul Miller, 50, of Thames, ashore at midnight after divers found it about 9.30 last night near where the cockpit wreckage was raised earlier in the day.
A formal identification was to be made at Wellington Hospital, but police spokeswoman Kaye Calder said relatives had been told it was believed the body was Mr Miller's.
The body of co-pilot Barry Cowley, 58, of Kaiapoi, Christchurch, was recovered from between Kapiti Island and Peka Peka Beach on Saturday.
Divers recovered the badly smashed cockpit of the plane after a search that has lasted since the October 3 crash. Senior Sergeant Mike Coleman said salvage experts and police divers worked from about midday till late afternoon before raising the cockpit.
Ian McClelland, the investigator in charge for the Transport Accident Investigation Commission, said the whole plane had been found but it was strewn over a big area on the sea floor. Other sections would be salvaged later.
A memorial service for Mr Miller is to be held in Thames on Saturday.
Investigations indicate the Airfreight New Zealand Convair 580 broke up in the air.

Second Body Recovered From Seabed
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16/10/2003 06:21 AM
Rescuers have recovered a second body from near wreckage of a freight plane which crashed into the sea off the Kapiti Coast almost two weeks ago.
Police divers recovered the body of pilot Barry Cowley on Saturday night, but the search continued for co-pilot Paul Miller.
After several days of weather disruptions and poor visibility, the cockpit wreckage from the Convair 580 was able to be brought to the surface late yesterday afternoon.
And on the last search of the night, at about 9:30pm, a diver spotted what was thought to be a body on the seabed.
Additional divers were sent down, and they retrieved the body which had been lying near the cockpit wreckage.
The body has been brought ashore aboard a police launch, and will be taken to the Wellington Hospital mortuary for identification and a post mortem examination.
Although a formal identification of the body is yet to be made, police say they have advised Paul Miller's family of the find.

Second body recovered from plane crash site

NZ Police News Release, 08:08, 16 October 2003
Wellington Police divers late tonight (Wednesday 15 October) recovered a second body from the seabed near the wreckage of the Convair freight plane which crashed into the sea off Kapiti Island nearly two weeks ago.
Senior Sergeant Mike Coleman, Kapiti Police, says although a formal identification is still to be held the body is believed to be that of the plane.s co-pilot Mr Paul Miller, 50, of Thames. Mr Miller.s family has been advised of the find.
Cockpit wreckage was lifted from the seabed this afternoon and divers worked into the night searching the crash site for Mr Miller.s body.
"It was on the last dive of the night, about 9.30pm, when a body was spotted," Mr Coleman says. "Additional divers were sent down, the body located and recovered."
It was being brought by the police launch Lady Elizabeth III which was expected to reach Mana shortly after midnight. The body would then be taken to Wellington Hospital for formal identification and a post mortem, most likely to be done on Thursday.
"Finding the body will bring some degree of closure to Mr Miller.s grieving family," Mr Coleman says.
The salvage operation is expected to continue on Thursday.

17Oct03
Pilot's body identified

17.10.2003 5.00 am
The body of Thames pilot Paul Miller, 50, whose plane went down off the Kapiti Coast 14 days ago, was formally identified yesterday after divers recovered it the previous night.
Mr Miller's body was found on the seabed near Kapiti Island, north of Wellington, about 25m from the plane's sunken cockpit.
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Rough seas again hamper efforts to raise plane parts

17 October 2003 By KATHRYN POWLEY
Rough seas have again prevented more wreckage from a crashed plane being lifted from the sea floor off Kapiti.
Salvage experts hope to resume work today.
Police are no longer involved in the salvage operation of the Convair 580 that crashed on October 3 because both pilots' bodies have been retrieved.
Their separate funerals will be held tomorrow in Thames and Rangiora.
On Wednesday at 9.30pm, during the calmest conditions since the stormy night of the crash, divers recovered the body of Thames pilot Paul Miller, 50, not far from where they had earlier lifted the plane's mangled cockpit.
The body of co-pilot Barry Cowley, 58, of Kaiapoi, Christchurch, was found on Saturday inside the cockpit.
A spokesman for Mr Miller's family, his lifelong friend Moss Smith, said it was a "miracle" and a "relief" his body was found. It meant a funeral could be held, rather than the memorial service they had planned.
"There will be a fly-by at the reception afterwards . lots of helicopters and fixed-wings.
"He always reckoned he was going to do this for me."
It had been important to Mr Miller's wife Frouk and five children that his body be found: "We spent a long time looking for him down there."
He thanked police, search and rescue, and the coastguard who had been "absolutely marvellous".
"The divers have been so good to do what they've done. To get those two bodies up in those extreme conditions."
Though they were glad to have Mr Miller's body back, they were now desperate to know why the plane had crashed.
"We must find out what went wrong."
Mr Miller, who had been flying since he was 16 years old, was involved in search and rescue and police work.
He had also been instrumental in setting up aerial spraying of painted apple moths.

18Oct03
Search for plane parts to continue

18 October 2003
Salvage experts will today continue to recover parts of a plane that crashed off the Kapiti Coast north of Wellington earlier this month, killing two men.
They were hoping to raise three "important" parts from the seabed near Kapiti Island, Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) spokesman Peter Northcote said yesterday.
Divers had been unable to go into the sea yesterday because of bad weather.
Pilots Barry Cowley, 57, of Kaiapoi, near Christchurch, and Paul Miller, 50, of Thames, were killed when their Airfreight New Zealand Convair 580, flying from Christchurch to Palmerston North, crashed into the sea on October 3.
TAIC took over the search for plane parts from police after the men's bodies were found. Mr Cowley's body was recovered on Saturday and Mr Miller's on Wednesday night.
The plane's cockpit was brought ashore on Wednesday and taken for examination. The aircraft's flight data recorders were being examined in Canberra, Australia, as part of the crash investigation.
Mr Miller's body had been returned to his family in Thames after an autopsy in Wellington yesterday, police said.

19Oct03
Pilot remembered for proposing in mid-air
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Widow, Jan Cowley, third from left, with family and friends outside the service.
19 October 2003 By DEIDRE MUSSEN
Airfreight NZ pilots Barry Cowley and Paul Miller have been farewelled 15 days after their freight plane crashed off the Kapiti Coast, killing them both.
About 400 people attended the memorial service for Cowley, 58, of Kaiapoi, in a hangar at the Rangiora Airfield in North Canterbury yesterday. A funeral service for Miller, 50, was held yesterday in Thames.
Police and navy divers found Cowley's body last Saturday in the plane's cockpit 35m below the sea between Kapiti Island and Peka Peka, north of Wellington. Miller's body was found near the wreckage last Wednesday.
At Cowley's service, Andy Nicholson, of Aviation Contracts Partnership, recalled two times when the Convair planes he and Cowley flew together "were misbehaving really badly" in the past eight years.
At the time, he commended Cowley to his superiors because of his skill in managing the incidents.
The Convair 580 freight plane that Cowley and Miller were flying from Christchurch to Palmerston North on October 3 plummeted into the sea during stormy weather. Investigators revealed it was on a "very, very steep descent" from about 14,500ft when it vanished from radar.
Friends and family at Cowley's memorial recalled a man full of laughter - his nickname was "Chuckles".
He had a lifelong passion for flying and proposed to his wife while flying upside down in an aerobatics plane, brother-in-law Lex Wallace said.
A private cremation and service was held for Cowley on Friday.

20Oct03
Pilot not to blame, funeral told
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TRIBUTE: A thanksgiving service for Air Freight NZ Ltd pilot Barry Cowley at Rangiora Airport. One of Mr Cowley's colleagues told the funeral the crash - off Kapiti coast - was not the pilot's fault.
20 October 2003
Workmates of experienced Kaiapoi pilot Barry Cowley are confident air accident investigators probing this month's fatal plane crash will clear him of blame.
Mr Cowley, 58, and Paul Miller, 50, were both killed when the Convair freight plane they were flying from Christchurch to Palmerston North crashed off the Kapiti Coast during stormy weather on October 3.
It took police and navy divers several days to find the cockpit of the Convair 580 plane, 35m below the sea between Kapiti Island and Peka Peka, north of Wellington.
Speaking at Mr Cowley's funeral, held in a hangar at the Rangiora Airfield on Saturday, friend and former workmate Russell Mortimer said Mr Cowley was a "top guy" and a "real professional pilot".
"Whatever the accident investigators find, I'm willing to bet my life they won't find any fault attributed to Barry Cowley," Mr Mortimer said.
Andy Nicholson, of Aviation Contracts Partnership, said he had clocked up between 800 and 1000 hours flying with Mr Cowley. Twice, Mr Cowley's skill had pulled them out of danger.
"I know he would have done everything he possibly could have to extricate himself and Paul from that situation (on the night of the crash)," Mr Nicholson said.
Mr Cowley's brother-in-law, Lex Wallace, said he had never met anyone who laughed as much as Mr Cowley, whose nick-name was Chuckles.
"He was infectious with his vitality," said Mr Wallace.
Mr Cowley's widow, Jan, in a letter she had penned to her husband, said she would treasure for always the memories of the time they had shared: "You told me a few weeks ago when I fell over at tennis that if I let anything serious happen to me I would be in deep doo-doo. You know what, you're in it now," she said.

Friend's worst fears confirmed from air

20 October 2003
Alan Land circled helplessly above a burning Tiger Moth piloted by his friends on Saturday afternoon and looked to see if anyone was standing beside the wreckage.
Mr Land was a friend of pilots Nola and Michael Pickard, killed on Saturday when the 1942 Tiger Moth Nola was flying crashed.
He had just watched the couple take off from the Taumarunui airstrip.
He taxied up the runway behind them preparing to compete in the bombing and landing competition but when he got airborne he saw the plumes of smoke.
"I was hoping it was a scrub fire but it wasn't."
The longtime Tiger Moth Club member said he flew over the burning plane before returning to land.
"We were looking to see if anyone was standing beside the wreckage. I've never seen a tiger burn before and I never want to see it again.
"I didn't see exactly what happened but it seems they stalled during a turn."
There were about 60 witnesses who said the plane spiralled to the ground and burst into flames.
It was a sad day for the club which had a zero fatality record in its 34-year history.
The gathering at the Taumarunui airstrip off Taringamotu Rd over the weekend was to be a celebration of the New Zealand club's formation at the site.
"It's been a hard time for us, Barry Cowley was one of our members," Mr Land said yesterday.
Mr Cowley was killed along with Thames pilot Paul Miller, 50, when the Convair 580 they were flying for Airfreight went down off the Kapiti Coast just over two weeks ago.
Friend of the Pickards and Tiger Moth enthusiast Ross Duncan said Mrs Pickard was flying when the syndicate-owned Tiger Moth crashed.
The 54-year-old was an experienced pilot, held a commercial pilot's licence and belonged to the Ardmore Aero Club where she was an instructor.
A semi-retired school teacher, she had recently married Mr Pickard, 61, who had children from a previous relationship. The two were absolutely passionate about the planes, he said.
Mrs Pickard had worked hard to get young people involved in flying working as co-ordinator for the Royal New Zealand Aero Club Young Eagles which offers young people flights to get them involved in flying.
Civil Aviation Authority Investigator Tom McCready was at the crash scene in a paddock about 2km from the airstrip yesterday trying to work out what went wrong.
Tiger Moth Club vice president Jim Lawson said the club would be speaking to the Pickards' family about participating in any memorial service.
"In the tradition we will all do a flypast if the family wishes."

21Oct03
Most Of Plane Wreckage Recovered
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21/10/2003 01:46 PM NewstalkZB News
Divers have nearly finished retrieving wreckage from the Convair freight plane which crashed off the Kapiti Coast just over two weeks ago.
Last week they successfully raised the plane's cockpit and retrieved the body of the pilot.
Chief accident investigator John Mockett says a number of significant items were found over the weekend, including at least one of the plane's engines.
He says that once the remaining items of wreckage are retrieved, investigators can begin the long, slow process of trying to establish what caused the crash.

22Oct03
Plans to recover key pieces of crash jigsaw

22.10.2003
A recovery team trying to find pieces of a plane that crashed into the sea off the Kapiti Coast this month, killing both its pilots, want to find an engine and tail piece that could help explain the tragedy.
Pilots Barry Cowley, 57, of Kaiapoi, near Christchurch, and Paul Miller, 50, of Thames, were killed when their Airfreight New Zealand Convair 580, flying from Christchurch to Palmerston North, crashed into the sea during a storm on October 3.
Mr Cowley's body was recovered on October 11 and Mr Miller's body last Tuesday.
Investigations so far indicate the plane broke up in the air.
A recovery team found the one-tonne, 10m-long jagged cockpit section last week and floated it to the surface so it could be winched on to a salvage boat.
Pieces of the plane were found on land around Kapiti, Makara and Titahi Bay.
The plan was for salvaged items found in the sea to be taken to Mana in Porirua, then trucked to a Seaview warehouse for examination.
The flight data recorders were sent to Canberra for analysis.
A Transport Accident Investigation Commission spokesman said yesterday that the recovery crew was taking a couple of days' break "having worked flat tack for the last couple of weeks", but would return to the area later this week.
"Basically, there's a piece of the tail, they know where it is and they wish to recover it, and there's one engine outstanding that they would like to find and recover if possible," he said.
"It would be good to have it [the engine] as it is one of the largest pieces that investigators would like to look at to assess what a cause or causes may have been.
"If it's possible to find it within the general area, then that would be very useful.
"Obviously where it has fallen would be a significant piece of information that might explain the sequence of the break-up, if nothing else."
No further wreckage had been found on land.
The spokesman said the information found on the flight recorders would not be made public at this stage.
"I understand there is data, but I can't comment on whether that is useful or not."
Findings on what caused the crash would not be disclosed until the commission's final report, expected to be released in six to eight months' time.
Friends and family farewelled the pilots on Saturday.
Mr Cowley's funeral was held in Rangiora and Mr Miller's in Thames.

18Nov03
Flight recorders aid Kapiti crash inquiry

19 November 2003
Flight recorders from a mail plane that crashed into the sea off Kapiti, killing two pilots, have yielded useful information, an accident investigator says.
Barry Cowley, 58, of Kaiapoi, Christchurch, and Paul Miller, 50, of Thames, died when their Convair 580 crashed in a storm on October 3.
Much of the wreckage has been recovered from the sea floor, and packages the plane was carrying continue to wash up on Kapiti beaches.
Air accident investigator Ian McClelland said the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder had been analysed and provided "useful background information", despite rumours to the contrary.
"Any rumours that the cockpit voice recorder contained no information are incorrect."
Cockpit voice recorders always had a high profile because they contained pilots' personal information, and should be treated sensitively.
It was too early to draw conclusions as to what had caused the crash.
Wreckage recovery had been hampered by bad weather. Some cargo containers and supports such as flooring and panels remained on the sea floor.
The weather and local conditions have been challenging. We're waiting for an opportunity to recommence the salvage and recovery of the items."
Air accident investigations usually took up to seven months.

28Jan04
Preliminary crash report due soon

28 January 2004
The findings of an investigation of a crash in which a cargo plane ditched into the sea off the Kapiti Coast last year is expected soon.
On October 3, the night a flash flood caused chaos in Paekakariki, a Convair freight plane on it's way to Christchurch from Palmerston North crashed into the sea near Peka Peka.
The bodies of the pilot Barry Cowley, 58, of Christchurch, and Pauk Miller, 50, of Thames, were found after extensive searches.
The plane's two black boxes were taken to Australia for analysis.
Mystery surrounded the crash with some speculating it had been struck by lightning.
Transport Accident Investigation Commission chief investigator of accidents John Mockett said a preliminary report would be going to the commission's board in March.
He said despite the difficulties recovering the plane's wreckage, all the major parts had been retrieved.
"We're happy with what we've got and various bits and pieces are still being tested."
Mr Mockett said crash investigators had gleaned "useful information" from the black boxes which had been useful in trying to determine the cause of the crash.
A final report on the crash would be made public about the middle of the year, he said.

9 October 2004
ATAIC Investigation Report Released

TAIC logo
9 October 2004
Download full report

23 May 2006
TAIC criticised over quality of aviation accident investigations

Posted at 10:37am on 23 May 2006
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) is being accused of increasing the pain for grieving families with unsatisfactory investigations into air crashes.
People connected to two fatal accidents have joined criticism of TAIC by the Aviation Industry Association, which says investigations often do not find the real cause of accidents.
Dave Brown, whose son was killed in a plane crash, says his family felt they had to conduct their own inquiries after TAIC failed to determine what caused the accident.
Mark Saunders, an engineer who was blamed and then cleared by TAIC of responsibility for a fatal helicopter crash, says incompetence dragged out the torment for the victim's family.
TAIC last week accepted that Mr Saunders and another engineer were not responsible for the 2001 accident, after initially saying their maintenance was at fault.
Industry body critical of TAIC
Aviation Industry Association chief executive, Irene King, says the association is not surprised by the mistake as TAIC is not getting to the real cause of accidents in a lot of cases.
Ms King says she has concerns about the skill level of some investigators and the testing of some information. She says methods need to be modernised, which will require changes to be brought in by the Minister of Transport.
She says with greater funding the Commission could look at systemic problems and bring in the appropriate scientific experts.
TAIC surprised by claims
TAIC chief executive, Lois Hutchinson, says she is very surprised at the claims, saying TAIC's investigators do come up with causes for the majority of accidents.
Ms Hutchinson says TAIC was recently audited by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, and it commended the commission's investigations and its staff.
She says TAIC's staff are highly trained and experienced, and will give a cause of an accident only if they are sure of their facts.

9 October 2006
Plane sent into sea by ice, says coroner

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The shattered remains of the Convair 580 after it was recovered from the sea off the Kapiti coast in October 2003. Picture/ Mark Mitchell
Monday October 9, 2006
The pilots of a mail plane which crashed off the Kapiti Coast in October 2003 died from multiple injuries after the aircraft spun out of control because of heavy icing in freak weather, an inquest has found.
Wellington coroner Garry Evans endorsed the earlier findings of the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) which blamed a build-up of ice on the plane, causing it to stall and enter a spiral dive from which it could not recover.
Icing is hazardous to aircraft because it interrupts the smooth flow of air over the wings, creating drag and reducing control.
Mr Evans ruled that pilot Barry Cowley, 58, of Kaiapoi, Christchurch, and Paul Miller, 50, of Thames, both died of injuries sustained in the high speed crash.
The nature of the men's injuries indicated they were fighting for control of the plane when it hit the water.
The Convair 580, operated by Air Freight New Zealand, was on a scheduled freight flight from Christchurch to Palmerston North when it crashed about 9.30pm on October 3, 2003.
The weather was so bad that night that the main road between Kapiti and Wellington was blocked and a huge landslide engulfed houses at Paekakariki.
Mr Cowley's wife Jan wrote to Mr Evans last year saying she did not agree with TAIC's findings on the icing of the plane.
TAIC investigator-in-charge Ian McClelland said the aircraft had descended through an area of severe icing that was probably beyond the design and certified icing capabilities of the aircraft. Weather conditions had been "rare and extreme".
In her letter, Mrs Cowley said she believed that there were "likely to be a combination of problems" which caused the plane to crash, of which icing was just one.
Mrs Cowley said not all the wreckage was recovered from the sea, particularly major components such as the main cargo door, therefore it was impossible to determine if mechanical failure of these parts contributed to the crash.
The failure of the plane's cockpit voice recorder also meant valuable clues were lost.
She believed the best outcome would be to conclude the cause of the accident was unable to be determined.,br/> - NZPA

Pilot's widow rejects findings

MONDAY , 09 OCTOBER 2006 By EMILY WATT
The widow of a pilot killed when a freight plane plunged into the sea off the Kapiti Coast has rejected the coroner's findings into the crash and says the real cause will never be known.
Experienced pilots Barry Cowley and Paul Miller died when their Convair 580 flying from Christchurch to Palmerston North crashed in a violent storm in October 2003.
The findings of an inquest, made public today, found the crash cause was probably ice on flying surfaces.
The pilots' injuries suggested they were trying to regain control as the plane hit the sea.
Mr Cowley's friends are upset the inquest findings appear to blame the pilots for flying in the extreme weather that night. They say vital clues ? including recordings of the pilots' conversation before the crash ? were never heard because the recorder malfunctioned, making it impossible to determine the accident's cause.
Wellington coroner Garry Evans has endorsed an earlier Transport Accident Investigation Commission report, which found heavy icing caused the plane to stall and dive, making recovery almost impossible.
He noted the pilots on the mail flight, by Air Freight New Zealand Ltd, would have been alerted to the ice risk but probably did not know of its severity till too late. Ice affects the airflow over the wings, making a plane difficult to control.
As the aircraft plummeted toward the sea, it began to break apart. Witnesses described two loud bangs, possibly caused by the wings and engine breaking apart, and then the plane hitting the sea.
The men's injuries showed they were still fighting for control when the plane went in, at about 740km/h. Their bodies were retrieved nearly a week later, five and 10 metres from the wreckage. Mr Evans ruled they died from multiple injuries.
Mr Cowley's widow, Jan Cowley, rejected the conclusion that icing caused the accident, criticising the TAIC report as "theoretical". Writing to the court, she said vital clues such as the main cargo door had never been recovered, making it impossible to discount a mechanical problem. The cockpit voice recorder also failed to record the pilots' conversation before the crash, costing further clues.
Mrs Cowley said "it was more likely to be a combination of problems" that caused the crash and mechanical failure could not be discounted. The court should rule the cause of her husband's death could not be determined.
Mr Miller's widow, Frouk Miller, told the coroner she accepted the TAIC findings.
Mrs Cowley declined to expand on her comments yesterday. Christchurch pilot Andy Nicholson ? who flew more than 1000 hours with Mr Cowley ? said Mrs Cowley was "absolutely beside herself about it all".
He said the coroner's report seemed to blame the men for taking off that night given the extreme weather forecast, but that was unfair.
Many pilots did not believe icing caused the crash. "I've been in severe icing in these planes, and they are fine. I just cannot believe that icing on its own caused that."
He did not know what caused the crash, but Mr Cowley knew what to do if a plane was affected by ice. His actions suggested something else wrong with the plane. "At some stage in the descent, not long before the aircraft lost control, he disconnected the auto-pilot. Barry would not have done that unless there was something going wrong with the aeroplane."
Mr Evans noted the lack of cockpit voice recorder made it impossible to exclude other possible causes, but accepted the TAIC findings on a balance of probability. He asked why the flight was allowed to take off, given the extreme conditions forecast, and the restriction of the plane to flying only in "light icing conditions".
The pilots' employer, Air Freight New Zealand, did not attend the inquest, and was unable to reveal if the pilots discussed the risks of the flight with their employer before taking off.

20 March 2016
Radio NZ Insight: Has funding shortfall compromised air accident investigations? part 1

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The wreckage of the skydiving plane that crashed at Fox Glacier Airport in 2010. Photo: GETTY
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Simon Green, Gene Crafer and John Mennie died in a 2001 helicopter crash. Photo: (Supplied)
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Helene Green keeps helicopter components from the crash that killed her husband, Simon, to remember their life together. Photo: (Supplied)
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John Kerr didn't accept he, and his dead business partner, were responsible for a crash that killed nine people. Photo: (RNZ/Peter Newport)
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Jerome and Adelle Box. Jerome died in the 2014 Mount Alta helicopter crash. Photo: (Supplied)
8:41 am on 21 March 2016
Has funding shortfall compromised air accident investigations?
Peter Newport - peter.newport@radionz.co.nz
In the first part of a two-part investigation, Insight explores concerns over the robustness of some of the country’s most serious air accident investigations.
The wreckage of the crashed skydiving plane is seen at the end of the runway at Fox Glacier Airport on 4 September, 2010.The wreckage of the skydiving plane that crashed at Fox Glacier Airport in 2010. Photo: GETTY For more than a decade, the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) has been operating without the money it needs, creating a potential risk to public safety.
An RNZ Insight investigation has revealed that TAIC has been bidding for increased government funding since at least 2003.
The bids, obtained by RNZ under the Official Information Act, argued that TAIC would struggle to comply with international air accident investigation standards without extra cash. It wasn't until last year the government finally agreed to increase TAIC's funding for additional accident investigators.
Prior to 2015, the Commission was taking twice as long to produce air accident reports as recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
ICAO also recommended that air accident investigators only carry out one or two investigations at the same time, but TAIC was requiring its investigators to carry out an average of close to four investigations concurrently.
Simon Green, Gene Crafer and John Mennie died in a 2001 helicopter crash. Photo: ( Supplied ) While TAIC was making unsuccessful bids for funding to address the issues, it was being criticised for the way it handled some air accident investigations.
One of the Commission's strongest critics was Helene Green. Her pilot husband, Simon Green, was killed, along with Gene Crafer and John Mennie, in a 2001 Taumarunui helicopter crash.
Ms Green believed there was something seriously wrong with TAIC's initial investigation report and teamed up with an independent aviation engineer, Graham Boustred, to look for what she believed was the true cause of the crash.
Mr Boustred told Insight he thought the sequence of events described in the TAIC report was "impossible" from an engineering point of view.
Helene Green keeps helicopter components from the crash that killed her husband, Simon, to remember their life together. Photo: ( Supplied ) In 2006, TAIC revised its original findings that an engineer, Mark Saunders, was responsible for causing the Taumarunui helicopter crash. Mr Saunders told Insight he had to spend hundreds of thousands in an attempt to clear his name, and that both his health and his business were affected by the initial TAIC report.
Even when TAIC issued a revised report that cleared him, the Commission did not do enough to withdraw the original findings and draw attention to the new report, Mr Saunders said.
Prior to the revised report's release, the coroner who held the inquest into the 2001 helicopter crash, Timothy Scott, was so critical of TAIC's performance that he said the investigation should be re-done. He called the Commission "secretive and unhelpful".
In 2010, only two years after the government had refused a bid from TAIC for more investigators, TAIC launched an investigation into the skydiving plane crash at Fox Glacier that killed nine people, including four overseas tourists.
The plane's owner-operator, John Kerr, said TAIC's initial report, issued in 2012, effectively blamed him for flying an overweight and out-of-balance aircraft.
Another owner, Rod Miller, was killed in the crash but the surviving owner, Mr Kerr, told Insight when he read the TAIC report he knew that parts of it "were not true".
John Kerr didn't accept he, and his dead business partner, were responsible for a crash that killed nine people. Photo: ( RNZ / Peter Newport ) In a coroner's inquest - similar to that held over the Taumarunui crash - TAIC's investigation was criticised. Coroner Richard McElrea said he did not accept TAIC's conclusions regarding weight and balance. Mr McElrea said in his findings "something unusual, such as inadvertent pilot error, engine malfunction or mechanical failure has occurred at take-off".
The coroner's findings - along with testimony from various expert witnesses at the inquest - focussed attention on the wreckage that TAIC had allowed to be buried at the crash site, after photos and some of the plane had been removed, just three days after the plane hit the ground. The buried wreckage - almost half the plane - included control structures such as wires, pulleys and the control stick used by the pilot to fly the plane.
Some of the documents released to Insight under the Official Information Act said that TAIC may have had difficulty finding sufficient funding for wreckage recovery and technical examination. The reference is made in a funding review document prepared for TAIC and the Ministry of Transport in July 2014 by consultancy The Johnson Group.
In the report, Johnson Group consultant Liz Jones said the Commission did not have the resources to deal with a major accident investigation, large scale wreckage recovery or to contract significant technical expertise while maintaining its business as usual activities.
The report went on to say that the Commission did not believe it could rely on a government guarantee of funding that was put in place in 2001, citing an instance where an application for $100,000, to be put toward a marine investigation into the capsize of the fishing vessel Kotuku in Foveaux Strait in 2006, was declined. TAIC, the report said, ended up having to use its own short-term deposits to fund the Kotuku investigation.
Insight investigated a recent accident where relatives were critical of TAIC's methods and culture. Jerome Box was killed in a helicopter accident near the summit of Mount Alta, near Wanaka, in August 2014. His widow, Adelle Box, said she was treated badly by TAIC. She cited an incident when she said a TAIC investigator laughed at her repeated attempts to prompt the Commission to investigate what she considered to be potentially faulty seat belts on the helicopter.
Mrs Box visited TAIC's wreckage storage facility after concluding that the investigation lacked direction and a clear timeline. She told Insight her visit did nothing to bolster her confidence and, in fact, increased her concerns. She has detailed a number of other issues to Insight connected with TAIC's handling of communications and the investigation process.
But both TAIC CEO Lois Hutchinson and the minister responsible for TAIC, Craig Foss, denied that funding shortages over the years had affected the quality of TAIC's work.
They did, however, acknowledge that a lack of funding was responsible for the extra workload on air accident investigators and accident reports being delivered much later than recommended by ICAO.


Listen to part 1 of the Insight investigation


Additional material from Craig Foss, Minister responsible for the TAIC


Additional material from TAIC CEO Lois Hutchinson

24 March 2016
NZ air accident investigation performance 74th in the world

Radio NZ National Morning Report 24 march 2016 8:15am
NZ air accident investigation performance 74th in the world
An Insight investigation into the funding and operations of the Transport Accident Investigation Commission, or TAIC, has discovered the United Nation's civil aviation agency ranks New Zealand 74th in the world for air accident investigation performance, based on 2006 data. Our reporter Peter Newport has been working on the investigation.


Listen to the Morning Report item

27 March 2016
Radio NZ Insight: Has funding shortfall compromised air accident investigations? part 2

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One person, Jerome Box, died in this heli-skiing accident near Wanaka Photo: (Supplied/TAIC)
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Radio NZ National Insight Sunday 27 March 2016
Investigating our Air Investigations Part 2
Peter Newport continues his exploration into some of the country's serious air accident investigations.

Flying and safety go hand in hand and there is a crucial need for confidence in any accident inquiry.

In Part Two of this Insight investigation, Peter Newport looks at who is accountable for enforcing international air accident investigation standards in New Zealand and asks whether the current system is in anyway falling down.


Listen to part two of the Insight investigation