Celebrations for the 75th anniversary of a de Havilland Dominie aircraft housed at the Croydon Heritage Aircraft Museum are being incorporated with the launch of an aviation-themed book.
The book Shot Over into the Shotover – Lessons from a New Zealand Air Accident, written by Erebus National Memorial initiator, airline historian and aviation chaplain Rev Dr Richard Waugh, from Auckland, will be launched while a celebration takes place for the DH89B Dominie ZK-AKY.
The celebration will be held on December 8, starting at 2pm at the Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre.
Joyrides will be available in the de Havilland and a Tiger Moth and Dr Waugh will speak.
The Waimea Plains Railway ould also be running its steam locomotive and a carriage, which would be available for rides, aviation centre trustee Maeva Smith said.
Dr Waugh’s new book recounts an unusual accident in the late 1960s involving his late father, Brian Waugh, with a de Havilland Dominie ZK-AKT being forced down into Queenstown’s Shotover River due to engine problems.
“The subsequent intrigue involved engine reliability issues, an inadequate accident investigation and recounts how Waugh, a licensed aircraft engineer as well as an experienced pilot, with World War 2 service in No75 (NZ) Squadron, happened by chance to inspect one of the engines being dismantled for overhaul,” Dr Waugh said.
“What he discovered led him to relentlessly advocate for a proper investigation.”
He said the accident had continuing relevance for the aviation industry.
The book includes hard-hitting commentary by several New Zealand experts, including a forensic engineer, a tourist airline operator and an airline pilots union president, who all question whether New Zealand air accident investigation processes have improved enough over the years.
“Included in the Shotover book for the first time is a short history of the origins and development of air accident investigation in New Zealand and insightful learnings from some controversial airliner accidents, including the 1979 Mt Erebus accident,” he said.
“Lessons from the past are important as aviation safety continues to be paramount,” he said in the book.
“Professional and robust investigative processes must always follow every air accident in New Zealand – has this objective yet to be fully realised.”
He said there was no place in air accident investigation for pride, secrecy or arrogance.
The search for truth and a just investigative culture needed to be paramount and unrelenting, he said.