Mate's hopes for missing pilot
AS 16 rescue and search aircraft continue to search for a missing vintage plane in the forested Sunshine Coast hinterland, a mate of the experienced pilot still holds out hope he may have managed to find somewhere to land it.
Miles Breitkreutz, one of the organisers of the weekend's Monto Fly-In, said he hoped experienced pilot and long-time flying mate Des Porter had made an emergency landing in his De Havilland Dragon.
"We are living in hope he got it down and his phone is out of range," he said.
"He may have got it down. There are remote tracks around there.
"As the organiser, I feel pretty lousy - to think one of our flying mates has gone missing."
Mr Breitkreutz, who is a board member of Recreation Aviation Australia, said he had been speaking to Mr Porter at 10am on Monday, about an hour before he took off.
"I invited him to the next fly-in in 2014. He said he would definitely come," he said.
The last thing Mr Porter did before leaving was hand his friend $1400 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
"He just has a lovely nature," Mr Breitkreutz said.
The fly-in organiser said Mr Porter was a capable and cautious pilot.
"He did not push boundaries and had all the weather information," he said.
"That area can be treacherous. The cloud can suddenly close in. The plane had an altimeter, airspeed and compass fitted."
Mr Breitkreutz said he believed reports the missing plane had run out of fuel were incorrect.
"I saw the fuel trolley filling him up," he said.
The missing aircraft's cruise speed is 183 kmh, while its fuel range is 877km.
- De Havilland takes off from Monto at 11am Monday.
- Pilot calls air traffic control for help about 1.30pm.
- Controllers try to talk the plane out of cloud for about 30 minutes.
- EPIRB comes on briefly and goes off again during the conversation.
- Nothing has been heard from the plane since 2.45pm Monday.
- Several aircraft searched late Monday and all day yesterday.