A small plane is missing after taking off from Auckland this
The home-built biplane disappeared from radar shortly after
an 11.30am take-off from Ardmore airfield, southeast of
The 53-year-old male pilot from Mt Wellington was the only
person on board the distinctive blue and white aircraft.
He was initially flying in a northeasterly direction towards
Ponui Island, when the plane dropped off the radar.
Concerns are now high for the pilot's safety, as the aircraft
had a potential range of around 700km with a full tank of
fuel, which would have been exhausted about 2pm, the Rescue
Co-ordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) search and rescue
mission controller Neville Blakemore said.
The alarm was raised by the man's partner, he said.
Police were helping with the search.
"No distress beacon has been activated but this is being
treated as a distress situation," Mr Blakemore said.
"We have checked with airfields in the region and there have
been no reports of the plane landing.
"The plane would have been flying at low level and we would
like anyone who has seen it to contact us so we can establish
the likely route it has taken."
Anyone who has seen the plane, or knows anything about its
location, is asked to contact RCCNZ on 0508 472 269.