Mystery Plane

plane in distance..and sky fuzzyLarge overseas jet buzzes Kapiti Island

By Alan Tristram

Photos by Karl and Janna Webber

Can you identify this huge mystery jet which swished low and fast over outlying islands off Kapiti soon after 5.30pm today?

The huge four-jet transport with distinctive upturned wings gave Kapiti Island resident Karl Webber a fright when he looked up from his back garden on Motungarara (Fisherman”s) Island to see the vast plane zooming in very low from the southwest.plane..best shot upturned win gs

He says the aircraft , flying ‘extremely’ quietly and very low then headed  along the coast off Waikanae Beach in a northerly direction.

It was not an RNZAF aircraft  as none of the large planes flown by our Air  Force are anything like the visiting jet.

If you saw the plane, or can identify it, please let us know!

Mystery solved

Our aviation correspondent, and readers, soon identified the plane as an American C17 Globemaster, probably flying as low as 500 feet.

And it was pointed out it was probably heading back to Ohakea after taking part in ‘Exercise Southern Katipo’ in the South Island, the largest exercise of its kind to be held in New Zealand for more than 20 years.

American Globemasters pictured on another mission
American Globemasters pictured on another mission

The United States Airforce supplied the C17 Globemaster aircraft, and others, for the exercise.

There is a ‘strong air presence’ involved in the exercise, including the NH90 and A190 helicopters – newly entering service with the Royal New Zealand Air Force – and the “the venerable” UH1H helicopters, which were due to be replaced.

It also involves 2200 troops from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, France, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Tonga, Britain and the United States.

Timaru has been renamed “Mainlandia” for the purpose of the exercise.

It was extremely low. Flew in off the beach at Peka Peka heading straight over our paddock. Scared us witless as thought it was crashing. Banked directly over us about 100ms I’d say…. Definitely well below the CAA 500ft limit.

Not at all happy that this was allowed to happen.

Globemasters tend to land in Wellington International from time to time. I’ve seen at least two in the last two years.

That seems to have cleared that up was a fantastic sight even if we all thought it was going to crash.

It was crazy, from the island she looked like something out of the movies, it looked like it was heading for crash towards the mainland, very quiet as it ripped past Browns island.

A friend and I were walking the northern end of Peka Peka beach when this same plane soared so low over the top of our heads we were sure it was in some difficulty and would land on the beach anytime soon. But no. It continued to fly at low altitude, as far as the eye could see, along the beach beyond Te Horo, Otaki etc.. we thought perhaps on it’s way to Ohakea. It was a dark grey green and it’s ‘rear end’ completely open. Both unusual and scary. For us it was extremely loud. Bill suggests it was an Orion.

Today that plane was incredibly low and flew over me it scared the hell out of me. Its under carriage was dark grey I thought it was going to smash into a house or the sea. Who was it does anyone know?

Oh yes it has above Peka Peka and Patawa Rd and it sharply turned to the left it was so bloody low, it was like a bad dream. I still cant believe that they haven’t been investigated.