Specialists in research and writing about early New Zealand airlines.

Lessons From a New Zealand Air Accident

by Richard J.Waugh

“I apologise for being alive, but I am standing up for the rights of all pilots to be able to rely on a thorough investigation of any accident.”  Brian Waugh’s exasperated assertion to the Inspector of Accidents still rings true today.

In New Zealand de Havilland DH89 Rapides/Dominies have been continuously flying longer than any other aircraft type – for over 80 years - and with no fatalities. But experienced pilot Brian Waugh’s Dominie was forced down by engine failure into Queenstown’s Shotover River.

This book tells the absorbing story of this unusual accident. The subsequent intrigue involved engine reliability issues, an inadequate accident investigation, and how Waugh, a licensed aircraft engineer, while recovering from his injuries, happened by chance to inspect one of the engines being dismantled for overhaul. What he discovered led him to relentlessly advocate for a proper investigation.

Illustrated by many rare photographs and researched from primary records, this story has relevance for today’s aviation industry. Lessons from the past are important as safety continues to be paramount. Professional and robust investigative processes must always follow every air accident in New Zealand. Has this objective yet to be fully realised?

Craig Printing Co, Invercargill, 2018. See Order page for price and how to order.


updated 29th October 2018

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