Mystery disappearance of aviators Hood and Moncrieff

Today marks the anniversary of one of Australia’s and New Zealand’s most enduring aviation mysteries – the disappearance of aviators Leiutenant John Moncrieff and Captain George Hood in 1928. Moncrieff and Hood, both New Zealanders, were on a mission to attempt the first trans-Tasman flight between Australia and New Zealand on The Aotearoa, a modified Ryan B-1 Brougham aircraft. The pair took off from Sydney and maintained radio contact for 12 hours of what was anticipated to be a 14-hour flight. A large crowd including the wives of Moncrieff and Hood had even gathered in Trenthem in New Zealand, waiting to welcome the pair after what was to have been a record flight. However, the pair were never seen or heard from again. Their disappearance prompted large search parties who trawled the region looking for some sign of the aviators. While there have been other aviation tragedies in the past in Australia, this was the first one where the aviators disappeared without a trace. It would take eight months before Australians Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm succeeded in the first trans-Tasman flight, when they flew the Southern Cross and safely landed in Christchurch.