Caught in a Spiral: The crash of Airwork flight 23

The left wing of ZK-POA lies embedded root-first in a sheep paddock after the crash. (TAIC)
An Airwork 737, without livery. (TommyNG)
A Fairchild Metroliner in generic livery. (Robert Frola)
ZK-POA, the aircraft involved in the accident, wearing the livery of Child Flight, an air ambulance service for sick children. The plane was not operating on behalf of Child Flight at the time of the accident, but there doesn’t appear to have been any change to its paint job. (Jonathan Rankin)
The route of Airwork flight 23. (Google + own work)
Although their intention was not to slow the plane, the above illustration shows almost exactly what the pilots were trying to do, albeit in the opposite direction. (
An example of an inclinometer/sideslip indicator. (Adams Aviation)
The last 90 seconds of flight 23’s flight data recorder readout reveal an escalating loss of control. (TAIC)
The track of the aircraft in the moments leading up to the accident. The plane had turned around at least 180 degrees before it disappeared from radar. (TAIC)
Pieces of ZK-POA, including its right and left wings, fuselage, and possibly the cockpit, lie in a sheep paddock near Mount Taranaki. (TAIC)
ZK-POA’s left wing embedded itself vertically in the ground. (TAIC)
An official examines flight 23’s left wing. (New Zealand Herald)
ZK-POA’s right wing landed nose-first, bounced, and landed on a hillside. (TAIC)
ZK-POA’s left engine was found in the sheep paddock. An object which appears to be the right wing can be seen in the background. (TAIC)
The right engine embedded itself in the ground in a forest some distance away from the main crash site. (TAIC)
ZK-POA’s cabin fell mostly in one piece. (TAIC)



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Admiral Cloudberg

Admiral Cloudberg


Analyzer of plane crashes and author of upcoming book (eventually™). Contact me via @Admiral_Cloudberg on Reddit or by email at