The death of well respected and experienced pilot and instructor Peter Callagher has rocked the airline industry.

Callagher, 27, was flying a Diamond DA-42 Twin Star air craft heading from Palmerston North to Taupo on Saturday when it crashed. Another instructor Zakir Ali Parkar, 29, was also onboard.

Both men were ex-students and employees of Ardmore Flying School moving up through the ranks as instructors.

The wreckage of the plane and their bodies were recovered in the Kaimanawa Ranges on Sunday morning. The plane was reported missing on Saturday evening.


New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Medical and Welfare director captain Andy Pender said Callagher was well-respected both among the association's members and the wider aviation community.

"The loss of Peter will be felt particularly keenly through our membership, particularly amongst pilot colleagues and those students he helped train at the Ardmore Flying School."

Pender described Callagher as a great leader.

"He was a pilot and colleague destined for great things."

He grew up surround by the aviation industry and his father Craig Callagher is an air traffic controller and also an NZALPA member.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission and the Civil Aviation Authority are both investigating the crash.

Pender said he could not speculate on the cause while the investigations are underway.

NZALPA was assisting Ardmore support staff and student pilots.


"All over New Zealand, particularly throughout our close-knit aviation community, our thoughts are with Pete and Zak's family, friends and colleagues. It is truly a sad and reflective time for New Zealand Aviation."