Amelia Earhart and the Meaning of Irony

Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn’t be done

~ Amelia Earhart

amelia_Mary_Earhart_Age_16

Amelia Earhart, 16 years old

Wreck of the Earhart Electra

by Lloyd Manley

So, eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may be dead. Seize the day you know it never ends, just look behind you. You are but a man.

~Bastard Fairies

Notice: 2010 images of the Electra at 980 feet below sea level are in the Appendix and you can view the full size versions by clicking on the image, then clicking “original image size” on the left. Notice that these images came from a video that this author obtained and that video is the basis of the debris field analysis discussed. TIGHAR has still not released the 2012 video that shows the same objects.

If you’ve paid attention to the news you might have noticed that some kind of anomaly was found on a remote island in the Pacific that some think is Amelia Earhart’s missing plane. Now, it’s not like this hasn’t been looked into for a long time by a lot of people. The difference this time however, is that the debris found is a bit more than just a “sonar anomaly”. And, oddly, its not where it should be.

And now, it is time for the news story you have not yet heard.

You see, there is a reason why the plane is not where it should be. I am going to advance a hypothesis that will be controversial, if my own experience in researching this over the years is any indication, and it has nothing to do with Saipan, Irene Bolam, UFOs, castaways or other such nonsense. No, the reason why Earhart died is sadly more mundane and familiar to all of us than we’d like to think. It’s about dark secrets, shame, intellectual insecurity and, yes, sexism and politics.

What one finds when they examine the evidence in the case of the Earhart mystery is that a culture of partiality has existed since the very day she disappeared, almost as if frozen in time, that continues to seek solutions to the mystery based on assumptions that seem to have more to do with preconceived notions and a pre-existing agenda than any genuine desire to resolve what happened. Many go to extraordinary lengths to find fault with Earhart herself and to point fingers of blame for the accident solely on the pilot. In fact, many will flatly claim that the accident was solely Earhart’s fault with no contribution of error from anyone or anything else. As we shall see, a more mature and sobered examination suggests this is probably not the case. John P. Riley wrote a piece in the research journal Naval History Magazine called “Earhart Mystery: Old mystery, New Hypothesis” (August, 2000) which identified several mistakes of the USCG that we will also bring to light here but which are routinely ignored or denied by researchers. In this piece, Riley notes major errors on the part of the USCG Commander Warren K. Thompson who, he suggests, fouled up and then panicked and covered up the mistakes when it was apparent Earhart was lost. When we examine the radio log evidence we will be discussing some of those same observations regarding the instructions Earhart gave and the USCG’s failure to follow radio instructions, a point strenuously and pathologically ignored or denied even to this day. The author notes considerable evidence to show that the USCG knew they botched the job badly and not only concealed records of the event (not available again until 1988 through a Freedom of Information Request) but fabricated and altered facts surrounding the tragedy. Frankly, it is no wonder the Earhart mystery has endured 76 years considering the extreme partiality that still exists today, much of it a direct descendent of the Thompson disinformation campaign that began the very day Earhart went missing (Thompson was the unique radio listener who seemed to believe Earhart sounded “frantic” over the radio). Riley not only was amazed at what was and wasn’t done, but was outright bewildered at some of the USCG’s actions. This author had the same reaction, particularly with regard to the behavior in the radio room aboard the Itasca after about 6 a.m. that morning. And we shall see shortly just how obvious the USCG errors were to an impartial reader.

What is perhaps more tragic is the realization that this very bias may be the reason why this “mystery” has endured so long. And this is because the solution to the “mystery” appears to be a somewhat elementary deduction from facts that have been known from the beginning but never before examined due to this distraction. This work examines that deduction and explains what actually happened to Amelia Earhart and Frederick Noonan. By simply taking the known facts for what they are and doing some basic math one wonders if others haven’t already done these calculations and known for some time where the plane is actually located. We will let the reader ponder that question.

I have communicated over a period of several years with numerous persons involved in this case, some of them with quite familiar names, and have collected several gigabytes of data related to the incident. From that data and from my experience in dealing with individuals who research the Earhart mystery I am going to inventory a set of causes for the death of Amelia Earhart, pilot and Frederick Noonan, navigator, which are many but include the ineluctable conclusion that between about 7 hours and 20 minutes into the Great World flight of Amelia Earhart and near its end at about 20 hours from the start, the navigator of this plane was impaired. And I’m going to also show that there has been ever since that time a “silent conspiracy” in aviation circles to suppress the true facts of the Earhart mystery to conceal this from the public. The reader might have known that Frederick Noonan (FN) was a world-renown aviation navigator, probably the best of the time, who worked pacific routes for Pan Am, and that Pan Am fired him for alcoholism. To be clear, this is not what led me to think FN might have been impaired, it is just one conjecture as to how he might have been impaired. In reality it turns out to be just one more extraneous fact that happened to follow the elephant in the living room. And as a hard core skeptic with a decided disdain for conspiracy and anti-social rant, it took quite a bit of evidence to bring me to write this piece.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR, pron. “tiger”) was a non-profit created in the late eighties by a aviation researcher named Richard (Ric) Gillespie. This group quickly developed the shocking hypothesis that Earhart might not have simply crashed and sank into the water as had been believed even within the first few hours of her loss. The latter view is championed by a group following the work of Elgen Long, an explorer and record-breaking pilot himself. Thus TIGHAR and Elgen Long (and his late wife Marie Long) hold the keys to the two key schools of thought in the Earhart mystery.

With all his flaws of reasoning Mr. Gillespie still managed to build a fairly successful following and research plan, with numerous expeditions to the island over several years to recover “artifacts” which he believed belonged to Earhart (AE) and FN. The basic hypothesis developed and was refined over the years but eventually matured to the current view that AE performed an emergency, powered landing on a unique section of reef on the island (unique because it was the smoothest and flattest section of the entire reef) successfully with minimal damage. Gardner, now called Nikimaroru, is a small atoll with a circumference of some 6 miles. It has a storied past with all manner of human habitation coming and going over the years. People’s of all races and creeds have lived there at one time or another.

After numerous expeditions and around 2010 a philanthropist named Tim Mellon donated about 1 million dollars in stock to TIGHAR to fund the 2012 “Niki” expedition in hopes of finding some evidence of AE’s presence there. What happened after that was a train wreck. The plane was clearly found but the public was not told because, as Mr. Gillespie put it, he could “only see a bunch of coral” (communication between author and inside source 1) where Tim Mellon saw an airplane in the various video footage clips taken from rovers sent deep over the side of the reef at Gardner. A skeptical public wisely took the position (later on when they heard about all this) of the official TIGHAR statement since, firstly, this entire discussion was occurring in private the entire time, all the way up to 2013, and no one knew that ROV video even existed. Gradually, Mr. Mellon learned about this video as even he was not told all the particulars, and became disillusioned with Mr. Gillespie. Mr. Mellon came to believe I think sincerely that Mr. Gillespie was engaged in a fraud to conceal the existence of this plane from the public. As a result, as is often the case in legal wranglings, Mr. Gillespie was clearly compelled to release more and more information from both the 2010 expedition and the follow-on 2012 expedition to avoid the accusation that he had something to hide. The seemingly inexplicable motive for concealing the video was that Mr. Gillespie was wanting to “keep the gig going” (inside source 2). In other words, Mr. Gillespie, it was claimed, was withholding the find in order to gin up interest by the public in the perpetual funding of his expeditions, each of which would release a fraction of new information to keep the funding coming in. But what is important for our purposes here is not whether Mr. Gillespie really knew the aircraft had been there all along but, was the plane actually there and is it now? This entire dispute came to broader public attention when in early 2013 Mr. Mellon filed a civil suit against Mr. Gillespie and TIGHAR alleging fraud. At this time, not coincidentally, information began to flow from TIGHAR. It hit the airwaves for public consumption as a release of sonar data and other dive related finds, but none of this was the find that Mr.  Mellon was talking about. As of this writing, that is still true now. The true scope of what is below the reef simply has not been reported by any news agency yet; at least not in a way that identifies it as a distinct find from the other sonar surveys that were conducted further up the slope in the same debris path as Mr. Mellon’s find.

TIGHAR had released some of this information on its own website, but only in fragmentary, low resolution form. This is a critical point to make. Because of coral reef growth, high resolution imagery is absolutely essential for the layperson to make heads or tails of what they are seeing. Without it the Electra might as well be Sasquatch. It was only this author’s interest in the Earhart case that compelled him to dig deeper. Mr. Mellon, a contributor to the forum discussion on the TIGHAR site, attempted to make his case there. But this was difficult to do with the poor quality imagery. Mr. Mellon had his own high quality copies, but he couldn’t show them because of the legalities of the case. Only when the viewer can see the dramatic difference not just in intrinsic quality of the videos in low vs. high resolution, but in terms of how that affects the ability to separate artificial objects from natural, does one appreciate the veracity of Mr. Mellon’s claims.

On July 2, 2013, 76 years after the loss of AE and FN, this author obtained the high resolution copies of the video in which Mr. Mellon claimed that aircraft wreckage could be identified. The presence of the remains of a Lockheed 10E Electra modified per Earhart was clear and convincing.

 AEOS024

Amelia Earhart, 1930

A Word about Pareidolia

Pareidolia says is that our brains tend to see order in chaos. This is true. If one sees what appears to be an artificial object in a natural setting, it is probably natural, all else being equal. But there are two ways we can test this to see if it is pareidolia or not:

1.)   If we take a viewing angle that just covers the object of interest and examine it, it may be possible to see symmetry or other things that make it seem artificial. But based on that alone, the claim is vulnerable to challenge as pareidolia. But if we now zoom out and look at the surrounding area and include other objects of interest in that same area, what the pareidolia hypothesis will say is that the symmetry and order of the scene should decrease, not increase. When the order of the scene increases it is highly likely that you are seeing an artificial object.
2.)   We can also do something that I noticed that Mr. Tim Mellon did on the TIGHAR discussion board quite well. And it tends to be the most conclusive way to eliminate false positives arising from pareidolia. You can view an object of interest and notice that it has an apparent order to it. If you come back later, after a definite time lapse, nature will tend to disrupt the symmetries and order over time if the cause is purely natural. But if the order in the same increases or remains the same, it is highly likely you are looking at an artificial object. If they were purely natural objects, we simply would not see these kinds of features in objects over time as nature shifted and moved them.

But if it is artificial, the correlation with other material at the site and other facts we know about the Electra makes it almost certain this is the subject aircraft. TIGHAR probably should have had experts that understand this: they could have consulted veterans of the intelligence community (NSA and NRO) who do this for a living and who have even written software that exploits these very two points I made to correctly identify artificial objects on the ground from orbit in highly cluttered and chaotic environments. We have included still shots in the Appendix and you can view at least a fraction of what’s down there. It is encrusted in growing coral, but you can clearly see what it is.

The two prevailing theories

Elgen Long is an aviator with considerable experience, both in commercial flight (flying Boeing 747s for some time) and experimental or “record” flights. He is familiar with the navigational techniques used by FN and has written on the subject, including a seminal work entitled, “Amelia Earhart: the mystery solved”, in which he lays out in more formal fashion the oldest of all theories: that the plane simply ran out of gas and crashed into the Pacific. In a phone interview with him some time ago I noted that he was a very sobered, clear and rational thinker who obviously had the mettle to think through the Earhart mystery very carefully. But Long does something peculiar, and I’ll explain later why it is peculiar, whereby he uses the navigational techniques of that time to show why FN should have been:

  1. Very close to Howland at the time the plane ditched
  2. Been able to place the aircraft in an area of uncertainty not much larger than 30 x 80 statute miles

Based on this theory, he confidently predicted the plane would ultimately be found in that area of uncertainty. Years later, in the 2009 time frame, expeditions were sent to this area to perform surveys of the sea floor that used technology sufficient to not only find an airplane of such size but positively exclude it if it were not there. The entities doing these searches were Nauticos and the Wait Institute. And alack, they positively excluded the Electra from this location. And now we get to the reason why this prediction was so peculiar. As we shall see with the navigation techniques, the area of uncertainty Long calculated was in fact what we would expect assuming a competent navigator had done their work the night before. To understand this, we need to know how the navigation technique worked, in detail, because what we need to verify is that the technique itself is unassailable. To do this, we first note that they began their last flight from Lae, New Guinea in the morning local time of 10 a.m. This happened to conveniently correspond with 00 time at the prime meridian. As the day wore on they flew on through the night and did not see sunrise until about two hours before their expected time at Howland island. The entire flight was to be about 20 hours. And we shall see that Long’s area of uncertainty assumed that a certain minimum number of celestial observations were correctly made during the night.

takeoff_Lae_NG

Last known still image of AE and FN departing Lae, New Guinea, 02 July, 1937

At that time the most accurate way to determine one’s position was for a bunch of mathematicians and astrophysicists (astronomers in that day) to sit down and calculate where several celestial objects would appear in the sky every second of every day of the year at a reference position called the prime meridian (at Greenwich). The prime meridian is a longitude. You then publish this in what is called an almanac. The trigonometry of this situation is such that if you did that very same measurement yourself of an object overhead, you could just subtract the angle (navigator’s call this an “altitude”) you get from the predicted angle for the prime meridian longitude from the corresponding referent in the almanac, at the same time and date as it was entered therein. If you draw a diagram on paper you can see that these “angles” are the same angle. The result of that subtraction (technically, a signed addition) is your longitude at the moment and place you made that measurement. The tool for measuring that is called a sextant (which measures this “angle” by comparing the object’s position to the visible horizon) or an octant (which does the same but substitutes a leveled, bubble referent for the horizon). Thus, it is important to understand that, all else being equal, this method will only give you a longitude. But in reality, because the objects don’t rise and set exactly at the equator, the paths they take through the sky are offset from east and west and the “longitude” you get is in fact a “tilted” vertical line that is approximately parallel to a longitude (and perpendicular to the objects motion in the sky). In more extreme cases, this tilt can result in a line that produces a large latitude error and is thus not a “preferred” object for this purpose. Having said that, if an object passes overhead during the Earth’s rotation along a path perpendicular to longitude you can use that one object by itself to determine latitude. There aren’t many objects like that, but some are positioned just right for that purpose. In the almanac FN carried, there were 11 stars that could be used to fix latitude and about 57 that could be used to fix longitude. It is important to point out that how many of these objects you have depends on the mechanics of the particular flight. For example, the Earth’s tilt with respect to any of the path of 11 objects across the sky must align at right angles. This is further truncated by the weather: if you can’t see it you can’t use it. In order to get an exact position, as in latitude and longitude, one has to either use two or more of the 57 provided objects or 1 of the 11 provided objects, effectively truncating the 57 to about 29 objects. Furthermore, about 15 of the 57 objects would be difficult to see from the southern hemisphere, near equator region at that time. This means that in reality, there were more like 42/2 = 21 object pairs available to obtain fixes. Finally, finding the appropriate star also can lead to truncation of available stars since doing so often requires identification of constellations before a star can be identified individually. FN in fact made just such an error on the Oakland to Honolulu flight when he incorrectly identified a star. When you are able to measure both latitude and longitude using this general method it is called a “fix”. When you can only get longitude, it can be worked out into what is called a “line of position”, which is what AE reported by radio that they had “near” Howland. Common sense suggests that if this is what she reported (just before ditching) she hardly would have said that if she actually had a full fix.

Obviously, they did not know their latitude and only had good information on their longitude, within a margin of error.

This point will be crucial in the conclusion section, so we make special note of it here. For even this greater certainty of longitude ended up involving two, not one, value for same. But the two had far smaller margins of error than latitude. This knowledge of longitude, with an appropriate error margin, would have been calculated by measuring the angular separation between the sun and the horizontal reference within a bubble sextant once it cleared 6 degrees above the horizon. But it could also have been done by performing a similar procedure on a celestial body during the night, just before sunrise. Thus, if this message were heard, searchers could only look along the “line of position” (LOP) because they didn’t know where she was on that line. In other words, the line was almost parallel to longitude, so it represents a one-dimensional zone of uncertainty whose largest component is latitude. The final, truncating factor in the choice of celestial bodies available constrained by the aircraft itself. The navigator had a small window through a hatch he could make sights through. But that was all. The plane had to be maneuvered to get shots. This required cooperation between navigator and pilot and set limits since this airplane could not fly in any orientation. That also means the pilot would have been well aware of any fumbling or difficulty encountered by the navigator during this time, a point that will come up later. Additionally, we should note from hereon that when we refer to latitudes and longitudes in the context of measurement, the measurement error is assumed in the statement. In other words,

when we speak of a longitude or latitude in that context it is to be understood, unless stated otherwise, that we are speaking of the mean longitude or latitude of the error margin for that value.

 waitt_And_Nauticos_Exclusion_Area

In one of the most comprehensive searches in history, Nauticos and the Waitt Institute positively excluded the Lockeheed 10E from being in any of these areas shown above. This is precisely the uncertainty area postulated by Elgen Long. This was possible due to advances in sea floor searching realized only in recent years. It now means that anyone postulating a “northern solution” must contend with the same latitude error that a “southern solution” must. The set of theories falling into either category are chiral reflections of each other.

A more crude way to determine change in position is called dead reckoning, and as a practical matter must be used in conjunction with celestial navigation. Dead reckoning is exactly what it sounds like; you measure your change in position from a known position by measuring your speed and direction (velocity vector) over that transit. Ground speed can be tricky because the air isn’t stationary. So, you can measure “drift” or wind speed and estimate ground speed by combining that with throttle information, another area of cooperation between pilot and navigator. This method has been found to be accurate to about 10% of the transit length. In other words, if a crosswind “pushes” you one way, you can expect an estimate for deflection in that direction within an error range up to 10% of the transit length. This means that if the transit length from a known position is short the deflection error from cross winds will be fairly small. By combining a LOP with a dead reckon “run” you can expect some loss of information in latitude but very little in longitude because the celestial fix on longitude has mostly eliminated that error. And the error margin in latitude will depend, again, on the transit length between this point and the most recent prior fix. This is called “advancing the LOP”. So, if FN shot the sun, for example, only two hours before expecting to reach Howland, his longitude would still be pretty accurate, even though it has some dead reckon error margin built-in. But his latitude will depend on prior fixes or his most recent, known position. Thus FN would “advance” his LOP taken two hours earlier to overlay Howland island, but if it were only 200 miles from the point where he measured the Sun, his added error margin to longitude would be only at most 20 miles (10% of 200 miles). On the other hand, if FN had not gotten a full fix in something like 13 hours, his latitude error margin could be as high as 170 miles. And again, what we hear obviously and clearly over the radio transmissions is that the last true fix was some 13 hours prior. There would be no reason for AE to report a LOP and fail to report her position at any other time if she knew more about her location. Common sense tells us that, for whatever reason, FN got only that one fix 13 hours before. This obvious fact has been avoided and danced around for 76 years because in this emotionally driven subject everyone is doing their level best to avoid any possibility of assigning blame to FN, whether anyone was trying to or not. Could there be a subliminal reason for this? Did those who are intimately familiar with Noonan’s trade know from the beginning what the author learned recently? Another clue, but one we don’t need to rely on to figure this out, is that AE had a signature signoff on radio for which she was well-known. It was, simply, “everything okay”. This very message was received with that last known, good fix just mentioned. What is peculiar is that habits didn’t seem to sustain on this flight, making her behavior anomalous barring any other explanation. In other words, AE never repeated those words even though this was commonplace in all her other flights and, as we noted, a signature line of hers. Whle this does little to prove a point to a skeptic, it is one of the most compelling pieces of evidence to the author. Something was going on in the plane that AE was not advertising. It needn’t be catastrophic at first, but it was at least ominous.

This author posed the question on internet forums to assess how well “researchers” and “experts” truly appreciated the limitations of celestial navigation in aircraft. Due to the short flight times, limited visibility due to being confined to the airframe and the considerations of weather, the number of choices isn’t as wide as many assume. The table below lists the number of celestial objects FN had at his disposal on this flight (the numbers indicate brightness). Anything above 0 will be hard to see at all in moderately foul weather.

Brightness 1.3 0.1 1.3 0.6 -3.7 -2.8 -12.6 -0.24 1.1
“200 miles out” Deneb Vega Fomalhaut Acherner Venus Jupiter Moon Saturn
“100 miles out” Deneb Vega Fomalhaut Acherner Venus Jupiter Moon Saturn Alderbaran

continued

Brightness -12.6 -0.24 1.1
“200 miles out” Moon Saturn
“100 miles out” Moon Saturn Alderbaran

The table shows the total number of celestial objects available to FN for navigation on that night. As we can see, it isn’t very many. Other objects (a few) were available at other times but note that there is no indication from the pilot that this occurred, even though she had a history of frequent position reports (see Honolulu Oakland flight as one example). Having noted the difficulty, an unimpaired, competent navigator should have been able to get a full fix with this many celestial objects, at least at these positions. The Waitt Institute obtained similar results to these.

Thus in this particular flight, it is evident, if we take the known facts on their face, that the only fixes obtained during the entire flight were at takeoff (prima facie) and once again after about 7 hours into the flight. That’s it. There were no fixes afterward. Of course, the cop out over the years has been that, rather than to possibly put FN on the hot seat, to simply dismiss AE as an imbecile who didn’t understand that her location might be one of the most important transmissions she could possibly make; and we already know that she would report this because she did when the information was known to her. If we take the facts for what they are telling us, we don’t get a position report beyond what we got because there weren’t any to give. And the simplest explanation truly is usually the correct one. Furthermore, that AE didn’t blab about problems with the navigator or with positions might have something to do with radio discipline and the fact that she was covering for him. But when your bias is against the person to start with, these kinds of things never occur to you. Thus, the question is why? Shouldn’t this have been easy? Given the heavy truncation of options from the almanac, this author is not so convinced that it would be easy if cloud cover existed, even in patches. Even so, the author must admit that surely more fixes than this could have been obtained. When the most likely is clearly not possible (the Electra found northwest of Howland), the less likely has to be considered. FN was eminently qualified to do the measurements required and even with clouds and limited visibility, he would have found the challenge insignificant.

 800px-Amelia_Earhart

AE and FN standing next to the port after hatch of the Lockheed 10E mod per Earhart

A quick note here is that the author will assume that the simplest explanation sufficient to explain what happened is most likely the correct one. Therefore, we are going to take the evidence on its face value unless there is some compelling reason to question it.

The Waitt report on the last flight of AE and FN reached the same conclusion as this author in at least one case. They wrote that:

“Of thirteen position reports made by Amelia Earhart from Lae–‐Howland, only two included a latitude and longitude position, and one of those is potentially in error in time and/or location. This is unusual given Fred Noonan’s experience with making detailed position reports on South Pacific proving flights with Pan Am in 1935.

Before joining the World Flight, Fred wrote about the importance of complete position reports, including latitude and longitude, air and ground speeds, wind direction and speed, and outside air temperature, in a post–‐flight report following one of these trips.”

The “unusual” report is the 200 and 100 mile report, which we will discuss in the foregoing.

Enter the Circus of “Experts”

How could the splash and sank “experts” be wrong? Because they are not infallible and have sought for 76 years, in most cases subconsciously, to isolate Earhart as the sole cause of the failed flight; they are partial to a predetermined conclusion. But specifically, the conventional wisdom breaks down when they assume, but do not verify, that valid celestial fixes were taken in the night. What we actually will verify shortly is that fixes were in fact taken, but they were invalid. On the night of the flight from Lae, New Guinea to Howland the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter Itasca was positioned offshore of Howland to provide services for Earhart’s approach and landing. This and other assets had been ordered by the President to provide assistance, especially on this Pacific portion of the journey. One of the services Itasca offered was to broadcast by radio weather reports to Earhart during her transit. Of course , at 1623 mission time AE was a very long way from Howland and the weather being sent was taken at Howland. In any case, messages were sent that included weather reports from Howland, one of which occurred at 1623 mission time. This won’t tell us much about weather where AE was located, but one minute later, at 1624, AE transmitted “partly cloudy”. One will often hear the claim to the effect that the weather upon this transmission at 1624 mission time indicated that FN must have taken a fix since that report showed what appeared to be at least moderate weather. This is fallacious and as we’ll see, we have good reason to believe that, for whatever reason, celestial fixes were not successful during the night in any case. Without this erroneous assumption, which is called a type I error (partly cloudy skies does not, by itself, imply good fixes), we cannot pin down an area of uncertainty as small as Elgen Long would like. Thus conclusions of merit cannot a priori be had regarding the number and quantity of celestial fixes, even though this has been a staple of Earhart research for 76 years. Self professed “experts” are quite vocal on the subject of Earhart, even when they couldn’t possibly know what they are talking about, as in the example just given. The previous example is but one. Something more definitive is needed to show that celestial fixes were either not being taken or were not being taken correctly. We could spend a career on the mass of material generated by this cottage industry of hate-based, historical figure bashing. But the author will need to at least briefly address some of them as they may directly affect the conversation.

The example in which longitudinal error margins are very small relative to latitude error margins must deal with objections centered on the idea the plane ended up anywhere other than the immediate vicinity of Howland island. This objection in turn is based on the belief that there would be no reason to “search” to the south (or anywhere else) if one is really so close to their target and they know that. This is a non-sequitir. Nobody said they were looking for Gardner; thus one need not posit that there was in fact any “reason” to search to the south other than ignorance of position itself.

 distinguished_Flying_Cross

The pilot was the first woman to ever be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for being the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo and nonstop. She would later become the first human being to transit the Pacific solo in 1935. But if you ask most AE loss “experts”, she means much of nothing to aviation history. Contrary to the fantasies of second-rate, risk averse pilots she was not an “incompetent pilot”, she was a risk prone pilot who broke records. Her service and sacrifice had an enormous impact on those that followed for generations, especially women. Sadly, it is her accomplishments and what she meant to aviation history that have been swept under the rug because of the “mystery” of her loss. These “foolish” antics and “ditzy” goof-ups attributed to her over the years were precursors to the epic voyages of Yuri Gagarin, Neil Armstrong, Viking, Venera, Voyager and many to come. It’s time for this aviator to be remembered for the big picture and what impact she, regardless of sex, had on human discovery. And that is why the truth is finally being told.

AE was a risk-taking explorer, not a bad pilot, as has been claimed over the last 76 years ad nausea. There is a difference between the two. Some people take risks others never would. That doesn’t make them a bad pilot. It depends on cause. Neil Armstrong performed a mind-blowing landing in a spacecraft under conditions that he would never have performed with fare-paying passengers on a flight from New York to Seattle to see the grand-kids. It is patently absurd to hold AE’s judgement of safety to the same standard a pilot flying regular commercial flights would. Neil Armstrong also crashed many times before but other pilots doing the same would have never gotten off the ground to start with. To show this difference, there are innumerable reports of pure, raw flying skill that are conveniently forgotten by naysayers. One of them is the event in central Asia which Long, to his credit, faithfully recorded and noted as exemplary. But what this author admires about Long is that he was a risk-taker also. In addition to flying 747s for passengers, he also flew record-breaking flights. He gets it. In the takoff there AE judged time and distance extremely well with an over-loaded aircraft and almost touched tree tops with her landing gear after lifting off from a muddy runway in the middle of monsoon season. All the men there told her it couldn’t be done and not to try it. She did it anyway. At Lae, New Guinea, the Chater Report tells us that when AE took off on the final flight she was hardly impaired or incompetent:

“The take-off was hair-raising as after taking every yard of the 1000 yard runway from the north west end of the aerodrome towards the sea, the aircraft had not left the ground 50 yards from the end of the runway. When it (NR16020) did leave it sank away but was by this time over the sea. It continued to sink to about five or six feet above the water and had not climbed to more than 100 feet before it disappeared from sight. In spite of this however, it was obvious that the aircraft was well handled and pilots of Guinea Airways who have flown Lockheed aircraft were loud in their praise of the take-off with such an overload.”

How is it that an incompetent pilot was able to judge time and distance so well it impressed Lockheed experts in the one case and, to do this magic not once, but twice in less than two months? Was Chater lying? Why?

What is the moral of this digression? The moral of this digression is the moral of this story: Amelia Earhart’s contributions to aviation and history are being smothered by an over-emphasis on her loss, and the conjecture that her loss was due to poor flying skill. It’s time to set the record straight.

For his part, Captain Frederick Noonan was one of the most skilled and talented celestial navigators of all time. His contributions to aviation cannot be understated and should not be forgotten. And speaking of partiality and finger pointing, citing mistakes of others in this tragedy must be done only if it has a causal relation to the outcome and can be shown by evidence to have been more likely true that false. Noonan’s reputation as a navigator was unimpeachable and everyone knew he was, on the face of it, the right choice for the job of World Flight. Having said that, he was a fallible human being like anyone. While it is impossible to state the manner in which a person can be “incapacitated”, as that covers a lot of territory, there are pedestrian explanations for it that cannot be ignored either. But more importantly, for an agency such as the NTSB, for example, to investigate a crash and find that a pilot made an error, but then fail to acknowledge that fact, harms aviation by not informing the public of the real causes of the crash. Only by separating an aviator’s considerable successes from their mistakes can one both appreciate their contributions to aviation and learn from their mistakes at the same time. That is the approach taken here.

Thus, we are going to provide some background on old theories and conjecture about the state of mind of the navigator, particularly involving the rumors of alcoholism, but point out that such a condition is but one conjectural explanation for cognitive impairment and need not be the only one. We do not examine the cause of impairment itself, only the question of impairment, whether due to the exhaustion of such a long journey, physical maladies and illnesses contracted along the way (for which evidence does exist) or other factors. Indeed, the impairment we will show is almost certainly causally involved in this accident could have emerged froma  combination of factors, which is the view we assume until evidence proves otherwise. The rumors about alcoholism seemed to grow over the years to an echo that begged further inquiry.

In 1972 the Executive of Pan Am, John Leslie, was taped in an interview with Victor Wright (1972, PAA archives, Richter Library, Miami) and the following was recorded in April 2006: 35 years later, in a 1972 interview with Pan American executive John Leslie, Victor Wright (a crewmember who flew with Noonan on Clipper flights) said “he drank himself out of a job … It got to Noonan by way of drink. We had no one to do the navigating except Noonan. Harry Canaday then took over and navigated on the way back.”

In other words, when FN was navigating a plane in which survival depended ostensibily and potentially solely on him, he was intoxicated. So badly in fact, an amateur had to navigate them back.

Yet another report of this habit was provided on the PBS program “American Experience”. The author Gore Vidal was interviewed regarding Noonan’s drinking habits and stated that, “Well, just the night before the final flight, she reported in and they had a code phrase, “personnel problems,” which meant Noonan was back drinking. And my father said, “Just stop it right now and come home,” and G.P. agreed and said, “Come back, abort the flight, forget it, come home.” And then she said, “Oh, no,” and she said, “I think it’ll be all right,” something like that. So you may put that down to invincible optimism or it may have been huge pessimism.”

Yet again, another witness clearly stated that FN had a drinking habit likely against better judgement. TIGHAR was given a copy of a letter alleged to have been written from Honolulu by Russ Brines on 3 August 1937 to another journalist. Oddly, TIGHAR waxes defensive on any claim of alcoholism vis-à-vis FN, but sees no issue slandering and defaming AE routinely. In their eyes, AE has not contributed anything meaningful to society and is not deserving of the same respect; sentiments that sound decidedly partial and ideological to this author. Russ Brines wrote on 3 August, 1937:

“My cynical theory, and that of many other lads around here, is that Noonan found Lae a much too interesting town for anyone’s good. Privately, and only between us, I know Fred; know that he is — or was — one of the country’s best aerial navigators and one of its most accomplished six-bottle men, having cut his teeth on the foresail stays of an old square-rigged ship. Nursing such a developed thirst, he probably went for broke in Lae which, as you know, is an old-fashioned pioneer town with airplanes instead of covered wagons to cater to the gold rush. Therefore, if this is true, the chances are that Amelia had him poured into the plane and decided to do the naviqating herself. Well, she can’t — couldn’t — navigate for sour apples. … “.

Though it isn’t clear how he knew what AE’s navigating skills were, clearly they were not comparable to FN’s; provided he were sober.

Finally, Earhart reported in writing that Noonan had been drunk on the world flight at a stopover in Calcutta, India. Another report from Earhart repeated this claim, but this time at Lae, NG. While apologists with varying agendas have tried vehemently to silence this information, the fact is that one cannot claim there is no evidence of this habit. There are just too many reports of it. Earhart stated that FN “had been drinking [on the world flight] …” and that she “didn’t know where he had been getting it”. Was AE being untruthful? If so, why? It will shortly be clear why positions weren’t reported and also clear why “personnel problems” would not be conveyed by radio mid-air. They were communicated confidentially, and if the “personnel problems” was in fact a code, this makes that point clear. Speaking of which, if it were not such a code, why would AE say something so cryptic in the first place? Clearly it was a code, and we can debate what it meant, but it was a code.

It is likely that AE would not have known about this particular episode, had it occurred, until after the point of no return, which is the point where there is insufficient fuel to return to Lae. Depending on who you ask, this would have occurred anywhere from 10 hours into the flight up to about local midnight, a concept we’ll examine shortly. The differences in estimates are based on assumptions about headwinds and tailwinds which are subjective as regards a pilot’s rationale regarding safe return. There is no way a public figure like AE was going to publicize this episode, should one have occurred, by transmitting it in the open. That is why we got so little information about the errors that were about to compound astronomically for the crew. We would not make this claim without a much stronger argument independent of the anecdotal reports, and we will see that in the section “Denouement”. It is this PR angle to it that suggests that the impairment was in fact alcohol related, but at this point that is purely conjecture.

lockheed_10E_Profile_View_002

Fuel consumption Part One

On this flight the issue of fuel consumption has consumed tomes of material. The bottom line is that no one can definitively state how far the plane flew. To get a first principles understanding of how much fuel they were burning we can at least look at how AE was trained to fly for maximum range; for we can presumably safely assume that AE was intelligent enough to seek the longest duration burn possible. What was she taught and what procedure did she follow? While it is not the case today, at that time most pilots were taught that for maximum range the wing of the airplane must be in an attitude that will give maximum lift and minimum drag. This meant that there was an optimum speed to fly the airplane that would put the wing in that attitude. We know that Lockheed told AE to fly the airplane at 150 mph true airspeed (indicated air speed –what you read on the dial– corrected for air density) for maximum range, regardless of winds. She was further taught that if the headwinds were too strong, postpone the flight. Our first hint that she was in fact following her own training is found there, for she did in fact postpone flights due to headwinds. If headwinds were 30 mph, her groundspeed was, therefore, 120 mph. According to Long, this is, at least, about the best estimate we can get for headwinds. This is a critical point because AE had established a strong pattern in her career (something NTSB investigators often look at very closley) of following the recommendations of experts very closely. In other words, what Lockheed reocmmended with regard to handling the aircraft was probably what she did, and we know that from her own past behavior. This is why Elgen Long gets the large fuel burn he estimates and we think he is mostly correct.

The Waitt Institute provides some detail on the Long theory of fuel consumption with the Fuel Analyzer failure scenario. This is a theory cooked up by Long to make the gas burn up faster but for which no evidence exists that it actually occurred on that flight. In any case, assuming the failure of this device (which automatically increases optimum engine rpm for fuel efficiency), the Waitt Institute suggested that engine run time would expire by 9 a.m. As far as this author knows, this is the most conservative estimate as yet on fuel burn. We shall see in what follows that the Electra ditched at approximately 9:45 a.m., suggesting the Fuel Analyzer worked for at least some portion of the journey. It is the issue of the Fuel Analyzer where this author parts ways with Long and suggests that the device did in fact work properly and that is why the exhaustion occurred about one hour later than Long assumes.

Internet “experts”, and also Elgen Long, claim that AE used more fuel than she had on board and ditched before she found Howland Island because she flew faster than planned to compensate for strong head winds, as just explained. Long wrote, “The stronger the head wind the faster the plane must fly for maximum range.” Again, the basis for this, Long wrote is that for every head wind component there is a recommended speed for maximum range. However, increased speed means increased fuel consumption. He is correct, but his assumption is dead wrong. AE did not know this, she knew what Lockheed told her. She used the best information available at that time. Long finds a burn rate of about 55 gph average. This author finds about 50 gph average. Given the information Long had, this author finds his conclusions remarkably close to what he now thinks was the actual value (to be shown in what follows).

Whenever there is uncertainty about a variable, such as fuel burn functions and thus powered run-time, it helps if we can bracket the problem. Using the most conservative fuel estimates to stear clear of controversy, we can accept Long’s lower range estimate (though I do not think we can merely assume a failure or fault in the fuel system that reduces powered run-time, a recent innovation in the Long theory, but a case of special pleading in the absence of direct evidence). There is little controversy, if any, known to this author regarding the time at which AE reached the advanced sun line at Howland. This would be, loosely stated, the point in space at which the plane reached the longitude equal to that of Howland (it won’t quite be equal because it runs north and south at an angle to meridian lines, but its close). With some provisos to be elucidated in the following, if we start with Long’s theory we see that AE reached this line when she said she did, so, once again, we are taking the evidence on face value and accepting it for what it is. This occurred at 7:42 a.m. with the following message from AE:

19:12 7:42A.M. Earhart:” KHAQQ CALLING ITASCA WE MUST BE ON YOU BUT CANNOT SEE YOU BUT GAS IS RUNNING LOW BEEN UNABLE TO REACH YOU BY RADIO WE ARE FLYING AT ALTITUDE 1000 FEET.”

The proviso is that AE was within a reasonable distance of Howland. We shall see later that she was not. AE notes that gas is running low, and one log (there were two logs being recorded in the radio room of the Itasca during this time) records that she said there was only 30 minutes remaining. However, it was typical of aviators to refer to being “empty” as having reached their reserve, which was typically 20%. If that were the case, she would have about 4 hours flying time beyond that report. Thus, in either case, the simplest explanation is what the radio logs are about to tell us next anyway:

20:14 8:44 A.M. Earhart: “WE ARE ON THE LINE OF POSITION 157-337, WILL REPEAT THIS MESSAGE ON 6210 KCS. WAIT, LISTENING ON 6210 KCS. WE ARE RUNNING NORTH AND SOUTH.” Itasca log: ?On 3105-volume S-5.”

In other words, the plane was still airborne at 8:44 a.m., so clearly they had more than 30 minutes fuel remaining. Taking these words on face value, we have no way of knowing what she meant by 30 minutes fuel remaining, if she said that at all. Again, we take the most conservative estimate this implies and use it to determine whether or not AE and FN could have reached Gardner. But we should note, however, that AE’s transmission schedule was 15 and 45 after the hour, so the next transmission after the last was at 9:15 a.m. (according to AE’s transmission plan), which was never received. Therefore, we must conclude that it was possible that the plane flew up to that time. We’ll examine even longer times later. But for now, we have to examine the radio situation in more detail to see what this really means to resolve all the chaos and confusion over just how far AE could have flown (one of those pseudo-mysteries in researching the Earhart case).

 electra_Basic_Deck_Plan

We start by noting that AE could have flown at least 9:15 – 7:42 = 1 hour and 33 minutes beyond the point at which the sun line was intercepted. What’s really needed at this point is a way to resolve this with less speculation and more certainty. And we can. The Itasca radio logs that this author was able to collect all end after AE’s last transmission. We have no data on what happened at 9:15 and 9:45. But given the pattern we’ve seen, it is quite reasonable to expect that Itasca was transmitting over AE anyway; indeed it was likely (see below). Therefore, the radio data only really helps pin down possibilities in terms of the nearest pass to Howland and does little as far as telling us how long they were airborne after turning south. And the radio strength data tells us that they were probably not much more than 100 miles from Howland when the strongest signal was received, about 7:42 a.m. And at this point we digress back to the issue of the failure of the USCG to properly communicate with AE. Earhart researchers like to create this aura of “complexity” to matters that is, to put it bluntly, obfuscation by fiction. There is nothing complicated about the fact that the USCG did not do what they were told and this was a major contributing factor in the deaths of AE and FN.

No, it really isn’t that complicated.

AE, in writing and before the flight, told the USCG what frequencies to use. She told them what schedule to use for transmission and reception. She told them what time zone to use. She told them what her backup landing site was (Gardner), she told them to use voice only (not Morse code), she told them to use high frequency direction finding, not low; and on and on. And the Commander in Chief of the Armed forces ordered USCG and USN to support her mission. In other words, to do what they were told. And we know that USCG had this information and could do it because they in fact did do it in the first hours of the flight. Only at the critical later period of the flight did the USCG inexplicably decide to honor none of these requests.

For starters, let’s clarify when AE said she would be transmitting and receiving. She wrote that she would transmit at:

15 and 45 minutes after the hour [transmit]

And that she would listen, or receive, at:

00 and 30 minutes after the hour [receive]

Not surprisingly, the aspect of radio direction finding has also been obfuscated and distorted.  It is important to make clear that two forms of radio direction finding were possible; one in which 1.) radio operators on the ground could take bearings on a signal from AE and one in which 2.) AE could take bearings from a signal transmitted from the ground. The DF loop antenna on the aircraft was for taking bearings on signals emanating from the ground at 500 KCS. AE had sent a message indicating that she intended to transmit for ground operators to take a bearing on her at high frequency; not the reverse. In other words, AE was not expecting to take bearings on a ground signal at high frequency (well above 500 KCS). Here again, the failures of USCG were beyond regrettable and clearly negligent as the request to transmit at 500 KCS so that AE could take bearings on them was totally ignored. They never transmitted (not until 7:30 that morning, as the logs show). We know this because the logs show them listening on 500 KCS and never transmitting. In other words, the very homing signal at 500 KCS AE was relying on to constantly and continuously provide navigational error correction never came. It was as if Itasca had packed up and sailed away. They might as well have, for one can’t take a bearing on something that doesn’t transmit. When this is clarified, the question of USCG negligence takes on an entirely new dimension. Commander Thompson’s panic was justified. AE’s ability to do high frequency radio direction finding applied only to her transmissions to ground operators and was a backup. And as we noted, USN botched that by not supplying sufficient shore power.

And radios in 1937 were not transceivers. They consisted of a separate transmitter and receiver device; two different boxes completely. In those days it was not uncommon for a radio operator to wait, say, thirty minutes, and get a response by switching over to your receiver.

The full reasoning for this is lengthy, but given the disinformation pedaled for 76 years its worth the digression (see http://ameliaearhartcontroversy.com/lady-be-good/ for a more complete explanation).

On her first around the world attempt between Oakland and Honolulu the generator went out several hours before she reached her destination. It was determined upon landing that the current limiter fuse had blown because the amperage being used on board the Electra was too high. The current limiter fuse is in the engine compartment so it is impossible to repair in-flight. The remedy was for her not to run the receiver radio when she was transmitting.

Today when we turn on a radio it comes on almost instantly, which wasn’t the case in 1937. The radios were all the old tube type and required several minutes to warm up before they could receive or transmit. That is the reason she set times to transmit and receive so the radios would be operational when they were needed. It is hard to believe that USCG couldn’t understand this basic principle, but that is how they acted.

Another urban legend is that AE didn’t “key long enough to get a bearing on her”, another slice of drivel that’s been rolling on for 76 years now. On her first attempt AE had held the transmit key down for long periods so Pan American stations could get a “fix” on her and, as a result, had blown the current limiter. AE would thus have to wait until she was very close to Howland Island to transmit for long periods because if she blew the current limiter fuse again, she would have nothing but battery power to run on. That meant AE would lose any chance of direction finder assistance when she got close to Howland. Also, AE couldn’t lower the landing gear if the battery went dead and the generator wasn’t charging. If AE had located Howland Island without electrical power she would have been forced to land with the gear up.

And the reader is now only getting a glimmer of how bad the distortion of events surrounding this loss really are. It gets much, much worse.

So, what AE was doing was transmitting on the scheduled times she gave them (15 and 45 minutes after the hour). Then, she would switch over to her receiver and wait for their answer in exactly thirty minutes. Oops. First of all, the military was not using her time zone as she told them to, which didn’t amount to too much confusion, but the failure to maintain radio discipline in the radio room certainly did. For, after about 7 a.m. they stopped transmitting on the times AE was listening. That’s right. They transmitted nothing.  The Itasca was even blasting over her transmissions with thousands of watts on her exact frequency on several occassions; and on every occasion they were not transmitting when they were supposed to. These transmissions made over AE on several occassions occurred because radios were new back then and the military had already transitioned to real-time communication. So, in many cases, they were trying to respond to her transmissions immediately, not 30 minutes later. To complete the train wreck motif, they decided to also ignore her request to use voice only and always responded to her in Morse code. This makes even the early and late transmissions from Itasca effectively non-transmissions. Neither she nor FN knew Morse code. And most people in civilian aviation weren’t using it anymore anyway. Oh yes, and only USN had the high frequency direction finder. Only the Secretary of the Interior realized, by direct consultation with the first lady who knew AE, that the CG didn’t have any way to do direction finding as AE required but didn’t want USN as “competition”. So, the Secretary told the Navy to put a shore party on Howland to run a high frequency direction finder. What did they do? They didn’t bring a shore generator … which meant batteries. Which meant the batteries were burned up hours before AE was even close enough to do direction finding. So much for locating her from Howland.

intersection_Gardner_001
The first intercept, or putative “Howland island”, based on invalid celestial fix. See discussion that follows.

As we can see, there is no mystery or complexity behind why two-way radio communication couldn’t be established. But in the psychology of Earhart research, all blame must be channeled around the pilot only, for everything. Maybe people just find it hard to believe that USCG could make such ridiculously negligent errors. But they obviously did, as their own logs prove and John Riley already noted in 2000. Let’s take a tour:
GMT / Howland
18:30 7:00A.M. Itasca transmission: correct time
Up to this point, Itasca is on schedule and doing as AE asked in terms of the timing of transmissions. But the errors begin after 7 a.m. (did the radio room have a watch change at this time? Watches typically transfer at this time).
18:48 7:18A.M. Itasca transmission: wrong time
19:00 7:30A.M. Itasca transmission: right time but requested response by Morse, as told not to do.
19:12 7:42A.M. Earhart transmission: wrong time, but real-time request
19:13 7:43A.M. Itasca transmission: wrong time, running over AE
19:17 7:47A.M. Itasca transmission: wrong time
19:19 7:49A.M. Itasca transmission: wrong time
19:28 7:58A.M. Earhart transmission: late for quarter hour but significantly; her request for real-time response was heard. This is a big clue that Itasca was not doing as asked in all the other exchanges. See discussion in part two of fuel consumption
19:29 7:59A.M. Itasca transmission: correct time and AE replies
This is a big clue. Earhart didn’t hear them because they weren’t transmitting when they were told to.
19:30 8:00A.M. Earhart transmission: wrong time but in response real-time to first two-way comm.
19:35 8:05A.M. Itasca transmission: wrong time
19:36 8:06A.M. Itasca transmission: wrong time
19:37 8:07A.M. Itasca transmission: wrong time
19:42 8:12 A.M. Itasca transmission: wrong time now and wrong as indicated in message
19:43 8:13 A.M. Itasca transmission: wrong time
19:45 8:15 A.M. Itasca transmission: wrong time
19:48 8:18 A.M. Itasca transmission: wrong time
Itasca log: “no answer.”
20:03 8:33 A.M. Itasca transmission: wrong time

This is a total USCG disaster.

Forget about the transmissions that were late/early. What is the real significance of this radio log? The real significance of this radio log is not in what Itasca transmitted but in what they did not transmit: voice communication at the times Earhart was switched over to her receiver. It wasn’t just a convenience or convention once she established that operating procedure; if she didn’t physically switch over to the receiver (at the wrong time) she would hear nothing.

 Nikumaroro_Atoll

Fuel consumption Part Two

We mentioned earlier the lack of any definite information regarding the fuel expenditure. But we should also note that the fuel tanks on the Electra used powered pumps to draw fuel to the engines. These pumps could not fully empty the tanks. In order to do this the Electra was equipped with at least one manual pump. But the tanks on the plane were large which meant that a signficant amount of fuel could be recovered by manually pumping remnants of fuel unreachable by the powered pumps. Thus, one again, we see how easily assumptions about fuel expenditure can be skewed when we don’t really know what we’re talking about. And now we also see why the radio won’t suffice as constraint and we are about to see why the strongest signals received don’t help much either. After getting all the way to the sun line AE is frustrated by now and she, for the first time, breaks her own convention and transmits, almost on top of Itasca’s time (but she had to realize by then Itasca wasn’t following their schedule anyway):

19:28 7:58A.M. Earhart:” WE ARE CIRCLING BUT CANNOT HEAR YOU GO AHEAD ON 7500 EITHER NOW OR ON THE SCHEDULE TIME ON HALF HOUR.” Itasca log:” Volume S-5.”

Notice the signal strength is S-5 (this is on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the strongest). This scale is somewhat subjective and likely exaggerated in a tense situation such as this, but its close. She transmits at some point just before 7:58 a.m. (or maybe at 7:58 a.m.). This is not her scheduled transmit time of 00 and 30 after the hour. Now, notice what Itasca does:

19:29 7:59A.M. Itasca log:” AAAAAAAAAAAA (on 7500). Go ahead on 3105.”

This is the only time real-time communication actually occurred. But alack, they reply in … Morse code again. Now, notice that Earhart, realizing this is still her listen time, has turned immediately to her receiver and now back to her transmitter … all real-time:

19:30 8:00A.M. Earhart:” KHAQQ CALLING ITASCA WE RECEIVED YOUR SIGNALS BUT UNABLE TO GET A MINIMUM PLEASE TAKE BEARING ON US AND ANSWER 3105 WITH VOICE.” [ AE sent long dashes on 3105 for five seconds or so. This was the only direct reply that Itasca received from KHAQQ. It was later believed that she turned away at this point.]

ditching_Location_001

Where the Electra ended up. See discussion that follows. The mathematical possibilities uniquely converge here.

Surely the pilot would know if the navigator had taken her off course, right? Not really. The reality is that the pilot trusts the navigator to guide them to within radio range of the destination and whatever distance she was from Itasca it was clearly upon the direction of the navigator. The Electra was equipped with motion gyros and an autopilot, described by none other than AE herself;

“… directional gyros, the Bendix direction finder and various radio equipment. In the center of the instrument board is the Sperry Gyro Pilot”.

This rules out the pilot’s failure to manually maintain a compass bearing as a possible contributing factor. The pilot would simply set the autopilot to whatever the navigator tells them to set it. We note the curious maintenance log reported along with the Chater Report however, that indicates something peculiar. While it would be conjectural to suppose a fault in this equipment, it is tanatalizing nonetheless as it would have a direct bearing on over-compensating southward during DF flight. The record stated that:

“Sperry Gyro Horizon (Lateral and fore and aft level) removed, cleaned, oiled and replaced, as this reported showing machine in right wing low position when actually horizontal [this author’s emphasis]”. Did this actually fix the problem? We may never know. Did AE assume this to be in error when it was actually fixed and corrected? There are multiple ways of looking at this, but all of them are tantalizing if a large drift to the south is considered. Having said that, the celestial navigation errors are more than sufficient to misguide the aircraft as we show in what follows.

But all this begs the question, what else did the pilot herself have to say about this case that others have simply ignored?

She also wrote that,

“Fred Noonan has been unable, because of radio difficulties, to set his chronometers. Any lack of knowledge of their fastness and slowness would defeat the accuracy of celestial navigation. Howland is such a small spot in the Pacific that every aid to locating it must be available [this author’s emphasis]. Fred and I have.. repacked the plane eliminating everything unessential. We have even discarded as much personal property as we can decently get along without. . all Fred has is a small tin case which he picked up in Africa. I notice it still rattled, so it cannot be packed very full.”

In other words, the rumor, and it is admittedly so, that their delay from Lae was due to FN’s being intoxicated, may simply have been covered by the parallel chonometer problem. But we also know that the radio problems preventing the chronometer adjustment were solved before they left, so that is not a factor. And at this very same time AE was writing that FN had been drinking again and she didn’t know where he was getting it from. Thus, rumors about him being unable to get on the plane do not necessarily refer to the attempted takeoff video that shows him ably hopping aboard. But at least he does appear there, in that attempt, to be relatively sober. Finally, the oft-repeated and growingly naseous claim about how AE was negligent for removing the trailing antenna is nonsense. The trailing antenna had to be reeled out manually from the rear after takeoff and manually reeled back in on landing. And a switch in the after compartment was required to send power to it from the cockpit. Approaching Howland, AE couldn’t afford to rely on FN being in the after compartment, nor could she afford to have to coordinate with him in order to operate the radio during such a busy radio period if he were back there. It was, as a practical matter, useless for Howland and could have just as easily caused problems for AE sending and receiving on other antennae.

And,

“My “flying laboratory” became equipped with.. a Sperry Gyro-Pilot, an automatic device which actually flies the ship unaided. There is a Bendix radio direction finder which pointes the way to any selected broadcasting station within its range. There is the finest two way voice and code Western Electric communication equipment… The plane is a two motor all metal monoplane, with retractable landing gear. It’s normal cruising speed is 180 miles and hour and top speed in excess of 200. With the special gasoline tanks that have been installed in the fuselage, capable of carrying 1, 150 gallons, it has a cruising radius in excess of 4,000 miles. With a full load the ship weighs about 15,000 pounds. It’ is powered with two Wasp “H” engines, developing 1100 horsepower.”

And if you think AE hasn’t had problems with alcoholics on other flights, read this interview by George Putnam published in Soaring Wings:

(AE) told me those days at Trepassey taxed her spirit more than any experience she’d ever faced… She considered asking us to replace Stultz with another pilot (because of his drinking.) .. (However) she knew Stultz could fly the Friendship as no one else could… She simply got hold of her pilot and all but dragged him to the plane. he wasn’t in good shape.. Long afterward she told me the first few minutes of the next hour seemed to her the most dangerous minutes of her life – certainly the most dangerous of the flight…. AE knelt in the cabin, or wedged between the gas tanks, anxiously studied (Stultz) and “those little spots of red in the center of his cheeks” which never seemed to pale…. In the cabin she found a bottle smuggled aboard. Her instinct was to cast it through the trap door in the bottom of the fuselage. But.. what (if Stultz) should come and get it? .. as it turned out he never wanted that bottle, and in the end AE dropped it silently into the Irish Sea.

Many of the details described in these passages deal proximately with inconvenient truths that many “experts” in the field have claimed to be “mysteries”. There is no mystery.

gardner_Atoll

As already discussed, much conjecture exists over the question of radio propagation and some of the most accepted limits place an 80 nm restriction on how far the Electra was from the Itasca at the 7:42 and 8:44 transmission times. Of course, this is conjecture used to support the more restrictive Long hypothesis. We suspect that this number is, realistically, probably a bit larger. The difficulty in knowing this number with precision is that there are too many variables to take into account, each of which has its own assumptions built into it. But at the end of the day, there must be some limit on how far one can transmit with 50 source watts power at a given frequency (which affects range) that is realistic in most conditions. But alack, that very statement also depends on many other factors. But the biggest factor we wish to point out here is the one that everyone has ignored until now and one that

makes any sophisticated radio analysis of this problem inconclusive.

This factor, which is just one of many, is one based on the receiver’s capability. The Voyager spacecraft also transmits at 50 source watts power. But it’s also over one billion miles away … literally. This is why discussions of radio propagation and “expert” analysis of same constitutes ignorance and pathological science. We cannot know the exact atmospheric, electric, electromagnetic, moisture, Itasca amplifier, Itasca antennae configuration and other factors that causally determined what was responsible for perceived signal strengths in the radio room of the Itasca. Moreover, those strengths are, after all, perceived. The only reason we can even reliably communicate with the Voyager spacecraft is because the 50 watts at which it transmits is mostly consumed dealing with uncertainties in the Earth’s atmosphere. Most of the propagation through space can be achieved with very low power and done with great reliability and consistency. The problem is atmosphere, and that is why the Voyager’s transmission power is uprated to 50 W. In other words, there are times when the Voyager return signal is almost entirely attenuated by the atmosphere alone and barely gets through, then other times when it comes through orders of magnitude more strongly. You cannot make hard and fast predictions about radio waves in atmospheric conditions that are not controlled or recorded. Though the Voyager relies on much larger and more sophisticated receivers (very much so) it illustrates why knowing exactly what kind of conditions existed does matter. Thus, claiming 80 nm as some absolute limit is abusrd.

But we also know from the record that the AE’s radios performed conspicuously better than the Long’ers claim on previous flights, and this should raise some suspicion. For example, radio signals were heard clearly and strongly at 200 nm on that flight. This is likely because, like the navigation matter, “experts” delight in obfuscation. First of all, the altitude of transmission and reception matters since this determines the direct wave propagation behavior of radio signals. These signals are the strongest component of a radio signal and if there is a “line of sight” between transmitter and receiver direct wave propagation holds sway. At only 1000 feet altitude this distance is something like 40 nm. But as the aircraft climbs this distance changes dramatically. If we let ψ be the path length on the ground from a point directly below the plane to a land receiver and θ be the plane’s altitude, φ denotes the path length of the direct wave propagation; that is φ2 = ψ2 + θ2. This is another reason why we dismiss radio “certainty” as conjecture because we really can’t know the altitude of the plane at all stages of the flight. However, it is reasonable to allow that the Electra did climb at some point during the radio communication frustration and the loud S5 signals may simply be an artifact of this change. We simply don’t know.

Having said this, clearly there must be some limit to what can be reasonably expected? Of course there is, but it will likely be more liberal than what 80 nm would suggest. If only we knew the exact distance of the airplane from earlier transmissions we might be able to stochastically fix the distance at 7:42 but, unfortunately, that is part of what we’re trying to answer. Thus, it is entirely possible that, for whatever reason, on that day and other those particular conditions, a transmission at twice that distance with a similar perception of strength is conceivable. We don’t need to fix that value, only to suggest that such a modest change in assumptions means a full 160 nm could better characterize the reality. This is 184 statute miles. But there is another factor that might need adjusting.

It has been noted that a navigator wouldn’t likely fly directly to their target as this would only reduce their odds of finding it. Rather, they would use an offset. For numerous reasons, a navigator attempting to thread Howland would likely offset to their north and fly south to intercept. We shall see that whether or not AE flew an offset will be immaterial to the conclusion.

radio_Strength_Plots

While one can engage much conjecture over radio signals in any given instance, the chart above shows the nominal range of values one can expect with signal strength (on an “s” scale) plotted against nautical miles. But this is only a nominal range and it is not entirely improbable to hear signals at S-5 that are as far as 250 nm. Contrast this with TIGHAR’s analysis of a strong signal at 300 sm and you can see what we mean by “speculation”. The fact is, unless someone can reproduce those conditions exactly we may never know for sure if a plane within 300 sm of Howland could communicate reliably in this manner.

Denouement

The step to proving impairment beyond any reasonable doubt begins with the radio transmissions which, in the first case, indicated a distance of 200 miles from Howland, and in the latter, a distance of 100 miles from Howland. These two radio transmissions were separated in time by about 30 minutes. There have been considerable mental gymnastics performed around this fact but we will take the transmission for what it says.

The two transmissions received aboard Itasca were:

17:45 6:15A.M. Earhart:” ABOUT TW0 HUNDRED MILES OUT. APPROXIMATELY. WHISTLING NOW.” Itasca log:” Volume S-3″

[note: Sunrise at Howland Island was recorded in the log at 6:15 A.M.]

Clearly, the sun would rise locally between this point in time and just a few minutes later:

18:15 6:45A.M. Earhart:” PLEASE TAKE BEARING ON US AND REPORT IN HALF HOUR I WILL MAKE NOISE IN MICROPHONE- ABOUT 100 MILES OUT.” Itasca log indicated S-4

But this would indicate a ground speed of over 200 mph. Obviously, this must be reconciled as the distance appears not to have been 100 miles but closer to 55 miles. While it may be approximately correct indeed, this kind of approximation won’t suffice for finding Howland and the latter 100 miles out appears to be the anticipated navigational correction to smooth out this approximation. Thus, attributing this to an “estimate” doesn’t explain-away the problem. Under the circumstances, something must have changed to cause this change in estimate as it would have been obvious to AE that these numbers didn’t add up. Curiously, the very celestial sights that could have been taken just before sunrise should have better fixed the longitude and prevented this error. What this lopsided dual reporting shows is that a significant correction occurred and it most likely was due to the difference between estimates using celestial aids and estimates without. In other words, it suggests, but does not by itself prove, that the first estimate was based on a less accurate knowledge of longitude while the second report suggests a considerably better knowledge of longitude.

To reconcile this difference under DR we have to assume a path length error of about 45 to 70 miles up to the 200 mile report. The only known fix ever achieved on that flight was only about 7 hours into the flight:

07:20 5:20P.M. Earhart to Lae: “…POSITION LATITUDE: 4 DEGREES 33.5′ SOUTH, LONGITUDE: 159 DEGREES 07′ EAST.”

This is 4:33:5 S, 159:07 E.

Howland Island is located at 0:48.24 N, 176:36.59

At the equator, 200 miles west of this is:

200/69.172 = 2.8913 deg

And 100 miles west is:

1.44 deg therefore,

2.8913=> 3:29.13 + 176:36.59 = 179: 1:5 1.12 or 180:06.12

1.4456=> 1:44.56 + 176:36.59 = 177: 1:8 59 or 178:08.59

ð  Point A = 200 miles west Howland is 0:48.24 N and 180 deg 06 min 12 s West

ð  Point B = 100 miles west Howland is 0:48.24 N and 178 deg 08 min 59 s West

In other words, the 200 miles out estimate given by AE was an estimate based on the fact that the navigator believed he was crossing the international date line at that time. Therefore, we know what they believed to be their exact longitude; that is, 180 degrees. Thus, the actual error between the “200 mile” report and the 100 mile report was, more precisely:

180 deg 06 min 12 s West – 180 = 6 m, 12 s or 196 miles to 100 miles in thirty minutes with an actual ground speed of about 120 mph (see first part of fuel consumption section)

ð  96 * 2 = 192 mph

ð  (120/192)*96 = 60 sm

This is peculiar since it is very close (about 59 nm) to the error one will get if they fail to switch local dates in the nautical almanac correctly when crossing the international date line. Depending on when and how one fails to do this, it can result in an error either east or west of the intended target (this transit required two switches of dates for correct referencing in the almanac). If this were combined with a DR drift to the south generating a roughly equal but opposite offset, this could be extremely confusing to an impaired mind. However, we note that the error actually encountered appears to have been the reverse; namely, that the 200 miles out was based on a measurement of an LOP correct to within tolerance while the 100 mile report represents the point at which the navigator abandoned the LOP in favor of exact celestial fixes made previously that night. We shall see why shortly, and we shall see that this constituted a third, sentinel error.

Liz Smith posted her own theory on the internet regarding a date line error, called the “Date Line Theory”, which first clued this author to such a possibility. The problem with her theory, in this author’s estimation, was that she had mistakenly reversed the resulting error, not recognized the latitude error and proposed that the date error had occurred later by not reverting the date back to July 2, 1937, after FN had already correctly advanced the date to 02 July, 1937 at local midnight. Consequently, Smith’s calculations as to the position of the Electra were off by a few hundred miles.

To justify this claim about a dating error, we need to return to the navigational process to the concept of a local midnight, which occurred about 5 hours before the “200 mile” report, about 5 hours flight time before the international date line. During this time, FN did not advance his date as he must in order for the almanac entries to make sense. In other words, FN did not forget to set his date back to July 2 after crossing the international date line, he forgot to set his date to July 3 at local midnight. And FN also failed to notice the obvious southern deviation in course heading he subsequently ordered for the pilot based on these fixes.

Measuring the position of a star and applying a referent from exactly one day in the future will bias the result to create the appearance that the observer is about 360/365.25 deg (59.14 nm) further west than they truly are. Conversely, measuring the position of a star and applying a referent from exactly one day in the past will bias the result to create the appearance that the observer is about 360/365.25 deg (59.14 nm) further east than they truly are. 59.14 nm = 68 sm.

In most cases (to be explained), if FN were to measure the position of two or more celestial positions to obtain a fix by applying a referent from exactly one day in the future it will bias the result to create the appearance to the crew that they are south of where they truly are. Conversely, and in most cases (to be explained), if FN were to measure the position of two or more celestial positions to obtain a fix by applying a referent from exactly one day in the past it will bias the result to create the appearance to the crew that they are north of where they truly are.

If you ask most navigator’s they might not realize this because they know that the declination of a star doesn’t change appreciably in one day. But what they overlook with that objection is that the equatorial plane, at any given time of the year except at the spring and fall equinox, is tilted with respect to its orbital plane. This means that errors generated by referencing the wrong day create the same type of error in latitude as they do in longitude, just typically not quite as large (and goes by the sine of the seasonal tilt). The fact that this detail is commonly overlooked in the profession is itself a clue that FN might not have been aware of a southern excursion as a result of the longitude error, something that would tend to mitigate against the conclusion that he was impaired. Unfortunately, on July 2, 1937 Earth was tilted almost all the way up to about 23 degrees at that time, producing the maximal latitudinal effect. At 23 degrees, for example, the stars in the background move as the Earth orbits the sun not parallel to the spin of Earth but 23 degrees offset from that spin. Thus not only does the error manifest in longitude, it manifests as the sine of that angle. We will examine this relationship later.

One objection this author has heard is that the local dates wouldn’t have been used, and only GMT dates are relevant.

Here we find yet another area where even modern-day navigators can be tricked, and the confusion this has caused in Earhart research is unbelievable. And the international date line is notorious for doing this. But to explain this, we need to explain what made this flight different than 99% of the pacific flights that had occurred up to that time and most which occur today:

1.)   The Lae to Howland leg of the World Flight involved a transit from Lae to Howland all within one GMT day

2.)   The Lae to Howland leg of the World Flight involved a transit that occurred overnight, meaning that a local midnight was passed

3.)   The Lae to Howland leg of the World Flight involved a transit that crossed the international date line

4.)   The Late to Howland leg of the World Flight involved a transit that was west to east.

To explain how misleading all this can be, we start by imagining an aircraft on this flight somewhere between the point of local midnight and the international date line. When the plane left the airport west of the point of local midnight it was July 2, 1937. So, after a few hours of flight, the plane is east of local midnight and west of the international date line. Now, imagine you live on an imaginary island directly below the aircraft. And you decide on this early morning to get up, go outside with your sextant, and measure your location. When you open you almanac, to what page must you turn? Obviously, you must consult referents from July 3, 1937, because that is the date about which you are inquiring. What other date would you use? Why? If the answer is that our islander should revert to a GMT date, then reverting to 1 July, 1937, if it fits the data we’re about to show, cannot be discounted either. And notice, you are west of the international date line, so there is no need to revert back to 2 July, 1937. The correct date, for you, is July 3, 1937. And this is why this can be so confusing to navigators, for on first blush it would seem that all one needs to do is refer only to GMT dates but that is not the case. Local dates do matter and have a subtle impact. Therefore, during the period of time you are within the region confined by the local midnight and the international date line, using any date other than July 3, 1937 will result in invalid celestial fixes. And this is now obvious.

FN’s deliberate alignment of his takeoff time to a 00 GMT date of 2 July, 1937 for the entire trip is a smoking gun: This shows that he did in fact employ the July 2, 1937 error and it supports the 200 to 100 mile report analysis.

In the case of this flight, the period between local midnight and the international date line contained the error of referencing almanac data exactly one day in the past. Thus, FN was guiding AE too far south. What we mean by “in most cases” is that, because they are in the southern hemisphere in winter, most of the stars they can see will be in the southern hemisphere. This effect would become more pronounced after local midnight. Unless we know exactly which stars were shot we cannot know the exact latitudinal error, but a latitudinal error was introduced placing the aircraft to the south of where it should be (we can make estimates sufficient for our purposes here, but geodesic mathematics and actual identification of celestial bodies used will be required to collect data and compute at or below instrument tolerance). In other words, by not advancing his local time by one day FN guided the aircraft by assuming it was further east than it actually was (100 mile report) and directing it to the south of Howland island. The effect was catastrophic.

To be clear, what this evidence shows is that, first, here is what should have happened:

The date of July 2, 1937 at takeoff should have been advanced at local midnight to July 3, 1937. This occurred before reaching the international date line. Once the international date line was crossed this should revert back to 02 July, 1937.

What actually happened:

was that the date began as 02 July, 1937 but at local midnight the date was not advanced to 03 July, 1937 as it should have been. Upon crossing the international date line the date was neither advanced nor regressed, and the date remained at 02 July, 1937, which was by that time the correct date. The errors generated between local midnight and the international date line persisted as they were invalid, prior fixes taken during the night.

When the sun line was established the error in longitude was “cured”, but the latitude was not. But it is important to understand that when we say “cured” we really mean “cured” as far as we are concerned. There was no such “cure” for FN as he had no way to know which measurements were correct (unless he went back and found his errors). Thus, when they reached their “we must be on you but cannot see you” report they were then south, south west of Howland. At this point, and even at the 100 mile report, any navigator could have easily and rightly been confused. The navigator would be faced with an incongruity of data, in this case inexplicably ignored, until it failed him and Howland did not appear. But the situation is yet worse than this. Recall that by failing to advance his date to July 3 after local midnight, FN had incorrectly guided the plane far to the south of where it should be. His failure to notice this required course change after local midnight is an indication of an anomalous error, for it should have seemed a conspicuous event indeed. In any case, when he reached the 200 mile report he was likely basing this on a single LOP of the moon or other object. And it was incongruent with his celestial fixes previously. Thus he was faced with an impossible choice. Just as with a sun line, this would “cure” any error in longitude caused by using the wrong date, but it did not cure latitude. And because he had already changed latitude by the time he reached his putative “Howland”

he had effectively already decided, by the flight path taken, to discard any range of likely latitude values on that line that could have been derived from DR drift error. In other words, FN was left with multiple possible areas of uncertainty and, unless he could find his error, would have no choice but to search all of them, each one being on the same mean latitude (the one he was already committed to) but on multiple, distinct mean longitudes.

This constitutes “kludging” a latitude error margin from a celestial fix with a sun line; which is an unrelated construct. But the bias for trusting longitude over latitude was simple: the margin of error on longitude was far narrower than the margin of error on latitude. The conclusion is ineluctable, and the discovery of it is a testament to just how clever this navigator was. It was the right answer, but we have to assume a clever navigator if this occurred. Thus, the pertinent question now is, is there any way to discern the latitude on which they were flying? Yes, yes there is. Recall that by celestial fixes he would end up 59.14 nm short of the Howland longitude and believe that to be the Howland longitude. On the other hand, if he adopted the Howland sun line he would have to intercept it at the point that it intersects his latitude to the south. We can now see the significance of the 100 mile out report: this was no ordinary point, but a deliberate point of measure for FN who was about to pull a clever stunt. If the sun line longitude were correct, FN knew that he was 159.14 nm out from the Howland longitude. If the longitude measure of the celestial fix were correct, he knew he was 100 nm from the Howland longitude. Therefore, the first area of uncertainty to search would be at 59.14 nm west of the true Howland longitude. And because this was derived of a celestial observation, the tolerance would be about 10% of the measured value, which was 200-59.14 nm * 0.14 or about 140 miles * 0.14; yielding a margin of 14 miles (and because it is advanced, would require a 200 nm * 10%, or 20 nm addition). Therefore, he needed a 14 mile grid search at this point, with an additional “advanced” DR margin. But if the sun line longitude were the correct longitude, he would need to establish an area of uncertainty exactly 59.14 nm not west of the Howland longitude, but on what was the actual Howland longitude. If he performed iterative searches every 59.14 nm beyond that to the east, which we’ll momentarily explain, he would eventually reach a point at 2 * 59.14 nm east of the actual Howland longitude. A simple trigonometric relation yields the following approximate position for this area of uncertainty:

-4.68,-174.28 [provisional]

Which is about 15 miles due east of Gardner Island. We will be able to refine this value in what follows. In order to intercept a line parallel to the advanced, instantaneous sun line at Howland this is how far he would have travel east to reach it. Apparently, the erroneous celestial fixes the previous evening had directed the Electra far to the south of Howland and FN never realized it at the time. FN apparently believed he was flying to Howland. FN would have been wise to perform two grid searches, the first turning up nothing and adding about 28 miles to their fuel burn. They then could have proceeded east for about 59.14 nm miles and performed another grid search. He could continue this iteratively until he found by how many days he was off in the dating error, if for whatever reason (such as the inability to remember how many days off his calculation was the night before), he was not able to figure that out. At the final iteration, before completing it, their fuel would have exhausted. Of course, limited fuel would only provide the option of iterations in one direction, but in this case they could be done to the east. This shouldn’t have worried FN since all iterations to the west, if he were on the correct latitude, would have already been overflown. Thus, evidence of iterative searching is evidence of prior impairment. And the search itself had nothing to do with Gardner. They were looking for Howland. Fuel exhaustion occurred at approximately 9:45 that morning. After 8:45 a.m. at the distance they were flying, it is unlikely Itasca could have heard them reliably. This is because, between the Electra and the Itasca, the most rapid augmentation of distance was occurring at that time (the latitude they were flying was parallel to the Itasca’s latitude and away from the ship).

To understand why this is not a simple conjecture based on the two position reports of 200 and 100 miles out, we need to look at this from FN’s point of view; or stated more accurately, what we know today that he did not. As far as FN knew, he was already flying on the correct latitude to Howland. The only question in mind was, which longitude was it? If he chose to consider the possibility, and we have no way of knowing if he did, that the first area of uncertainty was wrong (the advanced, celestially fixed area of uncertainty), then he had no idea what his latitude was and he was hopelessly lost. He could only hope that his celestially fixed latitude was correct. Even if he tried to reconstruct a DR error margin for latitude on the sun line, he was hopelessly too far south or north (he didn’t know which) to do anything about it. And even reconstructing the DR estimate would depend on his memory of events during the celestial fixes; particularly, in recalling or making sense of the large southern excursion he had directed for the pilot hours earlier.

To further eliminate any possibility of conjecture or error, we can finally test our result against the southern deflection inhered in the transit by the tilt of Earth with respect to its orbit. We had previously stated that the local midnight occurred around 700 miles out of Howland, and this is where we expect the error was introduced. At this time, FN would have erroneously applied the date of 2 July, 1937 instead of 3 July, 1937. Letting the sine of the angle be given as 23.5 degrees since this was close to winter solstice, we get:

(700*sin((pi/2)*(23.5/90))) = 279.12 nm

Which is exactly what we postulated based on FN’s 100 mile report; that is, we postulated that FN would find himself at -4.68,-174.28 at the end of his grid searching (crudely estimated, this adds about 55 nm to the transit length vs. the correct path to Howland). In fact, we can now generate a more exact figure and compare it to the triangle just discussed:

48/60 , 24/60 => (0:80.40 + 3.9157) * 59.14 = (0.8040 + 3.9157) * 59.14 = 279.12 nm

We have the latitude AE and FN were so desperately needing, and it is decimal 3.9157 South.

Because it was winter solstice (virtually) the sun line 157-337 takes an angle from the meridian of 23 degrees. In the very early morning hours of July 5,1937 a radio message was received at Wailupe, HI at an advanced USN radio listening post; reportedly over a period of one hour, coded in poor Morse, broken and barely readable:

TWO EIGHT ONE NORTH HOWLAND CALL KHAQQ BEYOND NORTH DON’T HOLD WITH US MUCH LONGER ABOVE WATER SHUT OFF

Their distance from Howland island at the intercept as well as at a potential ditching was right at this position or very nearby; that is, 279.12 nm south of Howland. Unfortunately, the particulars of how this message was received are apparently lost to history, so we don’t know how this one message was spread out over one hour, where sentences begin and end or whether words and phrases are missing. Sadly, a few other messages such as this one were direction sourced to, not suprisingly, this same stretch of water just north of Gardner island. Was the attempt to code the phrase (as a broken transmission),

“… it is 281 nm north to Howland …” or

“ … we are 281 nm north of Howland”?

It had been reported that the Morse appeared to have been prepared before transmission, the same manner in which AE and FN were reported to have used Morse given their limited skill. Could they have believed they were north? We may never know and the issue of post-loss transmissions should be re-investigated in light of these findings. In particular, the United States Navy should be tasked to provide any and all available archival information regarding the “281” message.

Letting ψ be the sun line path length from Howland island to the intercept and θ be the “100 miles out” of 159.14 nm and φ be the distance from the putative “Howland” to the real Howland, we get;

ψ2 = φ2 + θ2.

ψ  = (((279.12)^(2)) + ((159.14)^(2)))^(1/2) = 321.3 nm and the length θ is given using the angle α between ψ and φ:

θ = ψ cosine (α).

With α = 23 degrees, we get 295 nm (vice 279.12 nm), well within the tolerance of the method and the planar coordinates used to approximate a small spherical region. It is important to take stock of what has just happened here. We have just unequivocally proven that the error hypothesized would place the Electra at these coordinates; that is,

decimal 3.9157 S, decimal 177.6098 W     [“we must be on you but cannot see you”]

And, for the reasons given, we can be almost certain now that this error in fact occurred.

The given coordinate represents the point of intercept; that is, the point where AE transmitted the famous message, “we must be on you but cannot see you”. At this place a small grid search over a 14 by 14 nm area, perhaps larger to account for DR error, was conducted with obviously negative result, and the crew then flew east in multiples of (to be explained) 59.14 nm to begin their second grid search.

We can check this value by performing the trigonometric calculation:

((((279.14)/(cos((pi/2)*(23/90))))^2)-((279.14)^2))^(1/2) = 118.4879 nm = 2 * 59.14 nm; that is, a multiple with x = 2. In other words, the marign of error in longitude east of the actual Howland longitude was 118 nm. To the west that margin is 59.14 + 100 nm, or 159.14 nm. Combined, that value is 118 + 159.14 = 277.14 nm, or about 279.12 nm. To visualize how this geometry was necessitated by what FN presumably knew and what he could not have known, we note that given two incongruent longitude means, the resulting error margin is 59.14 nm west and x*59.14 nm east of the actual Howland longitude (which for FN, was the Howland advanced sun line longitude). Where did x come from? If FN finds that neither the celestial nor the sun line longitude appears to be correct after performing searches in those areas (1 meridian west of the real Howland longitude and one on it), then the only possible solution is that a dating error was more than one day off. The problem for FN however, is that he cannot afford to fly in the other direction as the fuel is limited. He can only hope that his dating error is a multiple of one day, placing his target further and further east. What this irrefragably demonstrates is that FN realized he had made a dating error but could not remember, or could not resolve, exactly what the error was. This fact points uniquely to impairment and the only option remaining would be to search areas of “uncertainty” at successive intervals of 59.14 nm eastward. Upon the second iteration; that is, x = 2, the fuel would necessarily exhaust. Additionally, if he were not aware of the southern excursion because he did not appreciate the fact that a dating error would also incur a latitude error, he would have been supremely confident of his latitude, rejected his sun line longitude, and proceeded eastward.

What this shows is that it is highly improbable that the 200 and 100 mile error arose from any culprit other than the date error described, and that it almost certainly generated the flight paths described.

This flight path yields an area of uncertainty with x = 2 at:

decimal 3.9157 S, decimal 173.91 W                 

[centroid of fourth area of uncertainty and area of ditching]

Notice that when we speak of a “fourth” area of uncertainty, we mean it is x+2=4, because x is the number of areas of uncertainty east of the Howland longitude, and there are only 2 to the west of those. How do we know the value of “x”, and consequently, that the navigator was impaired? Fuel consumption. For to assume any value in a multiple of 59.14 nm away from the maximum probability of fuel burn grows less likely by that proportion (the available fuel permits us to see FN’s choices, which in turn demonstrate confusion over what dates were used). The time of ditching can be estimated by noting that this southern excursion added about 55 nm to the transit vice the nominal Howland route. Additionally, flying further east added another 59.14 + 118.5 nm. We can add 28 nm for each area of uncertainty, giving a total additional mileage since the “we must be on you but cannot see you” report at 7:42:

59.14 + 159.14 + 28 +28 = 233 nm

At a ground speed of 130 mph, this yields a flight time of:

1.797 hours. Adding at least about 15 minutes for search grids, this gives about 2.11 hours; that is, 7:42 + 2.11 => 9:49 a.m. if the second area of uncertainty was fully searched. If not, we can estimate a ditching time of around 9:30 to 9:45 a.m. This suggests that the Fuel Analyzer was working properly and the Electra was burning fuel on average at about:

59.14 + 159.14 + 28 + 28 + 55 = 288.64 nm

=> 2556 + 288.64 = 2844.64 nm full burn

=>  2844.64 / 1080 = 2.63 mpg

=> 1080 / 19:12 + 2:07 = 1080 / 21:19 = 1080 / 21.3166 = 50.66 gph

We could conjecture any number of theories as to what FN was thinking as he tried to rationalize the crazy situation in which he found himself. But another observation is that, though he had no choice but to accept his flown latitude as gospel, he could have also reasoned that was okay because the only contradictory measure he got was on longitude. After all, the latitude was based on a celestial fix, which should have been the most reliable figure. Either way, he was bound to the latitude, whatever it was, and even if he realized a dating error of some kind, he apparently did not take the latitude change into account.

What is fascinating about this discovery is that Long’s need to explain high fuel expenditures in route may actually have been due to the southern excursion after local midnight and could explain why they reached the vicinity of Gardner when they were “on you but cannot see you”. In other words, our initial suspicion that this was special pleading appears to be correct and the Fuel Analyzer probably worked. Had it not, it would have only failed after the point of no return anyway.

The following chart shows the inescapable geometry that the 200 to 100 mile error imposes::

the_Invalid_Navigation_002

Not drawn to scale; the angle between H and J is exaggerated for illustration

A – B = E – F = 59.14 nautical miles

Between A and C the correct local date was 03 July, 1937

All fixes circle “C” assumed a date between A and C of 02 July, 1937

A is local midnight

B is the invalid local midnight

C is the international date line

D is 100 miles from Howland’s longitude, correctly measured by a single object observation

E is 59.14 nautical miles west of Howland’s longitude

G is about 2*59.14 = 118 nautical miles east of Howland’s longitude

H is the flight path implied by an “uncorrected”, invalid celestial fix

I is the intended flight path

J is the actual flight path, inhered as a correction to H

K is 279.14 nautical miles south of Howland

A Calamitous Trail of Errors

Up to this point we’ve noted two good reasons why a navigator might employ more than one area of uncertainty in a search strategy. But given the unorthodox nature of such an approach, is there another, more compelling reason to suggest that a multiple area of uncertainty strategy would have been employed? To answer this, we summarize the first two reasons:

1.)  If FN were confident of his latitude, as his faulty celestial “fix” would have implied to him, then the only reason for turning up a negative search result would be because the longitude was wrong. And FN quite likely suspected a dating error, therefore, it is not unreasonable to expect that he would try different longitudes based on different dates that he might have used the night before.

2.)  Since FN had already flown out his latitude, he really had little else he could do since he didn’t have the fuel to search along a latitude and, furthermore, couldn’t search to the west due again to fuel limitations. Thus a progression eastward in increments of about 59.14 nm of iterative areas of uncertainty was the only choice he really had; other than giving up entirely.

But there is a third, more compelling reason why FN might choose to press eastward upon negative results in previous iterations of searches. If a date error can be recognized as a possible culprit, then so, too, can the fact be recognized that it more likely than not was either one day advanced or one day regressed. Therefore, from FN’s perspective, the initial intercept position they reached (when they transmitted “we must be on you but cannot see you”), represents the “left chiral” aspect of a dating error. In other words, it represents what happens if FN had failed to advance his date properly. On the other hand, an error falling into a “right chiral” class of errors manifests if he inadvertently regressed his date. A one day’s regression error implies an area of uncertainty 59.14 nm east of the known Howland longitude. Thus the axis of chirality in the errors entertained is the Howland longitude, also a potential area of uncertainty that would presumably be searched. By searching all three areas of uncertainty, from FN’s perspective, he has covered all possible error scenarios that involve a date shift of only one day. And it all hinges on his invalid assumption that he was actually flying on the, correct, true Howland latitude, which he was not, and which he did not realize because the subtlety of the error he enjoined was such that he was “tricked” by the latitudinal deflection that he could never have imagined would present. No one put a warning in the almanacs to tell navigators that if you make this one, obscure error, then you will also get an error in latitude that would not be obvious from all your navigational experience hitherto.

Thus, when AE completed the search at the third area of uncertainty east of the Howland longitude, it isn’t hard to imagine terror setting in. For at that point it would be clear that the odds of finding Howland had just dropped sharply. This third search would have completed just before the 8:44 a.m. transmission and is consistent with reports that the transmission sounded more stressed and labored than any before it. Now we know why. Moreover, it further amplifies the suspicion that the navigator had in fact been impaired the night before. For if FN was searching iteratively through left and right chiral error modes he was truly confused, even though we can see it was the only logical choice by the time they reached that point. He apparently had no idea what dates he had used.

What we see in this accident is a cascading of multiple errors that led to the loss. First, FN used the wrong date after local midnight by referencing dates for July 2, 1937. This was the first error. Such an error could be written off as a rare but possible mistake (FN had flown international date line flights many times). However, two more critical errors were made. The second was the direction of the aircraft to the south, which was an overt, easily recognizable change that the navigator apparently missed and which did not alert him to a mistake. Third, the taking of LOPs, by celestial bodies such as the moon (possibly) and later the sun indicated that a prior error had been made. The third error was that this new information failed to alert the navigator that something must be wrong with the previous measurements and that the incorrect date and course deviation were the cause. The second error could be written off as an even more unlikely but possible mistake. But the third error indicates something sentinel and salient: the failure to recognize the earlier errors at this point could be due only to a lack of memory of prior events as it was a blatant alarm telling the navigator that his prior measurements were in error. Had memory served, finding this error would have been trivial for a navigator of his ability. That he did not is clearly and convincingly a sign of a memory loss for the period of time from local midnight to the international date line. All three errors taken together then, are clearly and convincingly due to impairment of the navigator. And this is all predicated merely on taking the AE reports of position for what they are, with no special pleading or tea leave reading. Finally, the error of missing the declination trap would not likely have been due to impairment alone as this fact is not apparently common knowledge amongst navigator’s in the first place.

Conclusion

My conclusion is that the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces ordered the USCG to assist Earhart in this flight; that FN was a competent and able navigator; that AE was a high risk but competent and able pilot who had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross; that the Lockheed 10E was a well-designed aircraft for its intended use; that the aircraft in question functioned nominally; that this case does not involve malfeasance; and that this case does not involve any wartime activity or any hostile actions by a foreign government.

The cause of this accident was most likely due to

  1. Navigator’s failure to consult almanac referents for 03 July (local time) between approximately 700 nm west of the Howland longitude and the international date line. The navigator likely consulted almanac values for 02 July (local time) for the entire flight. It does not matter how they were consulted, either in his notes, before the flight, during flight or directly from an almanac.
  2. Navigator’s failure to notice the conspicuous but anomalous instruction to inhere a southern excursion into the flight plan.
  3. Navigator’s failure to recognize that a seasonal tilt of Earth, even if practicably assumed constant, combined with the orbital motion of Earth, and the error of using an incorrect date, will create a significant error in declination measure of stars.
  4. Navigator’s failure to notice the first two errors when lines of position taken later clearly exposed them.
  5. USCG failure to follow radio instructions and consequent failure to establish two-way communication. Inexplicably, these errors began only at about 5:30 a.m. Howland time and continued to loss. That is, USCG was following those very same instructions prior to that, a period of about 16 hours.

Disposition of crew

The Lockheed 10E mod per Earhart contained numerous fuel cells. Based on a careful examination of the debris field, the crew most likely survived the ditching and managed to act to slow or retard the taking on of water within the fuel cells. This was apparently sufficient to maintain a positive buoyancy for at least 16 hours. There is evidence of deck flooding in the fuselage and blood in the water. The crew probably lacked sufficient incentive to exit the aircraft. Additionally, flooding control may have required constant attention inside the aircraft. There is inconclusive evidence of the inhalation of nitrogen by both crew members, possibly done in an effort to avoid the effects of drowning. They probably survived less than 48 hours after ditching. In any case, both most likely expired prior to reaching the reef.

40a (11)

The dog and pony show shown to the public, released only after significant pressure was placed on TIGHAR to release information. It is on a cliff above the main debris field and appears to be a wing, engine and propeller lying flat on the surface. Notice the characteristic propeller bending often seen in water landings.

Appendix A

Radio logs

The first time listed is GMT and time elapsed in the flight (since the Electra took-off at exactly 00:00, GMT is the same as elapsed time) while the second

time listed is the local time at Lae.

00:00 10:00a.m. Take-off from Lae

05:00 3:00pm. Earhart to Lae: ?AT 10,000 FT. BUT REDUCING ALTITUDE BECAUSE OF BANKS OF CUMULUS CLOUD.”

07:00 5:00P.M. Earhart to Lae: ” AT 7,000 FT. AND MAKING 150 MPH.”

07:20 5:20P.M. Earhart to Lae: “…POSITION LATITUDE: 4 DEGREES 33.5′ SOUTH, LONGITUDE: 159 DEGREES 07′ EAST. Everything Okay”.

08:00 6:00P.M. Earhart to Lae: “ON COURSE FOR HOWLAND ISLAND AT 12,000 FT.”

Received by Harry Balfour 10:00 8:00P.M. Earhart overheard by Nauru radio “…

A SHIP IN SIGHT AHEAD…”

12:42 1:12A.M. Itasca to San Fransisco:” HAVE NOT HEARD EARHART SIGNALS UP TO THIS TIME BUT SEE NO CAUSE FOR CONCERN AS PLANE IS STILL 1000 MILES AWAY…”

13:45 2:15A.M. Itasca log :” NOTHING ON 3105.”

14:00 2:30A.M. Itasca log:” ITASCA TO EARHART ON PHONE 3105.”

14:15 2:45A.M. Itasca log:” HEARD EARHART PLANE ON 3105 BUT UNREADABLE THROUGH STATIC.” Leo Bellarts (RO) reported hearing Amelia’s low monotone saying:’ …CLOUDY AND OVERCAST…” others heard but could not make out words.

14:30 3:00A.M. Itasca log :” SENT WEATHER TO KHAQQ.”

14:45 3:15A.M. Itasca log::” NOTHING HEARD FROM EARHART.”

15:00 3:30A.M. Itasca log:” SENT WEATHER.KHAQQ FROM ITASCA: WHAT IS YOUR POSITION? WHEN DO YOU EXPECT TO REACH HOWLAND? ITASCA HAS HEARD YOUR PHONE ON KEY. ACKNOWLEDGE THIS MESSAGE ON NEXT SCHEDULE,”(Weather at Howland)

15:15 3:45A.M. Earhart : “ITASCA FROM EARHART. OVERCAST…WILL LISTEN ON HOUR AND HALF HOUR ON 3105.”

15:30 4:00A.M. Itasca log:” BROADCAST WEATHER ON PHONE 3105 …AND KEY 3105.” Also transmitted:” WHAT IS YOUR POSITION? WHEN DO YOU EXPECT TO ARRIVE HOWLAND? WE ARE RECEIVING YOUR SIGNALS PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE THIS MESSAGE ON YOUR NEXT SCHEDULE,”

15:45 4:15A.M. Itasca log:”EARHART UNHEARD ON 3105 THIS TIME,”

16:00 4:30A.M. Itasca log:” REPEATED PREVIOUS TRANSMISSION.”

16:23 4:53A.M. Itasca log:” SENT WEATHER/ CODE/ PHONE/ 3105 KCS.”

16:24 4:54P.M. Earhart:’ …PARTLY CLOUDY…” Itasca log:” Volume S-1″

16:25 4:55P.M. Itasca log:” Earhart broke in on phone-unreadable.”

16:30 5:00A.M. Itasca log:” Sent weather. ?What is your position etc..”

16:43 5:13A.M. Itasca log:” Earhart signals unheard on 3105.”

17:00 5:30A.M. Itasca log:” Sent weather. ?What is your position.'”

17:15 5:45A.M. Itasca log:” No hear during [scheduled time].”

17:30 6:00A.M. Itasca log:” Sent weather data.”

17:44 6:14A.M. Earhart:” [Want] BEARING ON 3105/ ON HOUR/ WILL WHISTLE IN MIC.”

17:45 6:15A.M. Earhart:” ABOUT TW0 HUNDRED MILES OUT. APPROXIMATELY. WHISTLING NOW.” Itasca log:” Volume S-3″ {note: Sunrise was recorded in log at 6:15 A.M.]

18:00 6:30A.M. Itasca log:”Sent weather and asked position.”

18:12 6:42A.M. Itasca log:” KHAQQ came on air with fairly clear signals calling Itasca.”

18:15 6:45A.M. Earhart:” PLEASE TAKE BEARING ON US AND REPORT IN HALF HOUR I WILL MAKE NOISE IN MICROPHONE- ABOUT 100 MILES OUT.” Itasca log:” Earhart signal strength 4 but on air so breifly bearings impossible.”

18:30 7:00A.M. Itasca log:” Sent weather, maintained contact on 500 kcs. For homing.'”

18:48 7:18A.M. Itasca log:” Cannot take bearing on 3105 very good/ please send on 500 or do you wish to take bearing on us/ go ahead please.” Itasca log:” No answer.”

19:00 7:30A.M. Itasca log:” Please acknowledge our signals on key please.” Itasca log:” unanswered.”

19:12 7:42A.M. Earhart:” KHAQQ CALLING ITASCA WE MUST BE ON YOU BUT CANNOT SEE YOU BUT GAS IS RUNNING LOW BEEN UNABLE TO REACH YOU BY RADIO WE ARE FLYING AT ALTITUDE 1000 FEET.” Itasca log:” Other log reads-Earhart says running out of gas only half hour left [verified by other witnesses]/ can’t hear us at all/ we hear her and are sending on 3105 and 500 same time constantly and listening

in for her frequently.” [ Note: Itasca had two logs in radio room,]

19:13 7:43A.M. Itasca log:” Received your message signal strength 5 ( sent AAA’s etc. on 500 and 3105). Go ahead.” [ Note that considering Amelia’s transmitter’s power of 50 watts, the strength of these signals ( strength 5 is the maximum possible) indicates that she must have been very close to Itasca at this point. According to the commanding officer, “It was also the time we expected her to arrive.”

19:17 7:47A.M. Itasca log:” Received your message signal strength 5.” Itasca log:” Sent AAA’s on 3105.”

19:19 7:49A.M. Itasca log:” Your message okay please acknowledge with phone on 3105.” Itasca log:” Keyed AAA’s.”

19:28 7:58A.M. Earhart:” WE ARE CIRCLING BUT CANNOT HEAR YOU GO AHEAD ON 7500 EITHER NOW OR ON THE SCHEDULE TIME ON HALF HOUR.” Itasca log:” Volume S-5.”

19:29 7:59A.M. Itasca log:” AAAAAAAAAAAA (on 7500). Go ahead on 3105.”

19:30 8:00A.M. Earhart:” KHAQQ CALLING ITASCA WE RECEIVED YOUR SIGNALS BUT UNABLE TO GET A MINIMUM PLEASE TAKE BEARING ON US AND ANSWER 3105 WITH VOICE.” [ AE sent long dashes on 3105 for five seconds or so. This was the only direct reply that Itasca received from KHAQQ. It was later beleived that she turned away at this point.]

19:35 8:05A.M. Itasca log:” Your signals received okay we are unable to take a bearing it is impractical to take a bearing on 3105 on your voice/ how do you get that?/ go ahead.”

19:36 8:06A.M. Itasca log:” Go ahead on 3105 or 500 kilocycles.” Itasca log:” Itasca sending on 7500 as her only acknowledgement was for signals on 7500.”

19:37 8:07A.M. Itasca log:” Go ahead.”

19:42 8:12 A.M. Itasca log:” Itasca to Earhart. ? Did you get transmission on 7500 kcs/ go ahead on 500 kcs so that we may take a bearing on you/ it is impossible to take a bearing on 3105 kilocycles/please acknowledge”.

19:43 8:13 A.M. Itasca log: “repeated above message on 7500.”

19:45 8:15 A.M. Itasca log: “Do you hear my signals on 7500 kcs or 3105 please acknowledge receipt on 3105/go ahead.”

Itasca log: “sent on 3105 and repeated on 7500.”

19:48 8:18 A.M. Itasca log: “Will you please acknowledge our signals on 7500 or 3105/go ahead with 3105.”

Itasca log: “no answer.”

20:03 8:33 A.M. Itasca log: “Will you please come in and answer on 3105/we are transmitting constantly on 7500 kcs and we do not hear you on 3105/please answer on 3105/go ahead.”

Itasca log: “this unanswered.”

20:04 8:34 A.M. Itasca log: “Answer on 3105 kcs with phone/how are signals coming in/go ahead.”

20:14 8:44 A.M. Earhart: “WE ARE ON THE LINE OF POSITION 157-337, WILL REPEAT THIS MESSAGE ON 6210 KCS. WAIT, LISTENING ON 6210 KCS. WE ARE RUNNING NORTH AND SOUTH.”

[Advancing the time to 1928 GMT to 2013 GMT produces a line of position at 333–‐153 degrees true. This means that FN’s 337-157 degrees true LOP was based on a sunrise fix]

Itasca log: ?On 3105-volume S-5.”

20:17 8:47 A.M. Itasca log: “We heard you okay on 3105 kcs. Please stay on 3105 do not hear you on 6210 maintain QSO on 3105.”

Itasca log: “This broadcast by voice on 3105 and by key on 7500. Nothing was heard on 3105 or 6210.”

This ends the radio log between the USS Itasca and Earhart.

Appendix B

Aircraft debris field Gallery

Images of human remains are not included but are present in the video. Generally described, the images appear to represent a male and a female lying directly beside each other to the right of the port after hatch and apparently in the after compartment. There appears in this area to have been considerable activity revolving around the fuel tanks. Some viewers believe that the presence of nitrogen bottles and some kind of breathing bag are present and accompany both sets of remains. The remains are mostly intact with at least one right hand and a corresponding thumb appearing to be dismembered. At the time of separation this hand would have been either tightening or loosening a gas cap on a fuel tank. There are signs of an effort to a) extract residual fuel from the tanks and b) influence the buoyancy of the fuel tanks and airframe. The center of gravity of the aircraft was forward of the center of buoyancy and would therefore result in a “tail-up” flotation scheme, consistent with the manner in which remains were discovered.

The images below might not be that dramatic if found off of Cape Cod. But in this case, no plane remotely resembling the age, type and description of the Lockheed 10E has ever crashed within hundreds of miles of Gardner Island. Thus, finding a debris field with any aircraft components at all is alarming in the Earhart search context. Finding such a field with components well correlated with the Electra constitutes cause for anyone aware of its historical import or who recognizes the presence of human remains requiring proper burial. When an artificial object has been in this kind of water for this long a confounding problem is the growth of coral around the wreckage. This has made the wreckage scene harder to identify for the layperson and it took this author some time to, at least on a gross level, distinguish between coral and artificial material. Having said that, with sufficient image resolution the presence of the Lockeheed 10E in these images is clear and convincing.

probable_After_Landing_Gear_And_Fuselage_And_Footwear_L10E_001

Close up of what appears to be the after landing gear and terminus of the fuselage, and which correlates with the L10E. Notice the transition of coral growth on the tire and the smooth surface underneath, which is indicative of an artificial material. The central wheel mechanics can be vaguely discerned through considerable coral growth and detritus. To the left of the tire can be seen what appears to be a very old fashion of hiking footwear positioned behind the tie-down line as well. recovered from Richard Gillespire, Executive Director of TIGHAR with no restriction on usage. Copied under Fair Use.

probable_After_Landing_Gear_And_Fuselage_L10E_001

Same section from a angle forward of previous; and appears to be the after landing gear and terminus of the fuselage, and which correlates with the L10E. Notice the transition of coral growth on the tire and the smooth surface underneath, which is indicative of an artificial material. The central wheel mechanics can be vaguely discerned through considerable coral growth and detritus. Note further the distinctive after fuselage taper. We note the appearance of footwear at the very end of the after fuselage. Paredoila would suggest that as we take the same pictures at different angles these “anomalies” should disappear. However, in this case, the “anomalies” only become clearer (see previous). This is true for both the tire and the footwear. Recovered from Richard Gillespire, Executive Director of TIGHAR with no restriction on usage. Copied under Fair Use.

 probable_Cockpit_Area_DF_Antenna_And_Hatch_Arms_L10E_001

This is believed to be the cockpit area filled with coral and soil. Notice the same pattern here in which coral has clearly grown on this object but where what appears to be a smooth, tubular shaped elemental object can be seen to the right. It has the distinctive geometry of the DF antenna that was mounted on top of the cockpit. Recovered from Richard Gillespire, Executive Director of TIGHAR with no restriction on usage. Copied under Fair Use.

probable_Cockpit_Top_Hatch_Assembly_With_Swing_Arms_L10E_002

This is the same “cockpit” area where we see what appear to be tubular shaped swing arms, also with metal or aluminum showing. Another piece correlates with the cockpit hatch or pilot’s seat on the 10E. Here, we can clearly see (but more clearly in other photos) the DF antenna and its elemental, tubular shape. Recovered from Richard Gillespire, Executive Director of TIGHAR with no restriction on usage. Copied under Fair Use.

probable_Cockpit_Top_Hatch_Assembly_With_Swing_Arms_L10E_001

This is another view of the same “cockpit” area where we see what appear to be tubular shaped swing arms, also with metal or aluminum showing. This structure correlates with the cockpit hatch on the 10E. Recovered from Richard Gillespire, Executive Director of TIGHAR with no restriction on usage. Copied under Fair Use.

probable_Direction_Finding_Loop_Antenna_L10E_002

Here we see a distinctive, artificial strucutre. It is clearly an artificial object also displaying metallic properties. Recovered from Richard Gillespire, Executive Director of TIGHAR with no restriction on usage. Copied under Fair Use.

probable_Direction_Finding_Loop_Antenna_L10E_001

The same object from another angle. Notice the smooth, metallic-looking, cylindrically shaped object to the right. This also appears to be artificial and could be the fuselage section just aft of the cockpit. Recovered from Richard Gillespire, Executive Director of TIGHAR with no restriction on usage. Copied under Fair Use.

probable_VNotch_Of_High_Frequency_Antenna_Wire_Insulation_Disintegrated_L10E_001

What appears at first blush to be a rope. Laying over that in a very thin layer is soil and possibly coral material. This is the tie-down rope for the airplane, which has a characteristic grommet on one end. Recovered from Richard Gillespire, Executive Director of TIGHAR with no restriction on usage. Copied under Fair Use.

probable_VNotch_Of_High_Frequency_Antenna_Wire_Insulation_Disintegrated_L10E_002

This is another close-up of the tie-down line used to secure the aircraft to the ground. Recovered from Richard Gillespire, Executive Director of TIGHAR with no restriction on usage. Copied under Fair Use.

probable_Port_After_Hatch_Inverted_L10E_001

We again see what appears to be a metallic surface covered in coral. The smooth areas appear to be steel or aluminum. At the top edge we see a short section of exposed metal with a groove such as that found where gaskets are employed. This correlates with the after cargo hatch door and it is inverted and driven into the soil. Crossing in front is the tie-down line. Human remains can be discerned just to the right of this picture frame. The proximity of both sets of remains, and other factors, gives the appearance of some activity involving the gas tanks and this port hatch shown.

Appendix C

A fast introduction to celestial navigation

 ae_003

Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.

The soul that knows it not, knows no release from little things. Knows not the livid loneliness of fear, Nor mountain heights whose bitter joy can bear the sound of wings. How can life grant us loan of living; compensate for dull gray ugliness and pregnant hate Unless we dare the soul’s dominion. Each time we make a choice, we pay. With courage to behold the restless day, And count it fair.

~ Amelia Earhart 1927

The End … and The Beginning of Amelia’s Wonderful Story

Disclaimer: The pictures and information provided are of limited extent, are not expected to adversely affect commerce in their regard and are of immense historic and academic import; thereby retaining considerable public value and justifying a plea to Fair Use.

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119 comments
  1. H. Toburen said:

    The headwinds would have pushed her north, not south. They would not have increased her fuel consumption.

    The presence of the storm 50 miles northwest of Howland Island explains why she was at 1,000′. Nothing else does. If she had been a little south, she could have climbed to a higher altitude and perhaps seen Howland.

    She had lots of fuel. Over 1100 gallons. And she was a master at fuel management. Not so good with the radio and rdf, perhaps. But there was no confusion. Everybody heard her transmitting exactly when she said she would. And she was right on schedule and line all the way.

    Gardner Island is not on the 157-337 line of position from Howland. Not even close.

    Her backup plan was to turn around and retreat to the Gilbert Islands. She never mentioned Gardner Island. The error in rdf was way too great to pinpoint her at Gardner Island. That’s wishful thinking.

    Besides, search planes flew over and saw no plane or people. No landing gear sticking up. There could not have been a silver plane there in 1940.

  2. All,
    In the interest of constructive conversation on a controversial topic, I have decided to take the unusual step of validating posts for basic intellectual honesty before approving them.

    Lloyd informed me when he submitted his article that considerable resistance to the notion that Frederick Noonan might have been impaired might be encountered and that some posters might attempt to distort what the article is claiming for their own agendas. Within hours of posting the article we received a comment that, in my judgment, was just such a distortion. In it the claim was made that,

    “…whenever you cross the dateline heading EAST you set the date BACK ONE DAY, YOU DO NOT ADVANCE it one day!”

    And for that reason, the entire argument fails. However, this is clearly not what the article claims. It is my understanding that this poster presents himself as a “professional navigator” who is in fact an attorney in socal with a keen interest in the Mellon-Gillespie legal mess. Either the poster doesn’t understand (unlikely based on a complete reading of the post) what the article is saying or is attempting to distort its content. Again, in the interest of constructive progress on the subject, I’ve asked Lloyd not to reply to this post.

    I invite comments of any view or opinion that do not exhibit obvious signs of intellectual dishonesty and have decided not to post replies that appear to be deliberate attempts to distort what is being claimed. I am committed to fairness and will post any comment of any stripe or opinion as long as it does not involve obvious attempts to deliberately distort the comments of other posters, their articles and the related facts.

    – kk

  3. Hello again,

    I’ve received a response from the aforementioned poster and I would like to say in their defense that they stridently deny any intellectual dishonesty. Therefore, I am going to look into the matters presented but it will take some time and it is very late where I am. I am committed to providing a fair and balanced forum for these two parties and anyone else to communicate on the Earhart saga. I have suggested that Lloyd make changes to his article to clarify his position, so the reader should review the article for changes. I believe what we are seeing is a miscommunication issue and that we can create a constructive conversation with a little third party help, I hope 😉 Look for a follow-up post from me and some of Mr. LaPook’s (the poster’s) comments shortly. Thanks to everyone for their patience and understanding.

    – kk

  4. All,

    If Lloyd doesn’t mind I’m going to summarize his theory in a sentence or two and probably get it wrong :-). I think Lloyd’s basic argument is that there is evidence (which he cites) that the navigator used the wrong date between local midnight and the idl to obtain celestial fixes. He then goes on to show that this would create a pattern that would lead to the flight path he described. He also argued that this particular pattern seems to suggest a navigator who was impaired during the period between the local midnight and idl passing, but who was unimpaired outside that space.

    I’ve reviewed the links and the previous versions of this article. I could not find any reference in which Lloyd stated that FN might have advanced the date to July 3, 1937 at the international date line. In fact, the graphic he included shows that this is not what was being argued. That graphic has not changed. Also, Lloyd did in fact mention the Liz Smith theory which does in fact make that claim, and he clearly distinguished his own conclusion from it. But this is immaterial to the questions before … I think. The real debate here is:

    1.) Could FN have applied the wrong date, whether it was a failure to advance to 03 July, 1937 local time or a deliberate regression to 1 July, 1937 GMT when FN passed local midnight, at which point he would have continued with that assumption until he reached the idl? In other words, whether it was a local date error or a GMT date error, could this have happened? Mr. LaPook might be able to share with us some knowledge of what would be required to make these errors. In particular, does the local date have any bearing on the observations and if not, then is it possible for a navigator to use the wrong GMT day of 1 July, 1937 in the interval A to C (as shown in the graph).

    2.) If he did in fact employ the wrong date, would it have caused this “southern excursion” Lloyd is talking about? I think Lloyd made it clear that he agrees that seasonal tilt of Earth would not cause this, but he is instead saying that the geometry of Earth in a tilted orientation would cause FN to think he was further north than he actually was.

    Also, just to clarify, I don’t think Lloyd is claiming that Mr. Noonan was intoxicated, only that he was impaired. I had recommended that this aspect be left out as it is a distraction, but it is part of Lloyd’s basic premise. So there it is.

    Mr. LaPook and/or Lloyd or anyone else is free to address those points (or any others) but I think this is really the key focus of the article. I hope this helps and we can all learn or offer something.

    – kk

  5. Lloyd M said:

    Gary,

    In all your posts before (we’ve discussed this a lot already, or tried to) you seem to pull up references to tomes of material that, when I go and check the references, do nothing to address the topic. I’ve looked at your links here and so have others. We can’t find anything in those links that begins to answer what happens when a navigator uses an invalid date; particularly as regards latitude. I realize you are “prepping” for your reply, so maybe there is a purpose, but for now I don’t see anything relevant there.

    Second, referencing your own website is never a credible approach. At least for most, it’s not convincing. I think it would be much better if you would just address the questions Kir posed and answer them directly. If there is something we “need to learn” to “understand” you answer, then, by all means, just explain it. Graphics wouldn’t hurt. In particular, for the rest of us, it would be a lot more constructive if you could show us why a longitude error of 59 nm isn’t going to also create a corresponding error in latitude when the Earth is tilted 23 degrees off its orbital plane. It is pretty easy to see that if using a date in the past the intersection of two or more LOPs will lie northeast of where it should be, giving the navigator the impression he or she is north (and east) of where they really are. Good luck.

    Lloyd

    • LLoyd, I have referred you to the government website and recommended that you download The American Practical Navigator, chapters 18 and 19 which explain that you have to use GMT and date for entering the Nautical Almanac, not local time or local date, and also shows you how to extract the positions of the stars from the Nautical Almanac. If you read those chapters you will see that the declinations of STARS to not change from day to day so that latitudes derived from observations of stars do not depend on the date, either local or Greenwich. That is where you go wrong. Using the wrong GREENWICH date for a star observation will cause a 59.1 minute error in longitude ( 59.1 NM at the equator, less at greater latitudes) but will have absolutely no effect on latitude. The inclination of the earth’s orbit has nothing to do with it. Over extremely long time periods the wobble of the earth’s axis, called precession, will change the declinations of the stars since they are referenced to the earth’s equator but this is 14,000 year long cycle so no appreciable change in your lifetime..Again, LLoyd, please read those chapters.

      http://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal;jsessionid=WnyNRmMCvW1qt9QytQHxXrHZm5NBs0L2zFT5hpJnJh02hn2QWzV1!-645017131!NONE?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=msi_portal_page_62&pubCode=0002

      I also invited you to read the excerpts of official navigation manuals published by the government that I made available on my website, I didn’t write those manuals, what is wrong with that?

      https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/
      gl

    • Lloyd, as I mentioned in our prior conversations, the inclination of the earth’s axis to the plane of the ecliptic (the plane of our orbit around the sun) has nothing to do with the determination of latitude with celestial navigation. I also said that, based on the terminology that you were using, that it appeared that you were reading astronomy books instead of navigation books. It just occurred to me that that is what is causing your misunderstanding. There IS a system of celestial coordinates used by ASTRONOMERS that is based on the ecliptic, called, not surprisingly, the ecliptic system. See:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecliptic_coordinate_system

      However that is NOT the system of coordinates used for navigation which uses, exclusively, the equatorial system, see:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equatorial_coordinate_system .

      The coordinates used to designate the positions of celestial bodies in the Nautical Almanac, the coordinates utilized by navigators, are in the equatorial system.

      See also:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celestial_coordinate_system

      Your misunderstanding of the basic way that the Nautical Almanac is organized and used might be what is causing you to think that an error in time or of date of a stellar observation would cause an error in latitude. This basic misunderstanding may also explain why you never seemed to understand my explanation in spite of the 30 or so messages I sent you.

      gl

      • Lloyd M said:

        Gary,

        You wrote:

        “Lloyd, as I mentioned in our prior conversations, the inclination of the earth’s axis to the plane of the ecliptic (the plane of our orbit around the sun) has nothing to do with the determination of latitude with celestial navigation.“

        So, I’m assuming you’ve conceded the first point, so now on to the second. Your comment above is correct if we assume the navigator hasn’t made some obscure mistake, like using the wrong date. I agree, normally it would not affect latitude. But what FN did was not normal. As for the star list you’re talking about, it’s the same one the Waitt Institute came up with. We could both be wrong, but I doubt it. But that is a tangent at this point.

        Let me try this with words first. If we need to, I’ll add a graphic to the article. The Earth orbits the sun counterclockwise (looking down on the north pole). Thus, using data from one day in the past is analogous to rotating the stars clockwise by about 1 degree. If that rotation takes place against a 23 degree tilted surface; guess what? There is a change in latitude that is the sine of about 1 degree. It’s just trig.

        The rest of your post just isn’t on topic at all. The remaining question at hand is does the Earth have a seasonal tilt or not? Is trigonometry a valid tool? I think the answer to both is yes.

        Lloyd

        • Please post your promised diagram and please tell me how I can post one too.

          gl

    • I can easily show why a longitude error doesn’t produce a latitude error if I could walk you through how an LOP is produced and post a diagram but i don’t see how one posts diagrams on this blog.

      gl

  6. All,

    I’ve decided to compile a daily hate-mail (we’ll see how long it goes) for this article, which is bringing out the weirdest responses we’ve ever seen. And yep, as Lloyd warned me, it’s all from TIGHAR. They really ARE like a cult! The first gem comes from a very special one who wrote:

    “…the avalanche of factual errors [referring to this article] in the ramblings of characters like Mr. Manning”.

    Yep, this factually infallible writer called him “Manning”. Of course, “the very special one” went back and changed it to “Manley” but it was hilarious while it lasted.
    The lack of any intellectual ground to stand on is evident as well since any comment that is not a straw man is just one devoid of any content at all. Case in point was Calvin Klein, we’ll call him, another TIGHARITE, who had the acumen to proclaim:

    “where did you get your navigation information from?”

    Wow, that’s a true contribution to the conversation. What a f&*king genius.

    These guys have a passion for straw-men, too. More like an obsession unlike any you’ve ever seen in your life. “The very special one” mentioned something about an article here claiming “advanced life” on Mars. What? This guy is creative.

    … drumroll please, another TIGHARITE, stated,

    “I felt no wrath” (toward the author) butttt …

    ” I liked the picture [of the teenage Amelia Earhart – yes weird]; I was distracted by the lack of objective facts / links or footnotes to sources to support the opinions, … I did enjoy the rather ironic reference to Alice in Wonderland in the preamble…”

    Sounds like some wrath to me. Methinks someone sounds awngwee. Keep it coming. BTW, what “references” do you need? That planes fly? That the Earth is mostly a sphere? I couldn’t find anything in that article that required any more references than those supplied inline, and there were several of those. But google IS your friend.

    We got an email threatening all manner of drastic action if we didn’t shut up, not just for Lloyd, but for the entire website, which we found pretty clinical. These people sound like child beaters.

    This is only a fraction of what Lloyd showed me now and before we published this. This has been going on a long time. I’m showing the reader this because I will agree with Lloyd that yes, it is clear that a state of pretty strong partiality exists in the Earhart story and this makes it clear.

    – kk

  7. Lloyd M said:

    Gary,
    I’m going to reply over here because the indents are going to make this harder and harder to read.

    You wrote:
    “LLoyd, I have referred you to the government website and recommended that you download The American Practical Navigator, chapters 18 and 19 which explain that you have to use GMT and date for entering the Nautical Almanac, not local time or local date, and also shows you how to extract the positions of the stars from the Nautical Almanac. “

    None of this has anything to do with the article I wrote. I have read those documents and yes, they do show that. As I’ve already stated, whether it requires GMT time or local, doesn’t matter. The issue is whether or not FN could have generated a date error, by WHATEVER means or technique applicable. You’re arguing over the way the error was made where the crux of my argument is simply that the error was made. So, pick GMT dates if it makes you feel better. Doesn’t change the outcome. In your scheme FN chose 1 July, 1937 and got that error. But this has already been stated three times now and you are not acknowledging it.

    “If you read those chapters you will see that the declinations of STARS to not change from day to day so that latitudes derived from observations of stars do not depend on the date, either local or Greenwich.”
    Again, irrelevant and not what Kir brought out in the summary. This is the SECOND straw man you’ve made in this one post. I am not claiming this.

    “That is where you go wrong.”

    So, no, I have not gone wrong.

    “Using the wrong GREENWICH date for a star observation will cause a 59.1 minute error in longitude ( 59.1 NM at the equator, less at greater latitudes) …”

    BINGO! Then you agree with my point and have just made my case. As I said, FN made a date error generating a 59.12 nm error. The particular steps by which he made that error don’t matter if the outcome is the same.

    You wrote that:
    “… but will have absolutely no effect on latitude.” and “The inclination of the earth’s orbit has nothing to do with it. “

    I disagree. It’s a simple problem of geometry. If you are “displaced” by 59.12 nm east then you will also be “displaced” by the sine of 23 degrees to the north. If you can’t see that I’ll have to make a diagram and show you. I don’t know how else to explain a right triangle (as an approximation) to you. Remember, the spin of the Earth, is at 23 degrees to the orbital plane.

    “Over extremely long time periods the wobble of the earth’s axis, called precession, will change the declinations of the stars since they are referenced to the earth’s equator but this is 14,000 year long cycle so no appreciable change in your lifetime..”

    This is the THIRD straw man you’ve thrown out. I never said that. And we’re not discussing precession, so its irrelevant.

    “Again, LLoyd, please read those chapters.

    I also invited you to read the excerpts of official navigation manuals published by the government that I made available on my website, I didn’t write those manuals, what is wrong with that?”

    Well, I suppose nothing is wrong with the docs themselves, but it would be better to reference their links directly, imo. It was just a suggestion. Anyway, I HAVE read those and they have absolutely NO BEARING on what I’m talking about. See my comments above.

    Lloyd

    • I couldn’t provide links to the manuals themselves because they don’t exist, those excerpts are pages I scanned in years ago. Those manuals are not available anywhere other than on my bookshelf. I don’t want to write a long exposition teaching you celestial navigation since the explanations and diagrams are available in The American Practical Navigator. Also, since I did not write that manual, the U.S. Navy did, you can’t claim that I am distorting the truth as you will do to any explanation that i write. I invite everyone that is truly interested to read the manuals, that I did not write, to evaluate Mr. Manley’s theory.

      gl

  8. Bill said:

    Latest entry on the Mellon case docket is that Gillespie must file a response by July 22, 2013. His lawyers had filed a motion for extension of time.

    They must be working on a response because Ric wrote a long winded dissertation on the forum today about how completely surprised he was about the suit and that all he can see is coral in the video and he just cannot understand why anyone would sue him. What a croc.

    The loyal forum members are all about to have a stroke about Lloyd Manley’s article. They are offended that someone would dare critique their leader so sharply. A poster that goes by the name of Neville writes that it really is not worth his time to read such as it had no objective facts and he has no further interest.

    Obviously, posters like Neville say what they think Gillespie wants to hear. Does not comments like that remind you of the gang of thugs that surrounded Adolf Hitler? Der Fuhrer hat immer Recht.

    I have read the Manley article and it appears to have some merit. Will post a comment on it later.

    Years ago I flew with an aviator that drank excessively, we all drank that at time, he overdid it and was very much impaired to the point that he could not perform. He could not intelligently read a map and navigate much less adjust artillery fire. We propped him up and would not let him do harm because it was war time and we all just wanted to get out of the Que Son alive. The impaired issue could very well be a valid component of the screwed up flight.

    • Lloyd M said:

      Bill,

      Thanks for the case update. I commend you for keeping an open mind and I will try to do the same.

      Lloyd

  9. In order to respond correctly I want to make sure that we are not talking past each other. You said:

    “To justify this claim about a dating error, we need to return to the navigational process to the concept of a local midnight, which occurred about 5 hours before the “200 mile” report, about 5 hours flight time before the international date line. During this time, FN did not advance his date as he must in order for the almanac entries to make sense. In other words, FN did not forget to set his date back to July 2 after crossing the international date line, he forgot to set his date to July 3 at local midnight. And FN also failed to notice the obvious southern deviation in course heading he subsequently ordered for the pilot based on these fixes.”

    —————————————————————

    1. So your position is that he continuously used July 2, 1937 for his celestial calculations all the way from Lae to the vicinity of Howland, right?

    2, That is was an error to not change his date to July 3, 1937 after passing the point of local midnight, right?

    3, That is was proper to use July 2, 1937 prior to the plane passing the point of local midnight, right?

    4, That is was proper to use July 2, 1937 after passing the date line and in the vicinity of Howland, right?

    5. You believe that the plane passed the point of local midnight approximately 12 hours and 45 minutes after takeoff as this is 5 hours prior to the “200 mile” report, right?

    6. According to your theory, if Noonan took at observation at 14 hours after takeoff he would be in the portion of the flight between local midnight and the date line so should have used July 3,1937 for entering the almanac for his calculations, right?

    7. Assuming that you are correct that he should use the date of July 3, 1937 for entering the almanac for an observation 14 hours after takeoff, what time of day should he also use for extracting data from the July 3, 1937 page of the almanac for the observation taken 14 hours after takeoff?.

    gl

  10. 8. By failing to use the date of July 3, 1937 for all observations of the stars during the flight between the point of local midnight and the date line, that the fixes Noonan computed from those observations placed the plane approximately 59 NM further west than the actual position of the plane, right?

    9. By failing to use the date of July 3, 1937 for all observations of the stars during the flight between the point of local midnight and the date line, that the fixes Noonan computed from those observations placed the plane north of the actual position of the plane, right?

    10, You stated that Venus was also available for observation during the flight between the point of local midnight and the date line, right?

    11. If Noonan took an observation of Venus during the flight between the point of local midnight and the date line and failed to use the date of July 3, 1937 for his computations, would a fix derived from that observation also have placed the plane approximately 59 NM further west than the actual position of the plane?

    12. If Noonan took an observation of Venus during the flight between the point of local midnight and the date line and failed to use the date of July 3, 1937 for his computations, would a fix derived from that observation also have placed the plane north of the actual position of the plane?

    So there are no misunderstandings, please answer these twelve questions first with a “yes” or a “no” and then add any additional comments you may think necessary to make your answers complete.

    gl

  11. Correction. In questions 8 and 11 replace the word “west” with the word “east.”

    gl

  12. HB said:

    Forgive me for asking a naive, not very technical question, but in the discussion of the fact that the “200milles out” message was followed half an hour later by a “100 miles out” message, a simple possibility is ignored, it seems to me. Isn’t it possible that Earhart was not interested in reporting an accurate distance, she was simply rounding off to nice, very round numbers? Perhaps when she said “200 miles out” she really thought she was, say, 180 miles out, and half and hour later at 120 mph true groundspeed she thought she was 60 miles closer or 120 miles out, which she chose to round off in her transmission as “100 miles out”.

    • HB said:

      BTW, in the transript of the radio messages, Lloyd quotes AE as aging “approximately” and “about” when referring to those distances. It seems unlikely that she would have happened to be EXACTLY 200 miles out when it was time for one of her scheduled radio transmissions, so again, I suspect she was just giving nice big fat round numbers.

      • HB said:

        Also, consider that if the Electra was making what an offset approach to Howland, she would have a good sense of how many miles it was till she had to make her turn onto the 157-337 line, but not such a good sense of how many miles there were left to fly after making the turn. Hence, the ‘about 200 miles out, approximately’ followed in half an hour by ‘about 100 miles out’.

        Another thing I noticed just as I was typing this: an hour after the “about 100 miles out” transmission is the “We must be on you” message from AE; THAT would indicate a true groundspeed of 100 mph if taken literally along with her “100 miles out” message, and that isn’t a credible true groundspeed is it? If not, then perhaps we should not take AE’s distance estimates too literally.

        Any real navigators wish to enlighten me and the other non-navigators reading this thread?…

    • To HB re “100 mile” report.

      Many people have gotten this wrong. I have included links to the Itasca’s radio logs of those two transmissions, read it carefully. Note the difference in wording between the 200 mile report and the “100 mile” report, different wording means the two reports are saying different things. The two hundred out report says “will whistle in mic” at 0614 then, one minute latter at 0615 “whistling NW [now].” The one hundred mile out messages says “I will make noise in mic about 100 miles out” at 0646 but no subsequent mention of whistling now or making noise now. Remember your fifth grade English grammar lesson, the construction of “will” followed by a verb means an action to be done in the future, not now, it is the “future tense.” The 0615 message says, that at some point in the future she will whistle and one minute LATER she follows through on her promise and she whistles. The first report was made about 200 miles out and the second transmission was made sometime prior to the 100 mile out point and said that when they get to the 100 mile out point that she would then make noise, not that they were at the 100 mile out point at the time of that transmission. She never followed through on the promised 100 mile out transmission most likely because they had turned off the course direct to Howland to do the interception of the LOP northwest of that island.

      tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Logs/ItascaRadioLog1.pdf

      tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Logs/ItascaRadioLog2.pdf

      gl
      Reply ↓

  13. HB said:

    Another simple minded question: I believe that Fred navigated many Pan Am flights that crossed the date line. From this experience would Fred have learned to avoid the error Lloyd thinks he made on the last flight, or was there something different about the Pan Am flights compared to the Earhart flight, so that Fred’s prior experience was not relevant to the Earhart flight?

  14. Jay said:

    Jay said:
    16 July 2013
    1:18 pm
    Your comment is awaiting moderation..

    kir,

    You going to let it out of moderation or is free speech not allowed here?

  15. To HB re Noonan crossing the date line.

    No there was nothing different of more difficult for Noonan’s navigation crossing the date line, it was completely routine, just like all the Pan Am flights so no reason for him to make the error that Manley claims.

    gl

    • HB said:

      If Pan Am navigators made dateline errors on those transpacific flights, would that have caused a noticeable error, e.g., would the error caused flights to be sufficiently far off course that they would have recognized that they had done something wrong, found the problem, and thus had it in their heads to not make such an error? Or, due to the nature of those particular flights, did dateline errors cause inconsequential navigation errors?

      • Emma Johnson said:

        I also think that the commercial flights were aiming for bigger targets, Howland is tiny comparatively. When Fred Noonan went to Hawaii on the first attempt he utilised DF as well as celestial, and even then he apparently got one star-fix wrong, so as I see it, if he got that fix wrong with Mantz and Manning in attendance, how many howlers are out there we never heard of? Could just be he was always messing stuff up, but, usually he had a large target to aim for.

        I think that his using DF to find Hawaii is telling and could be indicative of his Celestial abilities NOT being good enough to find Howland. That being the case, if the DF was solely in the remit of the pilot, the loss is hers, but if not, then I agree with Manley, a chauvinistic attitude has been gunning for Earhart since the loss, of course she was at fault, she was just a woman after all.

        I think you have a point that the rest of the crew may have been able to keep Noonan straight, but after weeks of being only under the supervision of a mere woman, who knows what was going on? Although someone did report that he was ‘scared’ of Earhart, I’d like to know why.

        I think his Pan-Am career was a different kettle-of-fish, he had a strict schedule and rest-time, he knew when he had to perform, he would also have had stand down time, one would presume. One the World Flight though, day-to-day did he know what he would be up to? An alcoholic may be able to keep off the bottle for a day or two – maybe – but a month? I said elsewhere that maybe his body-clock – and Earhart’s – were shot-to-pieces, that added to reports of illness, who knows how impaired both were on the final flight? Look at Noonan’s lay-off waiting for a time signal for chronometer setting, a few days sitting around expecting to fly as soon as conditions and environment is right, each time I read about the topic I realise how ‘amateur’, by today’s standards, the attempt was…in Last Flight Earhart does say that the ‘Flying Laboratory’ was about as much testing the crew as anything else.

        I think all theories are safe though, the plane will never be found and so no one can be proved wrong.

    • Bill said:

      Gary,
      Unless he was truly inhibited. It appears that the Manley theory is predicated on Fred not being fully functional. I can relate to that. As an aviator I have been involved in some heavy drinking sessions as most aviators of my generation and war did. Have you ever participated in the drinking game of carrier landings? That was a favorite of the Marines when they were calling out the Army pilots

      On the Pan Am job Fred was not alone. He had the captain and his contemporaries watching him so he probably was on good behavior. In the job with Earhart, he was alone and not really supervised. You would think that he would be motivated, but people who drink excessively, it has been written, lose the use of their frontal lobe. Such was the case of Capt Benteen and Major Reno at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

      Just as a test, Gary, some night this weekend, drink a whole bottle of Mateus wine then chase it with Cutty Sark Scotch Whiskey on the rocks until about 2am, smoke a pack of Lucky Strike. Go to bed and get up before dawn and go to the airport and preflight your plane, take off and using you sextant, shoot some fixes. Take video then write and tell us if being inhibited with all that antifreeze in your system affected your performance.

      • Sure but there are FARs against flying under the influence or within 8 hours of drinking anything, so I can’t take you up on your challenge. But, as to Noonan, all the Lae witnesses stated that he was NOT out drinking the night before, (Balfour said he was in the radio station checking his chronometer at 10 p.m. and then he went to bed.) The video shows him very steady as he mounted the wing of the plane in the morning. Even if he had a drinking problem like many others, most drunks manage to show up sober for work Monday morning so they don’t lose their jobs. Noonan had more to lose, his life!

        gl

  16. Mr. Manley is correct that using the wrong date when doing the computations of a star observation will cause an error in longitude of 59 minutes of longitude, about 59 NM (68 statute miles) depending on your latitude, so would have been noticed.

    gl

    • Emma Johnson said:

      Would such an error be noticed?

      Would an impaired navigator having already made the error be guaranteed to spot the error? We can’t know, whether Fred was sober or not at Lae, Earhart did mention he was getting drink from somewhere during the World Flight, it was a long flight, could he possibly have been drinking on route? Could answer why early reports where in a navigators ‘knots’ and latter ones not. Good alcoholics can cover it quite well, ever worked with them? I have, if it was so easy to spot, then we wouldn’t need all the various sobriety tests and alcohol reading apparatus, would we? The fact that there are such restrictions on alcohol with flight crew is indicative that there is a problem within the field, you don’t legislate for something that doesn’t happen.

      Could any possible impairment have been caused by illness, or totally messed up circadian rhythms? OK, so Noonan had crossed the Pacific a few times, but how many times had his body-clock been reset as he traveled around the globe? Maybe a combination of factors caused any possible error, but I can’t see how we can rule one out, with no doubt at all we know that the plane got nowhere in visual of Howland, and all the eyes and ears in the area never saw or heard the plane, if they were, say, 59NM short or beyond Howland wouldn’t that explain the lack of sightings? Especially if Noonan had used offset.

      I think Manley has hit upon something I have been suspicious of for some time, sexism, I have had a feeling that in the al-male world of 1937, save for a few trailblazing aviatrixes, that the menfolk still thought women inferior and silly little girls, even today the military struggle to accommodate the ladies, maybe the Itasca crew had an issue with being ordered about by a President over some stupid woman’s fixation, who knows.

      Manley also gets the USCG right, imo, they had a schedule, they did not stick to it, and towards the end they were transmitting with a more powerful transmitter and doubtless blocking out any TX from Earhart, maybe not surprising much was not heard from her, I think in part they done it for good reasons, like giving her a bearing, but feel pretty sure that they panicked towards the end, when they realised the faeces will hit the fan because they lost the world’s most famous aviatrix…with that in mind, I even doubt the radio logs, especially as the ones we have knowledge of do not agree – one guy saying she said ‘cloudy’ and another saying she didn’t.

      I don’t necessarily think Manley is correct with Gardner, but may point to a possible navigation error that may go towards explaining the mystery, we just don’t know…but who knows? If they were far enough off course, for whatever reason, then maybe they got to Gardner, isn’t the mainstream objection mostly the old dogma of range endurance? If she were closer to Gardner than the mainstream believe, and a happenstance of events took them near to Garnder, I can’t see how it can be ruled out.

      I admire what you have said on the subject, your website is very educational and got me thinking, but I do think that at times you do let your own personal bias for crash-and-sank near Howland tunnel your focus away from other candidates and thinking. Don’t you think this whole Earhart Lore has so many egos and arrogance? No one on earth knows any definitive fact about that flight, yet they are all so sure what happened to the plane.

      • I put those navigation manuals on my website so tht others can judge for themselves, I did not write those navigation manuals. I don’t have a bias for the crash and sank theory, I just follow the facts, I used celestial navigation while ferrying new small planes across the ocean, I am also an airline transport pilot and understand airplane operation and range capabilities, I studied aeronautical engineering at the University of Illinois so I think I have a pretty good handle on this stuff.

        BTW there is no documentation for the claim made as part of the Earhart mythology that she ever complained about Noonan drinking. This all comes from Gore Vidal’s story that his dad, Gene Vidal, was with Putnam at the office of the New York Herald Tribune on the night before the flight and that Earhart had telephoned from Lae and complained about Noonan. Of course, Gore wasn’t there, he claims that his father told him that, Gore was only nine years old then. There are some problems with Gore Vidal’s story. First, Putnam was in Oakland California, 3,000 miles away from the Tribune’s office. Second, Gene Vidal wasn’t in Oakland. Third, and most interesting, there was no telephone service to the outside world from Lae in 1937, they didn’t get even local telephone service until 1939.

        gl

      • Lloyd M said:

        Emma,

        Thanks for reading the article. The pattern in many replies is to apparently skim the article or the point about impairment and ignore the obvious, then raise objections that were already addressed. So, I agree, because when you see that it indicates partiality. In discussing this story for a long time I’ve found an enormous bias against Earhart that is inexplicable outside the context of sexism. It’s pervasive and clearly irrational in this case. So, I think this is in fact hobbling the research.

        Your point about Gardner and “theories” is well taken. I may be wrong about the details but I do think that in order to understand this mystery we need to look more closely at what FN might or might not have been doing on that plane. For there is the key, I think, and I think it involves error and/or impairment of the navigator.

        Lloyd

        • HB said:

          Lloyd,

          You may think I skim-read your post, but I assure you, reading your essay is more hacking through the scaveola on Nikumaroro. I will NOT be called a skim reader!– call me a hack if you must, but skim-reader? pistols at twenty paces, sir!

          I am still hoping to find the part where you explain how the Electra sent the ‘281’ message while afloat–have mercy and tell me where this is in your essay, or just tell me what your answer is.

    • IF taking fixes every hour which is normal celestial procedure and required by Federal Aviation Regulations, a 59 NM error would show up as a wind speed change of 59 knots, almost hurricane strength, not realistically likely to pass unnoticed.

      gl

  17. HB said:

    A question on a radio issue. I am under the impression that the Electra crew was trying to, as planned, use its own radio direction finder to home in on Howland. Why did that not work? Lloyd goes into some length about how Itasca and Electra were talking past one another on voice and Morse code, but I don’t understand what Lloyd’s explantion is for why the Electra could not get a bearing on Itasca by rdf.

    I apologize if I missed the discussion of this somewhere above. The ‘papyrus scroll–like format of this blog makes following something of the length of Lloyd’s post hard to navigate (not complaining–I appreciate that the blog ‘owner’ provided Lloyd the space).

    • Emma Johnson said:

      HB, it was a question of frequencies, transmitting on a frequency that the DF couldn’t pick up or couldn’t get a minimum on. Also, the Howland DF had a battery issue, and I believe I read somewhere that as it was a kind of prototype that it wasn’t fully rotational and had been damaged internally…well that’s what the USCG reports and logs say…who knows the truth?

      • HB said:

        As I recall, according to Gillespie, Earhart asked Itasca to transmit “A”s in Morse code on 7500 kHz, but the Electra’s DF equipment was not capable of ‘getting a minimum’, i.e., determining the direction, of the sender at such a high frequency; I believe the working range was 200 to 1500 kHz. Earhart tested her DF the day before her final flight and was unable to get a minimum on the Lae transmitter at ~6500 kHz, but decided the problem was due to her proximity to Lae, not due to frequency. So, according to Gillepsie, at least, AE set herself up for failure with regard to her DF system: she had Itasca send signals on a frequency at which her DF system would not get a minimum. According to the Itasca radio logst least once as AE closed in on Howland, she reported hearing Itasca’s “A”s, but said she could not get a minimum.

        So, did Gillespie provide the correct analysis of this particular aspect of the story of the final flight? This is what my question above was about.

        • HB said:

          Gillespie also says that the Itasca’s radio direction finder had a working range of 270-550 kilocycles, and that Earhart was informed of this fact prior to leaving Lae.

          Again, I’m wondering if Gillespie is correct.

  18. HB said:

    Regarding the “TWO EIGHT ONE NORTH HOWLAND CALL KHAQQ BEYOND NORTH DON’T HOLD WITH US MUCH LONGER ABOVE WATER SHUT OFF” message received at Wailupe, this came several days after the plane was down. If the plane was down in the ocean, the Electra supposedly could not transmit. Lloyd has the plane floating at sea when sending this message, if I understand him, so how is this message possibly an authentic one from the Electra, in Lloyd’s scenario?

  19. Mr. Manley, you still have not answered my 12 simple questions. Please do, so that we can carry on our conversation without the risk of misunderstandings.

    gl

  20. kirkomric, please let me know how I can upload documents and diagrams to allow me to more easily explain the navigation issues.

    gl

  21. gary lapook said:

    What happened to my prior post where I explained the problem with Earhart asking for too high a frequency, 7.5 megacycle,s. that my 21 July post make the correction to.? Is this blog going to be like the TIGHAR forum where unpopular posts are “disappeared?”

    gl

    • gary lapook said:

      Can you retrieve my “disappeared” post about the frequency on which Earhart had requested the Itasca’s homing radio signal which included a link to her telegram which is available in the Purdue archives?

      gl

  22. gary lapook said:

    Lloyd, will you please answer those 12 simple questions so that we can proceed with our discussion without risk of any misunderstandings?

    gl

  23. It appears that Mr. Manley does not want to discuss his theory any more.

    gl

  24. Bill said:

    Gillespie made this totally uncalled for comment on the TIGHAR forum.

    “Lloyd Manley’s ramblings have come in for scathing criticism in postings that are too colorful to post on this forum. Let it suffice to say that Mr. Manley is not credible. Let’s move on.”

  25. Fourteen days ago I asked Mr. Manley to answer twelve simple questions to ensure that we could discuss his theory without the possibility of misunderstanding or ambiguity and he has not responded. I take it from his non-response that he has decided to not attempt to defend his theory. I presume that he has finally read the navigation textbooks that I had referred him to several months on a different forum and now, belatedly, he has recognized that the navigational basis for his theory is completely wrong. The underlying basis for his theory is that Noonan made and error in the timing of his star sights, by using the wrong date for extracting data from the Nautical Almanac and that this error would then cause Noonan to deduce incorrect coordinates for his fix positions. Then these incorrect positions caused him to alter course to the southward causing the plane to come close to Gardner. I pointed out in my prior postings here that Mr. Manley is correct that such a timing error would result in an error in the derived LONGITUDE coordinate but I also pointed out that he is wrong in his second conclusion, that the timing error would also cause and error in the derived LATITUDE. No timing error in the taking of star observations, be they one second, one minute, one hour, one day, or even one year, will cause an error in the LATITUDE derived from those sights. An error in the date or time by a whole DECADE can produce, at most, a maximum error in latitude of only 2.4 minutes, 2.4 nautical miles, and a table for making a correction for this is included in the U.S. Navy celestial navigation tables.

    gl

  26. Test.
    I posted a comment on July 21 and it still says “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” Ummm, how long should this take?

    gl

  27. Repost of July 21 message:
    ————————————————-
    I had only planned to point out errors that Mr. Manley made about navigation but, since you brought this up, he also makes errors about many other things including the failures in the radio communications. Mr. Manley wrote:

    “Not surprisingly, the aspect of radio direction finding has also been obfuscated and distorted. It is important to make clear that two forms of radio direction finding were possible; one in which 1.) radio operators on the ground could take bearings on a signal from AE and one in which 2.) AE could take bearings from a signal transmitted from the ground. The DF loop antenna on the aircraft was for taking bearings on signals emanating from the ground at 500 KCS. AE had sent a message indicating that she intended to transmit for ground operators to take a bearing on her at high frequency; not the reverse. In other words, AE was not expecting to take bearings on a ground signal at high frequency (well above 500 KCS). Here again, the failures of USCG were beyond regrettable and clearly negligent as the request to transmit at 500 KCS so that AE could take bearings on them was totally ignored. They never transmitted (not until 7:30 that morning, as the logs show). We know this because the logs show them listening on 500 KCS and never transmitting.”

    ——————————————————————–
    He claims that Earhart had requested that Itasca send out a homing signal on 500 KCS and the Itasca failed to do this. This is completely wrong. Mr. Manley apparently did no research on this point as the true details of Earhart’s request are published in every book about the disappearance. Earhart did NOT request a homing signal of 500 KCS, she requested a signal on 7,500 KCS (7.5 MCS) and Itasca did transmit the requested signal on this frequency. Earhart sent a telegram from Bandoeng on June 27, 1937 to Itasca that stated:

    “Suggest Ontario standby on 400 kHz to transmit letter N 5 minutes on request with station call letter repeated twice end every minute. Swan transmit voice 9 megacycles or if I unable receive be ready on 900 kHz. Itasca transmit letter A, position, own call letters, as above on half hour 7.5 megacycles. Position ships and our leaving will determine broadcast times specifically. If frequencies mentioned unsuitable night work inform me at Lae. I will give long call by voice 3105 kHz quarter after hour, possible quarter to.”

    A picture of this telegram is published in the book written by Amelia’s sister,” Amelia, My Courageous Sister” by Muriel Earhart Morrissey on page 237.

    There is no mystery why she could not take a bearing on the 7.5 MCS signal, it was because her radio direction finder equipment could not take bearings on signals at such a high frequency. She could listen to such transmissions but could not take a bearing on them. The mystery is why she requested that frequency. She knew that her RDF didn’t cover that frequency because she sent a telegram spelling out the frequency range of her RDF the highest was 4.8 MCS (4,800 kcs.) This telegram is available in the archives of Purdue University at:

    It really is amazing that Manley could get this so wrong.
    ——————————————-
    To be continued.

    gl

  28. Repost of July 21 message, continued:
    —————————————————————

    As long as we are talking about other areas in which Mr. Manley is mistaken, he also wrote:

     “AE couldn’t lower the landing gear if the battery went dead and the generator wasn’t charging. If AE had located Howland Island without electrical power she would have been forced to land with the gear up.”

    —————————————————-

    All airplanes with retractable landing gear are required to have a backup method for lowering the gear in case of failure of the primary system. Depending on the particular system of operation, some have a hand operated hydraulic pump, some have a tank of compressed nitrogen used to “blow down” the gear, and there are other backup systems. The flight manual for Earhart’s plane shows that there is a hand crank located in the cockpit connected by a bicycle type chain to the landing gear extension system. In case of a dead battery the pilot just turns the crank to lower the gear.

    Again, it is amazing how many things are wrong with Mr. Manley’s paper.

    gl

  29. Same thing with an August 1 post, reposted here without links:

    ———————————————————————————–
    1 August 201311:44 pm
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    I recommended to Mr. Manley that he study chapters 15, 18, 19 and 20 of The American Practical Navigator published by the the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office as publication number 9 (H.O. 9) which is available for free from the government website at these URLs:

    These chapters provide the necessary information for those who would like to evaluate Mr. Manley’s theory for themselves.

    gl

  30. As an experiment I am leaving out the “http://” to see if the links will post without moderation for the August 1st post

    Here are the missing links:

    msi.nga.mil/MSISiteContent/StaticFiles/NAV_PUBS/APN/Chapt-15.pdf

    msi.nga.mil/MSISiteContent/StaticFiles/NAV_PUBS/APN/Chapt-18.pdf

    msi.nga.mil/MSISiteContent/StaticFiles/NAV_PUBS/APN/Chapt-19.pdf

    msi.nga.mil/MSISiteContent/StaticFiles/NAV_PUBS/APN/Chapt-20.pdf

    The entire manual is here:

    msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=msi_portal_page_62&pubCode=0002

    gl

  31. Aha, that worked! Here are the links to the July 21 repost minus the “http://”

    Repost of July 21 message.

    ———————————————-

    There were two links in the original July 21 post and I am suspect that the post was moderated because it contained links so I reposted in two parts without the links. Here are those links:

    tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/ResearchPapers/Worldflight/2ndattemptcommo.html

    earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/earhart&CISOPTR=2980

    gl

  32. Lloyd, wrote:

    “To explain how misleading all this can be, we start by imagining an aircraft on this flight somewhere between the point of local midnight and the international date line. When the plane left the airport west of the point of local midnight it was July 2, 1937. So, after a few hours of flight, the plane is east of local midnight and west of the international date line. Now, imagine you live on an imaginary island directly below the aircraft. And you decide on this early morning to get up, go outside with your sextant, and measure your location. When you open you almanac, to what page must you turn? Obviously, you must consult referents from July 3, 1937, because that is the date about which you are inquiring. What other date would you use? Why? If the answer is that our islander should revert to a GMT date, then reverting to 1 July, 1937, if it fits the data we’re about to show, cannot be discounted either. And notice, you are west of the international date line, so there is no need to revert back to 2 July, 1937. The correct date, for you, is July 3, 1937. And this is why this can be so confusing to navigators, for on first blush it would seem that all one needs to do is refer only to GMT dates but that is not the case. Local dates do matter and have a subtle impact. Therefore, during the period of time you are within the region confined by the local midnight and the international date line, using any date other than July 3, 1937 will result in invalid celestial fixes. And this is now obvious.”

    —————————————————————————-
    WRONG!

    Here is what your imaginary islander/navigator would actually do. The island east of local midnight so it is now July 3rd where he is. He looks at his clock, and, let’s say it says 3:00 a.m. local mean time. He knows that at his longitude of about 165° east that the zone description is minus 11 hours. (Zone description is the number of hours that must be added or subtracted to local time to calculate GMT.)(We know that the zone description at Lae was minus 10 hours because they took off at 10:00 a.m. local time, July 2nd and they subtracted that 10 hours to come up with the GMT takeoff time of 0000 GMT July 2nd.) The zone description at 165° east is greater because it is further east than Lae. So our islander now subtracts 11 hours from his local time of 0300 on July 3rd and determines that the time of his observation is 1600 GMT the previous day, July 2nd in Greenwich, because July 3rd hasn’t gotten around to Greenwich yet and won’t for another 11 hours. He then extracts the data from the Nautical Almanac for 1600 GMT, July 2nd, does his computations and, not surprisingly, finds he is still located at the same latitude and longitude where his island has always been.

    Below is the form used to compute the GMT and Greenwich date needed to enter the Nautical Almanac. This comes from page 298, chapter 20 “Sight Reduction” of the American Practical Navigator.You will notice that at the end of the form and instructions you end up with the GREENWICH date for entry into the almanac.

    msi.nga.mil/MSISiteContent/StaticFiles/NAV_PUBS/APN/Chapt-20.pdf

    —————————————————————————–

    SECTION TWO: GMT TIME AND DATE
    Date _________________ _________________
    DR Latitude _________________ _________________
    DR Longitude _________________ _________________
    Observation Time _________________ _________________
    Watch Error _________________ _________________
    Zone Time _________________ _________________
    Zone Description _________________ _________________
    Greenwich Mean Time _________________ _________________
    Date GMT _________________ ________________

    Here are the instructions for using this form that your islander must follow.

    SIGHT REDUCTION page 299

    SECTION TWO
    determines the Greenwich Mean Time
    (GMT; referred to in the
    Almanac as as Universal time or UT) and
    GMT date of the sight.
    Date:
    Enter the local time zone date of the sight.
    DR Latitude:
    Enter the dead reckoning latitude of the
    vessel.
    DR Longitude:
    Enter the dead reckoning longitude of the
    vessel.
    Observation Time:
    Enter the local time of the sight as
    recorded on the ship’s chronometer or other timepiece.
    Watch Error:
    Enter a correction for any known watch
    error.
    Zone Time:
    Correct the observation time with watch
    error to determine zone time.
    Zone Description:
    Enter the zone description of the time
    zone indicated by the DR longitude. If the longitude is west of the
    Greenwich Meridian, the zone description is positive.
    Conversely, if the longitude is east of the Greenwich Meridian,
    the zone description is negative. The zone description represents
    the correction necessary to convert local time to Greenwich
    Mean Time.
    Greenwich Mean Time:
    Add to the zone description the zone time to determine Greenwich Mean Time.
    Date:
    Carefully evaluate the time correction applied above
    and determine if the correction has changed the date. Enter the
    GMT date.

    gl

  33. On July 18th, 23 days ago I asked Mr. Manley to answer 12 simple questions, so far, no response from him.
    ————————————————-

    In order to respond correctly I want to make sure that we are not talking past each other. You said:

    “To justify this claim about a dating error, we need to return to the navigational process to the concept of a local midnight, which occurred about 5 hours before the “200 mile” report, about 5 hours flight time before the international date line. During this time, FN did not advance his date as he must in order for the almanac entries to make sense. In other words, FN did not forget to set his date back to July 2 after crossing the international date line, he forgot to set his date to July 3 at local midnight. And FN also failed to notice the obvious southern deviation in course heading he subsequently ordered for the pilot based on these fixes.”

    —————————————————————

    1. So your position is that he continuously used July 2, 1937 for his celestial calculations all the way from Lae to the vicinity of Howland, right?

    2, That is was an error to not change his date to July 3, 1937 after passing the point of local midnight, right?

    3, That is was proper to use July 2, 1937 prior to the plane passing the point of local midnight, right?

    4, That is was proper to use July 2, 1937 after passing the date line and in the vicinity of Howland, right?

    5. You believe that the plane passed the point of local midnight approximately 12 hours and 45 minutes after takeoff as this is 5 hours prior to the “200 mile” report, right?

    6. According to your theory, if Noonan took at observation at 14 hours after takeoff he would be in the portion of the flight between local midnight and the date line so should have used July 3,1937 for entering the almanac for his calculations, right?

    7. Assuming that you are correct that he should use the date of July 3, 1937 for entering the almanac for an observation 14 hours after takeoff, what time of day should he also use for extracting data from the July 3, 1937 page of the almanac for the observation taken 14 hours after takeoff?.

    8. By failing to use the date of July 3, 1937 for all observations of the stars during the flight between the point of local midnight and the date line, that the fixes Noonan computed from those observations placed the plane approximately 59 NM further east than the actual position of the plane, right?

    9. By failing to use the date of July 3, 1937 for all observations of the stars during the flight between the point of local midnight and the date line, that the fixes Noonan computed from those observations placed the plane north of the actual position of the plane, right?

    10, You stated that Venus was also available for observation during the flight between the point of local midnight and the date line, right?

    11. If Noonan took an observation of Venus during the flight between the point of local midnight and the date line and failed to use the date of July 3, 1937 for his computations, would a fix derived from that observation also have placed the plane approximately 59 NM further east than the actual position of the plane?

    12. If Noonan took an observation of Venus during the flight between the point of local midnight and the date line and failed to use the date of July 3, 1937 for his computations, would a fix derived from that observation also have placed the plane north of the actual position of the plane?

    So there are no misunderstandings, please answer these twelve questions first with a “yes” or a “no” (except question 7 which requires a time) and then add any additional comments you may think necessary to make your answers complete.

    gl

    gl
    Reply ↓

  34. These are the instruction for extracting the position coordinates of a star from the Nautical Almanac.

    ———————————————————–

    “290 THE ALMANACS
    : Enter the daily page table with the
    whole hour before the given GMT, unless this time is a
    whole hour, and extract the tabulated GHA of Aries. Also
    record the tabulated SHA and declination of the star from
    the listing on the left-hand daily page. Next, enter the
    increments and corrections table for the minutes of GMT,
    and, on the line for the seconds of GMT, extract the GHA
    correction from the Aries column. Add this correction and
    the SHA of the star to the GHA on the daily page to
    find the GHA of the star at the given time. No adjustment
    of declination is needed.”

    This is from page 290 of The American Practical Navigator, chapter 19, available here:

    msi.nga.mil/MSISiteContent/StaticFiles/NAV_PUBS/APN/Chapt-19.pdf
    —————————————————————–

    You notice the last line, “No adjustment of declination is needed” because stellar don’t change. And because the declination of the stars do not change, any latitude derived from an observation of stars is completely insensitive to an error in time or in date (unless we are talking about an error of decades, which we are not.) Also notice that the entering argument is GMT not local time and local date.

    You should also go onto chapter 20 to see how the information from the Nautical Almanac is combined with the altitudes measured with the sextant to produce an LOP and a fix.

    msi.nga.mil/MSISiteContent/StaticFiles/NAV_PUBS/APN/Chapt-20.pdf

    gl

  35. On July 18th, 24 days ago I asked Mr. Manley to answer 12 simple questions, so far, no response from him. Mr . Manley’s last post was on July 21st so he has been missing in action for 21 days.

    gl

  36. All,

    I’ve read all the comments since this started and I have to agree with Lloyd, I don’t see that anything he has written has been addressed at all. Gary, your comments are of the Ignoratio elenchi style and do nothing to address the points he made. In fact, from what I’m reading you seem to agree with his basic point then go on to argue all sorts of other things, most of which I’m not even sure Lloyd was claiming.

    As for the comment about a transmission Earhart made, I couldn’t find any place where Lloyd claimed that Earhart transmitted a “281” message, only that he suggested it deserved further investigation. I was honestly hoping to see some real discussion of the points Lloyd made but unfortunately, as was noted about Gillespie on the TIGHAR forum, nothing of substance has been added

    – kk

    • HB said:

      Kir,

      Look again. Here is part of what Lloyd wrote above. I don’t see how to read this as anything but a message from Earhart’s plane.

      “Because it was winter solstice (virtually) the sun line 157-337 takes an angle from the meridian of 23 degrees. In the very early morning hours of July 5,1937 a radio message was received at Wailupe, HI at an advanced USN radio listening post; reportedly over a period of one hour, coded in poor Morse, broken and barely readable:

      TWO EIGHT ONE NORTH HOWLAND CALL KHAQQ BEYOND NORTH DON’T HOLD WITH US MUCH LONGER ABOVE WATER SHUT OFF

      Their distance from Howland island at the intercept as well as at a potential ditching was right at this position or very nearby; that is, 279.12 nm south of Howland. Unfortunately, the particulars of how this message was received are apparently lost to history, so we don’t know how this one message was spread out over one hour, where sentences begin and end or whether words and phrases are missing. Sadly, a few other messages such as this one were direction sourced to, not suprisingly, this same stretch of water just north of Gardner island. Was the attempt to code the phrase (as a broken transmission),

      “… it is 281 nm north to Howland …” or

      “ … we are 281 nm north of Howland”?

      It had been reported that the Morse appeared to have been prepared before transmission, the same manner in which AE and FN were reported to have used Morse given their limited skill. Could they have believed they were north? We may never know and the issue of post-loss transmissions should be re-investigated in light of these findings. In particular, the United States Navy should be tasked to provide any and all available archival information regarding the “281” message.”

    • My Constitutional Law professor told the class one day, “if your client asks you a question to which you don’t know the answer then just tell him an answer in Latin and mispronounce it so he can’t even look it up.” But, since you actually put it in writing, I was able to look up “Ignoratio elenchi” and it appears that your use of this Latin expression is in error. See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignoratio_elenchi

      Mr. Manley has stated an hypothesis that Noonan made a navigation error that caused him to deviate too far south to find Howland and instead fetched up on Gardner. If Mr. Manley just claimed this was just his opinion he would be entitled to it and it would not be subject to being refuted. However, Mr. Manley has claimed a factual basis for his hypothesis by describing the error that he claimed that Noonan made so his hypothesis is subject to refutation by proving that his factual basis is in error which then refutes his hypothesis. This is the standard way in science of disproving an hypothesis. I have been attempting to show the error in his computation so this is legitimate and is not an Ignoratio_elenchi type of fallacy.

      When I first posted here I apparently misread his “date line” argument or conflated it with that in Ms. Smith’s hypothesis, so, to make sure that we are talking about the same things, without the possibility of a further misunderstanding, I have asked him to make his position clear by responding to my 12 simple questions which he refuses to do. Please ask him to respond to those questions so that we can move this discussion forward.
      —————————————-
      Also, I have asked you several for instructions on how to post attachments because it will be easier for readers to understand the celestial navigation methods if I can post plots and excerpts from the Nautical Almanac and other standard navigation texts. Please let me know how I can accomplish this.

      gl

  37. HB said:

    Kir,

    Lloyd has not addressed the point that it was not technically feasible for the Electra’s RDF to get a minimum (take a bearing) on Itasca at the frequency she apparently instructed Itasca to transmit Morse code ‘A’s on (and she was in fact trying to home in on the Itasca at this frequency–she stated in a message that she heard Itasca’s A’s, but could not get a minimum). So, Earhart left Lae with a fatally flawed plan for homing in on Itasca; had the Electra been able to get a bearing on Itasca, it is hard to imagine that we’d be discussing the Earhart case in 2013. I can’t see how the blame for this fatal flaw can be placed anywhere but with Team Earhart.

  38. HB,

    Far be it from me to speak for Lloyd, but I’ll ask him to reply if he thinks he needs to (actually, I’ve already asked twice). I’ll just say that I thought he did address that by saying that this protocol was requested of USCG before the flight and USCG did not reply. I think his point was that she would have no way of knowing what capabilities USCG had, which was the purpose of her communication in the first place. It takes two to communicate.

    Even so, it would really be Ignoratio elenchi to argue this if the true cause of the loss was being some 250 miles off course because FN was intoxicated, don’t you think?

    – kk

    • HB said:

      Kir,

      She should have known what HER equipment’s capabilities were, and planned accordingly. It appears to me that AE was in fact listening for Itasca’s ‘A’s on 7500 kHz–as I noted she actually reported hearing Itasca, but being unable to get a bearing.

      As for your comment that the RDF error is beside the point if they were off course:

      I don’t agree. Assuming that navigational blunder was made, had Earhart been able to home in on Itasca, possibly a course correction would have allowed the plane to reach Howland–Lloyd has the plane ditching at 21:15Z, about 1:45 hours after Earhart acknowledges hearing Itasca’s ‘A’s at 19:30Z. With a true ground speed of roughly 120 mph, they could have either gotten to Howland, or at least close to it. And all the while they could have been indicating to Itasca what their true bearing was relative to the ship. So, either the Electra would have made it to Howland, or Itasca would have had known what bearing to go off to look for the plane. Even if the plane and crew sank like a stone and Itasca didn’t find them, the mystery of what happened to the plane would never have been a mystery.

      • HB said:

        An addtional comment:

        The Itasca position 2 log (I accessed it at Tighar) has Earhart saying at 7:58 AM “WE ARE CIRCLING BUT CANNOT HEAR YOU GO AHEAD WITH LONG COUNT ON 7500 EITHER NOW OR ON THE SCHEDULE TIME ON HALF HOUR”

        (Note that Lloyd for some reason left out the ‘WITH LONG COUNT’ part when he cited the Itasca radio log above).

        So, here we have Earhart asking Itasca to give her a long count on 7500 to home in on with her radio direction finder . This contradicts Lloyds’s statement early in his essay that “AE was not expecting to take bearings on a ground signal at high frequency (well above 500 KCS).” And this message from Earhart jibes with the telegram Gary cited above, and Gillespie’s account in Finding Amelia, which both indicate she expected A’s on 7500 KC from Itasca to home in on.

        Also, to repeat a point made earlier, Earhart took a flight the day before her ill-fated flight to Howland, in which she tested her direction finding equipment by trying to home in on a ~6500 KC signal. She failed to get a null, but though it was due to her proximity to the transmitter, rather that her equipment was incapable of doing what she expected it to.

  39. It’s important to keep clearly in mind that there are TWO different ways to use radio bearings for
    navigation. The method that Earhart had planned to use was for her to use her on-board radio
    receiver and direction finding equipment to take bearings on the “homing” signal being
    transmitted by the Itasca. The other method is for the plane to transmit a signal on which the
    ground station takes a bearing. Then the ground station transmits the measured bearing and the
    plane receives that information. The pilot or navigator then evaluates the received bearing
    information and decides which heading to fly to get to the location of the ground station. These
    are very different usages.

    First, the first method is much more reliable in that it requires only one transmitter to be working
    and only one receiver to be working. Only the ground transmitter must be working properly and
    only the aircraft receiver must be working properly. The failure of only one of the radios in each
    system will prevent navigation. With the second method TWO receivers and TWO transmitters
    must be working properly or else no usable navigation information can be obtained. It is
    significantly more likely that one out of four pieces of equipment will fail than that one out of
    two will fail. In addition to the equipment itself, the radio operators must not make any mistakes
    and there are more opportunities for operator error with four pieces of equipment than with just
    two.

    Second, the ground station transmitter is much more powerful than the aircraft transmitter so can
    be heard at a much greater distance by the aircraft receiver than the other way around, Itasca’s
    transmitter put out 500 watts and Earhart’s put out only 50 watts, a ratio of 10 to 1. In rough
    terms a signal can be heard at a distance proportional to the square root of the power ratios. The
    square root of 10 is 3.2 so Earhart would be able to take a bearing on Itasca’s signal 3.2 times
    farther away that Itasca could have measured a bearing on Earhart’s signal. And, of course, Itasca
    could never take a bearing on Earhart even if she were overhead because their equipment didn’t
    cover her transmitter’s frequencies and Itasca had informed Earhart of that limitation. This would
    be a failure of one of the pieces of equipment needed for the second method, the Itasca’s radio
    direction finder equipment did not work in regards to Earhart’s signals.

    Third, when using ground station measured bearings, the inflight navigator has to plot the
    bearing and then determine what heading should be flown to get to the location of the ground
    receiver. If there is any error in the measured bearing then the navigator will plot a course that
    will NOT take him to the destination. But when using the onboard RDF to “home” to the ground
    station it doesn’t matter if there is an error in the measured relative bearing (the bearing relative
    to the nose of the aircraft) you will still get to the destination. In order for this not to work the
    error in the relative bearing would have to be 90̊ or greater, a highly unlikely possibility. When
    “homing” you adjust your heading so that the relative bearing of the received signal in straight
    ahead, the nose is pointing towards the station. If the equipment has an error of say 10 ̊ then the
    nose will be pointing 10 ̊ away from the correct heading so the plane will not be flying directly
    towards the station but as the plane gets closer this 10̊ error gets smaller and smaller and the
    plane flies a spiraling course instead of a direct course to the station but gets there nonetheless
    after flying a slightly longer flight path. Even if the error was 89̊ the plane would have to fly a
    much longer spiral but would still end up at the transmitter location.

  40. Kirk wrote:

    All,

    I’ve read all the comments since this started and I have to agree with Lloyd, I don’t see that anything he has written has been addressed at all. Gary, your comments are of the Ignoratio elenchi style and do nothing to address the points he made. In fact, from what I’m reading you seem to agree with his basic point then go on to argue all sorts of other things, most of which I’m not even sure Lloyd was claiming.

    —————————————————————

    My response:

    My Constitutional Law professor told the class one day, “if your client asks you a question to which you don’t know the answer then just tell him an answer in Latin and mispronounce it so he can’t even look it up.” But, since you actually put it in writing, I was able to look up “Ignoratio elenchi” and it appears that your use of this Latin expression is in error. See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignoratio_elenchi

    Mr. Manley has stated an hypothesis that Noonan made a navigation error that caused him to deviate too far south to find Howland and instead fetched up on Gardner. If Mr. Manley just claimed this was just his opinion he would be entitled to it and it would not be subject to being refuted. However, Mr. Manley has claimed a factual basis for his hypothesis by describing the error that he claimed that Noonan made so his hypothesis is subject to refutation by proving that his factual basis is in error which then refutes his hypothesis. This is the standard way in science of disproving an hypothesis. I have been attempting to show the error in his computation so this is legitimate and is not an Ignoratio_elenchi type of fallacy.

    When I first posted here I apparently misread his “date line” argument or conflated it with that in Ms. Smith’s hypothesis, so, to make sure that we are talking about the same things, without the possibility of a further misunderstanding, I have asked him to make his position clear by responding to my 12 simple questions which he refuses to do. Please ask him to respond to those questions so that we can move this discussion forward.
    —————————————-
    Also, I have asked you several for instructions on how to post attachments because it will be easier for readers to understand the celestial navigation methods if I can post plots and excerpts from the Nautical Almanac and other standard navigation texts. Please let me know how I can accomplish this.

    gl

  41. HB said:

    “Also, to repeat a point made earlier, Earhart took a flight the day before her ill-fated flight to Howland, in which she tested her direction finding equipment by trying to home in on a ~6500 KC signal. She failed to get a null, but thought it was due to her proximity to the transmitter, rather that her equipment was incapable of doing what she expected it to.”
    —————————————————
    This just illustrates her abject ignorance about using a radio direction finder (RDF.) When she was approaching Hawaii, Noonan told her “Keep the Makapuu beacon ten degrees on the starboard bow.” She then says, “this is the first time I had used this recently developed Bendix instrument.” But from Earhart’s book it appears that she didn’t actually operate the controls of the RDF. She states, at six hours after takeoff from California, that “Harry comes up to work the radio. Paul flies while Harry works over my head.” The only radio equipment “over her head” was the RDF.

    It used to be very common to use the updated automatic direction finder (ADF) on the ground to fly instrument approaches to airports when you are in the clouds and can’t see anything. These ADFs worked on exactly the same frequencies and principles as the RDF but automatically determined the bearing to the transmitting antenna on the ground. These instrument approach procedures require that you fly DIRECTLY OVER THE TRANSMITTING ANTENNA and the ADF works DIRECTLY OVER THE TRANSMITTING ANTENNA, your “proximity” can’t get any closer than that. You know that you have passed the station because the ADF needle, that had been pointing straight ahead, spins around and points behind you. This “needle reversal” is your proof that you have passed the station inbound so it is now safe to descend to a lower altitude and find the airport.

    Ask any pilot who ever flew an approach using an ADF.

    gl

    • Bill said:

      An ADF approach was once a very common thing. The beacon was identified when the needle swung. If you hit it straight on the needle swing was rapid. In Vietnam where nav aids were limited, we had what was called a tactical ADF, these were nav aids set up in remote location to allow approach and landing in low visibility and low ceiling conditions. At that time the Army had what was know as a tactical instrument rating. All rotary wing pilots had training in that. Those approaches could become quite hairy at times, especially at night.

      We used commercial radio stations frequently while flying over water in the Gulf Of Mexico. Before GPS and Loran, ADF with WWL in New Orleans and KTRH in Houston was our primary method of finding our way in weather as low as one quarter mile visibility and 300 ft ceiling.

      In this case the point of the needle would be pointing to the station in New Orleans and that required us to fly the tail of the needle, that is, the bearing of the oil field in the Gulf from the radio station was known and it had been plotted. You would then track outbound flying the tail of the needle maintaining a track that would keep you on course. You could push the head and pull the tail was the terminology used.

      Tuning in to the station in Houston would give you an intersection or fix with the bearing from NOLA and pulling the tail of the needle that was pointing to KTRH would get us to the grid we were looking for. We became very good at this method of navigation and could usually hit the one mile square where the field was every time.

      After Loran came along in the late 70s we would still use the radio stations as a cross check, besides, we liked the music and could follow football games in progress.

      It is exceedingly obvious that Amelia did not have a clue how any of this worked and she certainly had no business over the water by herself. Using her loop antenna, it appears she did not understand what getting a null was all about nor once she identified it, she would not know which way to turn. The Hooven radio compass could have bailed her out. She did not understand it and had it removed.

  42. On 18 July 2013 at 6:23 pm HB wrote:

    “Forgive me for asking a naive, not very technical question, but in the discussion of the fact that the “200milles out” message was followed half an hour later by a “100 miles out” message, a simple possibility is ignored, it seems to me. Isn’t it possible that Earhart was not interested in reporting an accurate distance, she was simply rounding off to nice, very round numbers? Perhaps when she said “200 miles out” she really thought she was, say, 180 miles out, and half and hour later at 120 mph true groundspeed she thought she was 60 miles closer or 120 miles out, which she chose to round off in her transmission as “100 miles out””.

    ————————————————————————-

    Many people have gotten this wrong. I have included links to the Itasca’s radio logs of those two transmissions, read them carefully. Note the difference in wording between the “200 mile” report and the “100 mile” report, different wording means the two reports are saying different things. The two hundred out report says “will whistle in mic” at 0614 then, one minute latter at 0615 “whistling NW [now].” The one hundred mile out messages says “I will make noise in mic about 100 miles out” at 0646 but no subsequent mention of whistling now or making noise now. Remember your fifth grade English grammar lesson, the construction of “will” followed by a verb means an action to be done in the future, not now, it is the “future tense.” The 0615 message says, that at some point in the future she will whistle and one minute LATER she follows through on her promise and she whistles. The first report was made about 200 miles out and the second transmission was made sometime prior to the 100 mile out point and said that when they get to the 100 mile out point that she would then make noise, not that they were at the 100 mile out point at the time of that transmission. She never followed through on the promised 100 mile out transmission most likely because they had turned off the course direct to Howland to do the interception of the LOP northwest of that island.

    tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Logs/ItascaRadioLog1.pdf

    tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Logs/ItascaRadioLog2.pdf

    gl

    • And this also clears up the conundrum of the impossibly high ground speed that would have been required, to have traveled from 200 miles out to only 100 miles out in the time between those radio messages. There is no ground speed problem once you realize that they had not yet reached the 100 mile out point at the time of the second transmission. This fact adds further confirmation that this is the correct reading of that log entry.

      gl

  43. Bill said:

    Today in Federal District Court in Casper, WY, the court heard arguments on the rule12 motion to dismiss.

    Case 1:13-cv-00118-SWS Document 26 Filed 08/27/13 Page 1 of 1

    Docket entry #26 is the minutes of the hearing that was held from 10:59am to 11:33 am. “The Court heard argument on the defendant’s [16] Motion and took the matter under advisement.”

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/judge-weighs-request-dismiss-earhart-suit

    All of the minions on the Tighar forum are weighing as if they had won a lawsuit. They are all putting forth various legal theories in favor of Gillespie, all of which are very sophomoric.

  44. Bill said:

    Today in Federal District Court in Casper, WY, the court heard arguments on the rule12 motion to dismiss.

    Case 1:13-cv-00118-SWS Document 26 Filed 08/27/13 Page 1 of 1

    Docket entry #26 is the minutes of the hearing that was held from 10:59am to 11:33 am. “The Court heard argument on the defendant’s [16] Motion and took the matter under advisement.”

    bigstory.ap.org/article/judge-weighs-request-dismiss-earhart-suit

    All of the minions on the Tighar forum are weighing as if they had won a lawsuit. They are all putting forth various legal theories in favor of Gillespie, all of which are very sophomoric.

    • Bill said:

      Gillespie is rambling on You Tube about just how good the day went for him. He says the most ridiculous things about how he just does not know how to answer this complaint and so on. What a croc.

      Mellons young lawyer seems very bright. Interrogatories with Gillespie should be very interesting. They will freeze his testimony and catch him in perjury. Gillespie is not bright, just conniving.

  45. HB said:

    Beaufort,

    I am not ‘Yoda’. If you wish to send him a diatribe, I believe you can find a contact for him email address by searching the Skeptoid Earhart thread.

    My questions were about specific statements Lloyd made in his essay regarding communication protocols between AE and the Coast Guard. My questions seem pretty reasonable and non-misogynistic to me, but who am I to argue with you on what my thoughts are—you obviously know better than I do.

    Well, anyway, getting back to the subject, Lloyd’s version of events differs from the ‘conventional wisdom’ as stated for instance in Gillespie’s book. I’m sure Lloyd has a reason for believing his version of events is correct, and I would like to know what they are.

  46. Since Kirkomric won’t tell me how to attach documents to my posts I have uploaded some documents to a different website and I will just provide links to them that bear on this discussion point. I also discovered that if the link starts with the normal l” Htt….” then the post goes into “moderation,” never to return. So the links I am providing eliminates that part but if you just copy and post the links into your browser the browser will provide the missing portion and take you to the documents.

    This is the message from Earhart to Itasca specifying 7.5 MEGACYCLES (7,500 kcs) for the homing signal:

    docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxmcmVkaWU4Nzk5ZXxneDo0Y2Q4MjNiMzI2M2YwNmE4

    This is the message from Earhart to Putnam spelling out the range of her RDF and specifying that any frequency “unnear” the ends of the stated bands would be OK. The bands were defined as 400 to 787; 800 to 1500; and 2400 to 4800 kcs.

    sites.google.com/site/fredie8799e/docs/Bendix%20bands.jpg?attredirects=0

    This is the actual message then sent on to Itasca showing only two bands, 400 to 1500 and 2400 to 4800 apparently ignoring the very narrow 13 kcs gap (787~800) shown in the telegram from Earhart to Putnam.

    sites.google.com/site/fredie8799e/docs/Message%20to%20Itasca%20re%20Earharts%20RDF%20coverage%20page%20from%20ThompsonTranscripts.jpg?attredirects=0

    This is the message from Itasca to Earhart spelling out that they had complied with Earhart’s request and had adjusted their transmitter to send the homing signal on the requested 7,500 kcs. It also informs Earhart of the limited range of Itasca’s REF, 270 to 550 kcs, nowhere near to the frequencies being transmitted by Earhart.

    docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxmcmVkaWU4Nzk5ZXxneDo3YmIyNzQ3MmNmN2U0MGZh

    Pages from the Itasca radio log number 1 showing the homing signals being sent on 7500 kcs, as requested by Earhart, delineated in green.

    docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxmcmVkaWU4Nzk5ZXxneDozNTA0MTdiYjBkODc1MjVi

    And the same in log number 2.

    docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxmcmVkaWU4Nzk5ZXxneDoyZjE1YmFlNTk1YjA4NDkx

    Here are links to the entire radio logs and to the transcripts of all messages available on TIGHAR.

    tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Logs/ItascaRadioLog1.pdf

    tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Logs/ItascaRadioLog2.pdf

    tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Reports/ThompsonTranscripts.pdf

    Apparently Mr. Manley never took the time to study these easily available documents.

    gl

  47. HB said:

    Lloyd says in his essay that he has unequivocally proven that the Electra was located at (decimal) coordinates 3.92 S, 177.61 W when AE made her “We must be on you but cannot see you” message. In his scenario, the crew of the Electra performed 14 nautical mile (nm) grid searches eastward on the 3.92S latitude line until ditching in an area centered at coordinates 3.92 S, 173.91 W.

    I notice that 3.92S, 173.91 W, is only about 23 nm from McKean Island, and that the 3.92S latitude line runs a bit less than 20 nm directly south of McKean. A 14 nm grid search centered on the 3.92S latitude line passes less than 6 nm south of McKean, thus Lloyd’s scenario thus has the crew of the Electra failing to spot McKean having flown within 6 nm of it.

    They could have just plain missed McKean–it’s not much to look at– or perhaps they were on a line farther south than 3.92S and thus farther from Mckean when they went by it, or who knows.


    Incidentally, to my eyes, Lloyd’s map indicating the location of the ‘ditching point’ appears to have located ~ 50 nm from McKean, about twice as far as it actually is. And of course also the 3.92S latitude line appears to run too far south of Mckean, at least to my eyes.

  48. Steve Lee said:

    No one has yet discussed the undersea photos that Lloyd posted. I do not see what he does in these photos.

    First photo in series: I see a wire or cable, but don’t know why Lloyd is so sure this is an airplane tie-down.

    Second photo: I see something disc-like

    Third photo: I see something hoop-like, and something else disc-like. The hoop-like object does resemble a loop antenna.

    And so it goes.

    It’s not clear to me why he thinks he sees metallic surfaces in several photos.

    I do not see a cylindrical object in the fourth from bottom photo. The photo above this one, which looks identical–Lloyd sees a distinctive, artificial structure. Where?

    I don’t see footwear. I don’t see a tapered fuselage.

    Lloyd himself said he found it difficult at first to recognize the object he says he sees. Could he perhaps mark-up his photos, or otherwise help us to understand what it is Lloyd says he sees in these photos?

  49. Beaufort,

    Have you looked over the images? I was wondering what you thought about them. I spoke with Lloyd about the article and he still doesn’t see anything to reply to at this point. There were questions about details that can be easily verified with google. But I agree with Lloyd that I still don’t see an adequate explanation for FN’s inability to find Howland beyond Lloyd’s hypothesis that FN made some kind of calculation error and was likely over 200 miles off.

    If the plane is really down there, then Lloyd’s hypothesis is the best explanation for it, imo.

    – kk

    • HB said:

      Kir,

      Citing one’s sources is something we are taught in High School, if not earlier. It is unacceptable for Lloyd to tell people to find the information supporting his arguments, assuming such information exists. If those details are so easily found, why not point us to them–it should be quite easy to do.

      “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” – Christopher Hitchens

      • HB,

        I think his point was that anything can be taken to an extreme. I don’t have to supply sources to tell you that the Earth is round. When people start demanding sources on the internet it’s usually because they are losing a debate, unless the thing claimed is truly extraordinary. Lloyd was not claiming that he saw Sasquatch.

        You do realize that I share only two commonalities with Hitchens, right? The first is that he is human. I don’t think Lloyd cares much for that clown either.

        – kk

        • HB said:

          Kir,

          The roundness of the earth is common knowledge–we were all taught that in elementary school. What agreements were in effect regarding radio communications on Earhart’s last flight clearly is not common knowledge–I would hazard that no grade schoool, high school, or college course covers it. I suspect a sizable majority of Earhart afficionados have never acquainted themselves with this aspect of the mystery.

          So, I’m not taking anything to an extreme, I’m asking a perfectly reasonable question about Lloyd’s sources about an obscure bit of history. If Lloyd can back up his claims with evidence, I’ll be convinced he is correct. Since Lloyd seems unlikely to reply, let’s open this up to all you readers out there–if anyone out there knows where this supposedly obvious evidence, please post a reply.

    • Kirk, is there some reason that you still refuse to let us know how to post attachments? Has Mr. Manley told you why he refuses to answer my 12 simple, innocuous, questions that would let this discussion move forward? Has he told you what he is he afraid of? It might be nice that he has convinced YOU, but this is supposed to be a discussion with all the people who take the time to post here so he has an obligation to carry on his discussion with the rest of us. It appears to us that he has “abandoned the field” by refusing to defend it, and, in doing so, he has conceded that he was in error with his original hypothesis.

      And Kirk, somebody had to ask this question, are YOU really Lloyd Manley?

      gl

    • Steve Lee said:

      Kir,

      Perhaps Beaufort can take a look at the Tighar Forum and then report here about what he(?) thinks about the high resolution image Tim Mellon posted this evening. Mellon thinks the picture shows a wing flap from the Electra, but the wing flap is, of course, just another piece of coralline rubble on the side of the Nikumaroro seamount.

      The photos Lloyd posted here do nothing to convince me that Lloyd’s hypothesis is correct. It appears that Lloyd is no longer willing to reply to comments about any aspect of his essay, except when the commenter appears to be favorably inclined to his hypothesis, or the commenter is in charge of patrolling this site Barney Fife-style for allegedly misogynistic comments by others.

  50. What happened to all of the September posts?

  51. Lead Skittle said:

    So, this is where all the folks thrown out of tighar come to now?

    Jeeze, get a life boys, isn’t your forum working out as expected?

    The mystery is solved, the plane is at Niku, watch the news, have any of you crash and sink fools got even ONE bit of evidence? Waitt looked and found nothing, where you going to look next? Hawaii? The Atlantic?

    • “So, this is where all the folks thrown out of tighar come to now?”

      LOL, well, they’re certainly committed to the topic. This is the Penal Colony of miscreants. Gary, btw, I have no idea what happened to the September posts you referenced. I haven’t touched anything in September ….

      And I have no idea how to attach stuff but you can read the wordpress help files just like I can.

      – kk

      • HB said:

        Really, Kir, name calling?….

        If that is the best you can do when people point out problems with your ideas, then maybe Lloyd’s ideas aren’t worth very much. Perhaps you should consider dropping the I-am-superior-to-thou routine. It’s rather boorish.

        • HB,
          Name calling???
          Do you mean “miscreants”? I was being facetious, HB.

          Your first post here was extremely emotionally charged (bordering on something else entirely) and I deleted it. Now, you seem to continue this emotional attachment to this subject and like Gary are unable to address the article at all. There are nearly 100 posts here of paranoid, emotionally charged comments that do nothing to advance the conversation. That’s why Lloyd hasn’t felt a need to reply and frankly, I don’t blame him. There’s nothing here. I’m sorry if that seems “boorish” to you but it’s just a fact. The ideas you reference are not “mine”, btw. As for appearing “superior” I think this is rather a natural reaction to bizarre emotionalism expressed over this topic that you and Gary seem unable to let go of.

          At Lloyd’s suggestion I read some of Gillespie’s posts and I see the same thing with this poster. He gives the appearance of having a clinical bias and obsession with a particular point of view. It is astonishing that such a troubled personality has been able to run such a publicly visible organization for so long without being run off. I would think that this upcoming legal action would only need to demonstrate this man’s own words in writing to destroy his credibility. He has charlatan written all over him. And btw, that case is not going to be dismissed because an oligarch filed it. That’s the way it works.

          At the end of the day, inquiring as to what happened to Amelia Earhart should be a fairly simple, prosaic and calm conversation. But for some reason, the field seems to be stacked with histrionics. I was warned about this before I published the article and this just confirms it.

          – kk

          • Bill said:

            Gillespie is indeed a “troubled personality”. In his latest diatribe on the forum he is quoting Shakespeare like mad. He appears to be very troubled by the fact that the federal lawsuit against him was not dismissed straight away. He apparently thought that if he showed up in the courtroom and projected his magnificent presence that the court would throw Mellon right out of court with severe sanctions.

            He is indeed a very shallow man. Tighar fits the profile of a cult and Gillespie preaches to his followers in the image of Jimmy Lee Swaggart and Jim Jones. Nevill has ascended to a lofty perch by writing long winded essays in support of every fart Gillespie lets.

    • Bill said:

      Lead Skittle, you must be Ric or Neville or one of the other brilliant trolls of the high and mighty tighar. Hows the litigation coming? Got it dismissed yet?

      • HB said:

        Kir,

        Since we’ve run out of indents I’ll reply to your September 17 post here.

        You begin by saying “Your first post here was extremely emotionally charged (bordering on something else entirely) and I deleted it.”

        You haven’t deleted any of my posts; my first post is dated July 18 and begins with “Forgive me for asking a naive, not very technical question…” That’s ‘extremely emotionally charged’? Or perhaps you have me confused with someone else?

        You go on to say that “I haven’t addressed the article at all”. I disagree. I have pointed out that the Electra couldn’t transmit if afloat in the ocean, hence the ‘281’ message receive several days after the plane went down could not be from Earhart, if, as Lloyd hypothesizes, the plane landed in the ocean. Lloyd clear suggests this message was from Earhart, and that this message supports his hypotheses, so, I would say that addresses Lloyd’s article, Kir.

        I also pointed out that Lloyd’s statements about planned radio communication between the Electra and the Coast Guard are in disagreement with the version presented by Gillespie in his book, and on the Tighar web site. I quoted some of the telegram traffic between Earhart and the CG, which seem to suggest Lloyd is wrong. Gary provided a far more detailed list of links to communications, all of which suggest Lloyd is wrong to suggest that AE was not in any way to blame for the failure of the Electra to communicate effectively with Itasca. This failure was a key element in the loss of the flight and the subsequent mystery of where the plane came to earth, I would say that my questions on this subject address Lloyd’s article.

        Kir, you write “At the end of the day, inquiring as to what happened to Amelia Earhart should be a fairly simple, prosaic and calm conversation. “ My questions have been simple and prosaic. So far, Lloyd has shown no desire to calmly discuss them. I can only conclude that Lloyd hasn’t answered these questions because he’d prefer not to admit his errors.

        • HB,

          Well, perhaps I did mix you up with someone else. It’s getting hard to keep track of all this traffic here. Anyway,

          “… out that the Electra couldn’t transmit if afloat in the ocean”

          Let me offer up what Lloyd just ignored because I think he felt you are being disingenuous. His answer to this would probably be, “how do you know that”? How do you know where the batteries and receiver were physically located at the time of ditching? How do you know the flotation state of the aircraft at that time? But more importantly, __how does this even impact the basic hypothesis one way or the other__, which is the part I think he found really disingenuous? You aren’t addressing the claims, just tangential details that don’t bear on the conclusion. For example, we could debate all day about the color of the airplane, but it doesn’t matter. Lloyd wasn’t claiming that a radio transmission made his case, only that it was an interesting coincidence, or that is how I took it. I’m taking time to explain things that Lloyd doesn’t have the patience for, I guess. But it was obvious to me and other readers.

          As for the radio stuff, I think Lloyd’s point (I _think_ he said this) was that the telegrams she sent regarding her intentions are widely known in the research community and it is disingenuous of you to question their existence. You could probably find them on google. She did in fact send telegrams about her radio intentions, didn’t she?

          – kk

          • HB said:

            Kir,

            The problem with ‘the radio stuff’ is that is doesn’t agree with Lloyd’s stated version of events. If you don’t believe me, just check the links that Gary provided.

            If you want, I’ll dig up a reference about why the Electra couldn’t transmit while afloat (I’m sure Gary has it at his fingertips). But, basically, the problem is that electrical components necessary to transmit were located in the planes underbelly in compartments that were not water tight. I believe Lockheed engineers, and Paul Mantz, an Earhart technical advisor, pointed this out within a day or two of the many (false) reports that cam in from people claiming to hear Earhart say she landed in the ocean.

          • HB said:

            Also, I note that Lloyd himself says: “The center of gravity of the aircraft was forward of the center of buoyancy and would therefore result in a “tail-up” flotation scheme”. The cockpit, where the radio was located, and the engines needed to power an electrical generator to run the radio, would have been submerged, according to Lloyd.

    • Bill,

      I’m replying up here because it’s getting narrow down there. 😉 Anyway, looking over the TIGHAR site gives me the impression that its exactly as you describe it. I’m just amazed that someone like that is entrusted to manage millions of dollars and conduct these crazy field trips. It would have been okay if he had responded to what the Mellon guy had noticed … even if he didn’t agree, you’d think he would have checked it out a bit more. Instead he’s on the island … looking for Sasquatch (as Lloyd put it). Strange world.

      There’s something about him that isn’t right … I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s that charlatan thing. He gives off this aura of being a con man. I especially enjoyed his inaccurate and disingenuous comment about this site having an article about “aliens or Mars” or something (I didn’t bother to read it that carefully – ho hum). Of course, that isn’t what it was about, but wow.

      Now, this is of course, just my opinion (legal disclaimer) 😉

      – kk

      • Bill said:

        There has not yet been a ruling on the motion to dismiss the Mellon case.

        Here is what the latest docket entries look like for today, Wednesday, Sep 18, 11 am.

        Date Filed # Docket Text
        08/14/2013 23 (TEXT-ONLY) ORDER by the Honorable Mark L Carman granting 22 Motion to Continue (Non-Dispositive) Initial Pretrial Conference set for 10/10/2013 10:00 AM in Mammoth Hot Springs before Honorable Mark L Carman. All parties shall appear by phone with Plaintiff’s counsel initiating the call and connecting to the Court at 307-344-7196. (Carman, Mark) (Entered: 08/14/2013)

        08/15/2013 24 MEMORANDUM in Opposition to 16 MOTION to Dismiss Case, filed by Plaintiff Timothy Mellon. (Stubson, Timothy) (Entered: 08/15/2013)

        08/15/2013 25 PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW by Plaintiff Timothy Mellon filed by Plaintiff Timothy Mellon. (Stubson, Timothy) (Entered: 08/15/2013)

        08/27/2013 26 MINUTES for proceedings held before Honorable Scott W Skavdahl: Motion Hearing held on 8/27/2013 as to Defendant’s 16 Motion to Dismiss; The Court heard argument from all parties and took the motion under advisement. (Court Reporter Jamie Hendrich.) (Court Staff, stbd) (Entered: 08/27/2013)

        09/05/2013 27 NOTICE by Defendants Richard E Gillespie, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery of Notice of Firm Name Change (Stedillie, Alaina) (Entered: 09/05/2013)

        • Bill,

          Interesting; thanks for that update. I don’t think it will get dismissed but I could be wrong. That Mellon even got to pretrial is amazing. So, they’re in a continuance right now for pretrial junk, which means the judge will actually be putting some time into this. You can get this info from a court services website if you have a case number, if anyone is interested. They update it on a regular basis.

          – kk

  52. All of the September posts had disappeared but now I see they are back. Another mystery…….

    gl

    • LOL, Gary, unless someone hacked the site nothing has been touched, I promise. Now, who might that have been? 🙂

      – kk

  53. On July 18th, two months ago today, I asked Mr. Manley to answer the following 12 simple questions, so far, no response from him.
    ————————————————-

    In order to respond correctly I want to make sure that we are not talking past each other. You said:

    “To justify this claim about a dating error, we need to return to the navigational process to the concept of a local midnight, which occurred about 5 hours before the “200 mile” report, about 5 hours flight time before the international date line. During this time, FN did not advance his date as he must in order for the almanac entries to make sense. In other words, FN did not forget to set his date back to July 2 after crossing the international date line, he forgot to set his date to July 3 at local midnight. And FN also failed to notice the obvious southern deviation in course heading he subsequently ordered for the pilot based on these fixes.”

    —————————————————————

    1. So your position is that he continuously used July 2, 1937 for his celestial calculations all the way from Lae to the vicinity of Howland, right?

    2, That is was an error to not change his date to July 3, 1937 after passing the point of local midnight, right?

    3, That is was proper to use July 2, 1937 prior to the plane passing the point of local midnight, right?

    4, That is was proper to use July 2, 1937 after passing the date line and in the vicinity of Howland, right?

    5. You believe that the plane passed the point of local midnight approximately 12 hours and 45 minutes after takeoff as this is 5 hours prior to the “200 mile” report, right?

    6. According to your theory, if Noonan took at observation at 14 hours after takeoff he would be in the portion of the flight between local midnight and the date line so should have used July 3,1937 for entering the almanac for his calculations, right?

    7. Assuming that you are correct that he should use the date of July 3, 1937 for entering the almanac for an observation 14 hours after takeoff, what time of day should he also use for extracting data from the July 3, 1937 page of the almanac for the observation taken 14 hours after takeoff?.

    8. By failing to use the date of July 3, 1937 for all observations of the stars during the flight between the point of local midnight and the date line, that the fixes Noonan computed from those observations placed the plane approximately 59 NM further east than the actual position of the plane, right?

    9. By failing to use the date of July 3, 1937 for all observations of the stars during the flight between the point of local midnight and the date line, that the fixes Noonan computed from those observations placed the plane north of the actual position of the plane, right?

    10, You stated that Venus was also available for observation during the flight between the point of local midnight and the date line, right?

    11. If Noonan took an observation of Venus during the flight between the point of local midnight and the date line and failed to use the date of July 3, 1937 for his computations, would a fix derived from that observation also have placed the plane approximately 59 NM further east than the actual position of the plane?

    12. If Noonan took an observation of Venus during the flight between the point of local midnight and the date line and failed to use the date of July 3, 1937 for his computations, would a fix derived from that observation also have placed the plane north of the actual position of the plane?

    So there are no misunderstandings, please answer these twelve questions first with a “yes” or a “no” (except question 7 which requires a time) and then add any additional comments you may think necessary to make your answers complete.
    ————————————
    I note that Mr. Manley posted on July 21st, three days after I posted my questions, so he had the opportunity to respond to my questions at that time but chose not to do so. That was his last post, almost two months ago, so it appears that he has abandoned the field since then and refuses to defend his hypothesis, which I take is his concession that he has now recognized the errors in his hypothesis.

    gl

    • Bill said:

      Gary, with all due respect, perhaps you should rephrase your interrogatories in a more non adversarial manner. All of the points you make are valid and I would imagine that Lloyd is prepared and capable of arguing in support of his theories. He might be more responsive if you did not make it appear that you were putting him under oath on the witness stand or into a deposition.

      This is a very interesting discussion and is worthwhile to continue. Noonan did something wrong, that’s for sure, and it appears to me that it points to impairment on his part.

  54. I can’t do that because my purpose is to avoid ambiguity and this can only be accomplished by asking short, non-compound, direct questions requiring direct answers. After he answers these non-objectionable questions we can then proceed with a clear discussion of his theory.

    gl

    • Bill said:

      Unless you make an adjustment in your approach to this discussion, then in all likelihood it will not go forward. You are way too confrontational in your manner and Lloyd will probably choose not to discuss it any further with you.

      It appears that you are attempting to put words into Lloyds mouth and then demanding a yes answer. That is not going to get you anywhere. It could be construed that those 12 questions are argumentative. What do you hope to gain by this approach? This is not a traffic nor divorce court with Judge Judy or whatever her name is. Surely you can rebut Lloyds argument in a more productive way that will encourage meaningful discussion. If you must have answers then supply them yourself and proceed on. If not, then I would recommend to kir that he terminate this discussion.

      • Frank said:

        LaPuke is one of the most antagonistic and arrogantly self-righteous people you will ever meet in Earhart land…he used appeals to authority to disguise his obvious trolling.

        He will never have it that FN was impaired in anyway, I don’t know why he has the hots for him, it was common knowledge at the time FN was a drunk and that was why he ‘left for other challenges’.

        You could show the man a Fred stumbling over the wing, with a bottle of liquor in his hand, and he’d say it was water and windy…

        Mr LaPukes appearance here is the same every board he ever goes on, you either agree with him or face confrontational advocacy, people keep trying to tell him, this is not a court of law, to no avail, and we all know how many howlers the courts of law make worldwide…

        FACT: Earhart was the pilot, Noonan was the navigator. Her job was flying the plane, his was navigating it. The plane didn’t get to Howland, it could have, it was close enough to be heard on the radio, all it needed was a navigator on the right side of sobriety, ergo, the navigator didn’t navigate. It is pretty simple.

        Yes, she was in command, and the captain takes responsibility for the lose, but this nonsense that it’s not the navigators fault for not navigating, is just sexism, something that, thankfully, more modern generations are phasing out.

  55. Why don’t you just let Mr. Manley speak for himself?

    gl

  56. George Anderson said:

    I just read Mr. Manley’s article for the first time. It’s unfortunate and disquieting to see so much back and forth around old details that basically have been pretty well discussed before this paper was ever released. Like most researchers, there are many controversial assertions that are needed to come up with a coherent new scenario and Manley does not disappoint. Most people for instance would be fascinated to learn how and where he learned that Amelia was planning to use Gardner as an alternate. Beyond that, I am fine with his gross thesis if he would learn a little more about celestial navigation theory and terminology and has the energy left to change his treatment of how the aircraft got off course. It has nothing to do with the dateline or Greenwich vs. local time as Gary LaPook may be trying to suggest but certainly can be attributed to other navigational errors. The professional tone of the article is weakened considerably by the almost automated and gratuitous attacks on everyone and everybody who have different theories. On a final point, its ok to say that you see things on a coral bed but its not ok to demean those who do not. There actually are folks who are undersea experts who are not inspired by this (larger) discussion and who see coral and ship debris. The aircraft is likely not there but I am willing to suspend judgement just to enjoy the possibility of a magic moment when the world would learn for certain that Amelia and Fred were NEVER on Gardner Island. What will we do with those bones, the freckle cream, the sextant box?

    Good job, Manley, hang in there and don’t give up on this!

    Everyone has errors when they publish but yours are recoverable unlike some of the ever present critics who just push other agendas.

    Regards,

    George Anderson, Baltimore

    • George,
      I spoke with Lloyd about cleaning up the article and he is thinking about it when he gets the time. He is confident that the basic theory is correct but agrees that some details may be off. Hopefully I can coax him back here soon!
      Thanks for the constructive comment.
      – kk

      • George Anderson said:

        Thanks,

        Seems like the train has run off the track with the focus on AE the feminist. She certainly was but I am not sure what that has to do with any of the events since she was also a big celebrity.

        She made all the decisions and while she did not have all the help that could have been made available, she also turned down an earlier offer of help from Pan Am to use their DF stations. The fact that a navigation error might have put the flight near Gardener at fuel exhaustion is possible because of the range calculations. The scenario could read like this: the crew survived the sea ditching but drowned or succumbed inside the aircraft due to injuries. The aircraft floated on or near the surface for days until it entered the reef area of Gardener and sustained more damage that destroyed its buoyancy. The point I am trying to make is that the end of flight point and the eventual location of the wreckage do not have to be close.

        Regards,

        George Anderson, Baltimore, MD

        • Hi George,
          Just spoke with Lloyd and you had it nailed pretty well. He thinks the article, like the entire subject, is a battle-ground over feminism and that no one really wants to talk constructively about the navigational errors other than to chide and condescend. So, nothing to gain by responding. What do you know about navigation techniques? Could you help and see if there is some way an impaired navigator could end up that far away from the target? I think that’s what Lloyd Is really after. Lloyd is convinced that an impaired navigator is the only answer because of the searches already done and the lack of any sensible, possible location so far.
          Thanks

        • Gish said:

          Hey, George, I think she was a big celebrity exactly because she was a feminist, I think that is why so many people bring feminism to the topic. Be honest, she had mostly only ever done what a man had done before -like the solo Atlantic crossing- but she got the acclaim and celebrity for doing what a man had done years before because she was a woman, pure and simple.

          It is hard to understand these days, post WW2 and the ladies showing they were as good as men in doing jobs outside of housework, but back then women a woman’s job was to keep home and children, movies of the era frequently have the ‘weaker’ female of the species fainting anytime something scary happened. That a woman could do as Lindberg was big, very big.

          Feminism didn’t end with AE’s death, but her disappearance certainly added fuel to the argument in male society and societies world over that she failed because women are not as good as men. You still hear this today.

          As for Gardner, it is hard to see how Frederick kept the plane on any sun-line for the hours it took to get to Gardner, there is no evidence he had any great knowledge of the Phoenix Group, and as he’d be flying by Dead Reckoning he’d still have to have a search pattern when the ‘thought’ they’d reached the Group. Makes no sense to me, unless, somehow he was ridiculously off-course, and just by mere chance found an island.

          All weather reports seem to give clear skies to the Phoenix Group that day, if that is true, Fred had the moon and sun to shoot, so he’d have a good idea if he were near Howland or not, so I see no need for him to take Amelia further south in the hope he found an island.

          As I see it, if they had fuel and couldn’t find Howland, they had two choices; 1) do the calculations, see if you have fuel enough to get to the Gilberts, a better solution than Gardner, they’d already crossed over the Gilberts, so knew where they were or 2) if the fuel is low -which some interpret her gas low message to mean- then search where you think Howland is until you hit the sea.

          I’m not ruling Gardner out completely, weird things do happen, but if FN couldn’t find two islands 40 miles apart -Howland and Baker- and a cutter throwing out all that smoke, his navigation that day, for whatever reason, wasn’t good enough to keep them on a LOP for the few hours it allegedly took to get to Gardner.

          I think that the two islands being close together is good indication of how lost they were, if they entered a search pattern in the region Fred thought was Howland, they had double the targets, AND both islands had people on them and neither island reported hearing or seeing her plane.

          True Howland was a few miles away from its then recorded position, but from what I have read by advocates and users of 1937 navigation, the Howland trip provided a simpler navigation than it at first seems; plot a course between the two islands, plan an offset -the logical one being north in this case, and hit the advanced sun-line LOP going south. No one knows what they done, they hadn’t relied on DF for any of the trip, so would they have relied on something they had not really used? I’m not sure, for sure AE requested a fix on her, and tried to fix Itasca, so she was using DF, but was that desperation because they had absolutely no real idea where they were?

          It is an interesting subject, and a mystery that I think now is unresolvable, unless someone by serendipity happens upon the wreck.

          It is amusing to step back and watch all the folks arguing that they and only they are right, while still the plane sits [probably] thousands of feet beneath the Pacific…if only the sea could talk…

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