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On May 27, 2015 the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit denied Timothy Mellon’s appeal of the summary judgment ordered by the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming on July 25, 2014. Mellon, who contributed over a million dollars to TIGHAR’s 2012 expedition, sued TIGHAR and executive director Ric Gillespie in June 2013 alleging that TIGHAR had found the Earhart aircraft in 2010 and kept the discovery secret so as to raise money for further expeditions. After a year of discovery, depositions, expert witness testimony and hearings the Wyoming court dismissed Mellon’s charges as utterly groundless. Now, with the appellate court’s scathing rejection of Mellon’s appeal, one of the most bizarre episodes in the Earhart saga appears to have come to an end.


TIGHAR has relocated. Our new address and phone are:

TIGHAR • 2366 Hickory Hill Road • Oxford, PA • 19363 • USA


Nai'aThe tremendous response to our Down To The Wire appeal has closed the $60,000 gap in expedition funding. The ship charter is fully paid and the many boxes of TIGHAR expedition gear are on their way to Fiji. The TIGHAR team will depart from Los Angeles on Saturday, June 6. We’ll fly to Fiji, load our gear aboard Nai’a and begin the five-day, thousand mile voyage to Nikumaroro on June 8. We anticipate two weeks of search operations – June 13 to June 26 – before sailing back to Fiji. We’ll return to Los Angeles on July 1.

During the expedition, daily updates will be posted HERE on the TIGHAR website. Many of the updates will reference the new grid map in the Niku VIII Search Reference Kit. If you don’t already have yours, order one today and we’ll make sure you have it before search operations begin.

We Still Need Your Help

There have been more unexpected and unbudgeted expenses associated with the expedition amounting to several thousand dollars. Shipping costs are far higher than anticipated and the government of Kiribati has decided that we have to pay for five officials to fly from Tarawa to Fiji to clear the ship out of port – a new requirement – so please keep the support coming.

What to Expect From This Expedition

In 1988, TIGHAR began testing the hypothesis that Amelia Earhart’s final flight ended on the remote, uninhabited Pacific atoll known in 1937 as Gardner Island and today as Nikumaroro. Twenty-seven years of research, including ten archaeological expeditions to the island, have produced a preponderance of archival, photographic, analytical, and artifact evidence suggesting that the hypothesis is correct – but no single conclusive artifact has yet been found. Such a “smoking gun” object may or may not still exist, and if it does it may or may not be discoverable with the assets we can bring to bear. 

As with all searches, we cannot be confident of making a dramatic discovery. We’ve made many breakthroughs in the twenty-seven years we’ve been investigating the Earhart disappearance but there are never any guarantees. This expedition is nothing more, and nothing less, than an attempt to build on the preponderance of evidence that has already established Nikumaroro as the most likely answer to the Earhart riddle. If we find something conclusive we will, of course, be delighted, and you’ll be the first to know.

This expedition may be our last opportunity to find whatever more there is to find. It is extremely important that you contribute what you can. Please click here to donate today.


Niku VIII logoThe 14-person TIGHAR team will depart Fiji on June 8 aboard Nai’a for the five day, one thousand mile voyage to Nikumaroro, arriving June 13. Three types of search operations will run concurrently over the next fourteen days. Click HERE to read more.
Click HERE to support the effort to find Amelia Earhart.

Special Offer - Niku VIII Search Reference Kit

Niku 7The Niku VIII Search Reference Kit offers maps and photos in both print and digital format, including a NEW Grid Map based on the new GeoEye Foundation satellite photo. Click HERE to learn more.

EarhartThe Earhart ProjectWhat Happened to Amelia Earhart

The Earhart Project is testing the hypothesis that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan landed, and eventually died, on Gardner Island, now Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati.


Many thanks to our corporate sponsors:

Photek logo Thursby Software Markertek
GeoEye Foundation Bella Energy White's Electronics
Freight All Kinds ScubaPro Lehigh Testing Laboratories
Subsalve Bray and Scarff The Asia Group

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