||How does TIGHAR’s theory differ
from from that advanced by Elgen Long?
Elgen Long is the patron saint of the crashed-and-sank school. To put
AE in the water near Howland he needs the airplane to burn fuel much faster
than it should have. To do that he postulates a climb over a mountain range
on New Britain.
The cause of Elgen Long’s hypothesis for climbing rapidly
to10,000 feet has to do with the Chater
Report, which documents all of Earhart’s transmissions to Lae,
New Guinea after take-off. (Eric H. Chater was the General Manager at Lae
for Guinea Airways Limited.) Quoting from his report...“The Lae operator
heard the following on 6210 KC - ‘Height 7000 feet speed 140 knots’ and
some remark concerning ‘Lae’ then ‘everything okay’.
The plane was called and asked to repeat position but we still could not
get it. The next report was received at 3.19 pm on 6210 KC – ‘height
10000 feet position 150.7 east 7.3 south cumulus clouds everything okay’.
The next report received at 5.18 pm ‘position 4.33 south 159.7 east
height 8000 feet over cumulus clouds wind 23 knots’.”
The 10,000 foot elevation comes from the second position
report, but that location is obviously in error: 7.3 south is 0.3 degrees
south of Lae, and 150.7 east does not make sense considering time of
flight within any reasonable bounds close to 3 PM Lae time. Earhart did
have to fly over New Britian, but we have examined a topographic map
of the island, and her flight path passes right through a low-lying (less
than 1000 foot) wide path through two major mountain ranges, and would
have been an easy navigational “fix” to
home in on. Earhart’s other messages suggest flight paths at considerable
heights, but well within her operating envelope. Of course, considering
the partial messages received, the erroneous position report, it is not
clear that much credence can be given to these heights. For more information,
see our Review of
Elgen Long’s book.
FAQ by Randy Jacobson