Highlights From the Forum
September 24 through 30, 2000
(click on the number to go directly to that message)
|18||Tides and Storms||John Pratt|
|19||Takeoff Distance||Tom Roberts|
|20||Something New||Michael Holt|
|21||The Notebook||Mike Everette|
|22||"Betty" in St. Pete||Don Neumann|
|23||Post-Loss Receptions||Hue Miller|
|24||Post-Loss Receptions||Hue Miller|
|25||Films & Songs in the Notebook||Ric Gillespie|
I note the interest in tides, especially related to the hypothesis that AE and FN landed on the coral flats on the west side of the island. I can see three, maybe four questions to be answered with tide information.
4. Perhaps even breakup rate and dispersal direction for the wreckage.This is recognized in the current FAQ entry and the implication that enough people ask to justify FAQ production isn’t lost on me:
So I tried the people who do tide predictions: NOAA.
They have an excellent FAQ, providing enough background for even me.
Basically, they offer tide tables for any date, even 1937, for anyplace they have the "Harmonic Constants" used to calculate the Tide Tables.
So it doesn’t hurt to ask:
> I have an active
fantasy life, so let me share some ideas:
>> II - III. Assuming
observational data does become available at some point
> 1. Your web site
gave a very clear explanation of the effects of possible
> 2. IF data were
obtained to allow calculations
> 3. IF data were
obtained to allow calculations
> Canton Island
is roughly 200 NM away.
Much of this was confirmatory, but I see a possible way forward. It’s an instrumentation problem, a "Long Term Monitor (LTM?) project (unless NOS would loan a portable data acquisition station). A month of data might be possible.
One of the Tide Charts mentioned above is almost certainly out of the question, but I see two cases in the record where there are storms in early July, 1937.
Could the storm surge waves be more important than ordinary tides for aircraft breakup and dispersion? It seems likely.
Could the wind direction (and implied flow of water) provide a direction for that dispersion? It would be nice to investigate.
So I see two mention of storms: As early as 1138 on July 2 Itasca had suggested that the Navy send a patrol plane to assist in the search, but it was 1923 before a plane headed south under the command of Lt. W. W. "Sid" Harvey. He and his seven man crew would spend the next twenty-four hours and three minutes aloft only to land where they had started D forced to turn back barely three hundred miles from Howland by "extremely bad weather." (An Answering Wave.)
Another report of the same incident:
At 0700, the Patrol Plane reported her position at Latitude 6°35′ North, Longitude 172°00′ West, that the weather was extremely bad and that it was necessary for her to return to Pearl Harbor. (Friedell’s Report.)
And one I can’t find my way back to, a mention of Colorado experiencing heavy weather and seasick NROTC cadets on approach to the general search area.
Assuming that the PBY and Colorado experienceed the same storm, it must have been relatively large, a significant regional weather feature. Its intervention before the Colorado aerial search suggests that it could have inflicted enough damage on the Electra to prevent observation in the search on July 9.
Is there a record from the Itasca or the Swan logs? One would expect that those logs could provid wind speed and direction and sea state. Would they also mention the direction of local wave action?
Thanks John. Good observations and good follow up. We’ve long wondered about the swells generated by that disturbance. Bob Brandenburg recently made the following observation:
I’m a little late with this, but it still may be of interest.
A few months ago, Oscar Boswell posted a very impressive (at least to me) assessment of the Lockheed’s performance based on similarity with other comparable aircraft. However his "back of the envelope" calculation of the effect of a five-knot headwind on takeoff distance (~300 foot reduction) left me doubting, as usual.
So I tried something a little more rigorous, using Excel and Newton (F = m x a). First, I iterated on net thrust (constant engine thrust minus a constant friction force) and drag coefficient (secondary effect) until the 15,000 pound aircraft reached 100 mph over a distance of 2900 feet in still air. This takeoff run took approximately 38.8 seconds. Then I included the effect of a 5 knot (5.75 mph, 8.43 ft/sec) headwind. The aircraft reached 100 mph (airspeed) in 36.6 seconds over a distance of 2582 feet. The difference of 318 feet is in very close agreement with Oscar’s numbers.
LTM (Who never doubted
Oscar was right)
It’s never too late for good numbers.
Betty’s notebook tale is great, but -- as has been suggested -- why could it not be a local production? Was that not the era of live and local dramatic productions? Is there any reason to feel that station(s) did NOT create such programming?
If it’s possible to get some idea of the frequency Betty was monitoring, would it not be worthwhile to figure out what station(s) might have created a dramatization of the crash?
This kind of stuff makes me suspicious. If Betty’s notebook can survive a TIGHAR attack, it’s gotta be real.
LTM (who knows that
Kato wasn’t Filipino until December 8, 1941)
The best argument against what Betty heard being a local production is that she heard it very sporadically on short wave over a period of more than three hours. Betty’s neighbor could not pick up the signal but did not have the large antenna array that Betty’s father had erected. If it was not the real thing it seems more likley that it was a fairly elaborate hoax perpetrated by someone at a considerable distance.
This brings to mind the Orson Welles "War of the Worlds" broadcast on Halloween in 1938. Mass panic... it sounded "real" to people then; but to us nowdays who are more sophisticated, used to massive media coverage, when we listen to recordings of the broadcast it sounds hokey or quaint.
Before someone suggests that somewhere in the annals of network history there may be a record of any such dramatization of AE’s predicament, please recall that there were different networks in those days... records may be hard to come by.
Also, be assured that many local stations produced their own dramatic shows in the 30s... not all programming came from a network.
Whether this is real (we hope... dream??) or a hoax or a misinterpretation may be most difficult to prove.
Something that lends a modicum of credence: if "Betty" was into radio, airplanes et al, remember that a lot of a/c communications could be heard in those days on the average home "all wave" receiver, and many home sets had SW since FM was still in the future. People were crazy about radio then, like they are over computers today. Short wave radio was hi-tech in the 30s.
6210 KHz is very close to the 49-meter SW broadcast band (actually at that time it was in the midst of it). It would be logical for someone to be tuning the 6-MHz band and quite possibly stumble onto something.
This would be a longshot... a real "long haul" halfway around the world on 49 meters... but by some fluke it could be remotely possible. I have myself heard some strange things I’d have considered impossible. Never say NEVER regarding HF propagation... but I sincerely doubt it could ever happen on 3105.
LTM (who hears EVERYTHING)
Think you’ve got a phony here, in all of her recorded radio transmissions AE _never_ used her name, only her call sign.
How was ’Betty’ able to ...’get the impression’ ... that the ’man’ had a head injury or ...’gathered’... that they had crashed on land & were threatened by water, when, having trouble keeping up with the speaking speed of the person broadcasting (she was only jotting down a word or two, here & there) on an ordinary shortwave set, from a distant, unclear radio signal that was ...’fading in & out"..& was ’distorted’?
Perhaps you should question her first about just how many AE books she’s read over the past 63 years (some of her revelations sound very much like stuff I’ve read in some of those books), as I suspect you have here some very old recollections of a woman, who once was a 15 year old with a very active imagination, who may have simply appropriated for her own journal some of the subsequent details of the search for AE, including any newspaper accounts of the many radio messages allegedly heard by numerous operators during the time frame after the plane was presumed down & missing.
Even if you can’t track down any corroberating witnesses or family members, at this late date, maybe newspaper articles appearing in the local St. Pete press of that era, might provide some clue as to just how much information was reported in the ’local’ newspapers about the radio messages allegedly received after the plane was presumed down.
Should be interesting what the other Forum members have to say about your latest ’find’ & especially those from the ...’other net’..., many of whom insist that not only were the post-landing messages valid, but that they somehow pinpointed the location of the landing in the Marshalls or Saipan!
This kind of rush to judgement is exactly why we’re not releasing the full transcript until some real work has been done.
One complication to the post-loss receptions is the low tuning dial accuracy of radio receivers in use by hobbyists – or actually just about anyone – in 1937. IF you had once heard a station for sure on 3105 or 6210, and you marked your dial or noted the position, you could maybe reset the dial to within 5 kHz or a couple kHz at best, if you decided you needed to monitor on those frequencies again. If you hadn’t noted the calibration ahead of time, you might be within ± 10 kHz or even 20 kHz. With a lot of background noise, weak voice coming in & out of the noise, guesswork or imagination enters the picture.
So a one-time event makes more sense than if somebody claimed that they heard signals on different occasions?
> So a one-time
event makes more sense than if somebody claimed that they heard
No, all I am suggesting, and I really don’t know the content of the various post-loss receptions, that people would have been easily tuned to some other frequency than 3105 or 6210, they could have been hearing some other kind of weak, fadey signals going on, and then their own imagination kicked in.
If they heard a signal and it was in fact nearby but not exactly 3105, for example, 3106, you would know for sure it was a hoax, as AE’s transmitter was crystal controlled and would not vary more than some few tens of Hz. (I see that her transmitter had a heating element next to each crystal ( "crystal oven" ) to regulate the crystal temperature and keep the frequency solid. Actually, unnecessary overkill in the world of AM equipment....) However.....most listeners then didn’t have any way to check the tuned station’s frequency that accurately....so we cannot prove or disprove anything by this....
That’s right. Betty has no idea what frequency she was listening on. She was just tuning along the dial and stopped when she heard something interesting.
Below are listed the films and songs referenced in Betty’s notebook in the order in which they appear. Determining the release date for each could help establish when the notebook was in use.
Black Legion - Humphrey
It Looks Like Rain
(on Cherry Blossom Lane)
Page 31 (numbers may refer to Hit Parade ranking?)
9. Love Bug Will
(Then written below)
The Love Bug’ll
Where Are You
There’s a Lull In
A Sail Boat In The
They Can’t take
That Away From Me
It Looks Like Rain
Where Are You?
Johnny One Note
All God’s Children’s
Got Rythum [sic]
You Can’t Run Away
From Love Tonite