Forum artHighlights From the Forum

October 8 through 14, 2000
(page 1 of 3)

(click on the number to go directly to that message)
1 Wyoming Messages Bill Moffett
2 Thoughts on a Train Ric Gillespie
3 Re: Noonan’s Uncle Bob? Jerry Hamilton
4 Credibility Assessment Matrix John Pratt
5 Re: Norwich City Gerry Gallagher
6 Bearing and Distance Frank Westlake
7 Re: Dissing Wyoming Message Hue Miller
8 Harmonics Mike Everette
9 A deluge! Dennis McGee
10 Re: Thoughts on a Train Gerry Gallagher
11 Notes in the Margins Harry Poole
12 Re: Thoughts on a Train Mike Everette
13 Pacific Air Pilot Cam Warren
14 Re: Thoughts on a Train Bill Conover
15 Re: WY message---Call Sign Ron Bright
16 Re: WY message---Call Sign Randy Jacobson
17 Re: Norwich City Gerry Gallagher

Message: 1
Subject: Wyoming Messages
Date: 10/8/00
From: Bill Moffett

Re. "8983638" in Betty’s notes

This may be too obvious, but the first two letters of a 1937 phone number were dialed with a number, same as printed on the keys of today’s phones. So 8 is T, U or V and 9 is W, X, Y or Z. It’s at least possible that AE/FN turned the letters into their equivalent numbers. Would TYler 8-3638 or UXbridge 8-3638, etc., produce a phone number we recognize? Wonder where Putnam was? How about his office or their homes in NY and CA - or the NY Herald-Trib?

Another thought on phones: my recollection of long-distance calls in those days is too hazy (I was too young to make them!) but I think we dialed 0 for Operator and gave her the location and number wanted. How about overseas calls --- were there "codes", like Z 38, Z 13, one might use to speed the call up? Let’s not forget that AE "called home" occasionally so she might have known the procedures.

If Randy hasn’t already given you this:

Commander, San Fran. Divn, USCG, radioed Itasca (Dztzf 1937042310COMFRANDIV, page 368 of Randy’s MSG8.PDF):


Follow up msg on page 372 (Dztzf: 193707050057COMFRANDIV):


Like Dennis I suffer from CRS but think CG and Navy decided this was bogus account freq. Also the date/time Rock Sprgs heard it is not given, but presumably sometime before 23:10Z on 7/4, which would be 15:10 PST, 7/4 - and also 6:10 PM that day in St., Pete! Wow - this is fun!

Bill Moffet #2156

From Ric

Thanks Bill. It does look like the CG dismissed the account because it was on the wrong frequency (which could have been a harmonic) and because it was signed "KDN" instead of "KHAQQ." On that basis they would have also dismissed Betty’s account out of hand. I think that the Rock Springs message has to go back in the "could be authentic" column for now at least.

Message: 2
Subject: Thoughts on a train
Date: 10/10/00
From: Ric Gillespie

Before I tackle the 150 (I kid you not) forum postings that have come in since Sunday night I’m going to throw out to the forum a couple of thoughts that occurred to me while riding on the train down to Washington yesterday.

Duration of the Event

Although Betty has said that she heard the transmissions over a period of about three hours, the notations on the pages suggest to me that the period was actually only an hour and three quarters. Notice that there are no time notations on pages 1 or 2. At the top of page 3 is the notation "since 4:30" and beside it is written "5:10." I suspect strongly that these notations represent the first time that Betty decided that it might be important to keep track of how long this was going on. I think the "5:10" is the time as she begins that page and "since 4:30" is her estimation of when she heard the first transmission.

At the top of page 4 is the notation "5:30" --- again, the time she begins that page. Beside it is the notation "1 hr." meaning that the transmissions have now been coming in --- off and on --- for one hour (since 4:30). At the top of page 5 is the notation "6:00" --- as before, the time she begins the page. Immediately below it is the notation "end at 6:15" which she apparently added when she was sure that the transmissions had stopped.

If this interpretation of the notations is correct, then we have good information about the length of time represented by each page.

Pages 1 & 2 -- 40 minutes (20 minutes per page?)
Page 3 -- 20 minutes
Page 4 -- 30 minutes
page 5 -- 15 minutes

There are the same number of lines and more or less the same number of entries on each page suggesting that the rate of received transmissions was roughly the same for each page. If there was a time when the pauses were longer and Betty flipped to page 44 to work on her drawings (as she says she did) we would expect that time to be during page 4 when the rate of transmission was slowest. This provides a possible context into which "KGMB" and "3105" might fit. Conversely, it appears that transmissions were coming in more rapidly toward the end because page 5 only spanned 15 minutes. That agrees with Betty’s recollection that Earhart the situation sounded more frantic toward the end.

What were they listening to?

Here’s another observation: the phrase "Here put your ear to it" certainly suggests that one person, presumably AE is trying to get the other person to listen to something by putting his ear to it. She’s talking on the radio. What can the "it" be except an earphone (the plane had no speakers)? She has the headphones on and she pulls one away from her head and says "Here put your ear to it." Why would she say that unless there is something to hear? They must be receiving transmissions. From whom? The only receiving antenna they have (if I’m right about the antenna usage) is the loop. Not a good long range antenna. The sending station must be quite powerful. KGMB? Are they listening to a morning news broadcast by KGMB in Hawaii? Maybe hearing news about the search? Remember, it is perfectly logical that they had KGMB’s frequency and logical that they might try to tune it in. KGMB sent a message on July 4 and again on the 5th asking AE to respond on 3105 with dashes --- and dashes were indeed heard.

On page 2 AE says "Oh, if they could hear me". Not "Oh, if someone could hear me." Who is "they" if not the people she is listening to on the radio?

Let’s take this a little further. Is it possible that KGMB interviewed George Putnam and Mary Bea by phone? If so, imagine the effect if AE heard her husband’s voice and Fred heard his wife. Amelia’s message to George about the suitcase and Fred’s repeated "Mary Bea! Mary Bea! (if that’s what "Marie" really was) suddenly become less strange.

Was the KGMB announcer named Bud? If so, "Hello Bud" makes sense.

Perhaps what we have is one half of a non-conversation.


Message: 3
Subject: Re: Noonan’s Uncle Bob?
Date: 10/10/00
From: Jerry Hamilton

Ric wrote:

>The Noonan bio material you cite is fairly, but not entirely,
>accurate. Perhaps some of our Noonan Project experts would care to

A little Noonan history in reply to the generally published data.

GENERALLY PUBLISHED (and this is pretty representative of what was usually in newspaper accounts of the time and also what’s in many Earhart books):

While Fred Noonan was known for his navigational skills in the air, he actually began his career at sea. In 1908 he ran away from home to become a sailor and spent years exploring the globe by boat, rounding the Horn of Africa seven times and working aboard Britain’s largest square-rigged ship, the Crompton. During World War I, Noonan served in the Merchant Navy in the North Atlantic and was torpedoed three times. He returned to school to learn navigation. While attending the Weems School of Navigation in Annapolis, he became interested in a career in aerial navigation. In 1925 he was hired by Pan American Airways as a flight navigator and navigational teacher.

What we have been able to find out/confirm:

  • The first sentence is true.
  • We don’t know whether he "ran away" from home. He left Chicago in 1906.
  • His first ship out of Seattle was the Bark Hecla.
  • He was aboard the Crompton in 1910, his second ship.
  • Don’t know how many times he went round the Horn.
  • He was in the N. Atlantic in WWI as merchant seaman.
  • A ship he was supposed to be on was torpedoed, he missed it. No confirmation of other incidents.
  • We have been through all of Weems’ records and found no evidence he attended the school and Weems, himself, never says he did (and he was not shy in his mention of famous flyers he taught, like Lindbergh).
  • He was hired by the New York, Rio & Buenos Aires Line a few months before it was merged with PAA in 1930.
  • His first job with PAA was not as a navigator or navigational instructor.

All this, and more, is in the Eighth Edition* when Mr. Gillespie makes it available.

blue skies, -jerry

*The Eighth Edition of the Earhart Project Book is available, along with much other material, in Research Papers.

Message: 4
Subject: Credibility assessment matrix
Date: 10/10/00
From: John Pratt

As I see the process of assessing Betty’s message, it looks something like this:

1. Seek anachronisms in the related pages
2. Reconstruct transmission
3. Assess content

Therefore I want to look ahead to the issue of content assessment. What follows is an attempt to clarify the assessment process by getting criteria and definitions "on the table". It is unlikely that everyone can agree on criteria, or agree on the relative importance of specific criteria. However, if a discussion begins without some framework confusion seems likely.

Already some postings have identified possible "categories" to characterize the notebook contents, and I think I saw:

  • Real Transmission---From AE and FN
  • "Ham Hoax"---Pirate Radio, transmitted hoax by noncommercial radio
  • Dramatization---Radio play, transmitted by commercial radio station
  • Betty Hoax---Made up by Betty

Maybe (surely) there are some I missed. The Betty Hoax is early discounted but included for completeness.

Already I see "characteristics" of these categories being cited and used for assessment. The following matrix is created to identify some of those characteristics and compare the categories based on those characteristics. Note that in some categories a characteristic may have a broad range of values, therefore it may not be a particularly good determinant of that category. Poorly-characterized categories may also be indicators of poorly defined categories, which require division into finer and more descriptive categories. Of course, the "Real Transmission" category will have more variability in its characteristics than the "Dramatization" category. On the other hand this type of analysis may identify some characteristics as critical indicators. Therefore, here’s a straw man matrix:

Real Transmission
Ham Hoax
Betty Hoax
Music No Unlikely Yes No
3 Hrs. Long Possible Possible No Unlikely
Commercials No No Yes No
Clear Reception Unlikely Possible Likely Possible
Story Line No Yes Yes Yes
Clear Multiple Voices Unlikely Yes Yes Yes
Dramatic Action Possible Yes Yes Likely
Clear Statement of Location Likely Likely Yes Unlikely
Specific Situation Details Yes-to-likely Likely Yes Yes
Specific Personal Details Possible-to-Likely Possible Yes Possible

Occult Situation Details

Likely No No No
Occult Personal Details Possible No No No

"Occult" does not refer to magic, only a compact notation for information "hidden" from the vast majority of contemporaries.

I expect that everyone who reads that matrix will disagree with one or more of my characterization-values. That is part of the beauty of this formalism because the discussion can then find a focus. If we can’t get something like consensus of what these categories will be like, it is unlikely that we can share conclusions that result. This type of discussion has already started, with the discussion that some sort of location should have been available for broadcast and therefore real transmissions should have that characteristic.

Another advantage is that it lets us identify the logic we are intuitively using. For example, one might say that the apparent lack of a coherent story line is an indication that this is a "Real Transmission" because the alternatives are likely to have a story line. Also, intuitively, almost everyone seems keen to spot the "occult" details that would strongly indicate "Real Transmission" because few outside the participants would know them.

Finally, it may show places where categories are "degenerate", not distinguished: For example, this set of characteristics does not seem to strongly distinguish "Real Transmission" from "Ham Hoax". The solution is to find more definitive characteristics or admit that the cases cannot be distinguished.

In conclusion, I have attempted to organize the logic some of the credibility assessment posted so far. I see two features:

  1. Some people have intuitively focused on characteristics that would support a conclusion of "Real Transmission" if found. It is probably not wishful thinking. If it finds the pony, they get the first ride.
  2. It is not clear from the discussion so far that we can strongly distinguish between a "Ham Hoax" and a "Real Transmission" based on internal content. Of course post-loss hoaxes were recorded so this is not a new problem.

John Pratt (2373)

From Ric

I really like this approach. Perhaps we need to put up an accurately aligned matrix on the TIGHAR website that we can then modify by consensus. I shall discuss this with the omnipotent webmistress.

(See Evaluating Betty’s Notebook.)

Message: 5
Subject: Re: Norwich City
Date: 10/11/00
From: Gerry Gallagher

The NC , like most rusting hulks would be a terrible place to hole up in. However, it is a very common occurrence in stranded and/or shipwreck situations to seek out a safe haven. The NC would have been their most obvious FIRST stop. It offered some sort of shelter (even though it would have proved to be a very bleak shelter). However, it has been proven that survivors will suffer initially until they can assess their situation. This is further enhanced if one or both of them are injured. They most definitely needed time to gather their thoughts and monitor their potential "rescue area" ... where the Electra went down. The hypothesis that TIGHAR has presented lends to the probability that AE and FN spent some time aboard the NC ... even if just for a few days. The other part of the equation is if one of them was seriously injured and dies of their injuries early after the crash ... chances are they would have died aboard the NC in a galley, wheelhouse or even the bowels of the ship where the water would help keep the temperatures down.

If we believe the hypothesis put forth by TIGHAR, we must then take the situation that initial step further and incorporate proven survival instinct mentality. Those instincts based on 3 important factors lead to an initial shelter period (and possibly a death aboard the NC).

The 3 things that AE and FN would be looking for after a horrific crash and being thrust into survival mode would be:

  1. Initial Shelter
  2. Food & Medical Supplies
  3. Base camp within site of the "rescue area"

Granted, with familiarization of their predicament they may wander farther away in search of food, and to search the islands for help. But you can be assured that they stayed close to that "rescue area" until all hope was lost that they would be rescued ... I would say it probably took a month for the reality that nobody was coming and they had to face the fact that they are now marooned with little hope of immediate rescue. It is at this point that the "survivalist mode" kicks in and alternate plans are made. If you take the hypothesis again and the finding of what is believed to be AE’s bones on the SE part of the Island then she was most likely into this "survivalist mode" when she died. Which in my opinion could have been from 1 month to about 3 months after the crash. After an extended period (more than 3 months) survivors usually begin building more permanent and extended base camps. No indication has been made that such an extended base camp existed. The only mention is of a fire ring and bones of dead birds in Gerald’s report. Thus, I contend that (based upon the hypothesis AND survival mentality AND the discovery of the bones and the site there THEN I would place a timeframe of 1-3 month survival and closer to the 1 month than the 3 month.

I also contend (based again on the hypothesis and above known facts of the bones of one person being found) that one died much earlier than the other. If injured badly in the crash ... within days. Another clue is that no rings, jewelry, coins or distinguishing relics are found near the body. This is not as unusual as may seem. Many survivors leave such relics behind in a conspicuous place along with notes or identifiers (wedding rings, coins of their origin, diaries, log books, scribbled letters/notes, etc.). the conspicuous object that commands the attention of anyone coming onto Niku must logically be the NC!

In brief summary and trying to piece together as much as can be derived from information gathered and accepting the TIGHAR crash location hypothesis early scenario of the survival scene would be:

  1. AE & FN crash near to the NC
  2. One or both are injured
  3. One (probably FN) has serious injuries
  4. AE & FN lose the Electra to the tides, gather up as much as they can carry and struggle ashore.
  5. AE & FN decide to take refuge on the NC until they can fully assess their situation.
  6. Any salvage material that can be saved is taken on board the NC .
  7. Within hours to days one dies of injuries and/or the complications of those injuries (probably FN) and if his injuries were severe enough to limit his mobility, he most likely died aboard the NC.
  8. AE, (now alone) stays close to, if not on the NC for a period of time and slowly explores the surrounding area. Perhaps finding the survival billet on the island (thus she has in her possession water container with cork and chain)
  9. Hope is fading of a rescue imminent and a larger exploration field is made. AE finally makes her way to the S.E. portion of the Island. She sets up a base camp probably consisting of a fire circle and temporary sleeping area.
  10. AE dies for one reason or another, perhaps a result of injuries/complications of her crash injuries. She dies at her base camp on the S.E. sector of the island. The body, fire circle, and bird bones are covered with sand by wind gusts and sand movement.
  11. Maude and Bevington arrive on the Island in October 1937 and Bevington and group of natives make their walk (a basic exploration walk) and see nothing of any life nor the remains that are now buried under sand drifts.
  12. Late 1939/1940 HEAVY storms hit the region (as per Gerald’s letter to Maude 20 Dec. 1939) "... we just had 3 weeks of violent westerly weather ..." he goes on to say that further bad weather is expected.
  13. Above noted storms blow sand in the SE portion of the Island and uncover the body and camp site and possibly topple the "kanawa" tree that stood not far from the remains.
  14. Early 1940 March/April/May a work party of natives find the remains camp.
  15. August 4, 1940 Gerald arrives on the Island and the story of the bones and subsequent flurry of telegrams begin. Taking into account that Gerald’s initial thoughts are that these are the bones of Amelia Earhart.
  16. The "kanawa" coffin is made from the tree that was "until about a year ago growing on the edge of the lagoon not very far from where the deceased was found"
  17. The bones leave Gardner for Suva.

CONCLUSION: The above is only an extended view of the hypothesis of the Garner reef crash of the AE/ FN Electra. It does take into consideration some facts, some speculation and incorporates some very reliable patterns that are known to be consistently evident in survival scenarios.

I believe that the Norwich City MAY hold some very important clues that AE and FN did land on the reef at Gardner and the story of their presence (whether the aforementioned view, or any other view) on the island can be substantiated by factual exhibits. The N.C. in my opinion has the potential to hold exhibits such are artifacts from the Electra, rings, coins, etc. left by AE or FN. ...FN’s actual remains onboard the NC, signs of survival aboard the NC and messages, diaries, etc. Time of course tends to eliminate the possibilities of finding any of the above. However, the NC being somewhat sheltered and void of some the deteriorating effects of the environment, has a MUCH better chance of retaining any artifacts and/or evidence of the presence of AE and FN in July 1937 than the miles of island terrain that is the alternative.

The aforementioned is my humble opinion and an attempt to elaborate on the TIGHAR hypothesis. I believe that is hard to believe that AE or FN survived longer than 3 months and most likely both died within a 6 week period of the crash!

If messages/clues/evidence/etc. are available on Niku then the NC may hold some of those "treasures" that lead to confirmation of the hypothesis. set forth by TIGHAR and the possibility that AE and FN did indeed perish on Nikumaroro.

Over to the Forum.

Gerry Gallagher

From Ric

An excellent summary. Thank you. I have only a few minor questions and quibbles, and one rather interesting, I think observation.

#13.----Storm. No real need to have the storms uncover the bones/campsite at the SE end. By the time Bevington and company were in that area on their walk around the island, they were in dire straits themselves and were only intent on getting back to where there was water to drink. Someone walking along that beach naturally stays down by the water where the sand is hard and sees little or nothing of what may be along the vegetation line at the top of the beach slope.

#14.--- On what do you base an August 4, 1940 arrival date for Irish on Gardner? Just curious.


>FN’s actual remains onboard the NC

Emily’s very first comment to Tom King about the bones for which her father built the box was:

The bones were found in the sea on Nikumaroro. There was a boat that was wrecked, but that boat belonged to New Zealand and that part of the island was named for New Zealand. Where the boat was on the reef. Not too far from there, is where the plane came down. [shown map at this point, she indicates area north of Norwich City on reef].

Later, Tom asked: "Where were the parts of the airplane?"

She replied:

Not far from where the ship was. Not toward the village but away from it. The struts were there. [holds up hands in circle, apparently indicating that the struts were round in cross-section, about 20 cm. in diameter] It was around that area were the bones were found. Could be bones from the ship or the airplane. During the westerlies, heavy swells took the rest of the bones away. There were not many that we found. Maybe 10 different people whose bones were found along that area. There were some with leather bottles and a pipe. I used to accompany my father to fish. Some people would not go to that area to fish because they were frightened. You would come up on the reef, then the beach comes up where the island shrubs start to grow. [with gestures and words, she and Foua indicated the storm surge line and first Scaevola line in from the beach] That is where the bones were found.

And later, Tom asked: "Please clarify about the bones. Were the 10 skeletons/bodies separate from the bones that were put in the box?"

Emily replied:

The bones of the 10 people were toward the shoreline, but these bones [the bones in the box her father made] were found on the reef near the remaining parts of the plane. People decided these bones were from the people from the plane. When I used to go to the place, the bones of the 10 people were still there. People who found the bones near the plane were frightened to touch them. They told Teng Koata of the bones and he told Gallagher. Koata had them collect the bones for Gallagher. Until I left the island, I hadn’t heard anything about what had happened to those bones. The government put restrictions that children were not to frequent that area.

When I interviewed Emily several days later, Emily’s story was slightly different:

Ric: Were there ever any bones found on Nikumaroro?
Emily: Yes.
Ric: What can you tell us about the bones that were found?
Emily: Some Gilbertese went to fish, they saw in the shallows some pools, at the place where the plane crashed, some bones, and they knew these were human bones because of the skull bone. They went and reported to Teng Koata, there were bones. So from that they assumed that these must have been the bones of those who were in the plane when it crashed. These were under the plane, near the plane. This was near the top end of the steel.
Ric: Did you see the bones?
Emily: I didn’t see them. We were forbidden, but my father told us.
Ric: Were the bones found while you were on the island or did this happen before?
Emily: These bones were found when we had already arrived on the island. These Gilbertese came and found bones and reported to Teng Koata. Then Teng Koata took them to the European. So it was arranged for a box to be made for the bones and the bones were brought. There were not many bones.
I later asked:
Ric: Were any other bones ever found on Niku?
Emily: Only these few bones they found. They do a search around that area but they found no other bones. Only these big bones that they found. I do not know how many. My father knew.
Toward the end of the interview Russ Matthews asked:
  You said there was a part of the island that was forbidden. Why was it forbidden?
Emily: It was forbidden because of the bones of the New Zealanders who died on the shipwreck. They thought the government may send in people to look for the bones.
Ric: So there was a place where there were bones from people who died on the ship?
Emily: I really don’t know that. There were people who used to go on board the wrecked ship. My father also went there. No ordinary people were allowed to go there.

(The complete interviews are on the website at Interviews.)

All of this is rather confusing and sometimes contradictory but it’s particularly interesting in view of the possibility that Noonan may have died either aboard the plane or aboard the shipwreck. The Gilbertese-style grave on the shoreline opposite the bow of the Norwich City looks more and more interesting.


Message: 6
Subject: Bearing and distance
Date: 10/11/00
From: Frank Westlake

You have told us several times what the distance is from Howland to Gardner but I can neither remember it nor find it on your web site (after about two hours searching). So please accept my apologies if this message was unnecessary.

I’m working with a hand drawn map on a large piece of graph paper so everything I do with it is highly inaccurate. Do you have handy the exact bearing and distance from Howland to Gardner? I get 159T 318NM and this is too close to some of Betty’s numbers to not have them checked. It would be an ideal fit if the actual bearing and distance are 158T 338NM but I hope my chart isn’t that far off.

Frank Westlake

From Ric

That’s an important enough question that I’m going to put it out to the Celestial Choir (which includes anyone with the charts and expertise to render precise numbers).



Subject: Re: dissing Wyoming message
Date: 10/11/00
From: Hue Miller

Ric writes:

> It does look like the CG dismissed the account because it was
> on the wrong frequency (which could have been a harmonic) and because it was
> signed "KDN" instead of "KHAQQ." On that basis they would have also
> dismissed Betty’s account out of hand.
> I think that the Rock Springs message has to go back in the "could be
> authentic" column for now at least.

Okay Ric, but you’ll be called on to explain which harmonic ( i.e. 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, 6x.....and so on) of 3105 or 6210 is ~ 16000.

Also, here’s KDN:

from: "Commercial & Government Radio Stations of the United States" Dept. of Commerce, Radio Division, ca. 1935 (no cover, have to date it in context of Berne Lists I acquired it with, and information I know about in it -- for example, does not include Itasca as having direction finder -- presumably added later, before 1937...)

Rock Springs, Wy. / Fixed aeronautical and fixed point-to-point/ KDN / 240 3360 3370 5920 5940 kcs. / Gov’t business exclusively / 24 hours / Owner: Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Lighthouses.

I am not exactly certain of the use of this station, as there is a separate listing for a commercial-aircraft station at the Rock Springs airfield.

Hue Miller

From Ric

I’m not competent to speculate on the harmonic but if the message was signed by a local government aeronautical station that seems pretty weird. Either we have hoax that was perpetrated by a local government employee who was so stupid that he signed it with the local call letters, or the "message was signed KDN" is in error.

Message: 8
Subject: Harmonics
Date: 10/11/00
From: Mike Everette

A possible harmonic generated in AE’s transmitter would have been 15525 KHz, the tenth harmonic of the frequency-control crystal (1552.5 kHz) used for a channel freq of 3105. This is also the 5th harmonic of the 3105 kHz crystal used for the channel freq of 6210.

The WE 13 transmitter employed frequency-doubling on both the HF channels, so the crystal freq was 1/2 the air freq.

15525 kHz would be an excellent daylight-propagation freq.

Mike E.

Message: 9
Subject: Le Deluge!
Date: 10/12/00
From: Dennis McGee

I came to work today and found more than 200 Earhart Forum postings . . . yikes, the boss is really going to be p***ed! Regretfully I didn’t have time to read them all, so, Ric, if this issue was covered earlier, just toss this away.

Betty claims she heard the transmissions for nearly three hours. Everyone (?) agrees that the batteries on the Electra would not last for three hours without recharging. They (just like "everyone") agree that the Electra’s right engine would need to be running to recharge the batteries.

1. Is it possible to run the Electra’s engine in a tropical environment for three hours at a high enough RPM for recharging the batteries (and/or operating the radio) without overheating?

2. Betty makes no mention of hearing an engine running nor does she hear any references to the engine running, or any "discussion" between the participants of running the engine. If one or more engines were running wouldn’t it be audible over the voice and/or wouldn’t the speaker have to talk louder to be heard. (In a moving airplane the pilot is moving away from the noise as he/she moves. If you’re not moving, you’re surrounded by the noise, hence needing to speak louder to be heard.)

LTM, whose boss is prickly today
Dennis O. McGee #0149EC

From Ric

It now looks like the transmissions Betty heard spanned a total time of only about an hour and three quarters. How much of that was actual transmission time was certainly much less. Remember that Nauru, on the evening of July 2nd, heard unintelligible voice that sounded like the same one they heard from the airplane in flight but "without the hum of the plane in background." Maybe we need to consider the possibility that no recharging was done.

Message: 10
Subject: Re: Thoughts on a Train
Date: 10/12/00
From: Gerry Gallagher

Is there any possibility that AE and FN are trying to reestablish communication with persons that they were able to establish communication with (Ham Operators) and what Betty is hearing is follow-up to previous answers to their calls for help?

Marie from New York
New York
New York
Marie from New York


Bud from California

or George

Perhaps the numbers are follow-up to numbers given out in the contact with the Ham Operators and an attempt to make sure they received the numbers.

The fact that names are thrown out as they are in the communication tends to sound to me like they are attempting to reach Marie, Bud and George again. People who may have picked up her faint message and were able to answer?

This would at least answer why names are repeated without any real message attached to the names. It is possible that they are calling out in vain to these people who had, against enormous odds, been able to answer their earlier mayday message prior to Betty picking up the signal.

Just another "look" at an intriguing set of scribbled notes.

Gerry Gallagher

Message: 11
Subject: Notes on the margin about Betty
Date: 10/12/00
From: Harry Poole

Ric wrote:

>It now seems likely that the notations were made by someone
>doing a background check on her during the war when she was working as a
>switchboard operator and had to be bonded for government work.

That is of course a possible explanation, but I think it was something else. The name in the Phone book was Helen B., and someone added Betty in the margin. Was it an investigator for the government during a background check? For that to be the case, the investigator went to the copy in the library to look up her number. Why wouldn’t he have used his own phone book?

I think it more likely that this lookup of Helen’s name was years later, when the only easy phone book which could be looked up would be in the library. In addition, theory also does not explain why only the 37 year city directory had the neighbors check marked. Why not the neighbors that were living next to her in 1942 (she had moved)? They weren’t marked with a checkmark. Why not neighbors in any other year’s directory? Why the 1937 directory?

Of course we can’t be certain what happened, but it seems unlikely to me the facts fit into the government investigation theory. Of course, it probably doesn’t matter, unless it implies that someone was checking her notebook story, and perhaps got information that disproved it (to them). And they missed it!

Harry #2300

From Ric

I agree.

Message: 12
Subject: Re: Thoughts on a Train
Date: 10/12/00
From: Mike Everette

Interesting idea re the half a one way conversation... but think on this, Ric:

If indeed they were doing this, they could NOT be listening at the same time they were transmitting, if they had only one receiver. The comm receiver (WE20) would be muted during transmission.

And if they were using the same antenna for rec and tx, the rec antenna post would be connected to the antenna relay in the transmitter. The relay GROUNDED the receiver antenna lead during transmission.

If they had TWO receivers, however... one for comm, and one for DF which might be the one on which they listened to the signal from KGMB, and separate antennas for each receiver... then it fits nicely.

But the battery drain from the transmitter and TWO receivers, all full of tubes and powered by current eating dynamotors, would be very high. Unless they had a way to charge the battery, it’d go rather fast.

Mike E.

From Ric

What would happen if the transmitter and receiver were completely independent systems -- the transmitter using the dorsal vee for an antenna and the receiver using the belly wire (now gone) and the loop?

Message: 13
Subject: Pacific Air Pilot
Date: 10/12/00
From: Cam Warren

>Just because Goerner said that he had established that they
>carried the document doesn’t mean they carried the document.
>Goerner "established" all kinds of things that weren’t true.
>What’s his source? I’ll bet you’ll find that somebody told him
>they had it on board. That was usually good enough for Goerner.

It’s S.A. remarks like that that give you a bad name! Just because you seem to have a personal vendetta against Goerner, Joe Gervais, Doris Rich, Elgen Long and anybody else who doesn’t swallow your favorite scenario shouldn’t be a reason for completely abandoning any semblance of objectivity on the Forum.

Incidentally, Rich’s use of Gene Vidal’s quote that Earhart intended to fly back to the Gilberts is CONFIRMED to my satisfaction. "Dusty Miss" notwithstanding, the material IS in the U. of Wyoming collection. Be sure and tell your new sponsor!

Oh, and it was Capt. Pye who told Goerner about the P.A.P.

Cam Warren

From Ric

Thank you for confirming my suspicions. There is nothing personal in my comments about Goerner, Gervais, Rich, Long, Brink, Klaas -- or Warren for that matter. Bad methodology leads to bad conclusions.

Message: 14
Subject: Re: thoughts on a train
Date: 10/12/00
From: Bill Conover

I tend to agree with your "thoughts on a train" concerning the time frame of the notes--I was curious myself over the span they covered and how much of a lapse between the fragmented entries existed. I also had, as you, the impression from reading the entries, that it appeared AE was hearing something and responding to it. The lack of direct response seemed to frustrate her.

The "put your ear to it" entry seems to me to be a reference to part of the headset, AE telling FN to listen to what she is apparently hearing. The entries just prior to that being the fragments of her responding to what she hears and trying to give information as to their location and condition.

Concerning the microphone, it would be reasonable to surmise that, if FN had a part of the head set to his ear, then he was possibly in very close proximity to it. Other entries are notated that he was yelling, which may have carried to the mic far better than normal conversation from a distance.

My further thoughts on the entries are that I have an impression that if FN was injured and not acting in a "rational" manner, the prospect of their having landed and left the plane and then returned to it over a period of time is slim. Once possibly, but I doubt more than that. It is quite possible they stayed in it the whole time till the water forced them out. Additionally, Betty remarks about the heat affecting the man. The temperature would have been pretty consistent each day at that time I believe, so I am left with the impression that his experience with it was probably new. The tide cycle also appears to be of great concern and strikes me as a new experience also. Had they been out of the plane for a while they should have been able to see the rise and fall of the water and how the aircraft was affected. Unless of course the waves were stronger and the water higher than normal, and the plane was beginning to lift and float--(BOB)--and slip off the reef.--fascinating stuff if these are genuine transmissions.

Two final thoughts here. One is that in the entries, the man is saying "quick, let me out" and "let me out" If FN was in the right hand seat, he would probably have to climb over AE to exit from the top (I believe that is correct). That could explain those statements. I wonder if it was common knowledge that he would be sitting there and not be in the back with the "table", (and bamboo fishing pole) that was supposed to be his navigation station? And the second is that the frequency of the number "3" in these entries is probably significant. It seems almost all include it. Possibly some should be "E" but there is something to this. I just wish I was talented and knowledgeable enough to figure out what it is.

Bill Conover

From Ric

Yes, Noonan would have had to climb over Earhart to exit the cockpit hatch regardless of whether he was in the copilot’s seat or standing in the companionway. Very cramped quarters. In fact, several of the comments in the notes make sense in the context of the internal layout of the airplane.

Message: 15

Re: Wyoming message---Call sign

Date: 10/12/00
From: Ron Bright

The newspaper account I have (The Honolulu Star Bulletin) states that the young lad could not hear any further numbers or any call sign. I don’t know the origin of the KDN sign off. He claims he only heard the faint voice "Amelia Earhart calling...ship on reef south of equator."

An interesting side note, is that Amelia landed at Rock Springs, spring 1937, and was sort of a town celebrity. An AP photo of her and the Electra at Rock Springs, made the AP’s top five photos of the 20th century or something like that. Maybe you have it in the TIGHAR collection.

This could, arguably, heighten the concern of citizens in Rock Springs when she was reported missing and lend some credibility to Randolf’s report on "16000" kilocycles---on an "inexpensive commercial radio" (no further info). You could also argue that the lad was overly influenced to the extent he made it up. Or using the same arguments about Helen of St. Petersburg’s notes it (the transmission) was either real, fabricated, a hoax, a re-creation type broadcast, or simply misheard, misunderstood communications from other legit sources.

Ron Bright

From Ric

The KDN reference comes from an official Coast Guard message describing an investigation of the Wyoming report. A big connection between Earhart and Rock Springs probably makes a hoax a greater possibility.

Message: 16

Re: dissing the Wyoming message

Date: 10/12/000
From: Randy Jacobson

KDN was the radio station reporting the hoax from Wyoming, not the originating station/person who heard the report in Wyoming.

From Ric

DUH! Thank you. Now I’ve got it.

Coast Guard headquarters in San Francisco sends Itasca a message that says:


Translation: KDN (the government radio station in Rock Springs) reports that it has investigated the signals heard near sixteen megacycles and thinks that they are from Earhart.

Have I got that right? That means that the signals were investigated and thought to be genuine!


Message: 17

Re: Norwich City

Date: 10/13/00
From: Gerry Gallagher

Answers to your response to my Norwich City summary:

Item 12

I believe you must have read that wrong. It refers to the storms of late 1939/ early 1940, that in my opinion began to uncover the bones that I contend lay buried under sand drifts for 2 1/2 to 3 years. The storms in the region (very violent North Westerly winds) is in line with the subsequent finding of bones in the SE sector of the island.

The storms could have also toppled the "kanawa" tree that was used to make the coffin. The work party may have been attracted to the downed tree as "kanawa" wood was the popular wood to build furniture on the island. Their attention to the downed tree could have brought them in contact with the bones (now uncovered from the sands that hid the remains for 2 1/2 - 3 years). The fact that mention is made of the tree being close to the remains and having stood close to where the bones where found, and Gerald notes on Dec. 27 1940 that "... the tree was, until a year ago, growing on the edge of the lagoon, not very far from the spot where the deceased was found" This dates the tree coming down around late 1939 early 1940 ... right in timeline with the storms. Thus it is more likely that the tree was felled by storms than being cut down by a work party.

Item 10
This item is where I refer to Maude/Bevington’s arrival on the Island in 1937. I contend that by simple natural sand drifts that the remains could have been covered up. But as you say it really wouldn’t have mattered. Bevington’s party of natives and himself could have walked right past exposed remains as they were in no other frame of mind than to get back to Maude and the Nimanoa. Bevington as a matter of fact hard pressed the natives to "get a move on"!
Item 13.
August 4 ... I apologise, that should have read the earliest would have been August 4th but most likely was sometime in early September. The point is when Gerald finally comes on the Island and takes charge of the "bones scenario" ... which his initial thoughts lead him to declare that he thought these are the bones of AE.
Yes, the problem with any folklore is that some of the facts can be innocently altered. The big problem with any type of verbal account of any incidents is what is fact and what is perceived or conjured up additives to the story. We have an old saying in Scotland that ... "A man tells a story of a plant seedling on one side of the town. By the time it reaches the other side it is the story of a flourishing forest" ... along the way the story develops its own life. The main point in Emily’s story is in my opinion "taboo" that existed from the Elders and that bones of some sort or other, from some source or other are attributed to ... near the Norwich City.
Conclusion: I FIRMLY believe that some extended time should be allotted to search the NC for clues and evidence. FURTHER, the grave nearby should be checked to at least eliminate it as a possibility being that of FN or AE. The ideal scenario is that evidence is found on board NC AND the remains in the grave are confirmed as those of either AE or FN. Thus, you put forward a time expenditure outline recently asking where time should be allotted. I VOTE FOR THE NC & GRAVE!

Gerry Gallagher

From Ric

Re Item 12: We have reports from the NZ survey of severe westerly weather for the first week of January 1939 and your esteemed cousin wrote of westerly gales that pummeled the island in the last quarter of 1940, but I don’t recall a reference to bad weather in late ’39/early ’40. Did I miss it?

I agree that we should take a hard look at what little is left of Norwich City and, yes, I’m real curious about that grave.

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