Forum artHighlights From the Forum

February 11 through 17, 2001

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Re: Catholic Koata Tom King, Peter Vincent, Ross Devitt
Re: Noonan's Capabilities Dean Andrea
Re: Noonan's Capabilities Tom MM
Re: Amelia's 19:12 GMT Position Chris Kennedy
Re: Noonan's Capabilities Alan Caldwell
Re: Amelia's 19:12 GMT Position Alan Caldwell
Not Enough Fuel to Reach Gardner Island Janet Whitney
Re: Not Enough Fuel to Reach Gardner Island Marty Moleski
Reality of Howland Approach Janet Whitney
Re: Reality of Howland Approach Alan Caldwell
Unknown Persons on Gardner Island Janet Whitney
Reflections Dennis McGee
Itasca's Initial Search Janet Whitney
Re: Itasca's Initial Search Janet Whitney
Re: Itasca's Initial Search Janet Whitney
Missing Dakar? Shirley Walter
Re: Itasca's Initial Search Janet Whitney
1 N 177 W Janet Whitney

Message: 1
Subject: Re: Catholic Koata
Date: 2/12/01
From: Tom King

Ironically enough, my wife's dissertation adviser when she got her PhD at the U. of Penn in the '80s was Ward Goodenough, who did a brief ethnographic study in Kiribati in the 1950s, his principal informant being none other than Koata. Dr. G. says Koata had very little to say about his time on Niku, but that he had a son who was last heard of on Ocean Island, where he'd been interviewed by a Norwegian anthropologist whose name Goodenough gave me. Lonnie Schorer, then in Norway, tried to contact the anthropologist, who, however, ended up to be somewhere in Africa and didn't respond to repeated inquiries. I've written to authorities on Onotoa, but to no avail. Put an inquiry on a Kiribati web site and got a response from a young man from Nikumaroro Village in the Solomons (in school "on the island of Ohio"), who said he knew someone in the village named Koata (so the name has apparently passed along). I haven't pursued the matter lately, but will, again, once I get a few other things off my back.

The particularly interesting thing about Koata's son is that to judge from what Goodenough was able to tell me about his age, he should have been about ten years old at the time of the bones discovery. We don't know if he was on Niku at the time, however.

Tom King

From Peter Vincent

The catalyst to the dispute later recorded as religious factionalism which led ultimately to riot, wounding and murder arose initially from a tax collection issue; for which Teng Koata, in addition to being Native Magistrate, was the Government-designated tax collector.

Prior to a visit, in April, of the LMS vessel John Williams, two villages decided to prepare a generous gift of copra. The JW was licensed to trade through the Gilberts. However, Koata foresaw a major complication --- the island's copra tax was due to be delivered in June, and the proposed gift for the Mission was so big, he knew it would strip the villager's trees of every ripe nut during April and May He proposed that if the villagers reduced their Mission offering by two-fifths, the balance of the copra saved would be enough to cover the tax liability. However, this was interpreted by the village headmen not merely the voice of a Roman Catholic sinner [and now quoting from the papers of then Resident Commissioner Arthur Grimble] "but one who had treacherously in his adult years gone over to the Scarlet Woman."

During the rioting, Koata suffered an almost fatal head wound, but his character and statesmanship were later widely recognised when the riot leader Ten Naewa, had his sentence reduced from 14 years on testimony that he had protected Koata from the rioters. Incidentally, Naewa's counsel [or Prisoner's Friend] --- Teng Koata!

Notwithstanding K's possible standing with the Niku's new colonists, can't you see this remarkable man working so well with Irish Gallagher. There is a line by an old Gilbertese poet Taata: "If I did not with heart and body live the life of my people, how could I sing songs to touch their hearts." Either man could have said that!

Peter Vincent

From Ric

Thanks Peter. Is this all in Grimble's papers and, if so, where are they?

From Ross Devitt

> I swear Wombat, every once in a while you earn your keep.

See, I'm not just a pretty face...


From Ric


Message: 2
Subject: Re: Noonan's Capabilities
Date: 2/12/01
From: Dean Andrea

I had read this post when it was originally posted and am still not sure what are the specific examples of less than rigorous techniques employed by Noonan. All I see in the posting by Doug are speculations--- other than the fact that Noonan did not have expertise in radio operations. But I thought Pan Am Nav's had a separate person for this when Noonan was with them. Also, Noonan did NOT have any Radio beacons to home in on near Howland. Also, we don't know how far he missed Howland and if TIGHAR's hypothesis is correct he did find Gardner, although, granted, this may have been sheer luck. I feel a little dumb here for my lack of knowledge in Nav techniques and aviation in general but all I see here is speculation and antedotal info.??

From Ric

Of course, any discussion of precisely how Noonan navigated the Lae/Howland flight is speculative, but the current examination of Noonan's practices on other flights is neither speculative nor anecdotal. The charts and notations from the Oakland/Honolulu flight by Earhart, Mantz, Manning, and Noonan in March 1937 still exist, as does the chart Noonan used for the South Atlantic crossing during the second World Flight attempt. These are primary source, contemporaneous documents which describe what Noonan did and did not do during those flights and, thus, may be taken as some indication of how he might approach similar transoceanic navigation problems.

There was, in fact, a "radio beacon" at Howland in the form of signals provided by the Itasca specifically for that purpose. In addition, Earhart and Noonan anticipated that the Itasca would be able to use its own DF gear to obtain bearings on the approaching plane and tell her which way to fly. The situation Noonan therefore expected was directly analogous to that he experienced during the PAA Clipper flights (with AE in the role of radio operator), and the Oakland/Honolulu aboard NR16020 during whihc harry Manning acted as rdio operator. The South Atlantic crossing provides an example of Noonan's techniques and accuracy in the absence of DF help on the destination end.

We don't (yet) have detailed data on Noonan's performance on the PAA survey flights but the data for both of his ocean crossings with Earhart indicate that, uncorrected by radio navigation, he missed (in the South Atlantic case) or would have missed (in the Oakland/Honolulu case) his target by roughly a hundred miles.


Message: 3
Subject: Re: Noonan's Capabilities
Date: 2/13//01
From: Tom MM

Well, it has been quite a while since I looked at this and plotted the data from the research CD files out, but I have a few recollections that I'll toss out in the hope of getting some correction or clarification. Right now, I don't have much time for the forum, so I'll have to leave most of this debate to others.

First, I don't defend the relatively infrequent fixes --- and remember, there were actually two competent navigators on board even though as I recollect FN was "navigator" and HM served as "radio operator/navigator". Both were very familiar with the concepts, rules of thumb, and so forth of celestial nav. I don't know if this would have been help or a hindrance. Either the two them would put their heads together on this (even if just one did the procedures) or they could have been walking on eggshells to stay out of each other's way (and therefore could have gotten very much in the way of good navigation). Still, it was not just FN on that flight. Maybe the two of them did not mesh well, or alternatively, two navigators may have led to some degree of overconfidence.

As to the flight, I appeared to me from the initial course that the intended track was a rhumb line rather than a great circle route. I do not have any knowledge of their intent, so this is a pure guess from the data. In this instance, the great circle route ran north of the rhumb line route. During the flight, their actual track departed from the rhumb line course, veered across the great circle course, then ran roughly parallel until they began to turn southward on an adjusted heading to bring them back on target for their destination.

They did get well off their initial intended track, but they appear to have known where they were (from infrequent fixes) and to have made efforts to update their headings for Honolulu. From a limited look at the data, it appeared that while they would have been 100+ miles off enroute, they were on course (from a more northerly track than initially intended) toward their destination in the final phases of the flight. I remember being surprised at the crosstrack error in midflight, but later concluded that it mattered fairly little in terms of additional flight time/distance, as long as they simply adjusted their future headings from each fix and did not try to return to the initial intended track. I don't know what the "standard of the time" was. With more frequent fixes, they could have done better, but they didn't. Although not in the raw data, a DF steer could have helped them home in to landfall. If so, would they have been unable to locate themselves and find their own way in absent that DF signal? I can't tell from the data.

I have not seen the 8th edition, so I don't know what is presented there. I do find it hard to believe that absent DF they would have missed landfall by as large a margin as I understand (or misunderstand?) is alleged from recent posts (with both FN and HM on board). Could a few more tidbits be shared with the forum so we could get a better picture?


From Ric

Bob? Doug?

Message: 4
Subject: Amelia's 19:12 GMT position
Date: 2/14/01
From: Chris Kennedy

There is a flip-side to all this CPA work that is very troubling to the Niku hypothesis developed thus far, and I wonder if anyone has considered it. That is, if Earhart was as close as people are computing to the island AND knew it, her ability to run in BOTH directions (north and south) along the LOP to find Howland improved greatly IF our assumption is correct that she had at least 4 hours of fuel remaining. Let me explain: The transmissions from the plane confirm two things: First, that Earhart knew she was very close to her destination ("we must be on you but cannot see you"), and that she turned onto the LOP ("running north/south on the LOP"). If she was between 80-100 miles from Howland when she turned onto the line and knew it, that's substantially under an hour's flight time for the Electra. Therefore, if she had four hours of fuel left, and gambled she was north of Howland when she moved onto the LOP, she would've known after an hour or so of flight that she was wrong (that is, that she was actually south of Howland and had flown one hour further south along the LOP). She would still have three hours of fuel left, which is plenty of time to turn back north to Howland, with probably an hour or so of fuel left when she got there (I compute this by assuming she was an hour of fuel south of Howland when she turned south, flew an extra hour, and so will have to use two hours of fuel to get back to Howland). Indeed, reagrdless of whether she was north or south of Howland, Earhart would've known that after about an hour's flight time on the LOP she had either been wrong as to whether she was north or south, or had simply flown right over the island. But, the important thing is that she would still have had ample fuel left to turn in the opposite direction and make another try. So, putting all this CPA and fuel level work together, it appears to me that Earhart would've been able to make several attempts to locate Howland using the LOP as a guide, and crazy to have struck out for Niku once she realized that she had turned onto the LOP south of Howland.

--Chris Kennedy

From Ric

Good point Chris, but we can't say, "... Earhart knew she was very close to her destination ("we must be on you but cannot see you")...". But she did not KNOW she was very close to her destination. She THOUGHT she was ---- but she also knew that something was wrong because the island had not appeared in the windshield. Was it just over the horizon or were they nowhere near where they thought they were? The only hint she had was that, at 19:30, she received the "A"s on 7500. The Itasca had to be fairly close for her to hear that, but how close is fairly close --- 50 miles, 100 miles, 200 miles? We of course don't know how much fuel they had remaining but it looks like they could have had as much as four hours to play with.

They must stay on the LOP because it's the only navigational lifeline they have. The lifeboat at the end of that lifeline is the certain knowledge that, no matter where they are on the line (within range of hearing the "A"s from Itasca), if they fly southeastward for --- at most --- 300 nautical miles, they will come to an island. If they're now too far north, they'll reach Howland. If they're now just a little too far south they'll reach Baker. If they're now more than about 50 miles too far south they'll reach Gardner. They might not know what island they're going to hit until they get there.

So, how much gas do they need to fly 300 miles? A good guess might be a little over 100 gallons (2.3 hours at 130 kts burning maybe 45 gph because they're down low). In other words, whatever exploring they do to the north, they must return to their starting place with at least 100 gallons left. We figure that at 19:30 they have, at most, 175 gallons remaining. That means they have no more than half of 75 gallons (37.5 gallons) --- or about 45 minutes --- to spend exploring to the north before they must turn around and head south. IF that's what they did, and IF they were more or less accurately on the LOP, then they must have originally been far enough south on the LOP to be able to go 100 miles north and still not see Baker --- call it 150 miles. That seems a bit far based upon Bob Brandenburg's radio propagation figures.

Of course, the less fuel they have, the sooner they must head south and the less they can afford to explore northward and the less off course they can be to the south. We may be able to determine for sure where the flight ended but we'll never be able to say for certain how it got there.


Message: 5
Subject: Re: Noonan's Capabilities
Date: 2/14/01
From: Alan Caldwell

> The actual track was plotted from Noonan's navigation data, which Randy
> Jacobson obtained from the actual chart used by Noonan.

I think I've been asleep. I had in mind that whatever chart and data used by Noonan for his actual flight from Lae to Howland in July of 1937 is most likely still in the plane, wherever that is. And even if by some miracle one has that chart it would only tell what was planned but little of what happened.

I'll second Oscar in that weather conditions could have put AE's plane far off track and it is typical to plot a new course to destination rather than waste time and fuel rejoining the preplanned course. An exception would be if there was a particular check point one wanted to over fly.

There is some indication the plane was somewhere within sight of the lights at Nauru or near a ship near that mid point but beyond that we know nothing of their flight path or altitude or of the winds and weather until the "we must be on you" call placed them at some unknown point within strength 5 radio range. We don't know where Noonan plotted Howland so we don't know exactly whether the LOP passed over or several miles from Howland. Also don't forget the sun did not provide a course line inbound but DID once they arrived at the LOP and turned on it. Also don't forget Noonan was not necessarily limited to the sun as a navigational aid. The moon and one or two planets were available if weather permitted ANY sightings. If anyone wants to fuss with me about this further I'm at so we don't waste the rest of the forum's time. Perhaps we can come to an acceptable position and post our collective conclusion.

Methinks we're tilting at windmills once again. I have. It's easy to recognize.


From Ric

Some confusion seems to have crept in to this discussion ("Confusion Creep" being a common forum problem).

The navigational analysis was of the Oakland/Honlulu flight, for which good records do exist. The point of the whole exercise was to learn something about Noonan's usual methods --- which seem to have been been looser than has often been assumed.

There is no credible indication that Earhart ever saw the lights at Nauru. She did say she saw a "ship in sight ahead" which may have been either USS Ontario or SS Myrtlebank. It really doesn't make much difference which one it was.

The only conclusion drawn is that Noonan's usual nav techniques perhaps make it more credible that, absent help from DF, the July 2nd flight struck the LOP well south of Howland.


Message: 6
Subject: Re: Amelia's 19:12 GMT position
Date: 2/14/01
From: Alan Caldwell

> We may be able to determine for sure where the flight ended
> but we'll never be able to say for certain how it got there.

That's the most accurate summation I've read in awhile. If Noonan could shoot the sun he could shoot the moon and at least one planet all of which would give him a fairly accurate position. If this was the case they would not have strayed far before heading on to Gardner which, as Ric pointed out, was a fairly sure bet. Although the reported local weather data doesn't support it Noonan may not have been able to shoot celestial in which case he was DRing best he could and may not have been close enough to see the islands. Even over the islands they could have easily been missed due to sun glare on the water and scattered CU below. Once they headed SE the reported weather indicated a reasonable probability he could see the sun at least and that alone could get him to Gardner. I don't see fuel as a factor other than limiting loiter time.


From Ric

The big bugaboo is that scattered CU. We know they descended to 1,000 feet during the approach to Howland. The only logical reason was to get down where they could see something. As you know, from altitude, a scattered deck below may as well be solid cloud except for whatever is directly under you.

Once they were down low and running on the LOP the scattered deck above may have greatly limited Noonan's ability to take celestial observations. The clouds are in the way and it's bumpy down there. What do you do? Burn precious fuel climbing back up on top, during which you can't look for land? Or do you stay low and DR down the line, keeping a sharp eye out for salvation?


Message: 7
Subject: Not Enough Fuel to Reach Gardner Island
Date: 2/15/01
From: Janet Whitney

The Electra was loaded with 1100 gallons of fuel at Lae.

At a rate of 38 gallons per hour cruising at altitude, the Electra's fuel would have lasted about 29 hours, ignoring an overloaded take-off, overloaded climb to cruising altitude, flying overloaded for about 8 hours, headwinds, flying off-course, etc.

It would have taken Earhart and Noonan about 24 hours to fly to Gardner via Howland. This would have consumed 912 gallons of fuel at 38 gallons per hour and ignoring the above. This would have left 188 gallons of fuel for "operating contigencies" (the overloaded conditon of the Electra, headwinds, etc.)

But it appears that the Electra burned an extra 188 gallons (and more) during the first 8 hours of flight. So Earhart was, in fact, "low on fuel" as she approached Howland.

I don't see how she had enough fuel to fly from the vicinity of Howland (within 50 miles) to Gardner. Straight-line distance between Howland and Gardner is about 425 miles.

Janet Whitney

From Ric

Janet, you're ignoring the original source data and making up your own oversimplified version of the situation. This horse has been beaten to death and buried and I'm not eager to dig it up again.

Message: 8
Subject: Re: Not enough fuel...
Date: 2/15/01
From: Marty Moleski

Ric wrote:

>... This horse has been beaten to
> death and buried and I'm not eager to dig it up again.

You can exhume the carcass by starting in at Highlights 68 and following the messages in the associated threads.

The longer the airplane flies, the lighter it gets, the more the engines can be adjusted to fly at more or less the same airspeed while consuming less fuel. I can't do the calculations, but I respect them.

Guesses about headwinds/tailwinds at various altitudes come into play, too. Lastly, IF (a big if) our dynamic duo were off to the south of Howland, their search north and south on the LOP may not have required lots of extra fuel.

Marty #2359

Message: 9
Subject: The reality of Howland approach
Date: 2/15/01
From: Janet Whitney

The reality of Earhart & Noonan's approach to Howland is that they did not have much fuel left when they approached Howland Island. Certainly not enough to reach Gardner Island.

Ann Pellegreno and her crew (which included 2 experienced pilots and one of the best navigators in the world, as well as state-of-the-art navigation equipment, factory-installed Collins SSB radio, etc.) found it very difficult to visually acquire Howland Island on July 1, 1967, in weather conditions close to those Earhart and Noonan encountered on July 2, 1937.

Earhart's radio transmissions indicate that she was close to Howland Island and the Itasca at 1912 GMT, then flew out of line-of-sight radio range of the Itasca, then flew within line-of sight radio range of the Itasca by 2014 GMT, flying North and South along a 157-337 line. A short time later the Electra ran out of fuel.

My estimate is that the 157-337 line they were flying north and south on was about 25 miles west of Howland. This area wasn't searched for over a week after her disappearance.

Janet Whitney

From Ric

Well, I guess that's it then. One niggling question before we all go home --- who was the woman who died on Gardner?

Message: 10
Subject: Re: Reality of Howland Approach
Date: 2/16/01
From: Alan Caldwell

Janet wrote:

> The reality of Earhart & Noonan's approach to Howland is that they did not
> have much fuel left when they approached Howland Island. Certainly not enough
> to reach Gardner Island.

Janet, once again you amaze me. I thought they had enough fuel to get to Gardner. What information do you have that no one else has that says they didn't?

> Ann Pellegreno and her crew (which included 2 experienced pilots and one of
> the best navigators in the world, as well as state-of-the-art navigation
> equipment, factory-installed Collins SSB radio, etc.) found it very difficult
> to visually acquire Howland Island on July 1, 1967, in weather conditions
> close to those Earhart and Noonan encountered on July 2, 1937.

I didn't know we knew enough about the weather in 1937 to make that comparison. What is your source for the weather on July 2, 1937 at the location of the Electra wherever that was?

> Earhart's radio transmissions indicate that she was close to Howland Island
> and the Itasca at 1912 GMT, then flew out of line-of-sight radio range of
> the Itasca, then flew within line-of sight radio range of the Itasca by 2014
> GMT, flying North and South along a 157-337 line. A short time later the Electra
> ran out of fuel.

How did you find out the Electra ran out of fuel a short time later?

> My estimate is that the 157-337 line they were flying north and south on was
> about 25 miles west of Howland. This area wasn't searched for over a week
> after her disappearance.

What facts (FACTS) did you use to place the LOP 25 miles west of Howland?


Message: 11
Subject: Unknown person on Gardner Island
Date: 2/16/01
From: Janet Whitney

In all the postings to the Earhart Forum, where are the evil and malicious people who wanted to cover up the events surrounding Earhart's disappearance, hide her remains, hide the Electra's remains, etc.? I haven't seen any. In fact, I've seen just the opposite.

Remember that Earhart was a friend of the Roosevelts, was widely respected outside the United States, and was treated well during her various flights --- from 1928 onward.

Earhart's flight occurred in an era when courtesy, good manners, and exemplary behavior were the norm among educated people.

No one had a motive NOT to rescue Earhart or to hide her remains, Noonan's remains and the remains of the Electra.

If TIGHAR really wants to find the Electra, start looking at 1 degree North latitude, 177 degrees West longitude.

Janet Whitney

From Ric

I am truly baffled. First you say (quite correctly) that there has been no suggestion on the forum that anybody tried to thwart the search or hide the plane or its crew. Then you say the reason for that is because people were nice back then.

Then you suggest that TIGHAR begin its search in an area of open ocean through which, according to the official record, Itasca passed within a few hours of the disappearance.

Message: 12
Subject: Reflections?
Date: 2/16/01
From: Dennis McGee

If you'd known ahead of time that the search for AE and FN was going to be so lengthy, so difficult, so frustrating, etc, would you still have set out on the journey? I know it is a trite question, but inquiring reader would like to know.

LTM, who has a short attention span
Dennis McGee #0149EC

From Ric

Ahhh.. a philosophical question. How refreshing. The first time I went to Maine looking for The White Bird (April 1984) I expected to find it that weekend. By the time we launched the Earhart Project in 1988 we had learned that this kind of research is a process rather than an event. Nonetheless, when we mounted the first Earhart expedition in 1989 we never dreamed that there would be more than one. The airplane would either be there or not --- right? Right.

The really amazing thing about this investigation has been the constant stream of new information that keeps turning up. Just when we think we've looked under all the rocks we turn a corner and find a whole field of boulders nobody knew was there. The Earhart story has turned out to be infinitely richer and more intriguing than anything previous researchers had imagined (and some of them have very good imaginations). It's a wild ride and I wouldn't miss it for the world.


Message: 13
Subject: Itasca's Initial Search
Date: 2/16/01
From: Janet Whitney

There is no indication that the Itasca was close enough to 1 N 177 W on July 2nd that the crew could see wreckage on the water. The area along a 157-337 line 25 miles to the west of Howland wasn't searched until over a week after Earhart's and Noonan's disappearance.

Janet Whitney

From Ric

Just looking at the search charts in the Navy report it looks like Itasca went right through there but I haven't plotted out her course step by step from the deck logs. Have you?

Given the many unknown and unknowable variables in this puzzle it seesm the height of hubris to presume that you or Elgen Long or Alan Greenspan can pinpoint where the airplane went down. We began with a hypothesis about where the airplane may have come down and began testing that hypothesis by looking for evidence that an event of that nature occurred in the place where we suspect it occurred. So far the results are very encouraging.

Your hypothesis may be true but testing it violates Ockham's Razor (Check the easy stuff first).


Message: 14
Subject: Re: Itasca's Initial Search
Date: 2/16/01
From: Janet Whitney

Ric, as usual you exaggerate. 1 N 177 W would be a good starting point to search on a 157-337 line. As best as I can determine from what's been published (including by TIGHAR), the Itasca didn't get within 10 miles of 1 N passed through a point about 1 N 176 40 W on a 157-337 line through Howland and traveled about 55 miles on this course before turning east to search. No one searched the area west of Howland for a week after Earhart and Noonan disappeared.

From Ric

So you haven't taken the hour by hour course changes recorded in the Itasca deck log and plotted them out to see where the ship actually went. What data are you relying on?

Message: 15
Subject: Re: Itasca's initial search
Date: 2/17/01
From: Janet Whitney

I looked at all the TIGHAR postings I could find on-line. Also other published material. One minute of longitude equals a mile at the Equator, right? Distance one can see debris floating on the water from a mast height of 50 feet is about 7 miles, right?

If TIGHAR has some material from the Itasca's log books that is not on-line, please put the material on-line so that we can all see it.

It seems to me that TIGHAR is quick to mix fact with speculation. Examples: TIGHAR's forensic analysis of recovered shoe components vs Gallagher's speculation about recovered shoe components; typical radio propagation in 1937 on 3105 kilocycles vs. "harmonics;" typical fuel consumption of extremely overloaded Model 10E Electras vs. TIGHAR's analysis of Earhart's fuel consumption; TIGHAR's near certainty about the loss of one of Earhart's antennas on take-off vs. the lack of eyewitness and physical evidence that it happened. And so on....

Janet Whitney

From Ric

It wasn't TIGHAR who said:

The reality of Earhart & Noonan's approach to Howland is that they did not have much fuel left when they approached Howland Island. Certainly not enough to reach Gardner Island.

The deck log of Itasca is in the National Archive. I feel no obligation to research your pet theory for you.

Message: 16
Subject: Missing Dakar
Date: 2/17/01
From: Shirley Walter

It seems, the way so many things have been distorted in books and reports, that perhaps AE didn't really state the matter this way. Perhaps Putnam thought it would seem or sound better to the public. Sorry, but I have to defend AE from some of the many desparaging (?) remarks that are made about her at times.

Anyone, male or female, attempting these flights (for records,etc.) back in those early days certainly had a lot to contend with and it took some guts. Sometimes, more guts than brains, so they say. But, somebody was going to do it sooner or later just because it was there.

Shirley W 2299

From Ric

The apparent fabrication does seem to have been written by AE in her dispatch to the Herald Tribune the next day. But why? I have a theory ( I always have a theory).

Even today, only certain airports are designated as "airports of entry" for any given country. AE had permission to land at Dakar, not St. Louis. Both were part of Senegal, French West Africa. It may be that she feared that if the French authorities learned that the flight had intentionally bypassed its approved destination to land at an unapproved airfield, the French authorities would make a huge stink about it. Maybe impound the airplane; levy a fine; who knows?

Better to cook up a story about how they ended up at St. Louis by mistake and attribute the error to her overriding the advice of her navigator. A brilliant ruse when you think about it. She assumes the role of a "silly woman" who ignored the advice of a man. She makes herself appear vulnerable without impugning the competence of her navigator. The French are going to fall all over themselves to be gallant --- and they did --- but now she's stuck with the story and it becomes history.


Message: 17
Subject: Re: Itasca's initial search
Date: 2/17/01
From: Janet Whitney

So...when I visit the National Archives on spring break and examine the Itasca's deck log and find that the Itasca wasn't within 10 miles of 1N 177 W, TIGHAR will say?

Janet Whitney

From Ric

TIGHAR will say, "So?" Itasca wasn't within ten miles of a lot places. When the airplane failed to show up at Howland, the captain of the Itasca decided that it must have run out of fuel and gone down at sea long before it was expected to be out of fuel. (It was thought at the time that the plane should be able to remain aloft until noon.) He based that decision largely upon an alleged radio transmission ("only ½ hour gas left") that, in retrospect, was almost certainly misheard. The Itasca went tearing off to search the area where the captain thought the airplane was most likely to have gone down. They found nothing.

Like the captain of the Itasca, you have misunderstood the available information and have decided that the airplane ran out of fuel and think you know where it must have gone down, but unlike him, you don't have a boat so you can't go prove yourself wrong. I'm not about to do it for you.

Message: 18
Subject: Re: 1 N 177 W
Date: 2/17/01
From: Janet Whitney

Nothing magic about 1N 177W except it's a place to start a search along a 157-337 line consistent with information (not speculation) about Earhart's disappearance.

Some of the engineering students here estimate we would need a fishing trawler that could handle 17,000 feet of Kevlar line and a pressure vessel to house a video cam, video recorder, strobe light, bottom-ranging sonar, and sonar transponder. Would that be a big deal? We don't think so.

After towing the video cam system in a systematic search pattern for (say) 3 months we would know what is and is not on the sea floor in the vicinity of Howland Is.

Janet Whitney

From Ric

I'm gonna start charging money for forum subscribers to read your postings. Nothing that funny should be free.

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