Highlights From the Forum
February 25 through March 3, 2001
(click on the number to go directly to that message)
|Re: Koshu||Kerry Tiller, Ross Devitt, Thorsten Randolf|
|Probability of Success||Tom MM|
|Re: Failure to Communicate||Bob Brandenburg|
|Going in Great Circles||Oscar Boswell|
|Plan B||Don Neumann|
|The Wreck of the Canton||Woody|
|Re: Koshu||Ron Bright|
|Re: Plan B||Marty Moleski|
|Re: Harmonics||Chris Kennedy|
|Understanding the LOP||Don Neumann|
|Re: Harmonics||Mike Everette|
|Re: Plan B||Mike Everette|
From Kerry Tiller
For the Koshu hunters: I suspect "Koshu" and "Goshu" may be another transliteration difference. "Goshujin" is a term used to refer to someone else's husband, but my dictionary doesn't list a word for "Goshu" by itself. "Kyushu" is an altogether different colored horse. Kyushu has no meaning that I know of other than the name of one of the Main Islands. Different Kanji, different phoneme. As for the use of "Maru" with ship's names, the IJN and its current incarnation, the JMSDF, did not/do not use Maru in the names of warships. It is possible that there may have been a navy ship called the Koshu and one or more civilian ships called the Koshu Maru.
From Ross Devitt
The list I sent you was for the Koshu Maru-- a freighter. There may have been other Koshu ships around that time. Th' WOMBAT
From Thorsten Randolf
Kamoi was a seaplane tender converted from an oiler in 1922, and reconverted to an oiler in 1943. She was definitely no research or survey vessel. MfG Thorsten Randolf
Kamoi was also not involved in any Japanese search for Earhart. It would be interesting to pin down the Koshu if only to see if she had any capability to lift an airplane onto her after deck, but for that we'd need a photo of her circa 1937 and at this point we're not even sure what Koshu we're talking about.
Your response was:
>I'm not trying to avoid answering your question. I'm saying that I can't
This is not a closed form solution question. On the other hand, you make assertions about running down the LOP without any analysis of the probability of success, and it is presented as if with a simple wave of the hand, they depart the Howland area and splat down at Niku. This can be done and it is done all the time by navigators. Much of what we discuss on the forum involves some level of assumptions.
When Bob was DR'ng that DD out there, he no doubt did his level best to estimate every component that could affect his estimate of position, and he had at least a good feeling about the size of the area of uncertainty of his position estimates, and based on that, an idea of what he could do (or maybe not do) navigationally under the circumstances. FN would have done the same, and it would be part of the decision process. What if the best case estimate indicates (say) a 20% chance of passing withing visible range of Niku? Note that this would in no way rule out Niku, but it could diminish the LOP as a piece of supporting data.
The reason I'm pressing TIGHAR to look at this is twofold. First, the result will indeed be subjective (but an honest subjective can be very useful), and that is fair enough, since it is TIGHAR's forum. Second, I like Bob's Essential Conditions, and I think that the uncertainty portion of the 157-337 LOP should be dissected to TIGHAR standards. Obviously, it is not up to me to decide what TIGHAR should pursue. Nuff said.
I guess I'm not clear about what such an estimate is supposed to accomplish. Suppose we decided, as you suggest, that running down the LOP had only a 20% chance of success and we make the assumption that Fred went through the same exercise and came up with the same number. Therefore....? What better option did he have? It seems like any factors that operated against an accurate run down the LOP would have an equally adverse effect upon an accurate run in any other direction (for example, back to the Gilberts or off toward the other Phoenix islands) without the advantages of the LOP.
I should have pointed out that on June 26th, Earhart sent the following to Richard Black:
Note that here she is asking Ontario to transmit on request. But since Ontario could only communicate on frequencies below 600 kHz, and only on CW, there was no way Earhart could have made such a request.
I neglected to mention that, on July 1st, Earhart sent the following to Black, modifying the previous plan:
This message could indicate that Earhart realized that she had no way to request Ontario to transmit the desired signal, so she changed the procedure from "on request" to "broadcast". This would have fixed the problem had the message been relayed to the Ontario. But there's no record of Black having relayed the message to the Ontario. The message was relayed from Earhart in Lae to Black on the Itasca via the Navy radio station at Tutuila, so it is possible that Tutuila took the initiative and relayed the message directly to the Ontario - - although there is no record of that having happened.
In any case, it would be reasonable for Earhart to assume that the second message was relayed to the Ontario, and that the Ontario would be broadcasting the requested signal on the requested schedule. If Ontario did get the message, the broadcast would have occurred and if, as we suspect, Earhart's DF gear was rendered inoperable on takeoff at Lae, she would not have been able to get a bearing on the Ontario - - and she could have turned back to Lae. If Ontario did not get the message, the signal expected by Earhart in her second message would not have been sent by Ontario, and Earhart would have heard nothing. In this case, as well, Earhart would have had a warning that her DF gear wasn't working, and could have turned back to Lae.
No radio log from the Ontario has ever surfaced but her deck log makes no mention of anything except "steaming on plane guard station." Itasca's deck log, by contrast, includes many comments about radio activity.
First, thanks to Bob Brandenburg for his response to my posting about Great Circles. It's good to have Bob confirm that the Great Circle track is well North of the rhumb line track from Oakland to Honolulu, and not "coincident" at all. I accept Bob's figure of 80nm (92 statute miles) rather than the 120 nm I estimated --- doubtless my failure to compensate for the expansion of the latitude scale in a Mercator projection as distance from the equator increases accounts for part of the difference. (I do note however that the Great Circle calculator at www.info.gov.hk gives the latitude of the great circle track as 31° 24.921' N at 140 W, while the rhumb line calculator at www.aeroplanner.com gives the latitude of the rhumb line at 140 W as 29.842°N. Converting to the same format gives 29°50.52' N, a difference of 1°34.40, or 94.4 nautical miles, which equals about 109 statute miles.)
That being said, it was precisely to avoid quibbles about such matters that I requested that BOB provide us with information on the great circle in a way that would relate it to the other information on his map. If we don't get "everybody on the same page" we're going to continue going in circles in this discusssion.
Grateful though I am for Bob's response, I am also disturbed by parts of it. I itemize them not as a personal matter, but simply because I believe they give clues as to the nature of Bob's responses to questions about his conclusions and their bases. Some of those disturbing items are:
1. Bob's characterization of the word "coincident" (which means "in the same place as") as "navigator-speak" for an entirely different concept (great circle and rhumbline being of nearly equal length). I did not read Bob's use of the word as being anything other than a dismissal of my comment that the great circle track was North of the rhumb line track. HE HAD ALREADY SAID THE LENGTH WAS NEARLY IDENTICAL. Is there a glossary of "navigator-speak" that supports this usage of "coincident"?
2. Bob's (new) comment that he had "checked a few way points on the great circle track ... [and thus?] had all the information needed to decide that plotting the 'great circle course' would provide no useful information" raises a rather obvious question: why didn't he simply say so, and tell us what he had found? Bob answers: 3. "I assumed you meant that I should plot all the points on the great circle track. If you believe that isn't a tedious and time-consuming task, then I think you would find it instructive to do so." This is one of Bob's protean passages, so let's spend a minute on it. Bob has already pointed out (quite correctly) that flying a great circle requires an "infinite" number of course changes. That means, of course, that there are an "infinite" number of points in the great circle. Poor Bob would thus be doomed to spend eternity calculating all the points --- and he'd never make it, because even eternity never reaches infinity. I don't blame him for declining the task, as he tacitly defines it --- but he's creating unnecessary problems for himself --- and for us. And that's why I dragged poor Zeno in --- Zeno created an analogous (and equally unnecessary) problem for himself, by essentially the same procedure Bob is following: dividing an occurance (or, in Bob's case, a task) into an infinite number of increments of inifinitely short duration. Zeno overlooked the difference between interrupted and continuous motion, and Bob overlooks the distinction between analyzing a task as a series of infinitely small steps and simply doing it. Now Bob understands this distinction quite well, most of the time. He obviously has found it possible (despite the theoretical infinity of the task) to calculate that the divergence is only 80 nm, not 120. And he finds it possible to say that FN was X miles north of waypoint Y on the great circle track. After he gives it a little more consideration, I hope that he will conclude that it is no great crime against cosmic justice to put 8 or 11 great circle waypoints on the map and freehand a curve approximating a great circle.
4. Bob says "It remains true that Noonan could not have been attempting to follow a great circle. Whether he was attempting to follow an approximation to a great circle is a different question." It's the ONLY question -- what's the answer? We all understand that a practical "great circle" can only be an approximation. It's frustrating to have this nitpicking. I am very interested in what Bob has to tell us. I am trying very hard to undertand (a) what that is and (b) what it is based on. I shall sincerely appreciate any help I receive.
I hope you have received the copy of the GUBA navigation log I sent you last week. Some items to note about the chart are:
To go back to Noonan's navigation for a moment (or I should say, to navigation in general --- let's decide if it applies to Noonan later), what should a navigator do who finds himself well off his intended track on a long flight over open ocean, laying aside questions of wind or weather? Assume he is flying from A to B, and at some meridian of longitude (LON) the great circle from A to B lies at latitude X and the rhumb line course lies at Y. At LON the navigator finds himself at Z, which is some substantial distance from both X and Y. (Assume the midpoint of a 2000 mile flight, Z 100 miles North of X and 200 miles North of Y.) Should he attempt to return to the track AXB (great circle) or to the track AYB (rhumb line)? Isn't the shortest distance from Z to B the great circle that intersects Z and B? And isn't the least complicated way the rhumb line from Z to B? What should he do? Is there an accepted technique, and what is it? Bob, what do you think?
I await with great interest the arrival of the copy of Bob's map that you kindly said you were sending me. I shall attempt to avoid further comments about it until I see it.
My apologies for not getting Bob's map to you sooner. You should have it Tues. (FedEX tracking number 8258 2601 2365).
Today I received the Guba chart and find it very interesting. The course flown from San Diego to Honolulu is a beautiful piece of work and seems to very closely approximate a great circle. (Bob, I'm sending it on to you for delivery Tues. FedEx tracking number 8258 2601 2376.)
I think you'll find the contrast to the Earhart (Noonan/Manning/Mantz) flight from Oakland to Honolulu quite apparent.
We also have another example of Noonan's navigation over the same route. Weems' 1938 Air Navigation includes a map showing the track of the 1935 PAA Clipper flight from Alameda to Honolulu with both rhumb and great circle lines shown. (I'll send a JPEG of it to both you and Bob). As in the 1937 flight, Noonan stayed on or close to the rhumb line for the first few hundred miles but then he wandered north to the great circle and then back down to the rhumb line and then back to the great circle and then back to the rhumb line and so forth until he was in fairly close to Oahu. Seems like he took the Great Snake route.
Aren't we now, at least implying, that FN did calculate an offset to the south of Howland? Otherwise how could he have determined just how far north they could/should safely fly on the LOP, if he had not at least some estimate of just how far south of Howland they were on the LOP?
There still remains the main difficulty (to my mind at least) in understanding just how they intended to be rescued, if they did decide on a plan 'B' turn south on the same LOP to the Phoenix Islands? AE provided no clue as to such intentions in any of the messages received by Itasca, even though she had established no meaningful two-way radio communication with Itasca, which at that point in time was the only source known to them (AE/FN) capable of accomplishing any potential rescue mission, if they succeeded in reaching & safely landing in the Phoenix Islands.
Did AE (total speculation) expect that by giving Itasca the established LOP & informing that they were...'running north & south'... on the LOP, would be sufficient for the hearers of such a message to extrapolate that they (AE/FN) were going north & then would head south, to the only possible landfall (for anyone checking that line on a chart) on the same LOP, within the range of the estimated remaining fuel supply?
Seems to me that maybe... the fatal flaw in such a plan was the fact that by the time AE followed-up on her next scheduled radio broadcasting time frame, (while heading SE toward the Phoenix Islands) Itasca may have been steaming to the W/NW, away from Howland & out of the Electra's radio range.
I do not think that Noonan used any kind of offset, nor do I think that there was ever any Plan B that was discussed in any more detail than Noonan possibly mentioning to Amelia something like "If worst came to worst the LOP I'll be able get at sunrise has some other islands on it down to the south."
When worst did come to worst, the decision about how far to explore northward along the LOP was dictated purely by the estimate of remaining fuel and the known distance between Howland and the farthest island on the LOP (Gardner). When they start southward Noonan is still hoping that the island that will eventually appear will be Howland. I think Amelia's "running north and south" message is ambiguous because she really didn't understand what Noonan was doing.
Yes, when the plane was probably headed southeast the ship was headed in the opposite direction but that didn't happen until two hours after the 08:43 message. The big problem ( I think) was that AE had switched frequencies.
One of the National Geographic articles I sent you has the story of the Canton towards the end of the article. It might be worthwhile to post it. I would but I hate typing. Woody
It's worth at least summarizing because it is an instance of castaways being marooned on an island in the Phoenix Group.
At 1:30 a.m. on March 5, 1854 the New Bedford whaler Canton went aground at an island known previously and variously as "Mary Balcout's Island", "Swallow Island", "Mary Island", "Balcout Island", and Bulcot Island". She had been in a tropical storm and the captain believed that he was not near any reef or island until he found out otherwise in the worst possible way. (This is very similar to the way Norwich City ended up on the reef at Gardner 75 years later.)
Being a whaler, Canton had four boats that were used to take her entire 32-man (no women) crew ashore safely and also bring off a quantity of water and provisions before the ship broke up. They hung out on the island until March 30, 1854 when, supplies running low, they decided to try to rescue themselves by sailing the small boats to some inhabited place. They were shooting for the Kingsmill Group but missed it and ended up at Tinian in the Marianas after 45 days at sea. Lots of hardship and adventures, but all four boats made it and there was no loss of life. In 1872 the island where they had been wrecked was renamed "Canton Island" by Commander Richard W. Meade of the USS Narragansett in honor of the crew's epic voyage of survival.
This incident, and the wreck of the Norwich City, point up what seem to be some typical characteristics of maroonings:
Mark Peattie's book, Nanyo, describes the Koshu as a Japanese navy "small survey ship". The Capt was Konishi Tatehiko, who "served from 1934 to 1937 as the head of the Imperial Japanese Navy's liasion office in Koror..." He assumed command in 1933 but was reassigned to Toyko in 1937 (date unknown), so he may not have been the CO in July 1937. The vessel was permanently homeported at Koror and was the only IJN ship permanently stationed in Micronesia until the late 1930's. The vessel gathered data re weather, topography,etc., spending considerable time in the Caroline Islands.
Loomis said the Capt of the Koshu, a "survey ship", in July 1937 was Capt Hanjiro Takagi.
In June 1984, Bilamon Amaran described the ship as a "Japanese Military-cargo ship" to author/researcher Randall Brink, but Amaran identified the ship as the Kamoi.
Amaran reportedly told some earlier interviewers he wasn't sure what the ship's name was. Amaran does not provide any detailed description of the ship,i.e., length, superstructure,etc.
Note: It appears that the 17,000 ton Kamoi, a ship that carried 16 seaplanes, was a much different type of ship then the 2,100 ton Koshu cargo or survey ship , and easily distinguishable.
Thanks Ron. I hadn't realized that Peattie mentioned the Koshu.
> The big problem ( I think) was that AE had switched frequencies.
> Amen! That probably also answers the question as to why she didn't tell
Bingo! I fault AE and FN for their failure to problem-solve their radio problems more than anything else. She (the only one recorded on the transmitter) never seems to have understood how grave their situation was. Even if the Itasca had been able to get a bearing, how was she supposed to receive it? Whatever mistakes or limitations there may have been in FN's celestial navigation, this sealed their fate.
Venturing off-topic into dangerous territory, I'll suggest the possibility that this kind of behavior was basic to AE's entire approach to life. Let's look again at her now-famous poem, written in 1928 after she had learned to fly but before she became famous.
Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace.I've seen this mindset in other contexts. Sometimes its proponents are called "crazybrave" or "adrenaline junkies." They only feel alive when they are in immediate danger of dying. Conquering fear becomes an end rather than a means to an end. I suspect that it's what AE was really talking about when she said she flew for "the fun of it." In aviation, it's an attitude that will get ya killed.
I just received and read the latest TIGHAR Tracks. Regarding the article on Betty's notebook, could either Ric or the radio experts put together and post a brief explanation of what is meant by radio "harmonics"----it may have been described before, but I suspect that I am not alone in forgetting what it is, and it's essential to understanding the article and the validity of the notebook. Thanks, and I apologize if this goes over old ground a bit.
I'll give it a shot. A harmonic is nothing more than a multiple of a given frequency. In other words, when AE was putting out a signal on 3105 Kilocycles she was also putting out a signal on multiples of that same frequency, although at lower power. Bob found that, although the chances of Betty hearing AE on 3105 were effectly zero, she could theoretically have heard her on one of the higher multiples (harmonics) of that frequency.
Thanks---what I am thinking is that these harmonics are sort of like an "echo" of the main transmission frequency? How far off am I (no jokes!)?
If it helps you to think of it that way.... but they occur simultaneously with the transmission.
>When worst did come to worst, the decision about how far to explore
My problem is simply trying to understand how FN could know just how far they could safely fly to the NW on the LOP, if he had no idea (even approximately) where they were on the LOP upon turning NW ?
For instance, if at the point where the LOP should be intersecting with Howland they actually were already 100 miles NW of Howland & flew yet another 50-100 miles NW from that point, wouldn't returning to that original point of turning NW & then flying another 100 miles SE, back toward Howland make the actual total miles flown to reach Gardner &/or another of the Phoenix Islands, (from the original point they started to...'run north'...) close to 500-700 miles, instead of the 350-400 miles calculated to the SE directly from Howland ?
However, if FN had calculated a specific offset to the SE of where he expected Howland to be, FN would at least have had some reasonable approximation as to just how far they could fly to the NW on the LOP in order to properly limit consumption of their dwindling fuel supply, before turning back, in order to refly that same distance to the original turning point on the SE leg of the LOP & to continue on to successfully reach an alternate landfall at Gardner.
Assuming they had been able to determine rate of fuel consumption throughout the flight, with a reasonable degree of accuracy, they certainly should have been able to at least reasonably approximate the total number of hours they could remain aloft before draining the tanks.
However, if they did not know (even approximately) how close they were to Howland or even whether they were NW or SE of Howland, how could they determine the outer limits of their flight to the NW on the LOP, in order to keep fuel consumption within sufficient parameters to assure they could reach a safe landfall at Gardner ?
Maybe it's just the limitations of my navigationally challenged, non-aviator's mind-set, but this aspect of the flight to alternate landfall at Gardner has always given me trouble!
I think you may be making it more complicated than it is.
Draw a line seven inches long, each inch representing a hundred nautical miles. Now put a dot in the middle of the line. That's Howland. Put another dot about a half inch to the right of Howland. That's Baker. Put a third dot at the right-hand end of the line. That's Gardner. (We'll keep it simple and not worry about McKean.)
Okay, so you have your line with the three dots. You feel quite certain that you are someplace on that line, but you dont know where. You would much prefer to find the middle dot but you MUST find one of the dots or die. You believe you have enough fuel to travel about 4 and a half inches along the line. What course of action can you follow that will maximize your chances of finding the middle dot while guaranteeing that you will not die?
Again, assuming that you are someplace on the line, what is the greatest distance you can be from a dot? Three and a half inches (350 nm) if you are at the extreme left end of the line. You have four and a half inches worth of fuel, so you can do anything you want with that extra inch as long as come back to your starting place and start down the line to the right when you have three and a half inches left.
"Echo" is not the right concept at all. Think of harmonics as OVERTONES. Just as a piano string vibrates at its resonant frequency, it also contains multiples of that frequency.
>Thanks---what I am thinking is that these harmonics are sort of like an
>but they occur simultaneously with the transmission.
An "echo" is something that occurs later.Like, when you shout across a canyon, you hear it come back to you. Or, like a signal bounces off something (a la radar) and returns to the receiver. We are not, repeat NOT, dealing with that concept.
Ric, give this horse a .30-06 betwixt the eyes before he gets out of control....
LTM (whose loud voice carries all over the neighborhood)
Yeah, this is off topic, but it's interesting nonetheless. I take up this thread all the time with my creative writing students, when dealing with profiling characters.
>Venturing off-topic into dangerous territory, I'll suggest the possibility
This sort of personality is defined by psychologist Carl Jung as "sensation" behavior. It is a common attribute of entertainers, cheerleaders, athletes, others who "live for/in the moment," who enjoy public adulation, often reacting immediately and instinctively, often without regard to the consequences of their actions.
LTM (who thinks through everything)
From Marty Moleski
> Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace.> ... she flew for "the fun of it." In aviation,
> it's an attitude that will get ya killed.
And yet, maybe, when all is said and done, AE and FN died happy. Thanks for reposting the poem.
I would speculate that it's hard to feel happy when you're lying alone and fever-stricken with the crabs waiting for you to finally expire.
From Ross Devitt
> she said she flew for "the fun of it." In aviation, it's an attitude
Damn.. Now I have to find another reason to fly... :-(
>A young college man walks into the Alaska wilds to survive as a " test",
Then there was the American a couple of years back that did the same thing in the Australian desert. Fortunately someone noticed he was missing, decided he was an idiot and set off a full scale search to find him before he died, so he can go and do it again somewhere else and cost them a fortune in S&R funds.. Th' WOMBAT
>A young college man walks into the Alaska wilds to survive as a "test",
Did he die? Maybe he lives in Japan. Woody
From Cam Warren
>Venturing off-topic into dangerous territory, I'll suggest the
I can understand Ric's reluctance to "venture", but I personally congratulate him (sincerely) for the apparent maturation in his thinking. In broadening the focus of investigation into the disappearance of the Electra he's made a giant leap forward.
Formerly, the "scientific method" has been TIGHAR's sole and exclusive approach to a solution of the problem, despite protest from a few of us dissenters. We have no quarrel with the scientific method properly applied, but (to oversimplify perhaps) it is best applied to inanimate objects. If that famous tree falls in that distant forest, we answer the question "why?" by a precise analysis of weather, soil conditions, type of wood, age of the tree, etc. etc., arriving at a scientific conclusion. (Which generally means that the event can be duplicated by repeating the precise conditions).
When the incident involves animate objects (read "humans"), new parameters are introduced. We know that when the lady pulled the trigger, the weapon's hammer struck the cartridge, the bullet traveled through the air at a precise, measurable velocity, and killed her husband. (The scientific analysis).
But WHY did she shoot him? As your average capable detective would suggest, "you'd have to get into her head" for the reason. (That means psychological profiling.) In the Earhart case, fuel exhaustion is a reasonable scientific explanation, although admittedly one of several "inanimate" causes. But how would Amelia and/or Fred react? Where would they go? That calls for close consideration of their past performances, experience, attitude toward life, etc. etc. In short, the "human factors".
Despite ridicule expressed or implied by TIGHAR members I (and others) have continued to examine these less tangible factors, which have provided some credible clues as to AE/FN's likely behavior. Such analysis, perhaps hard to quantify, is perfectly legitimate,and absolutely necessary to solve the Earhart enigma. It is NOT dangerous territory, and belongs in the TIGHAR repertory.
I have no quarrel with your fixation on Nikumaroro, except to say that in my estimation it would not have been the alternate landing spot of choice. There's also a strong liklihood that Amelia would have stubbornly followed her own instincts, and headed for the Gilberts. I do believe Noonan was more than adequately competent, while admitting there seems to be some evidence of over-confidence. And I, along with the real experts, think the plane rests on the ocean bottom, but have no tangible proof. Except to say, "the ratio of sea to land is huge, and the Electra hasn't been found ashore. Ergo, it's at the bottom --- somewhere!"
Certainly that's an arguable conclusion, and "the ball is still in play". But, for now, I again applaud the indication of TIGHAR "widening the (investigative) net" It's better for all of us.
While I appreciate Cam's kudos, I'm not sure that we're doing what he thinks we're doing. We've used scientific methodology to arrive at an understanding of what happened --- to the limited extent that is possible based upon the available information. Knowing what AE did (i.e. embarked upon and proceeded with a dangerous flight despite conditions and circumstances that would have caused a more prudent pilot to abort) we can make some informed speculations about why she might have done something like that.
It's a big jump from that to trying to draw conclusions about unknown events based upon speculation as to what she "would" do.
From Hue Miller
That's an interesting take on the Trans World flight, I've not seen it summarized this way before, which seems to reveal AE as an "Xtreme Sports" practitioner of her time.
In the years I've been living with Mrs. Putnam I've come to see her as a far more interesting and complicated --- if not necessarily as admirable --- person than the popular icon. I think flying terrified her, and that's why she did it.
I see A.E. as more of an Alexander the Great type ... one of those supremely self-confident people who is absolutely convinced that s/he is in the hands of the gods all of whom are lined up just waiting to work personal miracles for her/him in every situation.
A.E. should have taken heed that the gods finally deserted Alexander just as they finally deserted her.
You remember that story? How Alexander the Great discovered his own "mortal-ness"? How, when leaving India, against all advice he took the impossibly difficult, shorter path through the desert, rather than the easier but longer path along the coast? Everyone said this trip would kill him and his army, but his attitude was that since he was A.t.G, the gods would again work their miracles to get him and his army through ... but this didn't happen. Although he survived, he lost most of his beloved warriors ... and he never recovered from this. The shock to his system caused by godly desertion was so great he just sat back, got fat, wallowed in depression, and he died shortly afterwards, a shadow of his former self.
I wasn't in the least surprised when I heard that A.E. and Fred were joking and laughing in their post-crash radio messages. I feel A.E. was still operating within her belief that she was "beloved of the gods", and that she'd have a miracle worked on her behalf, and that she kept this attitude until Fred's death. I think it wasn't until then she realised just how serious a situation she was in, and I think the realisation would have been a brutal kick in the teeth. I also think that, like Alexander, when discovering her own mortal-ness, she would have just sat back and waited for death; all fight gone.
LTM (who also sees Lawrence of Arabia in these terms)
Joking and laughing in their post-crash radio messages? Where did that come from?
The only real similarity I see between AE and Alexander is perhaps the dimensions of their egos. AE did not believe herself to be immortal and almost delighted in anticipating her own imagined heroic demise in her various "popping off" letters.
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