Forum artHighlights From the Forum

June 24 through 30, 2001

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1 Left Turn on the LOP Dick Pingrey
2 Flying SE on the LOP Don Neumann
3 LOP Speculation Dave Porter
4 Re: LOP Speculation Alan Caldwell

Message: 1
Subject: Left Turn on the LOP
Date: 6/29/01
From: Dick Pingrey

Alan Caldwell wrote:

>Probably every pilot would look at the situation proposed by Dave that when
>AE and FN reached the LOP with no island in sight the obvious decision would
>be to turn right (south) to insure landfall.

Alan, you are right. I intended to insert the word "eventually" to make the above statement read ... to eventually turn right (south) to insure landfall.

As indicated by Amelia's transmissions she appears to have spent some time looking for Howland prior to heading off to the south. My point being that it would be very unexpected for them to give up looking for Howland, knowing that to do so was to lose all they were trying to accomplish, without taking as much time as their fuel situation would allow. If our estimates on fuel remaining, as determined by Kelly Johnson's calculations, are true they should have had sufficient fuel for some searching in the area where they thought the island should be found before leaving for an alternate.

We, as pilots, might all take a slightly different approach to searching for Howland based on our pilot training and backgrounds but I can't see any pilot giving up on looking for Howland provided there was sufficient fuel to make the effort possible.

Dick Pingrey 908C

Message: 2
Subject: Flying SE on the LOP
Date: 6/29/01
From: Don Neumann

Alan Caldwell wrote:

>If you or anyone else sees a fallacy in this reasoning AND a
>reasonable alternative plan let me know'...

The most obvious question about...'flying SE on the LOP to the Phoenix Island Chain'..., is could they expect to located & rescued, before exhausting their limited supply of fresh water &/or food supplies, on an equatorial island?

Assuming that flying SE on the LOP, that FN had established, (even though Howland Island had failed to appear on the horizon when FN's chronometers said the LOP should have been intersecting with Howland) was the most 'reasonable' alternative plan... futher assuming that whatever AE/FN had been able to determine remained of their fuel reserve, would be just sufficient to reach the only landfall within that fuel range...the Phoenix Islands..., they would now have placed themselves 300-350 miles SE of Howland Island & the Itasca (the only source of rescue, known to AE/FN at that time).

The fact is clear, all the recorded radio transmissions received by Itasca reflect that on only a single occasion did AE acknowledge that she had actually received any radio transmision from Itasca & that single two-way radio contact was too brief to permit either party to take any bearing or transmit any useful information.

Additionally, none of the radio transmissions received by Itasca provided any indication as to AE/FN's intentions should they have failed to locate Howland, & there is no clue as to the identification of any alternative landfall, so there is no way that Itasca could have known our intrepid duo was planning to wing their way SE to the Phoenix Islands, unless of course, AE was counting on Capt. Thompson's intuitive reasoning skills, to figure out that the only other known alternate landfall on the LOP was... the Phoenix Islands.

Without previously establishing reliable, two-way radio communications with Itasca or at least communicating their intentions of seeking alternate landfall in the Phoenix Chain, in her own radio transmissions, it would seem unlikely that AE/FN could have expected to be rescued from a group of islands that were for the most part uninhabited, well off any established shipping lanes, without any source of radio communication.

Now we can certainly speculate/assume that AE did transmit instructions as to their intentions of seeking alternate landfall & that such transmissions were not received by Itasca (or by anyone else for that matter), however having failed to establish any reliable, two-way radio communication with Itasca, it would seem (to me anyway) that without obtaining any acknowledgement from Itasca that they had actually received such a message, AE/FN were flying to an alternative landfall from which any rescue was at least, highly improbable, under these circumstances.

Not to say that is what they did anyway, as I've mentioned before...desperate people do desperate things in desperate circumstances...& perhaps any landfall was preferrable to ditching in that vast empty ocean, especially when they had every reason to doubt that Itasca had any knowledge where they were anyway!

Don Neumann

From Ric

You answered your own question.

Message: 3
Subject: LOP Speculation
Date: 6/29/01
From: Dave Porter

You said that my scenario made sense based on what we know. I specifically set up my LOP speculation in terms of what Amelia and Fred knew. (or, more correctly, what we assume they knew)

They knew that they had arrived at the place where they thought Howland was, and that Howland wasn't there: "we must be on you, but can not see you."

They were at least somewhat aware of their fuel situation: "gas is running low."

The LOP had some meaning to them: "we are on the line of position 157-337."

You, in your own words, assume that they looked around for Howland for an hour. I, in my own words, speculated that they immediately turned right to fly down the LOP to a much greater chance of making some landfall.

I'm not trying to pick a fight here, I just wanted to point out that my wholly admitted speculation is based not on 60 years hindsight, but on what we think they knew at the time, and on previous posts about the navigational logic of the Niku hypothesis and the "Phoenix Islands catcher's mitt."

That said, I'll happily admit that your speculation is just as valid as my speculation, specifically because both are speculation. If you have post-WW 2 piloting or navigating experience, which seems from what I've read to be an entirely different animal than AE & FN wrestled with, some on this forum will accord yours more than mine, and lacking such experience myself, I'll abide by such a verdict.

The whole idea behind my original post was an attempt to show in layman's terms through my speculated scenario that the navigational logic is a HUGE point in favor of financially supporting further investigation of the Niku hypothesis. Sending money to TIGHAR is a way of getting beyond the emotional hoopla surrounding AE, her disappearance, and her supposed legacy, etc. It shows that we are supporting sound scientific investigative principles, regardless of what our own pet AE theories might be.

LTM, and sorry for such a long post
Dave Porter, 2288 (who does all his navigating on land, with a map, compass, flare gun, and cell phone)

Message: 4
Subject: Re: LOP Speculation
Date: 6/30/01
From: Alan Caldwell

Dave Porter wrote:

> You said that my scenario made sense based on what we know. I specifically
> set up my LOP speculation in terms of what Amelia and Fred knew. (or, more
> correctly, what we assume they knew)

Yeah! That sentence is the substance of what I've been pushing all along. By that I mean being as accurate as possible in HOW and WHAT we say. You are quite correct. We don't know what they knew and only make assumptions about that. That kind of reasoning goes along way to prevent misstatements from muddying up the waters.

As to AE and FN turning SE immediately or quite soon after arriving in the vicinity of Howland that is certainly possible. I have doubts, however, and believe they remained about an hour in search simply because they were still broadcasting loudly or reasonably so an hour later. Their broadcast range appeared to be relatively short distance wise.


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