TIGHAR

Amelia Earhart Search Forum => Celestial choir => Topic started by: Jeff Victor Hayden on September 09, 2013, 09:42:35 PM

Title: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Jeff Victor Hayden on September 09, 2013, 09:42:35 PM
As it's a bit quiet recently on the forum here's a grim reminder of how many things can come together and end in tragedy. Some vague similarities to the Electra's last flight, problems with seeing and navigation problems/errors (not by the crew I hasten to add). This is the story of Air New Zealand flight TE 901, 28 November, 1979.

This is the website dedicated to the disaster http://www.erebus.co.nz/ (http://www.erebus.co.nz/)

A documentary on the disaster and enquiry http://youtu.be/yP36X0BsMQ0 (http://youtu.be/yP36X0BsMQ0)

And a photograph taken by one of the passengers at the moment of impact: "Almost every passenger on the sightseeing flight carried a camera and up to the last second shot films, which were painstakingly salvaged and carefully developed."
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: manjeet aujla on September 10, 2013, 09:27:12 AM
Another similar tragedy, was this flight, july 1992 from bangkok to kathmandu. Crashed on approach into the mountains. All dead.

http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19920731-0

on utube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mbdZLqnraU

This one in very personal. I was scheduled to be on this flight. I was connecting from LA to bangkok to this daily connection into kathmandu. Something came up 2 days before the flight, and I changed to the Aug 1 flight, a day later. I flew from LA into bangkok and I remember sitting at the bangkok airport waiting for the connection to kathmandu when news came that this one (the flight a day earlier) had disappeared. 

Those were the days when I was young and kathmandu was sort of an exotic must stop for backpackers. The city catered heavily to euro/us travelers then, and whole sections of the city were just all-night dance/bars with american music, totally safe, with large remnants of hippy culture. I was flying in for a month of meeting a group of aussie friends. This event really shook me, especially considering the totally random reason which had caused me to change my flight on the eve of departure.

They have a memorial park for the crash. And it still sobers me up, when I see pictures of the memorial park, and in it, the nameplates of those who died.


Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Jeff Victor Hayden on September 10, 2013, 11:11:22 AM
The photographs of the sector whiteout on the Erebus website reminded me of an investigation of the approach to Howland island in the same conditions that AE encountered. I think it was Ted Waitt who did the approach in a helicopter, you couldn't see Howland but, it was there.

Sector whiteout link...
http://www.erebus.co.nz/Investigation/CaptainVettesResearch/CaptainVettesResearchPage2.aspx (http://www.erebus.co.nz/Investigation/CaptainVettesResearch/CaptainVettesResearchPage2.aspx)

I'll see if I can find the approach to Howland video by Ted Waitt as well.
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Joe Cerniglia on September 10, 2013, 01:46:28 PM
Here it is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9c3yZ0xeHw

Joe Cerniglia ~ TIGHAR #3078ECR
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: JNev on September 10, 2013, 09:30:09 PM
The Waitt footage provides a good illustration of the contrast in conditions that can happen, IMO.  In the early footage, Howland is well camouflaged among the cloud shadows.  I guess that was analogous to what Jeff Victor was saying - that natural conditions can serve to mask an object in flight.  A white-out being a different creature, of course, from the confusion of shadows, but a means of obscuration none-the-less.

Toward the end of the footage is a bright, inviting Howland - clear as a bell out from under the haze and shadows of the clouds.  It is hard to believe that something so easily seen as that can also be so well hidden as in the early footage, but there lie the examples.

Added -

Of course one can finally discern Howland even among the shadows - it eventually sharpens a bit and becomes more obviously extended in length, plus the ship appears clearly enough.  The ship's presence may be a close proxy for the Itasca on that fateful day in 1937.

Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Jeff Victor Hayden on September 10, 2013, 10:43:11 PM
Thank you for the link Joe, that's the one.

Jeff, I may be wrong but I believe the chopper headed straight at Howland, knowing where it was of course. So the closer they got the more obvious (ish) it became. When you look towards Howland at the beginning of the chopper flight there is nothing obvious that would entice you into continuing in that direction, "must be on you but cannot see you" She may well have been right.
Perhaps Ted should have tried the same experiment with some burning tyres/oil on Howland to see if that made a difference or not.
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Laura Gridley on September 10, 2013, 10:56:45 PM
Jeff,

Thank you for the link to information regarding this accident.  I was very young when it happened and so don't remember it and was not even really aware of it until your post.  Fascinating reading on the investigation but so tragic.  The visual illusion created by the whiteout is quite scary when life or death is at stake (but on further reading it sounds like, as in many crashes, there were quite a few things that ultimately contributed to the accident).  I have now spent several hours reading these Flight 901 reports...where has the evening gone?!
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Jeff Victor Hayden on September 11, 2013, 12:58:13 AM
Read the flight path controversy on the Erebus website as well Laura, you can then see how the visual deceit fitted in with where they expected to be, Mcmurdo sound. The unreported change to the flight sealed their fate..."Because the airline altered the last leg of the flight plan by 26-28 miles to the east at 2.10 am on the morning of the flight and failed to tell the crew"
A very sad story for sure.



Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Laura Gridley on September 11, 2013, 01:49:39 AM
Read the flight path controversy on the Erebus website as well Laura, you can then see how the visual deceit fitted in with where they expected to be, Mcmurdo sound. The unreported change to the flight sealed their fate..."Because the airline altered the last leg of the flight plan by 26-28 miles to the east at 2.10 am on the morning of the flight and failed to tell the crew"
A very sad story for sure.

Yes, I was just read that part of the site as well.  To a layman like me, that seems to be an important factor in the crash.  And the appearance of their actual lateral visual references seemed to "fit" with their expected visual references unfortunately, so they didn't pick up that they were not actually where they thought they were (I hope that sentence makes sense!). 

The visual illusion that resulted in them not seeing that they were flying straight into a mountain does remind me of the video of the helicopter trying to "spot" Howland and how difficult that can actually be.  When I watched that video awhile back, I was stunned at how hard it was to see the island.  Of course, again, that is from my layman's perspective/no experience whatsoever as a pilot.  As Chippendale said in his Erebus report though "1.17.48 Those who have not been exposed to whiteout are often sceptical about the inability of those who have experienced it, to estimate distance under these conditions, (and to be aware of terrain changes and the separation of sky and earth)."  Seems quite easy to not realize the hardships visual perception can pose until you actually see them yourself.  Also brings to mind a theory I heard re: Titanic and possible horizon illusion as contributing factor to the iceberg not being seen.
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Greg Daspit on September 11, 2013, 10:56:54 AM
From Bob Brandenburg In Time and Tide (http://tighar.org/Publications/TTracks/2013Vol_29/February_2013/Time_And_Tide.pdf)- “A single case is sufficient to show that it was possible to satisfy the landing time
constraint: Earhart could land safely at point I before 11:25 if her 09:25 distance from Howland was at
least 120 nmi, depending on enroute speed. This result is consistent with radio signal propagation analysis
suggesting Earhart likely was between 80 and 210 nmi from Howland at 09:25”

80 to 210 nmi seems pretty far away to see the Itasca or the island in perfect conditions
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Ric Gillespie on September 11, 2013, 12:13:39 PM
80 to 210 nmi seems pretty far away to see the Itasca or the island in perfect conditions

That's right.  All of the discussions about cloud shadows and how far away various flights have been when they first spotted Howland are probably moot.  The best available evidence suggests that Earhart never got near enough to stand a chance of seeing Howland and, incidentally, all of those multi-million dollar searches of the sea floor took place in areas where the plane could not possibly be.

When Bob Brandenburg first computer-modeled the Electra's antenna system, applied the most current propagation software, and discovered the "3105 Donut (http://tighar.org/Publications/TTracks/2008Vol_24/donut.pdf)", I tried to alert Dave Jourdan at Nauticos so that he could adjust his search area or at least consider this new information - but he wasn't interested.
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Christine Schulte on September 12, 2013, 04:37:57 AM
There’s something that from my armchair perspective I don’t understand about AE/FN’s approach to Howland Island. AE was obviously not too well prepared for the difficulties she might face in locating the island, but wouldn’t FN have been? As navigator for Pam Am he worked out a route over the Pacific that involved landing on an island/sheltered spot on the coast of an island (Wake Island? Guam? both?) for refuelling if I remember correctly. There seems to have been radio direction finding equipment by the time he left but surely they can’t have had that at the planning stage?
 
Other pioneering fliers who flew over water for long stretches (Kingsford Smith, Charles Ulm, the Europeans who worked for the postal service(s) between Europe and Latin America…) seem to have encountered the same difficulties apparent in the video in telling apart clouds and land from a distance. Also, navigators seem to have been very aware that they couldn’t be entirely sure they were where they thought they must be. Most crews seem to have used wireless communication extensively to communicate with ships and ground stations en route. Apart from the psychological significance of being in touch with the outside world (which must be huge), this gave them a better idea of where they were, and enabled them to make course corrections when necessary. (Still, a lot of flights wound up huge distances off course, or lost.)

Quite apart from the apparent loss of the belly antenna that seems to have made her unable to hear ITASCA or anyone else, AE of course wasn’t adept at Morse code and couldn’t transmit on the frequency used by ships and other Morse code operators anyway because she’d had the trailing wire antenna removed after the Luke Field accident. She doesn’t seem to have been aware of the consequences of not being able to contact ships etc. This kind of lackadaisical planning seems to have been quite typical for her, and apparently none of her advisors pointed out what it meant– but how about FN?
Could a 1930s aerial navigator - even if he was one of the finest around -  be so confident of being able to find a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific that he felt he could do without an experienced wireless operator?

Perhaps someone can help me understand this?

Thanks,

Christine
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Ric Gillespie on September 12, 2013, 10:26:58 AM
This kind of lackadaisical planning seems to have been quite typical for her, and apparently none of her advisors pointed out what it meant– but how about FN?
Could a 1930s aerial navigator - even if he was one of the finest around -  be so confident of being able to find a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific that he felt he could do without an experienced wireless operator?

Perhaps someone can help me understand this?

Thanks Christine.  This is a fascinating subject.  Understanding why people behave the way they do is hard enough in our day-to-day lives.  Understanding the motivations of historical figures whom we've never met is far more difficult.  Any opinion I have is unavoidably influenced by my own perceptions and prejudices.

With that caveat, I think we have to understand that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan, at the time of the second world flight attempt, were each desperately trying to rebuild their careers after a major fall from grace. 

For Earhart, the accident in Hawaii that ended her first world flight attempt was a potentially career-ending catastrophe.  The era of long-distance stunt flying upon which she had built her fame was coming to a close.  The world flight was to be her crowning achievement, followed by a lucrative life of writing, personal appearances, and maybe even Hollywood. Luke Field changed everything. Now she was looking at a high-profile failure, massive debt, and mocking criticism in the press. Unless she could redeem her reputation she would retire a discredited has-been.

Noonan too, was trying to put his life back together.  The glory days of the China Clipper had brought him international fame as Pan Am's star navigator, but the brutal schedule of the trans-Pacific route had led to excessive drinking, a failed marriage, and ultimately a bitter departure from the airline.  The Earhart world flight was his shot at redemption.  He had re-married, stopped drinking (maybe), and reportedly planned to open a navigation school.  There is also some evidence that he was involved in a Hollywood film deal about the world flight.  But the flight had to succeed.

What looks to us like a cavalier attitude toward preparations for the second world flight may, in fact, have been quite the reverse.  Desperate, rushed people often fail to make good decisions.
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Christine Schulte on September 12, 2013, 01:26:37 PM
I can absolutely follow your reasoning as far as AE is concerned. But FN? He’d certainly have stood to profit if the flight was successful; but he’d been taken on to navigate AE  to Howland originally and if he failed to do that, his career would have been over.  I try to not engage in “what if-”reasoning but imagine for a moment what would have happened if they’d made it to Nikumaroro alive AND been rescued after a week or two. AE was already famous and “any kind of publicity is good publicity” may have applied to her (and George Putnam surely would have just loved to publish her recollections of life as a castaway!). But FN? Obviously nobody would have  cared to be taught navigation by the man who’d just famously FAILED  to steer Amelia Earhart to Howland Island.

Excessive drinking seems to have been a huge problem with many early fliers but most of them seem to have managed somehow (like Wilmer Stultz on the Friendship flight) and to have retained their professional reflexes – as long as they were able to keep up their blood alcohol level at least. That’s why I’m asking myself how crazy or doable it would have seemed to a hypothetical average  aerial navigator with FN’s experience to attempt the Lae-Howard flight without decent wireless communication in 1937.

(In note 4 to chapter 20 of “The Sound of Wings”, Mary Lovell states that “Balfour (i.e. Harry Balfour, the wireless operator at Lae) was later to claim to the writer Vincent Loomis that Amelia had asked him to go along with her as radio operator.” If she did – Ms. Lovell thinks she didn’t -, this would indicate that they had second thoughts about their decision not to take a wireless operator. Very interesting.)

Beyond the mystery, this is quite a sad, tragic story in many ways.
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Ric Gillespie on September 12, 2013, 01:52:22 PM
Let's look at Fred in Lae on the night before they leave for Howland.  By now he knows AE well enough to know that he can't count on her to manage the radio with any degree of proficiency. In her own writings about the flight so far there is no description of any occasion in which she used the radio successfully except for listening to some commercial news reports during the flight from Miami to Puerto Rico.  There's no indication that Fred knows any more about radio than Amelia.

When he worked for Pan Am he relied upon the radio operator aboard the Clipper and the DF stations on the ground to fine tune the approach to island destinations.  He had to know that he was relying on AE and Itasca to fine tune the approach to Howland with radio navigation - and yet he also had to know that AE was clueless about the radio.  So why in God's name did he tell Eric Chater that he felt confident about the flight and climb cheerfully aboard that airplane the next morning?  Did he feel sure that he could find Howland without help from the radio?  Or did he feel like he didn't have a choice and may as well put a good face on it?  After all, what's he going to do?  Refuse to go?  "I'm sorry AE.  This is stupid.  I'm not going until we're sure you can make that radio direction finder work."  You can just see those headlines.  EARHART FORCED TO CANCEL FLIGHT DUE TO NAVIGATOR'S FEARS
Many an aircraft accident could have been prevented if somebody had told the pilot in command, "This is stupid!"

Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Tim Mellon on September 12, 2013, 01:58:00 PM

Many an aircraft accident could have been prevented if somebody had told the pilot in command, "This is stupid!"

Amen.
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: John Ousterhout on September 12, 2013, 03:19:00 PM
Fred - "We're at the point of no return Amelia, have you figured out that DF thing yet?"
Amelia - "No Fred, but I'm sure the Itasca will be able to help as soon as we're close enough to talk with them..."
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Dave Potratz on September 13, 2013, 01:49:00 PM
I know this is an inference based on speculation, but in contemplating why AE & FN seemingly abandoned all due diligence in preparation for what became the fateful final flight, I'll posit once again (as surmised in another thread) the specter of fatigue

I think one of the results of fatigue is that we often-times proceed wearing "rose-colored glasses".  Because we just want to get through with a thing, we hope and wish that everything will just "turn out right".  We come to believe that as fact, abandon our better reason, and allow ourselves to proceed from that series of false assumptions.
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Adam Marsland on September 13, 2013, 02:57:33 PM
I'll second that.  I once had several frustrating go arounds with an *ahem* stubborn poster on this topic, someone who insisted that FN and AE "would have" done superhuman X, Y and Z because their survival depended on it and that's what he would have done.  I kept pointing out that what was theoretically doable during best case scenarios was impossible as a practical matter when the tools at hand, bad communication, incomplete information, and especially mind-numbing endless fatigue are conspiring against you.  We know they were up for 24 hours on the plane flight and the engine was making an unholy racket.  And they probably got very little sleep after they landed, either...never mind what condition they were in.
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Dan Swift on September 16, 2013, 08:11:55 PM
As Ric stated, "The Earhart world flight was his shot at redemption.  He had re-married, stopped drinking (maybe), and reportedly planned to open a navigation school.  There is also some evidence that he was involved in a Hollywood film deal about the world flight.  But the flight had to succeed." 

That's why ditching was not going to be an option.  Landing and trying to save the aircraft was priority...with thoughts of possibly continuing the flight. 

Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Christine Schulte on September 19, 2013, 04:32:47 AM
Ric, I've gone through what is available on the Ameliapedia on FN and I can't see  "redemption" as a motivation for FN I'm afraid, nor does FN come across as "desperate and rushed" to me.

The sequence of events in FNs divorce and remarriage as far as we know them seems fit with him only deciding to divorce this first wife after he'd met someone else. In these cases people tend to be excited about starting something new rather than terribly torn up and remorseful - or so I'm told :).

In your section on FN's career in "Finding Amelia", you seem to be hinting that FN may have changed careers because he was never made captain although he held a sea captain's patent; in your answer you seem to be implying that he'd have minded losing his star status after leaving Pan Am. Is there any indication that he did, or was, or are you just assuming he would have been? Navigator seems a bad career choice for someone who left his prior job because he resented always playing second fiddle. It seems to have been very much a background job, ideal for someone with specialised skills who was comfortable having lots of resposibilty while NOT being a team leader and NOT getting lots of attention. FN rather strikes me as someone like that. In photographs or on film he often has his back to the camera, or he's busy with something, or looks away - he doesn't appear to be eager to have his picture taken with AE in the way photographers complained George Putnam was. FN seems to accept being in the pictures as part of the background scene.  He spent more than a month with one of the most famous, charismatic women of her time yet in his letters to Helen Day he doesn't gossip about her, or brag. His attention is on his job, and on what he notices travelling. The only time he mentions something she says, he's relaying a compliment of Amelia's about his young correspondent.

I find it surprising that FN found the time and space to write to Helen Day at all. (If he was pursuing some kind of career-advancing scheme with Eugene Pallette -whatever could that have been? A navigator's experiences aren't exactly an Oscar-winning subject- it'd have been much more sensible to get off more reports to him.) In the letters he comes across as a considerate person. He obviously knew Helen as a child and is eager to assure her that she's become a nice young woman, and always asks to be remembered to her family. He seems to be enjoying the trip and the new experiences immensely - for a man of his time, FN seems remarkably open about foreign customs and cultures; his letters to Helen almost entirely lack the assertions of cultural superiority that make similar contemporary accounts such disturbing reading nowadays. (That's really quite special considering that he seems to have had little formal education.) It's the kind of letters I'd find hard to write if I were preoccupied with unpleasant thoughts about my reputation and my career (but I'm not FN of course).

There's the matter of his drinking, and his leaving Pan Am under a bit of a cloud -maybe, he may just as well have been fed up with working conditions ther and looking for a more settled job that would leave him more time to be with his new wife, and working conditions and treatment of employees don't seem to have been ideal.  Being asked to go on the world flight (there's no indication he applied for the job, or is there?) may have given him a gratifying feeling of  "So there!", and he must certainly have been bitter about how his work relationship ended, but would he have felt a need to redeem himself?

There's a telegram FN sent to his fiancée before the Luke Field crash ("Leaving 1.30 AM your time. Amelia has asked me to continue with her at least as far as Darwin, Australia and possibly around the world. Will keep you advised. Trip around world will be completed before I can return from Australia. I love you, Fred", qulted on p. 39 in "Finding Amelia").
Am I the only one who detects a tiny whiff of guilt in what he says? He seems rather eager to anticipate any objections his fiancée may have when he states that travelling home from Darwin by steamer would take quite as long as flying around the world. I sometimes get similar text messages from my husband's overseas business trips and they usually mean that I'll have to handle things we'd been planning on doing together on my own, which tends to lead to marital discord  :). Perhaps I'm over-interpreting this but it seems to me that FN quite badly wanted to make the world flight. It must have been a once-in-a-lifetime chance for him - when does one ever get asked to make a trip around the world in a state-of-the-art new plane, expenses paid? To navigate the routes his colleagues wrote about surely must surely have seemed an exciting challenge to him - to the extent that he was willing to leave his wife of six weeks and take part in the second attempt  (Of course we can't know how his wife felt about his job, but it seems likely that this by itself would have provoked a bit of discussion even if his wife didn't grasp quite how dangerous his profession was?)

As for feeling constrained to stay on the flight because leaving would create a stir in the press, FN seems to have written professional articles mostly, and there's also a newspaper article with a very matter-of-fact description of his work at Pan Am that I can actually understand  :), but nothing for mass consumption really; this indicates that he cared about his reputation among his peers rather than about being famous (how independently famous was he, or could he have become, anyway?), and since AE's reputation was rather shaky among the professional flying crowd, wouldn't they'd probably have been quite understanding about his reasons for leaving if he'd chosen to?

There's a lot that makes me think he must have been in better shape than AE when they started on the last flight - physically certainly (there is no mention of him being ill or very tired, and from what he tells Helen about the rijsttafel, he seems to have enjoyed the meal as well as the experience), but possibly emotionally as well. He doesn't come across as desperate at all, he seems to be enjoying the trip and the new experiences as well as looking foward to getting home. According to what your witness says he seems to have been preoccupied about the flight to Howland Island, but that seems appropriate (I must have overlooked that account before, there's such a wealth of information on the Ameliapedia). The flight must certainly have been stressful, which perhaps led to even heavier drinking than usual with him. Still, he was doing something he'd successfully done before, and knew inside out. AE certainly wasn't.

I still find it hard to understand why someone who comes across as responsible and thoughtful to me should have decided to disregard the considerable risk of attempting to find Howland without decent wireless communication.There isn't really anything to go on except his personality (as interpreted by me) and what we know about people with similar experiences. People who work together closely on something unique and dangerous often seem to develop a special bond, even if they don't know each other well and don't talk much (which would have been difficult on the plane with the terrible noise the engines must have given off). Perhaps FN, who seems to have been a considerate, perceptive man and may have sensed how desperate and rushed AE was, and how very badly SHE needed the flight to succeed, came to feel she was a comrade or chum of sorts and that it simply wouldn't do to leave her to go on to Howland on her own (telling her she couldn't or shouldn't do something seems to have been a sure way of getting AE to attempt it - as when Wiley Post advised her not to fly over the Gulf of Mexico). Never to leave a comrade in the lurch seems to have been an important theme with men of his generation. This is, of course, wild speculation (and I'm not really happy speculating).

I very much want to believe that AE and FN wound up on Nikumaroro (I can just hear my former philosophy teacher saying "If you want to believe, go to church - scientific reasoning is about discerning reality not inventing it"!) because the evidence you've come up with at the Seven Site and your work on the artefacts are great and so is your work on the post-loss radio signals (not that I understand the technical aspect thoroughly). I just can't see so many coincidences piling up.  But that still leaves the question of how the plane and the crew got there. It's always bothered me that AE/FN should just have headed off towards the southeast IF (but only if) FN (who was the crew member with most of the know how and experience) knew, or was convinced he knew, that they must be close to Howland Island. Gary LaPook's box search hypothesis seems to make much better sense because there were people waiting on Howland Island while the Phoenix Islands were very much unknown territory. It has the additional merit of being referenced in the literature of the time - that's important to someone like me who's been taught, and is convinced, that if one can't established a historical personality had a thought, the next-best thing is to establish that the thought was current at the time. But if FN couldn't have been convinced he was close to Howland Island at all,(which is what you seem to be saying) that changes things considerably. If FN was aware that  his chances of reaching Howland Island without decent wireless communication were actually rather slim, this leaves  him with a motive to look for alternatives early on, even if he didn't do it on a conscious level. It doesn't make sense to search for a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific then.
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Ric Gillespie on September 19, 2013, 06:30:33 AM
"If you want to believe, go to church - scientific reasoning is about discerning reality not inventing it"!

Amen to that.  Interesting analysis Christine.  I won't try to second guess your assessment of Fred's state of mind but I agree that "if one can't established a historical personality had a thought, the next-best thing is to establish that the thought was current at the time."  But did Gary LaPook really establish that the "box search" was an established technique in 1937?
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Alex Fox on September 19, 2013, 12:58:22 PM
Perhaps FN, who seems to have been a considerate, perceptive man and may have sensed how desperate and rushed AE was, and how very badly SHE needed the flight to succeed, came to feel she was a comrade or chum of sorts and that it simply wouldn't do to leave her to go on to Howland on her own (telling her she couldn't or shouldn't do something seems to have been a sure way of getting AE to attempt it - as when Wiley Post advised her not to fly over the Gulf of Mexico). Never to leave a comrade in the lurch seems to have been an important theme with men of his generation. This is, of course, wild speculation (and I'm not really happy speculating).

I'm not convinced the sentiment of "not leaving a comrade in the lurch" is a generational thing.  IMHO, FN abandoning the mission and letting AE try to fly to Howland alone would have been a pretty shitty thing to do in any time, at least without a very good explanation (e.g., insufficient communication).  If AE had done this leg alone, and disappeared in the same manner, I have to think FN would have been cast in quite a bad light by media, comrades, whoever.
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Christine Schulte on September 20, 2013, 04:18:26 AM
Quote
But did Gary LaPook really establish that the "box search" was an established technique in 1937?

No, having gone over it again I wouldn't say that he has. But he's done solid work with primary sources.

I noticed that TIGHAR haven't really done well in establishing that a navigator would naturally have resorted to turning towards the nearest stretch of land on the LOP. You cite the two gentlemen who approached you with the idea at the beginning of your search for AE/FN but you haven't really come up with contemporary, preferably written, sources to back it up as far as I can see. I do trust you to have checked this but I think you haven't really documented it well so far. I wonder why that is, is there a special reason or were you just busy with something else?
The problem of what to do if you don't hit your destination in the middle of nowhere immediately must have been very much on aviators' minds at the time. Obviously, it isn't limited to overwater flights - somebody flying over huge stretches of jungle or desert (as e.g. the French, and to a lesser extent the British and Germans did in Africa at the time) encounters the same kind of problem (Actually there's a quote from a letter FN wrote to his wife in a footnote in Last Flight in which he likens flying over Africa to flying over an ocean) . It must have been gone over endlessly in aviation circles, and FN must have been very much part of these discussions. Shouldn't it be possible to reconstruct which suggestions they mulled over, and with reasonable effort and little resources, too?
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Joe Cerniglia on September 20, 2013, 06:07:29 AM

I noticed that TIGHAR haven't really done well in establishing that a navigator would naturally have resorted to turning towards the nearest stretch of land on the LOP. You cite the two gentlemen who approached you with the idea at the beginning of your search for AE/FN but you haven't really come up with contemporary, preferably written, sources to back it up as far as I can see. I do trust you to have checked this but I think you haven't really documented it well so far. I wonder why that is, is there a special reason or were you just busy with something else?
The problem of what to do if you don't hit your destination in the middle of nowhere immediately must have been very much on aviators' minds at the time. Obviously, it isn't limited to overwater flights - somebody flying over huge stretches of jungle or desert (as e.g. the French, and to a lesser extent the British and Germans did in Africa at the time) encounters the same kind of problem (Actually there's a quote from a letter FN wrote to his wife in a footnote in Last Flight in which he likens flying over Africa to flying over an ocean) . It must have been gone over endlessly in aviation circles, and FN must have been very much part of these discussions. Shouldn't it be possible to reconstruct which suggestions they mulled over, and with reasonable effort and little resources, too?

Christine,
I'm certainly not the expert on navigation, but since I've spent some time looking at this, I'll wade in and wait for more experienced hands to chime in after me.

There's always room for more documentation, but in my opinion TIGHAR has made a very satisfactory attempt at explaining the navigational logic. (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Forum/FAQs/navigation.html) This is not the same as documenting what Noonan "would have" done, but that kind of documentation is, as has been shown, fraught with difficulties.  I have begun reading P.V. Weems' Air Navigation (1937 edition) for clues on Noonan's navigational 'database,' so to speak, and while much of it is a high endeavor for an untrained individual, it speaks consistently of the importance of lines of position, and how a single line of position, while not as good as two, gives the navigator "certain useful information" (p. 270), that these lines of position ran to the core of principles of celestial navigation, which was the kind of navigation Noonan used.  Noonan was a student of Weems and would certainly have been aware of these principles.  (There I go again, committing a "would have.")

Had you read the article to which I just linked?  If so, did it leave you unsatisfied or did it improve your impression of the likelihood of the navigational logic proposed by the Nikumaroro Hypothesis having occurred?

Joe Cerniglia ~ TIGHAR #3078ECR
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: John Balderston on September 20, 2013, 06:58:22 AM
In 1937 there were three air navigators of similar experience and reputation - peers and giants: Gatty, Weems and Noonan.  All three pioneered routes, held patents for air navigation inventions, and firmly established the art and science for those that followed.  In 1935/1936 Fred taught every other navigator in Pan Am's Pacific Division the techniques for navigating the Pacific.  His methods are well known and documented; establishing an LOP, and offsetting to one side of a destination among them.  I'm on the road and don't have references handy, but will provide when I get home.
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on September 20, 2013, 07:22:30 AM
I noticed that TIGHAR haven't really done well in establishing that a navigator would naturally have resorted to turning towards the nearest stretch of land on the LOP.

What we have as a primary source is the last transmission (http://tighar.org/wiki/Last_transmission).

It is what one might call a "clue" as to what AE and FN were doing.

Please note that you have inserted "towards the nearest stretch of land on the LOP" without warrant.  TIGHAR thinks that AE and FN were searching the LOP for Howland Island, their destination, and that they first searched north, then south along the LOP.

That is classical navigation technique.

That is why you draw an "advanced LOP" on your charts. 

That's what LOPs are  (http://tighar.org/wiki/LOP)for (http://tighar.org/wiki/LOP).

The bearings given in the last message correspond to a dawn or near-dawn observation of the sun (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Forum/FAQs/navigation.html).

We don't have any evidence of what AE and FN did after sending the last message.
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Tim Gard on September 20, 2013, 07:36:43 AM
I think TIGHAR has covered this perfectly.

After running under an overcast for the last third of the flight from Lae (making celestial navigation impossible) and having their RDF attempts fail, the next best hope was for FN to get them to the Howland Island LOP, supported by AE's logged radio message. He needed to sight the sun to achieve this.

Their "running on the line north and south" revealed Gardner Island. They then accepted that Hobson's Choice  as preferable to ditching through fuel exhaustion.

It may well be they thought Gardner was Howland and didn't twig until they discovered the ship to be a shipwreck and the cause of their communications failure a destroyed receiving antenna.

Just ATM I can't find where Ric posted this, but in a reference to the 281 North Howland message he did decode the lat longs to be just north of Baureke Passage, just as if FN was forced to hurry to the closest place he could after landing to get a Latitude At Noon sighting by reference to both the peak sun angle and the horizon.

It's possible that during this sojourn he contracted heatstroke.

Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Ric Gillespie on September 20, 2013, 07:47:10 AM
Quote
But did Gary LaPook really establish that the "box search" was an established technique in 1937?

No, having gone over it again I wouldn't say that he has. But he's done solid work with primary sources.

Fine, but if his solid work with primary sources did not establish that the "box search" was a known and accepted technique in 1937 then his opinion that Noonan "would have" used it is baseless.  The reason Gary LaPook no longer posts to this forum is his refusal to accept the invalidity of his "would have" arguments.  As I've said countless times -  in historical investigation, "would have" is a guess masquerading as a fact. If something DID happen, say it DID and then show your proof.  If you think it MIGHT have happened, then say it MIGHT have happened, but don't say it "would have" happened.

I noticed that TIGHAR haven't really done well in establishing that a navigator would naturally have resorted to turning towards the nearest stretch of land on the LOP. You cite the two gentlemen who approached you with the idea at the beginning of your search for AE/FN but you haven't really come up with contemporary, preferably written, sources to back it up as far as I can see. I do trust you to have checked this but I think you haven't really documented it well so far. I wonder why that is, is there a special reason or were you just busy with something else?

I'll assume that your somewhat accusatory tone is unintentional.  Allow me to direct your attention to the following paragraph in Captain Wilhelm Friedell's Report on the USS Colorado's Search for Earhart (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Friedell's_Report.html), Research Document #7 on the TIGHAR website.

Considering the question as to what Mr. Noonan did do, it must be considered which way he would steer on the line. To the northwest of Howland was wide stretches of ocean, to the southeast were spots of land. To a seaman in low visibility the thing to do when in doubt of own position would be to head for the open sea. The land would be the place to get away from. To the Air Navigator with position in doubt and flying a land plane it is apparent that the thing to do would be to steer down the line towards the most probable land. To the Air Navigator, land would be a rescue, just as the sea would be to the seaman. Would and did Mr. Noonan do this or had he other reasons to do otherwise? The answer was of course unknown but logical deduction pointed to the southeast quadrant.

Friedell was present at the conference in Pearl Harbor on the evening of July 2 when Earhart's most likely actions were discussed by the most knowledgeable naval aviation officers available.

While at Pearl Harbor the Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. COLORADO received instructions from the Commandant, Fourteenth Naval District, Rear Admiral Orin G. Murfin, U.S. Navy, and conferred with the Commanding Officer, Fleet Air Base, Captain Kenneth Whiting, U.S. Navy, and other officers of the District and Air Base relative to the probable path and location of the Earhart Plane in the event of a forced landing. This information seemed to indicate that the most probable reason for missing Howland Island would be that of stronger winds than normally expected in the region, and that the plane had probably been carried southeast of Howland a greater distance than that from which Howland could be sighted. These opinions lead the Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. COLORADO, at this time to believe that southeast of Howland was the most likely area.

As a contemporary written source it just doesn't get any better than that.  No mention of offset navigation.  No mention of a box search.

Shouldn't it be possible to reconstruct which suggestions they mulled over, and with reasonable effort and little resources, too?

No, it is not.  Much as we'd like to, there is no way to "reconstruct" events that no one was witness to without hard evidence (contemporaneous notes, photos, or conclusively identifiable artifacts).
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Tim Collins on September 20, 2013, 08:23:54 AM
What's the rough flying time from the vicinity of Howland to the vicinity of Gardner?

I find it an awfully daunting thought to imagine that once committed to heading southward on the LOP the only prospects were either to hope to spot a small speck of land (after having already missed another small speck of land) or fly until you essentially fall out of the sky.
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Jeff Victor Hayden on September 20, 2013, 09:02:57 AM
What's the rough flying time from the vicinity of Howland to the vicinity of Gardner?

I find it an awfully daunting thought to imagine that once committed to heading southward on the LOP the only prospects were either to hope to spot a small speck of land (after having already missed another small speck of land) or fly until you essentially fall out of the sky.

Tim, the Phoenix Islands offered eight specks of land to aim for plus, these specks of land had green foliage and some azure blue lagoons which stand out a bit more clearly than Howland
Island in the Pacific Ocean. The odds of finding one of them was eight times better than finding the one you haven't found yet.
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Tim Mellon on September 20, 2013, 09:11:15 AM
What's the rough flying time from the vicinity of Howland to the vicinity of Gardner?
I estimate approximately 2.5 hours depending upon winds.
Quote

I find it an awfully daunting thought to imagine that once committed to heading southward on the LOP the only prospects were either to hope to spot a small speck of land (after having already missed another small speck of land) or fly until you essentially fall out of the sky.
Maybe less daunting than you imagine: if they were truly able to determine that they were on the LOP and then chose a course of 157 degrees using the autopilot, they already would have eliminated whatever cross-track error had been accumulated in the first 18 hours of flight. If their turn to the South had occurred anywhere South of the original course, their distance to Gardner would have been decreased correspondingly, making the chances of seeing it greater.

Furthermore, the weather may have improved vastly in the several hundred miles traversed. Not to mention that Gardner Island would have been much easier to see at a given distance because (a) it is larger than Howland by a factor of five, (b) it has a shallow lagoon that presents a very bright optical object, and (c) it had considerable vegetation, unlike Howland, which was flat and practically bare. Also, being several hours later in the day, the sun would have been much higher (reducing glare) and more behind them than ahead of them.

Having flown over such islands in the South Pacific, I would definitely pick the dogleg to the South as Plan B.

EDIT: Jeff Victor Hayden, great minds think alike!
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Jeff Victor Hayden on September 20, 2013, 09:33:11 AM
Let's hope Fred Noonan thought alike as well :-\
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Tim Collins on September 20, 2013, 09:34:57 AM
the Phoenix Islands offered eight specks of land to aim for plus, these specks of land had green foliage and some azure blue lagoons which stand out a bit more clearly than Howland
Island in the Pacific Ocean. The odds of finding one of them was eight times better than finding the one you haven't found yet.

Not to mention that Gardner Island would have been much easier to see at a given distance because (a) it is larger than Howland by a factor of five, (b) it has a shallow lagoon that presents a very bright optical object, and (c) it had considerable vegetation, unlike Howland, which was flat and practically bare.

I'm sure you're right, but somehow I sincerely doubt that AE headed south with such a reassuring scenario in her mind.   
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Ric Gillespie on September 20, 2013, 09:40:54 AM
What's the rough flying time from the vicinity of Howland to the vicinity of Gardner?

Based on the best evidence we have (computer-modeling of the Electra's radio transmission propagation pattern and the reported strength of transmissions heard by Itasca), the airplane was never in "the vicinity of Howland."  The data suggest the following hypothesis:
• They hit the LOP roughly 230 nm southeast of Howland a few minutes before 1912Z ("We must be on you ...").
•They run northwest for about 45 minutes looking for Howland until around 2000Z when AE uses her RDF to try to get a bearing on Itasca ("We heard your signal but unable to get a minimum...").  This was probably their closest approach to Howland.  Speculating that AE remained at 1,000 feet and had backed off her normal at-altitude cruising speed of 130 kts to about 110 kts to conserve fuel, 45 minutes would take her 82.5 nm.  At that point she's still 152 nm miles from Howland and over 110 nm from Baker.  Unable to get a bearing and seeing nothing, they conclude that they must have hit the LOP north of Howland so they turn around and start back-tracking southeast, still trying to find Howland.
• Forty-five minutes later, at around 2013 to 2025Z, they are back where they started from and continuing southeast ("We are on the line 157 337 ... running on line north and south.."). They are 120 nm northwest of Gardner.
• An hour and five minutes later - sometime around 2130Z - they spot Gardner.


Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Tim Mellon on September 20, 2013, 12:25:38 PM
• Forty-five minutes later, at around 2013 to 2025Z, they are back where they started from and continuing southeast ("We are on the line 157 337 ... running on line north and south.."). They are 120 nm northwest of Gardner.
• An hour and five minutes later - sometime around 2130Z - they spot Gardner.

Ric, the scenario you paint implies that they were way further off-course towards Howland than I ever imagined. How have you determined that their original course intersected the LOP only 120 NM Northwest of Gardner, and that all along they were much closer to Gardner than to Howland?

Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Chris Owens on September 20, 2013, 01:50:56 PM

Maybe less daunting than you imagine: if they were truly able to determine that they were on the LOP and then chose a course of 157 degrees using the autopilot, they already would have eliminated whatever cross-track error had been accumulated in the first 18 hours of flight.

Nearly, but not completely:   Two things:
Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
Post by: Tim Mellon on September 20, 2013, 02:59:42 PM

Maybe less daunting than you imagine: if they were truly able to determine that they were on the LOP and then chose a course of 157 degrees using the autopilot, they already would have eliminated whatever cross-track error had been accumulated in the first 18 hours of flight.

Nearly, but not completely:   Two things:
  • A simple autopilot (or a human pilot, for that matter) steers to a heading (the direction in which the aircraft's nose is pointing) and not to a course (the direction the aircraft is moving over the ground).  The pilot's instruments tell her what the airplane is doing relative to the air, but in order to understand what's happening relative to the ground, you need to take wind into account, which leads directly to:
Yes, Chris, my autopilot has both heading and course modes. Hers had no course mode because there was no navigation radio signal with azimuth available. Having only heading mode she would have had to compute the offset to compensate for crosswinds and factored that into the heading.
Quote

    [li$i]Turning South at a given instant might remove cross track error, but it would not remove any error resulting from the aircraft being  not as far or further along the track than expected (due to the headwind component of the wind being greater or less than expected)[/li]
    [/list]

    This would not be significant, and would only change (slightly) the time of arrival at Gardner. The assumption here is that she did not turn north/south until reaching the LOP derived from the rising sun.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Tim Mellon on September 20, 2013, 03:03:45 PM
    Here's another - the first that really caught my eye  (http://tighar.org/Publications/TTracks/2008Vol_24/donut.pdf) on the thing (and I do like donuts...).

    I have learned something today. Thank you, Jeff.

    (But I'm afraid I've eaten my last donut....)
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: John Ousterhout on September 20, 2013, 06:05:46 PM
    Tim - the donut isn't the dangerous part - it's the hole!
    (sorry, couldn't resist)
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Tim Mellon on September 20, 2013, 06:21:48 PM
    Tim - the donut isn't the dangerous part - it's the hole!
    (sorry, couldn't resist)

    I'm sure they'll think of some pathetic excuse for why I can't eat the hole either.

    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: John Balderston on September 20, 2013, 07:22:30 PM
    Tim - the donut isn't the dangerous part - it's the hole!
    (sorry, couldn't resist)

    I'm sure they'll think of some pathetic excuse for why I can't eat the hole either.

    LOL  :D
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Jeff Palshook on September 21, 2013, 04:39:49 AM
    Ric,

    In your hypothetical timeline above (Reply #38), you seem to be mixing and matching Zulu time (aka GCT in 1937) and time zone used on ITASCA (zone time +11-1/2).  This is very surprising, since I know you know the primary source data much, much better than your post suggests.  Specifically:

    0742 on ITASCA (1912Z):  "We must be on you but cannot see you ..."

    0758 - 0800 on ITASCA (1928 - 1930Z):  "We are circling [or 'listening', as you speculate] but cannot hear you... We received your signals but unable to get a minimum ..."

    0843 on ITASCA (2013Z):  "We are running on the line 157-337 ..."

    The first time interval, 0742 to 0758 ITASCA time (1912 to 1928Z), is 16 minutes, not 45 minutes as you stated.

    The second time interval, 0800 to 0843 on ITASCA (1930 to 2013Z), is about 45 minutes as you correctly stated.

    So your scenario of about 45 minutes flying to the northwest, then 45 minutes flying back to the southeast, at 2013Z back where they started from, doesn't fit the primary source data.  Did you just goof on the times?  Care to revise your scenario?

    Also, what is your evidence that AE and FN initially chose to fly northwest (vice southeast) along the LOP?

    Thanks,

    Jeff P.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Greg Daspit on September 21, 2013, 10:10:22 AM
    Consider two pieces of the evidence together:
    1. The 2 hour safe landing window (close to Gardner)
    2. The radio Donut(In between Gardner and Howland when combined with the 2 hour window)

    Then there is the LOP she said they were runing North South on.

    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Ric Gillespie on September 23, 2013, 07:41:09 AM
    So your scenario of about 45 minutes flying to the northwest, then 45 minutes flying back to the southeast, at 2013Z back where they started from, doesn't fit the primary source data.  Did you just goof on the times?  Care to revise your scenario?

    Yeah, I just goofed on the times.  Gotta slow down.  Let's try again.

    Hypothetical:  After sunrise Fred took a sun shot and established an LOP. Additional sun shots (speed lines) gave him their ground speed. He then gave AE an ETA for when they would reach the LOP that passes through Howland. He probably wrote it on a piece of paper - maybe just "ETA 19:10."

    0742 on ITASCA (1912Z):  "We must be on you but cannot see you ..."

    Fred would never say something like that. Amelia doesn't understand that the ETA is for arrival at the LOP.  It will only be the ETA for arrival at Howland if they were dead on course after a whole night of no celestial sightings due to overcast conditions. Fred knows that's not likely.
    Fred knows they'll need to search up and down the LOP to find Howland.  There are alternative islands to the southeast of Howland but not to the northwest so the sensible thing to do is search northwest hoping that you've hit the LOP southeast of the island - but you can't afford to search northwest very far because if you're going to search to the southeast you'll have to back-track to your starting point. 

    Fred tells her to head northwest. After about 15 minutes she still hasn't heard any reply from Itasca so she gives up on asking them to take a bearing on her and decides to try to use her loop antenna

    0758 on ITASCA (1928Z):  "We are listening but cannot hear you. Go ahead on 7500 with a long count either now or on the scheduled time on half hour." (For AE the "scheduled time on half hour" is in two minutes.  She has forgotten, or never realized, that ITASCA has no voice capability on 7500 Kcs.  They can't send a "long count."  They can only send code.)
     
    0800 on ITASCA (1930Z): "We received your signals but unable to get a minimum ..."
    How far do you dare go before you turn around?  Fifteen minutes?  Half an hour?  Forty-five minutes?  We'll never know and it doesn't really matter. The fact that Itasca heard a strong signal during the entire period from 1912Z to 2025Z suggests that the plane was within the highest probability of reception range during that time. 

    0843 on ITASCA (2013Z):  "We are on the line 157-337 ..."
    0855 0n ITASCA (2025Z):  "Running on line north and south"

    Also, what is your evidence that AE and FN initially chose to fly northwest (vice southeast) along the LOP?

    Logic.  All of the alternative islands are to the southeast.  Use your remaining fuel heading in the direction that could bring you to an island.  Also, she said, "Running on line north and south" not "south and north."

    Ric
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: JNev on September 23, 2013, 09:00:12 AM
    ...Logic.  All of the alternative islands are to the southeast.  Use your remaining fuel heading in the direction that could bring you to an island. 

    I second that.  Weems wrote of the underlying technique  (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/resources/weems) in 1938.

    Quote
    Also, she said, "Running on line north and south" not "south and north."

    Ric

    I agree that the statement in that order is intriguing, but for me it is not strong enough alone to indicate which direction was final.  A statement like 'running on the line north, then will run south' would have meant more, but we don't have it, so we are left with our best interpretation.

    To me, the strength of it lies with the statement - which affirms the running of the line as it makes sense and we believe it to have been, PLUS the full context of couching her statement within the underlying navigational logic.  While it has been argued that the Phoenix groups is more seive than catcher's met due to islands being so scattered, it still represents far more chance of landfall than would have proceeding to NNW of Howland; if one takes the chance in a landplane, one would likely err to the SSE on the final leg, IMHO, based on the understandings of the day as best we can know them.

    I respect the other ideas - nothing is provable so far, but to me a final leg SSE along the LOP makes the most sense given what was last said and by what we can observe of the navigational and range picture.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Ric Gillespie on September 23, 2013, 09:25:36 AM
    Actually, the best indication that they turned SSE is the abundance of hard evidence suggesting that they ended up on Gardner.  Had they turned SSE first and then NNW it's hard to see how they could have reached Gardner.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: John Ousterhout on September 23, 2013, 09:39:19 PM
    Every time I read a rehash of the communications I get a different impression.  That's one of the reasons I enjoy these discussions.  I'm afraid I'm a bit obsessed imaging what went on in the cockpit.
    I can imagine this: Amelia is flying along, receiving nothing but static on the radio.  Fred tells her they've arrived on the line.   She transmits "We must be on you but cannot see you".
    She continues to hear nothing but static.  She fiddles with the receiver some more, searching up and down frequency.  She switches to the loop antenna.
    She fiddles some more and finally gets clear reception of code, understanding that it must be from the Itasca.  She transmits "We received you but cannot get a minimum...".
    Her initial assumption upon finally hearing Itasca is that the reason she can finally hear Itasca is because she thinks they're approaching Howland, not because of the antenna change.  They continue flying in the same direction but hear nothing more (and have switched to a different antenna).
    They fly some more, continuing along "the line".
    She concludes they've flown out of range, therefore away from Howland, so Howland must be back the other way along the line.  They/she stops believing celestial navigation and starts believing her misunderstanding of the radio signals.  She doesn't know about the broken antenna, nor the donut hole.
    They turn and fly back the way they came, continuing to transmit and listen (on the wrong antenna and/or frequency), expecting to pick up the Itasca's broadcasts again, sure that if they continue "on the line" they'll eventually get back within radio range and that will solve their problems.  That's why they fly the wrong way, even though Fred's sun and moon sights say they should go the other way.
    How many aircraft accidents have occurred because the pilot didn't believe the instruments that gave truthful information?
    Comments?
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: JNev on September 24, 2013, 09:27:57 AM
    Every time I read a rehash of the communications I get a different impression.  That's one of the reasons I enjoy these discussions.  I'm afraid I'm a bit obsessed imaging what went on in the cockpit.
    I can imagine this: Amelia is flying along, receiving nothing but static on the radio.  Fred tells her they've arrived on the line.   She transmits "We must be on you but cannot see you".
    She continues to hear nothing but static.  She fiddles with the receiver some more, searching up and down frequency.  She switches to the loop antenna.
    She fiddles some more and finally gets clear reception of code, understanding that it must be from the Itasca.  She transmits "We received you but cannot get a minimum...".
    Her initial assumption upon finally hearing Itasca is that the reason she can finally hear Itasca is because she thinks they're approaching Howland, not because of the antenna change.  They continue flying in the same direction but hear nothing more (and have switched to a different antenna).
    They fly some more, continuing along "the line".
    She concludes they've flown out of range, therefore away from Howland, so Howland must be back the other way along the line.  They/she stops believing celestial navigation and starts believing her misunderstanding of the radio signals.  She doesn't know about the broken antenna, nor the donut hole.They turn and fly back the way they came, continuing to transmit and listen (on the wrong antenna and/or frequency), expecting to pick up the Itasca's broadcasts again, sure that if they continue "on the line" they'll eventually get back within radio range and that will solve their problems.  That's why they fly the wrong way, even though Fred's sun and moon sights say they should go the other way.How many aircraft accidents have occurred because the pilot didn't believe the instruments that gave truthful information?
    Comments?

    "They/she stops believing celestial navigation and starts believing her misunderstanding of the radio signals.  She doesn't know about the broken antenna, nor the donut hole." -

    "That's why they fly the wrong way..." -

    That's galvanizing somehow, John.  I've long tried to digest Gary LaPook's navigational points and suddenly a few things are jumping out at me -

    My understanding is that the moon was available, and that an observation of the moon by Noonan should have instantly told him that the flight was south of Howland, and how far south.  My thought on that is either Fred or the moon is missing here.

    Back up a bit in the flight and consider the long-distance DR prospect.  As has been said here, more or less, the accepted level of uncertainty for a position found by dead reckoning is about 10% of the distance flown - since the last fix.

    - Dead reckoning all the way from Lae involves around 2556 statute miles +/-, so a 10% error would be in that case around 230 nautical miles or 260 statute miles.  That would be the expected outcome if the flight had had to slog all the way from Lae to Howland in clouds, without benefit of fixes along the way. 

    But the flight didn't having to face that, so far as can be realized - the Ontario and other visual fixes should have narrowed that problem -

    - The flight had a fix at 0718 Z near Nikumanu Island - still 1700 SM from there to Howland; expected uncertainty from there to Howland would be about 170 SM;
    - Then we believe they may have seen the Ontario at 1030 Z - about 1270 SM from Howland; uncertainty by the time of arrival at the 1912 Z call would then have been only about 127 SM;
    - Then the flight passed Nauru at about 1130 Z - about 1143 SM remaining to Howland; uncertainty drops to 115 SM by the time they would reach the call point at 1912 Z;
    - We believe they flew over Tabituea - only 613 SM remaining to Howland; that drops the uncertainty by dead reckoning to about 61 SM.

    Of course we have to consider some additional odds - the 10% assumption is not 100% reliable, so to speak.  I'm no whiz, but do get the basics on some normal curve stuff - dead reckoning involves uncertainty, already stated at 10%.  Beyond that, we have to realize that our 'band of uncertainty' (the 10% error) should contain around 95% of the possible
    actual positions of the aircraft; there remains about a 5% chance that the flight would be outside that 10%
    band - or a 5% chance of being further off course than the 10% illustrations made above.

    In standard deviation terms, 95% equals 2 standard deviations meaning that one standard deviation was only half of the band of uncertainty. As you exceed this distance the probability that you are further away decreases very quickly.  I'll avoid embarrassing myself with the actual math - but suffice it to say that the chances of a gross error diminish rapidly as a flight departs the normal error range. 

    Consider then - from Lae to Howland in the 'blind' would equal about a 255 statue mile error possibility.  To break that down statistically and within the standard deviation 'wedge', 68% of the "95 percentile" time you will wind up within half of the uncertainty band - or be no more than about 128 SM off; 32% of the "95 percentile" time you may wind up somewhere between a half and 1 full standard deviation (the 'outer one-half of the error band').  So, the uncertainty at 1912 Z can reasonably be seen as 255 SM - which is 2 standard deviations (95% certainty total), so one standard deviation = 128 SM, a 68% possibility.  The chances of an error approaching the 255 SM / 230 NM assumption are on the diminishing end of that 'outer band' of 32%... the chances of being further off than that also diminish and much more rapidly - somewhere from 5% and diminishing, the further 'out' you go.

    But we do not have a reason to believe that the flight went blind all the way from Lae to Howland vicinity - we have reports as outlined above.  Forget the closer Tabituea (I am thinking that was a ground report of a flyover) - only 613 SM remaining to Howland, which would drop the uncertainty by dead reckoning to about 61 SM.  Consider only the Earhart reported fix at 0718 Z near Nikumanu Island - 1700 SM remaining to Howland: the expected uncertainty would be about 170 SM.  That known point should then drop the uncertainty to 170 SM by the time they would reach the call point at 1912 Z. 

    Assuming a decent fix at Nikumanu Island, that means a 68% chance of half that 170 SM error - or about 85 SM, and up to a 32% chance of the full 170 SM error.  Of course we can't really count on being within 2 standard deviations 100% of the time (68% + 32% = 100% - NOT, but IS 100% of 95%...), so we have to accept some chance of arriving outside that range of error (5%, as said above).  So, an assertion of 255 SM, or 230 NM 'off course' is about 1.5 times the generally accepted uncertainty, given the Nikumanu Island fix, or about 3 standard deviations.  If I'm following the tabular stuff in my old book correctly, then that means the odds of arriving 'on the line' 230 NM south of Howland are at about one in 370.  It can happen - but betting that way can lose a lot of money for you, too.

    All numbers, all probabilities, all based on what we know of Dead Reckoning.  I believe the Nauru passage is reliable as a report from Earhart, but if I am wrong I will happily stand corrected.  There are other fixes I believe, so one need only do the basic math from those points and YMMV, of course - but odds is odds.

    I have to say that I have underappreciated this point in the past because the LOP / down the line to SSE seemed so obvious to me.  Well, it did to the navy as well, no sin.  The problem with it is, if you look at 'the line' and how Howland, Baker and Gardner 'line up', one MUST fall far enough south to make the northerly turn and go long enough to break a sweat about fuel, and turn back, having NOT spotted even Baker island. 

    Baker is smaller and uglier than Howland - and yes, we've spoken of cloud shadows - more 'variables' lurk in there, so I cannot speak in absolutes here.  But the point is, in all likelihood, to hit the LOP far enough south for that to happen with any substantial likelihood puts the flight way outside of the expected DR error - way out on a skinny limb in terms of 'odds'.  I must consider that there may be another and stronger answer for how such a thing would happen.

    Now comes John's infernal point here, which drove me back into all this stuff.  Turns out I have to say that I have also overlooked 'the moon', which Gary kept howling at (sorry Gary, if you read this ;)) and now I'll say I may have been a bit too dismissive.  The moon was there for the reading - if it could be seen. 

    So which was missing, Fred?  Or the moon?  And of course, there could be other variables... a dropped / broken instrument (octant and / or sextant 'preventer', if aboard - argued both ways by things Fred had written in the past and other records,etc.) or some other reason for failing to get a reliable reading.  Not sure where those fall out in terms of odds, but given reasonable DR navigation and the moon, Fred should have avoided a major southerly error.

    Now I start thinking of Earhart's mention of clouds - and clouds to the north and west of Howland.  Clouds are one reason Fred might not see the moon.  Despite the evidence we have at Niku, which to be objective and rigorous in my analysis I have to argue is circumstantial and that it is not an 'abundance of hard evidence', I have to keep an open mind.  In truth, I think, despite much hard and good work and many fine things before us to consider, we are still having to live within the realm of possibilities of a landing at Gardner (now Niku) - perhaps even a truly tough set of probabilities. 

    What of the other points - the pre-war dural skin, the window shard?  Those are two of my favorites and definitely of great interest as Electra-sourced possibilities.  What of the castaway and items we associate with a female?  Compelling, but how much so depends on how accepting one is - they remain circumstantial.  The Bevington Object is compelling - I certainly believe it to be an 'object', and I see things there that do suggest 'gear' - but I still have to accept that I'm 'living in the odds'.  Etc.

    Radio evidence - again, compelling to me - but still out there in the odds.  The tabular odds show some interesting patterns to me - but they are still pretty tough odds.  I cannot show where Dana Rudolph and Betty Klenck could have most definitely been mistaken by commercial programming of some sort, but I'm not sure we can entirely rule it out.  Compelling, interesting - but still circumstantial.

    The Pan Am DF receptions - this has been a very interesting and compelling point for me.  Those were professional radio guys listening in, with airline state-of-art equipment of the day, I'm sure.  There should not have been a lot of sources on that frequency bouncing around in that area - Earhart seems a good explanation.  Maybe so - and if so, had to be on land.  Mantz thought she would be, so did the navy. 

    Well, the navy looked - nothing.  Eventually the navy did what most organizations do when they have to close an issue - outliers like unvalidated radio traffic gets explained as best can be done - rightly or wrongly.

    The problem is simply 'odds'.  We're still struggling with long odds, IMHO.  I followed the 'markers' at Niku for a long time - still will - but am wondering if I should also pay more attention to others. 

    The navigation case just is not so simple.  If Fred was so good and all that methodology was so great, then why didn't they land at Howland?

    I have to realize that they still could have tragically crashed at sea just north or west, short of Howland, despite the odds I've thought of for a long time.  All kinds of cases can be constructed for hypothesis.  I have to accept that 'clouds' may have played a larger role than I've previously thought of - they may have obscured the stars and even the moon; they may have blotted out a faintly distant Howland in the herd of shadows from them. 

    Maybe there were clouds down toward Niku too - and we just don't know it.  We do know there were clouds to the north and west of Howland, per the Itasca.  We also have the Itasca's skipper's first reaction - to search in that direction: one lowly cutter of the day, out looking on a broad expanse of ocean for a downed plane.  It may have gone down out there - may have floated for days, unseen - or gone straight to the bottom in a crumpled mess.

    Or it may have gone 'down the line' to Gardner.  But I have to accept 'the odds', still.

    Something to think about.  It's been a long, long search out there at Niku - no doubt more so for Ric and a few others than for the rest of us.  There have been many tantalizing things found, but unless one is willing to take the aggregate circumstantial evidence as conclusive, we still lack the holy grail.  The only way to know is to find it.  I guess where to look depends on how one is willing to bet, IMHO.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: John B. Shattuck on September 24, 2013, 01:40:37 PM
    Jeff,

    Enjoyed your analysis, but I have to wonder if statistical analysis is a valid method for analysis here.  Not to sharpshoot, and I look forward to your thoughts and response; but we do not have a population of 30 or more airplanes flying from Lae to Howland... we have one.  Whatever the odds of it arriving, it did not...it did arrive somewhere, and the physical evidence; while maybe not conclusive, is consistent with a landing at Niku. 

    I understand you were looking at the miles potentially off by the natural error in dead reckoning; and again we have a population of one.  No way of knowing how many standard deviations this population of one may have fallen in the population of error probabilities; and IMO the point is moot when one considers that we do not know how far they may have been dead reckoning...if at all (okay, certainly they were between celestial sightings but you know what I mean ;)).

    IMO, sometimes we all get caught up in what would have, should have, maybe did, etc.  But in the end, we have to follow the evidence to a conclusion.  The evidence seems to be on Niku, whatever the statistical probability of ending up there.

    Respectfully,

    JB
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: JNev on September 24, 2013, 02:51:51 PM
    Jeff,

    Enjoyed your analysis, but I have to wonder if statistical analysis is a valid method for analysis here.  Not to sharpshoot, and I look forward to your thoughts and response; but we do not have a population of 30 or more airplanes flying from Lae to Howland... we have one.  Whatever the odds of it arriving, it did not...it did arrive somewhere, and the physical evidence; while maybe not conclusive, is consistent with a landing at Niku. 

    I understand you were looking at the miles potentially off by the natural error in dead reckoning; and again we have a population of one.  No way of knowing how many standard deviations this population of one may have fallen in the population of error probabilities; and IMO the point is moot when one considers that we do not know how far they may have been dead reckoning...if at all (okay, certainly they were between celestial sightings but you know what I mean ;)).

    IMO, sometimes we all get caught up in what would have, should have, maybe did, etc.  But in the end, we have to follow the evidence to a conclusion.  The evidence seems to be on Niku, whatever the statistical probability of ending up there.

    Respectfully,

    JB

    Thanks John, you are very kind.

    Statisitcal probabilities absolutely apply, John - and to that point, I've not said 'would have' or 'should have', etc. - but have merely pointed out some rational numerical realities. 

    The prospect is also very much 'one airplane, one flight, one likely outcome' and probabilities of same, not a phantom fleet or repeated efforts.  Who knows within a target ring a dart will land?

    Ric has assigned, for hypothesis' sake, a probability of 'one' to the airplane arriving 'down the line' by 230 NM, if I follow him correctly.  In simple terms, that means a 1 in 370 set of odds for such an arrival on a given flight.  This does assume the established fix of 0718 Z near Nikumanu Island - still 1700 SM from there to Howland as a reliable fix (I believe the record supports that), and I picked one 'further out from Howland' to inject some extra error margin in favor of Ric's hypothetical assumption. 

    That means, in simple dead reckoning terms, an expected possible error from there to Howland Island of about 170 SM.  The point of the statistics is that we have a 95% probability of arrival within that range of error.  We have a 5% chance of arriving even further away from Howland, and that likelihood diminishes with each mile further away considered.

    That further means that a hypothetical assertion of 230 NM / 255 SM 'off course' is around 1.5 times the generally accepted uncertainty of "10%" from the last fix (Nikumanu), or about 3 standard deviations.  In turn, that means in simple terms that our one airplane, on this one flight has odds of about 1 in 370 of arriving 'on the line' 230 NM south of Howland.

    BTW, I did not use celestial 'fixes' but rather a land fix that was reported - there's a difference (more accurate, I believe).

    Can that happen?  Of course it can happen - I never said it 'could not happen' - I've merely illustrated the 'odds' given standard DR navigation from a fixed point that was reported as observed during the flight. 

    So if the flight arrived as Ric has hypothesized, then it did so against the more likely outcome ('against the odds' so to speak) of 'not being more than about 170 miles away' from Howland.

    Did it arrive somewhere?  Yes, I heartily agree and believe we all can - sans aliens, it DID arrive somewhere in the Pacific area - absolutely 100% certain of that, an 'event' of 'one', for sure. 

    I have also been one to point out many times that TIGHAR has found and reported on far more (in fact, so far as I can tell, "100% more") tangible 'stuff' supporting a reef landing, subsequent cries for help, a near-miss aerial search and a castaway that could have been Earhart on Gardner (Niku).  Consider Ric's point on this - similar to my own:

    Quote
    ...best indication that they turned SSE is the abundance of hard evidence suggesting that they ended up on Gardner...

    Ric doth not lie - he speaketh truth.  I merely parse to make the point that we have two operative conditions in that phrase:

    The first fills me with optimism -

    - Abundance of hard evidence - yes, we have 'things in hand' that are tangible, and taken in full 'context' as I have often advocated myself, they seem to tell a 'story' - one of Earhart coming to her end among the Strawberry and Coconut Crabs of Gardner.

    But we're still stuck with the second operative condition in that phrase - and it amounts to 'statistics' in its own way -

    - Suggesting - this is brutal honesty; this is why I've never really had a problem with TIGHAR's approach to establishing and testing a hypothesis about a reef landing at Niku, and hat's off - it reminds me to remain rigorous in my analysis. 

    It also bequeaths an unfortunate reatlity: I am stuck with a suggested outcome, i.e. an outcome based on a set of probabilities when one thinks of it.

    Is it a high probabilityRic suggests it is a high probability because of the physical evidence - which despite all I wish for, remains toughly 'circumstantial' for now in my view.  YMMV, and I argue not - I merely point out realities as I can understand them.

    The Niku hypothesis also seems more clearly now to hinge at least to some degree (damn statistics again) on an assumption of the flight arriving 'on the line' some 230 NM SSE of Howland - at odds of 1 in 370 from my view as I have now carefully considered the navigational case. 

    Starting with that set of odds, now I have to consider the risk that the 'abundance of hard evidence' could actually be of origins other than Earhart, although I consider that it does strongly suggest an Earhart presence.  Can it all have happened?  Of course it could have - despite the odds.  It is a big world, strange things happen.  Can it be proven by these things we hold that she was there?  I've yearned for it - still do, heart aches for Ric to lay hands on something that will prove it - but so far I fear we are not there.

    Is is likely to have happened?  The odds are terribly inconvenient - from the navigational realities right down to the radio traffic probabilities, etc. 

    My point really is - until somebody emerges with a chunk of positively identifiable material from Earhart's flight that can only have arrived in a given place, within reasonable bounds of 'odds', we don't know for certain.  And, it is a large world full of possibilities - while Niku is one of them, so are other outcomes. 

    ---

    The corollary to my point is 'choose your poison' - if you believe in Niku that is no sin in my book - it is a wonderful hypothesis and has been thoroughly examined for something approaching 30 years.  In parallel to that, be careful about condemning other ideas - the clouds that day to the NW of Howland may have played the stinker - Fred may well have been denied a moonshot by those clouds, and the flight could easily have come within miles of Howland but the fliers may have missed smoke, island shape and all among the morning ocean and cloud shadows.  They may have, for all we presntly know for certain, have died in a crash a few miles NNW of Howland and flying straight at her 'on the line' with fule exhausted and muted by a day frequency, despite our estimates of endurance.

    Conclusively, the best searches to date have yielded something we can bank on: so far, we know exactly where the airplane ain't.

    Statistically speaking in terms of the region, the Pacific is a large place that can quickly swallow large items without a trace.  In my view, to be realistic we have to at least give some credence to the 'numbers' or odds.  I dislike the inconvenience of them as much as anyone.

    So, choose your poison and don't sweat it - but accept the odds when you do.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: JNev on September 24, 2013, 03:47:56 PM
    So after all this time I've only just found out that there was a moon available!

    A moon would slow Fred to get a fix on their position so it begs the question: If they missed Howland what went wrong?

    My understanding of a single fix on the moon is that Fred could have determined how far north or south he was - time vs. altitude of the moon against his tables.

    Quote
    1. Clouds
    2. Incapacitated
    3. Equipment failure

    Any of those could answer this, I think.  A fair question may be 'what is the most likely?'

    Clouds were known in at least one region where the flight actually was, for at least some period of time - that was reported.  We don't have any specific report of Noonan not being able to 'shoot' due to clouds, so uncertain.

    Incapacition due to... well, theories about 'personnel fitness' have abounded, and I won't be unfair to Fred who cannot defend himself; it is enough that it is a possibility for any number of reasons - including things like sudden, unexpected turbulance catching a tall fellow off-guard while out of his seat or something.

    Equipment failure - always a possibility, although I believe someone posted recently how to check an octant if dropped, etc.  My guess is Fred knew the handling of such things so well and depended on them so much that it is not terribly likely - but back to the 'odds' - it can have happened, of course.

    Quote
    Regarding 3 didn't Fred have a second device or 'preventer'?

    He may have - and if so, it tends to diminish the chances of celestial nav failure due to an instrument problem, of course.

    I've always believed that is likely because of what he wrote about his pioneering experience with Pan Am.  Others disagree.  I don't know that we can ever prove that he did.  There is some history, by his own writing I believe, of having a marine sextant modified with a level for aerial application - and use as a 'preventer'.  I remain highly intrigued by the sextant box found with the skeletal remains at Gardner and the possibility that it relates.  Mr. Gaddy (I guess the famous navigator) examined it and proclaimed it to not be an aviation instrument box of that era, I believe - but perhaps he would have expected an octant and not considered that Noonan may have had a trusty marine device - perhaps old, but modified for aviation use. 

    I do not know - nor may it even be knowable, unless we find a wreck full of junk one day...

    Quote
    Where would he sit to take the fix.  If it was up front AE could prod him awake.  If its behind the cockpit he could of been asleep nursing a bottle of Benedictine ;)

    He could have been up front or in the rear.  I've read somewhere that up front would be more likely for the sunrise position shot - and that clouds would have been a problem there none-the-less.  Also I believe it's been suggested that 'up front' would be desirable for spotting the island.

    In the back, well, many things are possible... but I'd rather speculate about a banged head during turbulence than to throw even a possible aspersion on Fred about the alcohol.  We really don't know how real that was or what problems it really created in his life, I don't think. 

    I don't recall any mention of sobriety being a problem during duty hours.  We have the cryptic Gore Vidal statement about Earhart's code for Noonan drunkeness being 'personnel problems' - but as I've been admonished before, that is extremely anecdotal - and she herself suffered stomach and sinus problems that may have been bad at times.  It could also relate to a dirth of local support on certain days or hours for all we know.

    What's the most likely?  I'm cloud watching a bit on that... darn things can be everywhere when you don't need them to be, and Earhart obviously lacked the one thing she really needed the most for her best shot at an approach to Howland: competent RDF capability.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: JNev on September 24, 2013, 04:14:07 PM
    Even IF clouds are a problem couldn't they fly above the clouds?
     

    At times, perhaps - but did they possibly commit to a lower altitude when they believed Howland was close, and perhaps lose the overhead sky?

    Earhart reported flying around looking for the island at 1000 feet.  It would cost gas to climb again; she apparently believed she was 'on' Howland at that point.  I don't recall another altitude report with her subsequent transmissions, including the last one regarding 'on the line' - she may well have still been at 1000 feet trying to visually acquire while flying up, then down the line (I am biased toward believing that is the logical sequence 'on the line' - 'up' by 337 for a gas reserves-permitting time, thence 'down' by 157 until landfall).

    For now, I keep roaming back to the 'clouds' - and where the clouds were.  It also suddenly comes to me that it is all the more tragic that Earhart could not get weather from the Itasca due to her radio ills - sky conditions in various sectors might well have become a vital clue in working with shipside observers to develop a better idea of where the flight was.  I guess that is something we can never really know, but it is sad to realize that there may be yet another tragedy within the radio debacle.

    Don't get me wrong, either - I'm not saying Gardner could not have happened, but I think the discussion is worth having.  Nothing sharpens the chase like a bit of challenge on thought, IMHO, lest the mind gets too eager to see what it wishes to see.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Scott C. Mitchell on September 24, 2013, 04:28:59 PM
    John Ousterhout’s correlation of AE’s radio broadcasts and likely navigation choices was fascinating.  The notion of cockpit conversations (maybe even shouting matches) gives this episode an even more human and poignant element.  I have been reading an excellent book called Deep Survival, by Laurence Gonzales.  In it, he offers the neuroscience studies of what happens when people find themselves in a state of being lost.  The hippocampus in the brain is apparently the epicenter of the effort to construct an analog world of a sense of place, a “spacial reference map” in the mind.  New data leads to an ongoing process of “remapping”.  However, stress interferes with this process, and what you end up with is a distorted sense of place and position.  It is this distortion that leads to faulty “seat of the pants” navigation decisions, where one’s hunches override the real data offered by instrumentation and calculation.  With an increasing sense of being lost, of not seeing any landmarks, the amygdala in the brain drives an unconscious urge to “get to a safe place fast”, and this sense also contributes to overriding mental calculation.  (Responses from the amygdala always override neocortex “logical thinking”.  When you jump at the snake in the path, you’re not “thinking” of the danger; instead, your amygdala has sent a direct overiding order to your body: “Jump!”  You do it without thinking.)  When lost person’s  mental map no longer offers a path to safety, in fact is shown to be completely unreliable, panic sets in, and this obliterates any remaining sense of orientation.  For people lost in the wilderness, there’s even a name for it: “woods shock”.   Doubt and second-guessing and almost random choices follow next.  In the case of AE and FN, add to that stress the exhaustion after almost 20 hours of flying.  And with two individuals in the aircraft, you could have two opposing disoriented “spacial reference maps” at odds with each other: AE, with her amygdala-driven seat-of-the-pants urge to head in a direction she “feels” is right, and FN, who can’t believe they are as off course as his spotty navigational opportunities suggest.  So at the point of “We must be on you but cannot see you” comment, what followed may not have been a cognitive flight plan to most efficiently search for Howland (box search, etc.), but fruitless low-altitude back-and-forth flying and cloud-shadow chasing.  After this, the panic-impulse from the amygdala would be to lunge forward, toward the next perceived “place of safety” – the Phoenix islands.  So there could be psychological as well as navigational impetus in that direction.

    Scott Mitchell
    Tighar #3292
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Ric Gillespie on September 24, 2013, 07:44:24 PM
    We don't need Gary LaPook.  We seem to be able generate pages upon pages of pointless postings without his help. 

    - Dead reckoning all the way from Lae involves around 2556 statute miles +/-, so a 10% error would be in that case around 230 nautical miles or 260 statute miles.  That would be the expected outcome if the flight had had to slog all the way from Lae to Howland in clouds, without benefit of fixes along the way. 

    DR accuracy depends almost entirely upon the pilot or navigator's knowledge of, and correction for, winds aloft.  We know that the forecast Earhart received was a wild-ass guess by a meteorologist in Hawaii who had no current data to work with.  The only report we have of winds aloft anywhere is at Howland at noon on July 2 and it only goes to 2,650 feet because they lost sight of the weather ballon in the clouds.  We have no information about winds aloft anywhere along the route.  Earhart's one mention of wind in a position report is ambiguous and useless.  Blithely postulating a 10% error for DR in the Earhart case is classic LaPook-style assignment of probability in the absence of facts.

    - The flight had a fix at 0718 Z near Nikumanu Island - still 1700 SM from there to Howland; expected uncertainty from there to Howland would be about 170 SM;
    - Then we believe they may have seen the Ontario at 1030 Z - about 1270 SM from Howland; uncertainty by the time of arrival at the 1912 Z call would then have been only about 127 SM;
    - Then the flight passed Nauru at about 1130 Z - about 1143 SM remaining to Howland; uncertainty drops to 115 SM by the time they would reach the call point at 1912 Z;
    - We believe they flew over Tabituea - only 613 SM remaining to Howland; that drops the uncertainty by dead reckoning to about 61 SM.

    A house of cards.  "Expected uncertainties" based upon a totally bogus assumption and bad "facts."  Earhart probably saw SS Myrtlebank, not USS Ontario, but nobody knows for sure.  There is no evidence that Earhart knew either.  All she said was "Ship in sight ahead."
    Nobody knows how far the flight may have been off course when it passed Nauru and the 1940 anecdotal story of an airplane being heard high over Tabituea can hardly be called a "fix."

    All numbers, all probabilities, all based on what we know of Dead Reckoning.

    And absolutely worthless.

      I believe the Nauru passage is reliable as a report from Earhart, but if I am wrong I will happily stand corrected.  There are other fixes I believe, so one need only do the basic math from those points and YMMV, of course - but odds is odds.

    Earhart never made any reference to Nauru.  Earhart is known to have transmitted only two lat/long positions - one a little over 5 hours after departure which is clearly wrong and probably a transcription error; and the other two hours later which indicates a position 21 nautical miles NE of Nukumanu Island but she made no reference to seeing an island.

    So which was missing, Fred?  Or the moon?

    All the discussion of the moon ignores the fact that Earhart said they were "running on line north and south."  Why would they be doing that if Fred had shot the moon and had a fix that told him whether they were north or south of Howland?

    Now I start thinking of Earhart's mention of clouds - and clouds to the north and west of Howland.


    References to clouds to the north and west of Howland only turned up days later when Itasca was trying to explain why Earhart didn't see Howland.  There's no evidence that cloud conditions north and west of Howland on the morning of July 2 were any different than around Howland.

    I won't continue.  My point is that facts count.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Ted G Campbell on September 24, 2013, 07:59:18 PM
    All,

    Has it occurred to anyone that once AE found she couldn’t DF into Howland, the fact they couldn’t see the island and the possibility that this was all due to FN not getting his sun, moon, etc. shots, FN would have instructed AE to gain/loose altitude so he could get a “shot” of something sometime before their arrival at Howland?

    Seems to me that upon the approach to Howland and no one is answering your calls, you can’t see the island and the DF doesn’t seem to work, FN would have been busy trying everything under the sun (no pun intended) to determine his exact location.   The fact that he was convinced they were on the LOP tells me FN did obtain some type of “shot” just before entering an approach to Howland i.e. overcoming minimal observation impairments.

    However, if there were a constant SE wind on their track you Nav. gurus should be able to determine about how far off FN would have been given his last minute sun shot – providing AE followed FN instructions to gain/loose altitude so he could perform his calculations.  The calculations I am looking for here is how far off track could they have been before the last minute shot would have indicated a significant error in a straight-in approach.  e.g. just my guess, 10 degrees off  on a sun shot, wouldn’t have been enough to cause concern with respect to the original flight plan but in reality would have put them x miles off course to the south.

    Also, my guess is that FN told AE to first fly North on the LOP so he could get a sun shot out of the rear window at his nav. table – where all his charts and tables were – as opposed to being up front where he didn’t have the ready resources available to him to figure out where exactly they were. 

    The other puzzle in these last minute approach snafus is was FN aware of the lack of communications between AE and Howland/Itasca?  Remember FN was passing notes via bamboo poles to AE, thus suggesting no intercom between the two, and I wonder if FN could even hear AE’s transmissions and/or land responses.  Was FN totally in the dark as to what was going on with regard to communications between the plane and ground support?  Did FN, once getting information from AE – not sure how this was accomplished, did she have a short bamboo pole? – decide he better get up front to look for an alterative landing spot?

    Speculation, speculation I know.

    Ted Campbell
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: JNev on September 25, 2013, 01:34:23 PM
    We don't need Gary LaPook.  We seem to be able generate pages upon pages of pointless postings without his help. 

    To split up my pointlessness, I’ll respond in two separate posts as I sense two areas of concern.

    First -

    There’s always the ‘red X’ of oblivion (http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,1340.msg27901.html#msg27901)…

    With all due respect, I think our friend Gary has suffered enough in absentia – we both realize by now he’s not going to appear to defend himself.  It really only makes TIGHAR look smaller than it should (http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,377.0.html), don’t you think?  I plead for a kinder tone, even should a rebuke be believed in order. 

    If you find my writing offensive, blame me personally.  It is mine, from my own understandings gained here and elsewhere.  I do not 'proxy' or 'ghost write' for others.  Whether I have drawn from Gary’s or other’s knowledge is my concern alone.  While I have pled for kindness in tone, it is for the benefit of the greater community and the sake of TIGHAR's image - personally I have fairly thick skin.

    It was not my intent that any of this be taken on the chin or as ruinous to the Niku hypothesis, but to stir a bit of new thought and discussion.  IMHO as a member, this forum could use more vigorous exchange.  Sometimes it seems to be a shadow of what we had when I first came here.  I realize that promotional ideas are vital - but reason is also dependent on honest expression and questioning of substance.  I disagree that I have commented or questioned without reason.

    I am not a ‘TIGHAR hater’ any more than a number of others who seem to share my view.  I do want to help ensure that the quality of exchange is fitting of what TIGHAR proclaims herself to be (http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,454.0.html?wwparam=1380121324) as a nonprofit educational institution.  My belief is TIGHAR would be endangered more by a slip in the quality of debate than lawsuits and spoiling trolls, and I for one refuse to fail you or TIGHAR by blowing smoke for comfort.  At times I may have done so unwittingly, but this isn't a good place for the unwitting; I've grown wiser and gained wits as a process of studying here and intend to be more scholarly and offer more of substance when I can. 

    Please do consider that I was once accused of ‘being safe by hanging back (http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,1067.msg23398.html#msg23398)’ when all I was really doing was challenging the implied near ‘certainty’ of certain things.  Nonsense – facts do count, and the fact is, we dwell for now in a highly ‘prospective’ environment where much remains unproven and highly speculative and circumstantial.  But that doesn't mean 'hopeless' or 'impossible' to me - and actually, I’ve spoken a number of times in this place of the need to accept risk if one would search (http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,626.msg12754.html#msg12754).  The emerging Niku VIII plan is a grand example of that grit.  I believe if the Niku hypothesis is to be proven this kind of accepted risk and effort is what it will take, so I respectfully disagree with your analysis and judgment of my comments as ‘pointless’. 

    That said, many discussions in a venue like this may well deserve a double-edged ‘hanging back’ question now and then.  But we do live with probabilities - and many of them remain subjective as to our personal judgment for now, so there will be differences - even when we agree to search in a certain place.  I’ll leave it at that. 

    Thanks for this place and the opportunity to explore this mystery.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: JNev on September 25, 2013, 01:50:57 PM
    Second –

    We don't need Gary LaPook.  We seem to be able generate pages upon pages of pointless postings without his help. 

    Ric, you’ve made an assertion as to where the flight would have arrived on the LOP to fit a Gardner arrival scenario - some 230 NM south of Howland.  Your assertion of that particular was something I'd not realized before and it drove me into the navigation issues more deeply.  I learned a few things I’d not grasped before, that’s all.

    For one, arrival at that point does not look like a given considering the things I have outlined – which I believe are well validated.  It could have happened, I don't doubt that.

    As much as I admire and have enthusiasm for the Gardner arrival hypothesis and support exploring it, I still believe that other possibilities remain until irrefutable evidence is found.  That is of course just MHO, your's and other’s MMV from one end of the spectrum to the other, no foul from here.  That position is not meant as disloyal to anyone or any reasonable idea, merely that I see the mystery as remaining potentially broader than some others might.  As to the strength of the evidence found at Niku, IMHO the sheet metal article 2-2-V-1 and the plexiglass shard are among the most promising and interesting - that may well be because of my background, but if those could ever be tied to the Electra then we'd certainly have a concrete case IMO.

    So -

    - Dead reckoning all the way from Lae involves around 2556 statute miles +/-, so a 10% error would be in that case around 230 nautical miles or 260 statute miles.  That would be the expected outcome if the flight had had to slog all the way from Lae to Howland in clouds, without benefit of fixes along the way. 

    Quote
    Ric: DR accuracy depends almost entirely upon the pilot or navigator's knowledge of, and correction for, winds aloft.  We know that the forecast Earhart received was a wild-ass guess by a meteorologist in Hawaii who had no current data to work with.  The only report we have of winds aloft anywhere is at Howland at noon on July 2 and it only goes to 2,650 feet because they lost sight of the weather balloon in the clouds.

    Nauru reported winds that were consistent with the forecast.  Itasca reported ENE at 30 on July 1st and at 22 the day earlier.  That does not tell all but it’s better than a WAG.  The weather was settled so far as we can tell, so it is reasonable that no big changes in the winds should have been the case.  Agreed – we cannot know for certain.  But, Noonan was equipped to determine drift for himself by computation between fixes with his drift meter, so an amendment of forecast information was likely possible aboard the plane. 

    Quote
    Ric: We have no information about winds aloft anywhere along the route.  Earhart's one mention of wind in a position report is ambiguous and useless.  Blithely postulating a 10% error for DR in the Earhart case is classic LaPook-style assignment of probability in the absence of facts.

    I believe that Noonan did determine winds aloft at 23 knots of wind by himself at one reported point – if that relates to the ‘ambiguous and useless’ report, as you have declared it, then perhaps our MMV, but honestly and respectfully so.

    Blithely?  LaPook style?  It’s your forum, present it as you will (http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,377.0.html).

    I recall the navigational assumptions from my own training, Ric.  I’m not dependent on Gary for advice on navigation.  I have a living uncle who is a Georgia Tech graduate (engineering) and who served in the navy as a navigator aboard the navy’s version of the B-17, flying out of Hawaii for long distances over open water after WWII.  Another uncle (now deceased) was a WWII carrier pilot and instructor who retired in 1968 and shared these things.  A brother was a career naval aviator who retired as a navy captain.  His aviation and sea experience were great.  I grew up with them sharing a great deal I continue to explore ideas with the surviving uncle and brother.  I also had a great flight instructor who was my first employer and in earlier years an early hurricane hunter pilot in the navy (P2V Neptunes, which he said ‘leaked a lot’ - they drove through the weather in those days, and later, Super-Connies - which could get above some of the weather).  He ‘shot the stars’ for fun quite well, and sailed extensively in the Pacific by DR and celestial means with another former instructor of mine - a fellow who left my hometown to go to work for a tiny outfit in it's early days as a Falcon captain: Federal Express.  Both of those gents knew a great deal of navigation and had lots of experience with open-water sailing and flying.  The first gent mentioned earned a bronze star flying a Catalina to pick up downed airmen in the open Pacific under Japanese fire and returning them to a remote island, safely. 

    Great teachers, all.

    Admittedly we cannot know all the facts – but the purpose of probabilities is to use them to consider and weigh the reasonable possibilities as best we might.  Benjamin Disraeli had a point (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies,_damned_lies,_and_statistics) – but as inconvenient as they can be, the numbers do speak.  YMMV, of course.

    - The flight had a fix at 0718 Z near Nikumanu Island - still 1700 SM from there to Howland; expected uncertainty from there to Howland would be about 170 SM;
    - Then we believe they may have seen the Ontario at 1030 Z - about 1270 SM from Howland; uncertainty by the time of arrival at the 1912 Z call would then have been only about 127 SM;
    - Then the flight passed Nauru at about 1130 Z - about 1143 SM remaining to Howland; uncertainty drops to 115 SM by the time they would reach the call point at 1912 Z;
    - We believe they flew over Tabituea - only 613 SM remaining to Howland; that drops the uncertainty by dead reckoning to about 61 SM.

    Quote
    Ric: A house of cards.  "Expected uncertainties" based upon a totally bogus assumption and bad "facts."  Earhart probably saw SS Myrtlebank, not USS Ontario, but nobody knows for sure.  There is no evidence that Earhart knew either.  All she said was "Ship in sight ahead."  Nobody knows how far the flight may have been off course when it passed Nauru and the 1940 anecdotal story of an airplane being heard high over Tabituea can hardly be called a "fix."

    “House of cards” is a bit strong IMO.  I did not depend on all those points to make my point, and really only 'played one card' – I used the reasonably reliable Nikumanu fix.  BTW, that actually provides more margin of error to support your own supposition of a LOP-fall 230 NM south of Howland because of the fairly extreme distance involved – potential error is directly proportional.  Can you really validate the ‘assumption’ as ‘bogus’?

    Consider - if Earhart saw SS Myrtlebank, and not USS Ontario, wouldn’t that put her around 25 NM further to the north of course than your extreme southerly arrival (230 NM south of Howland) would suggest?  Had the flight been 25 miles further north at that point then the likelihood of arriving 230 NM south is diminished accordingly.  That seems to inject a far more radical assumption of navigational ambiguity than I have used. 

    -   It was around 990 NM from Myrtlebank I believe – which would make LOP-fall of 230NM south of Howland in the range of a 26% deviation error – more than 5 standard deviations (there go those pesky numbers again, I hear you Benjamin…). 
    -   BTW, I goofed around with my old E-6 a bit – if the plane did overfly Myrtlebank and then wind up 230 NM south of Howland, then it must have hit sudden northerly winds (‘from the left’) of around 56 knots.  That event would not just rob the flight of a reasonable arrival point, but fuel as well – that’s a lot of crabbing (there goes some of my fuel for running the generator on the reef).  BTW, yes – I checked this with Gary, as a matter of fact, via pleasant email.  I am not a ‘TIGHAR hater’, nor is Gary, IMHO - and I am NOT a member of any other forum on Earhart, just to be clear.

    I said “we believe” the flight went over Tabituea – clearly, we don’t “know” and I never “assumed” that.  We have a latter-day “anecdotal” report of a flyover heard, as you said. Perhaps I should have elaborated further in that regard, much as we have admittedly “anecdotal” evidence from Betty Klenck, Dana Randolph, Emily Sukuli, et al, etc.  Respected, but of course we can only take those things for what they are – and accept the ‘odds’, or not. 

    Notice again that I did not use Tabituea or any other place in my actual navigational assumption other than Nikumanu.  That actually gave you the maximum benefit of DR error rooted in that fix, some 1700 miles before Howland.  For the sake of illustration I put the flight in the soup from Nikumanu only by using the values I gave.  I also believe Nikumanu is fair as a ‘fix’ because of the position report there – and it is conservatively favorable to your own presumption of a large deviation upon arrival at the LOP. 

    All numbers, all probabilities, all based on what we know of Dead Reckoning.

    Quote
    Ric: And absolutely worthless.

    Then without any idea as to probabilities, we should have no clue as to where the flight ended – including arriving on the LOP some 230 NM south of Howland or so.  Without probabilities, things like artifacts found in at least somewhat ambiguous settings have no value.  If nothing can be considered probable then we have a theory in a vacuum – one among a possibly infinite many, including that of a LOP flight to Gardner – and voila, lots of circumstantial if intriguing evidence.  Possible.  Perhaps ‘probable’ – within this universe of chaos.  Which I have never called ‘worthless’, BTW.  Probabilities exist whether convenient or not, that's all.

    I believe the Nauru passage is reliable as a report from Earhart, but if I am wrong I will happily stand corrected.  There are other fixes I believe, so one need only do the basic math from those points and YMMV, of course - but odds is odds.

    Quote
    Ric: Earhart never made any reference to Nauru.

    Thank you, I stand happily corrected, as I had offered.

    Quote
    Ric: Earhart is known to have transmitted only two lat/long positions - one a little over 5 hours after departure which is clearly wrong and probably a transcription error; and the other two hours later which indicates a position 21 nautical miles NE of Nukumanu Island but she made no reference to seeing an island.

    True –

    Earhart did not report seeing land at Nikumanu, but the position reported seems to have been approximately 12 NM west of the western end of Nukumanu, not NE (yes, I happen to buy Gary’s take on this – YMMV, of course).  Gary has made a convincing case to me that this is often gotten wrong variously because they use the published coordinates of the island, which are actually for the southeast point of the island – which is 12 NM long east to west.  If we differ, it is an honest difference of our interpretations of the data from that time. 

    The root of this difference lies in a difference of interpretation - Gary has said he believes that Jacobson's interpretation of the minutes of the coordinates in decimal form is incorrect.  I had puzzled over that myself and having reviewed it with Gary, do favor his view of it – YMMV, of course.  That is no aspersion on Jacobson, a fine and smart man.

    -   The 0718 report was “4.33 south, 159.7 east” – but it has been shown to me from other parts of the Chatter report that his usage of the decimal (".") is a separator between degrees and minutes – which I had come to believe myself, actually.
    -   That, of course, is an opinion, but as such, my belief is that the correct interpretation would be 4° 33' South, 159° 07' East whereas Jacobson seems to have interpreted this as 4.33° South, 159.7° East. 
    -   It has been pointed out to me that pilots and navigators of the day (and still, so far as I know, lest GPS gadgetry, etc.) used minutes and not decimal degrees for coordinates. 
    -   That is not an attack on Jacobson or TIGHAR or any who agree with him, it is merely a differing opinion based on navigational experience from a few who know it better than I do, and I do know a bit of it too.

    So which was missing, Fred?  Or the moon?

    Quote
    Ric: All the discussion of the moon ignores the fact that Earhart said they were "running on line north and south."  Why would they be doing that if Fred had shot the moon and had a fix that told him whether they were north or south of Howland?

    That is kind of the point - if Fred could see the moon, why not shoot it and determine N-S position?  The moon had nothing to do with establishing a LOP and then running by DR ‘up and down’ the line, of course.  The point is they could have done so under cloud cover - and we really don't know how reliable even the LOP call was: it could have been tragically and inaccurately estimated by DR.  In fact, I happen to believe the LOP itself is  questionable – it is not clear that Fred could have gotten a clear sunrise shot with the clouds that may have been about.  The 'clouds' are the potential spoiler here, IMO.  Next is 'where would they have been to have been limited by cloud cover - did Thompson have a point?'

    But, further to my point above – “where was Noonan? Where was the moon?”  Your own presumption of an arrival 230 NM south of Howland raised the point for me, which I had not considered well before.  Had they the moon, they well should have been able to determine how far south along the LOP they were; if they believed in the LOP, which apparently they did, then it could have become a simple choice as to 'which way Howland'.

    So, ‘the big question’ remains, for me at least – “where was the moon”…

    Now I start thinking of Earhart's mention of clouds - and clouds to the north and west of Howland.

    Quote
    Ric: References to clouds to the north and west of Howland only turned up days later when Itasca was trying to explain why Earhart didn't see Howland.

    Was Commander Thompson lying?  See pages 5 and 6 therein for the 2 July, 1937 entry. (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Reports/ThompsonCruise.pdf)  His early search actions were largely based on this observation.

    Quote
    Ric: There's no evidence that cloud conditions north and west of Howland on the morning of July 2 were any different than around Howland.

    To the contrary -

    From Thompson’s ‘Cruise Report’, for 2 July, 1937 –

    “During the last half hour prior to getting underway an estimate of the situation was made based upon the following facts and assumptions:

    “FACTS”
    (J. Neville comment – this can be read on page 6 of 12 via the above link, so I’ll only quote the cloud stuff; the visibility comments are, however, also interesting – and suggest the flight might not have gotten within 30 or 40 miles, I believe).

    (c) Visibility north and west of Howland excellent to horizon but beyond that continuous banks of heavy cumulus clouds.

    (d) Plane transmissions had indicated that dead reckoning distance had been accomplished.

    (h) Stellar navigating possibilities, south and east of Howland and close to Howland, were excellent throughout the night.

    Now, where was the moon?

    Quote
    Ric: I won't continue.  My point is that facts count.

    My point exactly. 

    It is not my intent to 'tear down' anything here.  My intent is merely to sharpen the sense of the quest for those of us who seek to learn and to work all the problems inherent in testing the Niku hypothesis, that's all.  Others MMV, but in my view we are stronger when we openly and thoughtfully challenge points of dependency - if that is what a 230 NM arrival south of Howland on the LOP is (I took it to be, but perhaps over read the matter?). 

    As an example, recall that a found 'navigator's bookcase' once generated a great deal of interest and speculation here about what Fred might have had installed in the Electra for his stuff.  Finding it to be likely not related did not kill the search - it merely meant sharpening focus elsewhere and continuing to work with the other possibilities.

    Thanks for this place and the opportunity to explore among all that TIGHAR has provided.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: richie conroy on September 25, 2013, 03:53:55 PM
    Whats your point Jeff or should i say Gary / Malcolm /  Norbert Bert Ernie ?

    Anyone else's name is not worth a mention,

    Can you provide a link to your websites to assess my self if there is anything to it ? By the way i have been through them all an it is only yours Truly that has provided most adequate info  that is upto you to decide

    xx
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: richie conroy on September 25, 2013, 04:51:41 PM
    No Chris

    The difference was, We are able to decipher truth from what ever goes, while to most i just go along with what goes,  I beg to differ i have numerous UN answered questions i.e why no other voice messages straight after we are on the line ? we only seem to hear what is compatible with Tighar hypothesis But YOU like me don't need that volume of critical analyze to be convinced by Tighar's work if you have had a change of heart so be it, am not here to convince you only to remind you every new scenario you can create Tighar have fended off equal claims   of that hypothesis

     Richie
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: richie conroy on September 25, 2013, 05:14:07 PM
    So Think twice comment Once
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Tim Mellon on September 25, 2013, 06:24:13 PM
    IMHO, Jeff Neville has shined an important light on the level of integrity in the analyses presented on this Forum.

    I don't know who is right, and it really doesn't matter one IOTA. The question is whether ideas and theories can be presented in open debate, without fear of ridicule, without fear of banishment, without fear of offending the powers.

    My own experience will not weigh in here, as I have been accorded the most polite and reasoned toleration in spite of presenting controversial and irrepressible opinions.

    But I fear that this Forum will not survive much longer if the vitriol is not voluntarily curbed. There are no "TIGHAR-haters" in this world, here or on other venues. There are many, however, that despair at the rancor and lack of toleration they encounter here. We understand that people are under pressure. But now is the time for equanimity and poise. Let us all keep our focus on the real goal, finding the truth about the demise of Amelia Earhart.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Andrew M McKenna on September 25, 2013, 08:46:50 PM
    But now is the time for equanimity and poise. Let us all keep our focus on the real goal, finding the truth about the demise of Amelia Earhart.

    Tim

    You are joking, right? 

    How do you expect the organization to stay focused when you have filed a million dollar lawsuit against the organization and it's Executive Director accusing Fraud and Racketeering? 

    I thought your lawsuit is based upon the "fact" that the mystery had been solved in 2010 only TIGHAR withheld that from you, now you tell us the truth has yet to be determined?  Which is it?

    I mean, really?!? 

    If you had "equanimity and poise" you would realize that your suit is totally self contradictory not to mention baseless, and drop it in favor of supporting the next trip out there to really see what the anomaly is.

    You have the opportunity to choose being the hero or the goat in this affair.  Any way you cut it, the lawsuit leaves you being the goat. No way around it, win or loose, you will still be the ogre in the crowd.  If you can get past your personal peeves and the lawsuit, and help us complete the definitive discovery, hero status awaits.  Your choice, which will it be?

    in the mean time, please don't try to teach us about equanimity and poise.  Your actions betray your words.

    Andrew
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Ric Gillespie on September 25, 2013, 08:59:14 PM
    Andrew ol' buddy, be of good cheer.  Justice is prevailing.  I'll have much more to say about the impact of today's court ruling after I've cleared my comments with the board of directors and the legal eagles.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Andrew M McKenna on September 25, 2013, 09:21:06 PM
    Ric

    I read the good news after writing my reply to Tim, but nonetheless at least part of the suit remains in place, as does Tim's duplicity. 

    I look forward to hearing more, and I'm glad that it would now appear near impossible for Tim to win his case, but it still remains a distraction from the real goal, one he professes to want to pursue, yet continues to impede by his own actions.

    Andrew
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Ric Gillespie on September 25, 2013, 09:32:42 PM
    Whoops I THINK the point is that discussion is the substance of a forum.

    That's where you're wrong Chris, at least with respect to this forum.  The primary purpose of this forum, as I've said before, is to be a research tool for TIGHAR's testing of the Nikumaroro Hypothesis. Its secondary purpose is to educate.  We have gotten where we are by adhering to rigorous standards of historical investigation that are - it is all too apparent - not understood or not accepted by many. We know how to do this.  Our track record speaks for itself.   I try to correct errors of fact and point out invalid methodologies.  Posters who persist in arguing for unsound reasoning or unwarranted conclusions are shown the door.  They, of course, whine about how TIGHAR is only looking for agreement but we're not asking for agreement and we're not asking for endless discussion that goes nowhere.  We're asking for help. 
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Adam Marsland on September 25, 2013, 09:49:56 PM
    Just from the standpoint of someone who reads the give and take, and only occasionally weighs in, I don't mind when someone comes on and starts poking holes here and there and raising new questions.  I think it can lead interesting places.  What does get useless, and I get frustrated with it, is when people take an adversarial point of view just because, in their view, an adversarial point of view is useful for its own sake in "kicking the tires" so to speak.  Jeff, you made an interesting analogy about that being the method of a legal inquiry and I like the way you put it.  But this is not a forum of law, but of exchanging ideas, there are people, and boy do a lot of them inhabit message boards, who simply like to play gadfly.  They believe in skepticism for skepticism's sake and think it has, on its own, evidentiary weight.  I come here for intellectual stimulation.  If I wanted to, I could sit here and poke holes in the TIGHAR theory all day...because any unproven theory has, by definition, holes in it.  But unless I can come up with a MORE plausible theory on my own, I'm not really contributing anything.  I'm just saying "hey, look how smart I am."  This is something that is lost on a lot of naysayers.

    I've gotten tired of a few people on here, LaPook -- while seemingly a nice enough fellow, and very sorry about the poor guy losing his wife -- being one of them, because it was clear, at least from my admittedly biased perspective, that they had their own conclusions that they were reasoning OUTWARD from, picking up evidence along the way to support the predetermined conclusion and rejecting pieces that don't fit, rather than inducing conclusions from all the available facts and hypothesizing therefrom, which is what TIGHAR has always done and why I support and follow their work.  There are a lot of people who think the former method is just as logical or as valid as the latter, but it isn't. 

    So yeah, while you can make a freedom of speech argument about Ric banning this or that person, from the standpoint of someone who likes kicking around ideas that arise from provisionally accepting the TIGHAR hypothesis, it sure became much less tiresome because there wasn't somebody dragging the conversation in another direction all the time, and in nearly every case that person was functioning on some flawed understanding of the information, a bad data point, etc. ad nauseum.  And then someone has to set them straight on this, and it just would go down the rabbit hole.  You can make the "groupthink" argument all you want, and there is some validity to that, but OTOH, if you're trying to kick around a particular idea you don't need a constant stream of people who are absolutely insistent that the idea is bogus and will pick on any isolated data point to back up that position.  It disrupts any reasoned discussion of the theory and instead channels it into constant defense mode, which only occasionally leads to new ideas and wastes a lot of time.

    For the record, Jeff, I haven't been bothered by the tone or substance of your posts, but I do understand how Ric could get impatient -- much of this is likely ground he's gone over, and over, and over again.  Having said all that, I never thought AE landing that far south of Howland was that big of a whomp either way.  She still had fuel to get to Gardner under most scenarios you can throw up there.  I've always felt, on an instinctive level, that the donut hole/200 nm south scenario didn't quite feel right -- but that's a gut reaction with zero evidence to back it up and I'm a lot more interested, frankly, in Ric's and the gang's opinion than my own.  If there's a flaw in the scenario, I imagine it'll surface in due time.  It has up 'til this point.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: JNev on September 27, 2013, 06:26:45 PM
    Just from the standpoint of someone who reads the give and take, and only occasionally weighs in, I don't mind when someone comes on and starts poking holes here and there and raising new questions.  I think it can lead interesting places.  What does get useless, and I get frustrated with it, is when people take an adversarial point of view just because, in their view, an adversarial point of view is useful for its own sake in "kicking the tires" so to speak.

    I have not taken an adversarial point of view, Adam.  I merely see additional questions - and if they happen to challenge standing assumptions, so be it.  You are of course welcome to 'poke holes' in my analysis all you will, that might lead to interesting places as well. 

    Quote
    Jeff, you made an interesting analogy about that being the method of a legal inquiry and I like the way you put it.  But this is not a forum of law, but of exchanging ideas, there are people, and boy do a lot of them inhabit message boards, who simply like to play gadfly.  They believe in skepticism for skepticism's sake and think it has, on its own, evidentiary weight. 

    I am not an attorney, but I fail to see the problem with using critical thought to analyze a position or to test a hypothesis.  I certainly don't believe I'm a gadfly, but YMMV.  I am not a participant in any other forum, nor do I believe in skepticism for skepticism's sake; I believe in healthy objectivity and a consideration of all information that may have a bearing on a hypothesis and presumptions therein.

    Quote
    I come here for intellectual stimulation.  If I wanted to, I could sit here and poke holes in the TIGHAR theory all day...because any unproven theory has, by definition, holes in it.  But unless I can come up with a MORE plausible theory on my own, I'm not really contributing anything.  I'm just saying "hey, look how smart I am."  This is something that is lost on a lot of naysayers.

    Good - then if you like intellectual stimulation you should enjoy the challenge.  If you think you can poke a hole in a challenging way, I'm sure it would be welcome and responded to - if TIGHAR has the superior position by an objective standard then the hypothesis is merely stronger for having been challenged.

    I did not offer an alternate theory that I believe is more plausible; I merely illustrated that there can be another way of viewing the presumption of an arrival on the LOP some 230 NM south of Howland Island, and why Earhart and Noonan should have been able to realize that if it was the case: a celestial shot of the moon and a reduction to a position of N vs. S, relative to Howland - and for that matter, Gardner. 

    Why is 'another way of viewing the presumption of an arrival on the LOP some 230 NM south of Howland' of possible import?  Because it is problematic in a way I had not realized before, and I don't believe it has really been adequately answered.  Perhaps you can be stimulated intellectually to find where TIGHAR has addressed that, as Ric implied, or if not, address it yourself and satisfy the assumption as reasonable and likely.

    Quote
    I've gotten tired of a few people on here, LaPook -- while seemingly a nice enough fellow, and very sorry about the poor guy losing his wife -- being one of them, because it was clear, at least from my admittedly biased perspective, that they had their own conclusions that they were reasoning OUTWARD from, picking up evidence along the way to support the predetermined conclusion and rejecting pieces that don't fit, rather than inducing conclusions from all the available facts and hypothesizing therefrom, which is what TIGHAR has always done and why I support and follow their work.  There are a lot of people who think the former method is just as logical or as valid as the latter, but it isn't. 

    Gary is not posting here, nor am I ghosting for Gary.  I do keep in touch with Gary, and he is one of the people who have helped me get a better grasp on celestial and dead reckoning navigation.  Gary has been a professional pilot and a CFII and has around 6000 hours of flight experience.  He's flown some hairy and long over-water flights to ferry airplanes, so he has direct experience over the sea.  He can be a pain in the ass when he's heart-set on making a point, too.  Perhaps that was your main observation.

    Some might accuse TIGHAR of "reasoning OUTWARD from, picking up evidence along the way to support the predetermined conclusion and rejecting pieces that don't fit, rather than inducing conclusions from all the available facts and hypothesizing therefrom" - I don't believe I have done so.  I never said TIGHAR 'rejected' anything about the moon shot or DR errors, for instance - I just don't see for now that these things have been fully addressed, as I now understand them - and TIGHAR's LOP-fall 230 NM south of Howland (somehow I'd missed that point before and picked up on it in a recent post by Ric, which got me wondering a bit).

    The DR and moon shot questions seem fair and valid to me, that's all.  If there are other valid answers or things I've missed, fine - maybe you can be stimulated and help with a better answer.

    Quote
    So yeah, while you can make a freedom of speech argument about Ric banning this or that person, from the standpoint of someone who likes kicking around ideas that arise from provisionally accepting the TIGHAR hypothesis, it sure became much less tiresome because there wasn't somebody dragging the conversation in another direction all the time, and in nearly every case that person was functioning on some flawed understanding of the information, a bad data point, etc. ad nauseum.  And then someone has to set them straight on this, and it just would go down the rabbit hole.  You can make the "groupthink" argument all you want, and there is some validity to that, but OTOH, if you're trying to kick around a particular idea you don't need a constant stream of people who are absolutely insistent that the idea is bogus and will pick on any isolated data point to back up that position.  It disrupts any reasoned discussion of the theory and instead channels it into constant defense mode, which only occasionally leads to new ideas and wastes a lot of time.

    Not sure I followed all of that, but I'm not making any 'freedom of speech' arguments here - this is a moderated forum which we've been clearly advised is for certain purposes and is intended to have a certain focus.  If I want to exercise free speech I'll go to the courthouse square and pass out flyers...

    Gary has not been 'banned' by Ric; he simply gave up posting here for his own reasons. 

    I am not making a 'groupthink' argument, either - I don't believe in herding cats to market, nor cattle to reason.

    Quote
    For the record, Jeff, I haven't been bothered by the tone or substance of your posts,...

    I'm glad, the tone and substance are not meant to be bothersome.

    Quote
    ...but I do understand how Ric could get impatient -- much of this is likely ground he's gone over, and over, and over again.

    I'm sure it is and I have not complained about Ric's 'impatience', if he has been.  I did note that I appreciate that this is not a great time for Ric, I realize he has his hands quite full.  But when something is written in this place that piques my interest and causes me to dig into the subject for more information and I find that there may be a question, that is when I will write on the subject. 

    If Ric thinks my point is pointless or stupid and a waste of time because he's rejected if before, that's fine - but it would help if I could understand where that happened.  I've read his book, and paid into the 'Literary Guild II' in the confidence that his next one would also be good and look forward to it.  But if this point has been adequately addressed there or elsewhere I've not found it, or can't remember it well enough to find it now.  Until then I don't understand fully the point of his own assertion of arrival on the LOP some 230 NM south of Howland, that's all.

    Quote
    Having said all that, I never thought AE landing that far south of Howland was that big of a whomp either way.  She still had fuel to get to Gardner under most scenarios you can throw up there.  I've always felt, on an instinctive level, that the donut hole/200 nm south scenario didn't quite feel right -- but that's a gut reaction with zero evidence to back it up and I'm a lot more interested, frankly, in Ric's and the gang's opinion than my own.  If there's a flaw in the scenario, I imagine it'll surface in due time.  It has up 'til this point.

    Flaws don't surface unless we explore and question; I'm not saying there is a flaw, I have merely raised a question about an assumption because of a new understanding of a navigational foundation in the argument, that's all.  I have great admiration for the work that 'Ric's and the gang's' efforts have produced.  Like you, I have some gut reservations - I have to realize that no matter how hard they work at it, we are still looking at very circumstantial and at time ambiguous information, not hard fact.  I think that's OK - if is all part of a 'hypothesis' - and hypotheses are for testing.

    Ric himself said on March 20, 2012 before the world that 'some very smart people think we're right, and some very smart people don't think we're right' (paraphrased - apologies to Ric for not having direct quote at-hand).  To me, that was Ric at his best - putting the academic argument up and making the point that we are 'testing a hypothesis'.  Obviously there is confidence in it or we would not be here. 

    But we have to be realistic - we remain in a circumstantial, somewhat ambiguous state of 'proof' so far, at least as far as some are concerned.  I have not said "TIGHAR is wrong"; I've merely challenged a particular point in the hypothesis due to a better understanding of the underlying problem. 

    Enough - too much, didn't mean to write so long...

    Good evening.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Adam Marsland on September 29, 2013, 05:25:28 PM
    Hi Jeff...thanks, appreciate the post.  There's a slight misunderstanding which probably engendered the long response.  I may not have been very clear in that the thrust of my post was not directed at you personally (or at least, not the substance of what you were saying).  I agree that, in my opinion at least, you haven't crossed the line to being a "gadfly for gadfly's sake."  I was more talking about people who had come before, and who over time got banned from the forum, which was a topic that if I'm not mistaken you (and I think one or two others) had broached a few times in passing while making your core statement.  So I can understand why you would feel the need to defend against that, but I don't think you need to.  Some others, however, at least from my perspective, definitely wore out their welcome.  Again, simply speaking from my own perspective/opinion, and I'm basically nobody.  :)
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: John B. Shattuck on September 30, 2013, 09:53:09 AM
    Jeff, et al;

    I think it's important and relevant to our analysis of the Tighar hypothesis to realize that some questions are destined to never be truly answered.  Come the day when the conclusive piece of evidence is found to place our intrepid pair on Niku, how they ended up there cannot be known with entire certainty.  Whatever navigational decisions, errors, assumptions, readings, sightings, and the like that were made or failed to be made, even what charts were used, are forever lost with the crew.  I'll let others speak for themselves, but I believe this is the source of some of the frustration on the forum with long debates over what did or did not happen with regards to navigation.  Navigation discussions can neither prove nor disprove, or really even support or cast doubt on the hypothesis.  It is to that end that some may label the discussions "pointless".

    That said, I personally have enjoyed some of these discussions; GL's long and detailed analysis included.  And it was a navigation moment when the original Tighar team said; "Hey, if they followed 157 could they have ended up on one of these islands over here, instead of crashed and sank?" (or words to that effect) ...But at the end of the day navigation discussions  really do not contribute to proving or disproving the hypothesis.  It is not my place to assess whether these discussions should be included in the forum, I merely share these thoughts and observations in the spirit of explaining why the discussions are met, at times, with reproach.

    Respectfully,

    JB
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Ric Gillespie on September 30, 2013, 09:54:44 AM
    Jeff, et al;

    I think it's important and relevant to our analysis of the Tighar hypothesis to realize that some questions are destined to never be truly answered.  Come the day when the conclusive piece of evidence is found to place our intrepid pair on Niku, how they ended up there cannot be known with entire certainty.  Whatever navigational decisions, errors, assumptions, readings, sightings, and the like that were made or failed to be made, even what charts were used, are forever lost with the crew.  I'll let others speak for themselves, but I believe this is the source of some of the frustration on the forum with long debates over what did or did not happen with regards to navigation.  Navigation discussions can neither prove nor disprove, or really even support or cast doubt on the hypothesis.  It is to that end that some may label the discussions "pointless".

    That said, I personally have enjoyed some of these discussions; GL's long and detailed analysis included.  And it was a navigation moment when the original Tighar team said; "Hey, if they followed 157 could they have ended up on one of these islands over here, instead of crashed and sank?" (or words to that effect) ...But at the end of the day navigation discussions  really do not contribute to proving or disproving the hypothesis.  It is not my place to assess whether these discussions should be included in the forum, I merely share these thoughts and observations in the spirit of explaining why the discussions are met, at times, with reproach.

    Respectfully,

    JB

    What he said.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: JNev on September 30, 2013, 10:40:34 AM
    Then 230 NM from Howland as a starting point on the LOP, or 70 NM from Howland (if I followed Gannon's point to Ric years ago correctly) or 'other' really have nothing to do with how likely the flight was to have arrived at Gardner?

    Is that primarily, as suggested in this string, because we have moved beyond navigational concerns on the strength of the evidence found at Niku, as Ric stated earlier 'up thread' here? 

    Sorry, I got the idea that Ric had somehow pinned a Gardner arrival to the necessity of arriving 'on the line' some 230 NM south of Howland and realized I must have missed that before. But if it doesn't matter - 230 NM, 70 NM or whatever, then 'never mind'...

    But that leaves me curious - what then was the point of the 230 NM presumption as stated here by Ric, and why the concern with my wondering about it then?

    Perhaps I'm just dense.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Ric Gillespie on September 30, 2013, 11:04:45 AM
    Then 230 NM from Howland as a starting point on the LOP, or 70 NM from Howland (if I followed Gannon's pout to Ric years ago correctly) or 'other' really have nothing to do with how likely the flight was to have arrived at Gardner?

    Is that primarily, as suggested in this string, because we have moved beyond navigational c

    Whether or not they arrived at Gardner depends entirely upon what can be found on Gardner.  If conclusive proof is found on Gardner then they got to Gardner somehow but we'll never know exactly how.
    The only point in even discussing navigation, weather, fuel consumption, radio propagation, etc. is to see if there is some reason they could not possibly have reached Gardner.  We're looking for disqualifiers for the Nikumaroro Hypothesis.  For example, if there is no way they had enough fuel to reach Gardner then there is no way they could get there  - just as there is no point in looking for Earhart in Tahiti. Likewise, if there is no way AE and FN could have gotten to Gardner before the water on the reef was too high to land, then they could not have landed safely on the reef and sent radio distress calls.  Research into radio propagation has failed to turn up a disqualifier and, in fact, shows a way they COULD HAVE gotten there in plenty of time that is consistent with everything else we think we know. 
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Jeff Victor Hayden on September 30, 2013, 01:11:27 PM
    Back to the origanal topic and navigation. It is a good example of where you actually are versus where you expect to be. In the case of NZ flight TE-901 unknown to them, the coordinates had been modified earlier that morning to correct the error introduced years previously and undetected until then. So instead of flying the track all previous flights had flown without any problems they ended up on a competely different track, with disasterous results.
    In ther case of AE and FN? I really hope they were luckier with their 'where you think you are versus where you actually are' and, did make to Gardner.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Lisa Grinnell on September 30, 2013, 09:23:53 PM
    Hello all, I realize I am asking a question likely asked before, yet wasn't able to dig up in a forum search: what clues about the navigation process might be discovered when the fuselage and other parts are are found and explored? Lisa G.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: JNev on October 23, 2013, 09:46:35 PM
    ...Allow me to direct your attention to the following paragraph in Captain Wilhelm Friedell's Report on the USS Colorado's Search for Earhart (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Friedell's_Report.html), Research Document #7 on the TIGHAR website.

    Considering the question as to what Mr. Noonan did do, it must be considered which way he would steer on the line. To the northwest of Howland was wide stretches of ocean, to the southeast were spots of land. To a seaman in low visibility the thing to do when in doubt of own position would be to head for the open sea. The land would be the place to get away from. To the Air Navigator with position in doubt and flying a land plane it is apparent that the thing to do would be to steer down the line towards the most probable land. To the Air Navigator, land would be a rescue, just as the sea would be to the seaman. Would and did Mr. Noonan do this or had he other reasons to do otherwise? The answer was of course unknown but logical deduction pointed to the southeast quadrant.

    Friedell was present at the conference in Pearl Harbor on the evening of July 2 when Earhart's most likely actions were discussed by the most knowledgeable naval aviation officers available.

    While at Pearl Harbor the Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. COLORADO received instructions from the Commandant, Fourteenth Naval District, Rear Admiral Orin G. Murfin, U.S. Navy, and conferred with the Commanding Officer, Fleet Air Base, Captain Kenneth Whiting, U.S. Navy, and other officers of the District and Air Base relative to the probable path and location of the Earhart Plane in the event of a forced landing. This information seemed to indicate that the most probable reason for missing Howland Island would be that of stronger winds than normally expected in the region, and that the plane had probably been carried southeast of Howland a greater distance than that from which Howland could be sighted. These opinions lead the Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. COLORADO, at this time to believe that southeast of Howland was the most likely area.

    As a contemporary written source it just doesn't get any better than that.  No mention of offset navigation.  No mention of a box search.

    ...Much as we'd like to, there is no way to "reconstruct" events that no one was witness to without hard evidence (contemporaneous notes, photos, or conclusively identifiable artifacts).

    One thing I value highly at the TIGHAR site is the abundance of historic material provided us here.  It would be hard for me to lay hands on things like Friedell's report, let alone have it occur to me to even know what to look for to put all this together.  Thanks for that - it is a worthy library (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Archivessubject.html) and I continue to wish more who visit here would peruse it carefully.

    I have read these passages many times from Friedell's report and reflected on his careful analysis and reflections on the information he was able to gain at the time of the search.  IMHO the navy conducted a well-planned and rational search from the very beginning with the resources they could bring to bear.

    By the time Friedell was engaging, Itasca had already done the earliest search effort, but in nearly the opposite direction for Commander Thompson's own reasons (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Reports/ThompsonCruise.pdf).  While I think it should be appreciated that Itasca could not have covered that northern search area fully, I do think the next action by Friedell moving to the area between Howland and Gardner, thence on to the Phoenix Group (including aerial search of Gardner) was a good 'next move' - much as suggested by the research Ric has cited.

    Then came the Lexington's effort as reported by Captain Dowell, commander of the Lexington Group (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Reports/DowellReport.pdf)and I tend to think thereby coverage of the next logical area(s).

    All of these are fascinating to me - not just in substance of what happened, but in the development of thought as to where the flight might have ended.  I don't presume any particular order of these three main efforts by probability of where the flight ended - I rather see that there were reasons in each case to look in the areas covered at the time of each effort.

    That said, each effort provides insight as to the understandings at the time -

    Starting with the immediate time of the loss: Itasca's Commander Thompson did have compelling reasons IMO to go to the northeast that morning, and he was an immediate witness to the events as they could be viewed through the lens of the Itasca at the very time of the loss.  Of course Thompson did not have all the information the navy was able to provide by the time Friedell steamed from Hawaii.

    And so it goes, and so TIGHAR searches one of the main venues considered by the U.S. government's resources at the time - Gardner.

    I am not sure how to weigh the immediate impressions of Thompson against the more time-forged impressions of Friedell, for one.  One must choose a search and cannot examine the whole of the Pacific at once, of course - so I am grateful for the focus TIGHAR gives - and that of others as well.  It is a vast problem, IMO - and Niku does at least provide a strong focal point - and we have some strong circumstantial indicators turning up there (yes, one's MMV, I realize).  I am one of those nuts who just won't be happy until an Electra airplane is actually found, however (YMMV on this too, of course - no offense).

    We also have TIGHAR's latter day analysis of radio propagation and some statistical considerations as to where the flight might have been to have been heard as it was.  I find the Chater Report (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Chater_Report.html) fascinating in that same regard.  There one may find information suggesting that Earhart was not receiving Lae or other stations - as we know of with Itasca (save one brief exception when Earhart was receiving through the loop antenna).  We can also discern something of the Electra's transmitting qualities - no signals received until she was some distance out (on her day frequency of 6210 kcs) - I think 400 - 500 miles - perhaps due to 'local interference'; then signals strengthened, but were lost as she apparently switched to the nighttime 3105 kcs frequency (against Lae's express request - likely unheard by Earhart - as they realized signals were remaining strong on the day frequency).

    I'm not certain how all that stacks up for or against the more modern analysis we have of the Electra's radio behavior, but it is clear that the Electra had some transmitting issues that defied intuition about distance and signal strength.  What does seem clear is that Chater's report mostly supports the idea that the day frequency was a loser when the airplane was within several hundred miles (like maybe inside of around 400 miles, and Earhart went silent when she switched to it after her last call to Itasca).  Conversely, the 3105 kcs night frequency 'logically' got stronger in the early morning as the Electra drew closer (we presume) to Itasca - until she switched from it.

    But what stood out about the Chater report as somewhat contrary to all this was the check made while Earhart was in Lae -

    Quote
    "THE CONDITION OF RADIO EQUIPMENT OF EARHART'S PLANE IS AS FOLLOWS - TRANSMITTER CARRIER WAVE ON 6210 KC WAS VERY ROUGH AND I ADVISED MISS EARHART TO PITCH HER VOICE HIGHER TO OVERCOME DISTORTION CAUSED BY ROUGH CARRIER WAVE, OTHERWISE TRANSMITTER SEEMED TO BE WORKING SATISFACTORILY".

    That sounds reassuring except that the 6210 kcs condition may have been telling, so maybe it is not really so contrary.  'Very rough' may have been 'could not read' so far as I can tell, and we don't seem to have evidence that Earhart actually demonstrated the 'pitching her voice higher' actually solved anything - only that 6210 kcs was OK once she was a few hundred miles out.

    So I can't argue with the  logic suggested by TIGHAR for placing the flight between Howland and Gardner by reason of radio analysis (http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,1334.msg28130.html#msg28130).  The navy herself concluded a similar likelihood as cited by Friedell, above -

    Quote
    ...the most probable reason for missing Howland Island would be that of stronger winds than normally expected in the region, and that the plane had probably been carried southeast of Howland a greater distance than that from which Howland could be sighted.

    But should the plane continue to elude us at Niku, I also personally continue to find Thompson's early impressions compelling - and realize that an offset to the north for some reason could account for the same radio transmission problems.

    That's not an argument against Niku, nor is it an intent to answer the unanswerable; it is merely to reflect on how big this task may remain if we are finally able to wring the Niku search dry but don't find a plane.  To anyone who is truly interested in finding an undeniable answer, that ought to be important: support the best efforts as best you can, and as you can believe in them.  We face much the same set of unknowns as the Coast Guard and navy did in 1937, except for some - IMO - circumstantial items that are hard won.

    I guess one is left to decide when the towel is wrung dry at Gardner - and I suspect as ambitious as Niku VIII is, there remain broad possibilities there in terms of how much sea bottom may provide hiding places. It is a tough prospect - Niku's seamount looks like a darn big towel to me.

    The alternative - or perhaps 'next logical' direction, IMO (YMMV) is to follow Thompson's earliest instinct.  I can't help but be reminded of the dilemma of the hard test question - 'the first selection is usually right' - and I've come to respect Itasca and Thompson's efforts more lately than I had before. 

    Just a thought - and not meant to take away from the effort at-hand; just a venting of a personal realization: Earhart created one hell of a mystery when she got herself lost in the Pacific.  My closing thought is that we may need to be very prepared to look wide and deep.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: pilotart on October 23, 2013, 11:45:33 PM
    This would require rejection of ALL post-loss Radio Messages.  As thin as they are, any one of them require the Electra to be on dry ground.

    So if even one of them was real, this means they could not have ended up North of Howlamd.

    Thopmson or Friedell, my feelings point to Friedell's theory.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Ric Gillespie on October 24, 2013, 07:54:48 AM
    To me, the crucial point in the 1937 Earhart search came on July 10 when Friedell handed off to the Lexington Group and reported to Admiral Murfin that "all islands of the Phoenix Group have been located and carefully searched for any sign of Earhart plane or inhabitants."  That assertion led to the dismissal of the post-loss radios signals and freed the Lexington Group to conduct their planned open ocean aerial search north and west of Howland.  From that moment, Earhart's fate was sealed.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: JNev on October 24, 2013, 08:06:56 AM
    This would require rejection of ALL post-loss Radio Messages.  As thin as they are, any one of them require the Electra to be on dry ground.

    So if even one of them was real, this means they could not have ended up North of Howlamd.

    Thopmson or Friedell, my feelings point to Friedell's theory.

    We all have our feelings - and while feelings themselves are not a good guide, that is a fair point: as I said, one must pursue what one has confidence in.  I have seen so much "I believe this" or "that" over time that I have decided to step back and refresh my view of the whole. 

    By what I just wrote above, I am encouraging others not so much to challenge the beliefs and confidences that lead us to Niku VIII, but to look at the abundance of information that TIGHAR has gone to much trouble to provide here and to think critically for themselves.  In the long run that is not only good for sustaining the search to success, I think it may make TIGHAR stronger as well. 

    Consider -

    Why does TIGHAR have confidence in 'what's next', and what phase of the search does it seem to put us into?  The final end-game, at last?  Obviously one hopes for that - but what got us here?  Why do any of us believe there is a chance of still solving this great mystery?

    My point in whole does not require outright rejection of ANY post-loss Radio Messages - I hope it goes a bit deeper than that.  Note that for one thing, Thompson obviously had no 'post-loss' messages by which to judge his 'next action'; Friedell had the benefit of not only Thompson's search already conducted, but additional thoughts about signals that might relate to Earhart, etc.  That is part of the interesting evolution of the search, IMO - each main effort proceeded as best it could by what was understood at the time of that particular effort. 

    That process is in a way a foreshadowing of where we find ourselves today, still searching 76+ years after the fact: TIGHAR proceeds by its own best understanding and interpretation of the facts and most reasonable conjecture it can produce in terms of a testable hypothesis.  We are not looking at new ground (or sea), we are merely looking more closely, and more intently on one narrow aspect of the whole that was searched in 1937.

    Part of my point is also that there still exists a potentially massive search effort beyond Niku VIII, should that not find the Electra.  Were I Ric Gillespie and his board, I would believe one thing and go after it with laser-like focus: that we have so narrowly and confidently defined the search box that the airplane must lie within the bounds of where those subs will go and look in 2014.  No fault there - I expect nothing less of one who would lead such an effort.  I also believe Ric and his board and those who have labored with them over the years believed nothing short of that every time they went to Niku - that is as it should be.  But that long effort is part of what causes me to go back again and again and consider why we are here - and why others were here, and elsewhere in the search: it is far too late to save Earhart and Noonan, obviously - but the goal of knowing their fate remains elusive so far.  So we mount the mightiest effort to-date at Niku and hope, again - and I merely share that I realize I must be prepared to 'go again' there or somewhere (figuratively, and as one tiny individual; I don't function comfortably in sub-tropical heat, nor am I crucial to any search, obviously) if I insist on pursuing this to the end.  In sharing that, I note that finding the Electra may truly remain a massive challenge.

    You are correct in part however that my point does include, in part and obviously, some possibility that NONE of the post-loss Radio Messages are genuine, hence that in time (and only time and effort will tell) those who would find the Electra may yet be forced to look elsewhere and one day discover that whatever all those signals were, they could not have been from Earhart.  I may not like how that prospect feels or even wish to reject it (I do not 'reject' it outright - I merely recognize the risk for now).  By that, IMO I, for one, am for now stuck with some possibility that it is so, despite the things we believe support post-loss messages as genuine.

    And as I said, none of that is meant to discourage what now goes toward Niku VIII.  The expedition is smartly aimed at conducting a detailed look at a particular seamount area in one aspect, because the hypothesis that is being tested is well-defined in terms of where it is believed the airplane landed and then went into the sea.  It also necessarily presumes something - at least for now, about where its remains are likely to have settled.  Obviously TIGHAR, no more than the U.S. Coast Guard nor navy at the time, cannot search the whole of the Pacific in one effort.  Reasonable search terms must exist for each sortie.

    That takes me back to what I would hope is the major part of my whole point - that folks who visit here ought to spend what time they can actually reading the stuff I've linked, for one.  If this quest is to have passion for the long run, people (supporters and potential supporters) must have the best first-hand knowledge that they can get.  We cannot relive the experience, it is long-gone.  We do not possess a great deal that is concrete in terms of 'where they went' - what we read of Thompson, Friedell and others is vapor compared to crumpled sheetmetal with "NR16020" on it lying somewhere out there.  We can only possess ideas based on reason gained from understanding. 

    I see three primary challenges for those who are determined to find the hard evidence ("airplane" in my view) of Earhart's fate -

    1 - A willingness to accept great risk: no search comes cheap, nor without human effort and risk to life and limb.

    2 - Intelligent focus and direction: how did we arrive at planning for Niku VIII, for example; how did Waitt-Nauticos arrive at their own effort, for example (and not as a 'competing' effort but in terms of understanding how these hypotheses come to be).  If one is determined to find the Electra (ask Ric if he is if you don't get it by now... and I thought I had the hots for this), one must have a box - one box at a time for most human efforts - in which to search.  What built the box?  If you have passion for this, examine that - and make your 'feelings' come from the best reality you can come to.

    3 - Stamina: if Niku VIII does not yield the grail, how should the 'box' be modified?  In what direction / where?  That is not to forecast failure - it is meant to say if one has passion, one faces that prospect and thinks again.  IMHO it is wise to not wait for that thinking, but to try to develop thought along those lines everyday.  Yes, by all means - go and look at the seamount - and smile for the camera if it succeeds; have an idea of 'what's next', however, if the look into that camera is more somber at the end of that effort.  'What's next' may be expanding the same box, or creating a new box, or some combination - and that can only be done intelligently by informed and critically thoughtful minds (see "challenge #2" above).  That is what one must do if one is to not abandon the search.

    So pardon me, but I guess I'm a bit bored of late, other than reading in these things and thinking it all through - and wishing to encourage a bit of passion in others for the chase.  I don't want to ever see focus and passion for finding Earhart's fate fade before the bird is found.  If Friedell is your man of the hour, then Niku VIII is your logical next effort as I see it - very good.  Each one of us - if we have strong 'feelings' for the search - should simply be thinking ahead: how far to chase Friedell's view?  When might one reconsider Thompson's experience at the time?  God forbid - are we ever to be stuck accepting the search challenge faced by Dowell and his Lexington group?  One prays not.

    Do I find Thompson compelling?  I do - as a 'possible future step' - one already examined obviously by others to some degree, and one that may be more appealing one day if we do not succeed elsewhere.  Thompson was the most immediate witness to the day's events.  As compelling as much of the later information can be, it remains wispy and unproven.  Yes, even Thompson had an imperfect lens, I well realize that too.

    If you'd be passionate and desire to be focused and find stamina for this search, then be well informed and willing to accept risk.  That's the real point.  Consider what TIGHAR has put here for you, BTW - and what that is worth: no matter where you would look, where are you going to find so much good information?  Maybe I don't need to 'promote' - TIGHAR necessarily also does that or she can't survive - but I invite others to consider the value of what lies here, whatever your focus.

    To me, the crucial point in the 1937 Earhart search came on July 10 when Friedell handed off to the Lexington Group and reported to Admiral Murfin that "all islands of the Phoenix Group have been located and carefully searched for any sign of Earhart plane or inhabitants."  That assertion led to the dismissal of the post-loss radios signals and freed the Lexington Group to conduct their planned open ocean aerial search north and west of Howland.  From that moment, Earhart's fate was sealed.


    Ric,

    I think your point well illustrates that we do not look at new ground, we merely look at old ground with new light.

    We go to Niku again with the burden of history having done what you've said - and we still do not know what Lambrecht saw that made him comment later on 'markers of some kind'.

    The searches of the past seem to foreshadow those we'd do today.  But they did not have the tools we have today.  I think our advantage lies in taking on one haystack at a time with the modern microscope; I think one great challenge we have is displacement in time - we are further from the things that fed Thompson's, Friedell's and other's impressions and decisions.

    Time also means that nature robs us of opportunity, so I hope readers can see that part of my plea is "if you care about it, get busy - sharpen your focus and your resolve".  You exemplify that approach by your own focus and stamina.  We don't have forever, so I hope people notice and care.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Ric Gillespie on October 24, 2013, 08:36:11 AM
    Ric,

    I think your point well illustrates that we do not look at new ground, we merely look at old ground with new light.

    I think you miss my point.  Friedell's statement that Colorado had carefully searched all of the islands of the Phoenix Group was a gross exaggeration/misrepresentation.  It is directly analogous to saying that because TIGHAR has not found airplane wreckage during our malfunction-plagued partial search of the Nikumaroro reef slope we should go search someplace else.

    It may be that 76 years has removed, destroyed or buried all wreckage from the plane but we're a long way from having reason to draw that conclusion.  We are much, much further from any reason to conclude that the Earhart flight ended someplace other than Gardner Island. To reach that point we have to have reason to think she ended up somewhere else - and no such evidence has yet emerged - and we would have to find documentable explanations for all of the hard facts - castaway, artifacts, post-loss radio, Bevington Object, etc. - that point to a landing and survival on Gardner.

    The Nikumaroro Hypothesis is a bit like evolution.  It's still a theory but it's the only theory that is supported by hard evidence. 
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: JNev on October 24, 2013, 10:19:18 AM
    Ric,

    I think your point well illustrates that we do not look at new ground, we merely look at old ground with new light.

    I think you miss my point.  Friedell's statement that Colorado had carefully searched all of the islands of the Phoenix Group was a gross exaggeration/misrepresentation.

    I think I now have a better appreciation of your point.  I agree - Friedell - having started so thoroughly and confidently, then wrapped-up his effort by a summary that leaves us begging for more as the navy moved on - what did Lambrecht see at Gardner, and should more have been done about it at the time is one question that comes to my mind. 

    Friedell began that effort as a very able commander and seaman, but ended it as an administrative bureaucrat in large degree.  The accountant's sharp pencil doth prick the balloon of endeavor all too often - and so true in 1937: those cadets had to get home by law, and the navy was ready to 'move on'.

    Quote
    It is directly analogous to saying that because TIGHAR has not found airplane wreckage during our malfunction-plagued partial search of the Nikumaroro reef slope we should go search someplace else.

    I agree and am far from saying such a thing; I merely point out that the remaining search remains daunting - and that if one is to stay in this effort until success, one must be prepared to dust off the Niku VII's and move to the next logical effort.  For now I think you have essentially the same 'box' in mind (but to more sea depth, if I've understood correctly) - and I can see why.  That is the present 'haystack' as I can understand it. 

    One practical risk is whether those who would support have the belly for it, human nature being what it can be - which is one reason I wrote what I did: learn and take a chance, don't flinch.  I hope that Niku VIII will find the wreck - but if not, use the education and experience to create the next box - whatever form it is - elsewhere on Niku, into deeper waters, elsewhere altogether if someone wishes - but go into it well read and with critical thought.

    Quote
    It may be that 76 years has removed, destroyed or buried all wreckage from the plane but we're a long way from having reason to draw that conclusion.

    I personally don't think it has been obliterated and confess I have a hard time agreeing with the 'aluminum sand' theory - my experience with old wreckage - including visuals of sea-hidden examples, suggests recognizable wreckage lies somewhere out there.  But time does rob - one day it will no longer be recognizable, and eventually it will not exist at all - that's just logical IMO.

    Quote
    We are much, much further from any reason to conclude that the Earhart flight ended someplace other than Gardner Island. To reach that point we have to have reason to think she ended up somewhere else - and no such evidence has yet emerged - and we would have to find documentable explanations for all of the hard facts - castaway, artifacts, post-loss radio, Bevington Object, etc. - that point to a landing and survival on Gardner.

    I expect no less than that position from TIGHAR - and have no problem with it, given the stated approach here.  Note that I continue as a member, so I find 'value' in that.

    Where I may stray, personally - and YMMV, of course, is in 'other possibilities'.  TIGHAR's direction is well known; even sites like Waitt-Nauticos point to TIGHAR as an active and die-hard entity with a lot to offer along the lines you mention.  It cannot be dismissed out of hand rationally.  I don't particularly 'hold back' so much as I prefer keeping the  whole picture in view - including other places.  That is far from a vote against TIGHAR's effort here.

    Quote
    The Nikumaroro Hypothesis is a bit like evolution.

    Absolutely agreed - and the search has constantly 'evolved' over 76+ years.

    Quote
    It's still a theory but it's the only theory that is supported by hard evidence.

    Maybe I simply don't get 'hard evidence' - that term implies 'conclusive evidence' to me, but I may have missed on the semantics.  YMMV, of course.  I think what TIGHAR has is 'substantial', but IMO it remains stubbornly 'circumstantial', however tempted I am to accept it.  I respect the 'thinking man's 99% solution' of 'how else to explain all these wonderful things' - but still hold out for the 'smoking gun' that the gasping public cannot deny.

    Apparently TIGHAR agrees with that position or we would not be headed back to look again.  Bravo!
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Ric Gillespie on October 24, 2013, 10:37:05 AM
    Maybe I simply don't get 'hard evidence' - that term implies 'conclusive evidence' to me, but I may have missed on the semantics.

    By "hard evidence" I mean archival documents, datable photographs, identifiable artifacts, and quantifiable analysis.  "Soft evidence" would be "would have" speculation and anecdotal recollections.

    I think what TIGHAR has is 'substantial', but IMO it remains stubbornly 'circumstantial', however tempted I am to accept it.

    I'm always amused by comments that everything TIGHAR has is "circumstantial."  What could we possibly find that would NOT be circumstantial?  A complete Lockheed 10E would be circumstantial.  Indeed, even in the classic analogy of a crime scene investigation, a smoking gun lying on the floor is circumstantial evidence.

    Apparently TIGHAR agrees with that position or we would not be headed back to look again.  Bravo!

    TIGHAR recognizes that the public/media don't do nuance.  Our case is overwhelmingly strong but too complex for a sound bite.  We need something simple - the "Any Idiot Artifact."  Whether such a thing still exists is beyond our ability to know, but we have to keep looking.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: JNev on October 24, 2013, 10:52:20 AM
    Maybe I simply don't get 'hard evidence' - that term implies 'conclusive evidence' to me, but I may have missed on the semantics.

    By "hard evidence" I mean archival documents, datable photographs, identifiable artifacts, and quantifiable analysis.  "Soft evidence" would be "would have" speculation and anecdotal recollections.

    Thanks for clarifying.

    I think what TIGHAR has is 'substantial', but IMO it remains stubbornly 'circumstantial', however tempted I am to accept it.

    Quote
    I'm always amused by comments that everything TIGHAR has is "circumstantial."  What could we possibly find that would NOT be circumstantial?  A complete Lockheed 10E would be circumstantial.  Indeed, even in the classic analogy of a crime scene investigation, a smoking gun lying on the floor is circumstantial evidence.

    No doubt "some idiot" will claim that cabs dragged the Electra to Niku's sea-slopes from Saipan if we find her there - in that context I will agree.

    Any identifiable 'chunk' of NR16020 that is TOO SUBSTANTIAL to have been brought there by enterprising islanders or nature, within reason, would seem to be a firm if 'subjective' 99% proof item in my view; the fringe that wouldn't buy that ought to be made to wade nekked all the way around Niku through the shallows of the reef if there is to be justice in that case.  I notice that even criminal "proof" never rises above "reasonable doubt" - so we will, yes, always have doubters - and therefore technically I can agree that "all evidence is circumstantial" in some sense. 

    I myself am highly suspicious of aliens planting the wreck to throw us off - but I've lost touch with them since beginning to wear an aluminum foil hat to fend off guvmint spies...

    Apparently TIGHAR agrees with that position or we would not be headed back to look again.  Bravo!

    Quote
    TIGHAR recognizes that the public/media don't do nuance.  Our case is overwhelmingly strong but too complex for a sound bite.  We need something simple - the "Any Idiot Artifact."  Whether such a thing still exists is beyond our ability to know, but we have to keep looking.

    All you can pray for is the "except for a few idiots" artifact - your point on 'circumstantial' was adroit.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: John Ousterhout on October 25, 2013, 08:39:40 PM
    A question recently came to my mind that might relate to the topic - on July 2, Nauru reported hearing the "ship in sight" message from Amelia on 6210.  The ship sighted was believed to have been the Myrtlebank, which was "at least 60 miles south of Nauru" at the time, or maybe the Ontario.  I've read this account many times, but something jumped out to me recently - what happened to the 'donut hole' that should have prevented reception at 60 miles?
    This brings to mind at least two options - 1) the 'donut hole' hypothesis is in error, or 2) the aircraft was much more than 60 miles away.
    Assuming option 2), just how far away would the aircraft need to be for reception at Nauru?  To be significantly further south at that point in the flight indicates a major navigation error, and one that ends up well south of Howland.
    Assuming option 1), how else to we explain the inability to hear the aircraft transmissions at close range, yet clear reception at greater range?
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: JNev on October 25, 2013, 09:42:21 PM
    A question recently came to my mind that might relate to the topic - on July 2, Nauru reported hearing the "ship in sight" message from Amelia on 6210.  The ship sighted was believed to have been the Myrtlebank, which was "at least 60 miles south of Nauru" at the time, or maybe the Ontario.  I've read this account many times, but something jumped out to me recently - what happened to the 'donut hole' that should have prevented reception at 60 miles?
    This brings to mind at least two options - 1) the 'donut hole' hypothesis is in error, or 2) the aircraft was much more than 60 miles away.
    Assuming option 2), just how far away would the aircraft need to be for reception at Nauru?  To be significantly further south at that point in the flight indicates a major navigation error, and one that ends up well south of Howland.
    Assuming option 1), how else to we explain the inability to hear the aircraft transmissions at close range, yet clear reception at greater range?

    I don't think I am fully equipped to offer a worthy personal opinion on that, but some of what I read at Chater Report (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Chater_Report.html) suggested some potential differences between what was experienced in Lae (could hear near by, but higher frequency stuff compromised: "rough carrier").  Your point of what Nauru reported could raise a similar question IMO.  Perhaps we are overlooking something and someone can help, but the 'donut hole' does seem a bit challenged at times when I peruse all the stuff about checks in Lae, etc. 

    Maybe it has to do with the possibly lost antenna on take-off (which I think actually is supposed to relate to a receiving problem for the Electra), or I'm just not getting the 'donut hole' effect well enough somehow.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: JNev on November 13, 2013, 10:03:37 AM
    I am able to make some observations on the doughnut.  Between 1965 and 1970  I was an amateur radio operator, still am, and a member of Army MARS which meant I was allowed to use military frequencies  just below the 80 meter ham band  very close to 3105 kc.  I was part of a net that covered the Northern half of the US state of Alabama.  This appears to me to be about the same area under discussion after Earhart's signals were strength 4 and 5.  The power of the stations varied from 25 to 120 watts.  Under 8 am and 5 pm conditions I never observed stations anywhere in the northern half of the state which were unable to hear each other except in case of static from sever thunderstorms.

    Point: In 5 years on approximately the same frequency at roughly the same time of day I never observed any evidence of a doughnut. 

    We were all using full size antennas.  The antenna on the L-10E was a short heavily loaded antenna.  We were operating over a land path.  Note: I have not said the doughnut is bad science or did not exist just that it was never an obvious phenomenon to me.  I never had a mobile station drive toward me but the stations within 50 miles were noticeably stronger than the ones 100 miles away but a station 15 miles away was not noticeably stronger than one 35 miles away and not always stronger than one  with more power and a really good antenna 50 miles away.  There was definitely a point where signal 5 was reached and  until a really nearby station say 500 yards to 3 miles came on there just wasn't that much difference.

    Based on experience in Ft. Walton Beach Florida  80 meter propagation is very good over salt water.  A station could well hit strength 5 from a couple of hundred miles away during daylight when over land you would expect the station to be within about 50 miles.

    I found the Waitt footage very interesting, thanks for posting it.  The conditions appear to be 3-4 tenths cloud cover.  Under those conditions Noonan should have been able to get a nice two body , sun and moon, fix so that he could get within 10 NM of Howland.

    The thing that worries me about the Gardner Island hypothesis is it appears to require the overcast to extend over halfway to Gardner, else surely Noonan would have gotten a fix and realized he was in the clear near Howland.

    Thanks for sharing that expereience, Neff.  We share a similar view of this.  Not sayin' 'can't be Gardner', just sayin' 'there remain troubling variables and other possibilities as I now see it' having finally digested what has been tossed about for years on navigation and what we can tell of 'conditions' in the area.

    Meanwhile, most admirably, TIGHAR charges ahead and intends to look deeply.  If any one searcher were too lilly-livered to go after what they believe in, then we'd lose an active search opportuntiy to timidity: far worse to not try than to finally be wrong.

    That said I do admit become much more of a 'big sky, large ocean' guy of late.  None-the-less, my thanks to Pat Thrasher for a nice note with a copy of a receipt for my latest modest (very, necessarily, unfortunately) donation.  I love the whole chase and hate no one person or entity in it, wherever they look.

    But yes, the 'two body shot' and 'conditions' raise any eybrow here, for sure.

    Now I ponder wildly and aloud about a wildcard example:

    Does it strike anyone else that Earhart's behavior cannot be fully disassociated from a pattern associated with pure dead-reckoning?  No where do I recall anything clearly indicating an accurate shot: "we must be on you" could easily be a product of elapsed time and course held, nothing more - and faith in a reasonable outcome.  Faith toughly misplaced, if so. 

    Point thus:

    Could Fred have been been incapacitated, e.g. a head injury earlier in the night perhaps, and unable to assist? 

    Given the propensity for certain prevarications regarding Fred, Earhart might not be eager to broadcast such a fix, if she found herself in it; and, being unable to do anything about it as she droned on (this is the right scrappy lady who toughed out a broken exhaust manifold sending scalding and poisness gasses into her cockpit for half the distance over the Atlantic in nasty weather nearly a decade earlier to find a reasonable landing spot in Ireland, after all) doing her best for a successful arrival.

    Just a thought - and I love dropping wildcards now and then I guess - pure, unadulterated speculation.

    But as one might ask, "what happened to the moon", so might one fairly ask "what happened to Fred and his octant".

    Of all that we can see today, only the sun, moon and Pacific know for sure - and they do not speak.

    But yes, the sky conditions create something to think about, for sure.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: JNev on November 14, 2013, 07:35:28 AM
    Earhart was running a magnetic course advancing a stale LOP using only airspeed and a watch with wind speed and direction unknown.  Yep DR alright.

    I agree it looks that way, very much, considering many things we can observe.

    Quote
    I am not sure a bearing from Howland would have helped much.  Reading the radio log from Howland their idea of a bearing appeared to be find a null, compare the loop and a box compass by eye and give a magnetic bearing.  The example bearing given was NW. so I suppose the bearing would have been 32 point marine compass style  making the bearing 11 degrees wide! Not exactly the sort of thing Noonan could cross his LOP with and obtain a fix.

    That is a good point and further underscores just how dismal the planning for DF steer by radio part of the flight really was, I'm afraid.  Had not thought of that - would have hoped a tighter band of probability for the 'steer', but maybe not.

    One thing is certain and fully agreeable by the evidence we have: she was damned lost.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: John B. Shattuck on November 14, 2013, 12:58:58 PM
    Quote
    One thing is certain and fully agreeable by the evidence we have: she was damned lost.

    And to complete the point; the evidence we have is consistent with a landing at Niku.  Whatever went on with weather, crew, and the like we can speculate, ponder, and prognosticate endlessly about... but at the end of the day, the body of evidence indicates a landing at Niku, however they got there. 

    Quote
    The thing that worries me about the Gardner Island hypothesis is it appears to require the overcast to extend over halfway to Gardner, else surely Noonan would have gotten a fix and realized he was in the clear near Howland.

    The hypothesis does not require the overcast to extend halfway to Gardner, that is only one explanation of how they could have ended up there.  The hypothesis is that they got there.  Whatever Noonan realized when is purely speculative; entertaining to discuss but not part of the hypothesis. 

    Not trying to pick on Jeff nor Neff, just that so much of the navigation discussions (admittedly far more adroit than I) speculate on all the ways the crew would NOT have ended up at Gardner; but what we have is a body of evidence consistent with just that, a landing at Gardner.  I'm all for hard questions that challenge the evidence and the hypothesis, but those questions and challenges have to be based on evidence, not speculation about what the crew would have, should have, or may have done.  Or at the very least, if we are to speculate, let's try not to make declaritive statements based on our speculative ponderings.

    As always, my opinion, YMMV

    respectfully,

    JB
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Monty Fowler on November 16, 2013, 06:34:14 AM
    History, like medicine, can sometimes be more like art than science. In the Earhart and Noonan case, we are handicapped by the simple fact that the people who actually know what happened are dead. That leaves us with the recorded words and images (written, spoken, etc.) of the event.

    All of history is a judgment call, to a greater or lesser extent. Unless something was recorded immediately after it happened (and even then it is subject to the frailities of the human mind), all we are left with is imperfect records and assumptions. With which we make the best judgment we can of what may have happened.

    LTM, who's pretty sure Neil walked on the moon,
    Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 CER
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: JNev on November 16, 2013, 07:06:20 PM
    I find much of this entire thread speculative from how much Noonan may have drunk to Noonan and Earhart's need for redemption.  I thought a little speculation of my own would perhaps be well received and I would get useful feedback as to what others thought about the matter.  Given the overcast may have extended 600 miles west, depending on how long you imagine Earhart would have been under before finding it worth mention  a couple of hundred miles south does not seem impossible or even terribly improbable.  However, it appears my speculation is heretical and for committing blasphemy I beg pardon. 
    The best of luck to all,
    Neff

    Yes, highly speculative -

    But your point on the overcast, Neff, is sobering (and that term is not an intended reflection on any other possible condition).

    Let us look at what we can reasonably understand down both sides of the razor:

    Overcast is one simple supposition for the apparent lack of reliable celestial information, as best we can discern that to have been the case.  It is hard to beat simple.  So never mind the moon, "where was the overcast" may be a fair question.

    If one flies about in the historic fog and wonders how to make the overcast extend to fit arrival at Garnder, then one is just as damned lost as was Earhart, IMO, but now, interestingly has come John B. Shattuck -

    Quote
    One thing is certain and fully agreeable by the evidence we have: she was damned lost.

    And to complete the point; the evidence we have is consistent with a landing at Niku.  Whatever went on with weather, crew, and the like we can speculate, ponder, and prognosticate endlessly about... but at the end of the day, the body of evidence indicates a landing at Niku, however they got there. 

    Quote
    The thing that worries me about the Gardner Island hypothesis is it appears to require the overcast to extend over halfway to Gardner, else surely Noonan would have gotten a fix and realized he was in the clear near Howland.

    The hypothesis does not require the overcast to extend halfway to Gardner, that is only one explanation of how they could have ended up there.  The hypothesis is that they got there.  Whatever Noonan realized when is purely speculative; entertaining to discuss but not part of the hypothesis. 

    Not trying to pick on Jeff nor Neff, just that so much of the navigation discussions (admittedly far more adroit than I) speculate on all the ways the crew would NOT have ended up at Gardner; but what we have is a body of evidence consistent with just that, a landing at Gardner.  I'm all for hard questions that challenge the evidence and the hypothesis, but those questions and challenges have to be based on evidence, not speculation about what the crew would have, should have, or may have done.  Or at the very least, if we are to speculate, let's try not to make declaritive statements based on our speculative ponderings.

    As always, my opinion, YMMV

    respectfully,

    JB

    ...same being an adherent, apparently, that Gardner is locked-up and we who ruminate on as to navigational puzzles and the like are, well, wrong, if I'm reading him correctly (and not meaning to put words in his mouth, but he seemed clear enough).  "The evidence" however inconveniently is not merely that one might wish it to be, that which points so neatly at Gardner; still highly circumstantial to some of us (hats off however for a compelling network of points of things found and facts observed and interpreted as we see them today) they be 'markers of some sort' and not hard evidence.  YMMV, of course - I respect that.

    I do not differ violently with John, merely probably in degree - while I have a degree of confidence, I still am puzzled at why, with 'steller conditions' in the direction of Gardner in the night as observed by Itasca, etc. the flight went completely off the wire as to nav fixes as best we can tell: the damn moon was there, as would have been the sun - excepting that a couple hundred or so miles to west might not have been so friendly for the crucial sun shot and resulting LOP - which may well have been nothing more than a DR estimate.

    So if you are a heretic, I shall be tacked-up with you amongst the timbers and burnt to fags amongst the flames as we gaze heavenward, hoping for a last glimpse of the moon... 

    Nay, we merely suppose - much as Monty -

    History, like medicine, can sometimes be more like art than science. In the Earhart and Noonan case, we are handicapped by the simple fact that the people who actually know what happened are dead. That leaves us with the recorded words and images (written, spoken, etc.) of the event.

    All of history is a judgment call, to a greater or lesser extent. Unless something was recorded immediately after it happened (and even then it is subject to the frailities of the human mind), all we are left with is imperfect records and assumptions. With which we make the best judgment we can of what may have happened.

    LTM, who's pretty sure Neil walked on the moon,
    Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 CER

    At first my thought was "huh?"  But, Monty runs deep - and indeed, history is the "agreed upon set of lies", sayeth some wag of the past. 

    But to me, the nature of TIGHAR's quest is not to write probable history, but to go look for a lost airplane, find it if they can, conserve it if possible - and in the process end the mystery.  That is my narrow view given what I understand of TIGHAR's role in this things as taken from her own charter.  If we dabble toward 'conclusions' based on what we have now, we merely have 'the best idea of what happened, barring a better solution being found with as much evidence, such as it may be'.

    Meanwhile, have fun, learn - whatever.  Support as one can, question as one must.  Heretic?  I pray not - do not judge yourself that way in that a naysayer or two doth disagree, 'tis the journey, nothing more - not highwaymen, these - merely those of their own dreams, just as we are of ours - and all striving to feed the 'big dream' as if so many baby birds upchucking supper to their mother, in reverse effort one supposes:

    TIGHAR will go and dive and look again if she's able, no matter how many worms are poked toward her beak.

    Right, wrong or indifferent - someone looks, be glad.  What can one say?

    Enough - off to Cheddar's or Fatz for chili and beer... outta here...
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Ric Gillespie on November 17, 2013, 07:47:23 PM
    Not trying to pick on Jeff nor Neff, just that so much of the navigation discussions (admittedly far more adroit than I) speculate on all the ways the crew would NOT have ended up at Gardner; but what we have is a body of evidence consistent with just that, a landing at Gardner.  I'm all for hard questions that challenge the evidence and the hypothesis, but those questions and challenges have to be based on evidence, not speculation about what the crew would have, should have, or may have done.  Or at the very least, if we are to speculate, let's try not to make declaritive statements based on our speculative ponderings.

    Well said.
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: JNev on November 19, 2013, 06:23:52 AM
    Not trying to pick on Jeff nor Neff, just that so much of the navigation discussions (admittedly far more adroit than I) speculate on all the ways the crew would NOT have ended up at Gardner; but what we have is a body of evidence consistent with just that, a landing at Gardner.  I'm all for hard questions that challenge the evidence and the hypothesis, but those questions and challenges have to be based on evidence, not speculation about what the crew would have, should have, or may have done.  Or at the very least, if we are to speculate, let's try not to make declaritive statements based on our speculative ponderings.

    Well said.

    Who made a declaritive statement?
    Title: Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
    Post by: Ric Gillespie on November 19, 2013, 07:41:06 AM
    All of history is a judgment call, to a greater or lesser extent. Unless something was recorded immediately after it happened (and even then it is subject to the frailities of the human mind), all we are left with is imperfect records and assumptions. With which we make the best judgment we can of what may have happened.

    At first my thought was "huh?"  But, Monty runs deep - and indeed, history is the "agreed upon set of lies", sayeth some wag of the past.

    That wag was Napoleon Bonaparte. 

    But to me, the nature of TIGHAR's quest is not to write probable history, but to go look for a lost airplane, find it if they can, conserve it if possible - and in the process end the mystery.  That is my narrow view given what I understand of TIGHAR's role in this things as taken from her own charter.  If we dabble toward 'conclusions' based on what we have now, we merely have 'the best idea of what happened, barring a better solution being found with as much evidence, such as it may be'.

    "Probable history" is the only kind of history there is and "dabbling toward conclusions based on what we have now" is the best we can ever do.   We always want more than we have now but at some point each of us says "That's enough to convince me."  The debate comes down to how much is enough - and that is always an individual decision.

    Look for a lost airplane?  In all probability the airplane is gone.  All we can do is look for whatever bits and pieces remain.  How much will be enough?  Do you need something that is unquestionably from a Lockheed 10 (until somebody questions whether it is really from a Lockheed 10) or do you need something with a serial number that can be matched to records of NR16020 (only the engines, prop hubs and prop blades had serial numbers that we know)?  Does "preponderance of evidence" count for anything or, like my old friend and nemesis Tom Crouch at NASM, do you maintain that TIGHAR has found nothing of significance in discovering the fate of Amelia Earhart?

    I look back on all that we have learned and discovered and recovered over the past 25 years and it seems to me that our biggest problem is not a lack of evidence but rather an over-abundance of evidence.   To illustrate what I mean, answer this question:  Why does TIGHAR think the Earhart flight ended on Gardner Island?  If you're a dedicated TIGHAR you can probably list a half dozen pieces of evidence that support the hypothesis.  If you're a skeptic you can probably list a half dozen pieces of evidence that you feel can be explained away.  Either exercise is like dancing on the tip of an iceberg.  What is needed is for the entire corpus of research and analysis to be pulled together and presented in a way that makes it accessible and easy to understand.  That's my next book  Finding Amelia - The Castaway of Gardner Island.   Regardless of what more we find (or don't find) next summer, the story of what we've already found needs to be written.