TIGHAR

Amelia Earhart Search Forum => Celestial choir => Topic started by: Heath Smith on December 22, 2011, 10:29:31 PM

Title: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on December 22, 2011, 10:29:31 PM

I am hoping to start a discussion about the effects of headwinds, engine efficiency , and magnetic variations and their effects on the flight plan.

A few questions that I have are:

1) The flight plan was based upon magnetic variations and ground speed so far as I can determine. Airspeed was only relevant in that adjustments were made to achieve ground speed (@150 mph). During flight, reconciliation was required to determine ground speed. Airspeed without verification / calibration without some reference point is irrelevant. If Noonan was adjusting the flight plan based on observations, where is the evidence?

2) The last weather reports were: "Winds east south east about twenty-five knots to Ontario then east to east north east about 20 knots to Howland." Noonan measured 23 knots and it was reported by radio to Lae. From this we can guess that winds aloft were in the range of 22-25 knots. If there have been studies about the headwinds that contradict these findings can you please point me to the documents that suggest otherwise?

3) The Lockheed and Pratt and Whitney documents suggest that 5,000 ft was the optimal altitude for conserving fuel. While a lower wind speed might have achieved higher efficiency the flight plan was based on 150 mph. Is there any documentation that suggests that Earhart planned to travel at a different altitude? Is there any evidence that the flight plan would have been modified en route based upon land or celestial observations?

Thank you in advance.




Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on December 22, 2011, 10:39:33 PM
If there have been studies about the headwinds that contradict these findings can you please point me to the documents that suggest otherwise?

There were no weather stations between Lae and Howland (other than a few scattered ships, of course).

The ships had no means of determining winds aloft.

The original flight plan was for 18 hours. 

The plane's takeoff was roughly 1000 in Lae and 0000 GMT (Chater Report) (http://www.tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Documents/Chater_Report.html).

The "must be on you but cannot see you" (http://tighar.org/wiki/Transmission_timeline) message was received at 1912 GMT.  Your calculation of how much stronger the winds were than Fred predicted or observed will depend on where you place the aircraft at that time.

"Finally, just before 8:00 PM aboard Itasca, official notification of Earhart’s departure arrived from Lae, via Samoa: 'Urgent, Black, Itasca . . . Amelia Earhart left Lae at 10 AM local time July 2nd. Due Howland Island 18 hours time.' This information presented a new picture. The plane had left Lae two hours earlier than previously reported, and the eighteen-hour time-en-route estimate indicated that Earhart anticipated lighter headwinds than predicted in the most recent forecast. Itasca should now expect the plane to arrive at around 6:30 AM" (Finding Amelia, p. 85).
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on December 22, 2011, 10:45:25 PM

The original flight plan was for 18:00 flight time? I thought it was based upon the Howland to Lae flight plan requiring 17:01 hours?

Thanks.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on December 23, 2011, 07:04:15 AM
The original flight plan was for 18:00 flight time? I thought it was based upon the Howland to Lae flight plan requiring 17:01 hours?

You will have to read between the lines of the meagre material available.

The way that I interpret the sources I gave you is that someone started with the still-air estimate of 17 hours, factored in an estimate of the strength and direction of winds aloft, and came up with the 18 hour estimate relayed to the Itasca--that is what I meant by "original," as distinct from the 1912 GMT message that says, "We must be on you but cannot see you."  I don't know who came up with the 18 hour calculation.  The Chater Report (http://www.tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Documents/Chater_Report.html) says that "Miss Earhart did not receive any weather reports on July 2nd prior to her departure."

Please note that this is not a new question by any means.  Here is an excerpt from the 1999 version of the Forum:

Date:         Mon, 4 Jan 1999 11:58:10 EST
From:         Andrew McKenna
Subject:      Winds

Observations taken at Howland that morning were:

Surface - ESE at 16 knts

1,000 ft - ESE at 15 knts

2,000 ft - E at 17 knts

Applying these winds to AE flightplan, what effect would we expect on AE's
flight path to Howland?  Would she end up farther WNW than expected, or
have I got it wrong?

Were these winds factored into the statistical analysis of most likely
ending locations that was presented to us at the AE Symposium in
Delaware a couple of years ago?

Just curious.

AMCK  1045C

***************************************************************

From Ric

We need to remember that these were the winds at Howland on the morning of
July 2nd.  They may or may not resemble the winds encountered hundreds of
miles to the west during the preceding night.  Also, whatever the winds,
there is no reason to think that they blew the flight off course.  That's
what a navigator does - keep the flight on course by adjusting the heading
to compensate for winds.  There is no reason to think that Noonan was not
able to assess the flight's progress by means of star sightings during
the night.

The Monte Carlo projections done by Wagner Associates took all of the
known factors into account but there were way to many unknown factors
to permit a high degree of probability for any location.  The best
they came up with was that the flight probably ended up south of
Howland and perhaps a bit short of the line of position passing
through Howland. (Do I have that right Randy?)

Here is Randy Jacobson's article (http://tighar.org/wiki/Monte_carlo) on how the Monte Carlo simulation was performed.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on December 23, 2011, 07:38:04 PM

Martin,

Thank you for this detailed information.


Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: John Ousterhout on December 23, 2011, 09:16:52 PM
GL makes the argument that Fred would have planned to intercept the LOP north of Howland.  That is a shorter distance to fly, and doesn't involve any "back tracking", so to speak.  When Jacobson and others have attempted to reconstruct the flight, do they assume Fred was trying to navigate directly to Howland, or do any of them include an offset?
The argument has been previously made that the flight may have planned to intercept the LOP northwest of Howland, so they turned "right" expecting this would bring them closer.  How long would they continue after their right turn before, um, plan-B? 
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on December 23, 2011, 09:28:14 PM

John
If the "flight plan" was just to reverse the plan developed for the first attempt ( a great circle route from Howland to Lae of 2556 sm with an estimated flight plan of 17.01 hours ( yes, someone actually thought that he could estimate flight time within 0.01 hour, 0.6 minutes),then they would have planned a 16 waypoint great circle route Lae to Howland
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on December 23, 2011, 10:49:39 PM
GL makes the argument that Fred would have planned to intercept the LOP north of Howland.  That is a shorter distance to fly, and doesn't involve any "back tracking", so to speak.  When Jacobson and others have attempted to reconstruct the flight, do they assume Fred was trying to navigate directly to Howland, or do any of them include an offset?
The argument has been previously made that the flight may have planned to intercept the LOP northwest of Howland, so they turned "right" expecting this would bring them closer.  How long would they continue after their right turn before, um, plan-B?
I have been using a 60 NM offset in my examples and the length depends on the time that Noonan got his last fix. If his last fix was at 1627 Z, the report of "partly cloudy," then the maximum uncertainty in his DR was 46 NM using the normal 10% of distance flown estimate of DR uncertainty or 70 NM using the most pessimistic estimate of DR accuracy. If he got a fix later, the the offset would be smaller.  During this process you do not abandon your DR. By aiming off to one side by the amount of the estimated maximum error in the DR at the point of interception (60 NM in this example) you have converted  a 120 NM uncertainty along the LOP, 60 NM left and 60 NM right, into a 120 NM uncertainty extending 120 NM left and zero right. This ensures that you do not end up to the right of the destination. This allows for the maximum possible error but, in fact, you are more likely to be nearer to your DR position than to the extreme edges of the you intercept your aiming point 60 NM to the left you are not surprised that you don't see the island since it is most likely to be about 60 NM
to your right. As you fly along the LOP your DR also moves along the LOP getting closer to where the island should be and you expect to see it as you approach that point. Even if you don't see it when you arrive there you are not yet worried because it can still be ahead of you. But as you continue further and further along the LOP after the DR put you over the island you start getting worried. But you must still proceed out the  whole 60 NM past where the island should have been to be certain that you do not miss the island. At the end of that leg you would know that you have missed the island and would have to deal with that problem, most likely planning a standard expanding square search pattern centered on the most likely point for the island. So he would not have flown beyond 60 NM past Howland before turning around and starting a search pattern. He would not have continued SSE any further.

See: https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/navigation-to-howland-island

gl

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on December 27, 2011, 10:54:52 AM
GL makes the argument that Fred would have planned to intercept the LOP north of Howland.  That is a shorter distance to fly, and doesn't involve any "back tracking", so to speak.  When Jacobson and others have attempted to reconstruct the flight, do they assume Fred was trying to navigate directly to Howland, or do any of them include an offset?
The argument has been previously made that the flight may have planned to intercept the LOP northwest of Howland, so they turned "right" expecting this would bring them closer.  How long would they continue after their right turn before, um, plan-B?
I have been using a 60 NM offset in my examples and the length depends on the time that Noonan got his last fix. If his last fix was at 1627 Z, the report of "partly cloudy," then the maximum uncertainty in his DR was 46 NM using the normal 10% of distance flown estimate of DR uncertainty or 70 NM using the most pessimistic estimate of DR accuracy. If he got a fix later, the the offset would be smaller.  During this process you do not abandon your DR. By aiming off to one side by the amount of the estimated maximum error in the DR at the point of interception (60 NM in this example) you have converted  a 120 NM uncertainty along the LOP, 60 NM left and 60 NM right, into a 120 NM uncertainty extending 120 NM left and zero right. This ensures that you do not end up to the right of the destination. This allows for the maximum possible error but, in fact, you are more likely to be nearer to your DR position than to the extreme edges of the you intercept your aiming point 60 NM to the left you are not surprised that you don't see the island since it is most likely to be about 60 NM
to your right. As you fly along the LOP your DR also moves along the LOP getting closer to where the island should be and you expect to see it as you approach that point. Even if you don't see it when you arrive there you are not yet worried because it can still be ahead of you. But as you continue further and further along the LOP after the DR put you over the island you start getting worried. But you must still proceed out the  whole 60 NM past where the island should be to be certain that you do  not miss the island. At the end of that leg you would know that you have  missed the island and would have to deal with that problem most likely planning a standard expanding square search pattern centered on the most likely point for the island. So he would not have flown beyond 60 NM past Howland before turning around and starting a search pattern. He would not have continued SSE any further.

See: https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/navigation-to-howland-island

gl

Gary, with or without an offset, why didn't they make Howland?  What do you think happened?  I looked under the tree on Christmas day and there was no present from you.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on December 29, 2011, 12:01:59 PM
Apologies in advance for the length of the post…

I was looking over the radio reports from EA after they departed Lae and found a couple of interesting observations. If we look at the log soon after they departed Lae, they gave a couple of reports with position from which we can take a rough guess at their ground speed achieved.

From what I can see, they departed Lae at 10:00am local time which was 0000 GMT.

From that Chater Report:

The next report was received at 3.19pm (0519 GMT) on 6210 KC – “HEIGHT 10000 FEET POSITION 150.7 east 7.3 south CUMULUS CLOUDS EVERYTHING OKAY”

If we plot these coordinates on Google Earth it is clear that she was far South of the position she should have been at if they were following the original flight plan (in reverse from the Howland to Lae flight plan calculated for them). Given that there were reports of intense storms due East of Lae at about 300 miles out, this makes perfect sense that she must have been able to avoid this storm by heading South-East then turning North East to get back to the original flight plan. The length of this journey was 257 miles from Lae on a 99.07 heading. They probably steadily climbed to 10,000ft during this segment so as to conserve fuel. For simplicity, let’s call this position check point A.

The next report received at 5.18 pm (0718 GMT) “POSITION 4.33 SOUTH 159.7 EAST HEIGHT 8000 FEET OVER CUMULUS CLOUDS WIND 23 KNOTS”

Let’s call this check point B. Plotting this position on Google Earth, assuming they traveled in a straight line from A to B, they would have passed directly over Nukumanu Island. This would have allowed them to measure their actual ground speed so that the head winds could be determined. Her report includes the headwinds that they measured at 23 knots which is very close to the forecasts and the observations taken that day. This may have been a very accurate measure for that point in time as well. Granted they might have changed their air speed on the journey to Howland, we can be fairly certain that she had a very good idea of the headwinds and would have adjusted her airspeed accordingly to get back to the flight plan. Another very interesting point is that when she reported this position, she was within 4 miles (off the port side) of the original flight plan vector from Lae to Howland. The heading from her previous report was 72.16, the distance was 652 miles.

There is a bit of a problem here from what I can see so far as the time stamps in the Lae radio log is concerned. The time between reports was only 2 hours yet they traveled 652 miles. For this to be true, they would have had to be traveling 326 MPH (ground speed) between check point A and check point B. This must be incorrect. If we assume that perhaps the first time stamp is incorrect but the second time stamp is correct (7 hours and 18 minutes since departing Lae), this would produce an approximate ground speed of 124.5 mph from as they progressed from Lae to check point A and then to check point B. If we now make the assumption that until check point B was encountered, and a land reference was used to estimate air speed, they were not adjusting for head winds. If we make this assumption, and we add the 23 knot head wind, this works out to an airspeed of 151 mph (at sea level), and a rough estimate of 126 mph indicated airspeed at 10,000ft (2% per 1000 feet).

If we now compare the actual flight plan to when they arrived at check point B, this was at a point about 890 miles on the original flight plan path that had assumed a ground speed of 150 mph, this works out to about 5 hours and 56 minutes en route on the original flight plan. This means that they were behind schedule, 1 hour and 22 minutes according to the original flight plan. What is also interesting here is that looking at the original flight plan, 890 miles out from Lae; they would have been in the 5 segment of the flight plan (assuming that they used the original Howland to Lae flight plan, reversed). This would have been at a point 155 miles out on a 175 mile segment. Assuming that they stayed on the same course and speed as they did from point A to point B, they would have intersected the original flight plan path in 33.2 miles or roughly within 16 minutes where the next segment in the original flight plan would begin.

I would venture to guess that for the remainder of the flight, having bypassed the storm and intercepted they original flight plan path, they would have continued on to Howland adjusting for a 23 mph head wind until some observation proved otherwise. I would also dare to guess that they would have quickly chosen a new ground speed for the remainder of the journey to Howland that they wanted to achieve and adjusted the times on the original flight plan accordingly. Since they had strayed from the original flight plan, re-calculation of the time per segment and ground speed achieved was not an option, it was a necessity.

While it is certainly possible that Fred could have recalculated the time for each segment based upon the speed actually traveled, I cannot see any compelling reason to adjust your flight plan unless navigation computations proved that you made a serious error. In order to simplify the remainder of the flight, they probably adjusted the manifold pressure and RPM as needed in order to achieve the desired ground speed at a given altitude and that they did not pore over the Lockheed documentation to re-compute optimal speeds based on the changing weight loads prior to the segment change in the flight plan. While it is entirely possible to do so, doing so could add un-necessary risks for introducing error in to the flight plan. Since they felt confident that they had enough reserves as was the case in AE's previous flights, adjusting the flight plan over and over makes little sense. They had enough on their plate, maintaining accurate timing, achieved ground speed, along with the magnetic heading on the flight plan. Fred would have also been busy looking out the window taking observations (hopefully) along the way.

If we go back to the radio log, when they were within radio range of the Itasca, the only approximate distance that we can be pretty sure of was the report at 200 miles out.

Earhart said at 1744GMT: About 200 miles out, approximately.

While this report was given around her regularly scheduled broadcast, and it would be very coincidental to be exactly 200 miles out, we can probably assuming that they were pretty close to that measure according to where they thought they were at that point in time. If we assume that this distance was approximately correct, and that they were following the original flight path, the distance traveled from check point B to this 200 miles out check point (C), this would have been approximately 1474 miles along the original flight path. If this were true, this implies that they would have achieved about a 141.3 ground speed during this segment of the flight. If they had assumed a 23 knot headwind, this would mean they indicated air speed was roughly 167.75 mph at sea level, 145 mph at 8,000ft (for the bulk of that journey). While this speed would not be ideal according to the Lockheed documentation, this would suggest that they were not adjusting their plan to optimize for gross weight and did indeed choose a fixed speed for the remainder of the trip from check point B to Howland. Perhaps the elevation of 8,000 ft was not an arbitrarily chosen altitude but was selected based on the telegram from Johnson (at Lockheed) to Lae. They just happened to find themselves at 8,000 ft at Nukumanu Island and they might have stayed there. Since they had to account for a headwind, the remainder of the recommendations (manifold pressure and RPM) would be impossible as the recommendations from Johnson must have been made for zero headwinds. One thing we can be fairly sure of is that they would experience greater efficiency at 8,000 ft than at sea level for the remainder of the flight.

As a footnote here, it is not so important that they were actually 200 miles out and headed directly for Howland, what is important is that they thought they were 200 miles out based upon following the flight plan and tracking their time. Since we know that they did not make it to Howland, we can guess at a few possible causes as to why they were not where they thought they were:

1) Inaccurate measurement of time.
2) Inaccurate magnetic course tracking.
3) Inaccurate measurement of ground speed achieved taking in to account head winds and altitude (true airspeed).

I think it is pretty safe to guess that we can rule out #1 and #2 for the most part. Tracking time is hardly debatable and following a compass heading were probably easiest tasks that they were performing.

Breaking down #3, there are perhaps a few possible scenarios:

1) Mis-calibrated or inaccurate altimeter.
2) Translations from Fred's knots per hour navigation to miles per hour needed by Earhart was incorrectly computed or Fred assumed that Earhart was performing the conversion (wouldn’t that be tragic).
3) Incorrectly accounting for head winds.
4) Computations to compute true airspeed were not computed correctly or were too course be useful.

What about a mis-calibrated altimeter? Do any of the maintenance records from Lae or previous trips suggest that the calibration was checked? Just as a guess, the readings would have had to been over 1000ft off or more to have a real impact. This seems an unlikely culprit.

Ignoring #2 as this should have been a trivial task for Noonan, accounting for head winds (#3) should have been fairly straight forward. If we assuming that they were correctly subtracting the head winds from the measured speed and Earhart reported a headwind of 23 knots at Nukumanu Island, they were probably correctly attempting to account for the headwinds (until Fred's navigation proved otherwise). If they had overestimated the headwinds, and the indications are that the winds were actually more favorable than 23 knots, the travelers would have under estimated their ground speed achieved. This would have affected when magnetic course adjustments were made. Has anyone attempted to compute how far off course the miscalculation of headwinds might have affected their estimations assuming that they were accurately tracking true air speed at altitude? This should be fairly easy to do using the actual observations compared to the 23 knots that Earhart announced. If the ground speed achieved calculation was over estimated by just 2% from check point B to Howland, this would have accounted for a 29.25 mile error by the time you reached Howland. Over estimate your ground speed by 4% and you are well over the horizon short of Howland.

As far as the computing the true air speed based on altitude goes, what was the common practice of the day? Was it typical to use charts and tables or some simple approach like 2% per 1000ft? Was there any evidence that Fred brought with him a flight computer like the E-6B that would have been available in that era to simplify the headwinds and true air speed calculations? Is there any photographic evidence that such a computer did exist?

If any of the above errors could account for a miscalculation that would have landed them outside of the 40 mile radius from Howland (over the horizon), it is probably worth speculation.

Perhaps as others have mentioned, it was perhaps a series of small miscalculations that added up to one large error. Large enough to have them miss Howland anyway. Perhaps it would be interesting to create a list of tolerance combinations (true air speed, head winds, magnetic course) that must have been held in order for them to have found Howland (within say 15 miles) without help. That may be an interesting exercise in and of itself.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on December 29, 2011, 02:52:02 PM
The length of this journey was 257 miles from Lae on a 99.07 heading.
 The heading from her previous report was 72.16, the distance was 652 miles.



I have attached a photo of Earhart's compass, it is the object mounted above the Cambridge instrument, above the instrument panel centered in front of the windshield. It has a mark every five degrees and the photo shows it indicating a compass heading of about 300 degrees. Look at this photo and tell me the method you would use to maintain your compass heading of 99.07° or 72.16°, an accuracy of one-one-hundredth of a degree. And just to add some more realism to the question, remember that the compass card dances around a bit in flight.
gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Erik on December 29, 2011, 02:53:12 PM
Apologies in advance for the length of the post…

As a footnote here, it is not so important that they were actually 200 miles out and headed directly for Howland, what is important is that they thought they were 200 miles out based upon following the flight plan and tracking their time. Since we know that they did not make it to Howland, we can guess at a few possible causes as to why they were not where they thought they were:

1) Inaccurate measurement of time.
2) Inaccurate magnetic course tracking.
3) Inaccurate measurement of ground speed achieved taking in to account head winds and altitude (true airspeed).

I think it is pretty safe to guess that we can rule out #1 and #2 for the most part. Tracking time is hardly debatable and following a compass heading were probably easiest tasks that they were performing.

Unless they found themselves completely dependent on the magnetic heading once they realized celestial observations were unavailable. 

Imagine this for a moment; they lose celestial readings; find a discrepency between the DG (previously calibrated directional gyro) and magnetic compass.  What to do?  Re-calibrate for magnetic or continue in true course?  How accurate (or incaccurate) was the DG's precession?  Did they have numbers for both variation and deviation - and if so, how accurately calibrated were they?  It seems that the magnetic variation was in the neighborhood of 9 degrees for most of the trip.  If that was lost or not accounted for, how far off would they be?

What if Amelia made the human-error of of flip-flopping the 9 degrees in the wrong direction.  Since they were in a remote part of the world, it may have been a factor.  Reverting back to basic flight navigation for magnetic compensation may not have been something she was accustomed to.

Thoughts?


Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on December 29, 2011, 02:59:06 PM
Apologies in advance for the length of the post…

As a footnote here, it is not so important that they were actually 200 miles out and headed directly for Howland, what is important is that they thought they were 200 miles out based upon following the flight plan and tracking their time. Since we know that they did not make it to Howland, we can guess at a few possible causes as to why they were not where they thought they were:

1) Inaccurate measurement of time.
2) Inaccurate magnetic course tracking.
3) Inaccurate measurement of ground speed achieved taking in to account head winds and altitude (true airspeed).

I think it is pretty safe to guess that we can rule out #1 and #2 for the most part. Tracking time is hardly debatable and following a compass heading were probably easiest tasks that they were performing.

Unless they found themselves completely dependent on the magnetic heading once they realized celestial observations were unavailable. 

Imagine this for a moment; they lose celestial readings; find a discrepency between the DG (previously calibrated directional gyro) and magnetic compass.  What to do?  Re-calibrate for magnetic or continue in true course?  How accurate (or incaccurate) was the DG's precession?  Did they have numbers for both variation and deviation - and if so, how accurately calibrated were they?  It seems that the magnetic variation was in the neighborhood of 9 degrees for most of the trip.  If that was lost or not accounted for, how far off would they be?

What if Amelia made the human-error of of flip-flopping the 9 degrees in the wrong direction.  Since they were in a remote part of the world, it may have been a factor.  Reverting back to basic flight navigation for magnetic compensation may not have been something she was accustomed to.

Thoughts?
What you are saying is the equivalent of saying that neither Earhart nor Noonan were capable of pouring piss out of a boot with the instructions printed on the heel.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Erik on December 29, 2011, 03:06:40 PM
^^^^ Yeah - Pretty much!   Crazier human-error things happened in the aviaition world every once in a while ... Take Tenerife for instance.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on December 29, 2011, 03:14:24 PM


As far as the computing the true air speed based on altitude goes, what was the common practice of the day? Was it typical to use charts and tables or some simple approach like 2% per 1000ft? Was there any evidence that Fred brought with him a flight computer like the E-6B that would have been available in that era to simplify the headwinds and true air speed calculations? Is there any photographic evidence that such a computer did exist?


I read the report from the Waitt search and I have many criticisms of their search methodology. On Page 48-49  their report states that no handy calculators were available to make the conversions between indicated airspeed, true airspeed and ground speed until the invention of the circular slide rule type flight computer E-6B in World War Two. The report is only off by one World War. These devices were developed as early as 1910 and found wide use in WW I. The Dalton MK VII was perfected in 1932 and the Jensen in 1933. These were easy to operate and performed the required calculations. With slight modification the Dalton became standardized as the E-6B in WWII. So AE most likely could have made these calculations by herself in the cockpit. Further. Noonan wrote that he had the Dalton MK VII in his letter to Weems which I have attached.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on December 29, 2011, 03:24:59 PM
^^^^ Yeah - Pretty much!   Crazier human-error things happened in the aviaition world every once in a while ... Take Tenerife for instance.
Teneriff was much more complex than pouring piss out of a boot or applying deviation and the deviation did not change abruptly after Lae, it was the same 6° East that it had been on the leg into Lae and it gradually changed to 9° East in the vicinity of Howland. And these types of errors are detected and cured every time you get a new fix.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Erik on December 29, 2011, 03:49:37 PM
^^^^ Yeah - Pretty much!   Crazier human-error things happened in the aviaition world every once in a while ... Take Tenerife for instance.
Teneriff was much more complex than pouring piss out of a boot or applying deviation and the deviation did not change abruptly after Lae, it was the same 6° East that it had been on the leg into Lae and it gradually changed to 9° East in the vicinity of Howland. And these types of errors are detected and cured every time you get a new fix.

gl

Taking off without a clearance is not complex.  Neither is watching your altimeter as was the case in the 72' everglades crash.  Landing gear-up happens every day - its not complex either.  Turning on your engine temp de-ice is pretty easy too - which they didn't do in Air Florida 14th bridge during a snowstorm. 

Something bone-headed happened!

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on December 29, 2011, 04:07:22 PM
^^^^ Yeah - Pretty much!   Crazier human-error things happened in the aviaition world every once in a while ... Take Tenerife for instance.
Teneriff was much more complex than pouring piss out of a boot or applying deviation and the deviation did not change abruptly after Lae, it was the same 6° East that it had been on the leg into Lae and it gradually changed to 9° East in the vicinity of Howland. And these types of errors are detected and cured every time you get a new fix.

gl

Taking off without a clearance is not complex.  Neither is watching your altimeter as was the case in the 72' everglades crash.  Landing gear-up happens every day - its not complex either.  Turning on your engine temp de-ice is pretty easy too - which they didn't do in Air Florida 14th bridge during a snowstorm. 

Something bone-headed happened!
All the examples you gave lasted only moments, not the hour after hour flight of the Earhart plane where any such error would have had many many opportunities to be recognized. 

Teneriff: I don't know how much flying you have done internationally, but even though English is the world-wide language of aviation, controllers who are non-native speakers of it don't it do so well and there have been a number of aviation accidents caused by this and by improper phraseology. The Spanish controller used improper phraseology and instructed KLM to "hold for takeoff." According to ICAO  regulations, the word "takeoff" is only to be used in the phrase "cleared for takeoff." The same is true of Netherland and U.S. and all other countries. The other 747 transmitted at the same time covering up the "hold for" part of the controller's transmission. The KLM captain heard "...takeoff" which in all of his 30,000 hours of flying and at least as many takeoffs had meant "cleared for taekoff." (When you call the tower and say you are ready for takeoff, the controller is only allowed to say one of three things to you: "HOLD SHORT OF THE RUNWAY" or "LINEUP AND WAIT" or "CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF." Notice, there are no words in common used in any of the three phrases.)

Everglades: L1011 on approach to Miami at night from the west over the everglades where it is as pitch black below you as flying over the ocean. They couldn't get a gear down light to come on and in the process of trouble shooting the problem the captain bumped the control yoke  which the auto-pilot interpreted as the captain disconnecting the auto-pilot which is what it is supposed to do when the yoke is moved. The plane descended very gradually into the glades while the cockpit crew were distracted trouble shooting.

None of these were as simple as applying deviation to a true course. Which, by the way, Noonan and Earhart didn't even need to do since Williams had laid out the courses in magnetic degrees, the magnetic courses, having already applied the deviation.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Erik on December 29, 2011, 05:20:11 PM
^^^^ Yeah - Pretty much!   Crazier human-error things happened in the aviaition world every once in a while ... Take Tenerife for instance.
Teneriff was much more complex than pouring piss out of a boot or applying deviation and the deviation did not change abruptly after Lae, it was the same 6° East that it had been on the leg into Lae and it gradually changed to 9° East in the vicinity of Howland. And these types of errors are detected and cured every time you get a new fix.

gl

Taking off without a clearance is not complex.  Neither is watching your altimeter as was the case in the 72' everglades crash.  Landing gear-up happens every day - its not complex either.  Turning on your engine temp de-ice is pretty easy too - which they didn't do in Air Florida 14th bridge during a snowstorm. 

Something bone-headed happened!
All the examples you gave lasted only moments, not the hour after hour flight of the Earhart plane where any such error would have had many many opportunities to be recognized. 

Teneriff: I don't know how much flying you have done internationally, but even though English is the world-wide language of aviation, controllers who are non-native speakers of it don't it do so well and there have been a number of aviation accidents caused by this and by improper phraseology. The Spanish controller used improper phraseology and instructed KLM to "hold for takeoff." According to ICAO  regulations, the word "takeoff" is only to be used in the phrase "cleared for takeoff." The same is true of Netherland and U.S. and all other countries. The other 747 transmitted at the same time covering up the "hold for" part of the controller's transmission. The KLM captain heard "...takeoff" which in all of his 30,000 hours of flying and at least as many takeoffs had meant "cleared for taekoff."

Everglades: L1011 on approach to Miami at night from the west over the everglades where it is as pitch black below you as flying over the ocean. They couldn't get a gear down light to come on and in the process of trouble shooting the problem the captain bumped the control yoke  which the auto-pilot interpreted as the captain disconnecting the auto-pilot which is what it is supposed to do when the yoke is moved. The plane descended very gradually into the glades while the cockpit crew were distracted trouble shooting.

None of these were as simple as applying deviation to a true course. Which, by the way, Noonan and Earhart didn't even need to do since Williams had laid out the courses in magnetic degrees, the magnetic courses, having already applied the deviation.

gl

The Spanish controller used improper phraseology and instructed KLM to "hold for takeoff." = Human Error. 

Without picking through all the details, these examples were only designed to act as 'mascots' for human error.  While I admit that the magnetic variation/deviation issue is slim-pickings when it comes to likelihoods of human error for the fate of the electra, it does establish that human error is in fact possible.  Even on very basic tasks such as extending/retracting landing gear, forgetting to turn on de-ice heat, radio calls or whatever.  Mistakes happen. 

Clearly AE/FN made some kinda of human error?  Could one of the contributing factors have been something as simple as a very basic magnetic heading?  Probable - No, Possible - Maybe.

Don't get me wrong.  I am not saying AE/FN didn't have the basic understanding of how to calculate the magnetic headings (pissing in boots or whatever),  it was their bread-and-butter, but rather a simple mistake was made.  Such as subtracting 9 instead of adding 9.  We've all seen stranger things that have happened.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on December 29, 2011, 05:41:02 PM



"None of these were as simple as applying deviation to a true course. Which, by the way, Noonan and Earhart didn't even need to do since Williams had laid out the courses in magnetic degrees, the magnetic courses, having already applied the deviation. See attached chart. [ It caused a problem, apparently it was too big of a file.] It was William's strip chart of the Lae to Howland leg. I think I posted it before and I think it caused the same problem then.


[attachment deleted by admin]
I was right, I had uploaded the Williams strip chart before, here is a link to it (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=549.0;attach=496).



gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on December 29, 2011, 09:30:24 PM
Interesting discussion.

Heath did a lot of good math and analysis in that long work-up - fascinating.  Eric's points about errors pique well too, but I tend to think Gary's onto something about the timing, etc.  Too much known ground was covered early enough in the flight for AE to have gone that brain dead for hours on end up front (although I agree, crazier things have happened). 

Not that I fully agree that the other examples of error are so limited to momentary lapses: the everglades crash is a tragic example of many 'moments' for the crew to have cued-in - but they were all so focused on chasing the gear light that none cued-in during the drift-down.  Nobody was 'flying the plane' - tragic, and a lapse of far too many minutes - it can and does happen to the best.  FN and AE would not have been immune - I can agree to that.

In re-reading Friedell's report  (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Friedell's_Report.html) (Colorado) I was struck by his contemporaneous observation of 'what FN might do' as reported to him by those who knew FN and his habits well and who understood the circumstance (and I will now apologize in advance for the length of this posting):

"The Commander Coast Guard sent word that he had communicated with persons familiar with the methods of navigation of Mr. Noonan, and that Mr. Noonan would take a fix shortly before dawn, correct course for destination, and determine line of position when near the end of estimated run. This procedure would allow a flight of about 3000 miles without a good fix. If short of gas, he probably would follow the line of position to the nearest land. The line of position 337°-157° was given in one of the last reports received from the plane. It was also stated in a report that the plane was short of gas.

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."


This, like the simplicity Gary's point on the magnetic headings provided by Williams, may take us to the crux of understanding of what may have been in the context of what AE and FN actually had in-hand.

Similarly, as to corrections for ground speed, etc. - it is doubtful to me that much correction for that would have occurred in terms of power settings or chasing optimum speeds.  If one reads the three Kelly Johnson / LAC telegrams  (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Kelly_Johnson.html) carefully, they provide the basis for a beautifully simple set of numbers that can be tabled and used easily for the Lae - Howland flight; in sum the telegrams come to these essential values and segments:

To 8000' initial - climb at 2050 rpm / 28.5" MP = 60.0 gal/hr
Thence 3 hrs each:
8000' / 1900 rpm / 28.0" MP = 60.0 gal/hr
8000' / 1800 rpm / 26.5" MP = 51.0 gal/hr
8000' / 1700 rpm / 25.0" MP = 43.0 gal/hr
Thenceforth:
10,000' / 1600 rpm / 24.0" MP = 38.0 gal/hr

The key of course is what FN and AE actually did do, in each case - hence this interesting string.  But the point is valid - they did have in-hand a reasonable set of guidelines and excellent tools, from the outset.  We can derive some clues about actual happenings from the communications recorded from the flight (but we start to run tantalizingly short at the end, don't we?).

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on December 30, 2011, 12:30:51 AM
I am having trouble with accessing page 2 of this string to modify my post -

Gary tried to upload another high resolution scan.

I've resized it and am attaching two lower resolutions here (if all goes well).
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on December 30, 2011, 12:45:11 AM
I am having trouble with accessing page 2 of this string to modify my post -

Gary tried to upload another high resolution scan.

I've resized it and am attaching two lower resolutions here (if all goes well).
I had uploaded the Williams strip chart before, here is a link to it (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=549.0;attach=496).

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Erik on December 30, 2011, 08:37:53 AM
"None of these were as simple as applying deviation to a true course. Which, by the way, Noonan and Earhart didn't even need to do since Williams had laid out the courses in magnetic degrees, the magnetic courses, having already applied the deviation. See attached chart. [ It caused a problem, apparently it was too big of a file.] It was William's strip chart of the Lae to Howland leg. I think I posted it before and I think it caused the same problem then.

Heath did a lot of good math and analysis in that long work-up - fascinating.  Eric's points about errors pique well too, but I tend to think Gary's onto something about the timing, etc.  Too much known ground was covered early enough in the flight for AE to have gone that brain dead for hours on end up front (although I agree, crazier things have happened). 

Not that I fully agree that the other examples of error are so limited to momentary lapses: the everglades crash is a tragic example of many 'moments' for the crew to have cued-in - but they were all so focused on chasing the gear light that none cued-in during the drift-down.  Nobody was 'flying the plane' - tragic, and a lapse of far too many minutes - it can and does happen to the best.  FN and AE would not have been immune - I can agree to that.

I probably wasn't very clear in the context of the above examples regarding commercial aviation accidents.  Maybe they were too complex, but the point still remains that very simple human errors can result unforseen events.  If we need simpler examples, take fuel starvation while in flight, or landing gear up.  These very basic errors happen nearly every day in general aviation.  As Jeff stated, unfortunately AE (or any other pilot for that matter) is not immune.  Fuel starvation is probably the closest example where the duration of the error lasted longer as opposed to 'momentary' errors.

Incidently, when I suggested a magnetic heading related error, I didn't mean to imply that was the ONLY factor.  AE would have also been vulnerable to more 'complex' contributing causes.  Maybe not as great as those found in commercial accidents, but still factors such as fatigue, reduced cockpit lighting conditions, having only one set of eyes on the compass as opposed to two, etc, would have all played a role.

In hindsight, I see where I may have suggested that the entire course was in error.  That wasn't the intention.  If it were, then yes, I would aggree that there would have been to many cross-checks to allow that to happen.  The point trying to be mad was that only a fractional portion of the flight/course could have been a vicitm of a magentic heading related error.

Take this scenario for example:
They are in flight, then lose celestial observations due to overcast.  No big deal.  They revert to dead reckoning using the magnetic compass and directional gyro.  The DG suffers a bit more than its usual gyroscopic pression (maybe from a vacum leak).  AE corrects for it, but turns the DG needle to one hash-mark (or two) shy of it's actual correct heading.  Now they are are off by 10 degrees and don't know it.  They fly this heading for an unknown period of time.  Not knowing how long they have been flying the wrong heading, they dont know how much to compenstate to get back on course.  Fred notices the discrepency.  They are now closer to their destination and decide not to make matters worse by trying to counter-correct the problem.  But, rather to fly a 'parallel' heading an intercept an offset LOP.  Problem now they dont know exactly how far off course they are when reaching the LOP.  To compound the problem, say for example, the magnetic compass wasn't swung correctly or a 'typo' was on the correction card.  Combine that with unknown wind conditions.  Now things are starting to add up in a more complex way - creating a compounding effect.  They hit the LOP with as good of timing they have but even it is off slightly by several seconds.  Unbeknownst to them, the strip chart has Howland charted erroneously 6 miles too far east. 

Things have gotten real ugly real quick! 
Title: Ship in sight, Ontario or Myrtle Bank?
Post by: Heath Smith on December 30, 2011, 08:47:45 AM

According to the following page, AE reported seeing a ship in sight at 10:30 GMT.

http://tighar.org/wiki/Nightfall_to_Ship_In_Sight (http://tighar.org/wiki/Nightfall_to_Ship_In_Sight)

This telegram seems to be the beginning of the assumption that it was the Myrtle Bank that AE might have seen at 10:30 GMT.

From: SYDNEY
Action: STATE
Precedence Datel 07/03/37 Referback KP0302XX (19370703101XKPH) Referforw
Classific Toffl 2200 Referback1 Referforw1
Style Referback2 Referforw2
Group 0 Datez 07/03/37 Referback3 Referforw3
Officeno SY Toffz 1200 Referback4 Referforw4
Text: PLAIN, SYDNEY N.S.W. VIA TUTUILA AND N.R. DATED JULY 3, 1937 RECEIVED 2:42 P.M.; SECRETARY OF STATE, WASHINGTON; JULY 3, 10
P.M.; AMALGAMATED WIRELESS STATE INFORMATION RECEIVED THAT REPORT FROM "NAURU" WAS SENT TO BOLINAS RADIO "AT 6.31, 6.43 AND 6.54
PM SYDNEY TIME TODAY ON 48.31 METERS, FAIRLY STRONG SIGNALS, SPEECH NOT INTELLIGIBLE, NO HUM OF PLANE IN BACKGROUND BUT VOICE
SIMILAR THAT EMITTED FROM PLANE IN FLIGHT LAST NIGHT BETWEEN 4.30 AND 9.30 P.M." MESSAGE FROM PLANE WHEN AT LEAST 60 MILES SOUTH
OF NAURU RECEIVED 8.30 P.M., SYDNEY TIME, JULY SECOND SAYING "A SHIP IN SIGHT AHEAD". SINCE IDIENTIFIED AS STEAMER MYRTLE BANK
WHICH ARRIVED NAURU DAYBREAK TODAY. REPORTED NO CONTACT BETWEEN ITASCA AND NAURU RADIO. CONTINUOUS WATCH BEING MAINTAINED BY
NAURU RADIO AND SUVA RADIO.; DOYLE
________________________
Dztzf 193707031200SYDNEY
Source: STATE Copyno: 0 Record No: 2358

---

The exact position of the Myrtle Bank seems to be up for debate, with two possible positions being estimated (Lexington Search Report, State Department telegram). Apparently TIGHAR has estimated a position of the Myrtle Bank at that time, roughly centered at 2°20′S, 167°10′E. The details are given here.

http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/ResearchPapers/Worldflight/finalflight2.html (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/ResearchPapers/Worldflight/finalflight2.html)

---

There are several references to the position of the Ontario given as 2°59.02′S, 165°23.20′E, so I will accept that as being fact.

If we take the earlier calculations that I had done where the ground speed achieved from Lae to check point A and then on to check point B (Nukumanu Island) the ground speed achieved was approximately 124.5 mph. Just as an exercise assuming that she maintained this 124.5 mph speed from Nukumanu Island for some time going forward (say until the 10:30 GMT report) the time elapsed would be about 3.2 hours (10:30 - 07:18) after leaving Nukumanu Island. Calculating the distance, assuming 124.5 mph for 3.2 hours, this is about 398 miles from Nukumanu Island, at about the position 3°7'28.73"S 165°19'45.91"E, along the original flight plan. This would place the Ontario only 11.5 miles to the North East, well within spotting distance.

I am not quite sure why anyone would ascertain that the ship spotted would have been the Myrtle Bank since very little was known about her actual position. Irrespective of the possible scenario above, the Ontario would be a much better candidate for the ship being spotted since it was only 8 miles or so off the original planned flight path whereas the Mrytle Bank would be at least 26 miles away from the original flight path if we assuming the best case approximate position of the Myrtle Bank at 2°20′S, 167°10′E. The only reasoning that I can see for concluding the ship was the Myrtle Bank and not the Ontario was based on some prior speed calculations that were assumed to be fact. From what I can see, the actual evidence of the ground speeds achieved is pretty scant at best.

Using the same speed as above, if Dowdeswell on the Mrytle Bank had his time confused, and he really heard the Electra at 11:00 GMT (local time versus New Zealand time miscalculation?), this would have put the Electra within 30 miles of this coarse estimate of where the Mrytle Bank was estimated to be, nearly at the closest possible distance between the two. Since this report became important only after the fact, I can see how this time calculation could have easily been misinterpreted and / or documented incorrectly. Given that radio log errors and interpretations both at Lae and Howland are demonstrable, I do not think that this is much of a stretch.
Title: Re: Ship in sight, Ontario or Myrtle Bank?
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on December 30, 2011, 10:01:14 AM

According to the following page, AE reported seeing a ship in sight at 10:30 GMT.


Everyone who is trying to renavigate the flight or to otherwise simulate its course should consult Randy Jacobson's statement of the variables in his article on the Monte Carlo simulation (http://tighar.org/wiki/Monte_carlo).  He has a great list in the article of all of the decisions that have to be made to project possible flight paths from Lae to the vicinity of Howland.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Jeff Scott on December 30, 2011, 11:11:07 PM
The Monte Carlo simulation is mentioned quite often. The articles describing it talk about constraints on the results but lack detail on the simulation itself. Is it probabilistic or deterministic? What are the equations of motion? What physics is it modeling and how were the math models derived? What methods/software were used to build it? How was the simulation verified and/or validated? Without knowing more about the tool itself, it's hard to evaluate its results.

Based on the description in the article (http://tighar.org/wiki/Monte_Carlo_Simulation_of_Flight), this sounds more like a prediction of position based on radio messages than an actual 6DOF flight simulation resolving the forces and moments acting on the aircraft defining its motion through space. Is that the case?

Another comment is the two figures in the wiki article are too small to read, so I'm not sure what they indicate.  Are the scales in latitude/longitude?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on December 31, 2011, 03:00:21 AM
The Monte Carlo simulation is mentioned quite often. The articles describing it talk about constraints on the results but lack detail on the simulation itself. Is it probabilistic or deterministic? What are the equations of motion? What physics is it modeling and how were the math models derived? What methods/software were used to build it? How was the simulation verified and/or validated? Without knowing more about the tool itself, it's hard to evaluate its results.

Based on the description in the article (http://tighar.org/wiki/Monte_Carlo_Simulation_of_Flight), this sounds more like a prediction of position based on radio messages than an actual 6DOF flight simulation resolving the forces and moments acting on the aircraft defining its motion through space. Is that the case?

Another comment is the two figures in the wiki article are too small to read, so I'm not sure what they indicate.  Are the scales in latitude/longitude?

GIGO :)

They claim "We used a very conservative scenario, one that assumed that Earhart had no means of determining her position, and that the entire flight was made by dead reckoning." This is not a conservative scenario it is a radical one.

The whole reason that Earhart hauled Noonan all the way around the world was so that he could get fixes to eliminate any errors that would have resulted from dead reckoning alone. This was also the reason, in the original planning, to take two navigators for the leg from Hawaii to Howland so that they could use their skill and equipment to find that Island. Note also, that they had recognized and decided that even the much shorter leg from Hawaii to Howland (only 1900 SM instead of 2556 SM) was too long to complete with only dead reckoning. If Earhart wanted to dead reckon that leg then there was no reason to incur the expenses of having two navigators on board, Earhart could have done the dead reckoning herself as she had done when flying solo across the Atlantic and when flying solo from Hawaii to California. All the planning for the World Flight was based on the knowledge that dead reckoning was not sufficiently accurate for the most difficult leg of the flight, that of locating Howland, coming either from Hawaii or from Lae.  The original plan was for Noonan to leave the flight at Howland and Manning to leave at Darwin with Earhart flying the rest of the flight solo. This is conclusive proof that they knew that finding Howland was THE most critical part of the entire around the world flight

I have attached Earhart's June 30, 1937 radiogram. It requested weather information because " FN MUST HAVE STAR SIGHTS."

In prior posts I have demonstrated how Noonan computed a "point of no return" (PNR) which allowed them to fly until 1407 Z and to within 817 SM of Howland and still be able to return to Lae. Since it is highly likely that Noonan knew of the location of the Rabaul airport after talking to the people at the Lae airport that was 400 SM along the course line to Howland. (And also, very likely, Noonan and Earhart had talked to pilots arriving from Rabaul.) Noonan would have calculated a PNR for a departure from Lae with a return to Rabaul. Since Rabaul was closer to Howland, this PNR would also be closer to Howland. Doing this calculation we find the PNR occurs at 1526 Z, 1901 SM from Lae, only 655 SM short of Howland (only 55 SM short of Tabiteuea in the Gilberts) and only three hours and forty-five minutes before the 1912 Z radio report of "must be on you" from Earhart. So if Noonan had not been able to get fixes they could have turned around and returned safely to Lae or Rabaul from nearly over the Gilberts and try again another day.

Do we know that Noonan knew how to calculate a PNR and that his practice was to do this calculation? Yes. On the departure from Hawaii to Howland on March 20th they took aboard an extra 75 gallons of fuel to allow a return to Hawaii after flying for 8 hours on the leg to Howland. This meant that they would have flown 1320 SM and would have come as close 580 SM to howland before turning around. This extra fuel was taken aboard after Noonan calculated the PNR based on having to fight a headwind on the return leg to Hawaii, this is the standard PNR computation.

I could have saved them the trouble of coding the computer (GIGO) to figure where they might have ended up if Earhart only used dead reckoning for the entire 2556 SM leg from Lae to Howland. The generally accepted uncertainty in a position determined solely by dead reckoning is 10% of the distance flown, in this case, 255.6 SM. So instead of doing all the work that they did they could have just drawn a circle around Howland with a radius of 255.6 SM and the circle would contain the location of the plane. This circle appears to contain the results of the Monte Carlo run (but is is hard to tell since they do not provide a chart sufficiently large enough to allow us to read the coordinates of their plot.)

So now the creators of this "Monte Carlo Simulation" take the position that in spite of all the expense and careful preparation and Noonan's prior careful calculations including calculating PNRs that after all that, flying almost all the way around the world, that at the critical moment Earhart and Noonan just decided to ignore all the prior planning and just said "AHHHH, let's just go for it!" And they call this a "conservative scenario."

This "Monte Carlo Simulation" is really just a Pachinko game!

See:
https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,452.msg5586.html#msg5586

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,452.msg5620.html#msg5620




Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on December 31, 2011, 04:16:35 AM

Take this scenario for example:
They are in flight, then lose celestial observations due to overcast.  No big deal.  They revert to dead reckoning using the magnetic compass and directional gyro.  The DG suffers a bit more than its usual gyroscopic pression (maybe from a vacum leak).  AE corrects for it, but turns the DG needle to one hash-mark (or two) shy of it's actual correct heading.  Now they are are off by 10 degrees and don't know it.  They fly this heading for an unknown period of time.  Not knowing how long they have been flying the wrong heading, they dont know how much to compenstate to get back on course.  Fred notices the discrepency.  They are now closer to their destination and decide not to make matters worse by trying to counter-correct the problem.  But, rather to fly a 'parallel' heading an intercept an offset LOP.  Problem now they dont know exactly how far off course they are when reaching the LOP.  To compound the problem, say for example, the magnetic compass wasn't swung correctly or a 'typo' was on the correction card.  Combine that with unknown wind conditions.  Now things are starting to add up in a more complex way - creating a compounding effect.  They hit the LOP with as good of timing they have but even it is off slightly by several seconds.  Unbeknownst to them, the strip chart has Howland charted erroneously 6 miles too far east. 

Things have gotten real ugly real quick!
Pilots are trained to check their DG about every 10 minutes so Earhart would have caught the errors you are concerned about after only a short period of time.  There were actually three compasses in the plane and Noonan had one of his own back in the nav station so his job was to check up on Earhart flying the correct heading that he had given her so another reason that any such error was promptly corrected. In addition to the standard "pilot's" compass mounted above the instrument panel, Earhart had a much more accurate and stable compass mounted on the floor in front of the co-pilot's seat, see attached photos. Mounted directly above this second, aperiodic compass, is the correction card to this compass. Aperiodic compasses were generally called "the navigator's compass" because they were mounted at the nav station of our bombers and transport planes during WW2. Noonan had one of these mounted on the floor under the chart table with a window in the chart table to allow him to see this compass. Aperiodic compasses must be read from above, not from the side as is done with the normal "pilot's" compass. Since each of them had one of these very accurate and stable compasses available it makes you scenario very unlikely. Noonan also had an altimeter, airspeed indicator and an outside air temperature gauge at his station so he could compute the true airspeed of the plane and didn't have to rely on Earhart passing this information back to him. This was a very well thought out navigation arrangement, it had worked for 3/4ths of the way around the world.

Regarding "precession" of the directional gyro, pilots are not taught all the details of what they see in the cockpit. There is "real precession" and "apparent precession" but pilots don't know this, only flight navigators are taught to deal with these distinctions. Real precession is cause by friction in the bearings of he gyroscope that causes the DG to change from its setting and this is all that pilots are taught. Real precession is normally very small (unless the DG has been damaged or the bearings are very worn.) What pilots are actually seeing is "apparent precession" which is caused by the rotation of the Earth on its axis. The Earth rotates 15.04° per hour (in inertial space) and even though the gyro is maintaining it's direction in space, since the earth is turning under it, the DG appears to precess in the opposite direction. A plane flying over the North Pole would see the DG precess at this rate of 15.04° per hour. However the rate of apparent precession varies with the sine of the latitude so pilots in the U.S. see their gyros precess about 10° per hour (the sine of 45° latitude is 0.7 times 15.04° per hour equals 10.5° per hour.) The reason I have gone through this exposition is because the sine of zero degrees is zero which multiplied by 15.04 equals zero thus making the apparent precession at the equator, latitude zero, also zero. Since almost all of the precession seen in the DG is actually apparent precession, Earhart's DG would not have precessed much, if at all, since she was flying along the equator.

The first three attached photos show Earhart's cockpit, the aperiodic compass and its correction card. The fourth photo is of an exemplar aperiodic compass, not Earhart's, which has finer graduations on the azimuth scale than Earhart's. We don't have a photo of Noonan's aperiodic compass but it may also have had the finer graduations.

gl

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on December 31, 2011, 08:57:43 AM
The Monte Carlo simulation is mentioned quite often. The articles describing it talk about constraints on the results but lack detail on the simulation itself. Is it probabilistic or deterministic? What are the equations of motion? What physics is it modeling and how were the math models derived? What methods/software were used to build it? How was the simulation verified and/or validated? Without knowing more about the tool itself, it's hard to evaluate its results.

I recommended the article as a starting point for those trying to understand the initial conditions and constraints of a simulation.

I did not participate in the design of the simulation and can't answer those questions.

Randy Jacobson, who, I hope you will concede without further argument, did amazing amounts of research for TIGHAR, no longer participates in this Forum.  He has not said why he does not participate.

Quote
Based on the description in the article (http://tighar.org/wiki/Monte_Carlo_Simulation_of_Flight), this sounds more like a prediction of position based on radio messages than an actual 6DOF flight simulation resolving the forces and moments acting on the aircraft defining its motion through space. Is that the case?

That's how I read the article.  Why design something that requires a supercomputer and measurements we don't have.  Calculating the movement of a body based on fundamental forces with six degrees of freedom over twenty hours of flying is more work than you can or need to do.  There are an indefinite number of paths her aircraft might have taken to reach the various "checkpoints" available for a simulation--with a very region for the "checkpoint."

Quote
Another comment is the two figures in the wiki article are too small to read, so I'm not sure what they indicate.  Are the scales in latitude/longitude?

Yes.  The second image is easier to interpret than the first.  There is an "H" for "Howland" and a "B" for "Baker."
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on December 31, 2011, 09:08:30 AM

GIGO!

They claim "We used a very conservative scenario, one that assumed that Earhart had no means of determining her position, and that the entire flight was made by dead reckoning." This is not a conservative scenario it is a radical one.


So go create your own simulation that plugs in millions of combinations of numbers for variables constrained by your view of what really happened, and tell us your results.

Randy did his simulation.  I find it intelligible and interesting.  I'm looking forward to seeing yours.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on December 31, 2011, 11:11:31 AM
I concur with Marty. 

Disagreement is fine, but a charge of "GIGO" amounts to attack and adds nothing positive to the discussion.  This kind of attack chills our forum environment and robs all of us of a higher quality dialogue that we might enjoy.

It's no wonder to me that more than one highly-qualified TIGHAR contributor has stopped working the forum:
What highly-qualified contributor wants their major investment so passionately trampled by attack with so little material basis? 

The more I see these impeachment attempts the less objectivity I see in them.  I wish it were otherwise, But until the attacker can lay-up a dispassionate alternative - complete with a rational outcome (equal in weight to the Monte Carlo, mind you) it won't carry much weight with me.

---

I happen to trust the professionalism of what Jacobson applied in the NR16020 case as relevent and sensible:

- The Monte Carlo never claims to be an end-all - its limits and intents are well explained
- The constraints are openly identified, and thereby the limits of the analysis can be rationally realized
- Contrary to the attacker's opinion, I find the assumption of AE lacking specific cel-observations to be quite conservative: it is abundantly clear to me that any reliable cel-nav points being entered into the equation would bring the probability to somewhere closer to Howland than from the current probable outcomes. 
Randy Jacobson did not hide that fact and in fact made it clear enough to me by stating the constraints as he did. 

A Monte Carlo, as Jacobson himself makes clear enough, has limits of its own.  But we must understand what Jacobson understands well: it has to focus on something to gain anything useful - applying too broad a set of constraints would yield nothing but chaos.

Of course we can consider that cel-nav was just peachy all the way to Howland.  However, I find it very odd indeed that if cel-nav had worked so reliably well that somehow our pair completely missed the mark.  Something went wrong, and the Monte Carlo outcome gives us a very good glimpse of how that could well have happened and some idea as to the magnitude and placement of the possible error.

In sum, I don't find it 'garbage' when the case is so clearly and fairly stated already.  Attacks don't offer any credible new direction for me.   

LTM -
Title: Question about the Ontario
Post by: Heath Smith on December 31, 2011, 11:55:28 AM

I am having trouble tracking down the telegram or letters that were sent requesting that the Ontario was to be positioned "half-way" between Lae and Howland. Were specific coordinates handed to the ship's captain or did the requester rely on the captain to realize the significance of positioning the ship as closely as possible to the flight path? Can someone help me out there?

Do we know if the Ontario was drifting with the engines off? Were crewmen outside specifically listening for the Electra? If they were just kicking back in the bridge, it would be no wonder that they did not hear the Electra.

If I had to guess Noonan and Earhart had intended on finding the Ontario either by direction finder (plenty of evidence of that in the telegrams sent by AE), or better yet, by spotting the ship visually. It also seems to be common sense that their plan was to use this position of the Ontario as a verification of their actual position to see how they were progressing on the flight plan.

It appears by my measure (using Google Earth) that the Ontario was at least 7.75 SM off the direct route from Lae to Howland. If Noonan did assume that the ship spotted was the Ontario, could he mistakenly assumed that the Ontario was "on the line"? If so, what appears to be a relatively small error would probably be a huge headache if the position was used wouldn't it?

Although there were no radio exchange between the Ontario and AE, could Noonan have used some type of spotting scope to visually verify that it was the Ontario? Could this have been easily done at 8 sm out at 8,000ft?

What I find interesting here also was that AE did not continue further radio traffic otherwise this would have been picked up by the station at Nauru. Could they have just performed their own verification and busily checked the data to figure out where they were?

Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on December 31, 2011, 12:09:08 PM

GIGO!

They claim "We used a very conservative scenario, one that assumed that Earhart had no means of determining her position, and that the entire flight was made by dead reckoning." This is not a conservative scenario it is a radical one.


So go create your own simulation that plugs in millions of combinations of numbers for variables constrained by your view of what really happened, and tell us your results.

Randy did his simulation.  I find it intelligible and interesting.  I'm looking forward to seeing yours.
It doesn't make any difference how many calculations you may make if you start with a completely unreasonable assumption. This is exactly what the term GIGO means. I did a Monte Carlo simulation that made one quadrillion calculations with a supercomputer starting with the equally unreasonable assumption that they were flying a rocket ship so my simulation shows them 2.3 SM south of the crater Tycho on the Moon. Obviously something went wrong with the navigation but this is not the same thing as saying they did no navigation at all, that they dead reckoned all the way from Lae to Howland. Since Noonan was navigating, his actions, including errors, biases the result away from the DR scenario so the plane is more likely to be anywhere else on Earth than it is to be where your Monte Carlo simulation placed it. Mr. Jacobson engaged in an intellectually interesting exercise but it signifies nothing in the end.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on December 31, 2011, 12:30:23 PM
I concur with Marty. 

Disagreement is fine, but a charge of "GIGO" amounts to attack and adds nothing positive to the discussion.  This kind of attack chills our forum environment and robs all of us of a higher quality dialogue that we might enjoy.


---

I happen to trust the professionalism of what Jacobson applied in the NR16020 case as relevent and sensible:

-
Don't take what I wrote as a personal attack on Mr. Jacobson or his knowledge or qualifications. I used the term GIGO as it is commonly used, if you put invalid data into a computer then the result coming out of the computer is also invalid and has no value.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on December 31, 2011, 01:09:31 PM
I concur with Marty. 

Disagreement is fine, but a charge of "GIGO" amounts to attack and adds nothing positive to the discussion.  This kind of attack chills our forum environment and robs all of us of a higher quality dialogue that we might enjoy.

It's no wonder to me that more than one highly-qualified TIGHAR contributor has stopped working the forum:
What highly-qualified contributor wants their major investment so passionately trampled by attack with so little material basis? 

The more I see these impeachment attempts the less objectivity I see in them.  I wish it were otherwise, But until the attacker can lay-up a dispassionate alternative - complete with a rational outcome (equal in weight to the Monte Carlo, mind you) it won't carry much weight with me.


I tend to agree with Jeff.  You said it best Jeff in your words I bolded above. However I am glad that Gary clarified this was not intended as a personal attack.   It's clear what Gary is saying but we don't need to agree with him. Not agreeing with Gary isn't a personal attack. We just disagree. I believe he was doing the same thing with Jacobson.

But on Jeff's other point Gary, you should step up and say what you believe happened. It's unfair to just jump in and tell people they got something wrong.  You contribute a lot to this forum. Most of the folks who contribute will tell you what they believe and do so from many different positions. Why not do this?  Offer to be a speaker at the proposed symposium and make the subject of your presentation your personal feelings on what happened. This would be a good draw for attendees. Good for TIGHAR to present opposing opinions.  But if you can't then you should come forward and give your opinion in this forum. I fear you're only hurting your own credibility by not stating what you believe.  Perhaps you really don't have an opinion to share.  Nothing wrong with that either.  Opposing the TIGHAR hypothesis may even be your own way of testing it to see if you believe it yourself.  Who knows?  Only you do.
Title: Re: Question about the Ontario
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on December 31, 2011, 01:26:11 PM
I am having trouble tracking down the telegram or letters that were sent requesting that the Ontario was to be positioned "half-way" between Lae and Howland. Were specific coordinates handed to the ship's captain or did the requester rely on the captain to realize the significance of positioning the ship as closely as possible to the flight path? Can someone help me out there?

As a first rough cut, I've added a section to the wiki article on the Ontario (http://tighar.org/wiki/USS_Ontario#Mission_and_Location) drawn from Finding Amelia, a book that every serious Earhart researcher should have on their shelves.

Quote
Do we know if the Ontario was drifting with the engines off? Were crewmen outside specifically listening for the Electra? If they were just kicking back in the bridge, it would be no wonder that they did not hear the Electra.

No, so far as I can tell, we don't "know" how the Ontario held station or what her crew were doing.

Using the search engine (http://tighar.org/news/help/82-how-do-i-search-tigharorg) cheerfully provided on the website, I find this note from the indefatigable Randy Jacobson (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Forum/Highlights101_120/highlights113.html#2):
Message:2
Subject:Re: Interview with Betty
Date:11/7/00
From:Randy Jacobson
   The position of 3°9′S, 165°E is the position reported by the Navy for the USS Ontario (same reports provide the Myrtlebank position), but is/was not the precise location where the Ontario was on the overflight. This position was not published prior to the World Flight, but was mentioned in Navy radio message traffic and perhaps news media by July 4th time frame. Where the Navy got this position is unknown, but it was probably obtained by plotting the mid-way point on the Lae to Howland flight on a map.


The same amazing researcher provided a transcription of the Ontario's log (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/JacobsonDatabase/NAVIG/ONTARIO.PDF).

Then he wrote a series of articles, one of which is entitled "Final Flight, Part 2: Midpoint to the Vicinity of Howland." (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/ResearchPapers/Worldflight/finalflight2.html)

The same man compiled a huge database of messages related to Earhart's attempts to fly around the world. (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/JacobsonDatabase/JacobsonDB.html)  I'll bet that the radio traffic about the Ontario's position could be found there.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on December 31, 2011, 01:43:08 PM

Martin,

Thank for the the information. I did ask for and received the Finding Amelia for Christmas. I have yet to read it over but I did check out the DVD.

As for the Ontario logs, can you tell me which time zone that they are relative to? Are they local, GMT? Thanks in advance.

Also, do you suppose that if AE and FN spotted the Ontario, they would have assumed that they were on the line and used their position to check their flight progression? Perhaps even adjusted the plan based on spotting the Ontario?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on December 31, 2011, 02:32:14 PM
As for the Ontario logs, can you tell me which time zone that they are relative to? Are they local, GMT? Thanks in advance.

At the top of the first page of the log (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/JacobsonDatabase/NAVIG/ONTARIO.PDF), you will find the answer to your question.

Having read the primary source, you will undoubtedly then come back and ask whether anybody knows what the relevant time zones are (http://tighar.org/wiki/Timezones).

Quote
Also, do you suppose that if AE and FN spotted the Ontario, they would have assumed that they were on the line and used their position to check their flight progression? Perhaps even adjusted the plan based on spotting the Ontario?

They didn't say.  I won't guess.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on December 31, 2011, 02:43:35 PM

Martin,

Thanks again for the information. I really appreciate all of these references that you post.

In my haste I tried to jump down in the table to the 2nd of July assuming that the labels at the top were meaningless. Duh.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on December 31, 2011, 04:32:16 PM
Thanks again for the information. I really appreciate all of these references that you post.

You're welcome.

Quote
In my haste I tried to jump down in the table to the 2nd of July assuming that the labels at the top were meaningless. Duh.

BTDT.

Happy New Year!
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on December 31, 2011, 09:01:36 PM

I found the position where Ontario was ordered to be on guard station duty. This position appears to be carefully chosen by Williams as it was at the end of a segment in the original flight plan. This spot was apparently chosen before the first world flight attempt and was recycled so to speak. Looking at the log that gives the Ontario position, the ship was close to the original commanded location but was actually directly on the flight path and 6 miles east along the flight path from where it should have been. After that is seemed to just drift around without any apparent attempt to hold the commanded position.

http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,243.msg3630.html#msg3630 (http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,243.msg3630.html#msg3630)

As Ric points out, this is clearly not where the Ontario was located between 10:00 GMT and 11:00 GMT. They were far East of the commanded position about 29 miles. The commanded position was about 6 miles North of the intended flight path and importantly about 2.5 miles after the end of a particular segment in the flight plan. This would have allowed Noonan to look out the port Window and see the ship about 6 miles to the North and they probably wanted that position so that he could verify their speed.

If the ship's location was to be used for navigation, the latitude was only slightly off (8 miles off rather that the commanded 6 miles) but longitudinally it was way off the mark (nearly 30 miles). This might have influenced their speed calculations but probably would not have affected their heading (much).

Every way I look at this it appears to be very sloppy work so far as the position of the Ontario goes. Earhart and Noonan obviously thought the location of the ship was important as they sent a message out from Lae before departure saying that they were not leaving on schedule and that the Ontario should be informed of this.
Title: Indicated speeds and the pitot tubes
Post by: Heath Smith on January 01, 2012, 10:50:40 AM

Gary,

You stated on an earlier post in this thread:

Quote
Noonan also had an altimeter, airspeed indicator and an outside air temperature gauge at his station so he could compute the true airspeed of the plane and didn't have to rely on Earhart passing this information back to him.

Was Earhart using the indicated speed from the port side pitot tube and Noonan was using the starboard pitot tube? Can you give any more details about how Noonan's instruments were hooked up to the main systems?

Thanks.
Title: Re: Indicated speeds and the pitot tubes
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 01, 2012, 11:42:53 AM

Gary,

You stated on an earlier post in this thread:

Quote
Noonan also had an altimeter, airspeed indicator and an outside air temperature gauge at his station so he could compute the true airspeed of the plane and didn't have to rely on Earhart passing this information back to him.

Was Earhart using the indicated speed from the port side pitot tube and Noonan was using the starboard pitot tube? Can you give any more details about how Noonan's instruments were hooked up to the main systems?

Thanks.
There was a second airspeed indicator mounted on the copilot's side of the instrument panel which was the reason for the second pitot tube. Noonan' could have been taped into either one. I don't know if there were two separate static ports for the two altimeters, the copilot had one too, they could have been using just one static port and Noonan's would have used the static pressure line for his altimeter.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: John Ousterhout on January 01, 2012, 11:51:03 AM
"... not leaving on schedule and that the Ontario should be informed of this."
It hadn't occured to me that the fliers might use the ship for navigation.  I thought the ships were needed in case of emergency landings at sea, and for communications.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 01, 2012, 12:51:08 PM
Quote
There was a second airspeed indicator mounted on the copilot's side of the instrument panel which was the reason for the second pitot tube. Noonan' could have been taped into either one. I don't know if there were two separate static ports for the two altimeters, the copilot had one too, they could have been using just one static port and Noonan's would have used the static pressure line for his altimeter.

This would be very useful to know especially if we believe that the belly antenna was indeed ripped off at take off at Lae. Just as a theory, maybe they did extend the co-pilot instrument back to Noonan and when the antenna was ripped off, this tweaked his readings as compared to what Earhart might have seen. Because Noonan might have been sending up commands to Earhart, maybe they did not realize that they were reading two different indicated air speeds? Perhaps Noonan was even sending forward RPM commands to Earhart and she was not able to spot the problem herself? Noonan probably was doing the head wind, true airspeed calculations along with navigation checks and was probably performing the unit conversions as well. Perhaps Earhart was merely executing orders from Noonan. Maybe she was just following indicated air speed or even RPM instructions?

I found a few pictures of the pitot tubes and was able to see a close up of one of them. What I am not sure of is whether the pitot tube in the photo is the one actually used or if this was replaced after the crash in Hawaii. The photo just says 1937, California. Does anyone have an image of the actual stardboard pitot tube taken at Lae or even Australia? If this was the actual pitot tube, is it possible that a piece of the back of the tube was sheared off in the process? Could this cause Noonan to read higher indicated air speeds than was reality?

For whatever reason, I believe that they were achieving a ground speed of 124.5 all the way from Lae to where the Ontario was spotted. The timing is too coincidental to be otherwise (my opinion). If you assume they were achieving 150mph after departing from Nukumanu Island (since they reported a head wind of 23 knots), you are somewhat forced in to assuming that the Myrtl Bank was the ship spotted (or some yet unknown mystery ship) even though very little is known about her true where abouts. This would put the Myrtle Bank about 29 miles off the planned flight path, compared to the Ontario at 8 miles off. I suppose you could think that they flew far North of the Ontario and spotted the Myrtle Bank instead but this would infer a major navigational malfunction. This seems highly unlikely since they had a good fix 3.2 hours earlier and were right on the flight line.

Assuming that they did in fact spot the Ontario, which makes a lot of sense since she was only 8 miles north of the flight path, the distance from that point at 10:30GMT to the "200 miles out" message at 17:42 would be about 1077 miles. This would mean that the ground speed achieved was 149.58 mph on the trip beyond spotting the ship to being near Howland. The 150 mph make sense in that this was the original speed desired in the original flight plan. If you disregard the 10:30GMT ship spotted, and calculate the ground speed achieve from Nukumanu Island to "200 miles out" would be about 141.7 mph that does not seem to fit well from what I can see.

So the basic theory is that a speed discrepancy was discovered when the ship was spotted and the data seems to suggest that this could indeed be the case. How the ground speed achieved could have been mis-read or calculated, I have no idea. A damaged pitot tube seems to be a good culprit. Noonan might have ran some calculations, found a huge error and asked Amelia "Hey, what is your indicated air speed?".
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 01, 2012, 02:41:34 PM
Quote
There was a second airspeed indicator mounted on the copilot's side of the instrument panel which was the reason for the second pitot tube. Noonan' could have been taped into either one. I don't know if there were two separate static ports for the two altimeters, the copilot had one too, they could have been using just one static port and Noonan's would have used the static pressure line for his altimeter.

This would be very useful to know especially if we believe that the belly antenna was indeed ripped off at take off at Lae. Just as a theory, maybe they did extend the co-pilot instrument back to Noonan and when the antenna was ripped off, this tweaked his readings as compared to what Earhart might have seen.

If this was the actual pitot tube, is it possible that a piece of the back of the tube was sheared off in the process? Could this cause Noonan to read higher indicated air speeds than was reality?

For whatever reason, I believe that they were achieving a ground speed of 124.5 all the way from Lae to where the Ontario was spotted. The timing is too coincidental to be otherwise (my opinion). If you assume they were achieving 150mph after departing from Nukumanu Island (since they reported a head wind of 23 knots), you are somewhat forced in to assuming that the Myrtl Bank was the ship spotted (or some yet unknown mystery ship) even though very little is known about her true where abouts. This would put the Myrtle Bank about 29 miles off the planned flight path, compared to the Ontario at 8 miles off. I suppose you could think that they flew far North of the Ontario and spotted the Myrtle Bank instead but this would infer a major navigational malfunction. This seems highly unlikely since they had a good fix 3.2 hours earlier and were right on the flight line.

Assuming that they did in fact spot the Ontario, which makes a lot of sense since she was only 8 miles north of the flight path, the distance from that point at 10:30GMT to the "200 miles out" message at 17:42 would be about 1077 miles. This would mean that the ground speed achieved was 149.58 mph on the trip beyond spotting the ship to being near Howland. The 150 mph make sense in that this was the original speed desired in the original flight plan. If you disregard the 10:30GMT ship spotted, and calculate the ground speed achieve from Nukumanu Island to "200 miles out" would be about 141.7 mph that does not seem to fit well from what I can see.

So the basic theory is that a speed discrepancy was discovered when the ship was spotted and the data seems to suggest that this could indeed be the case. How the ground speed achieved could have been mis-read or calculated, I have no idea. A damaged pitot tube seems to be a good culprit. Noonan might have ran some calculations, found a huge error and asked Amelia "Hey, what is your indicated air speed?".
The idea that the belly antenna was torn off is based on the rear support mast being close to the ground while in the three point attitude, tail on the ground. In this same attitude the pitot tubes are well above the ground (head high, see attached photo) and this continues after the tail comes up.

If the rear of the pitot had been ripped off, opening it to the air, then the airspeed indicator attached to that pitot tube would read zero. There is no particular reason for  Noonan's airspeed indicator to be plumbed into the pitot tube for the copilot's ASI, it could just as easily have been connected to Earhart's. if it was connected to the copilot's then Noonan's would read the same as the copilot's and Earhart could have noticed the discrepancy between the speed displayed on her ASI compared to that displayed on the copilot's ASI.

A general comment. Many on this forum attempt to do navigation computations to an impossibly high level of precision that was never achievable in flight, carrying out calculations to such a level accomplishes nothing. Just because your calculator has ten decimal places doesn't mean you should use all of them. Mr. van Asten was the poster child for this, calculating the time to fly from Lae to Howland to be exactly 18 hours, 50 minutes and 8 seconds! The same for Google Earth, just because it gives data to the 1/100th of a degree and to the 1/100th of a mile doesn't mean that those extra decimal places have any meaning in the real world. A hundredth of a nautical mile is only 60 feet, this level of precision only became available with GPS. A hundredth of a degree change in heading would result in being off course only four-tenths of a statute mile after flying the 2556 SM from Lae to Howland.

People also get hung up on the idea of staying exactly on the course line but in flying long distances over the ocean there is no reason to do this since there is only an extremely small penalty even for wandering far off course. For example, flying 2556 SM from Lae to Howland, if you wandered off course 100 SM at the midpoint of the flight it would add only 8 SM to the total route, only three minutes and twelve seconds to the flight. If you find yourself off course you don't make a large change in your heading to get back on the course line that you had drawn on your chart but change heading to head directly towards the destination, never regaining the course line until you arrive at the destination. You do it this way because that is the shortest distance from your off course position to the destination. Trying to regain the course line creates a dog leg, adding distance. For example, the mid-point of the Lae to Howland leg is 1278 SM from Howland. If at that point you discover that you are actually one hundred miles off course and you then make a sharp turn of ninety degrees to intercept the course line at the midpoint you would have to fly a total of 1378 SM to get to Howland, the 100 SM to get to the course line plus the remaining 1278 SM along the course line. Instead you adjust your heading to head directly to Howland from the off course fix and the distance you have to fly is only 1282 SM, 4 SM longer than if you had stayed on course and 96 SM shorter than regaining the course line.

Studying Noonann's chart work on the flight from Oakland to Hawaii shows that they did not try to stay on the course line. Noonan plotted six fixes on that flight, 0317 Z, 60 NM left of the great circle; 0446 Z, 60 NM left of the great circle; 0738 Z, 25 NM left of the great circle; 1007 Z, 65 NM right of the great circle; 1328 Z, 130 NM right of the great circle; and 1520 Z, 20 NM right of the great circle. They got off the pre-planned course line early and just made gradual changes in heading to keep the destination ahead of them and they never regained the pre-planned course line until they arrived in Hawaii.

Looking at Noonan's chart  (https://4618319391870527131-a-1802744773732722657-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/navigation-to-dakar/IMG_9.JPG?attachauth=ANoY7cr5dVX-mlC2rNizmWqNDl4sBATnObrbIgktn4rzzAYbJ87Pa-5iHnq4HtTHU3J9a32zmtp5bQaVhHcBxhsE5Og6b9PPS4hE8kknnQA6XUP_Dbtd5JFsBDQ5gnf-BSfaGJUoqEY5jmbEMPnIjkYkh03Nk_DkfcLXjgGLuVW0yXOS5yucjecaR09d5je9ZDhhl32EzRJn9CseejGBVzJS0iFOZG3j-aR-XREjkwTKq11-Kf6xAcs%3D&attredirects=0)for the Natal to Dakar leg the 1341 Z running fix showed them to be 130 NM left of the pre-planned course line. They made no attempt to regain the course line but changed heading to intercept the course line and the coast of Africa south of Dakar, both at the same time. See discussion of the navigation on this flight here. (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/navigation-to-dakar)

Another thing that people get hung up on is about the need to fly the great circle course instead of the rhumb line course. A rhumb line maintains the same true direction for the entire flight while to follow the great circle you must calculate and then make periodic changes in your heading. The great circle is shorter than the rhumb line so that is why people think you must follow the great circle. However this really only makes a difference at higher latitudes but makes virtually no difference when flying near the equator. The great circle distance between the exact coordinates used by Williams for this leg, 06° 47.000' south, 147° 00.000' east for Lae and 00° 49.000' north, 176° 43.000' west for Howland is 2556.1 SM and the rhumb line is 2556.2 SM, exactly one-tenth of a statute mile longer. I can see poor Mr. Williams computing each segment (14 in all) of the great circle between Lae and Howland by hand using logarithmic trig tables only to save 1/10th of a statute mile. Leaving Lae, the initial great circle course is 079.4° true and it changes in steps so that the GC course approaching Howland is 077.6° true. The rhumb line for the entire flight is 078.1° true, only 1.3° difference. And the two course lines lie close to one another, never more than 9 SM apart which is so close that Noonan would not have been able to tell the difference, he would not know if he was on the great circle course line or on the rhumb line course line. Here is a link to Mr. Williams chart. (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=549.0;attach=496) and his data form is attached.

The reason that I specified those coordinates so exactly was so that I could compute the distances to the nearest one-tenth of a statute mile. Williams and all flight navigators would only use coordinates to the nearest one minute of latitude and longitude, one nautical mile of precision. When the input data is only accurate to one nautical mile it is improper to calculate a distance to a greater precision than that of the original data but many people do this and it is not valid. Using the coordinates as Williams did, only good to one minute, would make the distance for the GC course 2556 SM and for the rhumb line also 2556 SM, there is no difference based on the level of precision of the data used by flight navigators.

So when you do your calculations give some thought as to what the numbers actually signify.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Erik on January 02, 2012, 08:28:28 AM

Take this scenario for example:
They are in flight, then lose celestial observations due to overcast.  No big deal.  They revert to dead reckoning using the magnetic compass and directional gyro.  The DG suffers a bit more than its usual gyroscopic pression (maybe from a vacum leak).  AE corrects for it, but turns the DG needle to one hash-mark (or two) shy of it's actual correct heading.  Now they are are off by 10 degrees and don't know it.  They fly this heading for an unknown period of time.  Not knowing how long they have been flying the wrong heading, they dont know how much to compenstate to get back on course.  Fred notices the discrepency.  They are now closer to their destination and decide not to make matters worse by trying to counter-correct the problem.  But, rather to fly a 'parallel' heading an intercept an offset LOP.  Problem now they dont know exactly how far off course they are when reaching the LOP.  To compound the problem, say for example, the magnetic compass wasn't swung correctly or a 'typo' was on the correction card.  Combine that with unknown wind conditions.  Now things are starting to add up in a more complex way - creating a compounding effect.  They hit the LOP with as good of timing they have but even it is off slightly by several seconds.  Unbeknownst to them, the strip chart has Howland charted erroneously 6 miles too far east. 

Things have gotten real ugly real quick!
Pilots are trained to check their DG about every 10 minutes so Earhart would have caught the errors you are concerned about after only a short period of time.  There were actually three compasses in the plane and Noonan had one of his own back in the nav station so his job was to check up on Earhart flying the correct heading that he had given her so another reason that any such error was promptly corrected. In addition to the standard "pilot's" compass mounted above the instrument panel, Earhart had a much more accurate and stable compass mounted on the floor in front of the co-pilot's seat, see attached photos. Mounted directly above this second, aperiodic compass, is the correction card to this compass. Aperiodic compasses were generally called "the navigator's compass" because they were mounted at the nav station of our bombers and transport planes during WW2. Noonan had one of these mounted on the floor under the chart table with a window in the chart table to allow him to see this compass. Aperiodic compasses must be read from above, not from the side as is done with the normal "pilot's" compass. Since each of them had one of these very accurate and stable compasses available it makes you scenario very unlikely. Noonan also had an altimeter, airspeed indicator and an outside air temperature gauge at his station so he could compute the true airspeed of the plane and didn't have to rely on Earhart passing this information back to him. This was a very well thought out navigation arrangement, it had worked for 3/4ths of the way around the world.

Regarding "precession" of the directional gyro, pilots are not taught all the details of what they see in the cockpit. There is "real precession" and "apparent precession" but pilots don't know this, only flight navigators are taught to deal with these distinctions. Real precession is cause by friction in the bearings of he gyroscope that causes the DG to change from if setting and this is all that pilots are taught. Real precession is normally very small (unless the DG has been damaged or the bearings are very worn.) What pilots are actually seeing is "apparent precession" which is caused by the rotation of the Earth on its axis. The Earth rotates 15.04° per hour (in inertial space) and even though the gyro is maintaining it's direction in space, since the earth is turning under it, the DG appears to precess in the opposite direction. A plane flying over the North Pole would see the DG precess at this rate of 15.04° per hour. However the rate of apparent precession varies with the sine of the latitude so pilots in the U.S. see their gyros precess about 10° per hour (the sine of 45° latitude is 0.7 times 15.04° per hour equals 10.5° per hour.) The reason I have gone through this exposition is because the sine of zero degrees is zero which multiplied by 15.04 equals zero thus making the apparent precession at the equator, latitude zero, also zero. Since almost all of the precession seen in the DG is actually apparent precession, Earhart's DG would not have precessed much, if at all, since she was flying along the equator.

The first three attached photos show Earhart's cockpit, the aperiodic compass and its correction card. The fourth photo is of an exemplar aperiodic compass, not Earhart's, which has finer graduations on the azimuth scale than Earhart's. We don't have a photo of Noonan's aperiodic compass but it may also have had the finer graduations.

gl

Quote
Pilots are trained to check their DG about every 10 minutes so Earhart would have caught the errors you are concerned about after only a short period of time.
We dont know for sure.  What if she forgot to check for 2-3 times in a row?  Or what if she had checked and made a simple interpretation mistake?  This is where experimenting with possible scenarios, helps us come up with ideas that generate other ideas to help solve this riddle.

Quote
There were actually three compasses in the plane and Noonan had one of his own back in the nav station so his job was to check up on Earhart flying the correct heading that he had given her so another reason that any such error was promptly corrected.
I didn't realilze that - thanks for the info.  That would have meant three different correction cards too?  Hmm... Do we know any more about Noonan's compass?  I dont remember seeing referenced in the diagrams, but would like to learn more about it.  Of course he didn't have a DG back there - just a magnetic compass - correct?

Quote
Real precession is normally very small (unless the DG has been damaged or the bearings are very worn.) 
This is exactly what I was suggesting.  I wasn't very clear in my original post, but I meant that the 'real' precession was being affected by this phenomenon of mechanical failure.  What if the DG was experiencing a slight wear, or if a vacum leak was gradually getting worse?  Imagine they didn't catch this fact for 30-45min, and found themeselves gradually flying 5-10 degrees off course.  When they caught the error (assuming no celestial observations), how would they have been able to get back on the original course line?
Quote
Earhart's DG would not have precessed much, if at all, since she was flying along the equator.
Under normal circumstances, barring mechanical problems.

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Erik on January 02, 2012, 08:44:20 AM
So the basic theory is that a speed discrepancy was discovered when the ship was spotted and the data seems to suggest that this could indeed be the case. How the ground speed achieved could have been mis-read or calculated, I have no idea. A damaged pitot tube seems to be a good culprit. Noonan might have ran some calculations, found a huge error and asked Amelia "Hey, what is your indicated air speed?".

Heath, I think you are onto something here.

I like the way you are tying this into the Ontario's position.  If we can establish the ship's position with better accuracy, we can start to correleate other events to each other.  Including airspeed and other factors.  If ground speed airspeed turns out to be in error, then wouldn't that have caused Noonan to possibly calclate the wrong wind corrections too?  Causing a cascading effect of errors and possibly even leading to them to dial in the wrong heading as a result of these incorrect readings.

Dont forget a 'clogged' pitot tube either.  Or even a 'clogged' static port.  There was a DC-4 crash on the east coast in the late 30's 40's where the plane's altimeter had suffered moisture water in the static system.  It wasn't clogged per se, but nonetheless, the plane hit terrain about 1600 feet - just 50 feet or so shy of missing the mountain ridge.  Another example of how something so simple (without complexities) can cause such catastrophic results.

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Erik on January 02, 2012, 08:57:12 AM
I don't know if there were two separate static ports for the two altimeters, the copilot had one too, they could have been using just one static port and Noonan's would have used the static pressure line for his altimeter.

Gary, do we know anything about the plane's static system?  Where the port(s) were located, etc?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 02, 2012, 09:36:58 AM
Very interesting discussion of some of the many variables that can figure into getting lost over the ocean - or finding one's way.

One thing that may help keep things clear is the independence of many airborne indication systems from mother earth and the universe itself: with the exception of magnetic compasses and RDF equipment (and today's GPS, etc.) other indications are based on what the airplane can sense from its environment.  An airplane is not a car on a pavement - without outside observations of earth, stars, etc. airspeed and headings provide for no more than dead reckoning.  Dead reckoning is subject to drift, headwinds and tailwinds, etc.

Gary's done a great job of describing how both the airborne sensing and external observation elements fit, IMHO, and as a flight instructor he knows them quite well.  He's also done a great job of giving clarity to great circle and how its application varies with the latitudes - and why it was negligible in the Lae - Howland case.

He has also ably demonstrated why being off-course mid-route is not such a danger or penalizing thing:

GL -
"For example, flying 2556 SM from Lae to Howland, if you wandered off course 100 SM at the midpoint of the flight it would add only 8 SM to the total route, only three minutes and twelve seconds to the flight. If you find yourself off course you don't make a large change in your heading to get back on the course line that you had drawn on your chart but change heading to head directly towards the destination..."

What needs to be considered also is awareness of that error at an early enough time to correct for it - Gary's statement "...If you find yourself off course you don't make a large change in your heading to get back on the course line..." is a reminder that timely awareness of the error is crucial if one would avoid the need of major correction at the end of the course line.  "IF" becomes a large word.

Any number of things can lead to such a large mid-course error - and any number of things can prevent its detection.  Most simply perhaps is finding one's self unable to get reliable information from outside the airplane - fixed points on mother earth or in the heavens, for example.  Then one is reliant on the airborne sensing as mentioned - proceeding by mag heading and nothing but airspeed and assumptions from forecasts as to winds, and therefore assumptions about speed over the ground.  The later that detection is made, the greater the penalty that must be overcome; if not detected with certainty by the end of the course line, one is "lost".

All very interesting.  There are so many variables that could have played into AE's and FN's predicament - including the possiblity of unrealized error mid-course and finding themselve with a fairly large penalty - perhaps even of unknown direction - at the end of the course line. 

Like most accidents, some combination of things likely conspired to deliver the pair into a loss situation at the end of that line - it could have been instrument error, it could have been a lack of sufficient readings from outside fixed objects for any number of reasons, or a combination of such things.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 02, 2012, 11:47:19 AM

Pilots are trained to check their DG about every 10 minutes so Earhart would have caught the errors you are concerned about after only a short period of time.
We dont know for sure.  What if she forgot to check for 2-3 times in a row?  Or what if she had checked and made a simple interpretation mistake?  This is where experimenting with possible scenarios, helps us come up with ideas that generate other ideas to help solve this riddle.
First off, it's hard to misinterpret. Secondly, a precessing DG doesn't affect Noonan's compass. (They did find a note floating on the sea not far from Howland (the Coast Guard covered this up) that said "Amela, get back on course, my compass shows you way off!" ;)


Quote
Real precession is normally very small (unless the DG has been damaged or the bearings are very worn.) 
This is exactly what I was suggesting.  I wasn't very clear in my original post, but I meant that the 'real' precession was being affected by this phenomenon of mechanical failure.  What if the DG was experiencing a slight wear, or if a vacum leak was gradually getting worse?  Imagine they didn't catch this fact for 30-45min, and found themeselves gradually flying 5-10 degrees off course.  When they caught the error (assuming no celestial observations), how would they have been able to get back on the original course line?

The DG was a new instrument that had very few hours on it so the bearings should not have been worn. Also, the autopilot had it's own gyro that was independent of the pilot's DG so it is unlikely that they would both precess exactly the same amount, any discrepancy between the two would have been quickly noticed by Earhart.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 02, 2012, 01:54:22 PM
in looking at the recent posts in this thread one thing leaps to the forefront.  There "was" an error.  When was the "error" detected?  When the error was detected would dictate your corrective action, would it not?  A gradual return to course if discovered early on, or a dramatic change in course if discovered later on.  There were no indications from radio signals of "any" navigation issues being detected.  In fact the radio message"We must be on you..." suggests that at least AE thought she knew where she was.  Other radio messages give positions like "200 miles out".  A sign that they know where they are. 

What evidence do we have that AE and FN knew there was an error?  None that I know of.  I think the key is what is said in the radio messages.  No one who heard the radio messages reported that they thought they were off course or had made a change from the original flight plan.  No one in their official reports to their superiors reports possible course corrections reported or errors. 

This is the core of the "How did they miss Howland?" mystery.  If FN was following his carefully laid out navigation plan and used all his experience to get from Lae to Howland then how did they miss Howland?  I don't believe they thought they were off course but the numbers FN would get from his sightings would have said otherwise.  One of two scenarios come to light for me.  First is that they knew where they were at all times and they were on course for Howland as planned.  For some reason FN got them to within a few miles of Howland but they did not visually pick it up.  Absence of sound of the aircraft over Howland is NOT evidence that they weren't close.  The second scenario is that FN wasn't getting any info to show they were off course.  Overcast the whole way, FN was incapacitated, AE was in a mood and wouldn't listen to him, I don't know. but its almost as though he wasn't in the plane with her and she DR'd all the way.   Controversial ideas?  Sure but food for thought. 
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: richie conroy on January 02, 2012, 01:59:43 PM
the thing is tho if the navigators door at back of plane was closed an the pilot hatch was closed an the surf lifted the electra off the reef what are the chance's ov the current carrying it round past the ship wreck an out into ocean ?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: richie conroy on January 02, 2012, 02:20:54 PM
right need sum help about earharts electra, the roof hatch above cockpit was that universal opening ?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 02, 2012, 02:53:35 PM
Quote
If ground speed airspeed turns out to be in error, then wouldn't that have caused Noonan to possibly calclate the wrong wind corrections too?

Erik, at this point I think it is difficult to know for sure whether or not achieving the 124.5 mph ground speed was intentional or not. As they made their way around the storms East of Lae, it probably did not matter what ground speed was achieved during the diversion. They flew far enough South and high enough (10,000ft) to make sure they avoided the storms. We know that two legs of this journey was 909 miles and the ground speed was 124.5 mph. I recall reading that Fred had estimate the head winds at 23 knots before he left Lae and this did not change after they had a visual on Nukumanu Island.

From my perspective, once they flew over Nukumanu Island and intercepted the flight path, approaching the end of a segment in the flight plan and they were right on the line, this was probably not by accident. I would have expected them to them resume their original flight plan that did include achieving a 150 mph ground speed going forward regardless of the 23 mph head wind. AE announced her altitude, and headwinds, so it is a bit of a mystery why they would continue at a reduced speed unless there was some other concern or perhaps an equipment malfunction that was undetected. I cannot believe he just poked through the Lockheed documents and thought that this 124.5 mph ground speed was an ideal speed. There was no time to re-compute the entire flight plan on a whim and I have not heard any evidence that he would make such an attempt.

Another factor that I have been thinking about is that once they departed Nukumanu Island, this was about 0718GMT and I do not believe the sun had set at that point in time. They proceeded 3.2 hours after leaving Nukumanu Island before spotting the Ontario, how much time did that provide for Noonan to perform his celestial navigation? That would be interesting to know.

What is interesting is that if we assume that reduced speed, the timing works out to have spotted the Ontario where she was drifting and not where she was supposed to be (she was 29 miles away from her commanded position). Again, this seems more than coincidence. If we determine the ground speed achieved, assuming they did see the Ontario at 10:30GMT, it is also coincidental that they achieved a ground speed of 150mph from that point all the way to 200 miles out (where they thought 200 miles out was). When you have several coincidences that happen to line up, perhaps there is a bit more to the story. Personally I believe they discovered something and were able to accurately overcome the problem. It could have been a mis-calculation, math conversion, or even a faulty instrument. It is quite possible that they real reason cannot be known.

I suppose it is possible, albeit a stretch that the could have assumed they were achieving 150 mph but were never did detect a problem and that would explain the timing of the radio transmissions. This would have landed them 183 miles short of the "200 miles out" in reality. When they declared that they should be at Howland at 19:12GMT, they would have been 194 miles out. I did not triple check these numbers but I believe they would be correct.

Now why the navigation itself might have failed, that is a different story. I am inclined to believe that they were entering cloudy conditions after spotting the Ontario that worsened as time went on. If we assume that to be true, they might have used DR all the remainder of the trip (1277 miles). As daybreak came, even if the conditions improved from overcast, the stars might have been impossible to spot. So I think it is quite possible that they did not find another reference after spotting the Ontario. What is the magic number again? 10% of 1277 miles? Does this suggest that they were off by a maximum of 127 miles? That is quite a large hole if you ask me. Forced to guess, I would say they were at a minimum of 40 miles off target since they did not spot the Itasca mast or the smoke she was laying out for them that stretch out 10 miles (although I would still like to hear an estimate of how high that smoke rose in the 8mph cross wind).

I do think that make a better guess as to the actual speeds they were flying along the route. I think that we can guess that they were at an 8,000 foot altitude as was the recommendation, so the fuel consumption up to the point that they thought they were at Howland should be fairly accurate. I started such a project in Excel but ran in to limitations with the accuracy of the gross weight of the Electra over large periods of time (1 hour). I will need to write an application to have much better granularity so far as the fuel consumption is concerned.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Richard C Cooke on January 02, 2012, 03:02:03 PM
in looking at the recent posts in this thread one thing leaps to the forefront.  There "was" an error.  When was the "error" detected?  When the error was detected would dictate your corrective action, would it not?  A gradual return to course if discovered early on, or a dramatic change in course if discovered later on.  There were no indications from radio signals of "any" navigation issues being detected.  In fact the radio message"We must be on you..." suggests that at least AE thought she knew where she was.  Other radio messages give positions like "200 miles out".  A sign that they know where they are. 
That throughout the flight AE was making radio calls reporting "everything is OK" indicates that they thought they knew where they were.  Its also my main objection to the Long theory that they opened up the throttles and arrived at Howland with minimal reserves of fuel.  Planing a flight with a 35% fuel reserve and then changing it en route to arrive with minimal fuel to spare would have me worried and I definitely would not be reporting "everything is OK".

rc
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: richie conroy on January 02, 2012, 07:06:42 PM
http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/epurdue&CISOPTR=608&REC=14

just read this an makes for intresting reading  :)
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 02, 2012, 07:08:35 PM
So Richard, if they thought they knew where they were then what happened???  Was FN working with AE?  Did they just miss Howland?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Erik on January 02, 2012, 07:19:35 PM
Another factor that I have been thinking about is that once they departed Nukumanu Island, this was about 0718GMT and I do not believe the sun had set at that point in time. They proceeded 3.2 hours after leaving Nukumanu Island before spotting the Ontario, how much time did that provide for Noonan to perform his celestial navigation? That would be interesting to know.
Good point.  Couldn't agree more!  Curious too.  BTW (bit straying from topic),  I thought read somewhere that Noonan was doubtful about calibrating his chronometers at Lae because they didn't have a connection to the National Bureau of Standard's timing-signals.  Any truth to this does anyone know?

Now why the navigation itself might have failed, that is a different story. I am inclined to believe that they were entering cloudy conditions after spotting the Ontario that worsened as time went on. If we assume that to be true, they might have used DR all the remainder of the trip (1277 miles). As daybreak came, even if the conditions improved from overcast, the stars might have been impossible to spot. So I think it is quite possible that they did not find another reference after spotting the Ontario. What is the magic number again? 10% of 1277 miles? Does this suggest that they were off by a maximum of 127 miles? That is quite a large hole if you ask me. Forced to guess, I would say they were at a minimum of 40 miles off target since they did not spot the Itasca mast or the smoke she was laying out for them that stretch out 10 miles (although I would still like to hear an estimate of how high that smoke rose in the 8mph cross wind).

Yep.  That's the ticket if you ask me.  My gut tells me this is where things started to go south (no pun intended)!  Minimum 40 miles is reasonable.  Now consider complicating the heading induced errors with timing induced errors, mis-calculated wind correction, charted postion inaccuracies, etc.  Things get real messy real quick.  Confusion would be sure to set in.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Erik on January 02, 2012, 07:20:18 PM


Pilots are trained to check their DG about every 10 minutes so Earhart would have caught the errors you are concerned about after only a short period of time.
We dont know for sure.  What if she forgot to check for 2-3 times in a row?  Or what if she had checked and made a simple interpretation mistake?  This is where experimenting with possible scenarios, helps us come up with ideas that generate other ideas to help solve this riddle.
Firstoff, it's hard to misinterpret. Secondly, a precessing DG doesn't affect Noonan's compass. (They did find a note floating on the sea not far from Howland (the Coast Guard covered this up) that said "Amela, get back on course, my compass shows you way off!" ;)



Quote
Real precession is normally very small (unless the DG has been damaged or the bearings are very worn.) 
This is exactly what I was suggesting.  I wasn't very clear in my original post, but I meant that the 'real' precession was being affected by this phenomenon of mechanical failure.  What if the DG was experiencing a slight wear, or if a vacum leak was gradually getting worse?  Imagine they didn't catch this fact for 30-45min, and found themeselves gradually flying 5-10 degrees off course.  When they caught the error (assuming no celestial observations), how would they have been able to get back on the original course line?

RESPONSE
--------------------------------------------
The DG was a new instrument that had very few hours on it so the bearings should not have been worn. Also, the autopilot had it's own gyro that was independent of the pilot's DG so it is unlikely that they would both precess exactly the same amount, any discrepancy between the two would have been quickly noticed by Earhart.

gl

"New" doesn't always equate to working correctly.  Unless your a manufacturer of course - then everything works perfectly! Right Gary?  ;)  I'm sure Ric would be happy to point out situations where he has seen brand new equipment fail.  Instead of wear, let's say for grins that there was slight mechanical defect or vacum leak affecting the gyros?

Either way, both systems were operating on the same vacum - correct?  What about a vacum "issue".  Even if not, and the autopilot was a "wing-leveler" only, then it wouldn't matter much.  It would essentially mean AE was flying by hand adjusting the "wing-leveler" to match DG.

Does anyone happen to have any details on the Electra's pitot/static configuration?  Vacum configuration?  Or more details on Noonan's compass?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Erik on January 02, 2012, 07:33:50 PM
in looking at the recent posts in this thread one thing leaps to the forefront.  There "was" an error.  When was the "error" detected?  When the error was detected would dictate your corrective action, would it not?  A gradual return to course if discovered early on, or a dramatic change in course if discovered later on.  There were no indications from radio signals of "any" navigation issues being detected.  In fact the radio message"We must be on you..." suggests that at least AE thought she knew where she was.  Other radio messages give positions like "200 miles out".  A sign that they know where they are. 
That throughout the flight AE was making radio calls reporting "everything is OK" indicates that they thought they knew where they were.  Its also my main objection to the Long theory that they opened up the throttles and arrived at Howland with minimal reserves of fuel.  Planing a flight with a 35% fuel reserve and then changing it en route to arrive with minimal fuel to spare would have me worried and I definitely would not be reporting "everything is OK".

rc

I think they did think they knew where they were.  The key word here is "think".  Even though they may have been off-course, they still had a reasonable level of confidence that they knew where they were in terms of arriving calculated LOP.  The problem (I believe) is a combination of other problems that they were completely unware of and had no way of detecting.  Such as a timing issue with chronometer - 1 second equals 1 mile correct?  Where was the last calibration - and how accurate was it?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Erik on January 02, 2012, 07:52:21 PM
Very interesting discussion of some of the many variables that can figure into getting lost over the ocean - or finding one's way.

One thing that may help keep things clear is the independence of many airborne indication systems from mother earth and the universe itself: with the exception of magnetic compasses and RDF equipment (and today's GPS, etc.) other indications are based on what the airplane can sense from its environment.  An airplane is not a car on a pavement - without outside observations of earth, stars, etc. airspeed and headings provide for no more than dead reckoning.  Dead reckoning is subject to drift, headwinds and tailwinds, etc.

Gary's done a great job of describing how both the airborne sensing and external observation elements fit, IMHO, and as a flight instructor he knows them quite well.  He's also done a great job of giving clarity to great circle and how its application varies with the latitudes - and why it was negligible in the Lae - Howland case.

He has also ably demonstrated why being off-course mid-route is not such a danger or penalizing thing:

GL -
"For example, flying 2556 SM from Lae to Howland, if you wandered off course 100 SM at the midpoint of the flight it would add only 8 SM to the total route, only three minutes and twelve seconds to the flight. If you find yourself off course you don't make a large change in your heading to get back on the course line that you had drawn on your chart but change heading to head directly towards the destination..."

What needs to be considered also is awareness of that error at an early enough time to correct for it - Gary's statement "...If you find yourself off course you don't make a large change in your heading to get back on the course line..." is a reminder that timely awareness of the error is crucial if one would avoid the need of major correction at the end of the course line.  "IF" becomes a large word.
Any number of things can lead to such a large mid-course error - and any number of things can prevent its detection.  Most simply perhaps is finding one's self unable to get reliable information from outside the airplane - fixed points on mother earth or in the heavens, for example.  Then one is reliant on the airborne sensing as mentioned - proceeding by mag heading and nothing but airspeed and assumptions from forecasts as to winds, and therefore assumptions about speed over the ground.  The later that detection is made, the greater the penalty that must be overcome; if not detected with certainty by the end of the course line, one is "lost".

All very interesting.  There are so many variables that could have played into AE's and FN's predicament - including the possiblity of unrealized error mid-course and finding themselve with a fairly large penalty - perhaps even of unknown direction - at the end of the course line. 

Like most accidents, some combination of things likely conspired to deliver the pair into a loss situation at the end of that line - it could have been instrument error, it could have been a lack of sufficient readings from outside fixed objects for any number of reasons, or a combination of such things.

LTM -

You got it Jeff!

What needs to be considered also is awareness of that error at an early enough time to correct for it - Gary's statement "...If you find yourself off course you don't make a large change in your heading to get back on the course line..." is a reminder that timely awareness of the error is crucial if one would avoid the need of major correction at the end of the course line.  "IF" becomes a large word.

"If" is a very big word.  And your,  "... at an early enough time... " comment is also golden.  That can't be overstated enough!

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 02, 2012, 09:21:08 PM
Certainly some new instruments fail and almost always in the first few hours. If they don't fail then then they tend to last a long time. Earhart's instruments were well "broken in" but not old enough to have suffered much wear.

Airplanes of that era often had venturis to provide vacuum sources but I can't see any in any of the photos of the plane so it must have incorporated vacuum pumps, one on each engine because one pump wouldn't have provided enough suction for all the gyro instruments in the plane. In addition, they even understood the idea of redundancy back then.

There was a vacuum gauge too to detect leaks in the vacuum system, to make sure that the vacuum pumps sucked enough.

There was a DG that was part of the autopilot so it was not a simple "wing leveler."
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on January 02, 2012, 09:37:33 PM

And how about Fred?  Did he fall off of the wagon?
In the Brines Letter  Tighar Archived Docunents, the Brines Letter, He Brines, referred to FN as "a six bottle man" and intimated that FN had enjoyed the Lae nightlife while they were there and had to be poured into the plane for takeoff. 

If true, how much sobering up and hangover time might have been involved during the flight?  Did FN have some bottles of his favorite liquid refreshment in his kit-bag?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: richie conroy on January 02, 2012, 10:39:59 PM
(http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cgi-bin/getimage.exe?CISOROOT=/earhart&CISOPTR=3126&DMSCALE=12.36094&DMWIDTH=600&DMHEIGHT=600&DMX=0&DMY=0&DMTEXT=%20Noonan&REC=10&DMTHUMB=1&DMROTATE=0)

http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/earhart&CISOPTR=3126&CISOBOX=1&REC=10

Notes concerning sun’s course on line of flight, as used by Fred Noonan in navigation, to aid in search, ca. July 1937
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 02, 2012, 10:40:02 PM
Where was the last calibration - and how accurate was it?

"Delayed in Lae." (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_lae)
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: richie conroy on January 02, 2012, 11:01:51 PM
(http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cgi-bin/getimage.exe?CISOROOT=/earhart&CISOPTR=2016&DMSCALE=12.50000&DMWIDTH=600&DMHEIGHT=600&DMX=0&DMY=220&DMTEXT=%20Noonan&REC=2&DMTHUMB=1&DMROTATE=0)

http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=%2Fearhart&CISOPTR=2016&DMSCALE=12.5&DMWIDTH=600&DMHEIGHT=600&DMMODE=viewer&DMFULL=0&DMX=17&DMY=17&DMTEXT=%2520Noonan&DMTHUMB=1&REC=2&DMROTATE=0&x=64&y=445

got to be a hoax  ::)
Title: Re: Question about the Ontario
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 03, 2012, 01:16:53 AM

Although there were no radio exchange between the Ontario and AE, could Noonan have used some type of spotting scope to visually verify that it was the Ontario? Could this have been easily done at 8 sm out at 8,000ft?
It was night and dark, no moon. Ships are dark things at night, it is amazing that a ship could be spotted at night, was the Ontario shining a spot light?

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 03, 2012, 01:35:32 AM
Quote
If ground speed airspeed turns out to be in error, then wouldn't that have caused Noonan to possibly calclate the wrong wind corrections too?


Now why the navigation itself might have failed, that is a different story. I am inclined to believe that they were entering cloudy conditions after spotting the Ontario that worsened as time went on. If we assume that to be true, they might have used DR all the remainder of the trip (1277 miles). As daybreak came, even if the conditions improved from overcast, the stars might have been impossible to spot. So I think it is quite possible that they did not find another reference after spotting the Ontario. What is the magic number again? 10% of 1277 miles? Does this suggest that they were off by a maximum of 127 miles? That is quite a large hole if you ask me. Forced to guess, I would say they were at a minimum of 40 miles off target since they did not spot the Itasca mast or the smoke she was laying out for them that stretch out 10 miles (although I would still like to hear an estimate of how high that smoke rose in the 8mph cross wind).

I guess you missed my prior post, here is the relevant portion:

--------------------------------------------------------------

"The whole reason that Earhart hauled Noonan all the way around the world was so that he could get fixes to eliminate any errors that would have resulted from dead reckoning alone. This was also the reason, in the original planning, to take two navigators for the leg from Hawaii to Howland so that they could use their skill and equipment to find that Island. Note also, that they had recognized and decided that even the much shorter leg from Hawaii to Howland (only 1900 SM instead of 2556 SM) was too long to complete with only dead reckoning. If Earhart wanted to dead reckon that leg then there was no reason to incur the expenses of having two navigators on board, Earhart could have done the dead reckoning herself as she had done when flying solo across the Atlantic and when flying solo from Hawaii to California. All the planning for the World Flight was based on the knowledge that dead reckoning was not sufficiently accurate for the most difficult leg of the flight, that of locating Howland, coming either from Hawaii or from Lae.  The original plan was for Noonan to leave the flight at Howland and Manning to leave at Darwin with Earhart flying the rest of the flight solo. This is conclusive proof that they knew that finding Howland was THE most critical part of the entire around the world flight

I have attached Earhart's June 30, 1937 radiogram. It requested weather information because " FN MUST HAVE STAR SIGHT (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=555.0;attach=603)S."

In prior posts I have demonstrated how Noonan computed a "point of no return" (PNR) which allowed them to fly until 1407 Z and to within 817 SM of Howland and still be able to return to Lae. Since it is highly likely that Noonan knew of the location of the Rabaul airport after talking to the people at the Lae airport that was 400 SM along the course line to Howland. (And also, very likely, Noonan and Earhart had talked to pilots arriving from Rabaul.) Noonan would have calculated a PNR for a departure from Lae with a return to Rabaul. Since Rabaul was closer to Howland, this PNR would also be closer to Howland. Doing this calculation we find the PNR occurs at 1526 Z, 1901 SM from Lae, only 655 SM short of Howland (only 55 SM short of Tabiteuea in the Gilberts) and only three hours and forty-five minutes before the 1912 Z radio report of "must be on you" from Earhart. So if Noonan had not been able to get fixes they could have turned around and returned safely to Lae or Rabaul from nearly over the Gilberts and try again another day.

Do we know that Noonan knew how to calculate a PNR and that his practice was to do this calculation? Yes. On the departure from Hawaii to Howland on March 20th they took aboard an extra 75 gallons of fuel to allow a return to Hawaii after flying for 8 hours on the leg to Howland. This meant that they would have flown 1320 SM and would have come as close 580 SM to howland before turning around. This extra fuel was taken aboard after Noonan calculated the PNR based on having to fight a headwind on the return leg to Hawaii, this is the standard PNR computation...

So now the creators of this "Monte Carlo Simulation" take the position that in spite of all the expense and careful preparation and Noonan's prior careful calculations including calculating PNRs that after all that, flying almost all the way around the world, that at the critical moment Earhart and Noonan just decided to ignore all the prior planning and just said "AHHHH, let's just go for it!"

----------------------------------------------

The point of no return was far past the Ontario, almost to the Gilbert Islands and they could have turned around and returned to a safe airport until the PNR. In the past Earhart had turned around and she planned on that possibility on the originally planned flight from Hawaii to Howland so there is no reason to think they wouldn't do it this time if Noonan couldn't get star sights.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 03, 2012, 02:09:33 AM
Quote
If ground speed airspeed turns out to be in error, then wouldn't that have caused Noonan to possibly calclate the wrong wind corrections too?

Erik, at this point I think it is difficult to know for sure whether or not achieving the 124.5 mph ground speed was intentional or not. As they made their way around the storms East of Lae, it probably did not matter what ground speed was achieved during the diversion. They flew far enough South and high enough (10,000ft) to make sure they avoided the storms. We know that two legs of this journey was 909 miles and the ground speed was 124.5 mph. I recall reading that Fred had estimate the head winds at 23 knots before he left Lae and this did not change after they had a visual on Nukumanu Island.
The 23 knot wind was measured in flight by Noonan using his drift meter and that was reported by Earhart to Lae at 0718 Z. We know it was determined by dirft meter because the other way to measured the wind in flight over the ocean is to get two celestial fixes and compute what the wind was between these fixes and that wasn't available because the flight had been flying in daylight so Noonan couldn't shoot the two stars needed for a fix.  See how to determine wind in flight here (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/topics/measureing-and-determining-wind-speed-and-direction-while-in-flight). Also see what Noonan wrote about using a drift meter here (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/resources/noonan-article/Noonan1936article.pdf?attredirects=0). Also see what Noonan wrote about measuring the in flight winds between fixes in his letter that I have attached. Here is a link to an example of celestial navigation in flight that includes working out the winds between fixes. (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/other-flight-navigation-information/in-flight-celestial-navigation)
Quote


From my perspective, once they flew over Nukumanu Island and intercepted the flight path, approaching the end of a segment in the flight plan and they were right on the line, this was probably not by accident. I would have expected them to them resume their original flight plan that did include achieving a 150 mph ground speed going forward regardless of the 23 mph head wind. AE announced her altitude, and headwinds, so it is a bit of a mystery why they would continue at a reduced speed unless there was some other concern or perhaps an equipment malfunction that was undetected. I cannot believe he just poked through the Lockheed documents and thought that this 124.5 mph ground speed was an ideal speed. There was no time to re-compute the entire flight plan on a whim and I have not heard any evidence that he would make such an attempt.

It was 23 knots, not mph, the wind was 26 mph.
The problem with increasing airspeed to maintain the planned ground speed is that the fuel flow increases at a faster rate than the increase in the airspeed so the specific range goes down and they run out of fuel sooner. If that is your theory then that explains why she ran out of gas shortly after her last transmission at 2013 Z. You should be pleased that Elgin Long agrees with you.
Quote

Another factor that I have been thinking about is that once they departed Nukumanu Island, this was about 0718GMT and I do not believe the sun had set at that point in time. They proceeded 3.2 hours after leaving Nukumanu Island before spotting the Ontario, how much time did that provide for Noonan to perform his celestial navigation? That would be interesting to know.

The sun was just setting at 0718 Z in the vicinity of Nukumanu and twilight lasted 25 minutes in that latitude and time of the year so Noonan would have had 2.8 hours to shoot stars after it got dark enough.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 03, 2012, 03:31:44 AM

There is a bit of a problem here from what I can see so far as the time stamps in the Lae radio log is concerned. The time between reports was only 2 hours yet they traveled 652 miles. For this to be true, they would have had to be traveling 326 MPH (ground speed) between check point A and check point B. This must be incorrect. If we assume that perhaps the first time stamp is incorrect but the second time stamp is correct (7 hours and 18 minutes since departing Lae), this would produce an approximate ground speed of 124.5 mph from as they progressed from Lae to check point A and then to check point B. If we now make the assumption that until check point B was encountered, and a land reference was used to estimate air speed, they were not adjusting for head winds. If we make this assumption, and we add the 23 knot head wind, this works out to an airspeed of 151 mph (at sea level), and a rough estimate of 126 mph indicated airspeed at 10,000ft (2% per 1000 feet).

If we now compare the actual flight plan to when they arrived at check point B, this was at a point about 890 miles on the original flight plan path that had assumed a ground speed of 150 mph, this works out to about 5 hours and 56 minutes en route on the original flight plan. This means that they were behind schedule, 1 hour and 22 minutes according to the original flight plan. What is also interesting here is that looking at the original flight plan, 890 miles out from Lae; they would have been in the 5 segment of the flight plan (assuming that they used the original Howland to Lae flight plan, reversed). This would have been at a point 155 miles out on a 175 mile segment. Assuming that they stayed on the same course and speed as they did from point A to point B, they would have intersected the original flight plan path in 33.2 miles or roughly within 16 minutes where the next segment in the original flight plan would begin.


You shouldn't fall into the trap of believing that the times that the coordinates were reported were the actual time at those positions. There is a standard format for oceanic positions reports that goes like this.

"Gander radio this is Cessna November one six two one seven;
Forty west forty three thirty five north at two zero one five;
Flight level one zero zero;
I-F-R;
Estimating thirty five west forty one twenty north at two two three zero;
Thirty west thirty nine zero five north next;
Over."

The time (Zulu of course) of the position is obviously an important element of the report and is the time at the position, not the time of the radio message which might be quite a bit latter depending on HF propagation conditions.

Earhart's report didn't follow this format, she didn't give the time they were at the reported coordinates. All we know about the time it took to get to Nukumanu is that it was more than 6:18 and less than 7:18, too late to report on the 0618 Z scheduled broadcast but early enough to include it in the 0718 Z scheduled broadcast.

Look at it another way, what are the chances that they were just west of Nukumanu exactly at the scheduled broadcast time?

If they were flying at 148 mph as recommended by figure I of report 487 (148 is a correction after reviewing the original document) and they had the 26 mph wind reported by them, then the average ground speed would have been 122 mph and the time  to Nukumanu would have been 6:57, twenty-one minutes earlier than the scheduled radio broadcast.

So compute your ground speeds with these facts in mind.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 03, 2012, 05:17:27 AM


Either way, both systems were operating on the same vacum - correct?  What about a vacum "issue".  Even if not, and the autopilot was a "wing-leveler" only, then it wouldn't matter much.  It would essentially mean AE was flying by hand adjusting the "wing-leveler" to match DG.

Does anyone happen to have any details on the Electra's pitot/static configuration?  Vacum configuration?  Or more details on Noonan's compass?
But no possible failure of the vacuum system could affect the three compasses on board, two of which were aperiodic compasses. You have probably never heard of an "aperiodic compass" before. It has that name because it has no period which means that it is dead steady even in turns and stops on the new heading without any overshoot or any oscillations right or left. It was also called a "dead compass" because it was dead steady. It was developed for utmost accuracy in aircraft and allowed the pilot and navigator to maintain a steady course even without a DG. Normal "pilot's " compasses dance around a bit in flight and have many errors if the plane accelerates or turns which is the reason why the DG was developed in the first place, to provide a steadier heading reference when the pilot's compass was moving around. Many airplanes were not equipped with a DG but instead had an aperiodic compass which also provided a steady heading reference. So, as it turns out, Earhart didn't really need a DG, she could have used just the aperiodic compass mounted on the floor and Noonan also had one of these steady heading references so he could check on Earhart's piloting. They are also extremely easy to read without mistake because you rotate a bezel to the desired heading and simply keeping the plane heading so that the index in the compass is parallel with with the lines on the bezel keeps you on heading. See picture here (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=555.0;attach=610).


gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Richard C Cooke on January 03, 2012, 07:24:06 AM
So Richard, if they thought they knew where they were then what happened???  Was FN working with AE?  Did they just miss Howland?
The plan was for FN to get them close enough for AE to home in on the portable radio beacon on Howland, but the beacon was not working because the battery had been drained and the lack of effective radio communication meant they were on their own.  They did not get close enough to see Howland, so they had to implement their alternate plan, and the group of islands and reefs to the SSE of Howland look like the logical place to head for.

rc
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 03, 2012, 07:35:00 AM
Thanks Richard

I agree that this was their plan. But this thread is suggesting why they missed and is suggesting it may have been hundreds of miles off plan. Would FN not have caught this?  This is what puzzles me. Nothing in the messages to suggest they are off course. Timing for arrival seemed right.  World class navigator who had so far helped to get AE around the world this far. And yet.....   Did they just not see Howland right below them or on the horizon?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: John Ousterhout on January 03, 2012, 07:48:49 AM
"...the portable radio beacon on Howland.."
There was no portable beacon.  There was a portable Radio Direction Finding (DF) unit that could receive higher frequencies than the DF unit on the Itasca.  In theory it could have been useful for guiding the aircraft towards the island.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 03, 2012, 07:59:08 AM
got to be a hoax  ::)

"An Avalanche of Psychics." (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Jennings_Article/Psychicsarticle.html)
Title: Re: Question about the Ontario
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 03, 2012, 08:14:21 AM
It was night and dark, no moon. Ships are dark things at night, it is amazing that a ship could be spotted at night, was the Ontario shining a spot light?

I don't know anything about the laws of the sea, except that such things exist.

Were ships required to have running lights in mid-Pacific in 1937?  Were ships equipped with such lights? 

"Nightfall to Ship in Sight" (http://tighar.org/wiki/Nightfall_to_Ship_In_Sight) by the amazing Randy Jacobson says this:

 In 1990, a resident of Australia, Syd Dowdeswell, contacted TIGHAR .  Dowdeswell had been Third Mate aboard Myrtlebank and had the 8 P.M. to midnight watch on the night in question. He recalled that the night was "clear and fine" and the lights visible on the ship were the usual running lights, engine room skylights, and cabin portholes.

Around 10 P.M. Dowdeswell was surprised to hear the sound of an aircraft coming from the starboard quarter and lasting about a minute. He reported the incident to the captain who received it "with some skepticism" because aircraft were virtually unknown in that part of the Pacific at that time and neither Dowdeswell nor the captain knew about Earhart’s flight.

The complete list of Randy's articles on the flight appears at the top of the Final Flight category (http://tighar.org/wiki/Category:Final_Flight).  They are well worth reading (or re-reading), as the case may be.

From the old Forum (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Forum/Forum_Archives/200011.txt):

Date:         Thu, 9 Nov 2000 20:15:59 EST
From:         Bob Brandenburg Subject:      Re: Midpoint Coordinates
Date:         Thu, 9 Nov 2000 20:15:59 EST

From:         Bob Brandenburg

Subject:      Re: Midpoint Coordinates

>From Ric
>

> That all makes sense, but Ontario - for some reason - was heading
> specifically for 3* 05 minutes South, 165* East.

Perhaps the navigator's chart was of small enough scale that he picked off  3*
05 South after laying the rhumb track to Howland.

Or perhaps the Ontario had slightly different coordinates for Lae and Howland
than we do.

Or perhaps the Ontario CO though it best to be a few miles off the track to
enhance the likelihood of his running lights being seen by Earhart if she was
on track - - ship drivers tend to assume that aviators know where they are at
all times.

> The similarity of those
> coordinates to the entry in Betty's notebook has got to be more than
> coincidence.

No doubt about it.

Bob

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Chris Johnson on January 03, 2012, 08:18:15 AM
There's no reason in 1937 to run with lights off so even if there were no running lights you would have lights from port holes unless everyone was tucked up in bed.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 03, 2012, 12:34:04 PM
Not much of a 'Monte Carlo' in what I've said, but I suspect this mess boils down to something along my beliefs by all I've been able to absorb here.

We won't know for sure until we can examine Fred's charts.

Meanwhile, I've done more work wikifying Jacobson's Monte Carlo article (http://tighar.org/wiki/Monte_Carlo_Simulation_of_Flight) and colorizing the transmission timeline (http://tighar.org/smf/tighar.org/wiki/Transmission_timeline) to highlight the constraints on speculation, such as they are, for mental or mathematical reconstructions of the flight.  By my count, there is one (1) reliable position report in the logs, at 0718 GMT (http://tighar.org/wiki/Transmission_timeline#Z0718):  4.33S 159.7E.  It seems to be en route from Lae to Howland, northeast of Nukumanu.  All of the other reports are qualitative and open to lots of interpretation.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 03, 2012, 01:24:41 PM
Thanks, Marty - that is helpful.  The 'vacuum pumps' as a vacuum source was nagging at me.

I checked airplane and engine data sheets - vacuum pumps were installed on 'early' Wasps.  A distinction is made on the TCDS E-143 about a difference in drive-types for early and later Wasps of NR16020's type - 'tongue and groove' drive (early) vs. 'spline' drive (later).

That's not absolute proof that NR16020 had vacuum pumps in 1937 - but I don't recall a single picture showing venturis (http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/inpages/venturi3.php) on NR16020 in all the views I've seen.  If NR16020 had them they would have been prominent enough to be noticed, I think.  NR16020 had to have had a vacuum source for sure.

For those who are not familiar, a venturi works (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venturi_effect) by exploiting the total energy present in the ambient, subsonic slipstream of an airplane in flight: the air mass accelerates as it becomes constrained by the narrow portion which results in a decrease in static pressure, hence 'vacuum' (a relative term; it is really a relative low-pressure area). 

Mr. Bernouli as explained in Wiki makes more sense of this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernoulli%27s_principle) than I can relate here. 

Venturis are great - to an extent, and there isn't any free lunch.  They impose drag and are subject to failure in ice - and do nothing for running major instruments reliably until sufficient slipstream is present (read: airspeed; propwash alone doesn't do it).  They are also limited in power compared to pumps.  Pumps are far more desirable for these reasons.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 03, 2012, 03:10:07 PM
Quote
It was 23 knots, not mph, the wind was 26 mph. The problem with increasing airspeed to maintain the planned ground speed is that the fuel flow increases at a faster rate than the increase in the airspeed so the specific range goes down and they run out of fuel sooner. If that is your theory then that explains why she ran out of gas shortly after her last transmission at 2013 Z. You should be pleased that Elgin Long agrees with you.

Yes, it was a typo. 23 knots per hour is 26.5 mph (too much precision? ;). Unfortunately for AE the headwinds were going to reduce their fuel efficiency no matter what speed they chose, that is just the reality. Could a more optimum speed have been chosen based on the 487 Report, sure if you study them for a while. I highly doubt Fred did this. You have to also factor in the increasing efficiency as the weight of the fuel is burned off as well as the apparently efficiency of running at 10,000ft then 8,000ft for the long haul. They already had recommendations and I highly doubt that they took it upon themselves to optimize.

As far as running out of fuel, of the reports that I have read, including the documents from the Wait Institute, they are all making significant assumptions about the speeds and altitudes that do not match any of the evidence that I am seeing. Of the worst case scenarios that I have run in my simple model, they could have traveled at least a few hundred miles after the "we are here but you are not" message so I am not with the sank and splash crowd at this point. I do have more work to do and I do not have an agenda one way or the other, I only follow the leads and do my best to make educated guesses.

If you are somewhat convinced that the Ontario was spotted as stated earlier, and you assume that they were indeed roughly 200 miles out 17:42 GMT report, I am not sure how you could suppose a new ground speed achieved other than 150mph. We can be fairly certain it was not 122 mph. It was also more than likely not the "150 knots" (172mph) as supposedly reported by AE at around 5pm Lae local time (reported by Collopy). What does make sense is that if you assume that the radio data was not that far from the truth, or perhaps the position data was calculated in anticipation of the report, then you should use that data. If we always apply the worst case scenario, then all time stamps should be assumed to be 29 minutes old, rendering the data much less useful. While it would have been ideal for AE to state the time for her report, or to give more position reports (she only gave 2 from what I am reading), she didn't, that is life. All that is left is to the make the most of what she did report and make educated guesses as to what the reality was. My guess is that the reported positions and the time stamps can be reasonably assumed to be accurate.

If you instead assume 150mph ground speed achieved outside of Lae they would have passed Nukumanu Island almost 1.5 before reporting the position. I think this in itself is enough evidence to say that their ground speed was something less than 150mph. If we say Ok, but then they left Nukumanu Island, they might have gone 150mph, they should have spotted the Ontario at 9:58 GMT. They did not report this at 9:58 GMT or 10:15 GMT but instead 10:30 GMT, which was not a regularly scheduled broadcast time. If you say Ok, it must have been the Myrtle Bank, they would have spotted the ship 60 miles away (using TIGARs estimate of the Myrtle Bank's position) that was 27 miles roughly off the flight path (3 times the distance of the Ontario to the flight path). If we say that is Ok, it's possible, then we say that the "200 miles out" message was approximately accurate, then the ground speed achieved from spotting the Myrtle Bank to "200 miles out" implies a 138mph ground speed. As you can see, this becomes more and more of a stretch, changing speeds at least 3 times for the numbers to work out. I am already stretching enough to fall off the chair so I think we can stop there. If instead we use the 124.5 all the way from Lae to the Ontario, then 150mph from Ontario to "200 miles out" the timing works out simply enough. It might even make sense that Fred might have detected the more favorable head winds and adjusted the speed accordingly for the remainder of the trip. It would be a good time to change speeds since you had just left the mid-point of the trip, at the end of a 176 mile segment in the flight plan and you could start fresh with the original flight plan suggestions. He might also have noticed the worsening conditions and did not want more to add to his plate. Sounds reasonable to me.

Since Fred did have some time to report celestial navigation after departing Nukumanu Island that might explain why they did such a good job sticking to the flight path and spotting the Ontario. Unfortunately, after seeing the Ontario, the stars might have been obscured by overcast conditions whether or not you require them or not. Personally, I think if Noonan could have done his job, not fighting with the sky conditions, they would have landed on Howland and we would not be having this conversation. Amelia would have arrived home safely and started an acting career or at least banked a few dollars in the advertising business. The fact that they did not make it is compelling evidence that something kept him from being able to do his job. Everything I have read about him indicates that he was the best in the business. Being hamstrung but the sky conditions was not something he planned for, that is what happens when you take risks, often you pay for it with your life. No guts no glory as they say.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 04, 2012, 02:55:27 AM
If the Myrtle Bank was lighted as described by her Third Mate and sky conditions like-wise as he reported, AE should not have had a problem spotting a ship on a dark sea.  Ontario is less clear, but if the intention of her stationing was to be used as a nav-aid then it is probably reasonable that she too was lighted well enough for sighting.

Whether AE spotted Myrtle Bank, Ontario, or another ship remains completely unclear to me and may never be answered.


LTM -
I certainly didn't mean that they were running without their navigation lights illuminated which would have been a violation of maritime regulations, but the running lights are not very bright. For the largest ships today the lights are only required to be visible from three nautical miles except for one masthead white light that must be visible from six nautical miles but that light only covers a sector over the bow from two points abaft the beam on each side. This means 22 1/2 degrees behind straight out to the side for the nautically challenged. The red left side running light shines from straight ahead to 2 points the port beam and the green light shines through the same sized arc to starboard. These are also the requirements for airplane position lights. These segments relate to the right of way rules. If you see only a white light then you know your are overtaking and you must stay clear. If you see the red light then you know the other ship is to your right and he has the right of way, you must stay clear. If you see the green light then you have the right of way. This is where they got the standard colors for traffic signals. The masthead light is not visible from behind the ship. These sectors have been required for over a century but the intensity requirement used to be lower. Earhart would have been overtaking Myrtlebank or Ontario from astern so would only have been able to see one white stern light visible only three NM or less.

Marine running lights incorporate fresnel lenses that concentrate the available light from the light sources horizontally (after all, that's where the other ships are, they don't expect to have a collision with a plane) so would be much dimmer or possibly invisible as seen from a plane. Earhart was flying at 8,000 feet, one and a third NM straight up so if we use good old Pythagoras we find that a three NM slant range extends horizontally only 2.7 NM so the plane would have had to been within a radius of only 2.7 NM to be able to see a three NM visibility light, and this assumes that the full intensity was available at a high angle up in the sky, and we know that it wasn't. Using these values and a little trig we see that at the point where the light could first become visible, within 2.7 NM of the ship, the angle from the ship's lights up to the plane would have been 26°, well outside the band of light coming through the fresnel lenses of the running lights so they would be invisible from 8,000 feet even if the plane passed within the 2.7 NM radius of the ship. Based on this I think we can eliminate the possibility that Earhart saw the running lights of either ship.

What about other lights on the ship? There are very few and those that are on deck are dim  so as not to interfere with the night vision of the crew, for instance the bridge is virtually blacked out.  What about the lights in the cabins shinning out through the portholes? Most cabin light are mounted on the ceiling just like your lights at home. To someone walking around on the deck of the ship these may appear bright enough but due to the height of the ceiling light and the portholes, which are lower, the light from the cabins can only shine downward, not up toward the sky. They may be visible from the ship or from nearby ships but unlikely to be seen from a plane. In addition, it was about 9:30 at night and many would have gone to bed already, turning off their cabin lights first. We know Itacsa was supposed to shine a searchlight up into the sky if the plane was going to arrive at night but there is no reason to think that Ontario was shinning a light since they didn't send out the per-planned radio becon signals because Ontario had never been advised that Earhart had departed from Lae. And, of course, the Myrtlebanks was not tasked to shine a searchlight that night.

In 2009 I crossed the Atlantic by ship on the Royal Clipper, a 437 foot five masted sailing ship (http://www.starclippers.com/us/our-fleet/royal-clipper.html), departing from Lisbon, touching at Casablanca and Teneriffe, then ten days at sea before arriving in Barbados.  I am a night owl and I spent a lot of time on deck at night doing celestial navigation  (http://www.oceannavigator.com/content/ad-hoc-celestial-teacher-royal-clipper-0)and I remember how dim the few lights were. I have no reason to believe that the Myrtlebank or the Ontario would have had brighter lights on deck, and most cabin lights went out fairly early.

The first time I went to Europe, I took off from Newfoundland in the middle of the night, taking the route to the Azores which is the popular route when weather makes the shorter, northern route, iffy. About an hour after takeoff I started seeing lights ahead of me and I immediately thought, OMG, OMG OMG, I must be way off course, I'm heading towards a large city, I must have gotten turned around somehow. I checked my DG, still 145° and the compass too. The ADF needle was still five degrees right of the tail (I had a crosswind from the right) and this heading had kept me on the 139° radial of the Torbay VOR until I had lost its signal. This was like something out of the Twilight Zone, it didn't make any sense. As I got closer I could see the city spreading out almost horizon to horizon, WHAT IS GOING ON? When I got very close I recognized that I was looking at the the Grand Banks fishing fleet. These boats work all night with extremely powerful white lights for working with the nets. They are exactly like stadium lights or like the lights used for mining guano on Nauru at night in 1937! I've never seen a ship at night while flying over the ocean except fishing boats with the stadium lights.

I am coming to the conclusion that Earhart did NOT see either ship that night. The reports of her radio transmission at about 1030 Z say that she said either "ship in sight" or "lights in sight." It makes much more sense that she was reporting seeing the Nauru lights and they would have been close enough to have been seen from her altitude at that time.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 04, 2012, 02:59:13 AM
Quote
It was 23 knots, not mph, the wind was 26 mph. The problem with increasing airspeed to maintain the planned ground speed is that the fuel flow increases at a faster rate than the increase in the airspeed so the specific range goes down and they run out of fuel sooner. If that is your theory then that explains why she ran out of gas shortly after her last transmission at 2013 Z. You should be pleased that Elgin Long agrees with you.

Yes, it was a typo. 23 knots per hour
It's not knots per hour, it is simply knots since a knot is one nautical mile per hour. "Knots per hour" would actually be one nautical mile per hour per hour, a measure of the rate of acceleration.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 04, 2012, 04:16:39 AM

Quote
I am coming to the conclusion that Earhart did NOT see either ship that night. The reports of her radio transmission at about 1030 Z say that she said either "ship in sight" or "lights in sight." It makes much more sense that she was reporting seeing the Nauru lights and they would have been close enough to have been seen from her altitude at that time.

If a human eye can detect a single candle flame at anywhere from 15 to 30 miles, I suspect that a single bulb on either ship could have been easily spotted at 10 miles out at 8,000ft. Looking out the window of a passenger jet at 5 miles up, you can easily spot a single street lamp from many miles away. It would seem common sense that if the Ontario knew that AE was flying over that evening that they would provide some illumination. To suggest they went lights out with only fresnel running lights seems to be another worst case scenario.

As far as spotting Nauru goes, it would have been 200 miles away assuming the < 150 mph ground speed after leaving Nukumanu Island at 10:30 GMT. Assuming ideal conditions, they would have been able to see roughly 120 miles out to the horizon. At the closest point, irrespective of all evidence of ground speed achieved, Nauru would have been 150 miles off the flight path. Assuming you had a light on a 100ft tower at Nauru, it still would have not been visible at an altitude of 8,000ft assuming they were on the flight line. For AE to FN to have spotted the lights of Nauru, they would have had to drift over 30 miles North of the flight path for this to be a possibility.

The simplest explanation for "lights ahead" or "ship ahead" would be that they spotted the Ontario. The position is well known and only 10 miles off the flight path. AE would have been keenly aware of the presence of the Ontario and would have used common sense to look for it along the way. They could have easily drifted North a few miles and nearly flown right over the top of the Ontario and this would not be that unreasonable.

Quote
It's not knots per hour, it is simply knots since a knot is one nautical mile per hour. "Knots per hour" would actually be one nautical mile per hour per hour, a measure of the rate of acceleration.


Yes, stupid mistake, thanks.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 04, 2012, 04:52:10 AM
If the Myrtle Bank was lighted as described by her Third Mate and sky conditions like-wise as he reported, AE should not have had a problem spotting a ship on a dark sea.  Ontario is less clear, but if the intention of her stationing was to be used as a nav-aid then it is probably reasonable that she too was lighted well enough for sighting.

Whether AE spotted Myrtle Bank, Ontario, or another ship remains completely unclear to me and may never be answered.


LTM -
I certainly didn't mean that they were running without their navigation lights illuminated which would have been a violation of maritime regulations, but the running lights are not very bright... Based on this I think we can eliminate the possibility that Earhart saw the running lights of either ship.

What about other lights on the ship? There are very few and those that are on deck are dim  so as not to interfere with the night vision of the crew, for instance the bridge is virtually blacked out.  What about the lights in the cabins shinning out through the portholes? Most cabin light are mounted on the ceiling just like your lights at home. To someone walking around on the deck of the ship these may appear bright enough but due to the height of the ceiling light and the portholes, which are lower, the light from the cabins can only shine downward, not up toward the sky. They may be visible from the ship or from nearby ships but unlikely to be seen from a plane. In addition, it was about 9:30 at night and many would have gone to bed already, turning off their cabin lights first...

The first time I went to Europe, I took off from Newfoundland in the middle of the night, taking the route to the Azores which is the popular route when weather makes the shorter, northern route, iffy. About an hour after takeoff I started seeing lights ahead of me and I immediately thought, OMG, OMG OMG, I must be way off course, I'm heading towards a large city, I must have gotten turned around somehow. I checked my DG, still 145° and the compass too. The ADF needle was still five degrees right of the tail (I had a crosswind from the right) and this heading had kept me on the 139° radial of the Torbay VOR until I had lost its signal. This was like something out of the Twilight Zone, it didn't make any sense. As I got closer I could see the city spreading out almost horizon to horizon, WHAT IS GOING ON? When I got very close I recognized that I was looking at the the Grand Banks fishing fleet. These boats work all night with extremely powerful white lights for working with the nets. They are exactly like stadium lights or like the lights used for mining guano on Nauru at night in 1937! I've never seen a ship at night while flying over the ocean except fishing boats with the stadium lights.

I am coming to the conclusion that Earhart did NOT see either ship that night. The reports of her radio transmission at about 1030 Z say that she said either "ship in sight" or "lights in sight." It makes much more sense that she was reporting seeing the Nauru lights and they would have been close enough to have been seen from her altitude at that time.

gl

See Mr. Dowdeswell's comments again -

"Dowdeswell had been Third Mate aboard Myrtlebank and had the 8 P.M. to midnight watch on the night in question. He recalled that the night was "clear and fine" and the lights visible on the ship were the usual running lights, engine room skylights, and cabin portholes."

That should make for a spottable ship.  The engine room skylights may be quite significant themselves (natural light by day, aglow with engine room light at night).  At the very least, AE reported spotting something that may well have been a ship.  Myrtle Bank is a possibility. 

The 'guano lights' are interesting - would like to know more about that.

Personally I have observed many boats and ships in daylight and at night - while at sea, in the air, and from shore.  They are often enough lighted somewhat as Dowdeswell described and easy enough to spot at great distances.  Typically other lights aboard are far more visible than the required nav lights, oddly enough I suppose.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Dale O. Beethe on January 04, 2012, 07:11:18 AM
ANY lights on a ship at night show up extremely well, which is why light discipline was crucial during wartime.  Even a lit cigarette could be seen for miles.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Monty Fowler on January 04, 2012, 01:39:30 PM
While Gary's theory of the guano mining lights is intriguing, I can't buy it for one simple fact - Fred would have figured out what they were in the same way that Gary figured out that he was looking at a fishing fleet, would he not? Because Fred was a pretty competent navigator. So it would not have been, "Ship in sight ahead."

Even the few "normal" lights on a ship, at night, on the total blackness of the sea, can show up quite well from an aircraft flying at her altitude. And the Ontario would not have been "blacked out," it wasn't wartime yet.

Monty Fowler,
TIGHAR No. 2189 CER
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 04, 2012, 11:06:39 PM


If a human eye can detect a single candle flame at anywhere from 15 to 30 miles,

That is apocryphal and easily shown to be incorrect. If you were correct then you should complain to your congressman about all the money the Coast Guard has wasted putting those big powerful lamps in lighthouses when they could have saved billions of dollars by just using a birthday cake candle (O.K. two birthday cake candles for redundancy.) As I posted before, running lights on the largest ships are visible at three nautical miles. To make sure that the running lights comply with that requirement the government wrote specific regulations that specify the required lamp intensity for running lights. To achieve 3 NM visibility requires a lamp intensity of 12 candellas (11.77 candles, let's call it 12 candles too.) The regulations also require a 0.9 candella (candle) lamp to achieve visibility at 1 NM. So, either you are right, that one candle can be seen at 30 miles or the government is right that one candle is only visible at about one nautical mile, my money is on the government's engineers on this one. If you want to be exact, 0.9 candella is 0.88 candles. Since the intensity of the light is attenuated at the square of the distance, it takes a lamp four times brighter to be visible at only twice the distance, one candle would be visible at 1.06 NM. Since the power required increases at the square of the distance, to  be visible at 30 NM it would take 30^2 x 0.88 candles which is 792 candles so you are only short by 791 candles. If you want to do the rest of the math you will find out that this produces a light intensity at the eye of 0.000000024 foot-candles which your research will show is the minimum amount of light your eye can detect. Here is the actual regulation:
------------------------------------------------------------
Title 33: Navigation and Navigable Waters
PART 84—ANNEX I: POSITIONING AND TECHNICAL DETAILS OF LIGHTS AND SHAPES

§ 84.15   Intensity of lights.

(a) The minimum luminous intensity of lights shall be calculated by using the formula:

I=3.43×106 ×T×D2 ×K−D

where I is luminous intensity in candelas under service conditions,

T is threshold factor 2×10−7lux,

D is range of visibility (luminous range) of the light in nautical miles,

K is atmospheric transmissivity. For prescribed lights the value of K shall be 0.8, corresponding to a meteorological visibility of approximately 13 nautical miles.

(b) A selection of figures derived from the formula is given in Table 84.15(b):

Table 84.15(b)
Range of visibility (luminous range) of light in nautical miles D   Minimum luminous intensity of light in candelas for K=0.8 I
1   0.9
2   4.3
3   12
4   27
5   52
6   94
--------------------------------------------------
I also pointed out before that the running lights are designed to shine the light out towards the horizon an ithey do this by using fresnel lenses that refracts the light that would be emitted at a high angle and bends it to go out towards the horizon so no light would shine up into the sky for Amelia to see. These steamships lights are designed to send the light out in a narrow 10° band in the range of 5° below the horizon to 5° above horizon. Lights for sailing ships cover a larger vertical range because sailing ships heal over so the greater vertical range in needed to make sure that the light is always visible from the horizon. Neither the Ontario nor the Myrtlebank were sailing ship. The government also has a specific regulation governing the vertical range of the running lights and here it is:

--------------------------------------------

§ 84.19   Vertical sectors.

(a) The vertical sectors of electric lights as fitted, with the exception of lights on sailing vessels underway and on unmanned barges, shall ensure that:

(1) At least the required minimum intensity is maintained at all angles from 5 degrees above to 5 degrees below the horizontal;

(2) At least 60 percent of the required minimum intensity is maintained from 7.5 degrees above to 7.5 degrees below the horizontal.

(b) In the case of sailing vessels underway the vertical sectors of electric lights as fitted shall ensure that:

(1) At least the required minimum intensity is maintained at all angles from 5 degrees above to 5 degrees below the horizontal;

(2) At least 50 percent of the required minimum intensity is maintained from 25 degrees above to 25 degrees below the horizontal.

(c) In the case of unmanned barges the minimum required intensity of electric lights as fitted shall be maintained on the horizontal.

(d) In the case of lights other than electric lights these specifications shall be met as closely as possible

-------------------------------------

Obviously these are the current versions of these regulations but they have not changed in any large way since the '30s.
gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 04, 2012, 11:21:59 PM

 It would seem common sense that if the Ontario knew that AE was flying over that evening that they would provide some illumination.
But Ontario did NOT know that AE was flying over that evening, they never received any message, so they did not send out radio homing signals and they had no reason to show additional lights either.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 04, 2012, 11:35:01 PM
While Gary's theory of the guano mining lights is intriguing, I can't buy it for one simple fact - Fred would have figured out what they were in the same way that Gary figured out that he was looking at a fishing fleet, would he not? Because Fred was a pretty competent navigator. So it would not have been, "Ship in sight ahead."

Even the few "normal" lights on a ship, at night, on the total blackness of the sea, can show up quite well from an aircraft flying at her altitude. And the Ontario would not have been "blacked out," it wasn't wartime yet.

Monty Fowler,
TIGHAR No. 2189 CER
It was reported as both "ship in sight" and "lights in sight." In addition, Cude independently heard the transmission and he said "lights" so he breaks the tie making it "lights" not "ship."

It doesn't take being "blacked out" to be difficult to see a ship at night. There are very few light on deck of ships at night and the ones that are there are very dim.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 05, 2012, 12:47:58 AM
If the Myrtle Bank was lighted as described by her Third Mate and sky conditions like-wise as he reported, AE should not have had a problem spotting a ship on a dark sea.  Ontario is less clear, but if the intention of her stationing was to be used as a nav-aid then it is probably reasonable that she too was lighted well enough for sighting.


I think we can all agree on one thing, that no matter how bright a light is it can't be seen if it is sealed in a box made our of steel. A ship's sides are made out of steel so light from inside a cabin can only get out if there is an opening is the steel side of the cabin such as a porthole. See attached diagram. Lights in cabins are normally mounted on the ceiling of the cabin. Light travels in straight lines so if light comes through an opened porthole it will only be seen  by someone in a position where he can look in a straight line through the porthole and see the light bulb. With the porthole mounted at a  lower height than the ceiling then the light can only be seen by someone whose eye is even lower than the porthole and the light cannot be seen from an airplane.

The machinery spaces of a steamship are located in the center of the ship and at the very lowest level of the hull, this is about four or five decks down. It is common to have a skylight at the top of the superstructure to admit light and are often opened for ventilation. On ships I have been on, these skylights are about 8 to 10 feet long and about 4 feet wide. See attached diagram. The light from a lamp down in the engine room shinning up through the skylight can only shine basically straight up and this light could only be seen if a plane passed almost directly over the ship, an unlikely event.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 05, 2012, 03:16:18 AM
ANY lights on a ship at night show up extremely well, which is why light discipline was crucial during wartime.  Even a lit cigarette could be seen for miles.
Yep from the height of a raised periscope.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 05, 2012, 04:33:07 AM
Quote
So, either you are right, that one candle can be seen at 30 miles or the government is right that one candle is only visible at about one nautical mile, my money is on the government's engineers on this one.

From your posts, the government was attempting to establish a mathematical model for the average perception at night so that they could establish guidelines, not the limits of human perception.

Here is one study (1987) that also contains WW II night vision studies that might make for an interesting read. While I have not read the entire document, it states that a single candle is visible from 17 miles away:

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=1037&page=26 (http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=1037&page=26)

If you want to debate the limits of human vision that is fine however we are not even discussing a ship with a single candle flame on deck, we know little of the lighting on the Ontario, it is all pure speculation. As I stated before, the assumption that the Ontario had only Fresnel running lights is a worst case scenario. Little to nothing is known about any of the lights (Ontario, Myrtle Bank, Nauru) in question that night.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 05, 2012, 10:27:38 AM
...then I guess we wasted alot of hope and effort telling service people to go to trouble blacking out ships and not smoking on deck, etc.

I agree with Heath - all the cited standards are all about establishing something approaching guaranteed performance to help mariners, etc. in all weathers.  They have nothing to do with what can be perceived under good conditions, etc. and do nothing to prove that a candle cannot be seen at great distance, etc.  The point is we can perceive light on a dark ocean from a darkened cockpit quite well.

As to how ships emit light, I appreciate your efforts, Gary - but in my experience they are simply not credible.  I've seen too many ships at sea for too many years of my life here on the coast and in other places to buy any of it.  There's far more 'casual' light emitted by ships at sea than you are crediting - even with 'blacked-out' bridges (field of vision from there can have little to do with what alight below or behind, for example; bridges tend to be placed where the weather glass is open to dark sea...).

In one of history's great tragedies, in her throws of death Titanic spotted the SS Californian as it drifted for the night in the distance (some now say it could have been the Samson*).  Californian also saw what was likely Titanic - no mystery there, the dying ship was ablaze with every light she had until the generators failed.  What is telling to me, if no surprise, is that Titanic saw the distant, 'sleepy' ship on the horizon...

* It's apparently now popular in historic recounting to go 'PC' to allow for revisionism in case someone should feel unfairly impuned - 'perhaps' William DID conquer... etc.  Yuck.  Californian is probably our loose-goose in this case, but if I were her master I wouldn't want that on my tombstone either.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 05, 2012, 01:39:26 PM
well.

As to how ships emit light, I appreciate your efforts, Gary - but in my experience they are simply not credible.  I've seen too many ships at sea for too many years of my life here on the coast and in other places to buy any of it.  There's far more 'casual' light emitted by ships at sea than you are crediting - even with 'blacked-out' bridges (field of vision from there can have little to do with what alight below or behind, for example; bridges tend to be placed where the weather glass is open to dark sea...).


It sound like you are talking about observing ships from the shore, not from a plane.
What kind of ships are you talking about, 1930s era freighters and navy tugs or the floating hotels of today with every cabin having its own balcony and sliding patio doors and logo lights shinning on the stack? And your example of the Californian is also an observation made from sea level (on the way to being below sea level) on the Titanic.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 05, 2012, 02:05:41 PM
well.

As to how ships emit light, I appreciate your efforts, Gary - but in my experience they are simply not credible.  I've seen too many ships at sea for too many years of my life here on the coast and in other places to buy any of it.  There's far more 'casual' light emitted by ships at sea than you are crediting - even with 'blacked-out' bridges (field of vision from there can have little to do with what alight below or behind, for example; bridges tend to be placed where the weather glass is open to dark sea...).


It sound like you are talking about observing ships from the shore, not from a plane.
What kind of ships are you talking about, 1930s era freighters and navy tugs or the floating hotels of today with every cabin having its own balcony and sliding patio doors and logo lights shinning on the stack? And your example of the Californian is also an observation made from sea level (on the way to being below sea level) on the Titanic.

gl

From shore, sea and air.  Anything from small fishing and shrimp boats through 'modern' tramps (as opposed to 1937, for sure) and up to large container ships.

I don't find so much disadvantage from the air for some reason - but admittedly cannot go back to 1937 and take a look; that said, ships have had lots of lighting capabilities for a long time, to wit, again, Titanic, Californian, etc.  I have a hard time dismissing that their lights somehow evaded detection from above (and alas, have no report to give - there were no mid-Atlantic airplanes present in that day...).  :P

What am I missing here -

Why so much concern over whether AE saw a ship or just 'lights'?  How far from land would Ontario or Myrtle Bank have been when the spotting would have occurred? 
Could AE and FN have misplaced themselves so badly under 'fine conditions' as to have mistaken the two (ship vs. land lights)?
Where would it have put the flight at that report if land lights?  Just approaching Nauru and her guano mines?
What would the impact be to the course / fate of the flight if so?

Sounds like something to consider.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 05, 2012, 03:01:27 PM
Why so much concern over whether AE saw a ship or just 'lights'?

It affects reconstruction of the path of the flight in the middle of night.

Quote
How far from land would Ontario or Myrtle Bank have been when the spotting would have occurred? 

(http://tighar.org/aw/mediawiki/images/a/a7/Lae_to_Howland.jpg)
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 05, 2012, 05:32:15 PM
Thanks Marty - that illustration helps a great deal (just what I'd been wanting to see in fact).

Looking at the whole 'fix' thing from Nukumanu through Ontario, Myrtlebank and Nauru and how AE tended to communicate I am left confounded that she was constantly ambiguous in her reports.  It's impossible to assign a position at Ontario, Myrtlebank - or Nauru (WAY north) based on time.  Was it her habits that were to blame, or something else? 

In re-reading some of Gary's posts I believe I understand his thinking on Nauru more clearly: I believe he offered the possibility of an intentional 60 mile offset to north (at end of course) to allow a LOP intercept and then a known track southeast to attain Howland. 

We don't know that FN used an offset at all, but the idea does make sense for the reasons Gary has stated and is within the conventions he cited for oceanic landfall.  However, if it was Nauru's lights that AE spotted 'ahead', she must have been another 70 miles or so north, at mid-course, of what would become at the end the intended 60 mile offset (presuming for a moment that an offset was used) - and making good speed.  Interesting.  Maybe some really weird winds and blind skies could get someone like FN into that fix, but hard to say.

As to AE's habits and my confoundment -

Position at WHAT time; HEADING on LOP; 'LOW FUEL' meaning 'limited loiter here and then have to bug out', or 'about to splash'?  We're left with so many tattered ends from poor AE's efforts with the radio it's not hard to visualize the flight coming to grief - and now it's even harder to reconstruct 75 years later.  She was probably accustomed to answers from the ground too, and none would come this time - the most crucial she ever needed.

For his part, FN apparently was stuck with nothing more than compass, watch, octant - and AE.  I prefer to have doubts that he ever let them slip 100 miles north of course; I don't doubt that he may have been reduced to dead-reckoning for too many hours, and that by the time the sun came up AE's execution over that distance had compromised landfall - can happen.  That could explain why the one LOP we know of was all that we heard of: never got a chance to establish any kind of fix (until landfall at Gardner, of course...  ;))

But FN - and AE could have been stuck with something else, too.  I hate to say it, but I've begun to think about the reason for FN's firing from Pan Am... very ugly of me.  Would AE struggle to cover up any problems she may have had with him (http://tighar.org/wiki/Noonan), even to the point of keeping relatively cool as she tried to work a LOP to some sort of landfall at the end of things?  What's missing is any reliable position reports after 0718Z -

WHY?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 05, 2012, 08:09:30 PM
Actually apparently I was wrong about Noonan - at least one account says  (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/ResearchPapers/Noonan.html) he resigned after conflict over duty times and other related concerns at Pan Am.  I thought he had been fired.

But I still wonder why the dearth of news from the back of NR16020.  On the first flight he apparently had AE execute some well-determined navigation exercises, like adjusting airspeed to arrive at a fix at a certain time and tracking a DF steer with offset, etc.  Maybe Noonan was proving his own mettle then, or I suspect more maybe he was seeing what AE might handle.  Paul Mantz was of course also in the cockpit...

But with all those colorful skills, why no more about fixes, etc. through AE to Itasca, etc.?  Something still seems to be missing.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 05, 2012, 10:01:20 PM
Actually apparently I was wrong about Noonan - at least one account says  (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/ResearchPapers/Noonan.html) he resigned after conflict over duty times and other related concerns at Pan Am.  I thought he had been fired.

But I still wonder why the dirth of news from the back of NR16020.  On the first flight he apparently had AE execute some well-determined navigation exercises, like adjusting airspeed to arrive at a fix at a certain time and tracking a DF steer with offset, etc.  Maybe Noonan was proving his own metal then, or I suspect more maybe he was seeing what AE might handle.  Paul Mantz was of course also in the cockpit...

But with all those colorful skills, why no more about fixes, etc. through AE to Itasca, etc.?  Something still seems to be missing.

LTM -

That's what I have been saying Jeff. It's as though FN wasn't with her.  AE's radio messages have no hint of there being a course correction of any type. Large or small.  Ego?  Could be she didn't want to say there was a correction.  But it didn't sound like that.  The radio signal research suggests they were further from Howland than everyone thought but a fix wouldn't lie unless calculated wrong. This being probably the hardest leg should mean AE and FN should have been on their toes. FN should have been all over fixing any drift or course deviation by sloppy flying. That's FN's sole function on this whole trip. It's what he did for Pan Am, as a career navigator and as a teacher. How could he let AE stray so far off course?  Was he incapacitated?  Asleep?  Sorry but I think they navigated to within a few miles of Howland as planned and then they just didn't see the island.  Why do we assume a navigation error?  The recent Radio signals and antenna studies "suggest" the aircraft was further away than planned but nothing else does.  When I say "suggest" I do not want to detract from Bob Brandenburgs good work. Even Bob has caveats in his study.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 05, 2012, 10:44:23 PM
In re-reading some of Gary's posts I believe I understand his thinking on Nauru more clearly: I believe he offered the possibility of an intentional 60 mile offset to north (at end of course) to allow a LOP intercept and then a known track southeast to attain Howland. 

I cannot deny that possibility.

It is a possibility.

It's what Gary would have done.

It is not unreasonable.

The sole contemporary evidence we have about what they did is in the last message (http://tighar.org/wiki/Last_transmission), which contains the "We are flying line North and South." 

To my (admittedly unprofessional) ear, that sounds as though they were not confident whether Howland was north or south of the point at which they crossed the advanced LOP.

Quote
She was probably accustomed to answers from the ground too, and none would come this time - the most crucial she ever needed.

No.  She had never been guided in to an airport through RDF-and-transmissions where she had to handle the direction finding and the radio.  She was accustomed to broadcasting news updates at regular intervals and listening on her receiver at other intervals.  She was not accustomed to having a back-and-forth conversation as pilots do today.

Quote
But FN - and AE could have been stuck with something else, too.  I hate to say it, but I've begun to think about the reason for FN's firing from Pan Am... very ugly of me.  Would AE struggle to cover up any problems she may have had with him (http://tighar.org/wiki/Noonan), even to the point of keeping relatively cool as she tried to work a LOP to some sort of landfall at the end of things?

What's missing is any reliable position reports after 0718Z -

WHY?

Who knows?  Maybe Fred a heart attack and AE didn't want to worry folks on the ground.

Maybe a bird flew through the window at 2013.

Maybe AE was pregnant and suffering from morning sickness the whole flight.

Maybe Fred had a mystical experience, foresaw that they would die, and just went into a trance state.

Maybe they were on a secret spy mission and all of the pre-recorded broadcasts were sent from the Ontario.

Maybe they didn't think precise position reports mattered.

Maybe they had migraines and couldn't read the charts.

Once you decide to start using your powers of ESP, the sky is the limit for what you might find floating into your head.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 06, 2012, 02:21:36 AM
Is there evidence that the lights would be on at the Guano mines?  Was it a 24/7 operation or was there down time and thus 'lights off'?

BTW if AE/FN thought the Myrtle Bank was the Ontatrio how far out would that put them on the final day?
Yes, see attached radiogram.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 06, 2012, 03:48:19 AM
Why so much concern over whether AE saw a ship or just 'lights'?

It affects reconstruction of the path of the flight in the middle of night.

Quote
How far from land would Ontario or Myrtle Bank have been when the spotting would have occurred? 
I have attached another chart showing two options for flying from the position reported in the 0718 Z radio transmission to Howland. Flying directly to Howland is 1,716 SM while over flying Nauru to Howland is 1,746 SM, only 30 SM longer, about 12 minutes more flying time, about eight gallons of gas. If Noonan had already been giving thought to a landfall approach to Howland, with the interception to take place northwest of Howland, then flying over Nauru would be even less out of the way since it would be more ON the way to the interception point. In this case it would only be 10 SM longer, 4 minutes flying time and about 2 gallons of gas.

As I posted before, people are too wedded to the line drawn on the chart connecting Lae to Howland and put way too much emphasis on trying to stay exactly on that line than it deserves. I have shown mathematically that there is very little penalty in deviating even great distances from the direct line and, if the deviation allows you to pick up even a slight tailwind, may actually result in a shorter flight time and less fuel consumed. I have also posted that the two charts we have that were actually used by Noonan on the Earhart flight, one from Oakland to Hawaii and the second from Natal to Dakar, show that Noonan didn't come anywhere close to staying on the preplanned direct line. In spite of this evidence to the contrary, people still are in love with that straight line from Lae to Howland. However, we don't have Noonan's chart for this flight (he took it with him) so we don't know exactly what lines HE drew on HIS chart for this flight. All we have is a planning strip chart NOT drawn by Noonan but drawn by Clarence Williams many months earlier when the planned route was in the opposite direction. The navigation FROM Howland TO Lae was a much different navigational proposition because the target was located on a large land mass itself and, even before arriving at New Guinea, they had the island of New Britain on their right side and they also had to cross the entire chain of the Solomon Islands that stretches a thousand miles across their course line, very hard to miss that, it was like aiming at a continent. It would be a much easier task finding all that land and then following it to Lae. With all this land to aim at Earhart didn't even really need a navigator since dead reckoning would have been entirely sufficient for that route. (I have attached a second chart showing this situation.)

Going from Lae to Howland required finding a very small island at the end of a long over water leg, a much more difficult navigational task. Noonan could then be forgiven, after looking at William's strip chart, if he decided on a different route than Williams had chosen. Plus Noonan had a new piece of information (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=555.0;attach=652) that Williams didn't have (and would have meant nothing to Willilams even if he did) that Nauru had extremely powerful lights (think of stadium lights) used for working the guano mines all night. Noonan knew that Ontario was supposed to be on station but there would have been some uncertainty about its effectiveness, it could have had a problem, run out of fuel, or been off station at the time that Noonan would be flying over the ship. If Noonan wanted to use it as a check on his navigation up to that point then there would be uncertainty in the derived position because the ship might not be exactly on the assigned station. Earhart had also been informed that Ontario did not have radio capability to hear her transmissions or to communicate with her directly. In order for Ontario to start transmitting a homing signal it needed to be informed that Earhart was on the way and Noonan knew that he would have to trust others, not under his control, to get that message to Ontario and he also knew that he would not have any confirmation that the message had been delivered to Ontario, he would just have to cross his fingers. But looking at the new information about Nauru he knew that the island would be exactly in the same place where it was supposed to be and the lights of the Ontario, no matter how powerful, could never compete with the lights of Nauru. He could feel much more certain about spotting those lights, and from a greater distance, than he could feel about spotting the Ontario.

And they were not mutually exclusive choices. If he started receiving the radio beacon from Ontario then he could change his plans and head for Ontario, if not, then he still had the certainty of finding Nauru. After overheading Ontario he could still fly over Nauru for a precise navigation check if he felt he needed it.
So taking all of this into account, spending eight gallons and only 12 minutes to provide extra certainty in the navigation would be a good choice to make and Noonan was a good navigator.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 06, 2012, 04:21:40 AM

AE did send a telegram out stating that they were running late and that she wanted to inform the Ontario. If they had devised an alternative route by that point in time I am sure they would have advised someone on the ground or via telegram. If you are making such a risky journey chances are you would want to tell someone where you are headed in case you do not make it and they need to come searching for you. In that case it would be best to stick to the plan that everyone knew.

One piece of information would tend to contradict a Nauru fly over, the radio logs. First, at 10:30 GMT, they would have still been on an approach to Nauru even assuming 150 mph from the last known position. The 10:30 GMT report from Nauru stated "fairly strong signals, speech not intelligible". At 14:10 GMT the Itasca Bridge reported hearing Earhart, at 14:15 GMT the Itasca radio room reporting hearing her. There was not report from Nauru about the these transmissions suggesting that the Electra was already out of radio range. This would tend to suggest that at 10:30 GMT they were closer to Nauru than they were at 14:10, 40 minutes later. I suppose if you tossed in a radio doughnut hole theory this might still be plausible.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 06, 2012, 04:32:13 AM
Is there evidence that the lights would be on at the Guano mines?  Was it a 24/7 operation or was there down time and thus 'lights off'?


I have noticed that others have not calculated correctly the distance that the lights of Nauru could be seen from the plane. I am attaching an excerpt from the American Practical Navigator, U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office Publication Number 9, (H.O. 9) including the table for calculating this distance. Earhart reported flying at 8,000 feet at 0718 Z and if she was still flying at this altitude then Table 8 shows the visibility to be 117.8 SM. This is similar to the values posted by others before. However, these other posters did not realize that they also had to allow for the height of the lights. In figuring the distance you can see a light you enter Table 8 with the height of the light and extract the distance that the light could be seen by an observer with his eye at sea level. You then enter the table with the height of the observer and extract the distance that the could see a light that was mounted at sea level. You then add these two distances together to get the distance that the light can be seen from the height of eye of the observer.

The lights on Nauru are 5,600 feet above sea level (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=555.0;attach=652). Looking at Table 8 we see the distance for 5,000 feet is 93.1 SM and for 6,000 feet it is 102.0 SM so for a light mounted 5,600 feet above sea level the distance should be somewhere between these two values. Adding these numbers to the 117.8 SM for the height of only the plane we come up with a total distance that the lights could be seen of somewhere between 210.9 SM and 219.8 SM. This is just the geographic range determined by the curvature of the earth. However, powerful lights can often me seen at even greater distances due to their "loom." (See attached pages.)

Ontario was only 195 SM from Nauru near the course that Noonan would fly on the way to Nauru so they could have seen the lights of Nauru 25 SM before they could see Ontario (if they could ever see Ontario.)


gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 06, 2012, 04:44:57 AM

AE did send a telegram out stating that they were running late and that she wanted to inform the Ontario. If they had devised an alternative route by that point in time I am sure they would have advised someone on the ground or via telegram. If you are making such a risky journey chances are you would want to tell someone where you are headed in case you do not make it and they need to come searching for you. In that case it would be best to stick to the plan that everyone knew.

One piece of information would tend to contradict a Nauru fly over, the radio logs. First, at 10:30 GMT, they would have still been on an approach to Nauru even assuming 150 mph from the last known position. The 10:30 GMT report from Nauru stated "fairly strong signals, speech not intelligible". At 14:10 GMT the Itasca Bridge reported hearing Earhart, at 14:15 GMT the Itasca radio room reporting hearing her. There was not report from Nauru about the these transmissions suggesting that the Electra was already out of radio range. This would tend to suggest that at 10:30 GMT they were closer to Nauru than they were at 14:10, 40 minutes later. I suppose if you tossed in a radio doughnut hole theory this might still be plausible.

As Ric would say, speculation. Do you have a copy of any flight plan that Earhart filed stating that they were going to fly directly to Howland or are you relying in the outdated Williams strip chart? If they did not affirmatively say that they were going to follow the route you imagine then they had no reason to tell anybody of a change to go over Nauru.

When you get out over the ocean you are on your own, even today, since you are out of radar range from the shore, so you can do anything you want out there. This was even  more true in Earhart's day.

How is 14:10 only 40 minutes after 10:30?  It looks like 3:40 to me.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 06, 2012, 05:32:24 AM
Quote
How is 14:10 only 40 minutes after 10:30?  It looks like 3:40 to me.

The reason is that I should not be posting before I have coffee. lol

But even though I am incapacitated in the morning, we can surmise that AE would have continued the half hour regular reports. None were heard so we can guess that they were probably out of range of Nauru by the next report. I have not found any documentation about faint signals from Nauru, do they exist?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 06, 2012, 07:08:28 AM
So the island would have been lit up like a quarry or open mine being worked at night which would look different to a few lights on a ship?  Glare of flood lights on guano making for a larger area of light, seen at a greater distance.  Sure FN would spot the difference.

The telegram Gary quoted was to Earhart and Noonan (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/ResearchPapers/Worldflight/2ndattemptweather.html#9).

One would think that would have suggested that they should do their level best to distinguish between lights on Nauru and shipping lights.

But, then again, I don't think either Earhart or Noonan was infallible, nor do I like putting too much weight on "coulda, woulda, shoulda" arguments.

Gary apparently is holding two discordant thoughts simultaneously: Noonan had to have taken usable star sightings (he called Jacobson's assumption to the contrary "GIGO") and he had to have navigated well north of the planned route in order to see Nauru rather than the Ontario or the Myrtlebank.

In my mental simulation of the flight, I'd assign flying close enough to Nauru a low, but not non-zero probability.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 06, 2012, 07:24:28 AM
I have attached another chart showing two options for flying from the position reported in the 0718 Z radio transmission to Howland. Flying directly to Howland is 1,716 SM while over flying Nauru to Howland is 1,746 SM, only 30 SM longer, about 12 minutes more flying time, about eight gallons of gas.

The assumption you are making in your calculation is that after flying on the approximation of the great circle route to the 0718 Z position, Noonan then abandoned the preplanned flight segments and started from scratch to add time and distance to the route.  Only if he decides to do so from 0718 Z does he "only" spend 12 minutes and 8 gallons of gas.

But he could have saved even more by flying directly to the Naura light from Lae.

He couldn't wait to decide the issue until he missed the Ontario and still have the fuel and time economy that you have calculated--nor the blessed assurance that he would be able to find Nauru as a way of finding where he was.

You're not talking about the natural variations from a flight path that happen all the time.  You're talking about charting an entirely different course.

I don't see any indication in the radio traffic that supports your contention that Noonan didn't want the Ontario on station around the mid-point of the flight.  Quite the contrary. 
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: John Ousterhout on January 06, 2012, 08:25:48 AM
You don't have to fly directly over a light to use it for a navigation fix.  Even the Nauru loom could give usable azimuth bearings from 100+ miles away.  I agree with Gary - don't fixate on the straight lines drawn on a map.
If AE said "ship", then I'm inclined to assume they correctly determined they saw a ship.  If she said "lights", then the message is ambiguous.  Why do the records disagree?

Also, GL sez: "...The lights on Nauru are 5,600 feet above sea level."  According to the telegram, that's the height of the 5000 cp fixed light (singular), not necessarily the lights (plural) from the mining operation.  What do we know about the altitude of the mine?  The fixed nav light would likely have been on the highest point of land, and on a tower.  The mine would obviously have been at some lower altitude.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Richard C Cooke on January 06, 2012, 09:08:44 AM
Maybe they didn't think precise position reports mattered.
I think I would upgrade this one from "Maybe" to "Definitely"  ::)

rc
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 06, 2012, 10:55:13 AM
I have attached another chart showing two options for flying from the position reported in the 0718 Z radio transmission to Howland. Flying directly to Howland is 1,716 SM while over flying Nauru to Howland is 1,746 SM, only 30 SM longer, about 12 minutes more flying time, about eight gallons of gas.

The assumption you are making in your calculation is that after flying on the approximation of the great circle route to the 0718 Z position, Noonan then abandoned the preplanned flight segments and started from scratch to add time and distance to the route.  Only if he decides to do so from 0718 Z does he "only" spend 12 minutes and 8 gallons of gas.

But he could have saved even more by flying directly to the Naura light from Lae.

He couldn't wait to decide the issue until he missed the Ontario and still have the fuel and time economy that you have calculated--nor the blessed assurance that he would be able to find Nauru as a way of finding where he was.

You're not talking about the natural variations from a flight path that happen all the time.  You're talking about charting an entirely different course.

I don't see any indication in the radio traffic that supports your contention that Noonan didn't want the Ontario on station around the mid-point of the flight.  Quite the contrary.
"Belt  and suspenders," he could have both, he didn't have to choose.  Because Ontario was planned to send out a radio beacon so they didn't have to aim directly towards the Ontario to come within range of the radio beacon, if they started receiving it then they could turn directly towards Ontario (similar to flying the offset approach to Howland.)

It was not a very different course and added only 10 SM to the flight.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 06, 2012, 11:22:05 AM
You don't have to fly directly over a light to use it for a navigation fix.  Even the Nauru loom could give usable azimuth bearings from 100+ miles away.  I agree with Gary - don't fixate on the straight lines drawn on a map.

Don't obliterate what little data we have with idle speculation, either.

The text is, "Ship in sight ahead," not "Light in sight to port."

Quote
If AE said "ship", then I'm inclined to assume they correctly determined they saw a ship.  If she said "lights", then the message is ambiguous.  Why do the records disagree?

There is a clue in Ric's original post on this topic in this Forum not so long ago.

I know how hard it is for folks to navigate the website (http://tighar.org/logstats/awstats.tighar.html).  Rather than asking you to dredge up the post from this April, let me reprint it here for you.  Then you won't even have to click on a link to get up to speed on the controversy.

Ric Gillespie, Forum, 25 April 2011, to van Asten: (http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,82.msg3605.html#msg3605)

"The original source is a State Department telegram from Sydney, Australia dated July 3m 1937, which reads: “Amalgamated Wireless state information received that report from ‘Nauru’ was sent to Bolinas Radio ‘at 6.31, 6.43 and 6.54 PM Sydney time today on 48.31 meters (6210 kHz), fairly strong signals, speech not intelligible, no hum of plane in background but voice similar that emitted from plane in flight last night between 4.30 and 9.30 P.M.’ Message from plane when at least 60 miles south of Nauru received 8.30 P.M. Sydney time, July 2 saying ‘A ship in sight ahead.’ Since identified as steamer Myrtle Bank sic which arrived Nauru daybreak today."

"Unless Mr. Cude  produced the actual radio log for that night, the contemporary written record (the State Dept. telegram) trumps his 20+ year-old recollection."

Quote
What do we know about the altitude of the mine?  The fixed nav light would likely have been on the highest point of land, and on a tower.  The mine would obviously have been at some lower altitude.

"We" can find this by using the astonishingly easy Google search on this page (http://tighar.org/news/help/82-how-do-i-search-tigharorg) to find out what has been suggested in the past.

Date:         Wed, 1 Nov 2000 09:48:37 EST
From:         Ross Devitt
Subject:      Re: Navigation discussion

Depending how close they were to the equator they possibly could see
Nauru workings at night from altitude as a glow in the distance.  I
believe the guano workings were at an altitude of around 180 feet
above sea level.  A 5000 candlepower light 5600 feet above sea
level may only be visible to ships at 34 miles, but to an aircraft
at 9000 feet it is a whole other ball game.  One or two degrees
from the equator and they just might see, given a few breaks in the
clouds.  Bearing in mind it was not just one light, but the greater
part of an island that was lit up.

Picture flying at night - and how far away you can see small towns
at night. Then add the light high up for good measure.  One thing
that does bother me though.  I thought Nauru's elevation was about
180 feet.  The phosphate workings were.

The CIA Fact book (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2020.html) confirms this elevation.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 06, 2012, 12:17:25 PM
That's a wild set of possibilities for different nav paths - and I can see logic in some of it.  I can also see strong logic in sticking to a more direct route and relying on distantly visible lights (or their glow), etc.

Whether there was an intentional change enroute, deviation northward, lost-and-found exercise, plenty of unannounced star shots or FN passed-out in the cabin, what bearing does this all have on AE announcing approach to Howland, believing 'must be on' same, and finally describing 'on the line'?  Something made her believe those things, but they did not 'bear' out for her, did they?

FN was either on top of things and guiding her (I would hope), a contributor at some level (compromised - hope not), or AE was stuck doing best on pilotage from whatever last firm position they had (no wonder she never found Howland...).

As has been pointed out, my ESP, however wonderful, isn't likely to win any horse races.
I'd like to think FN didn't really have an incapacitating issue, but "Was Noonan a drunkard?"  (http://tighar.org/wiki/Noonan) isn't easily dismissed.  Gore Vidal's recollection is 'sobering' to me now:

"Gore Vidal: "Well, just the night before the final flight, she reported in and they had a code phrase, 'personnel problems,' which meant Noonan was back drinking. And my father said, 'Just stop it right now and come home,' and G.P. agreed and said, 'Come back, abort the flight, forget it, come home.' And then she said, 'Oh, no,' and she said, 'I think it’ll be all right,' something like that. So you may put that down to invincible optimism or it may have been huge pessimism."

I'm not saying that to tar poor FN, but it's hard to ignore when we still really can't account so well for how NR16020 failed to appear at Howland after what should have been a fairly basic exercise for a sober navigator like Noonan.  One could also 'wonder' (ESP again) about a possible lack of a second set of eyeballs looking out for the island - I believe the 1967 re-creation flight found itself dependent on that approach when they finally spotted Howland.

"Personnel unfitness" (or if "personal unfitness") was apparently a very private term devised between AE and GP which seems intended to import real meaning but without bringing negatives to the light in their publicity efforts.  What was so dark about it that they didn't want it creeping into the headlines?

If the Vidal observation is reliable the term carried potentially grave meanings - it would be no light thing to cancel plans, and AE resisted it at least on the occasion mentioned by Vidal.

Could AE have toughed it out without FN's full help and pressed on by dead reckoning after reporting "ship" or "lights"? 
Could she have had enough savvy to note time and apparent sunrise to gain what she thought was a good LOP through Howland?
Would she have considered such a thing, or would she have turned back?

Now I'll use my "ESP" again (call it what you will) and share some thoughts (that's all they are - I don't "know" what happened) -

- She could have toughed it out.
- She might have believed enough about herself to think she could discern distance-east (longitude) by sunrise / time (FN had run her through a similar arrival exercise on trip from Oakland to Hawaii) and thereby to find a LOP through Howland.
- She may well have considered such a thing - and may have acted on it.  At least by Gore Vidal's recollection, AE also had a tendency to 'tough things out' - better die than look bad is about how it comes across.

If AE did act on this -
- Could she have arrived at a reasonable LOP that would pass 337 - 157 through Howland?

I'll upset at least half the audience here and say I believe she well might have: IF she had a chart in hand with the concept in front of her, she was smart enough to 'get' the concept.  I don't know about a time piece, but at least in basic form it is quite within reason that she could have set a time piece as closely to FN's as possible.

We'll never know how much advance discussion AE and FN may have had about the navigation planning - I would hope 'a great deal' but we can't know.  We see her as something of a charming dingbat at times - but she was not stupid or completely devoid of aeronautical capability (and certainly had more large cabin-class twin time and trans-oceanic flight time by the time she was lost than I've had in a lifetime).

So, IF she did attain the LOP / close to it, HOW could she miss Howland?
- Only one set of eyeballs?  Possible.
- LOP off?  Quite possible.

Could she have still made her way to Gardner?
Possibly so.

Coulda-shoulda-woulda and lots of ESP, for sure.  I don't know what happened except that they missed Howland somehow.

I am compelled by the evidence found on Gardner of castaway(s) - there have been too many tell-tale items that are gender / time / article-specific to someone 'like' AE that have been found there. 
I am compelled by the evidence of credible post-loss radio signals.
I am compelled by the nature of the fringing reef in that place, it's ability to support a landing - and then to hide the evidence later.
I am also still compelled by the hypothesis and how it is supported by so many painstakingly developed details of how the LOP could have been flown down to Gardner.  I am not alone: the navy seemed to grasp the concept at the time.

I don't know how they got into the fix, but despite that I still see Gardner (Niku) as the best ground to search today - more than ever.

MUCH LTM - and Gore, and bless FN, I wonder so...
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 06, 2012, 12:56:27 PM
Also, GL sez: "...The lights on Nauru are 5,600 feet above sea level."  According to the telegram, that's the height of the 5000 cp fixed light (singular), not necessarily the lights (plural) from the mining operation.  What do we know about the altitude of the mine?  The fixed nav light would likely have been on the highest point of land, and on a tower.  The mine would obviously have been at some lower altitude.

Stupid question but Wikipedia (font of all accurate knowledge) states the highest point of the island is is 200ft so thats got to be some tall mother of a lighting rig?

Right on Chris   Nauru has an elevation of 180' above sea level.  No mountains or hills.  Yet somehow there is a light that is 5600 feet above sea level which is twice the height of the worlds tallest free standing structure.  See this Wilipedia link.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_and_structures_in_the_world#Tallest_structure_by_category   
Something seems not right with the reported elevation.  Todays tallest guyed masts are tv towers typically topping out at 1330 feet.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 06, 2012, 01:34:55 PM
That's a wild set of possibilities for different nav paths - and I can see logic in some of it.  I can also see strong logic in sticking to a more direct route and relying on distantly visible lights (or their glow), etc.

Whether there was an intentional change enroute, deviation northward, lost-and-found exercise, plenty of unannounced star shots or FN passed-out in the cabin, what bearing does this all have on AE announcing approach to Howland, believing 'must be on' same, and finally describing 'on the line'?  Something made her believe those things, but they did not 'bear' out for her, did they?


I have to agree with you Jeff.  See this quote from Ameliapedia.  Fifteen minutes later, Earhart sent a telegram to George Putnam:
""Radio misunderstanding and personnel unfitness probably will hold one day. Have asked Black for forecast for tomorrow. You check meteorologist on job as FN must have star sights." Earhart is concerned about the weather forecasts (she hasn’t received any that are worthwhile), and is clearly concerned either about the radio protocol arrangements or about the time signals needed for Noonan’s calibration of his chronometers. Much discussion by various researchers as to the meaning of "personnel unfitness" has been put forth, without any consensus.".  Full article at http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae)
No one wants to think that FN had a drinking problem and was incapacitated enough that this contributed to not finding Howland but it must be considered.   I do believe AE got somewhere close to Howland and just didnt see it.    Then flew the LOP to Gardner.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 06, 2012, 04:59:54 PM
"Was Noonan a drunkard?"  (http://tighar.org/wiki/Noonan) isn't easily dismissed.

It is infinitely arguable.

Quote
Gore Vidal's recollection is 'sobering' to me now:

"Gore Vidal: "Well, just the night before the final flight, she reported in and they had a code phrase, 'personnel problems,' which meant Noonan was back drinking. And my father said, 'Just stop it right now and come home,' and G.P. agreed and said, 'Come back, abort the flight, forget it, come home.' And then she said, 'Oh, no,' and she said, 'I think it’ll be all right,' something like that. So you may put that down to invincible optimism or it may have been huge pessimism."

Gore Vidal's recollection sounds over-the-top.  GP and AE did not talk on the telephone when she was in Lae.  Gore is telling the story as if they were.  Something is very fishy about that.  It makes me think that GV was not an ear-witness.

Quote
I'm not saying that to tar poor FN, but it's hard to ignore when we still really can't account so well for how NR16020 failed to appear at Howland after what should have been a fairly basic exercise for a sober navigator like Noonan.

Why should our inability to account for the loss count against Noonan?

We have unanswered questions.  He has unsubmitted answers.

He got them within range to use RDF to home in on the island.  That's what he did for Pan Am.  If AE hadn't made such a thorough hash out of flight planning and radio preparation, we wouldn't be here today.

Quote
"Personnel unfitness" (or if "personal unfitness") was apparently a very private term devised between AE and GP which seems intended to import real meaning but without bringing negatives to the light in their publicity efforts.  What was so dark about it that they didn't want it creeping into the headlines?

They didn't want to spend money to transmit extra words.

I don't believe Gore's recollections about a "secret code" are at all reliable.

Quote
If AE did act on this -
- Could she have arrived at a reasonable LOP that would pass 337 - 157 through Howland?

Do you mean to ask, "Could a well-equipped, well-trained pilot dead reckon and fly the plane at the same time?"  The answer
is "yes."  Wiley Post flew around the world solo, acting as his own navigator, in 1933.

Could Amelia have done so?  My own view is "No."  YMMV.

Quote
I'll upset at least half the audience here and say I believe she well might have: IF she had a chart in hand with the concept in front of her, she was smart enough to 'get' the concept.  I don't know about a time piece, but at least in basic form it is quite within reason that she would have set a time piece as closely to FN's as possible.

No, I'm not upset.  Things that are asserted as exercises in fantasy may be dismissed as fantasy.  It doesn't take any research to have a brainstorm nor does it take any research to reject a brainstorm.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 06, 2012, 07:11:33 PM
Also, GL sez: "...The lights on Nauru are 5,600 feet above sea level."  According to the telegram, that's the height of the 5000 cp fixed light (singular), not necessarily the lights (plural) from the mining operation.  What do we know about the altitude of the mine?  The fixed nav light would likely have been on the highest point of land, and on a tower.  The mine would obviously have been at some lower altitude.

Stupid question but Wikipedia (font of all accurate knowledge) states the highest point of the island is is 200ft so thats got to be some tall mother of a lighting rig?

Right on Chris   Nauru has an elevation of 180' above sea level.  No mountains or hills.  Yet somehow there is a light that is 5600 feet above sea level which is twice the height of the worlds tallest free standing structure.  See this Wilipedia link.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_and_structures_in_the_world#Tallest_structure_by_category   
Something seems not right with the reported elevation.  Todays tallest guyed masts are tv towers typically topping out at 1330 feet.
Well, duh, what did you expect? Remember what they were doing there, they were shoveling that mountain of guano into ships so it is no wonder that the island is a lot lower today, 75 years later, than it was in 1937.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 06, 2012, 07:22:00 PM
"Was Noonan a drunkard?"  (http://tighar.org/wiki/Noonan) isn't easily dismissed.

It is infinitely arguable.

JN - Yes, as are so many things about the disappearance.

Quote
Gore Vidal's recollection is 'sobering' to me now:

"Gore Vidal: "Well, just the night before the final flight, she reported in and they had a code phrase, 'personnel problems,' which meant Noonan was back drinking. And my father said, 'Just stop it right now and come home,' and G.P. agreed and said, 'Come back, abort the flight, forget it, come home.' And then she said, 'Oh, no,' and she said, 'I think it’ll be all right,' something like that. So you may put that down to invincible optimism or it may have been huge pessimism."

Gore Vidal's recollection sounds over-the-top.  GP and AE did not talk on the telephone when she was in Lae.  Gore is telling the story as if they were.  Something is very fishy about that.  It makes me think that GV was not an ear-witness.

JN - I considered that - and agree, no, they did not 'speak' the way Vidal 'recalls'.  I doubt Gore Vidal was an eyewitness - I think it is more likely that he's recounting something told by his father Gene, the director of the Bureau of Air Commerce, who was close to Earhart and Putnam.  He seems to be summing up an understanding of an exchange, perhaps as told by Putnam well after the fact.  That would make it about... third hand, if so.  He WAS closer to the people involved than you or I though, wasn't he?

I find it interesting: we can see that the first part of his statement is true - the 'personnel problems' comment is accurate enough; did he then go 'over the top' for some reason about the rest of it?  You say it 'sounds' over the top; I may see it as a retelling of an understanding - and 'why would he create a fictional outcome of the report?  I believe FN's situation may well have had a bearing on the outcome of the flight that followed.  Although he was not fired by Pan Am apparently, he left abruptly in protest.  What was this guy really like?  He could be cool in public - emerged unscathed and unrattled after folding his charts in the Lockheed after it ground looped at Luke Field and stated he was ready for the next flight with AE whenever she was ready; he could also run short on patience and walk away even as people like Musick were trying to get better arrangements for Pan Am crews - after a significant personal contribution to success.  He was articulate - and seems to have had some thirst (pardon expression...) for publicity.  He moved himself to Texas briefly to establish residence for a divorce before undertaking the world flight, did divorce from Mexico.  I'm not trying to indict him - and could not anyway: can't prove anything.  I also admire his talents - and to some degree his charm, and regret his loss.  But somehow I'm just not getting a sense of a super-stable fellow here.  Nope - probably not fair - but I'm not really trying to judge a man who can't answer, just trying to understand what may have gone on.

I also get a reinforced sense of AE being willing to make a concession or two too many for her own good for the sake of completing the flight, against better judgment.


Quote
I'm not saying that to tar poor FN...

Why should our inability to account for the loss count against Noonan?

We have unanswered questions.  He has unsubmitted answers.

He got them within range to use RDF to home in on the island.  That's what he did for Pan Am.  If AE hadn't made such a thorough hash out of flight planning and radio preparation, we wouldn't be here today.

JN - AE and FN both have unsubmitted answers.  Fred should have been fairly smart about RDF limitations - where was his alarm?  This actually goes straight to my thinking about one thing wrong with the flight - flaws in the humans (both) that disabled the outcome. 

We think he got them within range to use RDF.  How do you know they ever got that close?  I'm not keeping score so my opinion doesn't have to count 'against' a dead man.

Nor must it count solely 'against' a dead woman who had her failings, you see - 

FN wasn't entirely the victim of AE's hash; he had far more experience in airplanes reliant on RDF than AE did - should I believe he should be so ignorant of the equipment, capabilities and limitations? 

She was PIC, for sure - the safety of the flight lies with her; but what was FN doing all that way to not spot a glaring deficiency or two regarding coordination of frequencies, etc.?  Can't speak for FN, but if you put my country butt in the back of NR16020 with a trans-oceanic newby like AE up front and no boat bottom under us to navigate that far and home in on a beacon, I'm going to be looking into the arrangements pretty firmly with all I do know, especially after a steller experience with Pan Am, etc.  That's a crack in the perception of FN as the perfect navigator: he wasn't that pefect - it's evident to me that he wasn't applying his full acumen to this flight. 

A blinding quest for publicity by AE and FN may have been more of the culprit than anything else - and I think both of them had plenty of flaws (there's a little speculation for you - but note I called it what it was).


Quote
"Personnel unfitness" (or if "personal unfitness") was apparently a very private term devised between AE and GP which seems intended to import real meaning but without bringing negatives to the light in their publicity efforts.  What was so dark about it that they didn't want it creeping into the headlines?

They didn't want to spend money to transmit extra words.

I don't believe Gore's recollections about a "secret code" are at all reliable.

JN - Well, it was 'code' of sorts, and it meant something they both apparently would understand, didn't it?  But maybe it saved them 40 cents of so from having to say "...dammit George, Fred's drinking again - I need at least 12 hours to stop him and get him to set his watches...".  Gee, what better way to get all that 'straight' for the public than a well-observed FN setting his times so deliberately? 
That's kind of nice - but of course what ELSE would we expect of FN?  Not to ask AE if she bothered to get the radio-stuff straight for that last 60 miles... oh no.
 
Just a thought. 
You know what I think; we each have our thoughts on the matter. 
That's all they are - that's all I've claimed. 

Point really is: NR16020's crew's behavior.


Quote
If AE did act on this -
- Could she have arrived at a reasonable LOP that would pass 337 - 157 through Howland?

Do you mean to ask, "Could a well-equipped, well-trained pilot dead reckon and fly the plane at the same time?"  The answer
is "yes."  Wiley Post flew around the world solo, acting as his own navigator, in 1933.

Could Amelia have done so?  My own view is "No."  YMMV.


JN - No, I asked what I meant to ask (actually more like postulated) - whether AE might have.

But you do admit the possibility of the feat, if not by the particular person (and I take it that you mean you don't believe AE could - you couldn't possibly know that).  That's at least two of us...

Post (my favorite Golden Ager) - "MAYBE".  You are more optimistic than I am.

Post is a wonderful hero to me.  He also cracked-up Winnie Mae more than once (once on a round-the-worlder - first or second I don't recall) - and inadvisably flew off in a Lockheed hybrid with over-sized wing and floats and an undersized tail-plane resulting in a nasty pitch-over after engine loss / stall in Alaska, killing himself and Rogers. 

The one-eyed forgotten eagle also had many triumphs - some like pulling a rabbit out of a hat.  He was our first 'astronaut' in a great way, considering the time.  Great mind and more guts than were good for him.  Highly intuitive and apparently persuasive.  Maybe even a man of... 'fantasy'... at times -

How else to dream of such goals?  How else to pursue greater understanding than to first conceive?  How else to get into so much trouble... yes, the risk of 'fantasy' is real, I agree.

Post also never took on a landfall challenge ANYTHING like Howland - he flew a northern, shorter route with greater landmasses to hit.  Siberia was no doubt a major effort, but we'll never know.  MAYBE.

Shoo-in for AE?  NO. 
Against the odds?  We're still looking for her, aren't we?  I'd say "yes - and she apparently missed by enough to at least not spot Howland island".
Possible?  MAYBE.
Fly the headings and pray hard for calm air, call in at first light in east, turn right (or left...) at dawn, or after a presumed interval by the clock - and tell the world all is soon to be well... and she believed it.  I do believe that.
She was a cool one, whatever else failed her.  Better die than look bad, seems to me.  Gutsy.
She failed herself and Noonan (even if he was drunk); Howland failed her. 
I think maybe Gardner did not. 

Big, colorful thing, Gardner.  Might have been relatively forgiving that day - imagine doing your best to hang in there on a LOP that you hope will lead to something and stumbling on that big bright lagooned ring just when you need it most. 
Hard to say when it might have been spotted, too.  I've seen almost nothing among all our strings approaching optic 'looming', etc. although 'dip' in celnav terms has been covered.  Funny how things appear - and disappear - on the ocean; the atmosphere is a really weird lens.  But I think I've seen more on the effects of islander's testicles giving navigation clues than anything about long-distance visual cues...

Post was really good.  He also had some luck at times - who knows...


Quote
I'll upset at least half the audience here and say I believe she well might have: ...

No, I'm not upset.  Things that are asserted as exercises in fantasy may be dismissed as fantasy.  It doesn't take any research to have a brainstorm nor does it take any research to reject a brainstorm.

JN - Didn't think you would be; me either, Marty.  But I've learned that some of these harebrained 'suggestions' bring out the color in many of us  ;)
Exercise in fantasy?  Don't feel so threatened - I've said nothing to even criticize the Gardner landing hypothesis - and in fact have said I believe it as the most likely outcome.  Nothing here excludes that possibility.

But, fantasy?  Do I really violate the bounds of reason here?  I've proceeded more by reason and given observations than by the heart of the poet (wouldn't you know it).

Last time I checked I came to suspect that I am perhaps more rational and capable of critical  thought than either AE or FN when they departed Lae... but dismiss as fantasy as you will.  Fanciful.

I could go after some other things here and hypotheses as fantasy too - but choose to cling to hope out of 'reason' and in a spirit of seeking to understand what went in history.  'Reason' is a thing of the mind - all you disagree with is not necessarily 'fantasy'.

I'm not claiming any new research in this - but brainstorms (thanks for the credit) can certainly be based on existing material (which I have cited) and reason - as this one is, I believe.
TIGHAR's own hard-won hypotheses are not all based on new 'research' at all so much as on a learning and applying of historic things as much as possible - and then by connecting rational dots by reason.  SOMEONE had a fairly 'fanciful' mind to CONCIEVE of some of the things that led to the fruit that's been found - that's the value of 'brainstorm'. 
Interesting, but we all have an ox I suppose.  It also takes no research to reject a rejection; you have your oxen, I mine.


Comments in blue above.  Ideas, Marty - that's all they are - with reason.

It's odd to me that they missed that island - until I think about the way AE and FN were (mal)functioning at the beginning of the flight - that raises so many doubts. 

Some things are obvious:
Money might have been better spent at the telegraph office giving information about radio coordination, etc. instead of 'personnel problems' and trying to get the 'business' straight.  What was the evident priority?  Coordination with the publicist was primary; flight and navigation specifics were given over to second-hand. 

What a shabby outfit -
- A lady who wanted to fly at any cost and scrambled for just the right publicity,
- A shoe-string backer in GP (yes, money was a real concern) who allowed his wife to go around the world but on the condition of having to scramble for telegraph change,
- An able navigator with a mix of charm (letter to Weems, manager of many former aviation enterprises, colofrul, unruffled master navigator and master) and hints of darkness (protest resignation from Pan Am, alcoholism dismissed as 'norm' among pilots of his time, a convoluted divorce arrangement, so many different roles as manager of so many aviation enterprises... ever think about that?  Didn't stay put much...) in his character...

Not indictments against the dead.  Just observations - and beginning to have less wonder at 'what went wrong'.

Where was FN's insistence in getting this right?  I'm not convinced FN was using all of his acumen - except for the clock-setting exercise, the guy that left Lae doesn't seem like the same guy that glowed aboard NR16020 from Oakland to Hawaii.  Of course he can't be directly reported on, so we don't know.

We know that FN visibly 'got it right' with the timepieces - that's a beautiful shot of the able navigator.  But FN also had seen RDF used more with Pan Am than AE would ever see - can he not have realized the gravity of it?  I don't buy that he was ignorant of the need for coordination of frequencies, etc... you don't get to be a ship's master, master oceanic navigator for the first major trans-oceanic airline and pilot to boot without realizing something about that sort of stuff.  Call it speculation if you will, but I suggest he had more understanding of RDF than is usually assumed.  So why didn't he apply it?

Too many odd things.  Two very odd people on a critically long flight to a puny island.  Odd, but not bad people; flawed, like us all.  Ambition: much hunger for glowing success and image in a pencil-thin mustache aviation era.  Despite all, lost; too much cast onto the air gods.  I think luck finally found them at Gardner, personally; I think it then went out a few days later with the tide.

Much to understand.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 06, 2012, 07:27:47 PM
Also, GL sez: "...The lights on Nauru are 5,600 feet above sea level."  According to the telegram, that's the height of the 5000 cp fixed light (singular), not necessarily the lights (plural) from the mining operation.  What do we know about the altitude of the mine?  The fixed nav light would likely have been on the highest point of land, and on a tower.  The mine would obviously have been at some lower altitude.

Stupid question but Wikipedia (font of all accurate knowledge) states the highest point of the island is is 200ft so thats got to be some tall mother of a lighting rig?

Right on Chris   Nauru has an elevation of 180' above sea level.  No mountains or hills.  Yet somehow there is a light that is 5600 feet above sea level which is twice the height of the worlds tallest free standing structure.  See this Wilipedia link.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_and_structures_in_the_world#Tallest_structure_by_category   
Something seems not right with the reported elevation.  Todays tallest guyed masts are tv towers typically topping out at 1330 feet.
Well, duh, what did you expect? Remember what they were doing there, they were shoveling that mountain of guano into ships so it is no wonder that the island is a lot lower today, 75 years later, than it was in 1937.

gl

Gary, you gotta be s... ah,

Are you SERIOUS???  5000 feet worth???  That's one HECK of a pile of bird... DUNG!!!  WOW!!! 

WHAT mountain?  Where did you land on that?

I am utterly amazed... had no idea there could have been enough productive birds in the entire Pacific Ocean since the dawn of time to produce ANYTHING like that! 

I thought maybe the telegram had a typo in it.  A WWII era picture  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nauru_Island_under_attack_by_Liberator_bombers_of_the_Seventh_Air_Force..jpg) shows a relatively flat island in 1943, as best I can tell - so they must have moved much faster than the 75 years you suggest...

But I do still see how lights at Nauru could be visible for a long, long way - even at 200' elevation - their glow, if not directly, for that matter.

Think maybe they had a nice, tall "560'" tower by chance?  Not bad for a small <200' elevation place like Nauru - would still be a heck of a beacon.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 06, 2012, 07:39:12 PM
Also, GL sez: "...The lights on Nauru are 5,600 feet above sea level."  According to the telegram, that's the height of the 5000 cp fixed light (singular), not necessarily the lights (plural) from the mining operation.  What do we know about the altitude of the mine?  The fixed nav light would likely have been on the highest point of land, and on a tower.  The mine would obviously have been at some lower altitude.
Hey, I was just going with the idea of shoveling guano.

gl

Stupid question but Wikipedia (font of all accurate knowledge) states the highest point of the island is is 200ft so thats got to be some tall mother of a lighting rig?

Right on Chris   Nauru has an elevation of 180' above sea level.  No mountains or hills.  Yet somehow there is a light that is 5600 feet above sea level which is twice the height of the worlds tallest free standing structure.  See this Wilipedia link.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_and_structures_in_the_world#Tallest_structure_by_category (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_and_structures_in_the_world#Tallest_structure_by_category)   
Something seems not right with the reported elevation.  Todays tallest guyed masts are tv towers typically topping out at 1330 feet.
Well, duh, what did you expect? Remember what they were doing there, they were shoveling that mountain of guano into ships so it is no wonder that the island is a lot lower today, 75 years later, than it was in 1937.

gl

Gary, you gotta be s... ah,

Are you SERIOUS???  5000 feet worth???  That's one HECK of a pile of bird... DUNG!!!  WOW!!!  Where did you land on that?

I am utterly amazed... had no idea there could have been enough productive birds in the entire Pacific Ocean since the dawn of time to produce ANYTHING like that! 

I thought maybe the telegram had a typo in it.  A WWII era picture  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nauru_Island_under_attack_by_Liberator_bombers_of_the_Seventh_Air_Force..jpg) shows a relatively flat island in 1943, as best I can tell - so they must have moved much faster than the 75 years you suggest...

But I do still see how lights at Nauru could be visible for a long, long way - even at 200' elevation - their glow, if not directly, for that matter.

Think maybe they had a nice, tall "560'" tower by chance?  Not bad for a small <200' elevation place like Nauru - would still be a heck of a beacon.

LTM -
Hey, I was just going with the idea of shoveling guano. But why not, the birds were doing it for millions of years. The radiogram is pretty clear, it says "5600 feet above sea leve (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=555.0;attach=652)l" it couldn't be clearer than that. Ric always says we should only rely on primary docments and this is a primary document. There was the guano trade to the west coast of South America for well over a century where windjammers loaded up with guano for shipment to Europe. The birds had piled it up very high in lots of places.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: richie conroy on January 06, 2012, 08:41:43 PM
(http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cgi-bin/getimage.exe?CISOROOT=/epurdue&CISOPTR=602&DMWIDTH=600&DMHEIGHT=1600&DMX=0&DMY=0&DMTEXT=&REC=1&DMTHUMB=0&DMROTATE=0&DMSCALE=100)

Amelia said at 10:15am must be on u but can not see u

Amelia said at 12:14pm we are on line 157 337 we are running north and south

337 north

157 south

her saying 157 first tells us she was on the 157 side of the LOP line and she was running north to south meaning she was going south on 157 LOP

from her saying must be on u  at 10:15am she had been in the air running south for 2hrs before her last message running north an south

so if they got to were howland was meant to be on map, an it were'nt there, they have then turned right an gone south down 157 LOP which has taken them close enough to see gardner an from a distance seeing ship by reef they probably thought it was the itasca as they wouldnt of known it was a wreck till they landed as they were probably running on fumes an didnt have a chance to do a fly around

just my thoughts on this topic  :)     

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 06, 2012, 09:01:06 PM
(http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cgi-bin/getimage.exe?CISOROOT=/epurdue&CISOPTR=602&DMWIDTH=600&DMHEIGHT=1600&DMX=0&DMY=0&DMTEXT=&REC=1&DMTHUMB=0&DMROTATE=0&DMSCALE=100)

Amelia said at 10:15am must be on u but can not see u

Amelia said at 12:14pm we are on line 157 337 we are running north and south

337 north

157 south

her saying 157 first tells us she was on the 157 side of the LOP line and she was running north to south meaning she was going south on 157 LOP

from her saying must be on u  at 10:15am she had been in the air running south for 2hrs before her last message running north an south

so if they got to were howland was meant to be on map, an it were'nt there, they have then turned right an gone south down 157 LOP which has taken them close enough to see gardner an from a distance seeing ship by reef they probably thought it was the itasca as they wouldnt of known it was a wreck till they landed as they were probably running on fumes an didnt have a chance to do a fly around

just my thoughts on this topic  :)   

Say this out loud, "west and east;"    "south and north;"  "three three seven one five seven."
Now try this, "east and west;"  "north and south;"  "one five seven three three seven."

I think you found that your mouth naturally pronounced the second line while you had to force your mouth to say the first line. There are phrases in our minds that are standard and come out easily like "pork and beans," just try saying "beans and pork."  So don't put too much significance on the order of those words as recorded in the Itasca radio logs.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: John Ousterhout on January 06, 2012, 09:23:04 PM
Here's a link to a photo of Nauru in 1943.  There's no mountain of phosphate, although some of the web information mentions the "plateau" as the central deposit.  By the 1980's, the phosphate mining era was over, leaving a "moonlike" terrain with limestone pillars up to 75 feet tall.  This may indicate the deposit was about 75 feet thick.  A beacon light in 1937 isn't likely to have been up at 5600 feet as described in the telegram.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nauru_Island_under_attack_by_Liberator_bombers_of_the_Seventh_Air_Force..jpg
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 06, 2012, 09:28:42 PM
Here's a link to a photo of Nauru in 1943.  There's no mountain of phosphate, although some of the web information mentions the "plateau" as the central deposit.  By the 1980's, the phosphate mining era was over, leaving a "moonlike" terrain with limestone pillars up to 75 feet tall.  This may indicate the deposit was about 75 feet thick.  A beacon light in 1937 isn't likely to have been up at 5600 feet as described in the telegram.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nauru_Island_under_attack_by_Liberator_bombers_of_the_Seventh_Air_Force..jpg
I was just talking about shoveling guano. :D

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 06, 2012, 09:35:51 PM
(http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cgi-bin/getimage.exe?CISOROOT=/epurdue&CISOPTR=602&DMWIDTH=600&DMHEIGHT=1600&DMX=0&DMY=0&DMTEXT=&REC=1&DMTHUMB=0&DMROTATE=0&DMSCALE=100)

Amelia said at 10:15am must be on u but can not see u

Amelia said at 12:14pm we are on line 157 337 we are running north and south

337 north

157 south

her saying 157 first tells us she was on the 157 side of the LOP line and she was running north to south meaning she was going south on 157 LOP

from her saying must be on u  at 10:15am she had been in the air running south for 2hrs before her last message running north an south

so if they got to were howland was meant to be on map, an it were'nt there, they have then turned right an gone south down 157 LOP which has taken them close enough to see gardner an from a distance seeing ship by reef they probably thought it was the itasca as they wouldnt of known it was a wreck till they landed as they were probably running on fumes an didnt have a chance to do a fly around

just my thoughts on this topic  :)   

Say this out loud, "west and east;"    "south and north;"  "three three seven one five seven."
Now try this, "east and west;"  "north and south;"  "one five seven three three seven."

I think you found that your mouth naturally pronounced the second line while you had to force your mouth to say the first line. There are phrases in our minds that are standard and come out easily like "pork and beans," just try saying "beans and pork."  So don't put too much significance on the order of those words as recorded in the Itasca radio logs.

gl

I agree.  It is tempting to try to assign directional meaning but all we have is a LOP definition and that she's running 'on it' - direction not stated.

Now if she'd said "I'm over a big mountain of guano..."  ;D
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 06, 2012, 09:37:49 PM

"Gore Vidal: "Well, just the night before the final flight, she reported in and they had a code phrase, 'personnel problems,' which meant Noonan was back drinking. And my father said, 'Just stop it right now and come home,' and G.P. agreed and said, 'Come back, abort the flight, forget it, come home.' And then she said, 'Oh, no,' and she said, 'I think it’ll be all right,' something like that. So you may put that down to invincible optimism or it may have been huge pessimism."


"Personnel unfitness" (or if "personal unfitness") was apparently a very private term devised between AE and GP which seems intended to import real meaning but without bringing negatives to the light in their publicity efforts.  What was so dark about it that they didn't want it creeping into the headlines?

If the Vidal observation is reliable the term carried potentially grave meanings - it would be no light thing to cancel plans, and AE resisted it at least on the occasion mentioned by Vidal.



On the TV program "The American Experience" Gore Vidal says that his father, Gene Vidal, was
at the Harold Tribune office with G.P. the night before the departure from Lae. A phone call
came in from Earhart reporting the code phrase "personnel unfitness" meaning that Noonan was
drinking and that Gene Vidal told her not to fly with Noonan but that they would get her another
navigator.

On the show "Vanishings" they also say that she called Putnam from Lae the night before the
departure.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


We know that she sent a radiogram to Putnam on June 30th, two days before the departure,
reporting "personnel unfitness,” did she also telephone him with the same information the night
before the departure?

Youngsters who have unlimited long distance calling on their cell phones have no conception of
what it cost to communicate in the past.  When I was a kid in the '50s I remember that we didn't
make any long distance phone calls because they were expensive. If you thought about making a
long distance call you would first call the long distance operator "211" and get an estimate of the
cost before deciding if you could afford the call. We old guys remember making "person to
person" calls which were really coded messages to let people know that we had arrived safely or
to have someone call us back at a cheaper "station to station" rate since, if the recipient told the
telephone operator that the person we had asked for (often a made up name which was actually
the code word) was not there, that there was no charge for the attempted "person to person" call.

I was curious just how expensive those long distance calls were in the '50s so I did some
research. In 1950 a five minute call from New York to Los Angeles cost $3.70  which doesn't
sound so bad. But when you adjust it for inflation, that $3.70 would buy the same amount of stuff
that costs $33.44 today. In 1930 a three minute call from New York to London cost $368.70 in
2010 dollars. I wonder what a phone call from Lae to the U.S. cost in 1937.

I also looked into the cost of radiograms. As of January 1, 1937 it cost 39 cents per word from
San Francisco to Manila. I doubt that it was less expensive to cable Lae than it was to cable
Manila. 39 cents in 1937 is the same as $5.91 in 2010 dollars. The 40 word June 30th radiogram
cost at least $236.40 in 2010 dollars! She sent a longer radiogram the day before the departure
since the Tribune agreed to pay the cable costs. Her last message was 94 words (including the
address) costing the Tribune at least $555.54 in 2010 dollars!

Putnam was running short of money which is why he had to get the Tribune to pick up the cost of
the last cable. Who was going to pay for the telephone calls to Putnam and to Lockheed?

Is there any reason to even believe that telephone calls from Lae to the U.S. were even possible
in 1937? There was no undersea telegraph cable to Lae then, which is why the messages
exchanged were by radiogram so what would make anybody think that there was an undersea
telephone cable available? What about radio telephone calls on short wave? That's a pretty long
distance to cover by voice radio which is why Morse code was used to pass messages and, even
for Morse messages, they had to be passed in a series of relays,  so I think it is highly unlikely
that it would have been possible to make a radiotelephone call to the States from Lae. I have attached
a map of the cables across the Pacific in 1939, none goes near Lae.

Bottom line, I don't believe the claims Gore Vidal. Note that this claim is hearsay. Gore Vidal
said his father told him, Gore wasn't actually there. (And Gore Vidal was also the source for the
supposed romance between his father and AE shown in the recent movie so it calls that claim
into question also.)

I have probably understated the cost of radiograms to Lae. I used the 39 cents per word rate,
which was the rate from San Francisco to Manila as being comparable to cost of radiograms  to
Lae. But the map of undersea cables shows that there was an undersea cable to Manila so they
didn't have to send radiograms. Cablegrams are less labor intensive than radiograms since radiograms
require a series of radio
operators to take down the message and then retransmit it onto the next station in line towards
the destination. An example is given in Staffords book on page 124. Messages from Hawaii to
Lae were sent first to Samoa, onto Fiji, then to Sidney, onto Rabaul, thence to Salamaua ,and
finally to Lae. This process took a minimum of six and a half hours and required seven separate
radio operators to take down the message and then retransmit it  about a half hour later to the
next station. Because of this I believe that the cost of radiograms would be quite a bit higher than
the cable rate to Manila since the cable didn't need the intermediate operators.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 06, 2012, 09:49:44 PM
Excellent research, Gary.

As I said, Gore Vidal's report was at least 'third hand' -

But we may disagree on the reliability of what was understood between AE and GP.  It doesn't sound to me like a telephone call happened - and maybe even no reply by radiogram from GP to AE.

But that doesn't mean GP didn't have sentiments, and didn't voice them to Gene Vidal; it also doesn't mean GP didn't know AE well enough realize about what her answer would be.  I can see something like that as reasonable, and that Gore later could recount what was told him as if there had been two-way dialogue between GP and AE.

Too bad.  If GP had such thoughts, he might have persuaded AE - but may have realized there was no good way to reach her before she bugged out of Lae.

My thoughts still come down to FN's behavior and whether he was up to this flight.  There is enough about FN's history, other than that of accomplished navigator, to make me wonder about it.  I have my doubts, that's all.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: richie conroy on January 06, 2012, 10:08:16 PM
on a compass north is top south is bottom

337 north

157 south

she said 157 first which mean's she was on the south side of equator on LOP

she said running north to south

not running north from south

and if they didnt add on the extra miles from going round thunderstorm clouds they were probably 60 odd miles short ov howland,  when they decided to go down LOP 157 which took them to gardner

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: richie conroy on January 06, 2012, 10:20:30 PM
also on purde website there is a letter to mr putnam from amelia which she sent on arrival at lae airport before take off saying noonan drove them to airport an she wont be home for 4th ov july

so noonan couldnt ov been that drunk on take off  :o or cud he
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 06, 2012, 10:27:35 PM
on a compass north is top south is bottom

337 north

157 south

she said 157 first which mean's she was on the south side of equator on LOP

she said running north to south

not running north from south


and if they didnt add on the extra miles from going round thunderstorm clouds they were probably 60 odd miles short ov howland,  when they decided to go down LOP 157 which took them to gardner
She said "running on line north and south" (logged as "running on line north es south") That grammatical construction in English using the present participle means repetitive actions, not just one iteration. So this message did not mean just one leg heading north and then followed by just one leg heading south but many of each. Other examples "jumping up and down;" "looking right and left." ( Notice, you never say "jumping down and up.")

gl

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 06, 2012, 10:36:34 PM
No one wants to think that FN had a drinking problem and was incapacitated enough that this contributed to not finding Howland but it must be considered.

Let's consider this, then, if we "must."

AE sees Fred drinking.  She decides that they can't leave because he won't navigate well, and sends the previously-agreed upon code that means, "Fred is drunk as a skunk."

Now, having established her bona fides as an estimator of inebriation and a cautious pilot who thought she was too young to die.

The telegram you quote was from June 29.

The airplane did not take off until July 2.

Apart from the recorded difficulties with the chronometer and weather reports (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_lae), you are now asking us to entertain various undocumented suppositions:

1) Fred stayed drunk for the next four days, but did get his chronometers set in spite of his intoxication.

2) Only Earhart noticed this condition (we have no evidence of unusually heavy drinking on Fred's part in Lae; many pilots were heavy drinkers in the Golden Age of Aviation; such things do not happen nowadays, of course).

3) Rather than continue to exercise prudent restraint on July 2nd, she cast her fate to the winds and set off to get lost with the drunken sot instead of exposing him to the withering wrath of society.  She could not bear to use the secret code again to signal her displeasure to her husband, so she decided to take her chances on Fred sobering up before the real heavy lifting began 20 hours into the flight.

So, now that I have considered what must be considered, what conclusion must I come to?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 06, 2012, 10:46:25 PM
No one wants to think that FN had a drinking problem and was incapacitated enough that this contributed to not finding Howland but it must be considered.

Let's consider this, then, if we "must."

AE sees Fred drinking.  She decides that they can't leave because he won't navigate well, and sends the previously-agreed upon code that means, "Fred is drunk as a skunk."

Now, having established her bona fides as an estimator of inebriation and a cautious pilot who thought she was too young to die.

The telegram you quote was from June 29.

The airplane did not take off until July 2.

Apart from the recorded difficulties with the chronometer and weather reports (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_lae), you are now asking us to entertain various undocumented suppositions:

1) Fred stayed drunk for the next four days, but did get his chronometers set in spite of his intoxication.

2) Only Earhart noticed this condition (we have no evidence of unusually heavy drinking on Fred's part in Lae; many pilots were heavy drinkers in the Golden Age of Aviation; such things do not happen nowadays, of course).

3) Rather than continue to exercise prudent restraint on July 2nd, she cast her fate to the winds and set off to get lost with the drunken sot instead of exposing him to the withering wrath of society.  She could not bear to use the secret code again to signal her displeasure to her husband, so she decided to take her chances on Fred sobering up before the real heavy lifting began 20 hours into the flight.

So, now that I have considered what must be considered, what conclusion must I come to?
I also didn't see him stumble when he helped Earhart climb up the wing in the last takeoff movie.
gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: richie conroy on January 06, 2012, 10:48:28 PM
ok but common sense tell's me if she say's

were running on LOP 157 - 337

she is on the 157 LOP

she said running north and south

if she thought she was north of  howland she would naturally head south

i.e am going asda and primark

means going asda first then primark

otherwise she wud av said running south and north meaning she was south heading north

also i dont trust the itasca logs because if u look at originals the first 2 pages the paper is same but the last 3 pages the paper is diffrent

dont think they had choice of paper in them days like we do now   
 
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: richie conroy on January 06, 2012, 11:00:57 PM
also finding info on fred noonan is like finding the electra's final resting place, he was never in news or papers for wrong reasons all his telegrams letters had no spelling mistakes etc..... so if u ask me the being alcholic is more fairy tale than anythink also he had just married so he was probably more ecstatic than pilatic

i honestly think them flying round thunder storms an then joing the line of flight, they have not accounted for them miles so when they thought they were by howland they were say 100 miles short an that would explain no one on howland hearing a plane

 :)   
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: richie conroy on January 06, 2012, 11:04:10 PM
if fred was telling her what to say!!!!!!! he is irish\scouse so them numbers cud mean anythink hehe  ;D
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 06, 2012, 11:09:17 PM
I doubt Gore Vidal was an eyewitness - I think it is more likely that he's recounting something told by his father Gene, the director of the Bureau of Air Commerce, who was close to Earhart and Putnam.  He seems to be summing up an understanding of an exchange, perhaps as told by Putnam well after the fact.  That would make it about... third hand, if so.  He WAS closer to the people involved than you or I though, wasn't he?

He was about 12 years old in the summer of 1937.

I doubt that he wrote these things down.

He was a novelist.

The story has the feel of a well-worn, oft-told anecdote. 
Quote

I find it interesting: we can see that the first part of his statement is true - the 'personnel problems' comment is accurate enough; did he then go 'over the top' for some reason about the rest of it?  You say it 'sounds' over the top; I may see it as a retelling of an understanding - and 'why would he create a fictional outcome of the report?

Because this is something people often do, for various and sundry reasons?

Quote

What was this guy really like?


I don't know, and I don't much care.

I don't see any point in doing a psychic profile of Fred in order to determine what he would have done on the flight.  You seem to find this of profound significance.  I don't.

Quote

How do you know they ever got that close?


Because "Radio" Direction Finding (http://tighar.org/wiki/RDF) uses a phenomenon called "radio waves" to help find out what direction a transmission was made from.  There were these wonderful things called "radio waves" travelling from the aircraft to Howland for about six hours, (http://tighar.org/wiki/Transmission_timeline) with the signal strength of the "radio waves" growing steadily stronger, which makes the task of those trying to find the "direction" from the "radio waves" are being transmitted easier and easier.

I can, if need be, define "radio," "direction," and "finding" in simpler terms, if need be.

Quote

He had far more experience in airplanes reliant on RDF than AE did.


His experience was not from being at the controls of the equipment, but from having messages transmitted and delivered by professional radio operators.  How much have you learned about flying from riding in the passenger cabin of modern aircraft?

Quote

If you put my country butt in the back of NR16020 with a trans-oceanic newby like AE up front and no boat bottom under us to navigate that far and home in on a beacon, I'm going to be looking into the arrangements pretty firmly with all I do know, especially after a steller experience with Pan Am, etc.  That's a crack in the perception of FN as the perfect navigator: he wasn't that pefect - it's evident to me that he wasn't applying his full acumen to this flight. 


Amelia had flown as a passenger across the Atlantic.

She had flown the Atlantic solo.

She had flown from Hawaii to California solo.

These are things that some of us like to call "facts." (http://tighar.org/wiki/Earhart)  Is there any way to persuade you to use "facts" as a check on your powers of psychic investigation?

Quote

I take it that you mean you don't believe AE could have navigated to the LOP by herself - you couldn't possibly know that.


Yes.  This was the conviction that I expressed in the English language when I wrote, "Could Amelia have done so?  My own view is 'No.'  YMMV."

By the word "view," I mean my considered opinion, after spending 12 years diligently reading the materials on the TIGHAR website.

By the expression, "YMMV," I had intended to indicate "Your mileage may vary," which is a common way of saying that I understand you may not agree with the view that I had just expressed.

Quote

How else to dream of such goals?  How else to pursue greater understanding than to first conceive?  How else to get into so much trouble... yes, the risk of 'fantasy' is real, I agree.


I dream pretty much every night.  Most of it is dreck.

When I wake up in the morning, if something abides, I'll try to check it against reality.

Wiley imagined the oxygen mask.  He then proceded to make it work.  Reality confirmed his dream.

He imagined that he could both navigate and fly solo around the world.  He beat the record he had set with Harold Gatty doing the navigating.  Reality confirmed his dream.

Your fantasies seem not to be testable.  We can't build anything out of them, nor do they lead us to look in a different location than Gardner, nor use different techniques.

Quote

But, fantasy?  Do I really violate the bounds of reason here?  I've proceeded more by reason and given observations than by the heart of the poet (wouldn't you know it).


See above for a few "facts" that you failed to include in your dreams, as well as some doubts about the stories you use to make the fire burn more brightly.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: richie conroy on January 06, 2012, 11:12:15 PM
also if there was cloud cover, surely they would have flew at a higher altitude so they were able to get a fix on were they was ??
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 06, 2012, 11:24:21 PM
On the TV program "The American Experience" Gore Vidal says that his father, Gene Vidal, was
at the Harold Tribune office with G.P. the night before the departure from Lae. A phone call
came in from Earhart reporting the code phrase "personnel unfitness" meaning that Noonan was
drinking and that Gene Vidal told her not to fly with Noonan but that they would get her another
navigator.

On the show "Vanishings" they also say that she called Putnam from Lae the night before the
departure.

Neither show is a "primary source," a contemporary document written in or near 1937 by Gene Vidal, G.P., anyone in the Herald Tribune office, or telephone billing records.

The shows have one secondary source: the memory of a 12-year-old boy, reported to some undefined audience at an undefined date.

It's a sweet story, because it absolve AE from the blame and places it squarely on Noonan.

Quote
We know that she sent a radiogram to Putnam on June 30th, two days before the departure,
reporting "personnel unfitness,” did she also telephone him with the same information the night
before the departure?

Did the shows provide any any evidence that she repeated herself?

If we are to take Gore as a reliable witness, then we're stuck with his whole testimony, not just the parts we like.  Her code mean "Fred is too drunk to navigate."  On this theory, she sent that message by telegram on the 29th (30th in Lae) and by voice on the unrecorded telephone call to a newspaper office that had an exclusive contract to tell her story, yet, while acting prudently on the 29th became unhinged on the evening of 1 July, deciding against the advice of her husband and a man who loved her, both of whom pleaded with her to destroy Fred's reputation, scuttle the project on which AE and GP's wealth depended, and save her life. 

I don't find that persuasive.

Quote
I also looked into the cost of radiograms. As of January 1, 1937 it cost 39 cents per word from
San Francisco to Manila. I doubt that it was less expensive to cable Lae than it was to cable
Manila. 39 cents in 1937 is the same as $5.91 in 2010 dollars. The 40 word June 30th radiogram
cost at least $236.40 in 2010 dollars! She sent a longer radiogram the day before the departure
since the Tribune agreed to pay the cable costs. Her last message was 94 words (including the
address) costing the Tribune at least $555.54 in 2010 dollars!

Putnam was running short of money which is why he had to get the Tribune to pick up the cost of
the last cable. Who was going to pay for the telephone calls to Putnam and to Lockheed?

Is there any reason to even believe that telephone calls from Lae to the U.S. were even possible
in 1937? There was no undersea telegraph cable to Lae then, which is why the messages
exchanged were by radiogram so what would make anybody think that there was an undersea
telephone cable available? What about radio telephone calls on short wave? That's a pretty long
distance to cover by voice radio which is why Morse code was used to pass messages and, even
for Morse messages, they had to be passed in a series of relays,  so I think it is highly unlikely
that it would have been possible to make a radiotelephone call to the States from Lae. I have attached
a map of the cables across the Pacific in 1939, none goes near Lae.


Very nice!

Quote
Bottom line, I don't believe the claims Gore Vidal. Note that this claim is hearsay. Gore Vidal
said his father told him, Gore wasn't actually there. (And Gore Vidal was also the source for the
supposed romance between his father and AE shown in the recent movie so it calls that claim
into question also.)

Agreed. 
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: richie conroy on January 06, 2012, 11:26:38 PM
the radio waves bounce up an down off stratosphere so if u have 1 radio Ariel pointing and sending signals from papa new guinea towards howland

and u have 1 sending radio waves from say jarvis island, say a mayday from plane they cud get estimated distance from station it was comeing from,

an the one in papa new guinea could estimate the distance from there station, which would in theory pin point the mayday call

 :) 
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 07, 2012, 12:21:06 AM


"Gore Vidal: "Well, just the night before the final flight, she reported in and they had a code phrase, 'personnel problems,' which meant Noonan was back drinking. And my father said, 'Just stop it right now and come home,' and G.P. agreed and said, 'Come back, abort the flight, forget it, come home.' And then she said, 'Oh, no,' and she said, 'I think it’ll be all right,' something like that. So you may put that down to invincible optimism or it may have been huge pessimism."


"Personnel unfitness" (or if "personal unfitness") was apparently a very private term devised between AE and GP which seems intended to import real meaning but without bringing negatives to the light in their publicity efforts.  What was so dark about it that they didn't want it creeping into the headlines?

If the Vidal observation is reliable the term carried potentially grave meanings - it would be no light thing to cancel plans, and AE resisted it at least on the occasion mentioned by Vidal.




Were there any newspaper headlines--

EXCLUSIVE! PHONE CALL TO LAE REVEALS.......

Does anybody have any proof that such a
call was even possible? After the disappearance did anybody in the states place phone
calls to Lae to get information about AE's departure and prior actions? Were
there any phone calls to Collopy or Chatter or Balfour? I would have expected at
least one newspaper to make such calls during the heat of the search. I would
have expected Putnam to make these calls, any record that he did? Were any phone
calls made to the states from Lae after the disappearance and during the search
period by Chatter or Collopy of Balfour or other officials to provide
information to aid in the search? Why not?

Oh, I see, they couldn't get a dial tone.

gl




Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 07, 2012, 12:29:01 AM



"Gore Vidal: "Well, just the night before the final flight, she reported in and they had a code phrase, 'personnel problems,' which meant Noonan was back drinking. And my father said, 'Just stop it right now and come home,' and G.P. agreed and said, 'Come back, abort the flight, forget it, come home.' And then she said, 'Oh, no,' and she said, 'I think it’ll be all right,' something like that. So you may put that down to invincible optimism or it may have been huge pessimism."


"Personnel unfitness" (or if "personal unfitness") was apparently a very private term devised between AE and GP which seems intended to import real meaning but without bringing negatives to the light in their publicity efforts.  What was so dark about it that they didn't want it creeping into the headlines?

If the Vidal observation is reliable the term carried potentially grave meanings - it would be no light thing to cancel plans, and AE resisted it at least on the occasion mentioned by Vidal.



Amelia called Putnam from Surabaja. "George included only the end of the conversation in his book, stating that it was 'the last conversation I had with her.'" East To The Dawn, Susan Butler, page 399. Putnam never said that he had spoken with Ameila in Lae.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 07, 2012, 07:42:18 AM
... Oh, I see, they couldn't get a dial tone.

Things are starting to look a little more complicated this morning.  From the old Forum (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Forum/Forum_Archives/200502.txt):

Date: Sat, 5 Feb 2005 10:12:43
From: Mike Juliano
Subject: Re: Phone service to New Guinea

"1934: AT&T inaugurates transpacific telephone service, initially between the US and Japan. Calls travel across the Pacific via radio. The initial capacity is one call at a time at a cost of $39 for the first three minutes."

LTM Mike J.

==============================================

Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2005 12:24:27
From: Skeet Gifford
Subject: Re: Phone service to New Guinea

> From Mike Juliano
>
> "The initial capacity is one call at a time at a cost of $39 for the
> first three minutes."

That's about $550 in 2004 dollars.

Ric claimed that AE did phone in a story from Lae to the New York Herald Tribune (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae#.22Personnel_unfitness.22).  I haven't gone looking for his source yet.  But the quotation from Ric reminds me that Putnam was in California.  I speculate that the office of the New York Herald Tribune that took AE's press report was in New York. 

Confirmed: "Putnam had negotiated an arrangement with the Herald Tribune newspaper syndicate for Amelia to phone, or when necessary wire, the syndicate’s New York office from each destination with a travelogue about her flight and the exotic people and places she saw along the way. Earhart’s bylined story would be carried in the next morning’s paper. For the syndicate this was an opportunity to give Herald Tribune readers a first-person, serialized, near-real-time account of  what it was like to travel the world by air. For Earhart and Putnam it was a publicist’s dream come true: coverage of  Amelia’s adventures, as told by Amelia, featured in major papers around the country virtually every day for a month or more" (Finding Amelia, pp. 32-33).

Confirmed: There was international telephone service from Lae to the U.S. mainland.  But Earhart was low on cash, and it seems that she could not afford to pay for another call to the Herald Tribune after her call on 30 June.

This does not mean that her husband could not have called her from California, but his own near-contemporaneous testimony is that his last telephone call with her took place when she was in Surabaya on 24/25 June.

I've tried to pull together all of the available information in this article (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae#.22Personnel_unfitness.22).
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 07, 2012, 09:13:26 AM
No one wants to think that FN had a drinking problem and was incapacitated enough that this contributed to not finding Howland but it must be considered.

Let's consider this, then, if we "must."

AE sees Fred drinking.  She decides that they can't leave because he won't navigate well, and sends the previously-agreed upon code that means, "Fred is drunk as a skunk."

Now, having established her bona fides as an estimator of inebriation and a cautious pilot who thought she was too young to die.

The telegram you quote was from June 29.

The airplane did not take off until July 2.

Apart from the recorded difficulties with the chronometer and weather reports (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_lae), you are now asking us to entertain various undocumented suppositions:

1) Fred stayed drunk for the next four days, but did get his chronometers set in spite of his intoxication.

2) Only Earhart noticed this condition (we have no evidence of unusually heavy drinking on Fred's part in Lae; many pilots were heavy drinkers in the Golden Age of Aviation; such things do not happen nowadays, of course).

3) Rather than continue to exercise prudent restraint on July 2nd, she cast her fate to the winds and set off to get lost with the drunken sot instead of exposing him to the withering wrath of society.  She could not bear to use the secret code again to signal her displeasure to her husband, so she decided to take her chances on Fred sobering up before the real heavy lifting began 20 hours into the flight.

So, now that I have considered what must be considered, what conclusion must I come to?

Marty, since there is noted discussions in this forum and other documents as to "was FN drinking" then we are "considering it" already.  It has been discussed by many long before me raising it.

However you make three points in "your" consideration.

Point 1.  Please check times.  You noted the telegram was sent the same day as they landed. June 29.  They took off July 2.  See http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae)  That's three days. Not four.  (possible issues with time zones as well).  Secondly, it is documented that FN got his time check and set his chronometers. http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae).   Am I nitpicking?  If the standard is to accurately state the facts then we must.  Otherwise forum readers will reach the wrong conclusions. 

Point 2.  How do you know that "only" Earhart noticed this condition?  A lack of evidence doesn't mean it isn't true.  Who else was to report this?  To whom?  If heavy drinking was the norm then why would it be note worthy anyway?   You're stating an unknown as a fact.

Point 3.  You could be absolutely right. You don't know.  Neither do I.

These three undocumented suppositions are just that. Undocumented suppositions. However as I said, a lack of evidence does not mean it didn't happen.  We just don't know. But there are noted "suggestions" that FN was a drinker and that this may have been a contributing factor  and these "suggestions" need to be examined for the evidence value. This is testing. You decide after the facts are gathered if it's true or not. Just like a court. But I suggest you do a disservice to the hypothesis if you don't examine the "suggestions".  In a court case both sides make opening statements/arguments then set about proving and disproving using evidence. The evidence supports one position better than the other. But the evidence doesn't make the statements. And lack of evidence doesn't mean it didn't happen. 

In my opinion and respectfully submitted.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 07, 2012, 11:22:27 AM
No one wants to think that FN had a drinking problem and was incapacitated enough that this contributed to not finding Howland but it must be considered.

Let's consider this, then, if we "must."

AE sees Fred drinking.  She decides that they can't leave because he won't navigate well, and sends the previously-agreed upon code that means, "Fred is drunk as a skunk."

Now, having established her bona fides as an estimator of inebriation and a cautious pilot who thought she was too young to die.

The telegram you quote was from June 29.

The airplane did not take off until July 2.

Apart from the recorded difficulties with the chronometer and weather reports (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_lae), you are now asking us to entertain various undocumented suppositions:

1) Fred stayed drunk for the next four days, but did get his chronometers set in spite of his intoxication.

2) Only Earhart noticed this condition (we have no evidence of unusually heavy drinking on Fred's part in Lae; many pilots were heavy drinkers in the Golden Age of Aviation; such things do not happen nowadays, of course).

3) Rather than continue to exercise prudent restraint on July 2nd, she cast her fate to the winds and set off to get lost with the drunken sot instead of exposing him to the withering wrath of society.  She could not bear to use the secret code again to signal her displeasure to her husband, so she decided to take her chances on Fred sobering up before the real heavy lifting began 20 hours into the flight.

So, now that I have considered what must be considered, what conclusion must I come to?

I don't really think he was drunk when he got aboard.  Yes, I discombogulated the timing of the gram and departure.

I think it's possible he and AE did all kinds of things to 'polish' their less-than perfect images when they could; the clock-setting makes a great postive 'byte' (or 'bite', or whatever the pols call it these days...).  Call it as you will (and yes, it was a necessary function). 

I doubt AE would have been as concerned with saving FN from the wrath of society as with preserving her own carefully made image - GP would have no less, and there'd be no more flying adventures and public adoration for her if she failed in their eyes.  I think she had an underlying 'better die than look bad' element in her make-up - but call it was you will.

I suspect FN may have been prone to pull a spooker and 'wash his mouth' when bored - just MHO.

I don't know who else here has had experience with drunks (and apologies if I am offending, but I've also had one or two who were very close to me and I love them anyway), but I have had some - including transporting people who started out completely sober, and for no apparent reason and without any visible resource (until the spooker came out of some crack somewhere) became completely sotted, on my hands. 

The first time this happened to me I was 19 years old and was in giving an older chap (45ish) a ride home to his sister across state on my weekend trip home from A&P school.  That turned into some kind of ride - and as crappy as it got, when he realized his sister's home was 20 minutes away he started pulling it together well enough to almost appear sober.  Of course he really wasn't - didn't make the front steps without my help, and couldn't have poured urine out of footware, as Gary might put it... and sis' had long been onto baby brother so no surprise to her...

Still makes me a bit sad, actually.  The guy had a gift for writing and singing - started out beautifully - but you shoulda heard what became of his poetry and voice mid-way across Georgia that night... He had been a truck driver, and somewhere in there he presumed giving me driving instructions - one more thing to fight-off.  I should have dropped him off at a police station or sheriff's office in one of our little towns for my own driving safety... but he was just one of God's chilluns gettin' through this world, and we made it home that night.

It was an awakening - and I've never been surprised at this phenomenom in some humans since that time.  So, if I'm a bit too focused on the idea for the comfort of some, well, at least you can get an idea of where I'm coming from.  It's my notion.  Others have had far greater struggles with alcoholics - or alcoholism, and I mean no offense in telling this.  It is a hard disease.

But, if FN was so on his game for the whole flight, then what the hell did happen?  Why wasn't he all over this thing?  Just doesn't smell right.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 07, 2012, 11:53:50 AM
Point 1.  Please check times.  You noted the telegram was sent the same day as they landed. June 29.  They took off July 2.  See http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae)  That's three days. Not four.  (possible issues with time zones as well).

OK.  Using GMT, let's re-count.

From the article you quote: "At 2015GMT [0615 local], June 29th, Earhart sent this message to Itasca: Plan midday takeoff here [June 30 local time]."

So let's use local time consistently.

June 30, 6:30 AM: ""Radio misunderstanding and personnel unfitness probably will hold one day. Have asked Black for forecast for tomorrow. You check meteorologist on job as FN must have star sights."

June 30: day one.
July 1: day two.
July 2: "day" three.

Let's count the hours.  From 0630 30 June to 1000 2 July is 51.5 hours.

Yes, I overstated the count of days.

Quote
Secondly, it is documented that FN got his time check and set his chronometers. http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae).   Am I nitpicking?  If the standard is to accurately state the facts then we must.  Otherwise forum readers will reach the wrong conclusions. 

Yes.  I take that as evidence that FN was on the job.  See below.

Quote
Point 2.  How do you know that "only" Earhart noticed this condition?  A lack of evidence doesn't mean it isn't true.  Who else was to report this?  To whom?  If heavy drinking was the norm then why would it be note worthy anyway?   You're stating an unknown as a fact.

Fair enough.  I should have written that if the tendentious interpretation is placed on "personnel unfitness," then it follows that AE was the only one to comment on Fred's condition in the documents we have at our disposal.

Quote
Point 3.  You could be absolutely right. You don't know.  Neither do I.

This is a sweeping, hasty, and inaccurate generalization.  It is also a red herring.

I'm not claiming "absolute knowledge."  My argument is about the inferences that I draw from the information we have available.

Quote
These three undocumented suppositions are just that. Undocumented suppositions.

I spent more than an hour this morning doing "fact checking" and organizing the references I make to the documentation into a coherent account (http://tighar.org/wiki/Personnel_unfitness#.22Personnel_unfitness.22).  I think I have met the obligations of a researcher.

Quote
However as I said, a lack of evidence does not mean it didn't happen.  We just don't know. But there are noted "suggestions" that FN was a drinker and that this may have been a contributing factor  and these "suggestions" need to be examined for the evidence value.

"Suggestions" have no evidentiary value whatsoever.  Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur: what is freely asserted may be freely denied.

Quote
This is testing. You decide after the facts are gathered if it's true or not. Just like a court.

I've gathered the facts--and shown where I got them.

I've shown why I don't take Gore Vidal's anecdote (told to whom? when?) as a "fact" at all.

For me, these are good and sufficient reasons for not accepting Gore Vidal's interpretation of "personnel unfitness."
Based on other facts placed in evidence, I argue that:
Quote
But I suggest you do a disservice to the hypothesis if you don't examine the "suggestions".

I've done that.  Not just by inspecting the inside of my head, but by exploring the information available.  I've given an account of that exploration of the evidence and explained why I reject what you find in your head as a persuasive interpretation.

Quote
In a court case both sides make opening statements/arguments then set about proving and disproving using evidence. The evidence supports one position better than the other. But the evidence doesn't make the statements. And lack of evidence doesn't mean it didn't happen. 

In other words, your think that your pretty much total lack of evidence from near-contemporaneous documents to show that Fred was incapacitated by alcohol should not be held against you.  You are exercising your right to hold your opinion because you like the way your mind works.

Quote
In my opinion and respectfully submitted.

Since you seem to have trouble getting past the point of having an idea--which, of course, is just like Einstein and other great scientists who start their work by having ideas--let me point you to some documentation about Fred's drinking habits (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Brines_Letter/Brinesletter.html), transcribed by the amazing Pat Thrasher, who is personally responsible for most of the thousands of pages of information available to researchers on the TIGHAR website (http://tighar.org/news/help/82-how-do-i-search-tigharorg).  I'm sure that you will be comforted to know that other psychic researchers like yourself have had suspicions of Fred similar to your own.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 07, 2012, 02:07:39 PM
Ok Marty. Let's start with your "documentation about Fred's drinking habits".

The Brines letter is reproduced in the forum. The cover wording starts "At this time its provenance is unknown but it appears to be a piece of correspondence from one journalist (“Russ Brines”) to another (Richard ?). If authentic, it contains the first contemporaneous reference we’ve seen to Noonan being a heavy drinker and also provides some interesting insights into the attitude of at least some members of the press toward Earhart’s flight and disappearance."

I have read his before. I don't see anything in the forum that says this letter has been confirmed as authentic.  Its a letter or note between two correspondents, unauthenticated So does it fall into your category of undocumented supposition?  It is documented as a "reference".  Not as evidence. Why is it even in this forum?  If we are only to make suggestions with documented evidence then why reprint it here?  Is this part of your coherent account information you gathered to form your argument?

I am basing what I have said on what I read here in this forum.  You're right about lack of evidence. But lack of evidence isn't enough to say something didn't happen. You know that.  The Brines letter is an example of that. You're making a point to me that evidence is important then you point me at this document. It's smoke with no fire. It's not evidence.

I can say that Fred smuggled booze onto the plane and was drinking the whole way from Lae to Gardner. Sober when he set his clocks. In good shape early on the trip and rip snorting drunk at the end. But that's just me "suggesting".  I could say this fits the points you use to say "Based on other facts placed in evidence, I would argue:" starting "Even if Noonan..... Sober to navigate, too".  He was sober at the start, AE didn't need to delay the flight and he could set his clocks.   My story fits your points too. And I have zero evidence. None. Zilch.

"Suggestions" have no evidentiary value whatsoever.  Correct.  You have stated in several replies to forum contributors that "What is freely asserted is freely denied". Not always with those words but in principle. But we are allowed to "freely assert" our suggestions.  You are allowed to "freely deny" these suggestions. and vice versa.

Evidence can support a "suggestion" or it can destroy it. Now look at your information you say is your coherent account. The same page I provided in my link. Under the "Delayed in Lae" wiki page  http://tighar.org/wiki/Personnel_unfitness#.22Personnel_unfitness.22 (http://tighar.org/wiki/Personnel_unfitness#.22Personnel_unfitness.22).  So we both used the same reference material. Granted for different purposes yet I'm called a psychic.  Where on that page does it say FN was NOT drinking?  It doesn't. Just like it doesn't say he WAS drinking.  It just presents information to allow the reader to form their own opinion.

I am not going to further respond to your psychic comments. I read information on and off this forum and form my thoughts based on what I read and see. You may chose to disagree.  For instance the light at Nauru being 5600 feet above sea level. I provided links to information that shows Nauru Island that's essentially flat and 180 feet above sea level. I provided another link to the tallest buildings and structures in the world. I believe the 5600 foot tower is a typo. I believe the tower was shorter than 5600 feet.  No clairvoyance. Others disagree with me.  It is their right. Just as it is your right to disagree with me.  However I suggest the legal system is made up of two sides who both believe they are right.  In this forum, who is the judge, providing fair and impartial comments without allowing personal bias and attack to creep in? 

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 07, 2012, 02:22:34 PM


"Gore Vidal: "Well, just the night before the final flight, she reported in and they had a code phrase, 'personnel problems,' which meant Noonan was back drinking. And my father said, 'Just stop it right now and come home,' and G.P. agreed and said, 'Come back, abort the flight, forget it, come home.' And then she said, 'Oh, no,' and she said, 'I think it’ll be all right,' something like that. So you may put that down to invincible optimism or it may have been huge pessimism."


"Personnel unfitness" (or if "personal unfitness") was apparently a very private term devised between AE and GP which seems intended to import real meaning but without bringing negatives to the light in their publicity efforts.  What was so dark about it that they didn't want it creeping into the headlines?

If the Vidal observation is reliable the term carried potentially grave meanings - it would be no light thing to cancel plans, and AE resisted it at least on the occasion mentioned by Vidal.





Oh, I see, they couldn't get a dial tone.

gl





Earhart sent out several radiograms making clear to everyone the critical importance of receiving a weather forecast from Hawaii before her takeoff. Yet, the important forecast arrived after the takeoff. Why didn't they just pick up the phone?

I have attached a page from Safford's book, showing how difficult it was to get messages to and from Lae.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on January 07, 2012, 02:47:17 PM

A quote from the Brines Letter
Therefore, if this is true, the chances are that Amelia had him
poured into the plane and decided to do the navigqating herself.
Well, she can't -- couldn't -- navigate for sour
apples. And she probably started out for Howland via South
Africa. Actually, then, nobody knows where she fell in the
soup. And the dumb ninny followed her usual routine by refusing
or declining to give position reports throughout the flight.
Her only attempt to say where she was came early the fateful
morning when she offered a "sunline" position -- by desginating
the line on a 360 circle along which she was flying. But
she gave no reference point, so that attempt was worthless.

This after referring to Fred as "a six bottle man" ( a man with a high alchol tolerance) who enjoyed the nightlife at Lae.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on January 07, 2012, 02:58:26 PM

Let me see if I have this straight:
Gore Vidal's recollections of something that happened aren't to be accepted because he was 12 years old when they happened, but Emily Sikulis' recollections at age 72 or so about events that occurred 60 years before when she was 12 years old or so are acceptable.
MMMM  Interesting concept in the search for What Happened.

Read the Brines Letter.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on January 07, 2012, 03:19:39 PM

Chris
If you are asking for a link to The Brines Letter, I found it in Tighar Archived Documents, The Brines Letter.  I don't know how to link it here.  I found my way to the Archived Documents as a link at the end of a link to Betty's Notebook that Marty sent me in an email.  Hope that helps
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Bruce Thomas on January 07, 2012, 03:37:46 PM

...  I don't know how to link it here.  ...
Harry --

Including a link in a Forum posting (http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,127.msg512.html#msg512) is really very easy to do. 
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 07, 2012, 03:38:50 PM
... Oh, I see, they couldn't get a dial tone.

Things are starting to look a little more complicated this morning.  From the old Forum (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Forum/Forum_Archives/200502.txt):

Date: Sat, 5 Feb 2005 10:12:43
From: Mike Juliano
Subject: Re: Phone service to New Guinea

"1934: AT&T inaugurates transpacific telephone service, initially between the US and Japan. Calls travel across the Pacific via radio. The initial capacity is one call at a time at a cost of $39 for the first three minutes."

LTM Mike J.

==============================================

Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2005 12:24:27
From: Skeet Gifford
Subject: Re: Phone service to New Guinea

> From Mike Juliano
>
> "The initial capacity is one call at a time at a cost of $39 for the
> first three minutes."

That's about $550 in 2004 dollars.


Setting up a radio telephone link between the U.S. and Tokyo in 1934 that could carry one call at a time at a price of $597 for three minutes (2011 dollars) does not show that such service was extended to every backwater in the Pacific by 1937. (Except for Earhart aficionados, nobody else has ever heard of Lae and even for the aficionados it wasn't until 1937 that even they heard of Lae.) The link to Tokyo is an example of a "point to point circuit." To set this up AT&T had to build very large antennas designed to send the signal in just one direction, towards Tokyo. These types of antennas are very expensive and cover a lot of real estate. They had to build several, each one designed to be operated on the different frequencies needed at different times of the day. These cover many acres and are usually called "antenna farms" for this reason. These antennas were aimed on an azimuth of 303° to hit Tokyo.  In addition they needed powerful radio transmitters, electricity generators, switching equipment to connect to the telephone system and personnel to operate and maintain the equipment. The only reason that AT&T spent the money for this set up is that they expected to make their money back by handling many, many telephone calls between these business centers.

Now what about doing the same thing to establish a "point to point circuit" to Lae that is 1500 miles farther than Tokyo and that nobody had ever heard of. How much telephone traffic could they expect from that circuit? How long would it take, if ever, to get their investment back for the antenna farm aimed on the 265° azimuth to Lae plus the other costs in setting up this circuit? And who was buying the land in Lae for the antenna farm needed at that end aimed at the AT&T station in the U.S. and paying for the equipment and personnel to build it and to operate it? It is not like setting up a ham rig, just running a wire our the window tied to a tree in your back yard. Radio amateurs get a thrill out of making long distance radio contacts, I have talked to Australia a couple of times with my radio but just A COUPLE OF TIMES. It is very rare when this can be done which is why it is a thrill, the planets have to align just right, and you can't run a telephone system like that. It was a big deal in New Guinea when they first established local radiotelephone service (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/11239443) between only four towns and this wasn't until 1939! And this did not require the large antenna farm or powerful tranmitters.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 07, 2012, 04:09:47 PM
The Brines letter is reproduced in the forum. The cover wording starts "At this time its provenance is unknown but it appears to be a piece of correspondence from one journalist (“Russ Brines”) to another (Richard ?). If authentic, it contains the first contemporaneous reference we’ve seen to Noonan being a heavy drinker and also provides some interesting insights into the attitude of at least some members of the press toward Earhart’s flight and disappearance."

I have read his before. I don't see anything in the forum that says this letter has been confirmed as authentic.  Its a letter or note between two correspondents, unauthenticated So does it fall into your category of undocumented supposition?  It is documented as a "reference".  Not as evidence. Why is it even in this forum?  If we are only to make suggestions with documented evidence then why reprint it here?  Is this part of your coherent account information you gathered to form your argument?

1) If it is from 3 August 1937, it is the only account we have before 1960 of any accusations about Noonan drinking too much.

2) There is nothing in the letter that disqualifies it as a legitimate source.  The Gore Vidal anecdote, by contrast, is undated and is inconsistent with other things we know about 2 July 1937.

3) It is an example of psychic research.  If a journalist in Honolulu wrote it, he did not bestir himself to travel to Lae and get real evidence about what actually happened in Lae. 

Quote
I am basing what I have said on what I read here in this forum.  You're right about lack of evidence. But lack of evidence isn't enough to say something didn't happen. You know that.  The Brines letter is an example of that. You're making a point to me that evidence is important then you point me at this document. It's smoke with no fire. It's not evidence.

It may be evidence about Fred's habits, if it is authentic.

Quote
I can say that Fred smuggled booze onto the plane and was drinking the whole way from Lae to Gardner. Sober when he set his clocks. In good shape early on the trip and rip snorting drunk at the end. But that's just me "suggesting".

Brines claims to have known Fred.  You can't make that claim.  He doesn't say how he knew him, or when, or where.  But there were Pan Am flights into Hawaii, I believe. 

Brines is a researchable person.  We might find out more about him that would make the letter more or less plausible.

Quote
"Suggestions" have no evidentiary value whatsoever.  Correct.  You have stated in several replies to forum contributors that "What is freely asserted is freely denied". Not always with those words but in principle. But we are allowed to "freely assert" our suggestions.  You are allowed to "freely deny" these suggestions. and vice versa.

I have entertained your suggestion.  I have done a review of what we have in hand.  I have discussed what I have found in detail, and explained the inferences I have drawn from that material.

Quote
Evidence can support a "suggestion" or it can destroy it. Now look at your information you say is your coherent account. The same page I provided in my link. Under the "Delayed in Lae" wiki page  http://tighar.org/wiki/Personnel_unfitness#.22Personnel_unfitness.22 (http://tighar.org/wiki/Personnel_unfitness#.22Personnel_unfitness.22).  So we both used the same reference material.

There is two differences I can think of.  I'm the author of the page, and I expanded it today.

Quote
Granted for different purposes yet I'm called a psychic.  Where on that page does it say FN was NOT drinking?  It doesn't. Just like it doesn't say he WAS drinking.  It just presents information to allow the reader to form their own opinion.

You have added no new evidence to the site, other than to register your suspicions about Fred.  That's not "evidence" of any kind.

Quote
I am not going to further respond to your psychic comments. I read information on and off this forum and form my thoughts based on what I read and see. You may chose to disagree.  For instance the light at Nauru being 5600 feet above sea level. I provided links to information that shows Nauru Island that's essentially flat and 180 feet above sea level. I provided another link to the tallest buildings and structures in the world. I believe the 5600 foot tower is a typo. I believe the tower was shorter than 5600 feet.  No clairvoyance. Others disagree with me.

I agree that the 5600-foot light is a conundrum.  Thanks for the links.  That, too, is a researchable topic.  We may be able to find out more about the purpose and placement of that light and find its true height.  But the real height of the light won't change much in our imaginative reconstructions of what Fred could have, should have, or would have done. 

Quote
It is their right. Just as it is your right to disagree with me.  However I suggest the legal system is made up of two sides who both believe they are right.  In this forum, who is the judge, providing fair and impartial comments without allowing personal bias and attack to creep in?

Every reader is a judge who decides what they will accept as valid evidence and trustworthy reasoning. 

If you're calling for my resignation as a member of the webteam or removal as a moderator of the Forum, please feel free to do so.  In that case, Ric Gillespie and Pat Thrasher, acting on behalf of TIGHAR's board of directors, are the judges.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 07, 2012, 04:26:50 PM
Earhart sent out several radiograms making clear to everyone the critical importance of receiving a weather forecast from Hawaii before her takeoff. Yet, the important forecast arrived after the takeoff. Why didn't they just pick up the phone?

A wildly-amateur guess: The folks preparing the forecasts didn't have the necessary equipment to take the call.
Or, if they did, they thought it wasn't necessary to spend the money to make the call.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Alfred Hendrickson on January 07, 2012, 04:29:41 PM
"If you're calling for my resignation as a member of the webteam or removal as a moderator of the Forum . . . . "

Whoa! Martin stays. And that's final. If he goes, I'm leaving, too.

 :)
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 07, 2012, 04:32:14 PM

Let me see if I have this straight:

Gore Vidal's recollections of something that happened aren't to be accepted because he was 12 years old when they happened ...

That's not straight yet.

That's one ingredient suggesting why he wouldn't have been an ear-witness.

I gave other reasons why the story seems to to me to be impossible.

Quote
, but Emily Sikulis' recollections at age 72 or so about events that occurred 60 years before when she was 12 years old or so are acceptable.

You may as well throw Betty  (http://tighar.org/wiki/Betty)into the mix while you're at it.

Emily and Betty were talking about what they saw with their own eyes and heard with their own ears.  I suppose someone could go cross-question Gore Vidal, if they can get access to him.

Quote
Read the Brines Letter.

Hmmmmmm.  I think we're talking about that because I did that already.  I even added the relevant passages to the wiki (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_lae#The_Brines_Letter), to make it easier for people to find it again.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 07, 2012, 04:38:03 PM
... Now what about doing the same thing to establish a "point to point circuit" to Lae that is 1500 miles farther than Tokyo and that nobody had ever heard of. How much telephone traffic could they expect from that circuit? How long would it take, if ever, to get their investment back for the antenna farm aimed on the 265° azimuth to Lae plus the other costs in setting up this circuit? And who was buying the land in Lae for the antenna farm needed at that end aimed at the AT&T station in the U.S. and paying for the equipment and personnel to build it and to operate it? ...

Lae was a gold-mining center.  There was money in town.

Weren't you the one who gave us the stats on how busy the Lae airport was?  I've been told to take it easy, so I'll let someone else find that post in the Forum.

Apart from that, we have evidence that AE spoke by telephone with the Herald Tribune from Lae.

 "Amelia did not talk to her husband from Lae. She did telephone a travelogue story to the New York Herald Tribune [on 30 June], as she had from nearly every stop on the world flight" ("Part 2 of Ric's Review of Amelia, the movie." (http://tighar.org/smf/../news/news/earhart-project/93-part-2-of-rics-review)).

Gillespie, Forum, 4 Sep 2005: (http://tighar.org/smf/../Projects/Earhart/Archives/Forum/Forum_Archives/200509.txt) "Earhart filed her June 30th story to the Herald Tribune from Lae by telephone, so phone service from Lae WAS available.  In theory, she could have telephoned the Coast Guard's San Francisco Division in Oakland.  They were maintaining frequent radio schedules directly to Itasca.  The problem seems to have been money.  Earhart had to pay for the phone calls and, due to the delays in Java, she was running out of cash.  After calling in her June 30 story she sent a wire to Putnam saying that if the Tribune wanted more stories they would have to set up an account in Lae.  They didn't,  and her last 'Denmark's a prison...' story on July 1st was sent as a collect telegram.  Maybe it wasn't possible to make a collect international phone call."
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Bruce Thomas on January 07, 2012, 05:20:45 PM
... Now what about doing the same thing to establish a "point to point circuit" to Lae that is 1500 miles farther than Tokyo and that nobody had ever heard of. How much telephone traffic could they expect from that circuit? How long would it take, if ever, to get their investment back for the antenna farm aimed on the 265° azimuth to Lae plus the other costs in setting up this circuit? And who was buying the land in Lae for the antenna farm needed at that end aimed at the AT&T station in the U.S. and paying for the equipment and personnel to build it and to operate it? ...

Lae was a gold-mining center.  There was money in town.

Weren't you the one who gave us the stats on how busy the Lae airport was?  I've been told to take it easy, so I'll let someone else find that post in the Forum.

Apart from that, we have evidence that AE spoke by telephone with the Herald Tribune from Lae.

 "Amelia did not talk to her husband from Lae. She did telephone a travelogue story to the New York Herald Tribune [on 30 June], as she had from nearly every stop on the world flight" ("Part 2 of Ric's Review of Amelia, the movie." (http://tighar.org/smf/../news/news/earhart-project/93-part-2-of-rics-review)).

Gillespie, Forum, 4 Sep 2005: (http://tighar.org/smf/../Projects/Earhart/Archives/Forum/Forum_Archives/200509.txt) "Earhart filed her June 30th story to the Herald Tribune from Lae by telephone, so phone service from Lae WAS available.  In theory, she could have telephoned the Coast Guard's San Francisco Division in Oakland.  They were maintaining frequent radio schedules directly to Itasca.  The problem seems to have been money.  Earhart had to pay for the phone calls and, due to the delays in Java, she was running out of cash.  After calling in her June 30 story she sent a wire to Putnam saying that if the Tribune wanted more stories they would have to set up an account in Lae.  They didn't,  and her last 'Denmark's a prison...' story on July 1st was sent as a collect telegram.  Maybe it wasn't possible to make a collect international phone call."

Here's a link to Gary's earlier post (December 5, 2011) about Rabaul's airport(s) (http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,533.msg6953.html#msg6953) and the busyness of the Lae airport.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 07, 2012, 05:57:58 PM

Ric claimed that AE did phone in a story from Lae to the New York Herald Tribune (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae#.22Personnel_unfitness.22).  I haven't gone looking for his source yet.  But the quotation from Ric reminds me that Putnam was in California.  I speculate that the office of the New York Herald Tribune that took AE's press report was in New York. 

Confirmed: "Putnam had negotiated an arrangement with the Herald Tribune newspaper syndicate for Amelia to phone, or when necessary wire, the syndicate’s New York office from each destination with a travelogue about her flight and the exotic people and places she saw along the way. Earhart’s bylined story would be carried in the next morning’s paper. For the syndicate this was an opportunity to give Herald Tribune readers a first-person, serialized, near-real-time account of  what it was like to travel the world by air. For Earhart and Putnam it was a publicist’s dream come true: coverage of  Amelia’s adventures, as told by Amelia, featured in major papers around the country virtually every day for a month or more" (Finding Amelia, pp. 32-33).

Confirmed: There was international telephone service from Lae to the U.S. mainland.  But Earhart was low on cash, and it seems that she could not afford to pay for another call to the Herald Tribune after her call on 30 June.


Well, not so fast.

All of my research confirms that there was no telephone service, either by undersea cable or by radiotelephone (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=555.0;attach=665), from Lae to the outside world in 1937. Even local radio telephone service in New Guinea  (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/11239443)did not come on line until 1939.
It appears the only evidence that telephone service was available between Lae and the U.S. is the story printed in the Herald Tribune that, it is claimed, had been telephoned by Earhart in Lae to the newspaper. Let's look at this claim.

The last chapter of Earhart's book, Last Flight, reprints the two stories printed in the Herald Tribune. The second part of the chapter, beginning with "'Denmark's a prison...'," is the newspaper story clearly sent by radiogram. We know this because we can find this radiogram at the Purdue site. This story was printed in the July 2, 1937 edition of the newspaper. The first half of the chapter beginning with "After a flight of seven hours..." was the earlier story sent to the newspaper and this story is the one claimed to have been telephoned by Earhart. We can't find a copy of a radiogram for this story but I have found a telegram from the Herald Tribune to Putnam acknowledging the receipt of this story and that first story was clearly sent by radiogram. This telegram is dated June 29 so it cannot be referring to the radiogram for the second story because the radiogram for the second story did not arrive until July 2nd. The June 29th acknowledgment telegram states;

"LAE DISPATCH ARRIVED LATE TONIGHT..."

The word "DISPATCH" obviously did not refer to a telephone call. "Dispatch" was the commonly used word in the newspaper industry to mean "a story sent in by a correspondent." The dispatch was received late at night on June 29th but early enough for this telegram to be send to Putnam, still on the 29th. So let's say it arrived around 10:00 p.m. New York time. Lae is 15 hours ahead of New York so the message was sent some time prior to 1:00 p.m. in Lae on June 30th, the day after Earhart had arrived in Lae.

I have attached a copy of this telegram. I have also attached a copy of the radiogram containing the second story showing it was received "VIA RCA" from Lae NG (RCA= Radio Corporation of America, an obvious radiogram) on July 2nd at 3:48 in the morning.

This appears to be another case (all too common in scholarship, and  well represented in writings about Earhart) of the first person writing a story getting it wrong and then everyone else just copying off of his paper without going back to the source documents themselves. It looks like decent research because they include cites to their sources, and they usually cite to the original document cited in the secondary source that they are actually using, not revealing that they are only using a secondary source. But since the secondary source got it wrong the error propagates throughout the literature, like a snowball rolling downhill. (TIGHAR is to be congratulated on its instance of references to the original documents.)

A couple of other examples of this in the Earhart saga.

From Lovell's book:
"...Her obsession with weight may have been taken to extreme length,
for according to Harry Balfour, radio operator at Lae, survival
equipment was also taken off. Balfour claimed that "she unloaded all her
surplus equipment on me including her [Very] pistol and ammunition,
books, letters and facility books"".

I don't know who placed the "Very" inside the brackets but, according to Balfour, the "pistol" that Earhart gave him was an "automatic pistol," apparently carried for personal protection, not an emergency signaling "Very Pistol." I don't know who was the person who made this change to Balfour's words and if it was done out of ignorance or if it was due to "political correctness." I am still curious who changed "automatic pistol" to "[Very] pistol", was it Ms. Lovell or her source? She footnotes this information as coming from Francis X. Holbrook, NA&SM Library, Amelia Earhart General File: F0171300. The fact "Very" was put in brackets shows that it was deliberately changed, but why and by whom? The letter from Balfour containing this quote was sent to Holbrook. Almost every book (http://tighar.org/wiki/Flare_pistol) about Earhart repeats this as the basis for claiming that Earhart did not have a very pistol (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,173.msg1301.html#msg1301)l with her but it does not support that claim.


It is amazing how often these kinds of things happen. Someone makes a statement that is erroneous and it gets repeated over and over until it becomes gospel, nobody goes back to check out the accuracy of the original statement. Here is another example that goes back to a seemingly unimpeachable source as it comes from Earhart herself. She wrote in her book that they flew the 163 miles from St. Louis to Dakar the next morning. The problem with this statement is that it is NOT 163 miles from St. Louis to Dakar, it is only about 101 SM. BUT, it IS 163 kilometers. Where did Earhart get this information? Did somebody tell her "kilometers" and she got confused and wrote "miles?" Or did she just ask somebody at Dakar  "hey Pierre, how far is it to St. Louis from here?" "Il est cent, soixant- trois, Madame" and Amelia just assumed he meant miles, not kilometers.

But the 163 miles number has been printed in virtually all the Earhart books, it has become gospel.

gl


Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 07, 2012, 06:37:08 PM
... Now what about doing the same thing to establish a "point to point circuit" to Lae that is 1500 miles farther than Tokyo and that nobody had ever heard of. How much telephone traffic could they expect from that circuit? How long would it take, if ever, to get their investment back for the antenna farm aimed on the 265° azimuth to Lae plus the other costs in setting up this circuit? And who was buying the land in Lae for the antenna farm needed at that end aimed at the AT&T station in the U.S. and paying for the equipment and personnel to build it and to operate it? ...

Lae was a gold-mining center.  There was money in town.

Weren't you the one who gave us the stats on how busy the Lae airport was?  I've been told to take it easy, so I'll let someone else find that post in the Forum.


Yes, and it still took until 1939 to set up radiotelephone connections between the gold fields and Lae, and these communications were much more important than an occasional call to the states and also much easier to set up. If Lae ever did set up over ocean radiotelephone equipment, it is much more likely that the antenna was aimed at Australia than at the U.S. since New Guinea was administered by Australia and the gold was NOT being mined by U.S. companies or interests.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 07, 2012, 07:18:49 PM
I doubt Gore Vidal was an eyewitness - I think it is more likely that he's recounting something told by his father Gene, the director of the Bureau of Air Commerce, who was close to Earhart and Putnam.  He seems to be summing up an understanding of an exchange, perhaps as told by Putnam well after the fact.  That would make it about... third hand, if so.  He WAS closer to the people involved than you or I though, wasn't he?

He was about 12 years old in the summer of 1937.

I doubt that he wrote these things down.

He was a novelist.

The story has the feel of a well-worn, oft-told anecdote. 
Quote

I find it interesting: we can see that the first part of his statement is true - the 'personnel problems' comment is accurate enough; did he then go 'over the top' for some reason about the rest of it?  You say it 'sounds' over the top; I may see it as a retelling of an understanding - and 'why would he create a fictional outcome of the report?

Because this is something people often do, for various and sundry reasons?

Quote

What was this guy really like?


I don't know, and I don't much care.

I don't see any point in doing a psychic profile of Fred in order to determine what he would have done on the flight.  You seem to find this of profound significance.  I don't.

Quote

How do you know they ever got that close?


Because "Radio" Direction Finding (http://tighar.org/wiki/RDF) uses a phenomenon called "radio waves" to help find out what direction a transmission was made from.  There were these wonderful things called "radio waves" travelling from the aircraft to Howland for about six hours, (http://tighar.org/wiki/Transmission_timeline) with the signal strength of the "radio waves" growing steadily stronger, which makes the task of those trying to find the "direction" from the "radio waves" are being transmitted easier and easier.

I can, if need be, define "radio," "direction," and "finding" in simpler terms, if need be.

Quote

He had far more experience in airplanes reliant on RDF than AE did.


His experience was not from being at the controls of the equipment, but from having messages transmitted and delivered by professional radio operators.  How much have you learned about flying from riding in the passenger cabin of modern aircraft?

Quote

If you put my country butt in the back of NR16020 with a trans-oceanic newby like AE up front and no boat bottom under us to navigate that far and home in on a beacon, I'm going to be looking into the arrangements pretty firmly with all I do know, especially after a steller experience with Pan Am, etc.  That's a crack in the perception of FN as the perfect navigator: he wasn't that pefect - it's evident to me that he wasn't applying his full acumen to this flight. 


Amelia had flown as a passenger across the Atlantic.

She had flown the Atlantic solo.

She had flown from Hawaii to California solo.

These are things that some of us like to call "facts." (http://tighar.org/wiki/Earhart)  Is there any way to persuade you to use "facts" as a check on your powers of psychic investigation?

Quote

I take it that you mean you don't believe AE could have navigated to the LOP by herself - you couldn't possibly know that.


Yes.  This was the conviction that I expressed in the English language when I wrote, "Could Amelia have done so?  My own view is 'No.'  YMMV."

By the word "view," I mean my considered opinion, after spending 12 years diligently reading the materials on the TIGHAR website.

By the expression, "YMMV," I had intended to indicate "Your mileage may vary," which is a common way of saying that I understand you may not agree with the view that I had just expressed.

Quote

How else to dream of such goals?  How else to pursue greater understanding than to first conceive?  How else to get into so much trouble... yes, the risk of 'fantasy' is real, I agree.


I dream pretty much every night.  Most of it is dreck.

When I wake up in the morning, if something abides, I'll try to check it against reality.

Wiley imagined the oxygen mask.  He then proceded to make it work.  Reality confirmed his dream.

He imagined that he could both navigate and fly solo around the world.  He beat the record he had set with Harold Gatty doing the navigating.  Reality confirmed his dream.

Your fantasies seem not to be testable.  We can't build anything out of them, nor do they lead us to look in a different location than Gardner, nor use different techniques.

Quote

But, fantasy?  Do I really violate the bounds of reason here?  I've proceeded more by reason and given observations than by the heart of the poet (wouldn't you know it).


See above for a few "facts" that you failed to include in your dreams, as well as some doubts about the stories you use to make the fire burn more brightly.

Marty,

Obviously we'll never agree on much of this - no sweat.  You don't care about what influence FN's behavior may have had on the flight, I do.  OK.

Maybe FN was a distant relative of yours and I've stepped on your toes... you say you don't care, but I wonder... if so, my apologies.  Or, perhaps you're really paranoid that I'm trying to rock TIGHAR's boat somehow (I don't for the life of me see how).  I'm afraid somehow you've taken my posts lately quite too personally - your tone distinctly digs.  OK.

For the record, which I trust is already clear actually, I'm not seeking to re-direct the quest at all.  I don't see that anything in my posts has undermined any of the conditions of TIGHAR's Gardner hypothesis, which in my apparent current fantasy seems to be your fear.  I've merely expanded on a line of thought about the mess led to a sad end for AE and FN to possibly understand it better - I don't find it so neatly explained so far. 

FN had a personal life and it's fair game to try to understand how that may play into this story - just as we've certainly considered much of that about AE.  By your own remarks, AE "made a hash" of things (and I can see that) - but somehow FN is allowed to sit dumbly in the back while she did so.  As long as we search - and even after NR16020 may be pulled from the depths - I will seek to understand this story as fully as I can, and I don't buy that AE's malactions were the sole reason for the flight's failing.

Now, if there's somehow been a hatchet brought to this discussion, I'd really prefer to bury it.  I think we're both actually bigger than that.  But if I'm wrong and find myself dismissed, it's been nice being with you folks - any who wish may reach me via my email.

LTM, Marty, and all - been a pleasure!
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 07, 2012, 07:21:31 PM

Here's a link to Gary's earlier post (December 5, 2011) about Rabaul's airport(s) (http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,533.msg6953.html#msg6953) and the busyness of the Lae airport.


Thanks, Bruce.  I've added that to "Delayed in Lae." (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae)  Truly amazing what a gold rush can do to a town!
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 07, 2012, 07:54:28 PM
Brines - interesting fellow, thanks for that link.

Interesting update on the new / updated "Delayed in Lae" / Brines letter / 'Observations' (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae) page.  That was fast.

I get it now -

As some see it (and I can understand why), if FN is considered disabled at a crucial time in the flight, the LOP cannot have a rational basis.

The LOP must be reliable - AE said she was on it.

No, I agree, we just can't have FN being drunk.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 07, 2012, 08:07:32 PM

I take offense at your personal remark: ...


OK.

Quote
I'm frankly more saddened than offended, I think, that you should get so personal as to essentially declare me a lunatic - an ignorant spinner of raw fantasy with no touch in fact - a thing which according to your pointed, personal remark I am supposedly incapable of understanding short of an education from you.

OK.

Quote
Well, it's up to you to judge me a nut or not, just as may all others present judge my writings and being for themselves, but personally it lowers my opinion of your own objectivity, if not sense of basic charity.  Too bad, but I can live with it.

Great!

Quote
Actually, as you seem to understand, I was not speaking of sleeping dreams, but the kinds of dreams some humans have that amount to vision of what may be and working toward greater understanding and achievement through reason and application of 'fact', that's all.  I feel for folks who can't do that - and pity those who cannot handle it in others - the world would be dim without it - and devoid of working hypotheses.

I've explained in some detail why I reject your hypothesis.  I am not opposed to the role of hypotheses in investigation--quite the contrary!  I don't find any merit in this hypothesis, and I don't find that judgment modified one whit by the thought that many human disciplines make progress by the use of imaginative reconsideration of data.

Quote
Although you have graciously provided some details about contemporaneous communications (many thanks) you see FN as a given quantity and essentially irrelevant as to his personal situation and disposition.

That is not an accurate representation of my view.  I think there are good reasons to believe that the "personnel unfitness" was resolved by the time of takeoff, and therefore--for me--is of no explanatory value in answering the question, "Why didn't they find Howland?"

Quote
I simply disagree.  You too use your opinions just as profusely as you use facts - so, physician, heal thyself.  Or, perhaps you simply see my own powers of reasoning as vastly inferior to yours.  Well, you are entitled to your opinion. 

Thanks.  My opinion is that we have no reason to believe that Fred was inebriated on 2 July 1937. 

Quote
I get your point that AE is the spoiler by wrecking the end-game RDF scheme (which I understand quite well, but thanks for the offer of the third grade course); FN is off-limits somehow - he apparently could not have failed. 

That's not my point at all.  Here is my article on "Failure to communicate," (http://tighar.org/wiki/Failure_to_communicate) which shows the many people who contributed to the mess long beforehand.  That's the research that underlies my remark that Amelia made a hash of the RDF.

I take it that you now accept what you previously questioned: Fred got them close enough to Howland for RDF to have worked--if AE had understood what was needed to provide a transmission that could be homed in on or to receive a transmission on which she could take a bearing.  She was the one who had the cockpit laid out for her to run the radios.  She was the one who chose to replace the Hooven receiver with an older model.  She was the one who failed to understand what frequencies would work.  She was the one who blithely explained away her failure to get a null in Lae.  She was the pilot in command--very much in command. 

Did Fred miss a trick by not studying the theory and practice of radio operations?  Yes.  Does that have anything to do with his drinking?  I think not. 

Quote
I simply disagree.  FN is as much up for review as AE as to how they arrived in their mess, that's all.

Ah.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 07, 2012, 08:14:35 PM
Brines - interesting fellow, thanks for that link.

You're welcome.  I'm the one who introduced Brines into this thread.  I found the letter by using the search engine (http://tighar.org/news/help/82-how-do-i-search-tigharorg), which is free and available to anyone to use to find things like this on the website.

Quote
Interesting update on the new / updated "Delayed in Lae" / Brines letter / 'Observations' (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae) page.  That was fast.

No, it took an hour of hard work.

Quote
I get it now -

As some see it (and I can understand why), if FN is considered disabled at a crucial time in the flight, the LOP cannot have a rational basis.

The LOP must be reliable - AE said she was on it.

No, I agree, we just can't have FN being drunk.

Nothing to that effect is on that page.

Do you understand that it is not appropriate in an argument to impute a position to the other that is different from what the other person has said?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 07, 2012, 09:23:03 PM
The Brines letter is reproduced in the forum. The cover wording starts "At this time its provenance is unknown but it appears to be a piece of correspondence from one journalist (“Russ Brines”) to another (Richard ?). If authentic, it contains the first contemporaneous reference we’ve seen to Noonan being a heavy drinker and also provides some interesting insights into the attitude of at least some members of the press toward Earhart’s flight and disappearance."

I have read his before. I don't see anything in the forum that says this letter has been confirmed as authentic.  Its a letter or note between two correspondents, unauthenticated So does it fall into your category of undocumented supposition?  It is documented as a "reference".  Not as evidence. Why is it even in this forum?  If we are only to make suggestions with documented evidence then why reprint it here?  Is this part of your coherent account information you gathered to form your argument?

1) If it is from 3 August 1937, it is the only account we have before 1960 of any accusations about Noonan drinking too much.

2) There is nothing in the letter that disqualifies it as a legitimate source.  The Gore Vidal anecdote, by contrast, is undated and is inconsistent with other things we know about 2 July 1937.

3) It is an example of psychic research.  If a journalist in Honolulu wrote it, he did not bestir himself to travel to Lae and get real evidence about what actually happened in Lae. 

Quote
I am basing what I have said on what I read here in this forum.  You're right about lack of evidence. But lack of evidence isn't enough to say something didn't happen. You know that.  The Brines letter is an example of that. You're making a point to me that evidence is important then you point me at this document. It's smoke with no fire. It's not evidence.

It may be evidence about Fred's habits, if it is authentic.

Quote
I can say that Fred smuggled booze onto the plane and was drinking the whole way from Lae to Gardner. Sober when he set his clocks. In good shape early on the trip and rip snorting drunk at the end. But that's just me "suggesting".

Brines claims to have known Fred.  You can't make that claim.  He doesn't say how he knew him, or when, or where.  But there were Pan Am flights into Hawaii, I believe. 

Brines is a researchable person.  We might find out more about him that would make the letter more or less plausible.

Quote
"Suggestions" have no evidentiary value whatsoever.  Correct.  You have stated in several replies to forum contributors that "What is freely asserted is freely denied". Not always with those words but in principle. But we are allowed to "freely assert" our suggestions.  You are allowed to "freely deny" these suggestions. and vice versa.

I have entertained your suggestion.  I have done a review of what we have in hand.  I have discussed what I have found in detail, and explained the inferences I have drawn from that material.

Quote
Evidence can support a "suggestion" or it can destroy it. Now look at your information you say is your coherent account. The same page I provided in my link. Under the "Delayed in Lae" wiki page  http://tighar.org/wiki/Personnel_unfitness#.22Personnel_unfitness.22 (http://tighar.org/wiki/Personnel_unfitness#.22Personnel_unfitness.22).  So we both used the same reference material.

There is two differences I can think of.  I'm the author of the page, and I expanded it today.

Quote
Granted for different purposes yet I'm called a psychic.  Where on that page does it say FN was NOT drinking?  It doesn't. Just like it doesn't say he WAS drinking.  It just presents information to allow the reader to form their own opinion.

You have added no new evidence to the site, other than to register your suspicions about Fred.  That's not "evidence" of any kind.
Quote


I am not going to further respond to your psychic comments. I read information on and off this forum and form my thoughts based on what I read and see. You may chose to disagree.  For instance the light at Nauru being 5600 feet above sea level. I provided links to information that shows Nauru Island that's essentially flat and 180 feet above sea level. I provided another link to the tallest buildings and structures in the world. I believe the 5600 foot tower is a typo. I believe the tower was shorter than 5600 feet.  No clairvoyance. Others disagree with me.

I agree that the 5600-foot light is a conundrum.  Thanks for the links.  That, too, is a researchable topic.  We may be able to find out more about the purpose and placement of that light and find its true height.  But the real height of the light won't change much in our imaginative reconstructions of what Fred could have, should have, or would have done. 

Quote
It is their right. Just as it is your right to disagree with me.  However I suggest the legal system is made up of two sides who both believe they are right.  In this forum, who is the judge, providing fair and impartial comments without allowing personal bias and attack to creep in?

Every reader is a judge who decides what they will accept as valid evidence and trustworthy reasoning. 

If you're calling for my resignation as a member of the webteam or removal as a moderator of the Forum, please feel free to do so.  In that case, Ric Gillespie and Pat Thrasher, acting on behalf of TIGHAR's board of directors, are the judges.

I did not ask for anyone's resignation. It is one thing to state your case for your opinion as a forum contributor. It is yet another to claim a contributor has crank ideas or is doing psychic research or, as with others, claim they are fantasizing.  Forum etiquette should suggest that everyone's comments or posts be respected equally. In particular the administrator should hold himself to the highest standard and set the example regardless of his personal opinion.

I respect Marty's knowledge and as I have stated in the past he has a tough job with newbies going over old, seemingly "everyone should know this" ground.  However I take exception to ANY post by anyone in this forum who personally attacks others. Take exception with their opinion by all means. Post evidence that substantiates your position.  But do NOT say it in a personal negative manner.  If I am wrong and personal attacks are fair game then I will leave this forum. I do know one thing and that is if you hold someone to your standards then you are the judge. Marty has replied that the Individuals on this forum are the judges. That's good enough for me.

I am being told that I have not advanced evidence of FN's drinking. Where does it state that I must advance evidence of anything?  Are you suggesting that to not advance evidence is some form of failure on my part?  I am not allowed to advance thoughts based on current evidence?

Marty accepted his position. It comes with higher standards than a regular contributor.  I happen to think he does a hell of a job. His forum management and topical knowledge are excellent. 

However, lets look at his responses on the Brines letter.  He says it may be evidence but it hasn't been proven as such. It might be someday  He also says it's psychic research. Well Marty which is it?  I am supposed to say your right and I'm wrong based on that??  Let's agree Marty to disagree.

Many times I have agreed with his statements and position but If Marty gets frustrated by people like me then he has to decide how to handle it.  Who raised the idea of him resigning?  It sure wasn't me.  Read the threads.

And like Jeff, if TIGHAR decides to throw me off this forum then it has been a pleasure and I am sorry I wont be able to read or contribute any further. I'll just keep talking with others.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: John Kada on January 07, 2012, 09:41:48 PM
In reply #171, Marty makes the sensible suggestion that:

"Brines is a researchable person.  We might find out more about him that would make the letter more or less plausible."

A quick Google search turns up a brief obituary of Brines at:
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1320&dat=19820625&id=ESsgAAAAIBAJ&sjid=wukDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6295,3418939

Furthermore, Google indicates that the University of Wyoming's American Heritage Center has Brines's papers:

Brines, Russell
Papers, 1924-1982
4 cubic ft. (4 boxes)
Acc. # 08894
Russell Brines (1911-1982) was an Associated Press journalist who covered World War II in the Philippines and Japan and also the Korean War. He was an expert on Japanese and Asian affairs and author of the book MacArthur's Japan.

Collection contains personal and professional correspondence; research files on Japan, Vietnam and communist expansion in Asia; 3 scrapbooks; 1 audiocassette tape of a memorial for Brines in Japan; the manuscript for MacArthur's Japan; photographs of the Allied occupation of Japan after World War II, the Korean War and Brines; and miscellaneous memorabilia.

Perhaps a Tighar member could have a look at these papers and see if anything in them sheds light on whether Brines is a credible source of information of FN's drinking habits.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Alfred Hendrickson on January 07, 2012, 09:57:54 PM
Sorry, I gotta ask . . .

Irvine Donald, and Jeff Neville: Where do you get the idea that you're gonna be tossed off this forum? No one has suggested or threatened that, have they?

 ???
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 07, 2012, 09:59:46 PM
Good post John. I appreciate the thoughts and idea.  I do believe Brines existed as a person. The current Brines Letter has not been authenticated by TIGHAR but I believe it to be real. That doesn't mean I necessarily believe the contents to be valid. Some people don't believe Gore Vidal and his story. This falls into the same category. Just because it's written doesn't make it true.  In fact neither does TIGHAR.  Look here at http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae). Check out the Brines letter section.

Thanks for your input.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Alfred Hendrickson on January 07, 2012, 10:10:20 PM

Furthermore, Google indicates that the University of Wyoming's American Heritage Center has Brines's papers:

Brines, Russell
Papers, 1924-1982
4 cubic ft. (4 boxes)
Acc. # 08894
Russell Brines (1911-1982) was an Associated Press journalist who covered World War II in the Philippines and Japan and also the Korean War. He was an expert on Japanese and Asian affairs and author of the book MacArthur's Japan.

Collection contains personal and professional correspondence; research files on Japan, Vietnam and communist expansion in Asia; 3 scrapbooks; 1 audiocassette tape of a memorial for Brines in Japan; the manuscript for MacArthur's Japan; photographs of the Allied occupation of Japan after World War II, the Korean War and Brines; and miscellaneous memorabilia.

Perhaps a Tighar member could have a look at these papers and see if anything in them sheds light on whether Brines is a credible source of information of FN's drinking habits.

UW - my alma mater. Its 300 miles away from my home. What a fun assignment. Sift thru boxes of papers looking for something that would shed light on whether Brines would know about Noonan's tendency to imbibe. I've not ever taken on a task like this. Is it normal for places that hold these types of collections to allow researchers to dig thru them?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 07, 2012, 10:23:41 PM
I did not ask for anyone's resignation. It is one thing to state your case for your opinion as a forum contributor. It is yet another to claim a contributor has crank ideas or is doing psychic research or, as with others, claim they are fantasizing.  Forum etiquette should suggest that everyone's comments or posts be respected equally. In particular the administrator should hold himself to the highest standard and set the example regardless of his personal opinion.

OK. 

Quote
I am being told that I have not advanced evidence of FN's drinking.

Yes.

Quote
Where does it state that I must advance evidence of anything?

That is something I thought was an agreed-upon principle of reasoned discourse.

Quote
Are you suggesting that to not advance evidence is some form of failure on my part? 

Yes.

Quote
I am not allowed to advance thoughts based on current evidence?

To what "current evidence" are you referring?

Quote
However, lets look at his responses on the Brines letter.  He says it may be evidence but it hasn't been proven as such.

Correct.  I'm being honest about the fact that we don't know for sure whether the letter is authentic or a very clever hoax.

That is based on information outside of the letter.  It is a fact that we do not have a good chain of evidence about how the letter came to TIGHAR that would help establish that it is authentic.

Quote
It might be someday.

Yes.  Brines is dead, but some EPAC members have traced some of his family.  They may be able to say whether the letter is authentic or may have some information that would allow it to be identified as a hoax.

Quote
  He also says it's psychic research. Well Marty which is it? 

Yes.  That is a judgment on the content of the letter.  This judgment is independent of whether or not the letter is authentic.  The letter writer has an idea in his head, but he reveals that he is in Honolulu and does not claim to have been in Lae watching Noonan get drunk. 

Quote
I am supposed to say your right and I'm wrong based on that??  Let's agree Marty to disagree.

OK.

Quote
Many times I have agreed with his statements and position but If Marty gets frustrated by people like me then he has to decide how to handle it.  Who raised the idea of him resigning?  It sure wasn't me.  Read the threads.

I raised the idea.  Someone asked me about who gets to judge who is acting reasonably and responsibly in the Forum.  I explained how I see the different levels of judgment that take place here.  I serve at the pleasure of the the TIGHAR executives, who act on behalf of the Board. 
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on January 07, 2012, 10:33:03 PM

A little addition to the previous post about Russel Brines

Not only did he "work" for Associated Press, he became the Bureau Chief of the Tokyo Bureau. 
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 07, 2012, 10:48:27 PM
A quick Google search turns up a brief obituary of Brines at:
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1320&dat=19820625&id=ESsgAAAAIBAJ&sjid=wukDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6295,3418939 (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1320&dat=19820625&id=ESsgAAAAIBAJ&sjid=wukDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6295,3418939)

Furthermore, Google indicates that the University of Wyoming's American Heritage Center has Brines's papers: ...


Well done, John!  I've started an article on Brines (http://tighar.org/wiki/Russel_D._Brines) with the material you found.  His obituary suggests that he was in Hawaii at least from 1933 to 1939, which gives him time to get to know Noonan personally and then to write the letter from Honolulu in 1937.

Thanks for taking time to Google and then report the results here.  Very much appreciated!
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 07, 2012, 10:54:18 PM
Is it normal for places that hold these types of collections to allow researchers to dig thru them?

Yes.  The reasons libraries collect archives is to allow people to use them for research.

The best thing to do is to call the library and ask, politely, under what conditions you might be able to view the collection.

If you go to the archive, ask them if they have a "finding aid" or some other index to the collection.

Then it depends on how you want to dig after that.  Going through materials from 1933 to 1937 might solidify whether  and what kind of contact he had with Fred.  There might be other July-August 1937 letters on Amelia's disappearance.  After that, it's up to you to decide what to do with the net 45 years of materials. 

Take copies of the letter with you to show the archivist.  The original might be in the archive.

Don't say "TIGHAR sent me" unless you get a formal letter from Ric or Pat on TIGHAR stationery to that effect.  All you have to say is that it's a topic that interests you.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 07, 2012, 11:33:30 PM
Sorry, I gotta ask . . .

Irvine Donald, and Jeff Neville: Where do you get the idea that you're gonna be tossed off this forum? No one has suggested or threatened that, have they?

 ???

Hi Alfred. Thanks for that great question. Don't apologize for it.  I can only speak for myself at this point. I have seen one other forum contributor tossed from this forum. Mr Van Asten. He submitted posts that challenged many people in terms of technical issues. A lot of the information he posted was in doubt as to source and validity.  The reason he was tossed should come from Marty and Ric. They tossed him. I have also seen Gary Lapook censured due to a posting he made regarding Bob Brandenburg's authority as an expert.  I believe that was a valid censure due to my personal belief that you should be able to object to someone's statements or opinions but without making them personal. I think Gary crossed that line. The posting in question was removed pretty quickly so I have nothing to quote. No evidence. Perhaps he didn't. He can ably speak for himself.

Lately I feel I have had my opinions personally attacked.  Without censure to the offending party.  This forum should apply its rules, policies and procedures equally to all members across the board. Without exception.   

I have also spoken with other forum members re this situation. Not on the forum. There is a general feeling that speaking out against the TIGHAR hypothesis will bring some form of personal attack. This negatively effects forum input by all members. New and old.

No one has suggested I may be tossed but the general tone of recent responses to my posts has been personal in nature. It feels similar to the way Mr Van Asten was handled. Essentially told I'm not advancing evidenciary proof.  My ideas are not founded in evidence and I'm doing crank and psychic research.  Same as Van Asten.  Am I taking this personally?  Yes.  I'm human.  One of two things will happen. Either I choose to go or I will say something that is used to toss me. That simple.

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 08, 2012, 12:54:35 AM
Sorry, I gotta ask . . .

Irvine Donald, and Jeff Neville: Where do you get the idea that you're gonna be tossed off this forum? No one has suggested or threatened that, have they?

 ???
I think Gary crossed that line. The posting in question was removed pretty quickly so I have nothing to quote. No evidence. Perhaps he didn't. He can ably speak for himself.

I have also spoken with other forum members re this situation. Not on the forum. There is a general feeling that speaking out against the TIGHAR hypothesis will bring some form of personal attack. This negatively effects forum input by all members. New and old.


For the record, I have no heartburn over that post of mine being removed, it was late at night and I was being quite crotchity. As to Mr. van Asten's situation, it was my complaint I think that led to his ouster. It was not that he was advancing celestial navigation theories that were demonstrably wrong, I had spent lots of time corresponding with him both on line and offline to help educate him about celestial navigation. My complaint was that he was being dishonest and purposefully deceptive in leaving out of a quote, that he claimed supported his position, the middle portion of the quoted material, that he replaced with an ellipsis, that said exactly the opposite. Fortunately I had a copy of the book from which he was quoting. (You can read my complaint here (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,383.msg5129.html#msg5129).) We're all entitled to our opinions and we can advance them with cites to evidence or to logic that supports them. However, this does not include being purposefully deceptive and dishonest in carrying on this discourse.

As to the second part I quoted above, I have been speaking out against the TIGHAR hypothesis since 2002 (in fact, I may be the naysayer in chief) and I don't remember any personal attacks.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 08, 2012, 06:51:50 AM
Brines - interesting fellow, thanks for that link.

You're welcome.  I'm the one who introduced Brines into this thread.  I found the letter by using the search engine (http://tighar.org/news/help/82-how-do-i-search-tigharorg), which is free and available to anyone to use to find things like this on the website.

Quote
Interesting update on the new / updated "Delayed in Lae" / Brines letter / 'Observations' (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae) page.  That was fast.

No, it took an hour of hard work.

Quote
I get it now -

As some see it (and I can understand why), if FN is considered disabled at a crucial time in the flight, the LOP cannot have a rational basis.

The LOP must be reliable - AE said she was on it.

No, I agree, we just can't have FN being drunk.

Nothing to that effect is on that page.

Do you understand that it is not appropriate in an argument to impute a position to the other that is different from what the other person has said?

I'm not arguing anything, Marty.  I'm not taking that conclusion from the "Delayed" page, either -

It's rather a summary realization of what is evidently very important to you - it dawned on me after considering what you did in your hour of hard work (that was fast).

Just as you have your opinions, that's mine.  You, and other readers, are free to decide if the shoe fits, but I'm glad you got the point.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 08, 2012, 07:50:23 AM
I'm not arguing anything, Marty.  I'm not taking that conclusion from the "Delayed" page, either -

OK.  We start with an admission that you have no argument and no evidence to back up what you're saying.

Quote
It's rather a summary realization of what is evidently very important to you - it dawned on me after considering what you did in your hour of hard work (that was fast).

Just as you have your opinions, that's mine.  You, and other readers, are free to decide if the shoe fits, but I'm glad you got the point.

Ah.  I see that we disagree about what is and is not "evident," and therefore what counts as evidence.

You are reasoning from a "realization" about how my mind works, not from anything that I've written.

Thanks for letting me know what's "evidently very important" to me.  I clearly can't gainsay your revelation.  Any effort to show that you have misunderstood me would be "defensive," and "defensiveness" is evidence that your "realization" is true.  And if I classify a position adopted without argument and without evidence as "psychic investigation," then I am insulting your intelligence and scaring other hypothesizers away from the Forum.   :-\
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Bruce Thomas on January 08, 2012, 12:01:30 PM
Maybe off-line ... would be more appropriate ...

Amen, Jeff!   :D

The private message feature of the Forum is a wonderful healing aid ... I've found it second only to self-imposed silence to maintaining my equilibrium. 

My late father was a ham radio operator (for 77 years) but even though I'd fall asleep as a kid listening to him exchanging pleasantries in CW (http://tighar.org/wiki/CW) to hams around the world (we lived in a rare DX (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DXing) location in the Caribbean not long after WWII) the bug never bit me (you can slap me hard for that pun).  I never could understand how he could listen so patiently to some other ham's lengthy monologues and then, when the QSO (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_radio_contact) was finished, sign off and explain how whatever that guy claimed to be true was so patently wrong.  (One of those fellows has been mentioned on this Forum, a colorful individual -- with another anecdote about AE remembered from his childhood -- who I met when he visited Dad on that Caribbean isle; a man whose many stories Dad especially expressed opinions about later.)  But now I think I've mastered Dad's m.o. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modus_operandi), and I can now channel his serenity.

But another method of "staying clam (http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,364.msg8269.html#msg8269)" that I have found to be effective is to call up one of the many months' worth of the old AE Forum (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Forum/Forum_Archives/archiveindex.html) and skim through its entirety.  Hours whiz by and my eyeballs begin to glaze over.  And it's amusing to see how many of our current musings are just repeats of what has been hashed over 10-15 years ago.  And there were fireworks back then, too -- self-proclaimed expertise, bombasts, and egregious name-calling.  I can especially recommend December 2003 -- the high-water mark for outlandish posters, including Bonnie, John, Don, and Carol.  ;D  (A helpful hint:  when looking at one of those files that does not wrap at the right-hand margin, copy and paste the entire thing into a temporary word-processor document for easier reading.)

This station is now going QRT (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QRT) again.   

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 08, 2012, 12:23:47 PM
Well, not so fast.

All of my research confirms that there was no telephone service, either by undersea cable or by radiotelephone (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=555.0;attach=665), from Lae to the outside world in 1937. Even local radio telephone service in New Guinea  (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/11239443)did not come on line until 1939.

What is the source of the image?

Quote
It appears the only evidence that telephone service was available between Lae and the U.S. is the story printed in the Herald Tribune that, it is claimed, had been telephoned by Earhart in Lae to the newspaper.

Yes.  That seems to be Ric's reasoning, as far as I can tell.  He quotes the Tribune in the footnotes for Finding Amelia.

From the old Forum (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Forum/Forum_Archives/200502.txt):

Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2005 15:43:36
From: Ric Gillespie
Subject: Phone service in New Guinea

On June 30, 1937 the New York Herald Tribune ran an article headlined "Amelia Ready to Fly to Howland Island".  The article is a first-person account by AE of her flight to Lae from Darwin and her plans for departing for Howland.  Under the headline is the notation "by telephone to the Herald Tribune".

I have always been under the impression that there was no telephone service from Lae to the United States.  If there was phone service it's hard to understand why Earhart communicated to Putnam from there by cablegram unless it was purely a matter of expense ( the phone call to the Trib was certainly paid for by the paper). Earhart and Putnam did talk by phone when she was in Karachi, India and again when she was in Bandoeng, Java.

Elgen Long, on page 178 of his book, says that "Earhart asked if she could make a telephone call to the United States and was told there was no telephone service from New Guinea."  Unfortunately, he cites no source for the statement. If Long is right then the Herald Tribune article is very strange.

I've started a table of the message traffic to and from Lae (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae#Message_Traffic), putting the entries in chronological order (where possible) and making some guesses otherwise. 

Quote
The last chapter of Earhart's book, Last Flight, reprints the two stories printed in the Herald Tribune. The second part of the chapter, beginning with "'Denmark's a prison...'," is the newspaper story clearly sent by radiogram. We know this because we can find this radiogram at the Purdue site. This story was printed in the July 2, 1937 edition of the newspaper. The first half of the chapter beginning with "After a flight of seven hours..." was the earlier story sent to the newspaper and th is story is the one claimed to have been telephoned by Earhart. We can't find a copy of a radiogram for this story but I have found a telegram from the Herald Tribune to Putnam acknowledging the receipt of this story and that first story was clearly sent by radiogram. This telegram is dated June 29 so it cannot be referring to the radiogram for the second story because the radiogram for the second story did not arrive until July 2nd. The June 29th acknowledgment telegram states;

"LAE DISPATCH ARRIVED LATE TONIGHT..."

The word "DISPATCH" obviously did not refer to a telephone call.

What is "obvious" to one may not be obvious to another.

Since that same telegram says "LAE DISPATCH ARRIVED LATE TONIGHT. THINK WE HAVE SOLVED CABLE CREDIT DIFFICULTY," it might be referring to the preceding telegram, address both to Putnam and the Tribune, which read, in part: "ARRANGE CREDIT IF TRIBUNE WISHES MORE STORY."  The Tribune telegram might mean, "We received the telegram from Earhart that asked us to arrange credit for her."  In other words, Putnam does not have to take any further action on that particular request made in the telegram that was sent to both parties.

Quote
"Dispatch" was the commonly used word in the newspaper industry to mean "a story sent in by a correspondent." The dispatch was received late at night on June 29th but early enough for this telegram to be send to Putnam, still on the 29th. So let's say it arrived around 10:00 p.m. New York time. Lae is 15 hours ahead of New York so the message was sent some time prior to 1:00 p.m. in Lae on June 30th, the day after Earhart had arrived in Lae.

Yes, that's possible.

Quote
I have attached a copy of this telegram. I have also attached a copy of the radiogram containing the second story showing it was received "VIA RCA" from Lae NG (RCA= Radio Corporation of America, an obvious radiogram) on July 2nd at 3:48 in the morning.

I have put those telegrams in my table (http://tighar.org/wiki/Delayed_in_Lae#Message_Traffic), along with links to the Purdue archive, so that folks can see where you got them (I presume you got them from Purdue).

Quote
This appears to be another case (all too common in scholarship, and  well represented in writings about Earhart) of the first person writing a story getting and it wrong and then everyone else just copying off of his paper without going back to the source documents themselves. It looks like decent research because they include cites to their sources, and they usually cite to the original document cited in the secondary source that they are actually using, not revealing that they are only using a secondary source. But since the secondary source got it wrong the error propagates throughout the literature, like a snowball rolling downhill. (TIGHAR is to be congratulated on its instance of references to the original documents.)

Yes, I rely on secondary sources that I consider trustworthy.  The case might be settled decisively by examining the archives for the Tribune, if they exist, and finding the missing source of the first material from Earhart in Lae.

Of course, I should be happy that you may have shown that there was no "telephone" link from Lae to New York, despite the by-line in the Tribune.  It's one more nail in the coffin of the Gore anecdote, which is, I believe, where this all began.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 08, 2012, 04:08:29 PM

What is "obvious" to one may not be obvious to another.

Since that same telegram says "LAE DISPATCH ARRIVED LATE TONIGHT. THINK WE HAVE SOLVED CABLE CREDIT DIFFICULTY," it might be referring to the preceding telegram, address both to Putnam and the Tribune, which read, in part: "ARRANGE CREDIT IF TRIBUNE WISHES MORE STORY."  The Tribune telegram might mean, "We received the telegram from Earhart that asked us to arrange credit for her."  In other words, Putnam does not have to take any further action on that particular request made in the telegram that was sent to both parties.
The problem with that explanation is that the "ARRANGE CREDIT IF TRIBUNE WISHES MORE STORY" radiogram arrived at 5:53 p.m. which I don't think anyone would describe as "ARRIVED LATE TONIGHT. Prior to 6:00 p.m. is normally called "afternoon" not "night" and certainly not "late night." The confirmatory telegram sent out later on the night of the 29th did refer to this radiogram but also to the "DISPATCH" that arrived later, "late night". They apparently arranged credit in response to the 5:53 p.m. telegram that allowed Earhart to send the "dispatch" later that day.

Earhart sent only two "dispatches" to the newspaper, the one in dispute and the second one that was printed several days later. The confirmatory telegram referred to a "dispatch" sent by Earhart from Lae on June 30th, (Lae date and time.) The story printed in the Harold Tribune had the dateline "Lae, New Guinea, June 30th."

I rest my case.

What we probably have here is just a simple typesetter's error setting "telephone" instead of the correct "telegraph." These types of errors are common enough today with computerized typesetting and it was even more common on the old linotype machines, (though it was cool watching the hot slugs of lead type come out of the machine.)

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 08, 2012, 06:21:21 PM
I am seeking out opinions about the approach to where AE and FN thought Howland was. The following questions are based on the assumption that DR was used and FN was not able to obtain a celestial fix.

1) Assuming they were at 8,000ft for the long haul to Howland, when would they begin their decent? I thought I had read a recommendation, maybe in the 487 report, that a descent should begin at 150 to 100 miles out and power should be maintained during the descent. Can anyone tell me otherwise? Do we have an historical info on how AE handled approaches in the past with specific values for rate of descent or speed?

2) At 19:12 GMT, AE stated "we must be on you". Do we suppose that as soon as the clock was a ETA zero that they stopped in their tracks and started circling or was this perhaps sometime after ETA was zero, some number of miles later? Would they continue on the same heading to see if the Island came in to view? Could the 19:12 GMT report have been transmitted when they decided it was time to give up on the flight line having passed up where they thought Howland was some time ago?

3) If they did give up on finding Howland on the flight path, would they back track (do a 180 turn) to where they originally thought Howland was or would they just begin a search pattern where found themselves after giving up?

4)  How long do you suppose they sat their circling before taking some action? They searched for a full hour before the final transmission at 20:13 GMT. Would they have been aware of the 10% worst case error in the DR and immediately headed North and South on the 157/337 LOP to determine if they were North or South of Howland?

5) Why choose the 157/337 line anyway? I am not seeing the logic for following this LOP unless their line of approach that was pre-determined ahead of time was 90 degrees out from this line.

Thank you in advance.

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 08, 2012, 06:52:12 PM

Since that same telegram says "LAE DISPATCH ARRIVED LATE TONIGHT. THINK WE HAVE SOLVED CABLE CREDIT DIFFICULTY," it might be referring to the preceding telegram, addressed both to Putnam and the Tribune, which read, in part: "ARRANGE CREDIT IF TRIBUNE WISHES MORE STORY."  ...

The problem with that explanation is that the "ARRANGE CREDIT IF TRIBUNE WISHES MORE STORY" radiogram arrived at 5:53 p.m. which I don't think anyone would describe as "ARRIVED LATE TONIGHT.

The man who said "ARRIVED LATE TONIGHT" is Hill, who is located in NYC, and for whom 5:53 PM would be 8:53 PM.  I don't know how quickly the Oakland, California, office of the Tribune could relay the telegram to NYC, so it may have come to NYC later than 8:53 PM.  I've dated Hill's telegram 29-06 PM EST, but I couldn't see a time stamp in it for when it was sent.

Quote
Prior to 6:00 p.m. is normally called "afternoon" not "night" and certainly not "late night." The confirmatory telegram sent out later on the night of the 29th did refer to this radiogram but also to the "DISPATCH" that arrived later, "late night". They apparently arranged credit in response to the 5:53 p.m. telegram that allowed Earhart to send the "dispatch" later that day.

I don't think that's right.  The credit is mentioned in the "dispatch received" telegram.  I believe the credit let AE send the 9-page telegram that is available at Purdue, 01-07 2200A? Lae (I can't make heads nor tails out of the "2200A").  The clue is in the heading: "FAB55 VIA RCA=F NG 570 1/100 PRESS COLLECT 1 2200A."

Quote
Earhart sent only two "dispatches" to the newspaper, the one in dispute and the second one that was printed several days later. The confirmatory telegram referred to a "dispatch" sent by Earhart from Lae on June 30th, (Lae date and time.) The story printed in the Harold Tribune had the dateline "Lae, New Guinea, June 30th."

Have you got a scan or a link to the original newspaper article?  The way I read the footnote in Finding Amelia, the article was published in the 30 June edition of the Tribune.

Quote
What we probably have here is just a simple typesetter's error setting "telephone" instead of the correct "telegraph." These types of errors are common enough today with computerized typesetting and it was even more common on the old linotype machines, (though it was cool watching the hot slugs of lead type come out of the machine.)

Yes, it could be a mistake.  Another possibility is that there might have been a patch from Lae to the mainland via Nukulau, if there was a telephone line from Lae to Nukulau.  It wouldn't be the first time in the story that folks scrambled to get something special for "Miss Earhart."

You have rested your case, but the jury is still out.   ::)

Marty
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 08, 2012, 09:45:02 PM

Since that same telegram says "LAE DISPATCH ARRIVED LATE TONIGHT. THINK WE HAVE SOLVED CABLE CREDIT DIFFICULTY," it might be referring to the preceding telegram, addressed both to Putnam and the Tribune, which read, in part: "ARRANGE CREDIT IF TRIBUNE WISHES MORE STORY."  ...

The problem with that explanation is that the "ARRANGE CREDIT IF TRIBUNE WISHES MORE STORY" radiogram arrived at 5:53 p.m. which I don't think anyone would describe as "ARRIVED LATE TONIGHT.

The man who said "ARRIVED LATE TONIGHT" is Hill, who is located in NYC, and for whom 5:53 PM would be 8:53 PM.  I don't know how quickly the Oakland, California, office of the Tribune could relay the telegram to NYC, so it may have come to NYC later than 8:53 PM.  I've dated Hill's telegram 29-06 PM EST, but I couldn't see a time stamp in it for when it was sent.

Quote
Prior to 6:00 p.m. is normally called "afternoon" not "night" and certainly not "late night." The confirmatory telegram sent out later on the night of the 29th did refer to this radiogram but also to the "DISPATCH" that arrived later, "late night". They apparently arranged credit in response to the 5:53 p.m. telegram that allowed Earhart to send the "dispatch" later that day.

I don't think that's right.  The credit is mentioned in the "dispatch received" telegram.  I believe the credit let AE send the 9-page telegram that is available at Purdue, 01-07 2200A? Lae (I can't make heads nor tails out of the "2200A").  The clue is in the heading: "FAB55 VIA RCA=F NG 570 1/100 PRESS COLLECT 1 2200A."

Quote
Earhart sent only two "dispatches" to the newspaper, the one in dispute and the second one that was printed several days later. The confirmatory telegram referred to a "dispatch" sent by Earhart from Lae on June 30th, (Lae date and time.) The story printed in the Harold Tribune had the dateline "Lae, New Guinea, June 30th."

Have you got a scan or a link to the original newspaper article?  The way I read the footnote in Finding Amelia, the article was published in the 30 June edition of the Tribune.

Quote
What we probably have here is just a simple typesetter's error setting "telephone" instead of the correct "telegraph." These types of errors are common enough today with computerized typesetting and it was even more common on the old linotype machines, (though it was cool watching the hot slugs of lead type come out of the machine.)

Yes, it could be a mistake.  Another possibility is that there might have been a patch from Lae to the mainland via Nukulau, if there was a telephone line from Lae to Nukulau.  It wouldn't be the first time in the story that folks scrambled to get something special for "Miss Earhart."

You have rested your case, but the jury is still out.   ::)

Marty

According to contemporary Australian newspapers, they landed at Lae at 2:56 p.m. on the 29th, not much time to do any sightseeing that day since sunset was less than three hours later and they had to put the plane to bed first, check into the hotel etc., and she reported some sightseeing in the first dispatch.

I looked at your table of transmissions. Looking at the disputed dispatch it could not have been sent on the 29th. Read the story as reprinted in Last Flight and you will find her saying "We stayed at a hotel...", past tense, not a present tense, "We stay at a hotel..." or "We are staying at a hotel..." It is clear that this was sent after spending a night in the hotel in Lae so it must be June 30th, not June 29th. 

The "arrange credit" telegram was sent out at 6:30 a.m. Lae time on June 30th. She had already sent a telegram to the Itasca at 6:15 a.m.


Let's look at a time line that would allow the confirmatory telegram to be referencing only the "arrange credit" telegram. She would have had to have telephoned the story in to the newspaper very early on the morning of June 30th prior to her sending out the "arrange credit" telegram at 6:30 a.m. Who paid for the telephone call? And why incur the expense of sending a telegram later to arrange credit when she could have just asked for that while on the telephone? You are obviously reading "ARRANGE CREDIT IF TRIBUNE WISHES MORE STORY. " as more story after the one I already phoned in from Lae and I am reading it as more story period, the dispatch from Darwin is all they are going to get unless they pony up some money.

My reading of these telegrams is this. Earhart is out of money and cannot send a dispatch to the paper or make a phone call. She sends out the request to "arrange credit"  at 6:30 a.m. She goes sightseeing and works that into her planned dispatch. She is informed later that morning or early afternoon that credit for collect telegrams to the newspaper has been arranged so she sends her dispatch at that time which arrives "LATE TONIGHT" on the 29th either in New York or in Oakland. At 11:32 p.m. on the 29th Hill sends a night letter to Putnam confirming receipt of her dispatch and containing the words "THINK WE HAVE SOLVED CABLE CREDIT DIFFICULTY" most likely as evidenced by the fact that RCA and Western Union had accepted her dispatch and had delivered it to the Herald Tribune office. This is a common construction as in "I think I have solved my electrical problem ...the lights just came on."
If the request to arrange credit had only arrived "LATE TONIGHT" how could Hill have solved the "CABLE CREDIT DIFFICULTY" prior to sending the telegram to Putnam at 11:32 p.m.? Who did he talk to? How did he put up cash if that was required that late at night? If the telegram to Putnam only referred to the credit situation then why does it mention the "dispatch?" I believe the credit arrangement allowed her to send both of the dispatches from Lae.

By Nukulau in the Fijis, I take it you are talking about a cable landing in Suva. There were no telephone cables to Suva either from the U.S or from New Guinea in 1937, see chart of cables (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=555.0;attach=665). The cable going to Suva was a telegraph cable, not a telephone cable. The first Trans-Atlantic telephone cable was laid in 1956 and the first Trans-Pacific telephone cable did not arrive until 1964 (http://www.corp.att.com/history/milestones.html). There were no telephone lines out of Lae to anywhere, which is why it was a big deal when local radiotelephone links were established in 1939.



gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 09, 2012, 01:11:25 AM
I am seeking out opinions about the approach to where AE and FN thought Howland was. The following questions are based on the assumption that DR was used and FN was not able to obtain a celestial fix.

1) Assuming they were at 8,000ft for the long haul to Howland, when would they begin their decent? I thought I had read a recommendation, maybe in the 487 report, that a descent should begin at 150 to 100 miles out and power should be maintained during the descent. Can anyone tell me otherwise? Do we have an historical info on how AE handled approaches in the past with specific values for rate of descent or speed?
You can begin your descent whenever you want to however to get maximum range you want to do a long slow descent which is why that advice is in report 487. More important is getting an observation of the sun when getting close to the LOP which would require (if there were clouds below) delaying the decent until about 10 to 15 NM short of the LOP and slowing down as necessary. They could actually wait until intercepting the LOP and then spiral down through the clouds to ensure accurately being on the LOP.
Quote


2) At 19:12 GMT, AE stated "we must be on you". Do we suppose that as soon as the clock was a ETA zero that they stopped in their tracks and started circling or was this perhaps sometime after ETA was zero, some number of miles later? Would they continue on the same heading to see if the Island came in to view? Could the 19:12 GMT report have been transmitted when they decided it was time to give up on the flight line having passed up where they thought Howland was some time ago?

There are a number of possibilities. If Earhart misunderstood the LOP approach process then she might have sent this message when they first turned onto the LOP. As an example I have been assuming intercepting the LOP 60 NM north-northwest and, to make it simple, assume they are making a ground speed along the LOP of 120 knots, 2 NM per minute so this would make the call 30 minutes premature.

Or, she might have made the call 30 minutes after the interception which would place then very near Howland. But would she say "MUST be on you" at this point since, when doing the LOP approach, the island could still be another 60 NM ahead? Let's put it in everyday terms. Your buddy gave you directions to his house, "get off the freeway and drive five miles west on route 34." So you get off the freeway and watching you odometer you drive until is says "5.0" miles and you haven't seen your buddy's house. Would you at the exact "5.0" mile point get on your cellphone and call your buddy and say "I must be at your house but I cant's see it?" Probably not. You would probably drive a couple of miles further before making this call because there might have been some inaccuracy in your buddy's directions or in the odometer readout. When you have gone far enough that you are sure that you have missed it you get on the phone.  This is the third place where Earhart may have made that call, when Noonan was sure they had missed the island and this would be 60 NM past the place where they expected to be right over the island so this would be 30 minutes after that point. I'd guess the third choice is the most probable or someplace between two and three, she might have been getting antsy.

Quote

3) If they did give up on finding Howland on the flight path, would they back track (do a 180 turn) to where they originally thought Howland was or would they just begin a search pattern where found themselves after giving up?
They should go back to where they expected the island to be, say 60 NM, but they shouldn't follow back on the LOP since they have already searched that area but should sidestep and parallel the LOP by slightly less than twice the visibility so as to search that area effectively.

Quote


4)  How long do you suppose they sat their circling before taking some action? They searched for a full hour before the final transmission at 20:13 GMT. Would they have been aware of the 10% worst case error in the DR and immediately headed North and South on the 157/337 LOP to determine if they were North or South of Howland?
After flying back the 60 NM (in my example) and absent aquiring additional information, they should start an expanding square search pattern, or a modification of it, and continue it until finding the island or running out of fuel. The moon was available and might have been visible at their altitude (depending on cloud cover) or they could have climbed above the clouds to shoot it and the sun again. The moon was positioned to give them information on whether they were north or south of Howland. The moon also would have allowed them to know how far from Howland they were when intercepting the LOP.
Quote

5) Why choose the 157/337 line anyway? I am not seeing the logic for following this LOP unless their line of approach that was pre-determined ahead of time was 90 degrees out from this line.
They had no choice, it was determined by the location of the sun. The LOP runs at right angles to the azimuth of the sun. When the sun rose, and for an hour afterward, the azimuth of the sun was 067° true which causes the LOP to be 90° greater, 157° and it reciprocal, 337°. For a more complete description of the LOP approach process go to my website here (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/navigation-to-howland-island) and here (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/topics/landfall-procedure).
Quote

Thank you in advance.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 09, 2012, 02:54:58 AM
Quote from Bruce Thomas -

"Amen, Jeff!"
   
Thanks for your kindness and encouragement, Bruce.  Wisdom itself.

Yes, I realize we do seem to re-hash, but the upside as I see it is that we have a number of new and active people here who are trying to get a grasp - that's great news to me.  They also tend to bring new thinking into old ideas - something some of the leadership at TIGHAR has encouraged at times.

As to the navigation aspects of this string, I've done some review and came up with a point or two I'd like some help with - if Gary LaPook can help me on this it would be appreciated.  From "Noonan Navigation Error" on May 29, 2011:

No, they didn't plan to rely solely on the radio to find the island but planned on having two separate redundant methods either one of which, all by itself, was capable of taking them to a safe landing at Howland.

I don't buy your argument that AE could have flown without navigating to within RDF range of Howland, but I accept the idea that Fred did provide a backup system of sorts.

The RDF systems we know about are three: Itasca, Howland Island, and the plane.  All three failed.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Some more evidence to convince you:

On the flight from Oakland to Hawaii they were able to get radio bearings on stations that were more than 600 NM away.

Pilots ferrying small planes across the Pacific and the Atlantic back in the 1970's, before the advent of LORAN C or GPS, universally did exactly that,  they DRed all the way with only an ADF for terminal guidance, relying on DR to be able to get them within the range of the radio beacon at the destination. (I only know of two exceptions to this, one is Ken Gebhart, who now owns the company CELESTAIRE which sells navigation equipment, and myself, we both used celestial navigation.) (see: http://www.celestaire.com/ ) Of course, in the '70s, radio was much more reliable but the range was still the same, the physics of radio propagation had not changed.

The longest leg on the Pacific crossing is California to Hawaii and is about 2100 NM depending on which airport you leave from which is insignificantly shorter than the leg from Lae to Howland. See:  http://www.fer3.com/arc/m2.aspx?i=108664&y=200906


So it would not have been unreasonable for Earhart, by herself, alone in the airplane, to rely solely on DR and then trust the radio for terminal guidance, to fly the leg from Lae to Howland if she had been content to have no redundancy, no second independent navigation method that was capable, by itself, to get her all the way to Howland. To have this second, redundant, navigation system on board she need Noonan.

In the end, both systems failed, stuff happens. Similarly, sometimes a skydiver's reserve parachute fails too and he gets killed. Even redundant systems cannot guarantee success.

BTW, the Itasca's radio direction finder did not fail. The Itasca's RDF was not capable of taking bearings on the frequencies that Earhart transmitted on. Since it was limited to 270 to 550 kcs  she could have transmitted on 3105 and 6210 kcs until the cows came home and they could not have taken a bearing on her. Itasca informed Earhart of the frequency range of their RDF by radiogram on June 28th and this document is available on the Purdue archive website.

Gary LaPook

Gary, does this mean that in your view AE could have had a reasonable assumption at Lae that if all went well with her radios, etc., FN was good to have but not necessarily vital?

Until recently, I've mostly understood that FN was considered vital to within a short range of Howland (can't quantify how 'short' at moment, but meaning FN would get them 'close') - and I've come think I'm off base in that now. 

I've come to believe that DR to near Howland wouldn't have been out of the question (yes, even for AE), especially if one believed RDF was going to work at the end of things.  That's not an endorsement of how savvy I believe AE was regarding RDF use...
Not especially but only if she was 110% certain that her radio equipment and that of the Coast Guard would be working. But they had had continuous trouble with it, for instance, Noonan complained that it didn't work on the approach to Dakar. The whole flight was planned around have to need a navigator since the realized that radio was not 110% reliable. In the '70s when ferry pilots relied on DR alone to bring them within range of the radio beacon at the destination island, radios were much more reliable than in the '30s. Still, some ferry pilots were never seen or heard from again.
Quote

Now, for one thing, if I am following and recalling my own experience correctly, RDF isn't such a short-range affair (when it works).  Duh, I should have realized that - where I am I'm simply more self-bound by the abundance of stations out of a habit of using those that are much closer in nearly all cases (just gotta get out more).  Over the open ocean my 'habit' would give way to the one station I needed... and well over the horizon's no big deal for reception / bearing.  Might squiggle around in the sky a bit, but eventually would find the station.  In fact, DR should keep me reasonably close to track until I could pick up the station a few hundred miles out, then it's a matter of correcting a relatively minor error and tracking in (again, if my set and the station both are working well).

Then, if DR and RDF failed AE, FN was always there, whether in a parallel effort or as a back-up (won't argue which), to ensure a Howland arrival could come together. 

I apologize if I'm just re-hashing what I believe you clearly stated above, but that was a while back and I am just trying to be thorough.  You guys who did fly the oceans have far more experience than I do with DR and RDF terminal nav, but I 'get' the point and appreciate your thoughts.

Is my take away on this correct?

LTM - and thanks in advance,


This type of equipment is good for a very long distance mainly determined by the power of the transmitting station. For enroute navigation, airways, like "highways in the sky" were created with radio transmitters placed on the ground at each end of each leg of the airway. The signals have to be strong enough so that you can receive them at the halfway point of each airway leg. You track outbound from one station until halfway to the next station then start following the signal to the second station. As an example, a route I flew many times
was "Amber 17" from Bimini, Bahamas to Puerto Rico. You take off from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale and tune in the radio station on Bimini which transmits on 396 kcs with a morse code identification of "ZBB." You use the radio direction finder to head for Bimini which is 55 NM from Ft. Lauderdale. After passing over Bimini you turn to a heading of 121º magnetic and track outbound until halfway to the next radio station located on the island of Grand Turk at the very southeast end of the Bahamas chain. Grand Turk transmits on a frequency of 232 kcs with
the ident of "GT." After passing GT the next station is located on the north shore of Puerto Rico about 60 miles west of San Juan transmitting on the frequency of 391 kcs, ident "DDP." Now here is the important part, the leg from ZBB to GT is 516 NM (593 miles). This means that you must be able to receive the signal at least 258 NM from each station. It is reasonable to believe that had AE's radio direction finder been working she would have been able to hear Itasca at a similar or longer distance because GT only put out 400 watts and the Itasca put out 500 watts. This is born out by the fact that Itasca heard AE's much less powerful transmitter several hundred NM out. Amber 6 from Galveston to Cozumel is a leg of 687 NM so you had to be able hear each beacon for almost 350 NM.

Commercial stations can be heard much farther than this. I remember many times flying from Miami to Chicago, in the middle of the night, I would tune in WLS, 890 khz 50,000 watts and would follow it all the way from Miami to
Chicago a distance of a little over 1000 NM.


Since the leg from Lae to Howland is 2222 NM and the common estimate of DR accuracy is 10% of the distance flown then one could expect to fly the distance from Lae to Howland solely by dead reckoning and still be confident of coming within in 222 NM of Itasca and so be close enough to pick up the radio signal and track inbound to Howland. So if AE was willing to rely only on radio she didn't need Fred. But obviously they wouldn't just rely on radio.

It is hard for young people today who have grown up with cell phones, the internet, TV, satellite dishes and IPODs to have any gut feeling for the unreliability of radio equipment in the 1930s. Modern equipment and systems are so reliable people don't even think about it anymore. But in the '30s, comparing the reliability and trust in complicated pieces of electronic equipment with resistors, capacitors, and tubes that burned out without warning in your own equipment and in the transmitting equipment that was not under your control, with the
proven reliability of a simple sextant, a book of tables and a clock (or two clocks for redundancy) and celestial won hands down. That was why AE hauled Fred all the way around the world.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 09, 2012, 04:24:32 AM

Quote
Since the leg from Lae to Howland is 2222 NM and the common estimate of DR accuracy is 10% of the distance flown then one could expect to fly the distance from Lae to Howland solely by dead reckoning and still be confident of coming within in 222 NM of Itasca and so be close enough to pick up the radio signal and track inbound to Howland. So if AE was willing to rely only on radio she didn't need Fred. But obviously they wouldn't just rely on radio.

Gary,

Thank you for the detailed information in the previous post. I have yet to read over both of your links but will check it out after work. I have a simple question about the maximum error of 10% of the distance traveled. In your above example 10% DR results in 222NM. Is this the 'total error' meaning you could be 5% North or South of your target or does this mean you could be 10% too far South or 10% too far North? For example, if you were about to start searching, are the end points to the error window 111NM to the North and 111NM to the South or is it 222NM to the North and 222NM miles to the South?

Assuming that it is 111NM North and 111NM South, and you started searching in the Northerly direction, would you travel the entire 111NM or stop short of the visibility range and turn around to go South? I am guessing on the trip South you would make the offset short of 2 times the visibility range. Would the choice of choosing an Easterly offset or a Westerly offset be arbitrary on your first pass?

Thank you in advance.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 09, 2012, 06:45:21 AM
According to Long, they landed at Lae at 3:05 p.m. on the 29th ...

... not much time to do any sightseeing that day since sunset was less than three hours later and they had to put the plane to bed first, check into the hotel etc., and she reported some sightseeing in the first dispatch.

I agree it is a narrow window of opportunity for all of the events portrayed in the newspaper article.

Quote
I looked at your table of transmissions. Looking at the disputed dispatch it could not have been sent on the 29th. Read the story as reprinted in Last Flight and you will find her saying "We stayed at a hotel...", past tense, not a present tense, "We stay at a hotel..." or "We are staying at a hotel..." It is clear that this was sent after spending a night in the hotel in Lae so it must be June 30th, not June 29th.

OK.  I've removed the quibble.  So you do have a copy of the newspaper article? 

Quote
I believe the credit arrangement allowed her to send both of the dispatches from Lae.

OK.  That's conceivable.

Quote
By Nukulau in the Fijis, I take it you are talking about a cable landing in Suva.

No.  By "Nukulau" I meant "Rabaul."  Don't ask me how I arrived at that inversion.   :-\

Quote
There were no telephone cables to Suva either from the U.S or from New Guinea in 1937, see chart of cables (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=555.0;attach=665).

You're overworking that chart, which hasn't been properly introduced to us.

It's a secondary source.

The caption says this, with emphasis added:

"Fig. 119.  Cable and wireless communications.  This map shows cables and the main outline of wireless communication in the Pacific area in 1939.  Based on various sources."

That means that the map is not an exhaustive list of "wireless communication in the Pacific."  It can't be used to exclude Lae, nor can it tell us when someone in Lae could make a phone call to the U.S. by means of a landline and a patch to a wireless transmitter.

Moreover, it's got a lot of small islands listed.
Whatever it is charting, it doesn't sound as though it was the huge, prohibitively expensive operation you outlined earlier.

Quote
There were no telephone lines out of Lae to anywhere, which is why it was a big deal when local radiotelephone links were established in 1939.

Source (secondary or otherwise)?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 09, 2012, 09:38:24 AM
According to Long, they landed at Lae at 3:05 p.m. on the 29th ...

... not much time to do any sightseeing that day since sunset was less than three hours later and they had to put the plane to bed first, check into the hotel etc., and she reported some sightseeing in the first dispatch.

I agree it is a narrow window of opportunity for all of the events portrayed in the newspaper article.

Quote
I looked at your table of transmissions. Looking at the disputed dispatch it could not have been sent on the 29th. Read the story as reprinted in Last Flight and you will find her saying "We stayed at a hotel...", past tense, not a present tense, "We stay at a hotel..." or "We are staying at a hotel..." It is clear that this was sent after spending a night in the hotel in Lae so it must be June 30th, not June 29th.

OK.  I've removed the quibble.  So you do have a copy of the newspaper article? 
No, I do not have a copy of the newspaper, I thought that Ric did. I've been working from the last chapter of Last Flight which is a reprint of those two stories. So Ric is working with a secondary source which brings up the possibility of another source for the erroneous byline. If the first person writing a book about Earhart got this wrong, wrote "telephone" instead on "telegraph," then everyone copied from his book as in the other examples I gave.
Quote



Quote
I believe the credit arrangement allowed her to send both of the dispatches from Lae.

OK.  That's conceivable.

Quote
By Nukulau in the Fijis, I take it you are talking about a cable landing in Suva.

No.  By "Nukulau" I meant "Rabaul."  Don't ask me how I arrived at that inversion.   :-\

Quote
There were no telephone cables to Suva either from the U.S or from New Guinea in 1937, see chart of cables (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=555.0;attach=665).

You're overworking that chart, which hasn't been properly introduced to us.

It's a secondary source.

The caption says this, with emphasis added:

"Fig. 119.  Cable and wireless communications.  This map shows cables and the main outline of wireless communication in the Pacific area in 1939.  Based on various sources."

That means that the map is not an exhaustive list of "wireless communication in the Pacific."  It can't be used to exclude Lae, nor can it tell us when someone in Lae could make a phone call to the U.S. by means of a landline and a patch to a wireless transmitter.

Moreover, it's got a lot of small islands listed.
  • Tarawa
  • Beru
  • Funfuti
  • Nauru
  • Moumea
Whatever it is charting, it doesn't sound as though it was the huge, prohibitively expensive operation you outlined earlier.
These were short range radio telegraph links, not the trans-ocean link necessary to reach the U.S. 6,500 SM away.
Remember, "wireless" is short for "wireless telegraphy" which means CW using Morse code. Of course the chart does not exclude Lae from having wireless communications since we know that it did, Mr. Balfour pounding away on his telegraph key. It does show that no telegraph cable went to New Guinea. See the details of the short range radio links (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=555.0;attach=672) necessary to get radiograms to and from Lae. Information about two "point-to-point" stations showing the massive antenna farms needed is here (http://radiomarine.org/gallery/show?keyword=BHP&panel=pab1_10#pab1_10) and here. (http://radiomarine.org/gallery/show?keyword=KAH&panel=pab1_10#pab1_10)

There were no telephone lines out of Lae to anywhere, which is why it was a big deal when local radiotelephone links were established in 1939.
Quote

Source (secondary or otherwise)?

We are confronted with the difficulty of a proving a negative, that they did NOT have telephone service in Lae in 1937. We are not going to find a series of articles in the "Lae Daily Journal" (if there was such a paper) stating:

"Byline Lae NG, January 1, 1920, No telephone service in Lae to the outside world available yet."

"Byline Lae NG, January 1, 1921, No telephone service in Lae to the outside world available yet."

"Byline Lae NG, January 1, 1922, No telephone  service in Lae to the outside world available yet."

"Byline Lae NG, January 1, 1923, No telephone service in Lae to the outside world available yet."

"Byline Lae NG, January 1, 1924, No telephone service in Lae to the outside world available yet."

"Byline Lae NG, January 1, 1925, No telephone service in Lae to the outside world available yet."

...

"Byline Lae NG, January 1, 1937, No telephone service in Lae to the outside world available yet."

"Byline Lae NG, January 1, 1938, No telephone service in Lae to the outside world available yet."

We have to make reasonable inferences from what we do have such as the announcement of local service to four towns in 1939. A reasonable inference is that these are the first four towns, including Lae, to be linked by radiotelephone, that no such service existed to anywhere prior to this. An unreasonable inference from this would be that Lae had communications with every other town on earth and these were the last four to be reached. Additional support for the logic that there was no telephone service was the lack of any newspaper stories during the heat of the search headlined:

"EXCLUSIVE! PHONE CALL TO LAE REVEALS......."

Since the newspapers, especially the Herald Tribune, would be expected to make such contact, if it were available, the lack of it lends support to the inference that it was not available.

Even in murder trials with the burden of proof being "beyond a reasonable doubt" jurors are allowed to decide that something is a fact, that was not proved by direct evidence, by reasonable inference from the facts that were proved by direct evidence.

John is found shot dead and nobody saw the actual shooting. Bill is on trial for the crime. Charles testifies " I came into the room and saw Bill standing over John with a smoking gun in his hand." Bill is convicted because the jury made the reasonable inference, from the proven facts, that Bill shot John. I have attached the standard California jury instruction given in all jury trials in California addressing this issue.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on January 09, 2012, 02:02:27 PM

Anyone wondering why FN was there need pnly read The Brine Letter in which Russell Brine gives us his read on how good AE was at navigating.  She was inept at best, that's why FN was there.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on January 09, 2012, 06:04:46 PM

Anyome wonder why there weren't any radio messages from AE/FN for more than 4 hours after takeoff?  2:18 PM Lae Time  04:18 GCT

Perhaps AE had her hands full taking off, finding her course, climbing to altitude, taking care of Fred, etc
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 09, 2012, 07:45:18 PM
These were short range radio telegraph links, not the trans-ocean link necessary to reach the U.S. 6,500 SM away.
Remember, "wireless" is short for "wireless telegraphy" which means CW using Morse code. Of course the chart does not exclude Lae from having wireless communications since we know that it did, Mr. Balfour pounding away on his telegraph key. It does show that no telegraph cable went to New Guinea. See the details of the short range radio links (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=555.0;attach=672) necessary to get radiograms to and from Lae.

Quote
There were no telephone lines out of Lae to anywhere, which is why it was a big deal when local radiotelephone links were established in 1939.

We are confronted with the difficulty of a proving a negative, that they did NOT have telephone service in Lae in 1937. ...

We have to make reasonable inferences from what we do have such as the announcement of local service to four towns in 1939. A reasonable inference is that these are the first four towns, including Lae, to be linked by radiotelephone, that no such service existed to anywhere prior to this. An unreasonable inference from this would be that Lae had communications with every other town on earth and these were the last four to be reached. Additional support for the logic that there was no telephone service was the lack of any newspaper stories during the heat of the search headlined:

"EXCLUSIVE! PHONE CALL TO LAE REVEALS......."

Since the newspapers, especially the Herald Tribune, would be expected to make such contact, if it were available, the lack of it lends support to the inference that it was not available.

Yes, I understand the difficulties of proving a negative (http://www3.canisius.edu/%7Emoleski/proof/provenegs.htm).

Yes, I feel the force of your argument.

Since it supports my view that the Gore anecdote is a fabrication (conscious or unconscious), I'll let it rest for now.

There may be something already in the Purdue files that are not accessible by internet.  I don't know whether those "hidden" files are off-limits to folks on site.  If I ever get near Purdue with a day or two in hand, I may try to visit the library and see if I can find out the nature of the "hidden" material.

I assume that the stuff we can see was collected by Putnam for Last Flight (http://tighar.org/wiki/Last_Flight).  If it's in the book, it seems to me that it ought to be in the Purdue collection somewhere.  It is, of course, equally conceivable that the original just got lost in the shuffle.

Quote
Even in murder trials with the burden of proof being "beyond a reasonable doubt" jurors are allowed to decide that something is a fact, that was not proved by direct evidence, by reasonable inference from the facts that were proved by direct evidence.

Understood.

Meanwhile, FWIW, I've accepted your interpretation that the 29-06 telegram from Hill to Putnam was sent at sent at 11:32 PM.  That seems a reasonable interpretation of "FA 11 32" and fits with the boilerplate on the forms that says the time that the message was received should be in the first line. 
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 09, 2012, 07:50:20 PM
No, I do not have a copy of the newspaper, I thought that Ric did. I've been working from the last chapter of Last Flight which is a reprint of those two stories. So Ric is working with a secondary source which brings up the possibility of another source for the erroneous byline. If the first person writing a book about Earhart got this wrong, wrote "telephone" instead on "telegraph," then everyone copied from his book as in the other examples I gave.

So far as I can tell, back issues of the Tribune are not available online.  The Tribune does not seem to be in the Google Newspaper Archive (which is dead (http://www.genealogyintime.com/NewsStories/2011/Q2/the_death_of_Google_News_Archive.html)--bummer!).

I don't know whether Ric has a copy.  We may find out eventually.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 09, 2012, 10:25:50 PM


Meanwhile, FWIW, I've accepted your interpretation that the 29-06 telegram from Hill to Putnam was sent at sent at 11:32 PM.  That seems a reasonable interpretation of "FA 11 32" and fits with the boilerplate on the forms that says the time that the message was received should be in the first line.
Especially with the "NL," "Night Letter" behind the time group.

 Information about two "point-to-point" stations showing the massive antenna farms needed is here (http://radiomarine.org/gallery/show?keyword=BHP&panel=pab1_10#pab1_10) and here. (http://radiomarine.org/gallery/show?keyword=KAH&panel=pab1_10#pab1_10)

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on January 09, 2012, 10:32:08 PM

A cursory look at Browser items on the Vidals gives some info:
Eugene Luther Vidal, Sr.(EV) was an aviator, athlete(Olympic Games competitor in the Decathalon), an ardent supporter of commercial aviation, an aeronautics instructor at West Point.  During the time of the World Flight he was Bureau Chief in the Bureau of Air Commerce within the US Dept. of Commerce.

He was a good friend of George Putnam(GPP) and Amelia(AE). Two books, East To The Dawn by Butler and Sound of Wings by Lovell suggest that He(EV) and Amelia were associated with the formation of three commercial airline companies and also had a love affair.

Eugene Luther Vidal, Jr (later known as Gore Vidal after he adopted his mother's maiden surname)(GV)  was born in 1925 and was 12 when he, according to him, heard a conversation between his dad and Putnam about the delay at Lae.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 10, 2012, 12:39:49 AM



Yes, I understand the difficulties of proving a negative (http://www3.canisius.edu/%7Emoleski/proof/provenegs.htm).


So you have given this some thought, have you? ;)

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 10, 2012, 04:27:17 AM

Quote
Since the leg from Lae to Howland is 2222 NM and the common estimate of DR accuracy is 10% of the distance flown then one could expect to fly the distance from Lae to Howland solely by dead reckoning and still be confident of coming within in 222 NM of Itasca and so be close enough to pick up the radio signal and track inbound to Howland. So if AE was willing to rely only on radio she didn't need Fred. But obviously they wouldn't just rely on radio.

Gary,

Thank you for the detailed information in the previous post. I have yet to read over both of your links but will check it out after work. I have a simple question about the maximum error of 10% of the distance traveled. In your above example 10% DR results in 222NM. Is this the 'total error' meaning you could be 5% North or South of your target or does this mean you could be 10% too far South or 10% too far North? For example, if you were about to start searching, are the end points to the error window 111NM to the North and 111NM to the South or is it 222NM to the North and 222NM miles to the South?

Assuming that it is 111NM North and 111NM South, and you started searching in the Northerly direction, would you travel the entire 111NM or stop short of the visibility range and turn around to go South? I am guessing on the trip South you would make the offset short of 2 times the visibility range. Would the choice of choosing an Easterly offset or a Westerly offset be arbitrary on your first pass?

Thank you in advance.

Gary,

After reading over your page I am fairly convinced that when you state "within" an amount of error, this describes a radius around the target. Using your 2222 NM and 222 NM error, this describes a circle around the target with a radius is 222 NM.

You seem pretty convinced that FN was able to get a fix at 17:42 GMT as they announced they were 200 miles out. Why is that? If FN was able to get a fix then the fact that they did not make it to Howland seems irreconcilable. I do not think we can entirely ignore the claim by Bellarts who supposedly heard AE state "cloudy and overcast" at 14:10 GMT. Perhaps we need to look at the Itasca weather log a bit closer.

As far as intercepting a LOP NW of Howland goes, it seems that they time stamps in the radio log do not allow for that. It appears that they came straight in expecting to find the Island. As Jeff pointed out, perhaps the plan really was a RDF approach but only when that did not pan out did FN take over to find Howland. AE spent quite a bit of the time on the radio either attempting to take a bearing or have Howland take bearings and she probably wasted a significant amount of time on that effort. Perhaps FN was working out a plan in the meantime but obviously whatever that plan was, it failed as well.

I am also a bit troubled as to why they would have stayed on the 157/337 line an hour after having arrived at where they thought Howland was. It makes sense that they would have started a expanding square search pattern as you suggest but this would not be the case if you were flying on the line N and S on the 157/337 LOP an hour after you had arrived. Perhaps there was not plan or knowledge of how to begin the search pattern since they were lost. Perhaps they did search and going back in the line was a last ditch effort as the fuel started to run very low.

I also read on your page the following:

Quote
There has been concern expressed that clouds could have prevented Noonan from taking star sights that late (1940 Z). They had reported flying at 12,000 feet, which normally is above most clouds. Even if some clouds where higher than 12,000 feet it is unlikely that they blocked the entire sky for hundreds of miles along the flight path.

I have never seen this 12,000ft altitude figure before. I recall outside of Lae they climbed to 10,000ft but had reduced to 8,000ft by the time they had passed Nukumanu Island. As I recall the telegrams from the guy at Lockheed Martin suggested 8,000ft as the cruise altitude. Can you point me to where this 12,000ft altitude came from?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: John Ousterhout on January 10, 2012, 06:30:21 AM
Am I the only one who jumped to the conclusion that one possible reason for AE to tell Itasca that she was flying North and South on the (157/337) line was to help them DF her position?  Her technique may have been lacking, but knowing the direction a target is moving helps establish its location to a DF station. 
She obviously didn't understand that Itasca could not get a DF bearing on her frequency. Too bad she didn't establish two-way communications when she had the opportunity.  She coulda asked questions on 3105 (am I getting louder?), and received answers on 7500 (_._ _ or _.).  All she and Fred needed was a time machine and web link to TIGHAR for answers to their navigation questions.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 10, 2012, 09:17:47 AM
Too bad she didn't establish two-way communications when she had the opportunity.  She coulda asked questions on 3105 (am I getting louder?), and received answers on 7500 (_._ _ or _.).

I've started a new topic for my reply (http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,573.0.html) to this observation.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 10, 2012, 01:29:56 PM

"Dispatch" was the commonly used word in the newspaper industry to mean "a story sent in by a correspondent." The dispatch was received late at night on June 29th but early enough for this telegram to be send to Putnam, still on the 29th. So let's say it arrived around 10:00 p.m. New York time. Lae is 15 hours ahead of New York so the message was sent some time prior to 1:00 p.m. in Lae on June 30th, the day after Earhart had arrived in Lae.


Yes, that's possible.


American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language

(also dspch) A news item sent to a news organization, as by a correspondent.

Collins English Dictionary

journalism a report sent to a newspaper, etc, by a correspondent

Webster's New World College Dictionary, 4th Ed

a news story sent to a newspaper or broadcaster, as by a correspondent


gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 10, 2012, 01:53:44 PM
  • (also dspch) A news item sent to a news organization, as by a correspondent.
  • journalism a report sent to a newspaper, etc, by a correspondent
  • a news story sent to a newspaper or broadcaster, as by a correspondent

None of those prevent said "news item," "report," or "news story" being phoned in.

Even granting the dictionary definition is sound (and I do grant that), people often use words in a sloppy fashion. 

The original source for the 30 June article may still be out there somewhere ...
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 10, 2012, 02:27:51 PM
Is it possible that the story was radiogrammed or telegrammed to a shore station and then phoned in from there?  Could that be what was heard on the telephone?  The telegram station calling with the story rather than someone having to deliver it by paper form.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 10, 2012, 03:14:40 PM
Is it possible that the story was radiogrammed or telegrammed to a shore station and then phoned in from there?  Could that be what was heard on the telephone?  The telegram station calling with the story rather than someone having to deliver it by paper form.
That was how telegrams were delivered near the end of the telegram era, after phone calls became cheap. Prior to that, it was less expensive to put a guy on a bicycle to hand deliver the telegram.
gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 10, 2012, 03:21:10 PM



I also read on your page the following:

Quote
There has been concern expressed that clouds could have prevented Noonan from taking star sights that late (1940 Z). They had reported flying at 12,000 feet, which normally is above most clouds. Even if some clouds where higher than 12,000 feet it is unlikely that they blocked the entire sky for hundreds of miles along the flight path.

I have never seen this 12,000ft altitude figure before. I recall outside of Lae they climbed to 10,000ft but had reduced to 8,000ft by the time they had passed Nukumanu Island. As I recall the telegrams from the guy at Lockheed Martin suggested 8,000ft as the cruise altitude. Can you point me to where this 12,000ft altitude came from?
Thanks for pointing out that error to me, I wrote that page a long time ago. I decided to make some improvements to that section:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------


"There has been concern expressed that clouds could have prevented Noonan from taking star sights that late (1740 Z). Early in the flight they had reported flying at 10,000 feet so could have been at that altitude again later in the flight too, (or even higher since they were much lighter) which normally is above most clouds. Even if some clouds where higher than their altitude it is unlikely that they blocked the entire sky for hundreds of miles along the flight path. It has been claimed that Earhart reported at 1415 Z and again at 1515 Z "cloudy and overcast" but these words are not found in either radio log. But what is actually recorded in the radio log, more than an hour after this 1515 Z possible report of "overcast" conditions, is at 1623 Z Earhart reported "partly cloudy." There are no reports after this "partly cloudy" report so it is the most current report, in both time and location, so there is no actual evidence that the weather deteriorated later so as to prevent celestial observations. Earhart did not report descending to 1,000 feet until almost two hours later at 1818 Z.

Based on this last report of in-flight weather conditions, we can be certain that Noonan was able to take sights at 1623 Z, only two hours and forty-nine minutes before the "must be on you" transmission at 1912 Z. At that point Noonan had a large selection of celestial bodies to shoot with his octant. Almost directly in front of the plane (5° left of the nose) was the third brightest object in the sky, the planet Venus, and next to it (10° left of the nose) was the second brightest object in the sky, the Moon. Noonan didn't have to look for elusive stars darting between whatever clouds  existed at that point, it's hard not to see the moon! Because they were almost directly ahead, observations of these objects would have produced LOPs that ran approximately perpendicular to the course and so would have given them an accurate measure of the distance remaining to Howland. Off to the right, just 9° ahead of the right wingtip, was the 10th brightest star in the whole sky, Achernar. An observation of it would have produced an LOP approximately parallel to the course line and let them know if they were on course or how many miles they were off course, either to the right or to the left. In addition, there were five other, slightly dimmer, stars also positioned off to the right and left that would have also produced course line LOPs if Achernar happened to be hidden by a cloud at the moment. All of these objects were at heights that were convenient for observation. Crossing the LOP from the Moon (or Venus) with an LOP from one of the stars off to the side would have produced a fix with an uncertainty that should not have exceeded 10 NM. So looking at this as the worst case scenario, we can do the same computations as before about the uncertainty of the D.R. position at 1912 Z. In two hours and forty-nine minutes the plane would have covered 366 NM at 130 knots so the uncertainty caused by dead reckoning for 366 NM is 18 NM for the 5% estimate; 36 NM for the 10% estimate and 60 NM using the most pessimistic estimate of DR accuracy. We have to add to these estimates the original 10 NM uncertainty in a fix obtained at 1623 Z so the totals are 28 NM, 46 NM and 70 NM of uncertainty at 1912 Z. Noonan knew the time that he obtained his last celestial fix and would have used the right amount of offset to allow for the possible uncertainty."
--------------------------------------------------------
I am also going to add some more concerning the availablity of the Moon as they approached Howland, stay tuned. (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/navigation-to-howland-island)

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 10, 2012, 07:24:34 PM
Am I the only one who jumped to the conclusion that one possible reason for AE to tell Itasca that she was flying North and South on the (157/337) line was to help them DF her position?  Her technique may have been lacking, but knowing the direction a target is moving helps establish its location to a DF station. 
She obviously didn't understand that Itasca could not get a DF bearing on her frequency. Too bad she didn't establish two-way communications when she had the opportunity.  She coulda asked questions on 3105 (am I getting louder?), and received answers on 7500 (_._ _ or _.).  All she and Fred needed was a time machine and web link to TIGHAR for answers to their navigation questions.
Jump back.

There are three reasons that this is not supported. First, you are ascribing a level of understanding of RDF to Earhart that obviously exceeded her level of understanding. Second, that would only make sense if she kept transmitting periodically, which she didn't do. And Third, that wouldn't work.   

"KHAQQ THIS IS NRUI, WE HAVE MEASURED A BEARING TO YOUR TRANSMITTER, IT IS EITHER NINETY OR TWO SEVENTY, WE CAN'T TELL DUE TO THE ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY DEGREE AMBIGUITY INHERENT IN RDF BEARINGS, OVER,"

"NRUI THIS IS KHAQQ I WILL RUN NORTH AND SOUTH TO ALLOW YOU TO RESOLVE THAT AMBIGUITY, OVER."

" KHAQQ THIS IS NRUI, NO DO NOT DO THAT AS THAT WILL NOT RESOLVE THE AMBIGUITY. YOU MUST PROCEED IN ONLY ONE DIRECTION AND SEND ADDITIONAL  SIGNALS AFTER TEN MINUTES AND WE WILL THEN BE ABLE TO RESOLVE THE AMBIGUITY, OVER."

See attached diagram.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 10, 2012, 10:06:37 PM


Since the leg from Lae to Howland is 2222 NM and the common estimate of DR accuracy is 10% of the distance flown then one could expect to fly the distance from Lae to Howland solely by dead reckoning and still be confident of coming within in 222 NM of Itasca and so be close enough to pick up the radio signal and track inbound to Howland. So if AE was willing to rely only on radio she didn't need Fred. But obviously they wouldn't just rely on radio.


Gary,

Thank you for the detailed information in the previous post. I have yet to read over both of your links but will check it out after work. I have a simple question about the maximum error of 10% of the distance traveled. In your above example 10% DR results in 222NM. Is this the 'total error' meaning you could be 5% North or South of your target or does this mean you could be 10% too far South or 10% too far North? For example, if you were about to start searching, are the end points to the error window 111NM to the North and 111NM to the South or is it 222NM to the North and 222NM miles to the South?

You're right, the 10% is the radius of the circle of uncertainty. Remember, you are much more likely to be near the center of the circle, near the DR position, than near the edge of the circle. The 222 radius would only apply if they DRed all the way from Lae which we know is not the case. We know they had a fix at Nukumanu island, 1,500 NM from Howland so the maximum circle radius would be 150 NM. They also had a fix over one of the ships or at Nauru which are closer, about 970 NM from Nauru, shrinking the circle further. "NOONAN MUST HAVE STAR SIGHTS" so if they couldn't get fixes then they would have turned around prior to the PNR, just short of the Gilberts, returned either to Lae or, more probably,Rabaul and try another day. We know she was mentally prepared to do this because that was part of the planning for the original leg fron Hawaii to Howland and she did turn around several times on previous legs.
(To avoid getting confused if making comparisons, keep in mind that I use nautical miles on my website but sometimes use statute miles on the TIGHAR Forum.)
Quote

Assuming that it is 111NM North and 111NM South, and you started searching in the Northerly direction, would you travel the entire 111NM or stop short of the visibility range and turn around to go South? I am guessing on the trip South you would make the offset short of 2 times the visibility range. Would the choice of choosing an Easterly offset or a Westerly offset be arbitrary on your first pass?

Thank you in advance.

I see your point, if you figured a maximum error or uncertainty in your DR is 60 NM and you had 20 NM visibility then you could aim to intercept the LOP only 40 NM out and look real hard out to the side as you approach the interception and you would then be able to see the whole 60 NM band. But, since it is much more important to be sure to find the island and not so important to save a couple of minutes (especially for Earhart as they had plenty of fuel left at that point, "Penny wise and pound foolish" comes to mind) the standard interception of the LOP is at the point of estimated maximum error and the visibility off to the side along the extended length of the LOP is taken as an additional safety margin. See standard flight navigation texts here. (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/topics/landfall-procedure) The same when you fly to the other end of the LOP, you go the total distance of the maximum uncertainty for the same reason before turning around to start a search pattern. 

Regarding which way to offset when starting the search pattern you would normally turn in the direction to take you to an area you haven't been through yet, if that is not the situation you normally offset into the wind, in this case to the east. But for Noonan, since they knew the wind was out of the east and they expected a smoke trail that would extend off to the west, it would be less likely that they missed to the west than that they missed to the east by overshooting the LOP because they would have had to have had a much larger error if they turned short of the LOP to miss the smoke, than if they had gone too far so they should offset to the west when returning to commence the modified square search pattern.
Quote
Gary,

After reading over your page I am fairly convinced that when you state "within" an amount of error, this describes a radius around the target. Using your 2222 NM and 222 NM error, this describes a circle around the target with a radius is 222 NM.

You seem pretty convinced that FN was able to get a fix at 17:42 GMT as they announced they were 200 miles out. Why is that? If FN was able to get a fix then the fact that they did not make it to Howland seems irreconcilable. I do not think we can entirely ignore the claim by Bellarts who supposedly heard AE state "cloudy and overcast" at 14:10 GMT. Perhaps we need to look at the Itasca weather log a bit closer.


Yup, whether they got the last fix at 1623 Z ("partly cloudy") or as late as 1740 Z, Noonan would have planned a sufficient offset to allow for the maximum likely DR error in the leg from that fix to the interception point. That is the whole point of the landfall procedure, to cure any inaccuracy in the DR. So yes, it makes no sense that they didn't find Howland.

Quote

As far as intercepting a LOP NW of Howland goes, it seems that they time stamps in the radio log do not allow for that. It appears that they came straight in expecting to find the Island. As Jeff pointed out, perhaps the plan really was a RDF approach but only when that did not pan out did FN take over to find Howland. AE spent quite a bit of the time on the radio either attempting to take a bearing or have Howland take bearings and she probably wasted a significant amount of time on that effort. Perhaps FN was working out a plan in the meantime but obviously whatever that plan was, it failed as well.

Keep in mind, those radioed distances were not exact. It makes sense that they headed directly towards Howland, expecting to home in on Itasca's radio signal when they came within range. But they would have recognized that there was some problem with this plan when they couldn't receive the radio signal at the point that they expected to, let's say about 200 NM out. At that point, or shortly after that, Noonan would start the backup plan to do the landfall procedure. The earlier you turn off the direct course to aim for the interception point, the fewer extra miles you have to fly so they would not have delayed this turn unnecessarily. There was little downside to doing this because, if on the way to the interception point, they then started to receive the radio signal, they could turn immediately to home on the station after adding very few extra miles to their flight path.
Quote

I am also a bit troubled as to why they would have stayed on the 157/337 line an hour after having arrived at where they thought Howland was. It makes sense that they would have started a expanding square search pattern as you suggest but this would not be the case if you were flying on the line N and S on the 157/337 LOP an hour after you had arrived. Perhaps there was not plan or knowledge of how to begin the search pattern since they were lost. Perhaps they did search and going back in the line was a last ditch effort as the fuel started to run very low.


The only way I can make sense out of this statement is that they were flying a modified search pattern with longer legs parallel to the LOP and shorter legs perpendicular to it. Earhart might say that she was flying north and south "on the LOP" when on one of these long parallel legs.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 10, 2012, 11:57:40 PM

I can agree that if true it would support that NR16020 should have been above most clouds.  But that's also a fairly stout altitude for cruising hours on end, especially at night - the concern would be with crew physiology. 

Had AE and FN good reasons (like perhaps to obtain celestial shots) they might well have done so (and if they said they did, I'd agree they must have).  It just seems odd that they would do that for any extended period of time, so I too would like to know the source of the "12,000 ft" reference for the flight that night.  It would also be useful to understand for how long they may have been at that altitude, if it can be known.

Here are a couple of useful links about flying at atitude -

"The 91 Percent Solution" (http://www.ifr-magazine.com/oxygen-and-hypoxemia.html)

"Oxygen Issues for General Aviation Pilots..." (http://www.copanational.org/PilotsPrimerJan09.cfm)

LTM -
And current regulations require that the pilot use oxygen anytime the cabin altitude is above 14,000 feet and also after 30 minutes above 12,500 feet. You must make oxygen available to the passengers above 15,000 feet. I remember deadheading in an empty plane and I took it up to 17,500 feet without oxygen. It was a Sunday and I was reading the Sunday comics section of the newspaper, and boy were they hilarious!

When I was preparing to parachute from 30,000 feet I went to Wright-Patterson AFB and rode their altitude chamber up to 35,000 feet where we took our masks off and tried to do various math problems on a piece of paper and the results were also quite funny. The best part of the ride was the explosive decompression demonstration. They brought the small section of the chamber down to 8,000 feet and then took the large section up to 40,000 then they popped the connecting door open and we were instantly at 30,000 feet. The chamber fills instantly with fog because the moisture condenses out with the sudden reduction in pressure and everybody "out-gasses." Then you put your mask on before you pass out. Lots of fun.

You can buy an oxygen monitor that clamps on your finger at your local drug store for about fifty bucks, or here. (http://www.sportys.com/PilotShop/category/1013)

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 11, 2012, 01:52:41 AM
Well, not so fast.

All of my research confirms that there was no telephone service, either by undersea cable or by radiotelephone (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=555.0;attach=665), from Lae to the outside world in 1937. Even local radio telephone service in New Guinea  (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/11239443)did not come on line until 1939.

What is the source of the image?



Purdue. (http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/earhart&CISOPTR=1906&CISOBOX=1&REC=1)

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 11, 2012, 04:20:37 AM
Quote
Regarding which way to offset when starting the search pattern you would normally turn in the direction to take you to an area you haven't been through yet, if that is not the situation you normally offset into the wind, in this case to the east. But for Noonan, since they knew the wind was out of the east and they expected a smoke trail that would extend off to the west, it would be less likely that they missed to the west than that they missed to the east by overshooting the LOP because they would have had to have been much shorter of the LOP to miss the smoke, so they should offset to the west when returning to commence the modified square search pattern.

I see what you are saying. It would make a lot of sense to look for the smoke rather than the Island itself in this case. My question is did they know that a smoke trail was being laid for them or was that something the Itasca did on it's own? Had they used smoke from a boiler on other occasions? One interesting note I found looking over the logs was a reporter who stated that the smoke trail stretch out for miles and was "low on the water". This is very interesting because we can guess that the range of visibility to the smoke was not improved by the altitude of the smoke.

Quote
Yup, whether they got the last fix at 1623 Z ("partly cloudy") or as late as 1740 Z, Noonan would have planned a sufficient offset to allow for the maximum likely DR error in the leg from that fix to the interception point. That is the whole point of the landfall procedure, to cure any inaccuracy in the DR. So yes, it makes no sense that they didn't find Howland.

Reading over the Waitt Institute re-construction report regarding the 1967 Commemorative Flight.

They were approximately 10--‐12 miles [units not specified] north of Howland Island at the moment they visually acquired the island. Pelllegreno’s account of her thoughts and feelings upon arriving and not seeing Howland, then conducting a protracted search with limited fuel resources, is extremely interesting as a human factors and perational comparison to what may have occurred on AE’s mission. Pellegreno writes a compelling narrative here, one that can not help but evoke a sense of urgency, desperation, and elevated tension. Pellegreno’s flight had the advantage of better navigation equipment, a third set of human eyes, a nearby ship providing good DF bearings, and the luxury of having departed Nauru Island, with a Canton Island destination. With all of these advantages, they nearly missed visually acquiring Howland Island. This account demonstrates the great challenge attempted by Amelia and Fred, and provides a good assessment of the difficulty in visually acquiring tiny Howland Island.

So anything could be possible however AE and FN had one advantage over this flight, the smoke trail.

As a side note, I think that report also solves the question of lighting around Nauru. There is a reference to two 1,000ft cableways on the top of the island, 556 feet above sea level, to permit mining at night. There is also reference from the director of police on the island that the chief radio operator had heard AE say that she saw the lights of Nauru several times. Even though this is the case, I still disagree that the AE spotted the lights of Nauru as this was 2nd hand information gathered after the fact.

Quote
Quote
I am also a bit troubled as to why they would have stayed on the 157/337 line an hour after having arrived at where they thought Howland was. It makes sense that they would have started a expanding square search pattern as you suggest but this would not be the case if you were flying on the line N and S on the 157/337 LOP an hour after you had arrived. Perhaps there was not plan or knowledge of how to begin the search pattern since they were lost. Perhaps they did search and going back in the line was a last ditch effort as the fuel started to run very low.

The only way I can make sense out of this statement is that they were flying a modified search pattern with longer legs parallel to the LOP and shorter legs perpendicular to it. Earhart might say that she was flying north and south "on the LOP" when on one of these long parallel legs.

Based on assumption that this was their method of search, long North South legs with short offsets, the only thing that makes sense in my mind is that they overshot Howland to the North and were making North / South passes on a 157/337 magnetic course. If as you say they would have traveled sufficiently to handle the worst case DR error, they would have seen the smoke trail if they were on the Western side of Howland. I believe that this was also the opinion of the captain of the Itasca however as far as I can surmise, he did not expect AE and FN to be searching on the Eastern side of Howland, he assumed they must have been short and missed the smoke trail to the West and North.

I also found logs (Jacobson Database) that suggest that Itasca reported 25 NM visibility range at the time. Looking over other documents, it suggests that the CG used a coding scheme that would not have allowed this to be the case so I am a bit confused as to what the actual visibility was on that day. In any case, I am sure FN came up with his own estimate as to the visibility range.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 11, 2012, 06:34:35 AM
All of my research confirms that there was no telephone service, either by undersea cable or by radiotelephone (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=555.0;attach=665), from Lae to the outside world in 1937. Even local radio telephone service in New Guinea  (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/11239443)did not come on line until 1939.

What is the source of the image?

Purdue. (http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/earhart&CISOPTR=1906&CISOBOX=1&REC=1)

That is not the image that you used to exclude Lae as having the capability of providing a telephone patch in 1937.  I'm referring to the communications_cable_wireless.jpg (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=555.0;attach=665) from some unnamed secondary source.

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 11, 2012, 03:18:23 PM
All of my research confirms that there was no telephone service, either by undersea cable or by radiotelephone (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=555.0;attach=665), from Lae to the outside world in 1937. Even local radio telephone service in New Guinea  (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/11239443)did not come on line until 1939.

What is the source of the image?

Purdue. (http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/earhart&CISOPTR=1906&CISOBOX=1&REC=1)

That is not the image that you used to exclude Lae as having the capability of providing a telephone patch in 1937.  I'm referring to the communications_cable_wireless.jpg (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=555.0;attach=665) from some unnamed secondary source.
The following maps are from "Pacific Islands" [Geographical Handbook Series (http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/pacific_islands_1943_1945.html)]. Great Britain. Admiralty. Naval Intelligence Division, 1943-1945.
That came from the collection at the  University of Texas. (http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/pacific_islands_1943_1945/communications_cable_wireless.jpg)

Try these:
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/pacific_islands_1943_1945/howland_jarvis_baker.jpg
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/pacific_islands_1943_1945/phoenix_group.jpg
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/pacific_islands_1943_1945/lae.jpg
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/pacific_islands_1943_1945/tabiteuea_gilbert_islands.jpg
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/pacific_islands_1943_1945/rabaul.jpg


gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 12, 2012, 10:54:25 PM


As to its meaning to the case at-hand, I think it's been noted that the Vidal sidebar was a 'third hand' discussion (if that's the root of the need to understand the state of communications between mainland U.S. and Lae in 1937, etc.).  Maybe one day Gore Vidal himself can shed more light as a living link of sorts, or maybe not.
LTM -
I wonder when Gore Vidal first started telling this story. If he told it in the '30s people would have been familiar with the state of communications of the era, including the extremely high cost of telephone calls and the sparsity of overseas phone links, so the story would not have been accepted at that time. If Vidal waited until the '70s, then the state of '30s communications would have been forgotten and he could have gotten away with telling a made up story. Also waiting until after George Putnam had died (1950) and after his father had died (1969), those who could dispute his story were gone. It is fairly common for people to try to insert themselves into famous events, it brings some sense of fame to themselves and this is a possible explanation for Gore Vidal to make up a story like this.

So, does anyone know when Gore Vidal first started telling the story about the impossible phone call from Lae to Putnam?

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 13, 2012, 03:26:17 AM
Quote
Regarding which way to offset when starting the search pattern you would normally turn in the direction to take you to an area you haven't been through yet, if that is not the situation you normally offset into the wind, in this case to the east. But for Noonan, since they knew the wind was out of the east and they expected a smoke trail that would extend off to the west, it would be less likely that they missed to the west than that they missed to the east by overshooting the LOP because they would have had to have been much shorter of the LOP to miss the smoke, so they should offset to the west when returning to commence the modified square search pattern.

I see what you are saying. It would make a lot of sense to look for the smoke rather than the Island itself in this case. My question is did they know that a smoke trail was being laid for them or was that something the Itasca did on it's own? Had they used smoke from a boiler on other occasions? One interesting note I found looking over the logs was a reporter who stated that the smoke trail stretch out for miles and was "low on the water". This is very interesting because we can guess that the range of visibility to the smoke was not improved by the altitude of the smoke.

Yes, Itasca sent a telegram saying they would make smoke during the day and searchlight at night.
Quote

Quote
Yup, whether they got the last fix at 1623 Z ("partly cloudy") or as late as 1740 Z, Noonan would have planned a sufficient offset to allow for the maximum likely DR error in the leg from that fix to the interception point. That is the whole point of the landfall procedure, to cure any inaccuracy in the DR. So yes, it makes no sense that they didn't find Howland.

Reading over the Waitt Institute re-construction report regarding the 1967 Commemorative Flight.

They were approximately 10--‐12 miles [units not specified] north of Howland Island at the moment they visually acquired the island. Pelllegreno’s account of her thoughts and feelings upon arriving and not seeing Howland, then conducting a protracted search with limited fuel resources, is extremely interesting as a human factors and perational comparison to what may have occurred on AE’s mission. Pellegreno writes a compelling narrative here, one that can not help but evoke a sense of urgency, desperation, and elevated tension. Pellegreno’s flight had the advantage of better navigation equipment, a third set of human eyes, a nearby ship providing good DF bearings, and the luxury of having departed Nauru Island, with a Canton Island destination. With all of these advantages, they nearly missed visually acquiring Howland Island. This account demonstrates the great challenge attempted by Amelia and Fred, and provides a good assessment of the difficulty in visually acquiring tiny Howland Island.
Both Pellegreno's experience and the Waitt video do not match what Earhart would have seen. Pellegreno was flying above the bases of the clouds and a cloud blocked her way so she turned off to the side. Her navigator, Bill Polhemus, said after wards that if they had punched through that cloud they would have ended up right over Howland. The Waitt video was clearly above the bases of the clouds so the clouds also blocked the view of the island until quite close.

Clouds can have two effects on searching for an island. As above, if clouds are below your altitude they can block your view of the island. If you are below the clouds then they cannot block your view but they can make shadows that might be mistaken for the destination producing extra "false islands." The problem caused by this is that they pilot might dart right and left, getting off course, in an effort to evaluate these false destinations. But, if you do your navigation carefully, keeping a good DR as you go to take a closer look at the suspected island, you can then return to your course if it does prove out to be just a shadow and continue your search. Remember, the shadows do not obscure your view of the real island they only add additional targets to check out.
Quote


So anything could be possible however AE and FN had one advantage over this flight, the smoke trail.

As a side note, I think that report also solves the question of lighting around Nauru. There is a reference to two 1,000ft cableways on the top of the island, 556 feet above sea level, to permit mining at night. There is also reference from the director of police on the island that the chief radio operator had heard AE say that she saw the lights of Nauru several times. Even though this is the case, I still disagree that the AE spotted the lights of Nauru as this was 2nd hand information gathered after the fact.

Quote
Quote
I am also a bit troubled as to why they would have stayed on the 157/337 line an hour after having arrived at where they thought Howland was. It makes sense that they would have started a expanding square search pattern as you suggest but this would not be the case if you were flying on the line N and S on the 157/337 LOP an hour after you had arrived. Perhaps there was not plan or knowledge of how to begin the search pattern since they were lost. Perhaps they did search and going back in the line was a last ditch effort as the fuel started to run very low.

The only way I can make sense out of this statement is that they were flying a modified search pattern with longer legs parallel to the LOP and shorter legs perpendicular to it. Earhart might say that she was flying north and south "on the LOP" when on one of these long parallel legs.

Based on assumption that this was their method of search, long North South legs with short offsets, the only thing that makes sense in my mind is that they overshot Howland to the North and were making North / South passes on a 157/337 magnetic course. If as you say they would have traveled sufficiently to handle the worst case DR error, they would have seen the smoke trail if they were on the Western side of Howland. I believe that this was also the opinion of the captain of the Itasca however as far as I can surmise, he did not expect AE and FN to be searching on the Eastern side of Howland, he assumed they must have been short and missed the smoke trail to the West and North.

I also found logs (Jacobson Database) that suggest that Itasca reported 25 NM visibility range at the time. Looking over other documents, it suggests that the CG used a coding scheme that would not have allowed this to be the case so I am a bit confused as to what the actual visibility was on that day. In any case, I am sure FN came up with his own estimate as to the visibility range.
The scale maxed out at "20 NM or more" so you cannot say with certainty that it was 25 NM though it may have been. It is unlikely that it greatly exceeded 25 NM because visibility over the ocean rarely does which is why it was only necessary to have a scale that maxes out at 20 NM or more. Here is a photo of fairly common  (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=452.0;attach=171)good visibility conditions over he ocean.

Based on the Navy Climatic Atlas, in the vicinity of Howland in July, you can expect visibility less than 25 NM 70% of the time; less than 20 NM 60%; less than 15 NM 50% and less than 10 NM 39% of the time. So 40% of the time the visibility will equal or exceed 20 NM. Itasca logged at least 20 NM so there is a 10 % chance that it was more than 20 NM but less than 25 NM and only a 30% chance that it exceeded 25 NM and probably not by a lot more than 25 NM. The clouds depicted in my photo are scattered, about one octa (1/8th coverage). According to the same source, the low cloud coverage in the vicinity of Howland in July is greater than one octa 85% of the time, greater than two octas 62% of the time and greater than five octas, overcast, 25% of the time. Also see my prior post here.  (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,452.msg5577.html#msg5577)


gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 13, 2012, 06:25:30 AM
... It is fairly common for people to try to insert themselves into famous events, it brings some sense of fame to themselves and this is a possible explanation for Gore Vidal to make up a story like this.

Gene Vidal may have started the process of aggrandizing his own role in the planning.  AE helped him get the job as head of the Bureau of Air Commerce, then he helped set the wheels in motion for government support of the trans-Pacific flights.  I can see how he may have magnified any doubts he had about Fred--and any conversations he may have had with Amelia--after the tragedy unfolded.

In other words, Gore may not have been cutting the story out of whole cloth.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on January 13, 2012, 10:53:13 AM

Marty
The basis for your statement that AE helped GV get the gov't job is?

It's prolly true since they knew each other well, very well, and participated in the formation of three commercial airlines (including TWA) and, it's been alleged, were having an affair.  Gov't help for the Flight could very well have been a Quid pro Quo.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 13, 2012, 11:25:15 AM
The basis for your statement that AE helped GV get the gov't job is?

 Ric Gillespie (http://tighar.org/smf/../wiki/Ric_Gillespie), Finding Amelia (http://tighar.org/smf/../wiki/Finding_Amelia), p. 2.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on January 13, 2012, 02:09:59 PM

This article by Judith Thurman in the New Yorker sheds some light on the relationship between Amelia and Gene Vidal and her influence with Eleanor Roosevelt in getting Gene the job in Commerce and keeping it.
http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2009/09/14/090914crat_atlarge_thurman - - Cached - Similar pagesI'd link it, but haven't figured out how to do that yet
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on January 13, 2012, 03:22:41 PM

Jeff
You got that right!!
Running on the beach in my boxers and waving my briefs wildly over my head!
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 13, 2012, 07:05:42 PM
Quote
The only way I can make sense out of this statement is that they were flying a modified search pattern with longer legs parallel to the LOP and shorter legs perpendicular to it. Earhart might say that she was flying north and south "on the LOP" when on one of these long parallel legs.

Gary,

Let's say we follow this line of reasoning, that they were flying their own modified search pattern. Let's say they are at the end of the line where Howland should have been and decided to search using this method using a 157/337 magnetic heading. Do you think that they would head North or South then travel the entire possible DR error distance, use a times 2 visibility offset, then head in the opposite direction? Do you have a different suggestion as to what they might have attempted?

A critical aspect of this would be knowledge of the smoke trail. Since they knew of the smoke trail, this would be critical in their decision process.

If you did your first pass, say to the North, and did not spot the smoke trail, you have to make a decision as to whether you were short or long on the target. If you thought you were short, you would create an offset to the East. If you thought you were long, you would create an offset to the West. Is that correct?

Do we have any information to suggest which way they might have decided to search? There is the initial North / South decision to make then there is the East / West offset decision.

Perhaps they guessed that since the smoke trail was not seen, they might have thought they they were short of the target?

Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: John Ousterhout on January 13, 2012, 07:11:35 PM
I'm not aware of AE or FN having any experience with sighting smoke from steam-ship boilers.  Was the approach to Howland going to be their first time to see what it looked like?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 17, 2012, 05:13:06 PM
Thanks, Marty - that is helpful.

The 'vacuum pumps' as a vacuum source was nagging at me -

I checked airplane and engine data sheets - vacuum pumps were installed on 'early' Wasps - a distinction is made on the TCDS E-143 about a difference in drive-types for early and later Wasps of NR16020's type - 'tongue and groove' drive (early) vs. 'spline' drive (later).

That's not absolute proof that NR16020 had vacuum pumps in 1937 - but I don't recall a single picture showing venturis (http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/inpages/venturi3.php) on NR16020 in all the views I've seen.  If NR16020 had them they would have been prominent enough to be noticed, I think.  NR16020 had to have had a vacuum source for sure.

For those who are not familiar, a venturi works (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venturi_effect) by exploiting the total energy present in the ambient, subsonic slipstream of an airplane in flight: the air mass accelerates as it becomes constrained by the narrow portion which results in a decrease in static pressure, hence 'vacuum' (a relative term; it is really a relative low-pressure area). 

Mr. Bernouli as explained in Wiki makes more sense of this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernoulli%27s_principle) than I can relate here. 

Venturis are great - to an extent: there isn't any free lunch.  They impose drag and are subject to failure in ice - and do nothing for running major instruments reliably until sufficient slipstream is present (read: airspeed; propwash alone doesn't do it).  Pumps are far more desirable for these reasons.

I managed to find some information about vacuum driven instruments and vacuum sources as well as static pressure sources for the L10A.  This is not necessarily specific to the L10E as the manual I found relates to at least one earlier, lower powered variant - the L10A is named therein - but it is likely that the same or a similar arrangement would have been used for NR16020.  It is actually quite robust and full of redundancy:

"There are four sources of vacuum supply: Two vacuum pumps, either of which may be thrown into use at any time.  Carburetor suction from left hand engine only and Venturi tube in right hand nacelle only, mounted on No. 1 pressure baffle just inside the cowl.

TURN AND BANK INDICATOR operates from either Venturi, Carburetor suction, or Vacuum Pump.  Use Venturi except in emergency.

RATE OF CLIMB INDICATOR, ALTIMETER AND SENSITIVE ALTIMETER take their static pressure from either the pitot tube or the open cockpit.  The latter source to be used on in case of failure of the former.

DIRECTIONAL GYRO AND ARTIFICIAL HORIZON operate directly from the Vacuum Pump."


The term "open cockpit" as used here for a static source clearly means "system open to cockpit ambient", as we all realize the Electra did not have an "open cockpit" per se.  Pitot tubes commonly have static ports somewhere on the sides of their outer structure - that often provides a good 'clean air' static pressure source somewhat away from the skin.

The venturi being in the nacelle is an interesting feature - and could explain why no venturis are visible on NR16020 in the pictures.  I had not even thought of that and am trying to recall if I've seen such before - don't remember it.  If the main body of the venturi was mounted behind the pressure baffle, then engine heat may have helped keep it ice free in bad conditions.

The system used a selector valve to provide the choices outlined above.  There are some good graphics with this section of the manual and if I can figure out how to post it I will, but so far having trouble saving an image from it.

There was an air-oil separator for the vacuum pumps.  Pumps in those days (and up through recent decades) were 'wet', as opposed to the modern dry carbon vane types we now have so commonly.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 18, 2012, 01:20:41 AM
I'm not aware of AE or FN having any experience with sighting smoke from steam-ship boilers.  Was the approach to Howland going to be their first time to see what it looked like?

Well, water don't burn!  If they saw the smoke they would have known that there was something at the end of the smoke trail, a ship or an island, either of which would have been better than splashing down in the ocean. And it wouldn't take them very long to follow it to the end to see what was making the smoke even if they went the wrong way at first but that is unlikely since they knew the wind was out of the east so the source of the smoke would have to be off to the east of them. They were certainly not going to fly away in an effort to save themselves from what they thought was a forest fire.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 18, 2012, 04:37:31 AM

I do not know why I missed this but on the 'Transmissions heard from NR16020' page:

 http://tighar.org/wiki/Transmissions_heard_from_NR16020 (http://tighar.org/wiki/Transmissions_heard_from_NR16020)

It states at 17:42GMT (The 200 miles out message) "Vessel began laying down heavy smoke to assist Miss Earhart.". Is this really the case? I was under the impression that they started the smoke much earlier?

At 19:12 GMT is the "we must be on you" message. That is a time difference of only 1.5 hours. If the wind was out of the East at 8mph (not sure if that is 100% accurate) that would suggest the smoke trail was only 12 miles long. If they searched for another hour, the trail was only 20 miles long (20:13 GMT, last message).

A reporter also stated that the smoke was laying "low on the water". While Thompson noted that the smoke stretched out 100 miles, that observation is not really valid so far as AE spotting the smoke is concerned.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: John Ousterhout on January 18, 2012, 06:39:04 AM
gl sez: "...what they thought was a forest fire."
If they thought the smoke would rise up like smoke from a forest fire, then they would have been looking for the wrong shape, especially among scattered clouds (a quick search didn't find any evidence that they even knew the smoke would be produced, so the point may be moot).  I agree that they would have followed any clue they spotted, but I'm suggesting that a person searching for "smoke" might be looking for a rising column of smoke, like forest fires produce, rather than a trail of smoke on the water.
To Heath's point, would a trail of smoke be expected to remain visible after an hour and 20 miles?  I have no experience with smoke from boilers, only smoke from common sources, such as forest fires.


Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 18, 2012, 06:45:21 AM

I believe it was Thompson that claimed the smoke stretched out for 100 miles, probably at the point when they quit generating the smoke.. Even if that is the case, it only probably stretched 12 miles at the time that they were on approach to where they thought Howland was. By 20:15, it was only 20 miles. Assuming that the actual visibility was say 25 NM, this 12 mile smoke trail was really ineffective. If they could see the trail they should have seen the island. Now had the Itasca been laying smoke for say 12 hours, then it would have stretched out the 100 miles claimed by Thompson. That would have been much more effective but it was not to be.

What is interesting looking back on it is that Thompson convinced himself that they must be North because they did not see the smoke trail. I convinced myself of that thinking that it was 100 miles long however this could not be further from the truth. I now believe that Thompson's thought process was completely flawed.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on January 18, 2012, 01:40:12 PM

The smoke leaving the stack of the Itasca would have two forces acting on it as it left the stack, the force (velocity) pushing it UP in the vertical direction and the force (velocity) of the wind  BENDING  it over  intothe horizontal direction. 

The concentration of the smoke is a complex exponential function of the height of the stack (release height), the actual height added to that by the velocity of emission, the turbulence of the atmosphere, and the distance from the point of release.

Thompson's "recollections" must be taken with a grain of salt since they are after the fact of failure and probably have a large componet of CYA.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 18, 2012, 10:02:23 PM
Interesting. Is it possible, if Itasca was laying down smoke, that the smoke screened Howland from being seen by AE and FN?  This is exactly the purpose behind military smoke screens in the first place.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 18, 2012, 10:17:10 PM
Interesting. Is it possible, if Itasca was laying down smoke, that the smoke screened Howland from being seen by AE and FN?  This is exactly the purpose behind military smoke screens in the first place.

Good grief - I never thought of that.  It's not something that can be proven, obviously, but it might be demonstrated that such smoke might obscure the island itself if conditions were 'right' for that - light, glare, haze or not, contrast with sea, etc.

Very interesting thought of one more thing that could be a factor in the failure to spot Howland.  I would think the flight would need to be on a fairly direct course toward the island for that to happen, though, and I tend to believe that wasn't the case - another thing that can never be proved.  Very interesting idea though, for sure.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 18, 2012, 10:44:31 PM
I have not found where Thompson claimed the smoke trail to stretch for 100 miles, but I may be overlooking something.

Thompson did not make that claim.

The Keane report to Associated Press from the first attempt to reach Howland says, "Shoshone will make smoke screen starting daybreak. Should be visible more than hundred miles" (record #1457 (http://tighar.org/smf/../wiki/Radio_traffic_about_the_Howland_Island_runways)).

Writing about the second attempt (http://tighar.org/smf/../wiki/James_Christian_Kamakaiwi), Kamakaiwi noted, "Itasca was letting a big stream of black smoke out, streaming low over the water with the trade [sic]."  I presume that he meant "with the trade winds." 

I've started a section on the smoke controversy (http://tighar.org/wiki/USCGC_Itasca).
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 18, 2012, 11:44:23 PM

I do not know why I missed this but on the 'Transmissions heard from NR16020' page:

 http://tighar.org/wiki/Transmissions_heard_from_NR16020 (http://tighar.org/wiki/Transmissions_heard_from_NR16020)

It states at 17:42GMT (The 200 miles out message) "Vessel began laying down heavy smoke to assist Miss Earhart.". Is this really the case? I was under the impression that they started the smoke much earlier?

At 19:12 GMT is the "we must be on you" message. That is a time difference of only 1.5 hours. If the wind was out of the East at 8mph (not sure if that is 100% accurate) that would suggest the smoke trail was only 12 miles long. If they searched for another hour, the trail was only 20 miles long (20:13 GMT, last message).

A reporter also stated that the smoke was laying "low on the water". While Thompson noted that the smoke stretched out 100 miles, that observation is not really valid so far as AE spotting the smoke is concerned.
The deck log gives the time of the "200 mile out" call as 0614 (1744 Z) it then states that smoke was started (probably a short time later) and definitely prior to the next entry at 0645 (1815 Z) of "100 mile out" call.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 19, 2012, 01:09:55 AM

- Itasca's deck log mentions laying down the smoke - but never comments on how long that actually continued.

- The smoke was observed to “stretch out for ten miles and not thinning out greatly.”

- Winds for the two hours following were easterly at 7 - 11 knots.


The deck log shows the surface wind speed at 0600, 15 minutes prior to starting the smoke, as Beaufort force 1. At 0700 is is force 2 and at 0800, 13 minutes prior to the last radio call from Earhart, it was force 3. Force 1 is 1 to 3 knots; force 2 is 4 to 6 knots; and force 3 is 7 to 10 knots. See attached Beaufort scales.
(BTW, do not go by the Beaufort scale included with the Itasca deck log (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Logs/Itascadecklog.pdf), it is completely wrong, I can't understand where it came from. I was looking at it and it jumped out at me since everyone knows that force 8 is 34 knots and a hurricane, force 12, is 64 knots.) I am attaching this incorrect Beaufort table.
So the surface winds did not exceed 10 knots during this period so an average would be about 5 knots on the surface. But the wind several hundred feet up will be faster because the surface winds are slowed by friction with the earth and this is why the upper sails on a square rigged sailing ship are trimmed to a different angle than the lower sails and every pilot who has landed with a cross wind knows that the wind speed usually drops off as you get lower approaching the runway so you can reduce the cross wind correction control input.  So, it is reasonable to use 7 or 8 knots for the speed at the height of the smoke so the smoke should have blown to the west about 15 NM during the two hour period that the smoke was made and prior to the last transmission. But the Itasca continued to make smoke so it would have extended even further if Earhart was conducting a search pattern after the last transmission. But, we know that they never saw the smoke or we all wouldn't be spending our time discussing this.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 19, 2012, 01:22:19 AM
I'm not aware of AE or FN having any experience with sighting smoke from steam-ship boilers.  Was the approach to Howland going to be their first time to see what it looked like?
At one time there was considerable interest in determining just how far smoke from ships' funnels could be seen. Several studies were done and thousands of experiments performed. I don't have the documents handy but I remember that the result was that the smoke could be seen from a considerable distance. There were two periods in particular when these studies were conducted, 1914 through 1918 and 1938 through 1945. The second set of studies were conducted under the supervision of Karl Doenitz.
gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 19, 2012, 01:47:13 AM
gl sez: "...what they thought was a forest fire."
If they thought the smoke would rise up like smoke from a forest fire, then they would have been looking for the wrong shape, especially among scattered clouds (a quick search didn't find any evidence that they even knew the smoke would be produced, so the point may be moot).  I agree that they would have followed any clue they spotted, but I'm suggesting that a person searching for "smoke" might be looking for a rising column of smoke, like forest fires produce, rather than a trail of smoke on the water.
To Heath's point, would a trail of smoke be expected to remain visible after an hour and 20 miles?  I have no experience with smoke from boilers, only smoke from common sources, such as forest fires.

I was discussing this same issue with a friend on August 14, 2007 when I sent him the following:

--------------------------------------------------------

There is a brush fire burning north of Santa Barbara California and I
can see the smoke from my office in Thousand Oaks California. I
measured the distance on a Sectional chart and the distance is a
little more than 60 NM. Of course the brush fire is making a greater
volume of smoke than Itasca but it does show that you can see smoke
from this distance.

AE many not have been able to see smoke from 50 NM due to their low
altitude as I explained in a previous message but is should have been
visible at least 20 NM since that was the visibility reported by
Itasca. (Actually they reported visibility of "9" on a "1" to "9"
scale which means the visibility was at least 20 NM and may have been
a thousand NM, though unlikely, but we don't know so using 20 NM is being conservative.)

Itasca's estimate that the smoke would be visible for 40 NM might have
been optimistic but it is the only estimate that we have so we have to
accept it as being at least approximately correct., surely it exceeded
20 NM.


The main point of my post is that the smoke screen eliminated any
navigation problem associated with Noonan aiming for the wrong
coordinates for Howland. It also eliminates Long's theory that they
flew past Howland southeast bound passing to the west of Howland as
they would have seen the smoke. It leaves the most probable place for
the aircraft as too far to the northwest, more than 40 NM, under a low
cloud deck.

------------------------------------

A short explanation for why this is the case. The distance that an object can be seen at sea is limited by the horizon, the edge of the earth, getting in the way of the line-of-sight. The distance to the horizon in nautical miles is determined by the formula 1.144 times the square root of the height, in feet.  (For statute miles the multiplication factor is 1.32 or one-third more than the square root of the height.) These distances are listed in table 8 of Bowditch.

To do the calculation you calculate the distance to the horizon from the height of the object and then you add to this the distance to the horizon from the height of eye of the observer. If the smoke went up only 50 feet the distance to the horizon from that height is 8.1 NM; if it was up 100 feet then 11.4 NM; and 200 feet then 16.2 NM. The distance to the horizon from a submarine's periscope, three feet high, is only  2.0 NM  so the distance the smoke could be seen from the periscope at the various heights are 10.1 NM, 13.4 NM and 18.2 NM. The smoke at 200 feet is visible almost twice as far away as at 50 feet from the periscope.

The distance to the horizon for a plane flying at 1000 feet is 36.2 NM so the distance that the smoke could be seen from the plane for the various heights of the smoke are 44.3 NM, 47.6 NM, and 52.4 NM respectively.

This is the reason for "crow's nests" on ships. A lookout in a crow's nest 100 feet above the waterline will be  able to see more that 3 times farther compared to an observer on deck only 10 feet above the waterline, 11.4 NM versus 3.6 NM. This is also the reason that lookouts were stationed up in the periscope shears, as high as possible on a surfaced submarine, when searching for enemy ships in WW 2.

The Commanding officer of the Lexington said that the "Itasca was laying a heavy smoke screen which hung for hours." He also said that "the Itasca's smoke plume could have been seen 40 miles or more." Now the captain of the Lexington was not there at the time, so he was relying on reports from others, but the captain of the Lexington would know the capabilities and characteristics of smoke made by ships in 1937. See the Dowell report (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Reports/DowellReport.pdf).

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 19, 2012, 02:15:05 AM
Interesting. Is it possible, if Itasca was laying down smoke, that the smoke screened Howland from being seen by AE and FN?  This is exactly the purpose behind military smoke screens in the first place.
That's because you SEE the smoke and can't see the tank or troops on the other side of the smoke that you are SEEING.

If they saw the smoke then they would have known something better than the cold blue sea was at the end of the smoke trail and would not have simply ignored it.

I used to fire obscuring smoke rounds with my 8 inch howitzers (artillery pieces) and when I was a tanker we had red phosphorous smoke grenade projectors that threw out six smoke grenades when you push the button on the ceiling of the turret to hide the tank in an instant cloud of smoke to throw off the guidance of an incoming ATGM (anti tank guided missiles.) The enemy then could not see the tank but the smoke cloud itself is highly visible. The smoke grenade projectors are those big wart like objects with many holes mounted on each side of the turret in the attached photo. (BTW, the photo is reversed right to left.)

Here is a link to a naval smoke screen (http://www.bosamar.com/combat/escorts.html) being laid by two destroyers, ship not much larger than Itasca, can you see the smoke? Here's another one (http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/h99000/h99864.jpg).

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 19, 2012, 04:10:18 AM
Quote
I have not found where Thompson claimed the smoke trail to stretch for 100 miles, but I may be overlooking something.

Jeff, I am not sure why I thought that as Thompson did only say 10 miles in the his report. I must have read the reference that he said that they must be within 100 miles and because they did not see the smoke trail they must have been to the North-West.


Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 19, 2012, 04:54:11 AM
Interesting. Is it possible, if Itasca was laying down smoke, that the smoke screened Howland from being seen by AE and FN?  This is exactly the purpose behind military smoke screens in the first place.
That's because you SEE the smoke and can't see the tank or troops on the other side of the smoke that you are SEEING.

If they saw the smoke then they would have known something better than the cold blue sea was at the end of the smoke trail and would not have simply ignored it.

I used to fire obscuring smoke rounds with my artillery pieces and when I was a tanker we had red phosphorous smoke grenade projectors that threw out six smoke grenades when you push the button on the ceiling of the turret to hide the tank in an instant cloud of smoke to throw off the guidance of an incoming ATGM (anti tank guided missiles.) But the smoke cloud itself is highly visible. The smoke grenade projectors are those big wart like objects with many holes mounted on each side of the turret in the attached photo. (BTW, the photo is reversed right to left.)

Here is a link to a naval smoke screen (http://www.bosamar.com/combat/escorts.html) being laid by two destroyers, ship not much larger than Itasca, can you see the smoke? Here's another one (http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/h99000/h99864.jpg).

gl

I know what a smoke screen does and why. I used to lay smoke rounds with a mortar while in the infantry to obscure troop movements.  However, as you point out, you see the smoke. I have no idea if this was the case and the idea is unprovable but AE and FN didn't find Howland but thought they were near. If FN did his job right, and no radio messages suggest they thought otherwise, then why didn't they see Howland?  Maybe they didnt't understand what it was they were seeing. It's not called a smoke screen for nothing.  Just an unprovable idea.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on January 19, 2012, 11:28:54 AM

Ever hear the military ditty?

When in Danger or in Doubt,
Run in Circles, Scream and Shout.
Raise the Flag and Shoot the Gun,
And cet the Words,   Well Done!!

Substitute :Steam" for :Run"  and ya can understand the "Search"
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 19, 2012, 12:33:34 PM
Interesting. Is it possible, if Itasca was laying down smoke, that the smoke screened Howland from being seen by AE and FN?  This is exactly the purpose behind military smoke screens in the first place.
That's because you SEE the smoke and can't see the tank or troops on the other side of the smoke that you are SEEING.

If they saw the smoke then they would have known something better than the cold blue sea was at the end of the smoke trail and would not have simply ignored it.

I used to fire obscuring smoke rounds with my artillery pieces and when I was a tanker we had red phosphorous smoke grenade projectors that threw out six smoke grenades when you push the button on the ceiling of the turret to hide the tank in an instant cloud of smoke to throw off the guidance of an incoming ATGM (anti tank guided missiles.) But the smoke cloud itself is highly visible. The smoke grenade projectors are those big wart like objects with many holes mounted on each side of the turret in the attached photo. (BTW, the photo is reversed right to left.)

Here is a link to a naval smoke screen (http://www.bosamar.com/combat/escorts.html) being laid by two destroyers, ship not much larger than Itasca, can you see the smoke? Here's another one (http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/h99000/h99864.jpg).

gl

I know what a smoke screen does and why. I used to lay smoke rounds with a mortar while in the infantry to obscure troop movements.  However, as you point out, you see the smoke. I have no idea if this was the case and the idea is unprovable but AE and FN didn't find Howland but thought they were near. If FN did his job right, and no radio messages suggest they thought otherwise, then why didn't they see Howland?  Maybe they didnt't understand what it was they were seeing. It's not called a smoke screen for nothing.  Just an unprovable idea.
Did you operate the FOUR-DEUCE? I ended up as CHIEF OF SMOKE for an M110 firing battery.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on January 19, 2012, 12:51:13 PM

Gary
Chief of SMOKE??   Was that a prerequisite for Law School?
Just joshing , a little humour.
Actually, I am continually amazed at the depth of your knowledge and read all of your posts with interest.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 19, 2012, 06:15:50 PM

Gary
Chief of SMOKE??   Was that a prerequisite for Law School?
Just joshing , a little humour.
Actually, I am continually amazed at the depth of your knowledge and read all of your posts with interest.
Not an absolute requirement, but it helped.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on January 19, 2012, 07:49:39 PM

Gary
Thanks for  tolerating my  meager attempt at humour.  You are indeed a Class Act.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 19, 2012, 10:41:51 PM

Gary
Thanks for  tolerating my  meager attempt at humour.  You are indeed a Class Act.
Boy am I dense, I never saw the connection with the current discussion.
 
"Chief of Smoke" is the informal usage commonly used in preference to the official title of "Chief of the Firing Battery." I commanded four 8 inch M110A2 self propelled howitzers plus the Fire Direction Center (FDC) and the ammo section, about 70 soldiers in all. My friends just called me "Smoke" as in "Hey Smoke, where to you want us to set up the FDC?" The "firing battery" is the part of an artillery battery that actually sends those 200 pound projectiles downrange and the other part of the artillery battery handles administration and logistics, "ash and trash" is what we called those guys.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 20, 2012, 12:51:34 AM
Did you operate the FOUR-DEUCE? I ended up as CHIEF OF SMOKE for an M110 firing battery.

Nothing as sophisticated as you. A simple reservist in the Canadian infantry. 81mm mortar was my specialty. Many years ago.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 22, 2012, 07:47:04 PM

What is "obvious" to one may not be obvious to another.

Since that same telegram says "LAE DISPATCH ARRIVED LATE TONIGHT. THINK WE HAVE SOLVED CABLE CREDIT DIFFICULTY," it might be referring to the preceding telegram, address both to Putnam and the Tribune, which read, in part: "ARRANGE CREDIT IF TRIBUNE WISHES MORE STORY."  The Tribune telegram might mean, "We received the telegram from Earhart that asked us to arrange credit for her."  In other words, Putnam does not have to take any further action on that particular request made in the telegram that was sent to both parties.
The problem with that explanation is that the "ARRANGE CREDIT IF TRIBUNE WISHES MORE STORY" radiogram arrived at 5:53 p.m. which I don't think anyone would describe as "ARRIVED LATE TONIGHT. Prior to 6:00 p.m. is normally called "afternoon" not "night" and certainly not "late night." The confirmatory telegram sent out later on the night of the 29th did refer to this radiogram but also to the "DISPATCH" that arrived later, "late night". They apparently arranged credit in response to the 5:53 p.m. telegram that allowed Earhart to send the "dispatch" later that day.

Earhart sent only two "dispatches" to the newspaper, the one in dispute and the second one that was printed several days later. The confirmatory telegram referred to a "dispatch" sent by Earhart from Lae on June 30th, (Lae date and time.) The story printed in the Harold Tribune had the dateline "Lae, New Guinea, June 30th."

I rest my case.


gl
I have filed this motion to reopen this case based on newly discovered evidence that adds further support to my original evidence. Attached hereto, and incorporated herein by reference, is a true and correct copy of a telegram from George Palmer Putnam to Mr. Hill at the New York Herald Tribune dated June 29, 1937. This court is requested to take judicial notice, pursuant to Evidence Code section 452, that this document is maintained in the archives of Purdue University and is equally available to all parties  on Purdue's website here (http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/earhart&CISOPTR=1905&CISOBOX=1&REC=2).

Attached hereto, and incorporated herein by reference, is a true and correct copy of an acknowledgment telegram sent by Mr. Hill to George Palmer Putnam at 11:32 p.m. on June 29, 1937. This court is requested to take judicial notice, pursuant to Evidence Code section 452, that this document is maintained in the archives of Purdue University and is equally available to all parties on Purdue's website here (http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/earhart&CISOPTR=1906&CISOBOX=1&REC=1).

Comparing this new evidence, the telegram from Mr. Putnam to Mr. Hill, with the previously produced evidence, the acknowledgment telegram from Mr. Hill to Mr. Putnam, makes it clear that Mr. Hill was responding to the telegram from Mr. Putnam by responding to the request contained in the earlier telegram, "PLEASE WIRE IF EARHART LAE STORY REACHED YOU NOTHING RECEIVED HERE." The telegram from Mr. Hill to Mr. Putnam provides the direct response to this question, "LAE DISPATCH ARRIVED LATE TONIGHT."

A reasonable inference from these two telegrams is that Earhart cabled her dispatch directly to the New York office of the New York Herald Tribune and not to the Oakland office where Mr. Putnam was located.

Providing further proof that Mr. Hill was responding to Mr. Putnam's telegram, is that Mr. Hill's telegram also responded to a second request stated in the earlier telegram from Mr. Putnam concerning the photographs for Acme.

This court is requested to rule that the disputed fact, that Amelia Earhart sent both dispatches from Lae to the New York Herald Tribune by telegram or by radiogram or by a combination of both telegram and radiogram, has been proved by a preponderance of admissible evidence and by reasonable inferences drawn therefrom in accordance with Evidence Code section 600(b). As the prevailing party in this action, we also ask this court to issue its order awarding us our costs and against the other party as provided by the Civil Code.
gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 23, 2012, 04:39:34 PM
Quote
Regarding which way to offset when starting the search pattern you would normally turn in the direction to take you to an area you haven't been through yet, if that is not the situation you normally offset into the wind, in this case to the east. But for Noonan, since they knew the wind was out of the east and they expected a smoke trail that would extend off to the west, it would be less likely that they missed to the west than that they missed to the east by overshooting the LOP because they would have had to have been much shorter of the LOP to miss the smoke, so they should offset to the west when returning to commence the modified square search pattern.

I see what you are saying. It would make a lot of sense to look for the smoke rather than the Island itself in this case. My question is did they know that a smoke trail was being laid for them or was that something the Itasca did on it's own? Had they used smoke from a boiler on other occasions? One interesting note I found looking over the logs was a reporter who stated that the smoke trail stretch out for miles and was "low on the water". This is very interesting because we can guess that the range of visibility to the smoke was not improved by the altitude of the smoke.


The answer to your question is "Yes" they did know smoke was being laid for them as confirmed by the attached radiogram sent on June 19, 1937 at 1340 Itasca time.

gl

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 25, 2012, 12:49:52 AM
I have attached another chart showing two options for flying from the position reported in the 0718 Z radio transmission to Howland. Flying directly to Howland is 1,716 SM while over flying Nauru to Howland is 1,746 SM, only 30 SM longer, about 12 minutes more flying time, about eight gallons of gas.

The assumption you are making in your calculation is that after flying on the approximation of the great circle route to the 0718 Z position, Noonan then abandoned the preplanned flight segments and started from scratch to add time and distance to the route.  Only if he decides to do so from 0718 Z does he "only" spend 12 minutes and 8 gallons of gas.

But he could have saved even more by flying directly to the Naura light from Lae.

It is you are making the assumption that they had assiduously stayed on the great circle from Lae to Howland which we know is not the case because there is no way your can contort the 0519 Z position report to put them on the great circle route. They apparently thought it prudent to add a few extra miles to the flight to avoid the predicted squall lines on the direct line and to get good visual fixes on those two islands since celestial navigation would not work during that part of the day. Although the 0718 Z position is on the direct line from Lae to Howland it is also on the line from the 0519 Z position over Choiseul to Nauru. Flying directly from Lae to Nauru is 1440 SM while flying over the 0718 Z position, just west of Nukumano, and then on to Nauru is 1451 SM, only 11 SM longer. This is only 5 minutes flying time to be subtracted from the 6 hour reserve (based on the 18 hour enroute estimate and the 24 hours of fuel onboard), I wouldn't lose much sleep over that.   
Quote

He couldn't wait to decide the issue until he missed the Ontario and still have the fuel and time economy that you have calculated--nor the blessed assurance that he would be able to find Nauru as a way of finding where he was.

They had much more assurance of spotting the extremely bright lights at Nauru than they did of spotting the lights of the Ontario, whatever they may have been. Noonan had no assurance that Ontario would be sending out a radio beacon or shining a searchlight (and indeed, that was the case) but he did know that the bright lights at Nauru would be on all night. From 8,000 feet the horizon is 117.8 SM away to which you add the distance the light can be seen from sea level for the 560 foot high light which is 31.2 SM making a total visible distance 149 SM. Even if the working lights were lower than the Nauru lighthouse they would still add about 20 SM making the minimum distance 138 SM. This is less than the 217 SM I had calculated before, (tongue-in cheek,) but still a considerable distance. On the 606 SM leg from Nukumano to Nauru, to be off course by 138 SM, so as to miss the Nauru lights, would require a DR error of 23% which is  more than double the 10% accepted uncertainty in dead reckoning. And because of the brightness of the working lights they would, most likely, have been seen even further away due to their loom. Basically the Nauru lights put up a block across their path 276 SM long, (see attached chart,) impossible to miss.
Quote

You're not talking about the natural variations from a flight path that happen all the time.  You're talking about charting an entirely different course.

Yep.
Why do it, you ask.
In the Army we have "exercises" to make sure everything will work right, when it is needed, because this is serious business, people's lives might depend on it. We load up our vehicles with all the required equipment, inspect our troops to make sure that they have their weapons and all of their equipment, (including their tooth brushes and underwear), in their duffel bags, we crank up the radios and establish the radio net using the proper codes, call signs and frequencies, we start up the vehicles, assemble the convoy and move out down the road. We drive a couple of miles, get the column turned around, then come back in and put everything away. By checking everything, even little things like tooth brushes, we find any problems and correct them now so that we know everything WILL work when needed.

Nauru provided the opportunity for Noonan to "exercise" all of his navigation stuff and Ontario did not provide this opportunity. Noonan knew exactly where Nauru was located, it wasn't going anywhere. Ontario might be on station or it might not. Even if Ontario was trying to maintain its station, its navigators also had positions with a certain amount of uncertainty. Noonan could get a fix over or very close to Nauru and compare his coordinates with the known position of Nauru and if they agreed then he knew his sextant was working right, his chronometer was still correct, he was using the correct page of the Nautical Almanac, he was doing his computations correctly and was doing his chart work properly. If anything was not right then his position would not agree with that of Nauru and Noonan would know he had a problem of some sort.  He had the opportunity to "exercise" the entire navigation system before making the irreversible commitment to Howland since they had not yet passed the PNR so could return to Lae or Rabaul to sort things out.
Quote

I don't see any indication in the radio traffic that supports your contention that Noonan didn't want the Ontario on station around the mid-point of the flight.  Quite the contrary.
No reason not to have Ontario there since it gave Noonan a chance to "exercise" the RDF if Ontario was broadcasting, but it wasn't. So from that point they had to have some suspicion of their radio, if they didn't already, but they couldn't be sure if it was their radio or if the Ontario was at fault. Either way, they had no assurance that they could use the RDF to find Howland so this would make the celestial navigation "exercise" over Nauru even more important. This would have been a good point to turn around when they didn't hear Ontario since they were putting all of their eggs into one basket. (Well worth adding just a few extra miles to the flight, don't you think?)

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 25, 2012, 04:03:16 AM
Quote
From 8,000 feet the horizon is 117.8 SM away to which you add the distance the light can be seen at sea level for the 560 foot high light which is 31.2 SM making a total visible distance 149 SM.

I believe the maximum distance that they could have seen the lights at 560ft from 8,000ft is 121 SM, but that is not really significant.

Your theory requires that they flew directly at Nauru from the 7:18 GMT report. If they did this wouldn't you expect more radio traffic between Nauru than a single report ("a ship ahead") at 10:30 GMT as they would have been in radio range of Nauru for an extended period of time?

This also negates any value of the flight plan that accounted for magnetic variances. I think that area is really neglected in the conversations about the significance of the flight plan and why you would want to stick to it.

This also negates FN's ability to take celestial observations. If he had this excellent track record of doing so, why would he need a land reference? As I recall the Ontario logged that the weather conditions were very good (40 mile visibility) and he should have easily been able to take readings.

Maybe it is just me but this would seem to be more the behavior of a navigator gone rouge, completely abandoning the flight plan and all the preparations that preceded it.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 25, 2012, 04:40:44 AM
From 8,000 feet the horizon is 117.8 SM away to which you add the distance the light can be seen at sea level for the 560 foot high light which is 31.2 SM making a total visible distance 149 SM.

I believe the maximum distance that they could have seen the lights at 560ft from 8,000ft is 121 SM, but that is not really significant.
The formula is 1.32 times the square root of the height. For 8,000 feet this equals 118.1 SM. Then you do the same for the height of the light, 560 feet which produces 31.2 SM. "Put 'em together and what have you got?" 149.3 SM.
Quote


Your theory requires that they flew directly at Nauru from the 7:18 GMT report. If they did this wouldn't you expect more radio traffic between Nauru than a single report ("a ship ahead") at 10:30 GMT as they would have been in radio range of Nauru for an extended period of time?
Earhart was taciturn based on the dearth of radio transmissions.
Quote

This also negates any value of the flight plan that accounted for magnetic variances. I think that area is really neglected in the conversations about the significance of the flight plan and why you would want to stick to it.

Applying magnetic variation is trivial and pilots and navigators do it all the time. No reason to use Williams' charts for this since variation is printed on all flight and marine charts. You simply look for the isogonic line in your vicinity, read off the variation, and apply it to your true course. This is really simple stuff. Look at this chart (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/resources/trial/gnc-20-9.JPG?attredirects=0). The dashed line running upward just to the west of Nukumano in the isogonic line labeled "8° E." And look at Noonan's Atlantic chart (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/navigation-to-dakar/Chart1.jpg?attredirects=0). The isogonic lines are also dashed lines and are easiest to see near the lower left corner of the chart.
Quote

This also negates FN's ability to take celestial observations. If he had this excellent track record of doing so, why would he need a land reference? As I recall the Ontario logged that the weather conditions were very good (40 mile visibility) and he should have easily been able to take readings.
No it doesn't. My point is that he would take a celestial observation over Nauru so that he could compare what he computed for his celestially derived position with the known correct answer, the location of Nauru, so he could make sure everything was working right.
Quote

Maybe it is just me but this would seem to be more the behavior of a navigator gone rouge, completely abandoning the flight plan and all the preparations that preceded it.
Yes, it is just you.
I'll say it one more time. The strip chart was a planning document, not meant to be used in flight. It was prepared to assist Earhart in planning her route, times enroute, fuel required to be pre-positioned, etc. It was prepared by a different navigator, Clarence Williams, who did not have Noonan's experience. What do you even know about Williams' qualifications to even make the strip chart? It was prepared for a flight going in the opposite direction so why would you expect the more experienced navigator, Noonan, to slavishly follow a strip chart drawn by a less qualified person for a different flight, a flight FROM Howland TO Lae? Noonan had his own marine charts of a much larger scale and much more detail than William's strip chart to plot his, Noonan's, course line and his fixes just like the Atlantic chart. Noonan also had current information such as the lights on Nauru and the current weather such as storms to be avoided. Williams had none of this. We don't have Noonan's chart showing the route he planned for the flight from Lae to Howland since he took it with him on the flight, so how can you say that he abandoned his flight plan, you do not know what his flight plan was. His Atlantic chart shows his work which is different than Williams. He used the best charts he could find and those were marine charts and you can see many that he used at the Purdue archives.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on January 25, 2012, 11:15:39 AM

Gary
You are right on.
When I was in the Army we did everything as you described.  Practice, Practice, Practice until we got it right.  Then Practice again.

With your browser, look up The Lincoln Highway, Military Convoy, 1919,   Eisenhower.  An interesting, but sometimes boring, report of the first military convoy across the US (coast to coast) on the first, and then the only, hard surface road across the US, The Lincoln Highway.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 25, 2012, 02:50:27 PM
Quote
The formula is 1.32 times the square root of the height. For 8,000 feet this equals 118.1 SM. Then you do the same for the height of the light, 560 feet which produces 31.2 SM. "Put 'em together and what have you got?" 149.3 SM.

You cannot just add the two together. Try again.

Quote
Earhart was taciturn based on the dearth of radio transmissions.

Because she was not heard this is not proof that she was not transmitting.

Quote
Applying magnetic variation is trivial and pilots and navigators do it all the time.

If everything is trivial, why even create a flight plan? I suggest that it was not trivial and the fact they did not make it to Howland as proof.

Quote
Noonan, to slavishly follow a strip chart drawn by a less qualified person for a different flight, a flight FROM Howland TO Lae?

Because he was hired as a navigator. This does not give him liberty to create a flight plan as he saw fit on a whim. If this were the case, I am sure that this would have been communicated in one form or another. I see no evidence that this was the case. The fact that they made it back to the flight line at 7:19 GMT contradicts this theory. If you took a match to the flight plan, there was no reason to head back to the flight line. If FN was so expert as to trash the flight plan, and head to Nauru, the heading from 5:19 GMT to 7:19 GMT makes no sense at all.

I do not think there is any evidence of the Electra heading to Nauru so I will drop it there.

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 25, 2012, 07:04:11 PM
Quote
The formula is 1.32 times the square root of the height. For 8,000 feet this equals 118.1 SM. Then you do the same for the height of the light, 560 feet which produces 31.2 SM. "Put 'em together and what have you got?" 149.3 SM.

You cannot just add the two together. Try again.

Of course you can add the two distances together, in fact, you must. I posted excerpts from THE standard navigation text on this subject before and, for your convenience, I am attaching it again. This text explains how you compute the range of a light, taking into account the height of the light and the height of the observer. Take a moment to read it and look at the diagram at the bottom of the page. Take a look at my prior post (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,555.msg8186.html#msg8186).

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 26, 2012, 12:06:37 AM
Applying magnetic variation is trivial and pilots and navigators do it all the time.

If everything is trivial, why even create a flight plan? I suggest that it was not trivial and the fact they did not make it to Howland as proof.
As I said, applying variation is trivial, and every student pilot masters this requirement prior to their first cross-country flight, usually within 20 hours of their first flying lesson, during which time the student has also spent a little bit of his time learning to fly the airplane too.

Quote
Because he was hired as a navigator. This does not give him liberty to create a flight plan as he saw fit on a whim. If this were the case, I am sure that this would have been communicated in one form or another. I see no evidence that this was the case. The fact that they made it back to the flight line at 7:19 GMT contradicts this theory. If you took a match to the flight plan, there was no reason to head back to the flight line. If FN was so expert as to trash the flight plan, and head to Nauru, the heading from 5:19 GMT to 7:19 GMT makes no sense at all.

Oh yes it does, that is what a navigator is hired to do, that is why he gets paid the big bucks. It is his responsibility to decide how to navigate the aircraft from point a to point b, he is the only one with the knowledge in the plane who can do that.

There is an old joke. A new navigator is assigned to a B-24, flying bombing missions over the western Pacific during WWII, taking off from Moritai island and bombing Borneo. The pilot had a reputation of being a "hard ass." He yelled for the new navigator to come up to the cockpit. The pilot then pulled his .45 out of his shoulder holster, slapped it down on top of the instrument panel and yelled at the navigator, "I'll shoot any damned navigator that gets us lost!"

The navigator thought for a moment and then followed suit. He pulled his .45 out, slapped it down on top of the instrument panel and said to the captain, "if we get lost, I'll know it before you do!"

When you cut right to the chase, out over the ocean on the way to Howland, Earhart had been reduced to the status of a helmsman who had to steer the headings given to her on a note by Noonan. Earhart had no way herself to determine what way she should point the nose of the plane in order to ever see land again. She had no way to know what island the heading given to her by Noonan was taking them. On her prior ocean crossing flights, solo across the Atlantic and solo from Hawaii to California, she was dead reckoning and aiming for continents that she could not miss. The only issue on those flights was reliability of the engines and having sufficient fuel to reach the continent ahead of her. It did not matter if she wandered off course far to the right or left, as long as the engine kept making noise for a long enough period of time, she was guaranteed of reaching dry land.

And you still keep referring to "the flight plan." As I have said before, we do not have their "flight plan" we only have a preliminary planning document prepared months before by a different person for an entirely different flight in the opposite direction with very different navigational considerations. Whatever flight plan Earhart and Noonan came up with incorporated a detour around the predicted storms based on current information that they had that was not available when Williams drew his strip chart many months before. Earhart and Noonan also had new information about the lights on Nauru that Williams did not have. If Williams did know about the Nauru lights he might have drawn his strip chart to go over Nauru, or maybe not, since it was a much easier route going towards Lae than going towards Howland. Noonan would have been remiss as a navigator if he didn't take these factors into account in making the actual flight plan for the actual flight from Lae to Howland. By the way, do you have any proof that they even took Williams' strip chart with them? (the document that you like to refer to as "the flight plan.") This actual strip chart is now in the Purdue collection so we know that chart did not go on the flight. Was a copy of it made to carry with them? do you have any proof? Actually there is evidence that they did not take a copy of this strip chart with them. This is not the only strip chart that Williams prepared, he made one for each leg of the route around the world. The entire set of strip charts is at Purdue so we know that none of the originals went with them. We only know of one copy of his strip charts that actually went on the flight, the one for the leg from California to Hawaii because Purdue has this copy with its hand written notations. Purdue doesn't have any other such strip charts for any of the other legs. Earhart sent back her charts when they had completed each leg and they are all at Purdue, an example of which is the Natal to Dakar chart that I have on my website. If they had also been carrying Williams' handywork with them then these strip charts would also have been sent back along with the other charts and we would find this second copy, most likely bearing some notations similar to the one for the Hawaiian flight, at Purdue and they are not there. So it looks like they left Mr. Williams behind when they started around the world eastbound.

In fact, for the Lae to Howland leg it is quite likely that they had "abandoned" Williams' "flight plan"  even before they left the States. Noonan looked at the Williams' plan and said "no way, it is an entirely different navigational situation going to Howland than going the other way, towards Lae, which is basically aiming for a continent. I will work out a proper plan for this much more difficult route taking advantage of everything I can find along the route based on my experience of flying over the Pacific, experience that your Mr. Williams lacks." He may have planned to overfly Nauru even before leaving the States and certainly prior to departing Lae. Is there any evidence of this, you ask. Yep, the telegram from Nauru. Do you think the Nauruians just woke up one  morning and said to themselves "gee, let's send an unsolicited message concerning the lights here on this island to Lae." Or is it more likely that it was sent in response to a telegram from Earhart asking for that information since she and Noonan had already been planning to fly over Nauru? Which is the more likely explanation of the Nauru telegram?

You also apparently missed this in my prior post which responds to your last question:

"Although the 0718 Z position is on the direct line from Lae to Howland it is also on the line from the 0519 Z position over Choiseul to Nauru."

When I lived in Chicago, I used to fly down to the Caribbean every winter to charter a sailboat. We would take off from Midway airport around midnight, overhead Chattanooga, land for fuel at Atlanta about dawn, overhead Jacksonville and then fly down the beach all the way to Ft. Liquordale. There we would rent a life raft, top off the tanks, fly east over Bimini before turning southeast and then landing on Grand Turk where we RONed, drank some pina coladas, and listened to some reggae. Next day we took off early, landed in the British Virgin Islands at the Beef Island airport and picked up the boat at noon. That was my standard flight plan. I haven't flown it in 30 years but I still remember that it was 1019 nautical miles from Midway to Ft. Lauderdale. But, even though that was my standard flight plan, there were many times when I didn't follow it. It was common to run into weather over Chattanooga where you run into the mountains, mountains make weather, so I would change my plan and head for Birmingham for fuel then this route took me down the center of Florida instead along the beach. Plans are made to be changed based on new information.

Noonan and Earhart did exactly what any flight crew would do, make new plans that incorporated new information. Airplanes do not run on rails nor are they constrained by lines painted on pavement, they can go anywhere they please on a whim, making changes in their route "on the fly."

If you can't get your head around flying examples then here is an example for our ground bound frends. Say you are planning a trip from Chicago to LA on United Airlines and when in LA you also plan to rent a car and drive out to Palm Springs. You ask a friend of yours, who is familiar with LA, his recommended driving route from LA to Palm Springs and he draws a line on a road map down "The 10" (Interstate 10) which goes to Palm Springs. But something comes up and you have to postpone your trip for several months, then when you are checking airlines you find that there is an inexpensive direct flight from Chicago to Palm Springs and you go that way. While in Palm Springs you still want to visit LA so you rent a car and plan to drive into LA and you still have your friend's road map with you. But, you see on TV that there is construction work on the westbound side of the "The 10"  so you look at the road map, and then decide to take "The 60" instead of "The 10" since that road also goes into LA. You are not bound by the line drawn by your fiend on the road map that prevents you from considering new information and choosing a better route
gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 26, 2012, 12:17:23 AM
Interesting argument about diverting to Nauru.  I don't buy it.

Too much construct, too little motive for AE and FN to have done it when I look at the whole context.  Why would FN drive extra complexity into the effort?  As 'simple' as it is for the navigator making a pure case here, it also would drive many more opportunities into the flight for error.

Is that the sum of your point, Gary?  That FN  pressed an exercise into the flight which compounded opportunties for error - and that the pair finally got caught in that web somehow? 
Can you describe how Noonan's taking the normal celestial sights, that were already part of the plan, only this time taking some of those  sights over a brightly lit island that they could find just by ("go to the light, Luke" ) following the lights in from 150 miles out, which provided a reliable visual checkpoint, provided compounded opportunties for error ?

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 26, 2012, 04:10:01 AM
Quote
Although the 0718 Z position is on the direct line from Lae to Howland it is also on the line from the 0519 Z position over Choiseul to Nauru.

I am not seeing how your argument that "also on the line from the 0519 Z position over Choiseul to Nauru." makes sense.

The circle around Nauru is 150 SM.

So does your theory require that FN changed his mind at 7:18 GMT to head to Nauru? If not, why not head directly to Nauru from Choiseul? I think the headings argue that this is not the case.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 26, 2012, 10:20:16 AM
Interesting argument about diverting to Nauru.  I don't buy it.

Too much construct, too little motive for AE and FN to have done it when I look at the whole context.  Why would FN drive extra complexity into the effort?  As 'simple' as it is for the navigator making a pure case here, it also would drive many more opportunities into the flight for error.

Is that the sum of your point, Gary?  That FN  pressed an exercise into the flight which compounded opportunties for error - and that the pair finally got caught in that web somehow? 
Can you describe how Noonan's taking the normal celestial sights, that were already part of the plan, only this time taking some of those  sights over a brightly lit island that they could find just by ("go to the light, Luke" ) following the lights in from 150 miles out, which provided a reliable visual checkpoint, provided compounded opportunties for error ?

gl

Yes -

Just as you seem to see that it somehow adds assurance, it also distinctly adds more variables than just following the lubber and verifying along the way with celestial - more heading changes, more points for AE to process, etc.  There's also the not so minor point of needing to consider if one really wants to trash their night vision over the sea by approaching that flame of light at Nauru, like a moth - not to mention what it might do to FN's ability to take clear shots for some time.  I believe you helped describe the mining lights yourself earlier - or if not, think about it.  Not good.

Not that I think I need to defend the idea - I think it's more logical for someone floating these variation theories to put up strong reasons, not just possibilities, if they expect them to stand.

Often 'less is more' - and in my own humble experience with navigation and flying, the simpler you can keep your approach the better off you are.  I have severe doubt that FN needed the 'binky' of 'flying to the lights' - like a moth - and see no need of it.  I also see no credible evidence that they did such a thing in the body of material that we have on the flight.

You also posted -

"Noonan and Earhart did exactly what any flight crew would do, make new plans that incorporated new information. Airplanes do not run on rails nor are they constrained by lines painted on pavement, they can go anywhere they please on a whim, making changes in their route "on the fly."..."  

We don't "know" anything about what they actually may have done -

It is logical that they would adapt their plan as required given new observations, etc.  Of course they could "go anywhere they please on a whim" on their magic carpet (NR16020), but that gets us close to recklessness - that's only an option if one is willing to squander surety.  I think the pair would have had to have very clear and compelling reasons to deviate from a direct path to Howland.  Hypothetical after-the-fact permutations and what-ifs don't tell us much about what really compelling reasons they may have encountered that would lead to such deviations in a direct flight.

Just my views, Gary - to each his own.

LTM -

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 26, 2012, 10:57:33 AM
Interesting argument about diverting to Nauru.  I don't buy it.

Too much construct, too little motive for AE and FN to have done it when I look at the whole context.  Why would FN drive extra complexity into the effort?  As 'simple' as it is for the navigator making a pure case here, it also would drive many more opportunities into the flight for error.

Is that the sum of your point, Gary?  That FN  pressed an exercise into the flight which compounded opportunties for error - and that the pair finally got caught in that web somehow? 
Can you describe how Noonan's taking the normal celestial sights, that were already part of the plan, only this time taking some of those  sights over a brightly lit island that they could find just by ("go to the light, Luke" ) following the lights in from 150 miles out, which provided a reliable visual checkpoint, provided compounded opportunties for error ?

gl

Yes -

Just as you seem to see that it somehow adds assurance, it also distinctly adds more variables than just following the lubber and verifying along the way with celestial - more heading changes, more points for AE to process, etc.  There's also the not so minor point of needing to consider if one really wants to trash their night vision over the sea by approaching that flame of light at Nauru, like a moth - not to mention what it might do to FN's ability to take clear shots for some time.  I believe you helped describe the mining lights yourself earlier - or if not, think about it.  Not good.

Not that I think I need to defend the idea - I think it's more logical for someone floating these variation theories to put up strong reasons, not just possibilities, if they expect them to stand.


"Thrash their night vision," I put that in the category of "grasping at straws." Have you ever flown over lights at night, say over a large city? Oh, I guess not, because if you had you would have "trashed your night vision", lost control of the plane and crashed and died and wouldn't be posting on the TIGHAR Forum. I'm still laughing about this one. :D

I did give good navigational reasons to confirm their position and their navigational methods and equipment by a slight deviation off the straight line (which they hadn't been following up to that point, anyway) adding only about 10 NM to the flight distance. To me, your counter-arguments seem contrived and not compelling, but YMMV ;)

Keep up the good work, I like these discussions.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on January 26, 2012, 12:23:42 PM

I personally don't brlieve any position reports given by AE.  I believe she was just reading positions off of the reciprocal Williams information for a particular time into the flight and presenting them as her position.

Doesn't anyone else find it curious that FN is never heard giving any position information?  I do.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 26, 2012, 02:04:17 PM
Harry,

I have been wondering about these position reports out of Lae altogether.

Why is it that Lae could pick up AE many hundreds of miles away (at least 890 miles at 7:19 GMT) yet no one else could hear this? Nauru did not hear this one yet they were at a lesser distance at around 612 SM. Nauru also only reported the single 10:30 GMT ("Ship in sight") but nothing else was heard by them.

Nauru and Itasca could only pick her up at ranges probably less than 300 miles or so. At 16:23 GMT she was probably about 400 miles away from Howland yet nothing could be heard, only that she was keying down. She probably was reporting at 0:15 and 0:45 the whole way yet nothing after 7:19 GMT could be picked up greater than a couple hundred miles.

This seems a bit odd.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 26, 2012, 04:01:06 PM

I personally don't brlieve any position reports given by AE.  I believe she was just reading positions off of the reciprocal Williams information for a particular time into the flight and presenting them as her position.

Doesn't anyone else find it curious that FN is never heard giving any position information?  I do.
The problem with your theory is that none of the position reports from Earhart match any of Williams' meticulously computed by hand, using log/trig tables, positions on the great circle course from Lae to Howland, see attached. (I checked his work and his and my points  are exactly the same except for one point where they differ by only one-tenth of a minute in latitude. It's lots easier to do with a calculator.)

I don't know what Williams' qualifications were, he gave himself the title "Consultant in Navigation." Earhart had used him to compute her solo route from Hawaii to California and she managed to find California, so I guess that was proof enough for her to use him again to compute the planning documents for the RTW flight. But, the fact that he went through all the work to compute the points along the great circle route from Howland to Lae, which saves only one-tenth of a nautical mile, three seconds of flying time, compared to the simple rhumb line, (a much easier calculation,) shows me that he lacked a basic understanding of navigation that, for practical navigation, there is no difference between a rhumb line and a great circle when flying near the equator. What else didn't he know about navigation, especially flight navigation?

gl

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 26, 2012, 09:02:35 PM
Well said Jeff. I used to read Gary's posts. I don't anymore. I need to understand where he stands on this and I don't believe he will state that. He seems to enjoy posting to see how others react so he can show off his talent for spewing minute details.  Seems very one sided.  It's pretty clear you can't really attack Gary's hypothesis if he doesn't state it. Pretty safe stuff for him. Quite sad actually.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 26, 2012, 10:11:35 PM
... you can't really attack Gary's hypothesis if he doesn't state it. ...

It's not at all hard to figure out.

He thinks that they did a box search for Howland, then splashed and sank.

The whole box searched has to be located to the west of Howland, though what its
north/south endpoints would be is an open question.

In brief, they came down nowhere near Niku.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 27, 2012, 06:36:17 AM
... you can't really attack Gary's hypothesis if he doesn't state it. ...

It's not at all hard to figure out.

He thinks that they did a box search for Howland, then splashed and sank.

The whole box searched has to be located to the west of Howland, though what its
north/south endpoints would be is an open question.

In brief, they came down nowhere near Niku.

That may be what you think Gary's theory is Marty, but it needs to come from Gary to be more than someone guessing at it. If you are quoting a post from Gary then please post the link. Thanks.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 27, 2012, 08:12:25 AM
He thinks that they did a box search for Howland, then splashed and sank. ...

In brief, they came down nowhere near Niku.

That may be what you think Gary's theory is Marty,


Yes, that is what I think Gary's theory is.

Quote
... but it needs to come from Gary to be more than someone guessing at it. If you are quoting a post from Gary then please post the link.

If I had a single post, I would post the link.

I've been involved in the Forum since 2000.  Gary has been involved since 2002.  I'm pretty sure I've read everything he has written at least once.  I've visited his website a few times.  He has mentioned the grid search several times in this Forum in recent months.  He doesn't think they came down at Howland, Baker, or Gardner.  I don't think any of his renavigation puts them east of the 337-157 line through Howland, so that means to me that the search box was west.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 27, 2012, 12:48:46 PM
He thinks that they did a box search for Howland, then splashed and sank. ...

In brief, they came down nowhere near Niku.

That may be what you think Gary's theory is Marty,


Yes, that is what I think Gary's theory is.

Quote
... but it needs to come from Gary to be more than someone guessing at it. If you are quoting a post from Gary then please post the link.

If I had a single post, I would post the link.

I've been involved in the Forum since 2000.  Gary has been involved since 2002.  I'm pretty sure I've read everything he has written at least once.  I've visited his website a few times.  He has mentioned the grid search several times in this Forum in recent months.  He doesn't think they came down at Howland, Baker, or Gardner.  I don't think any of his renavigation puts them east of the 337-157 line through Howland, so that means to me that the search box was west.

Fair enough, Marty.  But the problem is, we don't have a single post from Gary as to his theory - lots of boxing and details get batted around, but no summary theory to be examined as to outcome

But, I still have hope - he did promise that soon, after he wraps up a few things (see reference above - his own words).

Thanks for sharing your view, of course - that's valuable as you've certainly covered a lot of ground.  But if Gary would challenge Gardner, etc., it seems fair he'd take a risk with his own view, clearly put.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 27, 2012, 06:34:24 PM
He thinks that they did a box search for Howland, then splashed and sank. ...

In brief, they came down nowhere near Niku.

That may be what you think Gary's theory is Marty,


Yes, that is what I think Gary's theory is.

Quote
... but it needs to come from Gary to be more than someone guessing at it. If you are quoting a post from Gary then please post the link.

If I had a single post, I would post the link.

I've been involved in the Forum since 2000.  Gary has been involved since 2002.  I'm pretty sure I've read everything he has written at least once.  I've visited his website a few times.  He has mentioned the grid search several times in this Forum in recent months.  He doesn't think they came down at Howland, Baker, or Gardner.  I don't think any of his renavigation puts them east of the 337-157 line through Howland, so that means to me that the search box was west.

Your saying Marty that Gary has been involved in this forum since 2002 but yet you have no link or posted message by Gary where he says what his hypothesis is.  Shouldn't he say for himself what he believes rather than you and others guessing at what it is?  Isn't that kind of opinion forming considered "speculation".  Wouldn't someone like Gary, who is very concerned with getting facts and details right, want to state what he thinks.  Just to keep the record straight?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on January 27, 2012, 09:21:13 PM
Shouldn't he say for himself what he believes rather than you and others guessing at what it is?

My impression is that he HAS said it.

I imagine that his final version will have more calculations in it, based on fuel considerations.

Start at the end and work backwards. 
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 27, 2012, 09:48:58 PM
Shouldn't he say for himself what he believes rather than you and others guessing at what it is?

My impression is that he HAS said it.

I imagine that his final version will have more calculations in it, based on fuel considerations.

Start at the end and work backwards. 
  • At what time would they run out of fuel, all things considered?
  • How big a rectangle could they search with that fuel after starting the search close to the 337/157 message?
  • How close could that rectangle be to Howland? 

Well, if he has said it, it's not that clear to me, but I haven't been following Gary for as many years as you.  I guess I'm more piqued by what he said he'd provide.

I respect Gary's knowledge very much, but all the calculations can only carry you so far in figuring out what happened to the flight.  I can understand the temptation - there is definitely a mathmatical finality to what finally happened to the flight - but the problem with discerning what it is means you would have to consider millions upon millions of tiny variables and permutations, and then discard the ones that don't work...

The closest we humans can probably get to that is something like the Monte Carlo analysis.  Maybe that's what Gary has in mind.  He didn't agree with much of the assumption used in the well-known one done for TIGHAR so maybe he'll do his own with inputs that suit his beliefs better.

But even the Monte Carlo is but one element in a comprehensive theory - there are so many other clues to be considered even after one gets the plane into whatever vicinity of Howland one thinks reasonable - and then it's 'what happened next' - in the face of stuff like 'we are on the line', the fact of lands to the SE, certain of the findings on Niku, to name a few.

Interesting.  It would just be interesting to see all the bloviation on navigation actually take the discussion forward instead of in circles... the box search is growing kind of stale.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 27, 2012, 10:11:06 PM
Shouldn't he say for himself what he believes rather than you and others guessing at what it is?

My impression is that he HAS said it.

I imagine that his final version will have more calculations in it, based on fuel considerations.

Start at the end and work backwards. 
  • At what time would they run out of fuel, all things considered?
  • How big a rectangle could they search with that fuel after starting the search close to the 337/157 message?
  • How close could that rectangle be to Howland? 

Marty. Your "impression" is your opinion. No question.  You can "imagine" what he said makes sense to you. No question. I respect your right to your opinion.

But anyone can give their "impression" of what someone else is saying. I would rather hear this from Gary so there is no misinterpretation.  Just the same as if someone "imagined" what Ric's opinion on a subject was. Perhaps interesting to hear but I would like to hear it directly from Ric. Of course if you're right about Gary then he can simply confirm it by saying "Marty's right".  Or he can say "Marty's wrong" or he can just not respond at all. It's up to Gary to tell us. 
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 27, 2012, 10:32:31 PM
Shouldn't he say for himself what he believes rather than you and others guessing at what it is?

My impression is that he HAS said it.

I imagine that his final version will have more calculations in it, based on fuel considerations.

Start at the end and work backwards. 
  • At what time would they run out of fuel, all things considered?
  • How big a rectangle could they search with that fuel after starting the search close to the 337/157 message?
  • How close could that rectangle be to Howland? 

Well, if he has said it, it's not that clear to me, but I haven't been following Gary for as many years as you.  I guess I'm more piqued by what he said he'd provide.

I respect Gary's knowledge very much, but all the calculations can only carry you so far in figuring out what happened to the flight.  I can understand the temptation - there is definitely a mathmatical finality to what finally happened to the flight - but the problem with discerning what it is means you would have to consider millions upon millions of tiny variables and permutations, and then discard the ones that don't work...

The closest we humans can probably get to that is something like the Monte Carlo analysis.  Maybe that's what Gary has in mind.  He didn't agree with much of the assumption used in the well-known one done for TIGHAR so maybe he'll do his own with inputs that suit his beliefs better.

But even the Monte Carlo is but one element in a comprehensive theory - there are so many other clues to be considered even after one gets the plane into whatever vicinity of Howland one thinks reasonable - and then it's 'what happened next' - in the face of stuff like 'we are on the line', the fact of lands to the SE, certain of the findings on Niku, to name a few.

Interesting.  It would just be interesting to see all the bloviation on navigation actually take the discussion forward instead of in circles... the box search is growing kind of stale.

LTM -

Hi Jeff

I believe Marty replied that there are no links or posts that Marty can refer us to which states Gary's position. So this is Marty's impression of what he believes Gary is saying.  His impression comes from reading Gary's posts and reviewing Gary's own website.  Gary hasn't stated his position.  This is why I think it important for Gary to clarify his position because he now has others giving their impression of it. This isn't good because we know that on this forum you can post a comment that is then interpreted, or misinterpreted, as fact or be misquoted. I'm sure Gary will want to clear this up before too many others start giving their impressions. Marty also stated that "I imagine that his final version will have more calculations in it, based on fuel considerations".  So Marty imagines (thinks?) Gary will come forward with his final position. We just have to wait for it.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 28, 2012, 03:27:20 AM
I believe Marty replied that there are no links or posts that Marty can refer us to which states Gary's position. So this is Marty's impression of what he believes Gary is saying.  His impression comes from reading Gary's posts and reviewing Gary's own website.  Gary hasn't stated his position.  This is why I think it important for Gary to clarify his position because he now has others giving their impression of it. This isn't good because we know that on this forum you can post a comment that is then interpreted, or misinterpreted, as fact or be misquoted. I'm sure Gary will want to clear this up before too many others start giving their impressions. Marty also stated that "I imagine that his final version will have more calculations in it, based on fuel considerations".  So Marty imagines (thinks?) Gary will come forward with his final position. We just have to wait for it.

This has been available for years (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/debunking-tighar-s-theory).

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,384.msg4114.html#msg4114 (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,384.msg4114.html#msg4114)

March 18, 2002 (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Forum/Forum_Archives/200203.txt)

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 28, 2012, 05:44:11 AM
Other readers who follow your links may see something different than I do. To me they do not state what you believe happened to AE and FN.  The links are, at best, what you think didn't happen.  In fact they aren't even that clear.  Your website article "debunking TIGHAR", Then an article that says you don't believe in the Japanese capture theory, A Life magazine story on TIGHAR, and a link to a 2002 thread that I can't even find your name in, that talks about the Norwich city disaster, castaway eating habits, Ric's run in with the guano lagoon, history of boots, and so on. 

This is your response to the question "what is Gary's position on what happened to AE and FN?".  You very carefully didn't say in your 4.27am post that this was your position but simply posted some links.  Where is the detailed statement we have come to expect from you?  Even Marty imagines a final version with calculations in it. 

I'm disappointed Gary as you aren't replying to the question with your usual clarity or details.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 28, 2012, 08:20:28 AM
This has been available for years (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/debunking-tighar-s-theory).

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,384.msg4114.html#msg4114 (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,384.msg4114.html#msg4114)

March 18, 2002 (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Forum/Forum_Archives/200203.txt)

Yeah, I've read all that Gary.  It's easy to see what you disagree with - but it reveals little of what you do think happened.

I'm just taking you at your own word  (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,533.msg7526.html#msg7526) - so how about it?  Why not put your own theory up for discussion instead of just telling us what's wrong with everybody else's? 

That might make a whole new and educational string here - I'm sure you are secure enough to not sweat the critique.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 28, 2012, 09:48:32 AM

Quote
The closest we humans can probably get to that is something like the Monte Carlo analysis.

Jeff,

I was reading over the Monte Carlo page here:

http://tighar.org/wiki/Monte_Carlo_Simulation_of_Flight (http://tighar.org/wiki/Monte_Carlo_Simulation_of_Flight)

Quoting from the page:

Quote
Gave a position of 4.33oS, 159.7oE. This was the position either at or prior to 0718GMT.

Does the Monte Carlo simulation used the decimal degrees were reported? I also saw no mention of the 05:19 GMT report.  Was this position report ignored?

Thanks.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 28, 2012, 05:47:51 PM
Jeff,

Thanks for the detailed response. While I am not really familiar with these Monte Carlo simulations, they do sound very interesting. I will need to study up on them. I do hope to create my own if I cannot access the existing code. My understanding so far is that they use many random permutations or "guesses" of variables based on inputs that have been logically assigned various probabilities that are ultimately used to create probability output maps of the variable of interest like location in this example. It seems critical that the initial conditions and probabilities must be well chosen otherwise it is just creates a fictitious probability output map.

There are a few things regarding the inputs to the existing MC simulation that I do not really understand:

1) The "still air speed" of 130 knots. I am guessing that this fixed speed is then exposed to the head winds to determine the actual ground speed. I am not sure that I understand how that speed was derived without another reference point. Just because AE thought she was at 200 miles out this does not make it so. So it does not make any sense to me for this air speed to be chosen and static throughout the flight from the 7:19 GMT all the way to Howland. Do we know if this single speed was chosen simply to simplify the model?

2) The MC web page also states that a 26 knot head wind was used. From what I understand that is beyond the maximum speed forecast (25 knots) and it was expected to be reduced to 20 knots or less after the Ontario. With the fixed air speed (above) and this high head wind, this almost assured that they would have fell short of Howland before the simulation even began. Since AE announced at 7:18 GMT the head wind of 23 knots, I am not quite sure how to make sense of the choice of head wind and the inability of AE and FN to cope with what they already estimated to be a 23 knot head wind.

3) The MC simulation page also seems to suggest that the "200 miles out" and "100 miles out" were assumed to be nautical miles rather that statute miles. I was under the impression that these were assumed to statute miles. Do we have any details about this?

Originally I did believe that of the three competing theories related to position (decimal degrees, degrees.minutes, or the 157 longitude degrees.minutes on the 5:19 GMT report) would have a significant impact on the flight reconstruction. After having run some numbers, I no longer believe this to be the case. If anyone is interested I can post that data.

Thanks.

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 31, 2012, 04:51:11 AM




Why not more messages from AE to that effect?  Why wouldn't the last heard message be something more like 'we are in a box search pattern...' instead of 'we are on the line...'?  How does Gary arrive at the 'west of Howland' constraints Marty mentioned (with, understandably, at least the n - s end points still being in question)?


Yep, and why no message, "we have abandoned our search for Howland and will now proceed towards the Phoenix islands?"

Back to you.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on January 31, 2012, 05:14:54 AM

I respect Gary's knowledge very much, but all the calculations can only carry you so far in figuring out what happened to the flight.  I can understand the temptation - there is definitely a mathmatical finality to what finally happened to the flight - but the problem with discerning what it is means you would have to consider millions upon millions of tiny variables and permutations, and then discard the ones that don't work...

The closest we humans can probably get to that is something like the Monte Carlo analysis.  Maybe that's what Gary has in mind.  He didn't agree with much of the assumption used in the well-known one done for TIGHAR so maybe he'll do his own with inputs that suit his beliefs better.



LTM -
I have finally been able to decipher the Monte Carlo simulation printout, it was difficult since you can't read out the scale on the sides of the diagram. The key for figuring out what you are looking at is the "H" and the "B" in the two squares representing Howland and Baker. Based on the spacing of these two squares and the fact that these islands are about 36 NM apart makes it clear that each square represents 6 NM, one-tenth of a degree, and the scale appears to be in the form X.x° also confirming this.

After examining the diagram, I now agree with TIGHAR, the Monte Carlo simulation produces the most accurate estimate of the position of the aircraft at 1912 Z. :P Of course this means that they couldn't have landed on Gardner. I am attaching a marked up copy on the Monte Carlo printout. The circle I placed around Howland is 69 SM (60 NM) in radius. I drew the 157° line through Howland that goes to Gardner but the simulation shows that they were unlikely to be closer than at a 55 SM offset from there with a higher probability of being more than at a 100 SM offset. I drew  in lines that are parallel to the 157° line to Gardner offset by these distances. Since Euclid said parallel lines never cross, these lines maintain their spacings forever. This means that since AE turned to fly the 157° line from where the simulation places them, that when they flew by Gardner they were at least 55 SM and, more likely, they were more than 100 SM to the west of that island which made it very difficult for them to see the island.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 31, 2012, 07:14:07 AM




Why not more messages from AE to that effect?  Why wouldn't the last heard message be something more like 'we are in a box search pattern...' instead of 'we are on the line...'?  How does Gary arrive at the 'west of Howland' constraints Marty mentioned (with, understandably, at least the n - s end points still being in question)?


Yep, and why no message, "we have abandoned our search for Howland and will now proceed towards the Phoenix islands?"

Back to you.

gl

See information covered in the forum section "Radio Reflections". This question has been asked many times in the past and many possible answers given. In particular see http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,333.0.html.  The 3105 donut theory and Lt Coopers report in particular.   Links are in that section. Switching to her daytime frequency and all of the issues on that topic is one of the possible reasons for the silence.  You have likely read this information before since you have been a member since 2002.  Are you throwing up a smokescreen to cover the fact you still haven't presented your theory on what happened? 
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 31, 2012, 07:33:42 AM

I respect Gary's knowledge very much, but all the calculations can only carry you so far in figuring out what happened to the flight.  I can understand the temptation - there is definitely a mathmatical finality to what finally happened to the flight - but the problem with discerning what it is means you would have to consider millions upon millions of tiny variables and permutations, and then discard the ones that don't work...

The closest we humans can probably get to that is something like the Monte Carlo analysis.  Maybe that's what Gary has in mind.  He didn't agree with much of the assumption used in the well-known one done for TIGHAR so maybe he'll do his own with inputs that suit his beliefs better.



LTM -
I have finally been able to decipher the Monte Carlo simulation printout, it was difficult since you can't read out the scale on the sides of the diagram. The key for figuring out what you are looking at is the "H" and the "B" in the two squares representing Howland and Baker. Based on the spacing of these two squares and the fact that these islands are about 36 NM apart makes it clear that each square represents 6 NM, one-tenth of a degree, and the scale appears to be in the form X.x° also confirming this.

After examining the diagram, I now agree with TIGHAR, the Monte Carlo simulation produces the most accurate estimate of the position of the aircraft at 1912 Z. Of course this means that they couldn't have landed on Gardner.  ....

gl

Is this then your theory on what happened to AE and FN?  "Of course this means that they couldn't have landed on Gardner.".  Why " of course"?  There are many possibilities as to what happened. Suggesting they put blinders on and flew exactly down a line from one of many possible turn points when their lives depended on making landfall is ONE possibility. But is it likely?  For all we know they just didn't see Howland. Maybe FN wasn't lost and knew that Gardner was their next best option and navigated straight there. AE either blew a radio fuse or switched channels and was transmitting to beat the band on a frequency she wasn't actually transmitting on.  They landed, fixed the fuse and transmitted until Electra went over reef edge.   In the face of credible post loss radio messages the crashed and sank doesn't work. Or are you suggesting they landed somewhere else? 
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 31, 2012, 11:22:40 AM
  Why wouldn't the last heard message be something more like 'we are in a box search pattern...' instead of 'we are on the line...'?  How does Gary arrive at the 'west of Howland' constraints Marty mentioned (with, understandably, at least the n - s end points still being in question)?
Yep, and why no message, "we have abandoned our search for Howland and will now proceed towards the Phoenix islands?"

Back to you.

gl

Touche'.  ;)

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on January 31, 2012, 11:27:11 AM
Why not more messages from AE to that effect?  Why wouldn't the last heard message be something more like 'we are in a box search pattern...' instead of 'we are on the line...'?  How does Gary arrive at the 'west of Howland' constraints Marty mentioned (with, understandably, at least the n - s end points still being in question)?
Yep, and why no message, "we have abandoned our search for Howland and will now proceed towards the Phoenix islands?"

Back to you.

gl

See information covered in the forum section "Radio Reflections". This question has been asked many times in the past and many possible answers given. In particular see http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,333.0.html.  The 3105 donut theory and Lt Coopers report in particular.   Links are in that section. Switching to her daytime frequency and all of the issues on that topic is one of the possible reasons for the silence.  You have likely read this information before since you have been a member since 2002.  Are you throwing up a smokescreen to cover the fact you still haven't presented your theory on what happened?

Excellent point, Irv.

I conceded 'touche'' to Gary - but it's true - giving up on Howland and moving on would have come later (after frequency change) than 'box pattern search'.

I'm not sure Gary agrees with the effects of the frequency change, though.  Seems like he wrote something about that a while back.  And, he's entitled, of course.  I am heartened that he's dug into the MC and has more to say - whether we agree or not about the likelihood of a Gardner outcome, it's more productive to plow some new ground I believe.  I'm looking forward to digesting his thoughts on that a bit.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 31, 2012, 02:49:07 PM
Hi Jeff.  New ground is good.  No question as that is how TIGHAR got involved in this in the first place.  And the idea that a box search is the right thing isn't wrong either.  Its not likely that AE and FN got to a spot on the map, looked down and said "Oops.  Missed Howland so lets fly south right away."   Isn't it likely that some type of informal search be made by AE and FN?  Probably not as well thought out as Gary, the US Coast Guard, US Navy and AirForce would do but something at least.  Not too long of course because you dont want to burn all of your fuel reserve looking and then crashing and sinking. Not when you know a set of islands lies to the south.  The MC simulation calculates the possible points where the last transmaission was heard from.  (If I got that wrong please correct me Jeff).  but it gives some locations more weight than others.  Like the lottery you can't write a software program that will calculate the winning numbers.  You can give an indication what numbers "MAY" come up but thats all. Thats what the MC simulation is to me.  Way better than a guess but its its still only a "simulation" based on variables. 

But either way the MC simulation doesnt question why they missed Howland.  Only where they "might" have been when they made the last radio transmission.  They may have flown in an everwidening circle to search for Howland for 30 minutes or an hour after that.  We dont know anything for a fact except they didnt land on Howland.

"If" its proven they landed and died on Gardner then you know for a "Fact" that they turned south to the Phoenix Islands group after missing Howland but not why they missed it.  I don't think we will ever know that unless a castaway diary is uncovered.  Give the guys in the ROV thread some more film and I am sure they will find the diary.  Perhaps even read what it says to us.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Jeff Victor Hayden on January 31, 2012, 03:38:20 PM
Hi Jeff.  New ground is good.  No question as that is how TIGHAR got involved in this in the first place.  And the idea that a box search is the right thing isn't wrong either.  Its not likely that AE and FN got to a spot on the map, looked down and said "Oops.  Missed Howland so lets fly south right away."   Isn't it likely that some type of informal search be made by AE and FN?  Probably not as well thought out as Gary, the US Coast Guard, US Navy and AirForce would do but something at least.  Not too long of course because you dont want to burn all of your fuel reserve looking and then crashing and sinking. Not when you know a set of islands lies to the south.  The MC simulation calculates the possible points where the last transmaission was heard from.  (If I got that wrong please correct me Jeff).  but it gives some locations more weight than others.  Like the lottery you can't write a software program that will calculate the winning numbers.  You can give an indication what numbers "MAY" come up but thats all. Thats what the MC simulation is to me.  Way better than a guess but its its still only a "simulation" based on variables. 

But either way the MC simulation doesnt question why they missed Howland.  Only where they "might" have been when they made the last radio transmission.  They may have flown in an everwidening circle to search for Howland for 30 minutes or an hour after that.  We dont know anything for a fact except they didnt land on Howland.

"If" its proven they landed and died on Gardner then you know for a "Fact" that they turned south to the Phoenix Islands group after missing Howland but not why they missed it.  I don't think we will ever know that unless a castaway diary is uncovered.  Give the guys in the ROV thread some more film and I am sure they will find the diary.  Perhaps even read what it says to us.
Could be done Irv, if it was waterproof of course :) I expect the last entry would read something like this "we're lost" ;D
Jeff
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on January 31, 2012, 06:33:15 PM

If the MC sim used a 26 knot head wind, and AE herself reported a 23 knot head wind at 07:19 GMT, how could you end up over 100-150 miles short of your destination even if on the correct heading? It seems that you would need an additional 5 knot headwind that is unaccounted for in order to achieve this short fall over the roughly 1700 miles.

If they were only off by 3 knots, this would only account for maybe 30 SM over the distance in question.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on January 31, 2012, 07:42:18 PM
Jeff H. Please tell me there would be more!  LOL!
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 01, 2012, 12:44:37 AM


The closest we humans can probably get to that is something like the Monte Carlo analysis.  Maybe that's what Gary has in mind.  He didn't agree with much of the assumption used in the well-known one done for TIGHAR so maybe he'll do his own with inputs that suit his beliefs better.



LTM -
After examining the diagram, I now agree with TIGHAR, the Monte Carlo simulation produces the most accurate estimate of the position of the aircraft at 1912 Z. Of course this means that they couldn't have landed on Gardner.  ....

gl

Is this then your theory on what happened to AE and FN?  "Of course this means that they couldn't have landed on Gardner.".  Why " of course"? There are many possibilities as to what happened.
I should have added "by using dead reckoning as Ric agrees was the only method they had to navigate to Gardner" making the complete statement: "Of course this means that they couldn't have landed on Gardner by using dead reckoning as Ric agrees was the only method they had to navigate to Gardner"


Ric said (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,447.msg5365.html#msg5365), "Unfortunately, Gary has a gross misunderstanding of TIGHAR's hypothesis.  We are not suggesting that Earhart or Noonan navigated down the line using celestial navigation to stay on course.  As Gary points out, again and again, there is no way to do that.  It is TIGHAR's hypothesis that, upon reaching the LOP calculated to fall through Howland Island, and not seeing Howland Island, AE and FN turned and flew first northwestward, then southeastward along the line by means of the the only navigation method available to to them at that time - dead reckoning.   As Lindbergh once said, "The only thing wrong with dead reckoning is the name."  He used it to cross 1,700 miles of trackless ocean from St. John's Newfoundland and hit Dingle Bay, Ireland on the button.  To suggest that a navigator of Noonan's caliber could not dead reckon a few hundred miles - perhaps as few as 150 miles - with decent accuracy is, frankly, nonsense."

Rics idea is premised on the plane starting from a position (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,447.msg5407.html#msg5407) somewhere on the 157° -  337° LOP that ran trough Howland, and from such a starting position he might be right. But if WOULD NOT HAVE WORKED FROM ANY OTHER STARTING POSITION, such as the position predicted by the Monte Carlo simulation. If you don't know where you are starting from then you can't navigate by dead reckoning, see "What is dead reckoning"? (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/what-is-dead-reckoning) Noonan would have had no reason to believe he was starting from the Monte Carlo position so could not have plotted a course to take them to Gardner from there and just flying a heading to maintain the 157° course line would not take them to Gardner, they would fly parallel to the LOP with a minimum of a 55 SM offset to the west as I showed in my prior post and attached diagram.



gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 01, 2012, 01:00:38 AM

I respect Gary's knowledge … all the calculations can only carry you so far in figuring out what happened to the flight. ...discard the ones that don't work...

The closest we humans can probably get … the Monte Carlo analysis.  Maybe that's what Gary has in mind.  He didn't agree with much of the assumption used in the well-known one done for TIGHAR so maybe he'll do his own …

LTM -
I have finally been able to decipher the Monte Carlo simulation printout, ... "H" and the "B" in the two squares representing Howland and Baker. Based on the spacing of these two squares and the fact that these islands are about 36 NM apart makes it clear that each square represents 6 NM, ...

… I now agree with TIGHAR, the Monte Carlo simulation produces the most accurate estimate of the position of the aircraft at 1912 Z. Of course this means that they couldn't have landed on Gardner. ...I drew the 157° line through Howland that goes to Gardner but the simulation shows that they were unlikely to be closer than at a 55 SM offset from there with a higher probability …more than at a 100 SM offset. ... … very difficult for them to see the island.

gl


Then nothing from AE for another 43 minutes, despite numerous attempts by Itasca to raise her, this at 2013Z -

" TIMEBZ: 2013
LITERAL: KHAQQ TO ITASCA WE ARE ON THE LINE 157 337 WL REPT MSG WE WILL REPT THIS ON 6210 KCS WAIT,
3105/A3 S5 (?/KHAQQ XMISION WE ARE RUNNING ON N ES S LINE
TRANSLATION: EARHART TO ITASCA: WE ARE ON THE LINE 157 337. WE WILL REPEAT THIS MESSAGE WE WILL REPEAT
THIS ON 6210 KCS; WAIT; SIGNALS HEARD ON 3105 KHZ WITH VOICE AND SIGNAL STRENGTH 5…  SOURCE: BELLARTS RECORD NO.: 851"


Besides, who else left all that stuff on Gardner?

LTM -

WE ARE RUNNING ON N ES S LINE or WE ARE RUNNING ON LINE N ES S sounds a whole lot more like a description of some sort of a search pattern than a statement that they are flying to the Phoenix Islands.
gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 01, 2012, 03:36:06 AM
The problem that I have with the theory that they took a shot at the Phoenix Islands is that they would have had a heading more like 135 rather than 157, aiming for the center of the 5 islands. Even if you did not know exactly where you were around Howland, the islands would have created a 130 mile wide (not including visibility ranges) target that would be difficult to miss.

If you did want to reach the closest possible island while climbing for maximum visibility, you would probably go for McKean. That would be a risky target if you had no idea where you were. Your chances were not much better than sticking around Howland to find Howland or Baker.

Quote
If FN was able to gain a more reliable position as the sun rose higher in that last 43 minutes to an hour of searching, then the direction of the search might logically have been improved – eastward.  I believe that is likely, and that placement well could have improved toward the east by the time of the 2013Z call ('on the line') – and therefore closer to the LOP we think of as through Howland / Gardner vicinity.

If not, then we could well be stuck with a discouraging westward placement, as Gary suggests.

Other than the MC simulation, the logic behind we do not have access to, what evidence is there of falling short of Howland? Is there any? So far I have yet to see any compelling evidence that this is the case.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on February 01, 2012, 06:34:57 AM
Heath, I agree with you that there is no evidence to suggest they did not know where they were at all times. When AE said "We must be on you" I'm sure that AE and FN had consulted before she made that radio call. I believe they just didn't see Howland or did see it and didn't recognize it for what it was. They then spent some time searching then headed for the Phoenix islands. Not specifically for Gardner.  If you do a search pattern then FN would have been talking with AE and noting the various course changes. As Jeff N so slearly writes, "never stop navigating.". When the decision to head south was made then FN would have continued to dead reckon and headed to the Phoenix group. Where that turn point would be is unknown. Perhaps once they spotted an island in this group and confirmed their dead reckoning position they then discussed what to do next. For all we know they chose Gardiner for its size and lush vegetation as well as reef edge landing strip so as not to lose the valuable Electra in a ditching.  And Gary....If you don't think they landed at Gardner then what happened? Crashed and sank or landed somewhere else?  That's the only choices available. I really don't think you subscribe to the alien abduction thing. But I shouldn't guess for you.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: John Ousterhout on February 01, 2012, 08:17:08 AM
If you can’t find Howland, and aren’t sure where you are, then you can’t “dead reckon” to the Phoenix group.  If you know where you are with enough accuracy to be certain you’re near Howland, then why fly 300 miles (short of gas) towards the Phoenix group, when you know there’s a landing strip and ship and radios and people to help you nearby?  Why wouldn’t you keep searching for Howland?  That’s the argument against landing on Gardner.
Radio transmissions after they must have stopped flying indicate they were on land.  That’s the argument against splash and sank.
Reconcile those conclusions for me, and I’ll tell you what I think happened.  There is no requirement for me or Gary or anyone else to say “what I believe”.  What’s wrong with “I don’t know”?  The facts will hopefully tell us the eventual story of what happened, but they take a long time to find and sort out and verify, and we just don't have enough facts to draw a conclusion yet.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on February 01, 2012, 08:40:21 AM

WE ARE RUNNING ON N ES S LINE or WE ARE RUNNING ON LINE N ES S sounds a whole lot more like a description of some sort of a search pattern than a statement that they are flying to the Phoenix Islands.
gl

I agree, Gary.  In fact, I believe that flying a LOP is by definition part of a search pattern.  The only question I have is 'what part of the search pattern was it?'

AE's last call suggests to me, because it came at the end of an hour's effort of what was logically a searching effort, a description of the last line being run, so to speak, in the box or in whatever pattern they were using.  That's of course just an impression - I can't know for certain that they did not continue a pattern - unless it is proven that NR16020 did arrive at Gardner some day.  But at some point, with dwindling fuel in a land plane, you should consider whether to cut and run for land if you don't find your island.  The Phoenix group was the next best choice. 

The call's description also suggest to me that they had either arrived at, or returned to, what they believed was a line of position that should have passed through Howland, established at some point by a sun observation and then kept later by pilotage.  Of course which way they were running at that time we do not know - and I agree - AE did not say anything about bugging out for the Phoenix group, etc. at that time.  Of course NR16020 went mute again right after that last call for whatever reason - similar to the preceding 43 minutes.

I realize the LOP may have actually been offset in error without FN realizing it (I guess that's obvious) - and how that could wreck the plan.  But my own understanding from all this is fairly simple:

- IF NR16020 DID make it to Gardner, she would have had to have been flying on or close to a line of 157 - 337 - and would have had to do so by flying down to the SE on that line (by pilotage, once the LOP had been established by observation previously)
- IF the MC IS 'correct' and the flight WAS placed to the SW at 1912Z as it indicates, then FN would have had to eventually find his way further east by more observations
- Coming finally to what he believed was 'THE' line of position through Howland (at least by 2013Z), the flight proceeded north by some distance (but not far enough to reach Baker or Howland), thence, not finding the island(s), finally continued SE hoping for landfall among the Phoenix group.

From this you can see there is a 'N-S challenge' bias in my thinking:
- The LOP seems elementary enough for FN as the sun rose higher - (I don't think sunrise was a reliable time for the shot but correct me if I'm wrong);
- WHICH WAY to proceed along the line and HOW FAR seem to issues to me - hence the bias: for whatever reason I am struggling with how FN might have been able to bound himself as to north and south; I believe this may have been crucial - but correct me if I'm wrong in this belief.

This is the picture I have been able to gain.  Among that, again, is that I agree that a search pattern was very likely flown in that hour or so of effort prior to the 2013Z call - it was a given tool in FN's box.  I also agree that flying the LOP as stated was at least a part of that search pattern effort.  The 'cut and run' part at the end is still a mystery - but I believe Gardner is indicated as a very possible outcome for reasons I've stated. 

Thanks for your response above and for considering my thoughts on this.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on February 01, 2012, 09:06:21 AM
Okay John.  Good points

"we must be on you" suggests they believe they are on very near Howland and they think Howland should be visible from where they are sending the message.  FN isnt a total loss as a navigator so FN likely realizes that they missed Howland "for whatever reason" but couldn't have missed it by a lot (insert MC simulation info here).  He therefore really doesnt know his exact position because he thought he knew he was in sight of Howland and wasn't so he is probably puzzled how he could miss but he did.  I believe they would have done some form of searching for Howland but keeping in mind the limit on their fuel and the known group of islands to the south.  FN likely did the calculation and told AE they had XX minutes to search for Howland before heading south to other known land.  Self preservation would likely be a strong feeling about now.  They would be calm as they searched and become more anxious as time passed and no Howland in sight.  But they wouldnt keep flying in a search pattern until gas runs out.  Why would they when they can go south to the Phoenix group.  Once FN realized they missed Howland he likely spent at least a few minutes reviewing his sightings and navigation from Lae to find his mistake, if there was one.  If there was he would have told AE and recalculated as best he could and given her a new course to head for Howland. 

Gary is a great resource but is trying in every way he can to show the TIGHAR hypothesis doesn't work.  He can try attacking it 18 ways from Sunday because TIGHAR posts its research, evidence, findings, etc for all to see.  Perhaps for Gary to move from "I don't know" to "perhaps there is something to this TIGHAR theory" he should state what he believes happened and we can help him with the logic of his approach.  If TIGHAR just said the other theories aren't right but we wont tell you ours then how much credibility would TIGHAR have?   Is it possible for someone who knows so much about the events of that day, and has queried in the fine detail that Gary brings to the table, that he hasn't formed an opinion on what he thinks happened?  He just knows of all the facts as he sees them but doesn't put them together and say "This is what I believe happened."  You really think he doesn't have his own theory?  Marty thinks Gary is a crashed and sank guy.  The more this thread goes on the more I believe that too.  I think thats helpful in understanding where Gary is coming from in his logic but shouldnt it come from Gary and not us putting words in his mouth?  Does Gary have to state it?  No.  As you point out John there is no requirement to state your opinion.  And rightly so in a democracy.  Many people read this forum without ever posting or stating their opinion.  But if youre going to attack TIGHAR's opinion I think its not enough to just naysay.  I think you should say what you believe happened instead.  As alway this is my unlearned opinion and my comments are not meant to be disrespectful.

Jeff N.  Just read your post and agree with all comments.  You said it much better than I did.  (As usual)
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on February 01, 2012, 09:10:06 AM
If you can’t find Howland, and aren’t sure where you are, then you can’t “dead reckon” to the Phoenix group.  If you know where you are with enough accuracy to be certain you’re near Howland, then why fly 300 miles (short of gas) towards the Phoenix group, when you know there’s a landing strip and ship and radios and people to help you nearby?  Why wouldn’t you keep searching for Howland?  That’s the argument against landing on Gardner.
Radio transmissions after they must have stopped flying indicate they were on land.  That’s the argument against splash and sank.
Reconcile those conclusions for me, and I’ll tell you what I think happened.  There is no requirement for me or Gary or anyone else to say “what I believe”.  What’s wrong with “I don’t know”?  The facts will hopefully tell us the eventual story of what happened, but they take a long time to find and sort out and verify, and we just don't have enough facts to draw a conclusion yet.

"If you can’t find Howland, and aren’t sure where you are, then you can’t “dead reckon” to the Phoenix group." -

Actually, yes you can - IF you are fortunate enough to be on a line of position (but not knowing how far north or south along that line you are).

"If you know where you are with enough accuracy to be certain you’re near Howland, then why fly 300 miles (short of gas) towards the Phoenix group..." -

Because you may not 'know where you are' with regard to how far north or south you are from Howland.  You may THINK you are south, so you fly north for a given search period; if that fails you turn back and hope you're actually north after all - but if you don't find Howland flying south, you eventually do find landfall.

That's the idea anyway.

"There is no requirement for me or Gary or anyone else to say “what I believe”." -

No, there's not.  But Gary had graciously offered that he was working on an idea - and some of us have goaded him on that.  It's a lively forum and Gary contributes a lot of knowledge and good ideas - and challenges.  It's just part of the dialogue and I'm grateful that he did put up more about his own theory.  He has challenged TIGHAR's ideas - that's fair - and now has put up more of his own for consideration.  I like that and admire him for it.

"What’s wrong with “I don’t know”?  The facts will hopefully tell us the eventual story of what happened, but they take a long time to find and sort out..." -

Nothing is wrong with it - and the fact is not one of us can know with any certainty at this point what happened.  But to find out what happened takes a search; to mount a search takes a theory or idea - and one that gets people motivated to support the effort.  THEN we can know, one day, maybe.  It does take a long time and lots of effort.

Thanks John - very thoughtful post - just my thoughts in reply, of course.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on February 01, 2012, 09:14:36 AM
Other than the MC simulation, the logic behind we do not have access to, what evidence is there of falling short of Howland? Is there any? So far I have yet to see any compelling evidence that this is the case.

They didn't make it to Howland - that's pretty compelling.

Whether they fell short, overflew, or flew by we can still wonder.  But it seems odd that they might have not only missed it themselves, but not been detected by those watching if they ever overshot or flew by within 10 miles or so anyway.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 01, 2012, 04:17:59 PM
Quote
Quote
Other than the MC simulation, the logic behind we do not have access to, what evidence is there of falling short of Howland? Is there any? So far I have yet to see any compelling evidence that this is the case.

They didn't make it to Howland - that's pretty compelling.

Whether they fell short, overflew, or flew by we can still wonder.  But it seems odd that they might have not only missed it themselves, but not been detected by those watching if they ever overshot or flew by within 10 miles or so anyway.

The fact that they did not make it does not translate in to they were short of the island. There are many other possibilities as well.

The way I see it, if they were in one of these green areas (see picture) they had a pretty good chance of finding Howland assuming that they had some clue where they were when they began an improvised search. On the other hand, if they really had no clue if they were North or South, short or long, they could have easily missed the island while searching.

For example let's say the were on the West edge of the box to the North and searched to the North on the first leg of their search. If they then traveled further West, they would have missed the island when searching South. The room for error was slim if they chose the wrong direction to search, North-South or East-West depending where they really were at 19:12 GMT.

If they were short of the yellow line, or long on the blue line, their odds of finding Howland get slim unless you were to get lucky in search.

The yellow line is about 48 SM West of Howland, the Blue is about 33 SM East of Howland. The large red circle is about 128 miles in diameter and would represent the DR error if they had not had a fix since the Ontario.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on February 01, 2012, 08:22:48 PM
Interesting graphic Heath. As I have said in previous posts, there was nothing in the messages received to suggest they did not know where they were. Right up to and including the "we must be on you" message they transmitted as though they knew exactly where they were. I think not finding Howland likely was a surprise to both AE and FN.  There would have been a lot of discussion back and forth and an alternate plan created.  Regardless of where they were they just knew they weren't seeing (finding) Howland.  So make a new plan.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on February 01, 2012, 11:43:05 PM
Quote
Quote
Other than the MC simulation, the logic behind we do not have access to, what evidence is there of falling short of Howland? Is there any? So far I have yet to see any compelling evidence that this is the case.

They didn't make it to Howland - that's pretty compelling.

Whether they fell short, overflew, or flew by we can still wonder.  But it seems odd that they might have not only missed it themselves, but not been detected by those watching if they ever overshot or flew by within 10 miles or so anyway.

The fact that they did not make it does not translate in to they were short of the island. There are many other possibilities as well.

The way I see it, if they were in one of these green areas (see picture) they had a pretty good chance of finding Howland assuming that they had some clue where they were when they began an improvised search. On the other hand, if they really had no clue if they were North or South, short or long, they could have easily missed the island while searching.

For example let's say the were on the West edge of the box to the North and searched to the North on the first leg of their search. If they then traveled further West, they would have missed the island when searching South. The room for error was slim if they chose the wrong direction to search, North-South or East-West depending where they really were at 19:12 GMT.

If they were short of the yellow line, or long on the blue line, their odds of finding Howland get slim unless you were to get lucky in search.

The yellow line is about 48 SM West of Howland, the Blue is about 33 SM East of Howland. The large red circle is about 128 miles in diameter and would represent the DR error if they had not had a fix since the Ontario.

"The fact that they did not make it does not translate in to they were short of the island." -

My meaning was that they 'fell short' of arriving, actually - I covered the other points (overshot / etc.).  I am rather convinced they covered the 'distance' - just not in the right direction or at the right latitude.

"There are many other possibilities as well." -

Yes there are!  And I am not particularly interested in cutting them off (and I guess that's what irks me about forceful debunkers and makes me want to press them for their ideas).  But only so many fit the facts and possibilities well enough to become probabilities.  It is a puzzle.

And speaking of puzzles, I'm glad you put up your illustration and discussed it - I look forward to studying it more - good stuff.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 02, 2012, 12:12:50 AM
If you can’t find Howland, and aren’t sure where you are, then you can’t “dead reckon” to the Phoenix group.  If you know where you are with enough accuracy to be certain you’re near Howland, then why fly 300 miles (short of gas) towards the Phoenix group, when you know there’s a landing strip and ship and radios and people to help you nearby?  Why wouldn’t you keep searching for Howland?  That’s the argument against landing on Gardner.
Radio transmissions after they must have stopped flying indicate they were on land.  That’s the argument against splash and sank.
Reconcile those conclusions for me, and I’ll tell you what I think happened.  There is no requirement for me or Gary or anyone else to say “what I believe”.  What’s wrong with “I don’t know”?  The facts will hopefully tell us the eventual story of what happened, but they take a long time to find and sort out and verify, and we just don't have enough facts to draw a conclusion yet.

"If you can’t find Howland, and aren’t sure where you are, then you can’t “dead reckon” to the Phoenix group." -

Actually, yes you can - IF you are fortunate enough to be on a line of position (but not knowing how far north or south along that line you are).
But if they knew they were on the LOP then they could just follow it to Howland which is much closer and that is where all the goodies are.
Quote

"If you know where you are with enough accuracy to be certain you’re near Howland, then why fly 300 miles (short of gas) towards the Phoenix group..." -

Because you may not 'know where you are' with regard to how far north or south you are from Howland.  You may THINK you are south, so you fly north for a given search period; if that fails you turn back and hope you're actually north after all - but if you don't find Howland flying south, you eventually do find landfall.
I've said this many times before and people either don't get it or are purposefully avoiding dealing with this fly in the Gardner ointment. This time I will draw you a picture. Contrary to the  "don't know how far north or south they are" argument, Noonan certainly did, just by dead reckoning, to a level that would keep them from flying down to Gardner. Even using the unrealistic assumption that they dead reckoned all the way from the Ontario, then the maximum expected D.R. error is 110 NM (128 SM), 10% of the 1100 NM from Ontario to Howland, so they would not have proceeded more than 110 NM south from the D.R. position of Howland before turning around and going back to the north, searching for Howland. However, it is much more likely that they got a fix around 1623 Z, or even later, making the maximum D.R. error only 46 NM, see Landfall procedure navigation to Howland Island. (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/navigation-to-howland-island) But the plane was not being flown by an automaton, Noonan knew how far they had flown since the last fix and would have allowed the appropriate offset for the intercept point on the sunline LOP. So, even if it was just dead reckoning all the way from the Ontario, then Noonan would have aimed 110 NM, at least, to the north-northwest of Howland which would ensure that they did not end up south of Howland at the point of intercept. They would then fly 220 NM south-southeast along the LOP looking for Howland so, worst case, if they missed the island and if they had been at the maximum D.R. error to the right point of interception, they would still not proceed more than 110 NM further to the south-southeast before turning back to the north to execute a search pattern. But what if there were actually a much larger error in the DR than expected, wouldn't they have ended up much further south? Well that brings in Baker, 38 NM south of Howland. In order to miss seeing both Howland and Baker, and with 20 NM visibility, they would have had to have been an additional 58 NM off to the right of the DR course in order to pass so far south of Baker so as to not be able to see it. This would be a total DR error of 168 NM, 15% of the distance flown from Ontario and 26% of the distance flown from a 1623 Z fix. It is highly unlikely to have such large DR errors. Based on the statistics of navigation, (appendix Q in the 1977 edition of the American Practical Navigator) there is only one chance in 370 of being 15% off course and only one chance in ten-million of being 26% off course! And, as is likely, if Noonan added an additional safety margin to his offset then missing both Howland and Baker is an even more remote possibility.

Now, the second point. If the DR accuracy doesn't convince you then let's shoot the moon. I have pointed out many times that the moon was positioned to provide an LOP that would tell Noonan whether he was north or south of Howland and so would also prevent flying down to Gardner. Looking at 1912 Z, the height of the moon was 74° 26' at Howland and its azimuth was 328° which produced an LOP running 058° -238° T. (We know that Noonan could take observations at least as high as 75° since he did so on the leg to Hawaii.) Using this LOP, Noonan would have known how far he was north or south along the 157° -337° sun line LOP. I have attached a chart showing a fix using the sun (the 157° -337° sun line LOP is the white line) and the moon at 1912 Z. (I am not saying that they were at this fix position, this is just an example of a fix that Noonan could have obtained at 1912 Z.) So, looking at the moon LOP running from the lower left to the upper right (yellow line,) you can see that Noonan could have determined how far they were south of Howland and so would have let them know that they had to turn around to go back to the north to search for Howland. The yellow moon LOP was calculated from an observation of the moon of 73° 22' placing the LOP, and the observer (Noonan)  64 NM south-southeast of Howland. If Noonan had measured the height of the moon to be greater than 73° 22' then he would know he was actually closer to the Moon' position over the earth and would know he had to be north of the yellow moon LOP line. If he measured a lower altitude then he would know he was south of that line. The white sunline LOP was calculated from an observation of 17° 13' placing this LOP and Noonan 109 NM west-southwest of Howland. If Noonan measured the sun's altitude to be greater than  17° 13' then he had to be east of the white sunline LOP and if he measured a lower altitude then he would know he was west of that line. That is how celestial navigation works. From the plotted example fix it is 153 NM on a course of 032° T to Howland. The weather conditions south of Howland were conducive to celestial observation of both the sun and the moon.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 02, 2012, 02:23:57 AM
Interesting argument about diverting to Nauru.  I don't buy it.

Too much construct, too little motive for AE and FN to have done it when I look at the whole context.  Why would FN drive extra complexity into the effort?  As 'simple' as it is for the navigator making a pure case here, it also would drive many more opportunities into the flight for error.

Is that the sum of your point, Gary?  That FN  pressed an exercise into the flight which compounded opportunties for error - and that the pair finally got caught in that web somehow? 
Can you describe how Noonan's taking the normal celestial sights, that were already part of the plan, only this time taking some of those  sights over a brightly lit island that they could find just by ("go to the light, Luke" ) following the lights in from 150 miles out, which provided a reliable visual checkpoint, provided compounded opportunties for error ?

gl

Yes -

Just as you seem to see that it somehow adds assurance, it also distinctly adds more variables than just following the lubber and verifying along the way with celestial - more heading changes, more points for AE to process, etc.  There's also the not so minor point of needing to consider if one really wants to trash their night vision over the sea by approaching that flame of light at Nauru, like a moth - not to mention what it might do to FN's ability to take clear shots for some time.  I believe you helped describe the mining lights yourself earlier - or if not, think about it.  Not good.

Not that I think I need to defend the idea - I think it's more logical for someone floating these variation theories to put up strong reasons, not just possibilities, if they expect them to stand.


"Thrash their night vision," I put that in the category of "grasping at straws." Have you ever flown over lights at night, say over a large city? Oh, I guess not, because if you had you would have "trashed your night vision", lost control of the plane and crashed and died and wouldn't be posting on the TIGHAR Forum. I'm still laughing about this one. :D

I did give good navigational reasons to confirm their position and their navigational methods and equipment by a slight deviation off the straight line (which they hadn't been following up to that point, anyway) adding only about 10 NM to the flight distance. To me, your counter-arguments seem contrived and not compelling, but YMMV ;)

Keep up the good work, I like these discussions.

gl

The word was 'trash' - and yes, I've flown at night - and navigated on the surface at night - and had my night vision 'trashed' by other vessels and landmarks, and have avoided it for good reason.  The latter case is better.  Crash and burn really wasn't the concern, so your comment is a bit highhat - although it's happened to some; I had more in mind ability to get clear shot of heavens, other lights that may appear on the ocean (I find your skepticism on spotting ships highly questionable, and a need to deviate toward Nauru weak), and AE being able to stay on the ball over a dark sea.
If you are concerned with the lights interfering with Noonan's night vision making it more difficult to shoot stars then he could hunker down in the back on the plane and so shield his eyes from the lights while still allowing him to look upwards through the window and take star sights. If your concern is for Earhart's vision then she can do what we all do, close one eye until leaving the lighted area and she could also put the plane on auto-pilot since the auto-pilot didn't have any eyes to be bothered by the light.

Maybe you didn't understand how flying over Nauru would allow checking his navigation and the accuracy of his octant. All celsetial navigation involves picking a position on the ground and calculating what altitude of a celestial body would be measured from that spot, that is what those tables are used for. The normal way to check the accuracy of your sextant or octant is to go to a position for which  you know the accurate coordinates, do the normal calculation and then compare what you measured with your sextant with the computed altitude, they should be exactly the same. Any difference is called the "index error" of the instrument and you apply that as a correction to subsequent observation. The index error determined can only be as accurate as the accuracy of the known position used for the test. This is why he couldn't do the same type of check over the Ontario because he couldn't know the location of the Ontario to the necessary level of accuracy (in fact, the navigator on the Ontario also could not know his position accurately enough to do this test.)

There are additional reasons to fly over Nauru. One is to determine the winds at their cruising altitude. You were trained to compute a wind correction angle using a wind vector diagram on your E-6B but few instructors teach the next computation, calculating the winds encountered in flight by using the same vector diagram. I always taught my students how to do this on the first cross country flight. Technically this is known as "wind between fixes" and it can also be done between celestial fixes, Noonan mentioned this in his letter to Weems. What you do is you plot your "no-wind position," just the DR position from your prior fix based on heading and airspeed. You then plot your new fix and the difference between the "no-wind position" and the fix was caused by the wind. Say your fix is 15 NM straight south of the no-wind and you have been flying for one hour, you then know the wind has pushed you 15 NM straight south in one hour so you know that the wind is 15 knots from the north. However, the accuracy of this method is no better than the accuracy of the fixes which, for celestial fixes, is taken to be 10 NM. Since the starting fix could be anywhere within a 10 NM circle around the plotted position and the same is true of the second fix, the wind determined this way, on a one hour leg, has an uncertainty of 20 knots and the direction of the wind, determined from a 130 knot plane, could be off by 17 degrees. But doing the same computation using visual fixes over terrestrial landmarks, that have only a one or two mile uncertainty, reduces the possible error in the measured wind to 4 knots and 3 degrees. This was also much more accurate than using drift measurements. Looking forward to the next leg, from Ontario or from Nauru to Howland, having an accurate wind would be very important to Noonan and flying over Nauru could provide this. Using the Ontario for the visual checkpoint would not allow the same accuracy because of the uncertainty in the position of the ship.

Yet another reason why flying over Nauru was desirable is that it would provide an accurate starting point for the dead reckoning to Howland. The accuracy of dead reckoning can never be any better than the accuracy of the starting position. DRing from a celestial fix starts with the 10 NM uncertainty inherent in the celestial fix itself. Starting from Nauru would cut this down to one or two NM. And using the Ontario as a starting position has even more uncertainty than a celestial fix because Noonan could not know, for certain, the actual position of the ship. And, he had to be aware of the possibility of another ship being in the area that, if misidentified as the Ontario, could make the visual fix, and the subsequent DR, off by possibly 50 NM or more.

Navigators are expected to use all information available to them for safely conducting the flight. In trans-oceanic navigation it is unusual to be able to take visual bearings on terrestrial landmarks but when they are available, navigators take advantage of them. I'll bet that any WW2 Air Force navigator that flew over the western Pacific would tell you the same thing, that he used every opportunity that presented itself to take a visual observation of islands to confirm and to improve his navigation.

So, compared to the slight cost of less than an additional 10 NM, it was well worth going over Nauru.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 02, 2012, 04:58:00 AM
Quote
However, it is much more likely that they got a fix around 1623 Z, or even later, making the maximum D.R. error only 46 NM, see Landfall procedure navigation to Howland Island.

As we had discussed previously this would not make sense as they should have found Howland if they had a fix at 16:23 GMT. See attached image of 46NM DR error around Howland if that were the case. While it does make sense that he should have been able to do this at 16:23 GMT under "partly cloudy" conditions, this seems contrary to the fact that they did not make it. Was the 46NM DR error estimate created from the Northern offset theory that you suggested? If they came straight in, the error would be even smaller.

Quote
So, even if it was just dead reckoning all the way from the Ontario, then Noonan would have aimed 110 NM, at least, to the north-northwest of Howland which would ensure that they did not end up south of Howland at the point of intercept.

While this would make sense in a do-over scenario, this does not appear to be the case. FN probably did not plan for the worst case and probably had complete confidence that he could take observations. It does appear that they came straight in without an offset with every expectation of taking observations and using the direction finder even if that concept was flawed due to the lack of 500 Mhz TX capability for Itasca to get a fix on them (that she requested upon arrival) and her inability to get a fix on the Itasca using her voice frequencies. They also probably did not anticipate clouds and shadows being cast by the sun that made spotting Howland even more difficult (a bit of a nightmare scenario if you ask me).

I do believe that at 10:30 GMT they were able to spot the Ontario. Firstly this was at the end of a segment in the original flight plan, the expected to find the Ontario at this location. While the Ontario drifted 29 miles to the East, the Ontario was well within visual range from the point where they expected it to be. As they progressed along the flight line, the Ontario could have been as little as 8 miles offset from the original flight path. At that point in time they would have been 1/2 through the journey, passed the bad weather, climbing to 10,000ft for the remainder of the trip. They would have probably performed a quick check on the fuel consumption at that point to make sure whatever speed they chose for the remainder of the trip that they would have sufficient fuel to make the trip.

The attached PDF shows the 3 possible position reports at 05:19 GMT. If we assume that it was the Ontario sighted at 10:30 GMT, and that observation was made when they arrived at the position where the Ontario to be, this leaves about 1302 SM left in their journey to Howland. This suggests that they were achieving about 150 MPH ground speed which was the original plan in the first place that of course never attempted to account for head wind. So in the end of the 3 competing theories about the 5:19 GMT position reports, it does not matter much if you believe it was the Ontario that was spotted. If we add in your theoretical 110NM offset to the North, this would put the ground speed achieved around 164 MPH, with the indicated air speed at S.L. at 184 MPH. While possible it would seem that achieving the 150 MPH ground speed would be the most reasonable choice going forward.

As far as the theory about heading to Nauru goes Gary, you did not comment on my earlier Google Earth screen capture that shows they they certainly did not make a beeline from the 05:19 GMT report to Nauru (see attachment). While I agree this might have been a good idea for FN to use Nauru, I do not think this is the case unless he made the decision to do so after the 7:18 GMT report which seems unlikely. Since they were probably at 8,000ft as they headed East from the 7:18 GMT report, and the lights at Nauru were at 560ft, the range of visibility nearly touches the original flight line. It would make sense if they were slightly North of the flight line but we have no evidence that the lights were seen.

I did recall finding something on on the Internet and perhaps even the TIGHAR website about claims that AE was heard by the Nauru radio operator several times claiming she was seeing the lights of Nauru. This must have been discounted for some reason as it is not presented in the radio transmissions pages on this site. In any case, I do believe the report at 10:30 GMT "ship in sight" was just that, the Ontario and not the lights of Nauru.

Update - The report of seeing the Nauru lights was in the Waitt Institute Re-Navigation report.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on February 02, 2012, 06:17:00 AM
I did recall finding something on on the Internet and perhaps even the TIGHAR website about claims that AE was heard by the Nauru radio operator several times claiming she was seeing the lights of Nauru. This must have been discounted for some reason as it is not presented in the radio transmissions pages on this site.

I would be happy to add it to the page that I created and maintained--but not on your say so.

Source with link?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 02, 2012, 06:19:09 AM

Martin,

I will have to dig for that later. Let me find the reference and I will send to you. Hopefully I can find some time after work. I cannot recall 100% if it was on TIGHAR or I found it elsewhere. Thanks.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on February 02, 2012, 09:05:46 AM
All very good points above, Gary, thanks.

You've helped me understand the N-S constraint possibilities much better - that was something I was trying to sort out and had some belief that FN's ability to do that would not have been as great, so this sheds light.

As to the bright lights of Nauru's mines -

I don't disagree - those things can be done, and I never saw it as a fatal hazard (you can review my remark on it if you like).  I just saw it as a reason to avoid from my experience.  I've flown over cities and plenty of dark countryside at night, and some over the ocean.  As to the ocean, most of that experience was on the surface - open dark sea at night - and sometimes inland as well.  One of the worst things to encounter on the confined ICW along our coast in darkened regions is an oncoming barge being pushed by a tug with an intensely bright searchlight - far worse than I think NR16020 would have found over Nauru, for sure.  The skipper always seems to enjoy washing your own vessel down with that light - and you can guess about what that does as you're trying to share the channel with a multi-hundred foot long barge.

So, for me - I'd pass, but that is just me and I wasn't aboard with AE and FN.  But I can see your point about the fix, and how it could be managed.  I still see it far from likely, however - they wouldn't have had to 'go to' Nauru to use it as a useful fix, for one thing, and the less 'hunkering' one has to do, the better - just IMHO.  I'm also still struggling a bit with what a Nauru-deviation would have to do with the outcome - if FN was on his game and that was part of his plan, it shouldn't have impacted it.  But I think your good comments need more of my time to be fully understood, in fairness.

I'm left again wondering why, with all these marvelous certainties about what FN should have been able to do about fixing his position as you've pointed out, the flight never arrived at Howland.  If those tools work that well, then what could have failed FN that day?  Your response makes sense; unfortunately it also deepens the mystery on that count.

Thanks for your comments - I'll be studying that for a while yet - good stuff.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 02, 2012, 10:47:02 AM
All very good points above, Gary, thanks.



I don't disagree - those things can be done, and I never saw it as a fatal hazard (you can review my remark on it if you like).  I just saw it as a reason to avoid from my experience.  I've flown over cities and plenty of dark countryside at night, and some over the ocean.  As to the ocean, most of that experience was on the surface - open dark sea at night - and sometimes inland as well.  One of the worst things to encounter on the confined ICW along our coast in darkened regions is an oncoming barge being pushed by a tug with an intensely bright searchlight - far worse than I think NR16020 would have found over Nauru, for sure.  The skipper always seems to enjoy washing your own vessel down with that light - and you can guess about what that does as you're trying to share the channel with a multi-hundred foot long barge.


I also remember going down the ICW in Texas (the "ditch" is pretty narrow) making "one toot" passes with barges and towboats at night. The "close one eye" technique sure pays off.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Don Dollinger on February 02, 2012, 12:45:39 PM
Quote
As I have said in previous posts, there was nothing in the messages received to suggest they did not know where they were. Right up to and including the "we must be on you" message they transmitted as though they knew exactly where they were.

They could not have known exactly where they were or they would not have missed Howland. 

LTM,

Don
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on February 02, 2012, 01:43:03 PM
I appreciate your point Don but what I am suggesting is that there was no hint or suggestion in their radio messages to indicate that they thought they made an error in navigation. 

We know they weren't where they were supposed to be and an error of some sort may have been made.  But they were unaware an error had occured.  If they knew they made a mistake then AE could have added to a message that they were behind schedule or ahead of schedule or that they had been off course and had corrected the error.  But nothing like that.  The radio messages were just AE trying to contact Itasca and ger her fix for the last few miles into Howland. 

Its clear they missed Howland (or didn't see it or recognize it as their target destination).  But, based on radio message wording only, I think they believed they were on course.  Hence AE's transmission of "We must be on you...".  That line alone tells me that AE "thought" they were where they should be.  More of a mind set issue. 
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 02, 2012, 03:00:18 PM
I did recall finding something on on the Internet and perhaps even the TIGHAR website about claims that AE was heard by the Nauru radio operator several times claiming she was seeing the lights of Nauru. This must have been discounted for some reason as it is not presented in the radio transmissions pages on this site.

I would be happy to add it to the page that I created and maintained--but not on your say so.

Source with link?

Martin,

I found the source, it was the Waitt Institute. I am not suggesting adding it to any page if TIGHAR thinks that this is not credible. I knew that I had read this somewhere but could not recall the source. It is also given in their Re-Navigation Report.

http://searchforamelia.org/position-reporting (http://searchforamelia.org/position-reporting)

“A Ship in Sight Ahead”
AE reported seeing “…a ship in sight ahead…” at about 1030 GMT, according to Harold J. Barnes, officer in charge of the radio station at Nauru Island who copied Earhart’s message.(70)

In a letter from Mr. T. H. Cude, Director of Police, Nauru Island, to Dr. Francis Holbrook of Fordham University, he stated he heard AE broadcasting to Harold Barnes, Chief Wireless Operator at Nauru Island, several times between 10-11 PM that she could see the lights on Nauru Island. The lights she referred to were the flood-lights strung out along the two 1,000-foot cableways situated on top of the island to permit mining at night. (71)


70 - Elgen Long, Amelia Earhart - The Mystery Solved, 20.
71 - Laurance Safford, Amelia’s Flight Into Yesterday, (McLean, Virginia: Paladwr Press, 2003) 31-33.

I also found a Post-Loss radio message topic posted on the forum way back in 2003 reported by a Irene Sexton that you might want to consider adding to the Post-Lost Radio page. Ric commented at the time that he thought it should be looked in to further, perhaps it was. This was not related to the lights of Nauru but it might be of interest.

http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Forum/Forum_Archives/200311.txt (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Forum/Forum_Archives/200311.txt)

Update: Never mind the post-radio message. Ric later posted that it was not credible
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on February 02, 2012, 03:19:53 PM
I found the source, it was the Waitt Institute. I am not suggesting adding it to any page if TIGHAR thinks that this is not credible. I knew that I had read this somewhere but could not recall the source. It is also given in their Re-Navigation Report.

http://searchforamelia.org/position-reporting (http://searchforamelia.org/position-reporting)

“A Ship in Sight Ahead”
AE reported seeing “…a ship in sight ahead…” at about 1030 GMT, according to Harold J. Barnes, officer in charge of the radio station at Nauru Island who copied Earhart’s message.(70)

That is already in the Transmission Timeline (http://tighar.org/wiki/Transmissions_heard_from_NR16020), along with a link to an article with Ric's comments (http://tighar.org/wiki/Nightfall_to_Ship_In_Sight#.22Ship.22_vs._.22Lights.22_in_sight) on why he does not think the Cude letter (not a radio log) is a reliable souce.

Barnes was not on duty (http://tighar.org/wiki/Harold_John_Barnes) at the time the flight approached Nauru.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 02, 2012, 03:26:39 PM
I found the source, it was the Waitt Institute. I am not suggesting adding it to any page if TIGHAR thinks that this is not credible. I knew that I had read this somewhere but could not recall the source. It is also given in their Re-Navigation Report.

http://searchforamelia.org/position-reporting (http://searchforamelia.org/position-reporting)

“A Ship in Sight Ahead”
AE reported seeing “…a ship in sight ahead…” at about 1030 GMT, according to Harold J. Barnes, officer in charge of the radio station at Nauru Island who copied Earhart’s message.(70)

That is already in the Transmission Timeline (http://tighar.org/wiki/Transmissions_heard_from_NR16020), along with a link to an article with Ric's comments (http://tighar.org/wiki/Nightfall_to_Ship_In_Sight#.22Ship.22_vs._.22Lights.22_in_sight) on why he does not think the Cude letter (not a radio log) is a reliable souce.

Barnes was not on duty (http://tighar.org/wiki/Harold_John_Barnes) at the time the flight approached Nauru.

I did see the foot note after searching but I did not find the Cude's claims. Do you have the actual letter from Cude? Thanks.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on February 02, 2012, 04:37:02 PM


Maybe you didn't understand how flying over Nauru would allow checking his navigation and the accuracy of his octant.  All celsetial navigation involves picking a position on the ground and calculating what altitude of a celestial body would be measured from that spot...

There are additional reasons to fly over Nauru. One is to determine the winds at their cruising altitude. You were trained to compute a wind correction angle using a wind vector diagram on your E6-B but few instructors teach the next computation, calculating the winds encountered in flight by using the same vector diagram... Using the Ontario for the visual checkpoint would not allow the same accuracy because of the uncertainty in the position of the ship.

Yet another reason why flying over Nauru was desirable is that it would provide an accurate starting point for the dead reckoning to Howland. The accuracy of dead reckoning can never be any better than the accuracy of the starting position...using the Ontario as a starting position has even more uncertainty than a celestial fix because Noonan could not know, for certain, the actual position of the ship. And, he had to be aware of the possibility of another ship being in the area...

Navigators are expected to use all information available to them for safely conducting the flight. In trans-oceanic navigation it is unusual to be able to take visual bearings on terrestrial landmarks but when they are available, navigators take advantage of them. I'll bet that any WW2 Air Force navigator that flew over the western Pacific would tell you the same thing, that he used every opportunity that presented itself to take a visual observation of islands to confirm and to improve his navigation.

So, compared to the slight cost of less than an additional 10 NM, it was well worth going over Nauru.

gl

I see your points - and these things are logical. 

But -

Quote
...flying over Nauru would allow checking his navigation and the accuracy of his octant.  All celsetial navigation involves picking a position on the ground and calculating what altitude of a celestial body would be measured from that spot..."

Shouldn't his octant have been OK after such a check at say, Lae, and perhaps again as the flight passed the Nikumanu Islands?

Quote
One [good reason] is to determine the winds at their cruising altitude.

Wouldn't that have been possible as the flight passed the Nikumanu Islands?

Quote
...another reason why flying over Nauru was desirable is that it would provide an accurate starting point for the dead reckoning to Howland...

I realize that Nauru would put them closer and therefore could reduce the potential error - good point, but again, wouldn't passage past Nikumanu have given confidence and a reliable 'starting' point for DR?

Quote
Navigators are expected to use all information available to them for safely conducting the flight. In trans-oceanic navigation it is unusual to be able to take visual bearings on terrestrial landmarks but when they are available, navigators take advantage of them. I'll bet that any WW2 Air Force navigator that flew over the western Pacific would tell you the same thing, that he used every opportunity that presented itself...

I don't doubt that - from beginning to end of flight ("DON'T STOP NAVIGATING"), but I also wonder how often they actually sent birds zig-zagging like that to do it.  Given a healthy octant (maybe it wasn't by then - maybe FN dropped it and wanted to check it again, who knows) FN shouldn't have had so much concern at that point.

On the whole, I can see your points and while it works fine and there are some advantages, I just not compelled to buy that they did this.  Anyway, if they did, I'm still not clear on what effect it would have had on the outcome - except to somewhat improve their chances by improving the tolerances for DR and giving one additional assurance that the octant was up to snuff.

I've learned alot from studying this.  You remind me of a couple of great instructors I had over the years - stand-out guys who encouraged students to learn past the basics and put some good extras in their tool box - great stuff and it makes a difference, especially when things take a turn down sometime.

I just saw a taped interview of the surviving guys who shot down Yamamoto while I was visiting the Air Museum in Seattle.  That flight of AAF P-38's DR'd hundreds of mile out over open water - dog-leg pattern to first avoid lanes and land, and then back in to intercept - with nothing more than a watch, strip charts and a borrowed nautical compass from the local Navy guys (I wondered what was wrong with the whiskeys - but I gather that borrowed compass was probably stabilized, etc.).  Of course that's less distance, the P38's faster, and those guys were experienced night fighters, but it's still a heck of a feat done by pure DR over a lot of open water.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 02, 2012, 10:03:53 PM


Maybe you didn't understand how flying over Nauru would allow checking his navigation and the accuracy of his octant.  All celsetial navigation involves picking a position on the ground and calculating what altitude of a celestial body would be measured from that spot...

There are additional reasons to fly over Nauru. One is to determine the winds at their cruising altitude. You were trained to compute a wind correction angle using a wind vector diagram on your E6-B but few instructors teach the next computation, calculating the winds encountered in flight by using the same vector diagram... Using the Ontario for the visual checkpoint would not allow the same accuracy because of the uncertainty in the position of the ship.

Yet another reason why flying over Nauru was desirable is that it would provide an accurate starting point for the dead reckoning to Howland. The accuracy of dead reckoning can never be any better than the accuracy of the starting position...using the Ontario as a starting position has even more uncertainty than a celestial fix because Noonan could not know, for certain, the actual position of the ship. And, he had to be aware of the possibility of another ship being in the area...

Navigators are expected to use all information available to them for safely conducting the flight. In trans-oceanic navigation it is unusual to be able to take visual bearings on terrestrial landmarks but when they are available, navigators take advantage of them. I'll bet that any WW2 Air Force navigator that flew over the western Pacific would tell you the same thing, that he used every opportunity that presented itself to take a visual observation of islands to confirm and to improve his navigation.

So, compared to the slight cost of less than an additional 10 NM, it was well worth going over Nauru.

gl

I see your points - and these things are logical. 

But -

Quote
...flying over Nauru would allow checking his navigation and the accuracy of his octant.  All celsetial navigation involves picking a position on the ground and calculating what altitude of a celestial body would be measured from that spot..."

Shouldn't his octant have been OK after such a check at say, Lae, and perhaps again as the flight passed the Nikumanu Islands?

Sure, and I would bet money that Noonan did the same kind of sextant check while on the ground at Lae. But it would be a good thing to make another check as late as possible, just before beginning the last, most critical leg, since proceeding along the last leg, past the PNR, was an irrevocable decision. In addition to providing a check of the octant this also provided a check on the chronometer and the tables. He couldn't do the same at Nukumanu because the sun was too low to be observed with any level of accuracy.
Quote

Quote
One [good reason] is to determine the winds at their cruising altitude.

Wouldn't that have been possible as the flight passed the Nikumanu Islands?

Yes, and Noonan did. That is where they radioed to Lae that the wind was 23 knots most likely computed as a "wind between fixes" starting from a visual fix over Choiseul and ending with a visual fix at Nukumanu. This is why they, again, made a slight deviation, only five minutes of extra flying time, from the straight line from Choiseul to Nauru in order to get an accurate visual fix on Nukumanu to get an accurate wind.
Quote

Quote
...another reason why flying over Nauru was desirable is that it would provide an accurate starting point for the dead reckoning to Howland...

I realize that Nauru would put them closer and therefore could reduce the potential error - good point, but again, wouldn't passage past Nikumanu have given confidence and a reliable 'starting' point for DR?

It's 1492 NM ("Columbus sailed the ocean blue") from Nukumanu to Howland producing a DR uncertainty of 149 NM while it is only 993 NM from Nauru producing a DR uncertainty of only 99 NM, 50 NM less than from Nukumanu.  But think about how this plays out in the end game, as Noonan was paid to do. When they intercepted the sunline LOP, the 99 NM uncertainty from Nauru would require searching along the LOP for twice the DR uncertainty, for 198 NM total to be certain that they had made a complete search. Increasing the DR uncertainty by 50 NM would then require searching along the LOP for 298 NM, an extra 100 NM. And that is if they used the offset, landfall, procedure (which I believe they did.) But, if they did the "straight in and then search both ways along the LOP" procedure, as Ric and others believe, then the extra uncertainty would add an additional 150 NM making it 447 NM total flying along the LOP instead of 297 NM if they had come from Nauru. Well worth the extra 5 minutes flying time to go over Nauru.
Quote

Quote
Navigators are expected to use all information available to them for safely conducting the flight. In trans-oceanic navigation it is unusual to be able to take visual bearings on terrestrial landmarks but when they are available, navigators take advantage of them. I'll bet that any WW2 Air Force navigator that flew over the western Pacific would tell you the same thing, that he used every opportunity that presented itself...

I don't doubt that - from beginning to end of flight ("DON'T STOP NAVIGATING"), but I also wonder how often they actually sent birds zig-zagging like that to do it.  Given a healthy octant (maybe it wasn't by then - maybe FN dropped it and wanted to check it again, who knows) FN shouldn't have had so much concern at that point.

On the whole, I can see your points and while it works fine and there are some advantages, I just not compelled to buy that they did this.  Anyway, if they did, I'm still not clear on what effect it would have had on the outcome - except to somewhat improve their chances by improving the tolerances for DR and giving one additional assurance that the octant was up to snuff.

I've learned alot from studying this.  You remind me of a couple of great instructors I had over the years - stand-out guys who encouraged students to learn past the basics and put some good extras in their tool box - great stuff and it makes a difference, especially when things take a turn down sometime.

I just saw a taped interview of the surviving guys who shot down Yamamoto while I was visiting the Air Museum in Seattle.  That flight of AAF P-38's DR'd hundreds of mile out over open water - dog-leg pattern to first avoid lanes and land, and then back in to intercept - with nothing more than a watch, strip charts and a borrowed nautical compass from the local Navy guys (I wondered what was wrong with the whiskeys - but I gather that borrowed compass was probably stabilized, etc.).  Of course that's less distance, the P38's faster, and those guys were experienced night fighters, but it's still a heck of a feat done by pure DR over a lot of open water.

LTM -
It was about a 400 NM flight so they could expect to hit their coast-in point within 40 NM, and most likely less. They were aiming for a large island so had the opportunity to correct their flight path when they made landfall. I suspect the compasses borrowed from the Navy were the aperiodic type that I have mentioned before.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on February 02, 2012, 11:34:09 PM
...Contrary to the  "don't know how far north or south they are" argument, Noonan certainly did, just by dead reckoning... ...the maximum expected D.R. error is 110 NM (128 SM) so they would not have proceeded more than 110 NM south from the D.R. position of Howland before ...going back to the north, searching for Howland.

That explains one constraint nicely, thanks.  It also underscores why Nauru is important in your thinking - it could narrow the error by closing the DR distance. 

A N-S determination by celestial (sun) would be limited to a shot while at meridian - too late to do the flight much good, is that correct?  (See "American Air Navigator", Mattingly (1944), page 158 - your site (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/resources/american-air-navigator-mattingly-1944).)  That emphasizes need for DR as to course.  <Ah - I came back to correct something I deleted accidentally and thought of 'shoot the moon' further down - never mind this point.>

Quote
...it is much more likely that they got a fix around 1623 Z, or even later, making the maximum D.R. error only 46 NM, see Landfall procedure navigation to Howland Island. (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/navigation-to-howland-island)

1623Z or later - I'll buy that.  Per your article "we can assume Noonan was busy right up until the time of civil twight..." - I agree that fits "NEVER QUIT NAVIGATING".  It also gave FN about an hour and 15 or so minutes before civil twighlight (where the flight should have been at that time).

AE's call at 1623Z reportedly included "partly cloudy", so a shot may have been delayed (may fit "or later"); at 1742Z AE reports "200 miles out" - just when civil twightlight should have arrived at her position - FN may have just gotten a last shot in to establish that distance.  If he had multiple bodies in view he also could have established other lines, yes?  That would help fix N-S at least at the point of having such shots.

Quote
... Noonan knew how far they had flown since the last fix and would have allowed the appropriate offset for the intercept point on the sunline LOP.  So, even if it was just dead reckoning all the way from the Ontario, then Noonan would have aimed 110 NM, at least, to the north-northwest of Howland which would ensure that they did not end up south of Howland at the point of intercept.[/i]  They would then fly 220 NM south-southeast along the LOP looking for Howland so, worst case, if they missed the island and if they had been at the maximum D.R. error to the right point of interception, they would still not proceed more than 110 NM further to the south-southeast before turning back to the north to execute a search pattern.

Good plan, but why so certain NNW and not bias to SSE intercept?  A SSE intercept would be a bit further (LOP tangent), but it would put the error toward back-up landfall - Baker for one, also Phoenix group.

I realize we're probably going to disagree, but your logic on this point runs counter to what Friedell (CO - Colorado) (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Friedell's_Report.html) was being advised of, and believed was likely -

"...first despatch cast definite doubt as to the location as being 281 miles north of Howland... the region to the north of Howland... was entirely water. ...other despatch referred to the opinion of the technical aides connected with the flight, that the plane would be found in the original line, which would indicate a position through Howland Island and the Phoenix Group... These reports bore out the original assumption of the Commanding Officer, which was based on all information then available, that the logical quadrant for the position of the plane was the southeast quadrant...

...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..."


So, at least one case was made at the time for SSE of Howland; if FN was doing as Friedell and others suspected, a SSE bias makes more sense to support landfall, failing Howland for any reason.

Consider a 're-aim' -

Quote
...110 NM, at least, to the north-northwest SSE of Howland [/b] which would ensure that they did not end up south north of Howland at the point of intercept.[/i]  They would then fly 220 NM south-southeast NNE along the LOP looking for Howland so, worst case, if they missed the island and if they had been at the maximum D.R. error to the right point of interception, they would still not proceed more than 110 NM further to the south-southeast NNE before turning back to the north to execute a search pattern.
 
- Strikethroughs and color indicate my changes to your quote.

By the way, I share Friedell's notion in part because as you've said earlier today "Navigators are expected to use all information available to them for safely conducting the flight", and because other seasoned people, such as Friedell, understood it.  The Phoenix group would have been a known thing, as would Baker, to a well prepared navigator doing as you've suggested he should.

The problem is  and what AE did say ('on line' - never 'in box'), I am moved toward "LOP" as the 'search pattern' and away from box followed by LOP.  On your site (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/resources/american-air-navigator-mattingly-1944), "American Air Navigator", Mattingly - 1944 - pages 157 - 158 discuss both the box search and LOP approaches to landfall.  (Single Line of Position Landfall Position) - the excerpt you provide there starts out by covering a box search procedure (example: Wake Island), and then moves on to a LOP landfall procedure (which happens to use a Canton Island example, of all things...) - the latter exercise fitting at least the "on the line" LOP call.

Quote
[/b] But what if... a much larger error in the DR than expected, wouldn't they have ended up much further south? ...that brings in Baker, 38 NM south of Howland. In order to miss seeing both Howland and Baker, and with 20 NM visibility, they would have had to have been an additional 58 NM off to the right of the DR course  in order to pass so far south of Baker so as to not be able to see it.

Pretty strong assumptions about being able to spot those two islands.  Whatever you believe, many see Howland as a challenge - and Baker was probably no better.  Maybe could be seen for 20 miles, maybe not.  I don't doubt that conditions generally weren't bad - just don't believe that it would be so easy to spot those two places because of their physical character, for one thing.

Quote
This would be a total DR error of 168 NM, 15% of the distance flown from Ontario and 26% of the distance flown from a 1623 Z fix. It is highly unlikely to have such large DR errors. Based on the statistics of navigation, (appendix Q in the 1977 edition of the American Practical Navigator) there is only one chance in 370 of being 15% off course and only one chance in ten-million of being 26% off course! And, as is likely, if Noonan added an additional safety margin to his offset then missing both Howland and Baker is an even more remote possibility.

Agree, but miss somehow he did.

Quote
Now, the second point. If the DR accuracy doesn't convince you then let's shoot the moon. I have pointed out many times that the moon was positioned to provide an LOP that would tell Noonan whether he was north or south of Howland and so would also prevent flying down to Gardner.

Well, it wouldn't "prevent flying down to Gardner", Gary - but it should have allowed him to find Howland - which he didn't.  He could still fly "down to Gardner" after failing to find Howland, and apparently Baker.

Quote
Looking at 1912 Z, the height of the moon was 74° 26' at Howland and its azimuth was 328° which produced an LOP running 058° -238° T. (We know that Noonan could take observations at least as high as 75° since he did so on the leg to Hawaii.) Using this LOP, Noonan would have known how far he was north or south along the 157° -337° sun line LOP. I have attached a chart showing a fix using the sun and the moon at 1912 Z. (I am not saying that they were at this fix position, this is just an example of a fix that Noonan could have obtained at 1912 Z.) So, looking at the moon LOP running from the lower left to the upper right, you can see that Noonan could have determined how far they were south of Howland and so would have let then know that they had to turn around to go back to the north to search for Howland.


Excellent.  So any of at least 3 things may have happened:
- This shot was not available for some reason we can't understand
- Something failed in the process of applying the fix, or
- The navigation worked very much as you believe and the flight came tragically close, but through a combination of error (celestial ain't perfect - and DR's less so) and visibility (due to distance and / or local conditions), neither Howland nor Baker were spotted. 

The first may be a tough-luck possibility,
The second is unlikely IMHO, and
You are very convincing as to the possibility of the third, excepting that we'll probably disagree on ability to see the islands of Howland and Baker.

Quote
The yellow moon LOP was calculated from an observation of the moon of 73° 22' placing the LOP, and the observer (Noonan)  64 NM south-southeast of Howland. The white sunline LOP was calculated from an observation of 17° 13' placing this LOP and Noonan 109 NM west-southwest of Howland. From the plotted example fix it is 153 NM on a course of 032° T to Howland. The weather conditions south of Howland were conducive to celestial observation of both the sun and the moon.

So they may have come very close to Howland, and Baker for that matter - but seem to have spotted neither.  What's to prevent the flight from bugging out for Gardner down the line of position after that 1913Z call?  It appears to me that contrary to where we were on the MC analysis a couple of days ago, you've gotten this flight right back on top of Howland. 

How far west of the LOP is Gardner (Niku) - about 15 miles?  Doesn't that leave Gardner within scope on the other end of a 300 mile DR course?  I don't see the problem with that. 

I do see a problem with spotting the cow patty islands of Howland and Baker; far less so with bright, blue lagooned / wide fringing reefed Gardner with her 90 foot Buka forests on the necklace.  Just IMHO - YMMV. :)

EXCELLENT exercise too Gary - I'm fascinated by all you've shared.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on February 02, 2012, 11:50:17 PM

Simply an opinion
FN was probably  inebriated after 2 nights/days partying with the guys at Lae.  He prolly wasn't sober when he got on the plane for takeoff.  He probably was asleep (or passed out) during the early stages of the flight (perhaps longer) and AE was on her own to fly, radio, navigate, etc.

AE's telegram citing "personnel unfitness" was her way of telling George what was happening and the Brine's letter more than hints at it.

He (FN) prolly had more than one bottle of his favorite liquid refreshmnt along in his kit and prolly took a nip or two or more along the way.  Just an opinion.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on February 03, 2012, 12:05:14 AM

Sure, and I would bet money that Noonan did the same kind of sextant check while on the ground at Lae. But it would be a good thing to make another check as late as possible, just before beginning the last, most critical leg, since proceeding along the last leg, past the PNR, was an irrevocable decision. In addition to providing a check of the octant this also provided a check on the chronometer and the tables. He couldn't do the same at Nukumanu because the sun was too low to be observed with any level of accuracy.

Quote
One [good reason] is to determine the winds at their cruising altitude.

Quote
Wouldn't that have been possible as the flight passed the Nikumanu Islands?

Quote
Yes, and Noonan did. That is where they radioed to Lae that the wind was 23 knots most likely computed as a "wind between fixes" starting from a visual fix over Choiseul and ending with a visual fix at Nukumanu. This is why they, again, made a slight deviation, only five minutes of extra flying time, from the straight line from Choiseul to Nauru in order to get an accurate visual fix on Nukumanu to get an accurate wind.

Quote
...another reason why flying over Nauru was desirable is that it would provide an accurate starting point for the dead reckoning to Howland...

Quote
I realize that Nauru would put them closer and therefore could reduce the potential error - good point, but again, wouldn't passage past Nikumanu have given confidence and a reliable 'starting' point for DR?

Quote
It's 1492 NM ("Columbus sailed the ocean blue") from Nukumanu to Howland producing a DR uncertainty of 149 NM while it is only 993 NM from Nauru producing a DR uncertainty of only 99 NM, 50 NM less than from Nukumanu.  But think about how this plays out in the end game, ...for 198 NM total to be certain that they had made a complete search. Increasing the DR uncertainty by 50 NM would then require searching along the LOP for 298 NM, an extra 100 NM. And that is if they used the offset, landfall, procedure (which I believe they did.) But, if they did the "straight in and then search both ways along the LOP" procedure, as Ric and others believe, then the extra uncertainty would add an additional 150 NM making it 447 NM total flying along the LOP instead of 297 NM if they had come from Nauru. Well worth the extra 5 minutes flying time to go over Nauru.

Quote
P-38's / Yamamoto...

Quote
It was about a 400 NM flight so they could expect to hit their coast-in point within 40 NM, and most likely less. They were aiming for a large island so had the opportunity to correct their flight path when they made landfall. I suspect the compasses borrowed from the Navy were the aperiodic type that I have mentioned before.

Very good points, Gary - I can see the advantages of a Nauru deviation now, thanks for taking time to go into all that so well.  That should have put the flight just about on top of Howland and therefore leaves the mystery that much deeper somehow.  I get the feeling NR16020 was skimming the horizon just out of reach before moving on to eternity.  Well, surely AE and FN did - I still hope NR16020 is anchored to this earth and gets found yet.  ;)

I'd bet you are right about the P-38's - meant to go back and look at what you wrote about the aperiodic compass. 

Thanks, Gary.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on February 03, 2012, 12:11:29 AM

Simply an opinion
FN was probably  inebriated after 2 nights/days partying with the guys at Lae.  He prolly wasn't sober when he got on the plane for takeoff.  He probably was asleep (or passed out) during the early stages of the flight (perhaps longer) and AE was on her own to fly, radio, navigate, etc.

AE's telegram citing "personnel unfitness" was her way of telling George what was happening and the Brine's letter more than hints at it.

He (FN) prolly had more than one bottle of his favorite liquid refreshmnt along in his kit and prolly took a nip or two or more along the way.  Just an opinion.

Careful Harry... I got in a lot of trouble over that one - all the way from "B to V" in the alphabet ("Brines to Vidal" - character and truthfulness of their comments are sternly challenged academically)  :D

Which is not to say that I don't think it was a possibility.  I still struggle with how much good sense Gary makes for the navigation case, and how horribly wrong it apparently went - but, it could have been a very near thing that just couldn't get over the top that day because the RDF dropped out from under the plan.

But I did have a certain thought about 'the moon' while reading Gary's excellent explanation on shooting it - FN no doubt shot the moon many times; I'd lay money that he howled at it more than once too... RIP. 8)

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 03, 2012, 02:22:14 AM


Navigators are expected to use all information available to them for safely conducting the flight. In trans-oceanic navigation it is unusual to be able to take visual bearings on terrestrial landmarks but when they are available, navigators take advantage of them. I'll bet that any WW2 Air Force navigator that flew over the western Pacific would tell you the same thing, that he used every opportunity that presented itself to take a visual observation of islands to confirm and to improve his navigation.

So, compared to the slight cost of less than an additional 10 NM, it was well worth going over Nauru.

gl
Twenty eight years after Earhart, in planes carrying all the electronics that Uncle Sam's wallet could buy, B-52 navigators still used celestial navigation as the primary navigational method when flying over the Pacific from Guam to bomb Viet Nam. They still took the opportunity to check and update their navigation with fixes from terrestrial landmarks whenever they were available. I have a attached several pages from a book written by a B-52 "nav" to show that this was the case which lends further support to my position that Noonan would have taken advantage of Nauru to do the same.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 03, 2012, 02:40:58 AM

I'd bet you are right about the P-38's - meant to go back and look at what you wrote about the aperiodic compass

Thanks, Gary.

LTM -
This will make it easy:

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,555.msg8006/topicseen.html#msg8006 (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,555.msg8006/topicseen.html#msg8006)

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,555.msg8100/topicseen.html#msg8100 (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,555.msg8100/topicseen.html#msg8100)

See picture here. (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=555.0;attach=610)



gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 03, 2012, 02:47:01 AM

Simply an opinion
FN was probably  inebriated after 2 nights/days partying with the guys at Lae.  He prolly wasn't sober when he got on the plane for takeoff.  He probably was asleep (or passed out) during the early stages of the flight (perhaps longer) and AE was on her own to fly, radio, navigate, etc.

AE's telegram citing "personnel unfitness" was her way of telling George what was happening and the Brine's letter more than hints at it.

He (FN) prolly had more than one bottle of his favorite liquid refreshmnt along in his kit and prolly took a nip or two or more along the way.  Just an opinion.
Chater, Collopy and Balfour dispute that he was drinking the night before they took off.
He looks pretty steady while helping Earhart to climb up on the wing in the takeoff video.
There are many alcoholics who manage to show up sober for work on Monday morning because their jobs depend on it. Not only did Noonan's job depend on his being sober when they departed Lae, his very life depended on it, powerful motivation.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 03, 2012, 04:45:03 AM
Quote
Yes, and Noonan did. That is where they radioed to Lae that the wind was 23 knots most likely computed as a "wind between fixes" starting from a visual fix over Choiseul and ending with a visual fix at Nukumanu. This is why they, again, made a slight deviation, only five minutes of extra flying time, from the straight line from Choiseul to Nauru in order to get an accurate visual fix on Nukumanu to get an accurate wind.

I think that everyone would agree in hindsight that a flight over Nauru would have been worth the very slight increase in the distance traveled. This would have also completely negated the need for the Ontario in the first place. The problem is that there is no evidence that this actually happened. In fact I think that the evidence is to the contrary.

If FN was planning a flight to Nauru and wanted a land fix on the way from Choiseul, Luaniua Island was about 6 times larger and would have been on the flight line headed to Nauru. There would be no advantage of heading further North (back to the flight line) to spot Nukumanu.

If they did approach Nauru, you might as well fly right over it. When events happened off schedule, AE announced it, such as "Ship in sight". It seems logical that she would have done the same flying over Nauru. If AE was transmitting on schedule she would have been in range of Nauru for a longer period of time making other radio reports more likely to be heard. Nothing was heard. There was no reports of her flying over by witnesses on the ground. If we believe that perhaps someone on the Myrtle Bank did hear the Electra, this would also be contrary to the leg to Nauru. If FN had reduced the DR error to 99 miles, there again, they should have found Howland. There are quite a few pieces of circumstantial evidence to overcome with none in the favor of the overflight of Nauru in balance other than it would have been a good idea in hindsight.

It seems much more likely they put faith in a technology (direction finding equipment on the Electra) that they did not understand and could not use effectively (whistling in the mic for example). If the batteries on the Howland direction finder had not drained down and they were able to communicate with AE, they also might have been able to guide her back to Howland. Like most accidents, a series of smaller unfortunate events all line up to create disaster as was the case here.

I also believe that they came straight in, without an offset. The fact that Nauru reported that AE spotted at ship at 10:30 GMT and that they knew approximately where the Ontario was despite the possibility that other ships were in the area. The more confidence they had in their navigation since passing Nukumanu, the more confidence that they would have had that it was indeed the Ontario. If you "run the numbers" from where the Ontario was to Howland, the ground speed achieved was 150 Mph, which was the original plan.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 03, 2012, 06:16:48 PM


Navigators are expected to use all information available to them for safely conducting the flight. In trans-oceanic navigation it is unusual to be able to take visual bearings on terrestrial landmarks but when they are available, navigators take advantage of them. I'll bet that any WW2 Air Force navigator that flew over the western Pacific would tell you the same thing, that he used every opportunity that presented itself to take a visual observation of islands to confirm and to improve his navigation.

So, compared to the slight cost of less than an additional 10 NM, it was well worth going over Nauru.

gl
Twenty eight years after Earhart, in planes carrying all the electronics that Uncle Sam's wallet could buy, B-52 navigators still used celestial navigation as the primary navigational method when flying over the Pacific from Guam to bomb Viet Nam. They still took the opportunity to check and update their navigation with fixes from terrestrial landmarks whenever they were available. I have a attached several pages from a book written by a B-52 "nav" to show that this was the case which lends further support to my position that Noonan would have taken advantage of Nauru to do the same.

gl

Gary,

I just toured 'SAM 970' (aka old B-707 "Air Force One", when the president was aboard) here in Seattle again.  There is of course a fine specimen near you at the Reagan Library.  I got a picture of the 'sextant socket' (as it was labled). 

There was a dedicated navigation station in the cockpit and overhead in the aisle
was an aperture with fixture in place.  I'll send it or post it here as soon as can download (maybe tonight) - not very good quality because of the plexiglass all over everything in there - but interesting.

You've probably seen this before.  Just thought it was pretty cool to see - and it's a reminder of where we were not so long ago, really.

LTM -
Did it look like this one (http://www.fer3.com/arc/m2.aspx?i=114221&y=201010)?

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on February 03, 2012, 06:43:59 PM

Simply an opinion
FN was probably  inebriated after 2 nights/days partying ...
....  Just an opinion.
Chater, Collopy and Balfour dispute that he was drinking the night before they took off.
He looks pretty steady while helping Earhart to climb up on the wing in the takeoff video.
There are many alcoholics who manage to show up sober for work on Monday morning because their jobs depend on it. Not only did Noonan's job depend on his being sober when they departed Lae, his very life depended on it, powerful motivation.

gl

Good point, Gary.

I guess some of us will always be a bit haunted by what happened and wonder 'why', with such a talented and experienced guy aboard - and the tighter the navigation case gets the less important the lost RDF procedure seems to be in a way.  But, it was important - and nobody's perfect - and anyone can have a bad day when the stars just won't line up, so to speak - so here we are.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on February 03, 2012, 07:02:55 PM

Gary,

I just toured 'SAM 970' (aka old B-707 "Air Force One", when the president was aboard) here in Seattle again.  There is of course a fine specimen near you at the Reagan Library.  I got a picture of the 'sextant socket' (as it was labled). 

There was a dedicated navigation station in the cockpit and overhead in the aisle
was an aperture with fixture in place.  I'll send it or post it here as soon as can download (maybe tonight) - not very good quality because of the plexiglass all over everything in there - but interesting.

You've probably seen this before.  Just thought it was pretty cool to see - and it's a reminder of where we were not so long ago, really.

LTM -

Did it look like this one (http://www.fer3.com/arc/m2.aspx?i=114221&y=201010)?

gl

Very much so!  Without some of the stuff - I think only the 'upper' part was there (maybe what they meant by 'socket') - I take it the lower part stows when not in use.

Very cool!  Nice way to relax in the evenings too - good for you, man!

Still haven't downloaded - will do a bit later.

You know, too bad FN didn't have more windows, at least - Hooven goes pretty hard on AE in his report (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Hooven_Report/HoovenReport.html): FN crammed in back with small windows, etc., and she insisted on having all RDF controls up front with her - clear to Hooven that she wouldn't allow a man to do that part for her.  He also notes that she was a poor student at the RDF familiarization - poor interest.  Sounds like took a lot for granted.

I wonder how accurate Hooven's observations were about AE's motives and habits on that front?  She was fiercly independent supposedly.  But some of his remarks seem harsher than warranted too - I don't think the African coast mis-fall was as he described (seems somebody sorted that out differently later), etc.  And of course he saw the Japanese kidnapping as the best reason why they weren't found on Gardner, too...

Worth the read though.  As you pointed out, FN had done shots up to 75 degrees on trip to Hawaii, for one thing, so don't know that he was so handicapped by NR16020's cabin.

Got to see pix of Boeing 314 here too (FN never flew on one - they came later) - heck of a nice, spacious deck for all officers.  That thing had monster windows the navigator could use - by the radio station and nav station - right across from each other.  Fascinating history.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 03, 2012, 08:53:44 PM

Gary,

I just toured 'SAM 970' (aka old B-707 "Air Force One", when the president was aboard) here in Seattle again.  There is of course a fine specimen near you at the Reagan Library.  I got a picture of the 'sextant socket' (as it was labled). 

There was a dedicated navigation station in the cockpit and overhead in the aisle
was an aperture with fixture in place.  I'll send it or post it here as soon as can download (maybe tonight) - not very good quality because of the plexiglass all over everything in there - but interesting.

You've probably seen this before.  Just thought it was pretty cool to see - and it's a reminder of where we were not so long ago, really.

LTM -

Did it look like this one (http://www.fer3.com/arc/m2.aspx?i=114221&y=201010)?

gl

Very much so!  Without some of the stuff - I think only the 'upper' part was there (maybe what they meant by 'socket') - I take it the lower part stows when not in use.


LTM -
The mount is in the center of the picture, thse are permanently installed in the overhead. On the right is the Kollsman periscopic sextant, and it is stored in the case on the left. As you come up the stairs and enter the flight deck of a C-130, on your left you will see the bracket that holds the case. Reagan's plane, SAM 27000, is at the Reagan Library and it also has the sextant mount in the overhead in the cockpit. This is the same setup used in B-52s, KC-135s, and many other Air Force planes.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 04, 2012, 01:22:37 AM


You know, too bad FN didn't have more windows, at least - Hooven goes pretty hard on AE in his report (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Hooven_Report/HoovenReport.html): FN crammed in back with small windows, etc., and she insisted on having all RDF controls up front with her - clear to Hooven that she wouldn't allow a man to do that part for her.  He also notes that she was a poor student at the RDF familiarization - poor interest.  Sounds like took a lot for granted.

I wonder how accurate Hooven's observations were about AE's motives and habits on that front?  She was fiercly independent supposedly.  But some of his remarks seem harsher than warranted too - I don't think the African coast mis-fall was as he described (seems somebody sorted that out differently later), etc.  And of course he saw the Japanese kidnapping as the best reason why they weren't found on Gardner, too...


LTM -
I had read the Hooven report before and I just re-read it. Hooven wrote:

"Caption to Figure 1: The Earhart Lockheed with the old-fashioned open loop, slightly turned, over the cockpit.

If you were flying over the Pacific ocean, and tuned in a station in San Francisco, you would not be in doubt which way to go to reach the station, but if you tuned in a station on a very small island, and found it was either north or south of the plane, you would have no way to tell which way to turn to reach the island.
...

Unfortunately the direction finder was unable to tell which direction to turn to go toward Howland due to the ambiguity of its loop signal. If they were north of the island, a northward turn would have taken them over the open sea, while a southward turn would either take them to Howland, or to the Winslow reef if they were south of Howland, so they turned south and flew along the 157-337 line. "

What I get from him is that, even after all those years, he was still P.O.ed that they had removed HIS better RDF (his baby) and replaced it with an "old fashioned" RDF. His explanation is that the inherent 180° ambiguity with the old fashioned RDF led to the loss of the plane. He had to know that there was a simple, universally known, procedure to resolve this ambiguity which takes only five to ten minutes, so he was being disingenuous with this complaint. In addition, his explanation is contradictory since he states that Earhart's RDF couldn't take bearings at the high frequencies that Itasca was transmitting on, frequencies requested by Earhart, so the ambiguity didn't enter into it all. Earhart couldn't take any bearings so she certainly couldn't take two opposite bearing, which is what leads to the ambiguity. He also doesn't mention that HIS RDF  also would not have been able to take bearings on the high frequency signals either. So even if HIS RDF would have produced an unambiguous bearing on signals it could receive, since it couldn't receive the signals either, it would not have produced any useful bearing either.

And he was wrong, or disingenuous, claiming that the "old fashioned" RDF had a 180° ambiguity because it did not, and he should have known that. I have attached a description of the MN-5 that Amelia had and you will see that it incorporated a sense antenna which eliminated the ambiguity.

Personally, I don't think too much of Hooven's report.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 05, 2012, 01:20:36 AM

Navigators are expected to use all information available to them for safely conducting the flight. In trans-oceanic navigation it is unusual to be able to take visual bearings on terrestrial landmarks but when they are available, navigators take advantage of them. I'll bet that any WW2 Air Force navigator that flew over the western Pacific would tell you the same thing, that he used every opportunity that presented itself to take a visual observation of islands to confirm and to improve his navigation.

So, compared to the slight cost of less than an additional 10 NM, it was well worth going over Nauru.

gl
See attached from 1944 U.S. Army Air Corps manual.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on February 05, 2012, 06:31:23 AM

Navigators are expected to use all information available to them for safely conducting the flight. In trans-oceanic navigation it is unusual to be able to take visual bearings on terrestrial landmarks but when they are available, navigators take advantage of them. I'll bet that any WW2 Air Force navigator that flew over the western Pacific would tell you the same thing, that he used every opportunity that presented itself to take a visual observation of islands to confirm and to improve his navigation.

So, compared to the slight cost of less than an additional 10 NM, it was well worth going over Nauru.

gl
See attached from 1944 U.S. Army Air Corps manual.

gl

That's a neat PDF. I'm not sure though how this military document from 1944 applies to FN or AE's actions. 

I see that many times you refer to technical documents and examples of what a pilot should do but unfortunately that can't be turned into what AE and FN did, without evidence. 

If you had been the flight planner for AE's world trip Gary I have no doubt she would have been successful, if she followed the plan as written.  But, you as a lawyer, know that accidents can happen because someone either forgets or ignores the written procedures.  Writing things down doesn't mean people will follow them 100%. We are only human after all.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 05, 2012, 08:36:28 AM

I think that I can make a pretty good case for where the Electra was not when it arrived in the area of Howland that morning. Of course this is just kicking around a an idea, I am not attempting to establish a fact here.

If we assume that they never came within visual range (25 NM in this example) and also that they were flying North and South on a 157/337 for a sufficient distances to eliminate the DR error regardless of when the last fix was obtained, this describes an area around Howland where they should not have been. This of course does not address the possibility that they were within a 25 NM visual range but failed to see Howland, the Itasca, and the smoke trail. I am not sure what the consensus is as to whether they might have been within visual range but failed to spot the island but this exercise does not attempt to address that issue.

Referring to the attached image, the white or grayish area in the center represents and area they should never have been in as this would put them in visual range of one of the islands or the smoke trail. The pink lines represent a 157/337 heading. Theoretically, they should not have been between these pink lines, otherwise they would have been within the visual range of the smoke trail, Howland, or Baker, again assuming that they would have traveled a sufficient distance to rule out the DR error and were on a 157/337 heading while traveling North and South. The orange line describes where they should have been if accurately tracking their speed since the last fix was obtained. In this example, I used spotting the Ontario at 10:30GMT although I am pretty sure that the area described applies to any distance since the last fix.

If we then assume the cause for not being on the orange line and falling outside of the pink lines was due to not accurately compensating for the head winds, we can then make some estimates as to what type of error would have been required to fall outside of the pink lines. For example, if you look at the extreme Northern area (labeled Topmost) and calculate the distance from the orange line to the Western pink line, this would be distance of about 69 SM. If 69 SM miles of error had accumulated from 10:30GMT to 19:12GMT (8.7 hours), the head winds would have been under-estimated by approximately 8 MPH over the time frame. Performing the same calculation to the East, from the orange line to the Eastern pink line, the error required would have been about 9.5 miles, and a head wind over estimation of only 1.1 MPH over the time in question. I then show the calculations for other other areas of interest on the attached PDF.

In the attached PDF, I also included estimates based on the possibility that they had obtained a fix at 16:23 GMT but somehow fell outside of the pink lines because of head wind miscalculation. Again, I am not sure whether or not this is valid but I think it is the case.

If they did DR all the way since the spotting the Ontario, the margin for error would have been extremely small, any where from a 1.1 MPH over estimation to a 7.9 MPH under estimation.

If there is a flaw in this exercise please do chime in.

Thanks.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on February 05, 2012, 09:04:56 AM
Heath
I think that's a very interesting graphic and an overall novel approach.  Are there other areas you think you can eliminate?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 05, 2012, 09:07:01 AM
Irvine,

I am not sure any other areas could be eliminated. It is also possible that if they used an offset on the N/S passes they could have entered one of these areas and that cannot be captured. I will continue to think on it though.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on February 05, 2012, 04:53:16 PM
Gary,

I tend to agree with your view of Hooven's commentary - while some of his points may be valid, there does seem to be some self-serving bias there.  I got an impression from it that he was implying that his equipment could have dealt with the higher freqs - which is not the case, as you point out.

I did find that his impression of AE was consistent with that of some others.  He was a bit harsh in it, I thought - but maybe just be straightforward.  He was passing on what was told him by others about her behavior in the familiarizaiton effort, but AE wasn't the brightest bulb on the tree when in came to this stuff - that we know.

Heath,

I think your analysis and chart-work is excellent - and you make a point we should always remember and apply - none of us can really establish 'fact' about where the flight really tracked - even if we finally find wreckage we'll only know where it came to rest.  But I think the ideas you are kicking around help us understand more about the how things could have come to a loss.

I don't know exactly how to constrain your boundaries - I think what you've put up for visual constraints are a good start.  But even though we 'know' conditions were 'good' that day and that visibility ought to allow spotting smoke and islands at the distances you mention, lots of variables can still play into the equation.  It is not likely, for instance, but possible, that AE came within 10 miles and never spotted or was spotted or hear: Howland and Baker aren't the type to 'stick-out' so well.

As I read over your thoughts I am again confounded at the loss.  Even with RDF off the table it is very hard to understand how a guy like FN missed on his end of it.  Which is not to blame FN personally - just the opposite, in fact: given the RDF shortcoming, something must have prevented him from using all of his tools as effectively as he normally would have, or he should have been able to get the flight within one of your circles by all I understand.

Irv,

I dunno - the manual Gary cites does come some years later than FN and AE's last effort, but FN probably could have 'written the book' on those things - I don't think they were new ideas, but maybe newly codified and put into easily consumed format for military fliers of whom there were so many.

But your comment underscores a peculiar aspect of the mystery for me: FN, so far as we can tell, was all over those things - what he was all about as a navigator.  Recall the report of him calmly folding his charts away in the back of the Electra after the Luke Field crack-up, for instance.

I hope I don't get in trouble for this again, I've been accused of trying to 'profile' FN before - and that's really not where I'm goin - but was something different this time?  Probably not - but it's tough to understand the 'miss' after all the navigation I've waded through here.

As Heath noted, not trying to establish the 'fact' of such a thing - just trying to understand as much of the picture and possible reasons for the loss as I can.

Gary and some others may think me a fool - but I am still convinced the flight found Gardner after my own 'preponderance' - and I still respect many other opinions put up here about 'how' or 'how not'.  The mystery that will be left after we do find 'proof' at Gardner (if we do - and I've seen enough, personally - due to Dr. King's work mainly) - is 'how they got there'.  Short of finding a sealed bottle with FN's last log pages in it, I doubt we'll ever know for sure.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 06, 2012, 04:39:25 AM


As to its meaning to the case at-hand, I think it's been noted that the Vidal sidebar was a 'third hand' discussion (if that's the root of the need to understand the state of communications between mainland U.S. and Lae in 1937, etc.).  Maybe one day Gore Vidal himself can shed more light as a living link of sorts, or maybe not.
LTM -
I wonder when Gore Vidal first started telling this story. If he told it in the '30s people would have been familiar with the state of communications of the era, including the extremely high cost of telephone calls and the sparsity of overseas phone links, so the story would not have been accepted at that time. If Vidal waited until the '70s, then the state of '30s communications would have been forgotten and he could have gotten away with telling a made up story. Also waiting until after George Putnam had died (1950) and after his father had died (1969), those who could dispute his story were gone. It is fairly common for people to try to insert themselves into famous events, it brings some sense of fame to themselves and this is a possible explanation for Gore Vidal to make up a story like this.

So, does anyone know when Gore Vidal first started telling the story about the impossible phone call from Lae to Putnam?

gl
This is what Gore Vidal said on a recent TV show:

"Narrator: Earhart flew over Africa without incident and continued over Arabia to Karachi and Calcutta. She fought monsoons that beat the paint off her airplane en route to Singapore. Then in Java, she took a short rest before flying onto Australia and finally to Lae, New Guinea. This would be her last stop before the long Pacific leg to Howland Island. Amelia called the Herald Tribune office in New York where G.P. and Gene Vidal were waiting to hear from her.

Gore Vidal, author: Well, just the night before the final flight, she reported in and they had a code phrase, “personnel problems,” which meant Noonan was back drinking. And my father said, “Just stop it right now and come home,” and G.P. agreed and said, “Come back, abort the flight, forget it, come home.” And then she said, “Oh, no,” and she said, “I think it’ll be all right,” something like that. So you may put that down to invincible optimism or it may have been huge pessimism."

-------------------------------------------------------------

Well, Putnam was in California at the time, anybody know where Gene Vidal was?

And what does it mean, night before the final flight, is it the night in the States or the night in Lae? Let's explore if it was the night in Lae, say 9:00 p.m., Thursday night, July 1st.  That would make it 6:00 a.m. in New York July 1st, and 3:00 a.m. in California, were Putnam and Gene Vidal in the Herald Tribune office that early? Would they have described this early morning call as "the night before" the final flight?

Let's say it was night in New York, 9:00 p.m.(6:00 p.m. in Oakland), making it noon in Lae the next day. So we know the call couldn't have been received on July 1st in New York, the "night before the final flight", because the Electra was rolling down the runway at Lae at that very moment. So it would have had to have been at least one day sooner, Noon on Thursday in Lae and 9:00 p.m. in New York (6:00 p.m. in Oakland) on Wednesday, June 30th.  The personnel unfitness radiogram was received at 5:53 p.m. on June 29th in Oakland (8:43 p.m. New York time)after being sent out from Lae at 6:30 a.m. on June 30th, (12:30 p.m. June 29th in Oakland.) so it only took five hours and 23 minutes to  make it to Oakland, pretty good time since we have seen that other radiograms took a lot longer. Is it possible that it was actually received on June 30th instead of June 29th in Oakland making the travel time 29:23? If so, then Vidal's description seems to match the radiogram. We know that the "Denmark's a prison" radiogram took to a whole lot longer than 5:23 to travel from Lae to the Oakland. It took a minimum of 11:23 and that is if Earhart had tossed it out the window of the plane as they were taking off. It is actually datelined Lae, July 1 so it must have gone out considerably sooner.

So it wasn't a telephone call that Gore Vidal was describing but the radiogram that we all knew about.

gl

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 19, 2012, 08:50:54 AM
I seem to be having issues with Google Earth and I am hoping that someone could point out the problem.

If I plot a course from Howland to Lae in Google Earth, the heading is 257°42' (257.7 decimal).

If I then use GE plot the course from Lae to Howland, it reports a heading of  79°39' (79.65  decimal).

So if I take the heading from Howland to Lae (257.7), I should be able to subtract 180 to obtain the heading from Lae to Howland:

257.7 - 180 = 77.7

This does not equal the 79.65 computed by GE.

What gives?

Thanks.

Update - I found this note on a great circle calculator page: "If you need a BACK BEARING from the distant site back to home do the calculation again, you can't just add 180 deg. The reason for this is that lines of longitude are not parallel to one another, particularly towards the north and south pole.  The errors are small however near the equator and over short distances."

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 19, 2012, 09:02:57 AM
Ok, the next question...

GE calculates a heading of 257.7 from Howland to Lae. The original flight plan shows 257°3' (257.05).

The difference between the two is then 0.65 degrees. While this seems like an insignificant error in the heading, over 2556SM miles, this could lead to a 29SM error over the distance traveled.

Am I missing something?

Another question I have is whether the reversed flight plan suffer from this same small error? Was this perhaps due to tiny errors in trig tables or navigation tables of the day?

Thanks.

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: John Ousterhout on February 19, 2012, 09:22:08 AM
Heath,
I don't think you're missing anything.  What you're doing is learning to appreciate just how many variables there were to navigating over long distances in 1937! An aircraft compass card doesn't need to show fractions of degrees - keeping the nose pointed within a degree is the best that can be managed.  Add the need to allow for winds, which can only be estimated within a few degrees at best, then allow for some magnetic variation, then occasional land marks and star shots that have their own variables, and you can appreciate the difficulty of finding Howland.  AE and FN weren't ignorant of those variables - those were the kinds of things pilots and navigators had been learning to deal with for decades.  The actual methods used on the last flight are the source of endless speculation here.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on February 19, 2012, 10:13:59 AM

John
What you post is correct and many have said similar things in the past.  What I can't understand is the failure to mention the fact that AE/FN had an autopilot and a drift indicator on the plane. Certainly AE would have set the autopilot to maintain her heading  (I assume it was slaved to the directional gyro) and checked periodically with her two compasses and the directional gyro to assure that she was "on course".  That's standard practice on a plane with autopilot.  If ya drift one way or the other, the drift indicator would show that and the aurtopilot would be correcting, that's what they do.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Jeff Victor Hayden on February 19, 2012, 01:11:09 PM
Don't know if it has ever been mentioned before but, has the possibility that they overshot Howland island ever been considered?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 19, 2012, 01:44:05 PM

John
What you post is correct and many have said similar things in the past.  What I can't understand is the failure to mention the fact that AE/FN had an autopilot and a drift indicator on the plane. Certainly AE would have set the autopilot to maintain her heading  (I assume it was slaved to the directional gyro) and checked periodically with her two compasses and the directional gyro to assure that she was "on course".  That's standard practice on a plane with autopilot.  If ya drift one way or the other, the drift indicator would show that and the aurtopilot would be correcting, that's what they do.
Just how do you think a drift indicator works?

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 19, 2012, 01:58:49 PM


What gives?

Thanks.

Update - I found this note on a great circle calculator page: "If you need a BACK BEARING from the distant site back to home do the calculation again, you can't just add 180 deg. The reason for this is that lines of longitude are not parallel to one another, particularly towards the north and south pole.  The errors are small however near the equator and over short distances."
That's what makes a great circle, the true course changes as you cross meridians. For an exercise, use Google Earth to plot a course from Los Angles to London and see the change. A rhumb line course maintains a constant course for the whole flight so you can just add 180 degrees to reverse course. The rhumb line from Lae to Howland is only one-tenth of a nautical mile longer than the great circle and the two are so close together that no navigator could tell the difference prior to GPS.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on February 19, 2012, 02:00:00 PM

Gary
My thought re Drift Indicator is that it displays any deviation from the desired course set on the autopilot/DG from say, wind component.
I would be pleased if you would enlighten me, as I am sure you are amply capable of doing.  Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 19, 2012, 02:07:02 PM

Gary
My thought re Drift Indicator is that it displays any deviation from the desired course set on the autopilot/DG from say, wind component.
I would be pleased if you would enlighten me, as I am sure you are amply capable of doing.  Thanks in advance.
Did you have one on your plane? Maybe you could figure out to build one that did that, nobody else could. Read these manuals f (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/topics/measureing-and-determining-wind-speed-and-direction-while-in-flight)or the answer to your question.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 19, 2012, 02:13:25 PM
Ok, the next question...

GE calculates a heading of 257.7 from Howland to Lae. The original flight plan shows 257°3' (257.05).

The difference between the two is then 0.65 degrees. While this seems like an insignificant error in the heading, over 2556SM miles, this could lead to a 29SM error over the distance traveled.

Am I missing something?

Another question I have is whether the reversed flight plan suffer from this same small error? Was this perhaps due to tiny errors in trig tables or navigation tables of the day?

Thanks.
Where did you find that number ? Both William's strip map and flight plane give the initial course from Howland to Lae as 257° exactly.

Btw. have you ever worked with logarithms of trigonometric functions as Williams had to do to do his computations?

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on February 19, 2012, 02:16:04 PM

Gary
Didn't have an autopillot on my Warrior.  Nor an RNAV either.  Sure would have been nicee though.  Was studying (ground and flight) for Instrument Rating when had to start taking meds and that put the kabosh on solo flying  sigh
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 19, 2012, 02:27:33 PM
Quote
Where did you find that number ? Both William's strip map and flight plane give the initial course from Howland to Lae as 257° exactly.

It is on the original flight plan, not the strip chart. See attached. See the TC (True Course) at the lower right of the left pane.

While I have not worked with tables for trig functions or navigation tables, I think that is something that I need to study to understand how errors and rounding (perhaps excessive) that maybe have entered in to the data and flight plan. I have always had the luxury of calculators and computers so I have never had to go back to work with slide rulers and trig tables.

Someone told me recently about errors in trig tables that were not discovered until the 60s and were used as references in both engineering and navigation. I Google'd around a bit but did not find anything on the topic.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 19, 2012, 02:47:48 PM
Quote
Where did you find that number ? Both William's strip map and flight plane give the initial course from Howland to Lae as 257° exactly.

It is on the original flight plan, not the strip chart. See attached. See the TC (True Course) at the lower right of the left pane.

While I have not worked with tables for trig functions or navigation tables, I think that is something that I need to study to understand how errors and rounding (perhaps excessive) that maybe have entered in to the data and flight plan. I have always had the luxury of calculators and computers so I have never had to go back to work with slide rulers and trig tables.

Someone told me recently about errors in trig tables that were not discovered until the 60s and were used as references in both engineering and navigation. I Google'd around a bit but did not find anything on the topic.
O.K. I see where you got that number. Nobody can fly headings any better than a few degrees which is why the table only shows the courses in whole degrees. I have checked Williams computations of the great circle course and intermediate points and only one of the intermediate points differed by one-tenth of a nautical mile from my calculation done with a calculator, which is amazingly good work on William's part using trig tables. Of course, it was a lot of wasted time since the rhumb line was indistinguishable from the great circle and is a lot less work to compute.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on February 19, 2012, 02:51:56 PM

Gary
Thanks for that info
Appears that "drift indicator" wasn't as simple as a dial with a needle to show drift from an intended heading(course).  Bummer.

I assume however that AE would compare her two compasses and the D/G periodically to be sure that the autopilot was holding the set heading.  I understand that the desired course/heading would change to stay on Williams' great circle plan.

It is beyond me why anyone would fly a 16 segment great circle route instead of  the rhumb line just to save what 10 nm (11.5 statute miles) in 2222 nm (2556 statute miles) ?  Boggles the mind
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: C.W. Herndon on February 19, 2012, 03:04:12 PM

Gary
Thanks for that info
Appears that "drift indicator" wasn't as simple as a dial with a needle to show drift from an intended heading(course).  Bummer.

I assume however that AE would compare her two compasses and the D/G periodically to be sure that the autopilot was holding the set heading.  I understand that the desired course/heading would change to stay on Williams' great circle plan.

It is beyond me why anyone would fly a 16 segment great circle route instead of  the rhumb line just to save what 10 nm (11.5 statute miles) in 2222 nm (2556 statute miles) ?  Boggles the mind

Harry, it appears that the only DG in the Electra was part of the Sperry Autopilot. See cockpit photo and diagram of AP with parts annotated.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: C.W. Herndon on February 19, 2012, 03:19:53 PM

Gary
My thought re Drift Indicator is that it displays any deviation from the desired course set on the autopilot/DG from say, wind component.
I would be pleased if you would enlighten me, as I am sure you are amply capable of doing.  Thanks in advance.

Harry, here is a picture of AE and FN at the Navigator's station of the Electra with the Drift sight set up on the table. Also find a picture of a Ceramic/aluminum drift bomb for use over water in the day time. The water light was for use over water at night although some things I have read indicate that you might have been able to use it in day light as well. Each made a well defined target to track while computing drift.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 19, 2012, 03:23:13 PM
Quote
Don't know if it has ever been mentioned before but, has the possibility that they overshot Howland island ever been considered?

That is my current view. I believe they passed to the North as well.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 19, 2012, 03:53:27 PM
Quote
I have checked Williams computations of the great circle course and intermediate points and only one of the intermediate points differed by one-tenth of a nautical mile from my calculation done with a calculator, which is amazingly good work on William's part using trig tables.

Have you ever tried to execute his flight plan in Google Earth? I am not seeing anything that precise when attempting to reconstruct the flight. This is a difficult task if you try to perform a segment by segment flight line accurately because for whatever reason when you lay a line down and click "Save" the line jumps like it is snapping to a grid. If you define the points in a KLM file it is much easier to deal with.

I just noticed something that escaped me before. Williams did just subtract 180 degrees for the return trip, that is a no-no for the previously discussed reason that the longitude lines are not parallel. I guess I am a bit surprised by that. Do you suppose Noonan would have caught that mistake?

His magnetic variations seem to be off quite a bit (or a bit too crude) compared to values from this  database (http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomagmodels/struts/calcDeclination).

If you had executed the reverse plan precisely from Lae using what I believe is more accurate magnetic variation data that would land you about 18SM North of Howland. Add in a little drift from the head winds and it is not a surprise that they missed Howland. While they might have taken some celestial readings along the way, if they were comparing the readings to a bogus flight line, this would only verify that you are following an incorrect flight line.

The more I look at this flight attempt from the flight plan, the unknown weather conditions, the approach at sunrise, the iffy DF, the more I believe this was a far more risky flight than perhaps they even realized. With a functioning radio their chances would have probably been much improved. The tragedies of circumstances are endless in this non-fiction story.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: C.W. Herndon on February 19, 2012, 03:58:47 PM
Heath, you did enter the date of the flight didn't you? Just checking.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 19, 2012, 04:02:55 PM
Quote
Heath, you did enter the date of the flight didn't you? Just checking.

Yes, sure did. Here are variations for the flight starting at Howland and working all the way to Lae using the coordinates on the strip chart.

9.4833 <- At Howland
9.4833
9.4833
9.5000
9.2000
8.9667
8.6667
8.3333
7.9833
7.6167
7.2500
6.8833
6.5333
6.2000
5.8667
5.4833 <-- At Late

Because Williams just subtracted 180 incorrectly, the variation data is almost meaningless as the magnetic headings are bogus.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: C.W. Herndon on February 19, 2012, 04:22:58 PM
Heath, I must be missing something, the variations I see on the strip map that I have are within approximately 1/2 degree of those that you have posted.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 19, 2012, 04:32:21 PM
Here is the differences from actual:

0.4333
0.4333
0.4333
0.4500
1.1500
0.9167
1.6167
1.2833
0.9333
1.5667
1.2000
0.8333
1.4833
2.1500
1.8167
??? <-- At Lae, not specified in flight plan.

As you see in the actual variations list, it changes quite a bit around Lae. Whether or not Noonan used this same data when they avoided the storm probably cannot be known.

Seemingly small errors do add up. If you were only off by .5 degrees at the end (over 2556SM), that would translate to 22SM. That is quite a distance to be off when searching for your destination.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: C.W. Herndon on February 19, 2012, 04:45:14 PM
Heath, speaking as a long time pilot, I can assure you that with the equipment that they had in 1937 they would probably have done well to maintain a compass heading within 2-3 degrees for any period of time. That's one reason why the RDF information was so critical.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 19, 2012, 04:49:19 PM

Yes, you are going to drift all the time, left to right as you go along. This is why you need to obtain fixes along the way to let you know how far you have diverged from your flight line. If you are following an incorrect flight line, there is little that can help you. The flight line must be correct.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: C.W. Herndon on February 19, 2012, 04:54:08 PM
You are absolutely correct and that is where FN came in. Something went wrong somewhere but we don't know what it was. FN was a very experenced navigator.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 19, 2012, 05:39:14 PM
Consider the possibility that FN actually used the original flight plan that was incorrect. I am not 100% sure but I believe that the return trip that was laid out has a true course of 77.07 degrees (257.07 - 180 = 77.07). It seems like a simple enough mistake that could have been made and not caught unless you re-worked the flight plan to verify it. As proof I would ask how many people have looked at this flight plan and not found this simple error previously? I did not spot it after looking at it on a spread sheet for a while.

This would place you at about 106SM North of Howland at 9:12GMT if you were right on the bogus flight line.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 19, 2012, 07:11:03 PM

Gary
Thanks for that info
Appears that "drift indicator" wasn't as simple as a dial with a needle to show drift from an intended heading(course).  Bummer.

I assume however that AE would compare her two compasses and the D/G periodically to be sure that the autopilot was holding the set heading.  I understand that the desired course/heading would change to stay on Williams' great circle plan.

It is beyond me why anyone would fly a 16 segment great circle route instead of  the rhumb line just to save what 10 nm (11.5 statute miles) in 2222 nm (2556 statute miles) ?  Boggles the mind
No, only one-tenth of a statute mile (0.1 SM).

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 19, 2012, 07:59:44 PM
Consider the possibility that FN actually used the original flight plan that was incorrect. I am not 100% sure but I believe that the return trip that was laid out has a true course of 77.07 degrees (257.07 - 180 = 77.07). It seems like a simple enough mistake that could have been made and not caught unless you re-worked the flight plan to verify it. As proof I would ask how many people have looked at this flight plan and not found this simple error previously? I did not spot it after looking at it on a spread sheet for a while.

This would place you at about 106SM North of Howland at 9:12GMT if you were right on the bogus flight line.
First, keep in mind that there is no proof that Noonan used William's plans since Noonan was a more experienced flight navigator than Williams was and most likely did his own computations, not trusting the work of others. I know I would have in his position and I have always done my own computations in the past, I don't rely on anybody else for this type of work.

What mistake are you complaining about?

I guess you do not understand how a navigator plans a great circle course. To actually fly the great circle would require the plane to be constantly turning because the great circle course is never constant and this is impossible to do. So you lay out intermediate points along the great circle spaced at a convenient distance, Williams used 2° 30' of longitude, and you calculate the latitude at which the great circle cuts those longitudes. Then you calculate the RHUMB line courses between adjoining pairs of points, not great circle courses. That way you do not have to be constantly changing your heading, you fly a constant course for the entire segment leg. Then, at the next point, you make a change in course. Since each segment leg is a rhumb line you can reverse the direction of the flight by adding 180° to each leg. This method approximates the great circle and, for the LAE to Howland flight, adds less than one-tenth of a mile (nautical or statute, take your pick) to the flight compared to flying a perfect great circle.

There are so many places where uncertainty enters into the computation of the compass heading to fly it is silly to do these computations to the high level that you are attempting. First you compute the true course and round off to the whole degree thereby introducing a + / - half degree uncertainty into the true course, a total of a full degree of uncertainty. Then you add in magnetic variation, again rounded to the whole degree, and unlikely to be accurate even to that level, which adds an additional full degree of uncertainty into the magnetic course. Then you allow for the wind and the wind correction angle is unlikely to be more accurate than one or two degrees and usually not that good if using forecast winds so we are up to plus and minus 4 degrees at this point. Then you apply the deviation from the compass correction card, again rounded to the whole degree, so we are up to 5 degrees of uncertainty. And the compass correction card itself was determined by swinging the plane and using another compass to determine the heading of the plane on the ground and the bearing read off the testing compass is only read to a whole degree and is probably not that accurate so we are up to 6 degrees of uncertainty in the compass heading. So you can see it is silly to do your computations to the level that you are attempting.  To make this clear by an analogy, let's say you filled your backyard swimming pool with a bucket and then compute how much water is in the pool to the nearest teaspoon. You are doing your computations to the nearest teaspoon.

You are attempting to put too fine a point on these computations.

I posted this before (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,555.msg8051/topicseen.html#msg8051):


Another thing that people get hung up on is about the need to fly the great circle course instead of the rhumb line course. A rhumb line maintains the same true direction for the entire flight while to follow the great circle you must calculate and then make periodic changes in your heading. The great circle is shorter than the rhumb line so that is why people think you must follow the great circle. However this really only makes a difference at higher latitudes but makes virtually no difference when flying near the equator. The great circle distance between the exact coordinates used by Williams for this leg, 06° 47.000' south, 147° 00.000' east for Lae and 00° 49.000' north, 176° 43.000' west for Howland is 2556.1 SM and the rhumb line is 2556.2 SM, exactly one-tenth of a statute mile longer. I can see poor Mr. Williams computing each segment (14 in all) of the great circle between Lae and Howland by hand using logarithmic trig tables only to save 1/10th of a statute mile. Leaving Lae, the initial great circle course is 079.4° true and it changes in steps so that the GC course approaching Howland is 077.6° true. The rhumb line for the entire flight is 078.1° true, only 1.3° difference. And the two course lines lie close to one another, never more than 9 SM apart which is so close that Noonan would not have been able to tell the difference, he would not know if he was on the great circle course line or on the rhumb line course line. Here is a link to Mr. Williams chart.  (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=549.0;attach=496)and his data form is attached.

The reason that I specified those coordinates so exactly was so that I could compute the distances to the nearest one-tenth of a statute mile. Williams and all flight navigators would only use coordinates to the nearest one minute of latitude and longitude, one nautical mile of precision. When the input data is only accurate to one nautical mile it is improper to calculate a distance to a greater precision than that of the original data but many people do this and it is not valid. Using the coordinates as Williams did, only good to one minute, would make the distance for the GC course 2556 SM and for the rhumb line also 2556 SM, there is no difference based on the level of precision of the data used by flight navigators.

So when you do your calculations give some thought as to what the numbers actually signify.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 19, 2012, 11:10:18 PM
Quote
Heath, you did enter the date of the flight didn't you? Just checking.

Yes, sure did. Here are variations for the flight starting at Howland and working all the way to Lae using the coordinates on the strip chart.

9.4833 <- At Howland
9.4833
...
5.4833 <-- At Late

Because Williams just subtracted 180 incorrectly, the variation data is almost meaningless as the magnetic headings are bogus.
You are comparing the variation used by Williams which he got from looking at isogonic lines printed on whatever chart he was using for reference. These are only marked in whole degrees and every navigator knows that these lines are approximate and that variation changes over time. You then compare those with the predictions based on a model of the magnetic field of the earth, these were not measured values, and these predictions are not guaranteed to be accurate. You are going way beyond what the data supports with your computations.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 20, 2012, 04:41:26 AM

When you are creating a model, you are not going to intentionally reduce the accuracy of the models as it is pointless and time consuming to do so. For example, with the magnetic variation data, I posted thousandths where the data has an accuracy of .5 degrees. I am not going to re-work the data in Excel and re-format it just so I can post it. It is my data and you need not accept it as your own. Again, this is a tangential conversation. If you feel that data is using excessive precision you can choose to ignore it or re-format it.

Quote
You are comparing the variation used by Williams which he got from looking at isogonic lines printed on whatever chart he was using for reference. These are only marked in whole degrees and every navigator knows that these lines are approximate and that variation changes over time. You then compare those with the predictions based on a model of the magnetic field of the earth, these were not measured values, and these predictions are not guaranteed to be accurate. You are going way beyond what the data supports with your computations.

The variations were critical to establishing the flight plan. As I stated before, I believe that these values are too crude for such an attempt over water where being off by a degree or two over just 1,000 miles could put you out of visual range of such a tiny target as Howland. For most purposes the degree of accuracy was probably fine. My opinion is that flying over such distances over water it was not fine. Variations are important in that if you are unable to obtain a fix to your flight line, and you are using DR, the error in the variations will have a cumulative effect. In this case, an unacceptably high error can accumulate.

Do you have information that suggest that his magnetic variation data was correct by any measure? I would think that the models that claim 30 minutes accuracy might be a bit better than what was available in 1937. I do not claim to understand their mathematical model but I am guessing it is well thought out and models all of this historical data collected over time otherwise it would be entirely pointless to create the models for dates in the past. The point of using this data was for my own flight reconstruction so there is not much point in discussing this model data.

Quote
What mistake are you complaining about?

The assumption in the conversation would have been that FN did not re-work the flight plan and lay down a RHUMB line. While that might have been a great idea it retrospect, do you have any evidence that FN did do this? Do you have any evidence that FN re-worked the flight plan that Williams created? You have mentioned this RHUMB line previously but I have yet to see any evidence that this was indeed the case. Even though FN might have been a great navigator he was also human and perhaps distracted and or lazy, instead using the plan that Williams had created.

As to the point about the strip chart, if you simply subtract 180 from your magnetic headings in the opposite direction, this implies that you are subtracting 180 degrees from your true course heading on the return trip. Is that correct or no? You seem to suggest that this is perfectly valid, I do not believe this is the case.

While you posted that the initial leg from Lae would have a 079.4° true, I believe that Williams assumed a true course of 77.05 that was 180 degrees from the true course to Lae, 257.05. That is why the magnetic heading is 73, which is 253-180. Is that not what is written on the chart for the return flight? Are you saying that this is correct?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 20, 2012, 04:49:28 AM

The variations were critical to establishing the flight plan. As I stated before, I believe that these values are too crude for such an attempt over water where being off by a degree or two over just 1,000 miles could put you out of visual range of such a tiny target as Howland. For most purposes the degree of accuracy was probably fine. My opinion is that flying over such distances over water it was not fine. Variations are important in that if you are unable to obtain a fix to your flight line, and you are using DR, the error in the variations will have a cumulative effect. In this case, an unacceptably high error can accumulate.
Of course you cannot dead reckon for 2556 SM and expect to find a small island since the uncertainty at that point is 256 SM, that is why Noonan was along to obtain fixes along the way. If he couldn't get fixes they could have turned around, as they had planned to do on the abortive Hawaii to Howland flight, prior to the point of no return and tried again another day.
Quote

As to the point about the strip chart, if you simply subtract 180 from your magnetic headings in the opposite direction, this implies that you are subtracting 180 degrees from your true course heading on the return trip. Is that correct or no? You seem to suggest that this is perfectly valid, I do not believe this is the case.

Yes it is after you break the great circle into segments then each segment is a rhumb line.
Quote

While you posted that the initial leg from Lae would have a 079.4° true, I believe that Williams assumed a true course of 77.05 that was 180 degrees from the true course to Lae, 257.05. That is why the magnetic heading is 73, which is 253-180. Is that not what is written on the chart for the return flight? Are you saying that this is correct?
The numbers that you are looking at are not the great circle courses but the rhumb lines to the next intermediate point.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 20, 2012, 04:56:05 AM
Quote
The numbers that you are looking at are not the great circle courses but the rhumb lines to the next intermediate point.

What I see are the magnetic headings from the flight plan toward Lae which are on the other flight plan document verbatim. What I see on the strip chart is the 180 subtraction of the magnetic headings for those instructions. Why list the magnetic headings for the return path if that was not a plan? I see arrows indicating the direction of travel. I think it is clear he made a mistake.

So you are saying that this is correct?

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 20, 2012, 05:03:58 AM
Quote
The numbers that you are looking at are not the great circle courses but the rhumb lines to the next intermediate point.

What I see are the magnetic headings from the flight plan toward Lae which are on the other flight plan document verbatim. What I see on the strip chart is the 180 subtraction of the magnetic headings for those instructions. Why list the magnetic headings for the return path if that was not a plan? I see arrows indicating the direction of travel. I think it is clear he made a mistake.

So you are saying that this is correct?
Yes, when you reverse each rhumb line segment between the great circle points they are 180 degrees different.

Are they a plan, sure Williams' plan and if Williams was the navigator on the flight then he might have followed his initial plan, or he might have modified it after considering new information obtained in Lae. But Williams was NOT the navigator and Noonan used completely different methods than Williams.

gl

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 20, 2012, 05:08:57 AM

Well, I can only say that I believe that you cannot follow the 180 degree reverse instructions for the previously stated reasons.

Since you do not see any issue with this, I would suspect that FN might not have seen the issue either.

I believe that if you consider not the headings, only the 180 degrees reversal of the true course you will see the problem.

Plot a true course of 77.05 in Google Earth from Lae toward Howland and tell me where that lands you.

Are you going to say that this was a mistake yet or no?

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 20, 2012, 05:54:44 AM

Well, I can only say that I believe that you cannot follow the 180 degree reverse instructions for the previously stated reasons.

Since you do not see any issue with this, I would suspect that FN might not have seen the issue either.

I believe that if you consider not the headings, only the 180 degrees reversal of the true course you will see the problem.

Plot a true course of 77.05 in Google Earth from Lae toward Howland and tell me where that lands you.

Are you going to say that this was a mistake yet or no?
I still don't know where you are getting your 77.05 from. Look an the strip chart and it shows the initial magnetic course from Lae to Howland is 073° which incorporates the variation of 6° east so the initial true course is 079°. Where I come from, 79 is not the same as 77.05° and is not the reciprocal of 257.05°
Now you go back on Google Earth using the correct value of 079° and see where it takes you.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 20, 2012, 06:10:39 AM

If you simply subtract 180 degrees from the magnetic course, as shown on the chart for each segment on the return plan from Lae to Howland,  this infers/implies/requires that you are subtracting 180 degrees from the true course, do you agree with that statement or no? If not, I would like to understand where you are coming from.

Where are you pulling the 79 from? I know where 79.65 degrees ends up. I am looking only at the MC values on the chart.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: C.W. Herndon on February 20, 2012, 12:12:18 PM
Heath, I think you may have a slight misunderstanding of some of the terms concerning navigation and use of the compass.

1. True course: this is the line on the map drawn between the point of departure and the destination.
2. Magnetic course: True course corrected for magnetic variation. (this is the course on the lines of the strip map)
3. True heading: True course corrected for winds. (this is used because winds aloft are normally given using true directions)
4. Magnetic heading: True heading corrected for magnetic variation.
5. Compass heading: Magnetic heading corrected for deviation (installation error caused by location of the compass in the aircraft mostly). Deviation is taken from the compass correction card mounted in the aircraft, somewhere near the compass.

The 79 degree course Gary is talking about is the true course between Lae and Howland. It is the reciprocal of the 259 degree TC shown on the lower left hand corner of the strip map under the 15. This is the MC shown on the strip map with the corection for variation removed.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 20, 2012, 12:15:12 PM

Clarence,

I am simply looking at the MC values on the return course. They are 180 degrees out from the corresponding segments used for approach.

I am not reading the 259 in the margin, I did not even see that. I will take a look after work.

Are you suggesting also that the MC value of 73 on the first leg from Lae to Howland is correct?

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: C.W. Herndon on February 20, 2012, 12:19:10 PM
I'm saying that yes it probably is but do not confuse it with the true course, the straight line on the map between the two points.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 20, 2012, 12:34:05 PM

Oh I am aware of the true course and the meaning.

I disagree that the return magnetic courses on the strip chart are correct.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: C.W. Herndon on February 20, 2012, 12:38:48 PM
Reverse "courses" will always be 180 degrees different. Reverse "headings" will not.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 20, 2012, 12:39:02 PM

Clarence,

I am simply looking at the MC values on the return course. They are 180 degrees out from the corresponding segments used for approach.

I am not reading the 259 in the margin, I did not even see that. I will take a look after work.

Are you suggesting also that the MC value of 73 on the first leg from Lae to Howland is correct?
See attached.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 20, 2012, 12:45:58 PM

If you simply subtract 180 degrees from the magnetic course, as shown on the chart for each segment on the return plan from Lae to Howland,  this infers/implies/requires that you are subtracting 180 degrees from the true course, do you agree with that statement or no? If not, I would like to understand where you are coming from.

Where are you pulling the 79 from? I know where 79.65 degrees ends up. I am looking only at the MC values on the chart.
Simple, just back out the variation for each leg and you will find the true course for the rhumb line for that segment of the approximate great circle. The magnetic course shown on the table, line 15, for the first segment from Lae to Howland is 073° the reciprocal of the listed course from Howland to Lae for that segment. Now add the 6° of easterly magnetic variation for that location and you find 079° T.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 20, 2012, 03:33:05 PM
Here is the flight plan from Howland to Lae and then from Lae to Howland with two variations, one with a true course of 77.0 degrees, and one with a true course of 79 degrees.

Regardless of the variation values that he has written in the margins that do not match his true course and magnetic course values, I believe the magnetic variations listed are correct for the magnetic course and the true course he has given.

If you compare the strip chart magnetic course values, they are exactly as given in the table with a 77.0 true course which is simply his true course from Howland to Lae 257 minus 180 degrees which is not correct.

If you plug in a true course of 79 degrees (the correct true course), applying the magnetic variations from the Howland to Lae plan you see a different set of values. For example, the first leg from Lae to Howland would have a magnetic course heading of 75 not 73 as listed on the strip chart (73 MC degrees --------> that way).
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: C.W. Herndon on February 20, 2012, 09:55:17 PM
Heath, I have taken Mr. Williams' strip map and annotated each section of the route in each direction. As we discussed before all numbers are rounded to the closest whole number.
 I have entered above the Howland to Lae route the variation that he used for the indicated segment. I have done the same below the Lae to Howland route. I have drawn a circle at the start and end of each naviation segment that he used. I have entered the true course for each segment in each direction. This was calculated by adding the variation to the MC computed by Mr. Williams. I cautioned you about the difference between MC and MH.
 Mr. Williams used a segmented route for a reason that is not entirely clear as discussed by Mr. LaPook above. 79 deg was the TC for only the first segment of the route from Lae to Howland. It changed from segment to segment until it was 77 deg for the final segment going in to Howland. The same was true of the route from Howland to Lae but in reverse order. I don't know why he chose to use a 6 deg E variation for the 2 segments nearest to Lae but the numbers in the bottom margin indicate that is what he did.

I hope this helps. 
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 20, 2012, 10:11:38 PM
Here is the flight plan from Howland to Lae and then from Lae to Howland with two variations, one with a true course of 77.0 degrees, and one with a true course of 79 degrees.

Regardless of the variation values that he has written in the margins that do not match his true course and magnetic course values, I believe the magnetic variations listed are correct for the magnetic course and the true course he has given.

If you compare the strip chart magnetic course values, they are exactly as given in the table with a 77.0 true course which is simply his true course from Howland to Lae 257 minus 180 degrees which is not correct.

If you plug in a true course of 79 degrees (the correct true course), applying the magnetic variations from the Howland to Lae plan you see a different set of values. For example, the first leg from Lae to Howland would have a magnetic course heading of 75 not 73 as listed on the strip chart (73 MC degrees --------> that way).
I have attached three marked up Williams documents that should make clear how the courses are calculated. I only illustrated the first and last segments. Segment 1 is the first segment for the Howland to Lae direction but the last segment for the reverse direction. Segment 15 is the last segment for the Howland to Lae direction but the first segment for the reverse direction and this is the one that you seem to be confused about.

Williams' table of magnetic courses lists the rhumb lines connecting each pair of points he calculated along the great circle. His table doesn't show the rhumb line directly between Lae and Howland which 258.1° for the Howland to Lae direction and 078.1° for the Lae to Howland direction. Applying the 6° variation to the beginning of the rhumb line near Lae, the magnetic rhumb line course is 072.1° directly from Lae to Howland becoming 069.1° in the vicinity of Howland where the variation is 9° east.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 21, 2012, 04:19:19 AM
Gary and Clarence,

Maybe I am confused about what Google Earth is producing when I draw a line from Lae to Howland and Howland to Lae. Google Earth reports 257.69 degrees from Howland to Lae. I am assuming this is the true course which Williams stated as 257°3' which is 257.05 in decimal that are very close (257.69 - 257.05 = 0.65 degrees). I used 257 in the spreadsheet to keep it simple. Likewise if you draw a course from Lae to Howland, this is 79.65 degrees. For simplicity I used 79 in the spread sheet. I was not attempting to use the true course from the first segment on the Lae to Howland flight but I can see how you thought that was the case. Are you saying that the true course from Lae to Howland is not 79.65 degrees? If this is not the case, I would like to know how to obtain the correct value. From the great circle calculators I have found, they all seem to agree with this value.

I did see what Williams had given for the magnetic variations outside of Lae on the strip chart at 6° and assumed that those value are incorrect as it does not jive with the true course and magnetic course. I also assume that you can just subtract the true course from the magnetic course to the variation that he used in his calculations, not what is given at the top of the strip chart. This was the case for the first 5 or 6 segments in the plan from Howland to Lae then the numbers started to deviate. Is this suggesting that the true course was changing? If you look at the spreadsheet (pdf) you can see that I applied the same magnetic variations in all cases.

I will need to study this more because what you suggested Clarence is that they did not fly on a straight line, and the true course varied with time. My assumption is that the true course never changes, only the magnetic variation is changing. Is this correct that you are saying that the true course did indeed vary as they went along?

Gary, I do not understand where you are obtaining the 258.1° and 078.1° for the rhumb line. Can you tell me how you obtained these value from the Williams flight plan or strip chart? These seem to be the TC values given by Williams with 1 added to one value and subtracted from the other (257°3' + 1, 79°3' - 1).

Thanks.

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: JNev on February 21, 2012, 05:27:16 AM
Gary probably knows more about how Google Earth calculates routes than I do, but I suspect it uses a farily intense algorithm that mortal navigators do not use when computing a great circle.  Even though the route is close to the equator, it is not ON the equator but crosses.  I wonder if the differences you are seeing are due to that - and that the world isn't perfectly round (does Google Earth impose a factor for that - dont' know).

I suspect you would be better off doing the calculations long-hand and not try to match Google Earth.

The net result should be the same, however.

I'm still amazed at the fascination with this - but who knows?  It does illustrate that errors can be made, and islands missed by mere miles, despite the best of effort.

LTM -
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: C.W. Herndon on February 21, 2012, 09:47:24 AM
Heath, I agree with Jeff that Gary knows much more about naviation than anyone else on the Forum. I don't know how Google Earth works but I assume it is based on GPS co-ordinates which are much more accurate than the information available in 1937. I also don't know if this is straight line distance or great circle. In this case it would probably not make much difference in the distance or TC only in the accuracy. Trying to compare the results from the Williams chart to a GPS based system is nearly the same as trying to compare apples to oranges. GPS can give locations to within a few feet if you have the right equipment.

I think part of the problem is that you are trying to learn in a few days time what navigators spend many months of intensive training learning and many years of experience prefecting.

Mr. Williams, I am sure, used the latest charts and other information available to him when he plotted the routes on his strip maps.

To answer your question about the routes not being a straight line--yes and no. He was trying to approximate the great circle route between the two points which is not a straight line on a paper map. He did this by breaking the route into smaller segments. The TC for each segment is a straight line and yes the TC changes by a small amount from segment to segment. In 1937 they did not have the equipment that would follow a true great circle route.

When I had to retire from flying in 1997 my aircraft had some of the most modern navigation equipment available and it would not track a true great circle route.

I don't know where you obtained your mag var numbers but in order to approximate the map the Mr. Williams drew you must use the numbers he used. I'm sure these came from the most current information he had at the time. You must also use the MC numbers that he used for each segment since these where calculated from the TC that came from his larger charts.

I present this information from a pilot's viewpoint and not from a navigator's.
 
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 21, 2012, 04:36:02 PM
Clarence,

I re-worked the data and used the magnetic variation data on the strip chart as you suggested. Executing the flight plan as given from Lae to Howland, at the end of the line, this would be a point about 19SM North of Howland. This still seems like a pretty crude flight plan if this is correct. Using the NOAA NGDC model data would only put you 3SM closer to Howland.

I am not sure if you use Google Earth but I have attached the executed flight plan both from Howland to Lae and Lae to Howland inside of a .kml file.

Thanks.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 21, 2012, 06:21:43 PM
Gary and Clarence,

Maybe I am confused about what Google Earth is producing when I draw a line from Lae to Howland and Howland to Lae. Google Earth reports 257.69 degrees from Howland to Lae. I am assuming this is the true course which Williams stated as 257°3' which is 257.05 in decimal that are very close (257.69 - 257.05 = 0.65 degrees). I used 257 in the spreadsheet to keep it simple. Likewise if you draw a course from Lae to Howland, this is 79.65 degrees. For simplicity I used 79 in the spread sheet. I was not attempting to use the true course from the first segment on the Lae to Howland flight but I can see how you thought that was the case. Are you saying that the true course from Lae to Howland is not 79.65 degrees? If this is not the case, I would like to know how to obtain the correct value. From the great circle calculators I have found, they all seem to agree with this value.

I see you have a basic misunderstanding. Plotted on a standard chart, a Mercator projection, the strait line between points, a true course that does not change direction, is called a "rhumb line" and it crosses all intermediate meridians at the same angle so the course stays constant. A "great circle" changes direction as in goes along and as plotted on a chart is curved that is convex toward the nearest pole. That is why the great circle course from Lae starts out at 079.4° and finishes, after changing direction by about two degrees, at 077.6°. On a globe, however, a great circle appears as a straight line and this is what Google Earth displays, it is the shortest distance between two points located on the surface of a globe. The rhumb line will also take you to the same destination just as precisely as the great circle but the rhumb line is longer, sometimes just slightly, as in the Howland case, but at other times, greatly longer. See attached illustration.
Quote

I did see what Williams had given for the magnetic variations outside of Lae on the strip chart at 6° and assumed that those value are incorrect as it does not jive with the true course and magnetic course. I also assume that you can just subtract the true course from the magnetic course to the variation that he used in his calculations, not what is given at the top of the strip chart. This was the case for the first 5 or 6 segments in the plan from Howland to Lae then the numbers started to deviate. Is this suggesting that the true course was changing? If you look at the spreadsheet (pdf) you can see that I applied the same magnetic variations in all cases.

I will need to study this more because what you suggested Clarence is that they did not fly on a straight line, and the true course varied with time. My assumption is that the true course never changes, only the magnetic variation is changing. Is this correct that you are saying that the true course did indeed vary as they went along?

Gary, I do not understand where you are obtaining the 258.1° and 078.1° for the rhumb line. Can you tell me how you obtained these value from the Williams flight plan or strip chart? These seem to be the TC values given by Williams with 1 added to one value and subtracted from the other (257°3' + 1, 79°3' - 1).

Thanks.
As I said in my prior post, Williams did not compute the rhumb line from Lae to Howland, the 078.1° is what I computed. You can see that the initial great circle is 1.3 degrees to the south of that and the final great circle course is half a degree to the north of that which is why it is curved to the south of the rhumb line, convex to the south pole.

Do the experiment with Google Earth that I recommended in this post (https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,607.msg10543.html#msg10543) and I think you will have a better understanding of the great circle.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 21, 2012, 06:29:48 PM
Clarence,

I re-worked the data and used the magnetic variation data on the strip chart as you suggested. Executing the flight plan as given from Lae to Howland, at the end of the line, this would be a point about 19SM North of Howland. This still seems like a pretty crude flight plan if this is correct. Using the NOAA NGDC model data would only put you 3SM closer to Howland.

I am not sure if you use Google Earth but I have attached the executed flight plan both from Howland to Lae and Lae to Howland inside of a .kml file.

Thanks.
There is a limit at to how precisely you can compute these things and you cannot fly them anywhere close to the level that you can compute them.  Considering the accuracy of the starting and finishing points, only to the nearest one nautical mile (and we know the Howland coordinates used by Williams were off by about five NM) it is silly to try to compute these things to the level that you are trying to do. Just because your calculator displays ten decimal points does not justify using them all. Same with the numbers spit out by Google Earth. On a 2500 SM flight, doing the computations to a precision of whole degrees (as Williams tabulates) allows approximately a 40 SM error at the end and to this you have to add in the uncertainty due to the accuracy of the variation data he used. ("Rule of 60," one degree error puts you off course one mile for every 60 miles flown. This is the rule of thumb used by pilots and navigators. A more precise value is one mile off course for every 57.298688 miles flown, but "one-in sixty" is close enough.)

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 21, 2012, 06:53:45 PM
Quote
On a 2500 SM flight, doing the computations to a precision of whole degrees (as williams allows approximately a 40 SM error at the end and to this you have to add in the uncertainty due to the accuracy of the variation data he used.

There is nothing of any great precision involved. Whole degrees and whole miles were used for the Google Earth course line. It is simply an execute of the flight plan assuming without error. I am not sure why you are fixated with precision?  If you want to create an area of uncertainty at the end, that is a different topic. There is nothing used here that contains any precision and nothing was "spit out" by Google Earth.

Are you referring to the contents of the KML file? That is really irrelevant, that is just data formatting. If you calculate an angle at 45 degrees and it is stored as 45.000000000000001, it is still just 45 degrees.

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 21, 2012, 07:01:11 PM
Quote
I see you have a basic misunderstanding. Plotted on a standard chart, a Mercator projection, the strait line between points, a true course that does not change direction, is called a "rhumb line" and it crosses all intermediate meridians at the same angle so the course stays constant.

Yes, that was the incorrect assumption that I had made, I assumed that the course stayed constant and that is why I ignored the magnetic variation on the chart and instead calculated the magnetic variation. I do see the difference now. It seems for simplicity's sake, the rumb line would have advantages for navigation.

Thanks for pointing out the differences.

Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Tom Swearengen on February 21, 2012, 07:49:55 PM
See Gary----I was trying to get the same understanding that Heath and others now have.
Man---I wish I had paid more attention in High School math class, instead of studying girls.
Thanks for taking back to the future Gary!!
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: John Ousterhout on February 21, 2012, 09:00:57 PM
At this point I found it rather sobering to re-read Fred's memo written for Pan-Am, found at http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Reports/NoonanPanAm.pdf
It's also on the disc that accompanies each copy of Finding Amelia.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 22, 2012, 04:34:58 AM
Quote
You may be putting wholes into the Google Earth application, but I'll guarantee you it doesn't calculate by wholes as it tracks the globe, even if it 'answers' with wholes.  Plus, have you compared the island's and Lae's positions (lat - long) on Google compared to the charts of 1937?  Could be some slight differences; forgive that if you have / if there are not, just a thought.

The reason I believe Gary makes a big deal about precision is there is no way to work that on the charts on table top or especially in a moving plane, and there is no way that human (or autoflight) can track headings with an airplane anywhere close to what you can get out of a calculator.  It's a matter of what's practical.

Jeff,

Whole degrees and who miles were used to plot the points given to Google Earth. GE did not compute anything as it only displays the data given to it in this case. I calculated the points using a different method.

What is interesting about following the flight plan is that it does not matter what position was known for Lae back in 1937 because you are following a set of instructions (flight plan) from the real point in space. The whole point to the exercise was to follow and plot the course that Williams created just to see where it ends up. I believe the answer is 19SM North of Howland. This of course does not take in to any of the errors that Gary mentioned (Rule of 60 for example). This was not any sort of attempt to create an X marks the spot, suggesting that this is where they ended up.

The real source of errors like human errors both in starring at compasses for many hours, celestial navigation errors, changing head winds, etc, would far exceed the errors in Williams plan. As John pointed out with the Noonan Pan Am document, Noonan was well aware of these errors inherent in the system.

When I think about all the potential errors I think of something like a cone of uncertainty much like is used in hurricane forecasting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:09L_2011_5day.gif). I have not yet attempted to do anything like that and as Gary suggested simple rules like the Rule of 60 captures the majority of the potential sources of error and makes for a nice simple computation. I guess that I cannot see any reason to expend a lot of effort in modeling potential errors unless you wanted to perform real experiments with say humans starring at a compass all day and track and average their responses. This would be a whole lot of work for little if any value.

I believe I now see why Gary pushes the point about the rumb line for simplicity. If you find that you are not on course for whatever reason, computing your way back to the rumb line flight line would be much easier than attempting to find your way back to the great circle flight line because in the case of the GC plan, you have to consider all of the headings and distances for all of the previous segments that you have completed up to the point where you want to perform new calculations. With the rumb line you do not need to worry about any of that and you can proceed to your calculations. For that reason alone I can see why the rumb line is the way to go. Perhaps I have that incorrect but that is the way I see it at this point. Perhaps Gary will correct me if that is not the case.

As for the precision stuff, I am of a completely different mind set. When you write software for a living, you cannot possibly consider and re-consider the practical precision for each calculation that you perform. You would go mad if you attempted to do so. For example, the following constant is used for Pi:

const double PI = 3.14159265359;

This is pretty unisveral in software development. You run your calculations using this value and you do not consider the precision of the particular task in the real world that is being performed, you use the theoretical value. As we know Pi has an infinite fractional value so you just pick a value that works for anything practical and run with it. At the output stage, yes, you can trim the data back to a reasonable precision however that is more work and of little value unless there is a need to do so. Like the KML file that I posted, that is generated by code for data representation, it is not meant to be read by anyone. If you peek under the hood you see this huge fractional value but there is a nothing of value gained by expending the effort to round to the nearest 10th for example as no one is supposed to view the data with an editor. In fact most of the values you using for floating point are internally stored as described and you are not concerned until a human has to read the value on a print out or summary report.

At least for myself, I believe I have learned quite a bit about the Williams flight plan and I find it interesting to walk through the mechanics of the calculations. There is probably no value in the final end point at Howland as I tend to believe now that FN did not use that plan due to the above mentioned reasons. The GC flight plan works great on maps and when you are going to simply follow a step by step instruction but if you need to make corrections as you go, this is not very practical. The problem with step by step instructions is they do not work over large areas when you know that you will be required to make corrections along the way.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 22, 2012, 11:00:00 AM

As for the precision stuff, I am of a completely different mind set. When you write software for a living, you cannot possibly consider and re-consider the practical precision for each calculation that you perform. You would go mad if you attempted to do so. For example, the following constant is used for Pi:

const double PI = 3.14159265359;

This is pretty unisveral in software development. You run your calculations using this value and you do not consider the precision of the particular task in the real world that is being performed, you use the theoretical value.
We all do that when dealing with programming a computer. When I wrote programs to do navigational calculations I often ran into a "division by zero" type of error message caused by a trig function for that angle being zero. This occurred because the human entering the data uses whole numbers. For example if you enter the latitude of two places that are at the same latitude, the direction is 90 degrees and the sine of 90 is zero so using this value is a subsequent calculation produces that error message. The easy solution was to write a loop that tested for this situation and if it occurred have the computer add 0.00000001 to the latitude of the second location so that it wasn't exactly 90 degrees and this kludge has no real effect on the results and made the computer happy.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on February 22, 2012, 11:00:42 AM

Heath
Two things
1.  I learned in grade school that the answer cannot be more precise than the number of decimal places in the least known of the numbers being used.  For example, to use PI to 11 decimal places in calculating a circumference when the diameter is only known to 1 decimal place is nonsense and a waste of time (no matter whether you are using a slide rule, a calculator, or a Cray supercomputer).  Use 22/7 ths and you'll be close enough.

2. The point in discussing the rhumb Line versus the Great Circle isn't the ease of navigation on paper, it is the ease of flying a constant heading versus flying a route of 16 segments and changing headings for each one.  Either one will get you there in aout the same time (given the flying speed is the same).  Which  would you rather fly?
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Gary LaPook on February 22, 2012, 11:45:25 AM

Heath
Two things
1.  I learned in grade school that the answer cannot be more precise than the number of decimal places in the least known of the numbers being used.  For example, to use PI to 11 decimal places in calculating a circumference when the diameter is only known to 1 decimal place is nonsense and a waste of time (no matter whether you are using a slide rule, a calculator, or a Cray supercomputer).  Use 22/7 ths and you'll be close enough.


Or use 355/113ths which produces Pi accurate to six decimal places, 3.1415929 versus 3.1415926 for Pi. It is easy to remember, 11-33-55, split in half between the two "3"s, and slide the first half under the second half and divide.

gl
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on February 22, 2012, 12:13:45 PM

Shaking head.
It must be a generational thing, like those born before Da War and those born after Da War. I believe they're called "Baby Boomers"  LOL
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Randy Reid on February 22, 2012, 12:53:49 PM
Gary,
I'd wager a considerable part of my fortune ::) that you do not sleep much.
Randy
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Harry Howe, Jr. on February 22, 2012, 01:10:07 PM

Randy
Remember that Forum time is Central Standard Time (I thimk) and we out here in California are two hours behind Forum time, i.e Gary's 03:05 AM post is 01:05 AM PST (Pacific Standard Time)
But still, I think that Gary is awake alla time. (that's a compliment Gary)
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Randy Reid on February 22, 2012, 01:59:53 PM
HHjr,

I was more noting about the shear quantity of research done by GLP and all of his accomplishments. Is it possible that GLP is more than one person? If not, then super human anyway.

Gary, just in case you think I am critical of you, it is just the opposite. I only wish I were half as intelligent.

Randy
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Heath Smith on February 22, 2012, 03:12:09 PM
Quote
The point in discussing the rhumb Line versus the Great Circle isn't the ease of navigation on paper, it is the ease of flying a constant heading versus flying a route of 16 segments and changing headings for each one.  Either one will get you there in aout the same time (given the flying speed is the same).  Which  would you rather fly?

I would fly the rhumb line. Think about taking a fix and observing that you are off the flight line. A few simple trig calculations will get you back to a rhumb line. With a GC flight line, you have to determine exactly where you were time wise, taking in to account the previous heading changes and times per segment, to compute where the flight line is at that moment. By the time you figure that out your data is so old it is about useless. I do not think there is any question of which is easier beside the fact that you only have to follow one heading with a rhumb line.
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: richie conroy on February 22, 2012, 07:21:44 PM
sorry guys but you's only now have this info thru mishaps like earharts, an advance's in technology

an that seems to be the downfall, to which no one has smokeing gun evidence as too were they ended up

u have to use there way of thinking prior of july 2nd 1937, not what you's know now  :)

   
Title: Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
Post by: Irvine John Donald on February 22, 2012, 07:30:33 PM

As for the precision stuff, I am of a completely different mind set. When you write software for a living, you cannot possibly consider and re-consider the practical precision for each calculation that you perform. You would go mad if you attempted to do so. For example, the following constant is used for Pi:

const double PI = 3.14159265359;

This is pretty unisveral in software development. You run your calculations using this value and you do not consider the precision of the particular task in the real world that is bein