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Adam Marsland

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #45 on: March 30, 2013, 10:12:30 PM »

Just an addendum to what I wrote above.

I had a gander at the TIGHAR Tracks and from what I can see, the available tide data does support the little hypothesis I laid out above -- though it would indicate one sudden movement rather than a gradual day-by-day one.  There is a slew of radio transmissions the night of July 4-5, culminating at high tide.  The tide then goes out.  The Betty's Notebook transmission takes place several hours later, just upon a rising tide.  It is also the LAST of the big bundle of transmissions.  After that, there are very, very few credible transmissions, and none for many hours after that.  So it does support, to the extent possible, the theory that the plane was moved substantially toward the reef with the tide on the morning of July 5, and that explains the resulting freakout/marathon transmission/surf anomaly/rapid cessation of further messages that surrounds Betty's Notebook.

I didn't know any of this when I posted the above, but that all dovetails to me.  I've always been personally skeptical of the post-July 5th transmissions.  It just seems to me more statistically likely that the plane's out of action at that point then the messages, for whatever reason, dwindled down to few and far between where they had come very frequently prior to that.  It also makes more sense to me in explaining why AE and FN (if he lived) were nowhere to be found on July 9...4 days is a long time to be hanging around a hot beach where there ain't no plane and no radio.  And I don't recall there being anything in particular about any of the post-July 5 messages to identify with Earhart other than frequency.  IIRC they were all carrier waves and things of that nature, which could conceivably have other sources.  Someone correct me if i have that wrong.

Ric and others more knowledgable I'm sure will see the flaws in the theory.  Looking forward to reading them.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 10:36:37 PM by Adam Marsland »
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #46 on: March 31, 2013, 12:08:00 AM »

To sum up some of the possibilities:
Conditions may not have been calm.
The view of the water may not have been clear enough to give an accurate depth.
FN may not have been in his right mind. 
Signal fading in and out causing missing fragments of sentences that may provide context
The plane may have moved to a lower part of the reef
Any combination of the above.
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Bill de Creeft

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #47 on: March 31, 2013, 01:08:05 AM »

even on a calm day there is usually a big wide swell that isn't obvious but if you are standing on a beach holding a floatplane  while  waiting for a passenger, the swell can scrub you in and and move you 'down' the beach according to the tide.
Not at all like a lake. Also if you are near a lagoon opening, all that is increased depending on the size of the tide.
It would be very hard to predict or guess at what would be happening at the edge of the surf on any island in the open pacific I think.
You have to have about a couple of thousand feet of altitude to make out the overall swell pattern for planning an open sea landing. (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary) and the biggest ones don't make waves but can be moving 30 miles an hour so you have to find the trough.
Not trying to tell war stories but just to point out the reality involves forces not obvious in books and graphs...
The old navigation "maps" the Pacific Islanders used were recreations of the swell for each island and they navigated hundreds of miles from island to island by the picture of the swell they patterned from sticks.... fascinating to contemplate when you see them...and speaks of a very active situation.

It would be very scary to be in a plane scrubbing back and forth at the edge of the surf with an airplane that large...even with the Otter I've had to fling myself across a float and crawl into the cabin and taxi back to shore to get back to where passengers were waiting.
The electra wasn't quick to exit from under those conditions, from what I have seen...you couldn't wait until the last minute and just step out of it.

Also something to complicate the predicted area of the debris field...down the beach with the tide and towards/from the lagoon opening ...and then over the edge ??

Poor Souls.

At least i do not believe they went down at sea without at least some hope and a chance at Life

Bill
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Randy Conrad

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #48 on: March 31, 2013, 04:27:33 AM »

After reading John's post...I myself am starting to question exactly how Earhart and Noonan left the plane...When you say Waters Knee Deep...Is that from standing in water on the beach...or is that water standing in the plane? If I remember right at the conference, the plane has to be on dry land in order for the radio to work!  Also, John made the comment about exiting the plane. Let's take a scenario in this situation...They are coming in real fast into Niku, and not being able to slow down much. They land very hard and the plane is now bouncing around like crazy as it hits the reef. When it does, it sends it into a tail spin and causes some damage. The wheel prop is broken and is being dragged along before it comes to a complete stop. By now, Fred is pretty much banged up in the back of the plane...and Amelia, is somewhat shaken and nervous from the landing, but is alright. Here is what I would like to know...Did Amelia exit the plane from the pilot seat through the top hatch or did she crawl over the fuel tanks to get to him? If Fred is supposedly banged up pretty good...my thoughts are that the back of the plane took some significant damage. Kind of like the fuel tank area or wherever. Also, Betty describes Fred trying to get out of the plane and Amelia making him get back in. Would you send someone back into a plane that is filling up with water and is knee deep? Just a thought! Also, lets take it another step further...Amelia needs to get back into the plane to send a radio message. How does she get into the cockpit? From the top hatch or the rear hatch door on the back of the plane? Remember the water is now knee deep. So that makes Amelia have to hurry to get to the cockpit to make that call. There's the possibility that the left wing is damaged and broken off, which leaves her only the ability to use the back door. She's gotten in through the back door, and its being filled with water as we speak. She crawls over the fuel tanks to get to the cockpit. In the meantime, water is continuing to fill up the plane from the back. She has no where to go... Soon its coming in from the front. What does she do? They are pretty much rendered helpless. Also, with water filling up the plane...did Amelia throw out anything that would have been made valuable. Or did she have enough time? It sounds more and more like they only had minutes to spare.
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Adam Marsland

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #49 on: March 31, 2013, 02:01:16 PM »

The question about why AE would make an injured FN get back into the plane is a good one (particularly as it would be extremely hot in there).  I don't think it's much of a reach though...if FN is indeed sick and suffering some kind of psychic break, but ambulatory, she'd almost have to keep him with her at all times to keep an eye on him. 
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #50 on: March 31, 2013, 03:18:23 PM »

TIGHAR Tracks shows the estimated Taxi and Park Area on page 59. 
Some thoughts based on the estimated park area and plane orientation:

The message was during the morning so the sun was in the eastern view, then overhead.
They may have covered the fixed cockpit windows to keep it cool. So the view may have been limited.

Also:
It looks like there may be a pool between the landing area and shore.
They may have had to wade through the pool  to get back and forth to the plane, even at low tide. Maybe they had to swim at high tide?
If Fred was hot and wanted to get out and get to shore, he may have wanted the water in the escape route to be no more than knee deep so they can wade thru it and get to shore. The water was rising at the time per Brandenburg’s Study so Fred may have thought they had to leave before it was too late.
Maybe they had bad experiences with sharks waiting too long in the previous days.

See attached pdf for illustration.
3971R
 
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 08:00:01 AM by G. Daspit »
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richie conroy

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #51 on: March 31, 2013, 07:16:09 PM »

Hi All

regarding the plane's position i believe that the 158 338 was the line in which the plane was sitting on reef either facing 158 SE or 338 NW were on reef am unsure,

i think the 391 065 was what the directional gyro was reading

just a thought

Thanks Richie 
We are an echo of the past


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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #52 on: March 31, 2013, 08:10:31 PM »

Perhaps rather than trying to go through these one by one, I’m wondering, perhaps I can ask Ric  a question: if you were to update the Betty’s Notes in Ameliapedia, what would you give as the one or two best explanations for the Bob/Betty discrepancy?

I see no need to update Betty Notes in Ameliapedia. Betty's Notebook is full of "discrepancies" - information that doesn't make sense to us - but we weren't there, we're not privy to information that only AE and FN had, we don't know what their situation was.  Greg Daspit has nicely summarized five possibilities that have been suggested to explain the apparent discrepancy between comments in the notebook about knee-deep water and Bob Brandenburg's calculations of water depth for a particular spot on the reef. I'll add a sixth.  Maybe the airplane was not in that spot at the time Betty heard what she heard.

On the ‘swells at high tide’ issue, there has been little or no commentary so far.

Probably because it's a non-issue.  There is no way we can know what swells there were at high tide.  Something appears to have caused the credible transmissions to stop after the early evening of July 7 and somehow removed the airplane from view by the time the Navy fliers were there on the morning of the 9th.  Going over the reef edge and sinking or being obscured by the surf is the only explanation we've come up with. If you have a better one, please let us know.

I think that it is fair to say that, unless seas were fortuitously calm for our unfortuitous aviators, many of the post loss transmissions, including the one Betty received, would not have occurred.

That dog won't hunt.  When I was there last summer, at almost exactly the same time of year as we're talking about, the seas were calm for several days and then, late one morning and quite unexpectedly, a squall suddenly kicked up, the wind shifted and picked up to about 30 knots, wave height increased, and we were forced to cease operations for the rest of the day.  The same thing happened when we were on the island in June 2010. A week of calm weather and then one day a big squall came through, drenched everybody and tossed everything around.  No big weather system.  Just a big-ass squall. I've attached a picture of it bearing down on the island.  Ugly SOB.

In short, in June/July at Nikumaroro there is nothing unusual or fortuitous about long periods of calm weather punctuated by occasional severe squalls featuring high winds, driving rain (in 1991 we had hail), and significant chop on the ocean, on the reef and in the lagoon.  Many of the squalls come up from the southeast, like the one in the photo. I can easily see the wind and waves generated by one of those monsters pushing the plane over the edge.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #53 on: April 01, 2013, 12:17:16 PM »

Ric, were these trips deliberately planned for a time of year near the Earhart disappearance for the sake of finding conditions as close to those she would have seen, or is the timing more random typically?  It does seem valuable to take in all one can including 'conditions' - my guess would be 'no accident'?

Yes and no.  The timing of trips is always governed by ship availability and we've learned (the hard way) not to go out there between November and April (the equivalent of hurricane season in that part of the world). 
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #54 on: April 01, 2013, 07:50:32 PM »


The message was during the morning so the sun was in the eastern view, then overhead.
They may have covered the fixed cockpit windows to keep it cool. So the view may have been limited.


I have a capture from the 2010 High Definition video that shows exactly that: the pilot's glare-shield lined with magazines and stamped envelopes as if to block the sun. Remember, in the dead of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, the sun would have been in the North at noon: approximately 25 degrees below vertical at Latitude 4 degrees South.
Tim
Chairman,  CEO
PanAm Systems

TIGHAR #3372R
 
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #55 on: April 01, 2013, 08:20:01 PM »


The message was during the morning so the sun was in the eastern view, then overhead.
They may have covered the fixed cockpit windows to keep it cool. So the view may have been limited.


Remember, in the dead of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, the sun would have been in the North at noon: approximately 25 degrees below vertical at Latitude 4 degrees South.

Didn't they have those cardboard fold out shade things then. :) I believe in the Time and Tide article, all signals before Betty’s were in darkness except for one about an hour after sunrise.  As mentioned before, it seems like a pattern of using the radio in cool periods.  Or the pattern is due to propagation and that’s when they were more likely heard.

Maybe an event like a squall broke the previous pattern of staying cool in the shade. They possibly saw this squall as the last chance to salvage supplies, so waded out to the plane in rising "knee deep" water, and used the radio for what they thought could be the last time.

If a Squall out of the SE blew the plane NW from the farthest estimated taxi area, the search area may extend at least 200 meters north of Point S.

In this article Ric already mentions looking more north
3971R
 
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 09:42:07 PM by G. Daspit »
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Adam Marsland

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #56 on: April 02, 2013, 01:36:15 AM »

Good point...and breaking the transmission pattern by sending in the morning is another piece of evidence that something had happened that may have put the plane in imminent danger...like it having moved closer to the reef and further into deep water after the last tide had gone out.
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #57 on: April 02, 2013, 09:07:19 AM »

Agreed, The Betty/Bob discrepancy and the timing of Betty’s signal breaking a pattern may explain something.  It could be the event that pushed the plane over the edge, but based on later credible signals it could be an event in a series of plane movements. Exacerbated by lack of mooring points in the hard flat reef.

Possible sources of plane movement are:
1. Taxi
  a. To get to a higher spot
  b. To get to a mooring point, even if at a lower spot
2. Wind
3. Water Force. (wind blown waves)
4. Tide floating plane

Scenarios based on those possible movement sources:

Taxi
They could have seen a threat (Squall or Next Tide), and they could have broken pattern and moved from a higher spot to a lower spot to get to a mooring anchor point. For example a crack, hole or the N.C

Wind
If a Squall came and they were ashore, they could have seen the plane moving and broke pattern and rushed out to see what they could do. Maybe stopping it at a lower knee deep level.  If Wind moved the plane and they could taxi, they could then taxi back to the high point.

Water force
Same as Wind scenario above, but If they used Chocks, the plane may have rotated out of them from water force.  The phrase “Watch that Battery” fits the water force scenario because the water may be too high for the props to turn at that desperate time. Again, if they could taxi back after the water stopped being blown, they could possibly get back to the high point and that could explain the later messages. Or the later signals were from a lower spot(allowing props to turn with water at 1’-4”)  and they didn’t get back to the highest spot.

Tide
In the night before Betty’s late morning transmission(edit: if on the 5th), there were credible signals during high tide and a credible 6 a.m. transmission after high tide so in that case, if the tide moved the plane, they may have stayed with it until they stabilized it or tried to maximize radio time before the tide took it farther out.
3971R
 
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 11:53:03 AM by G. Daspit »
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Ben Stevens

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #58 on: April 02, 2013, 11:23:45 AM »

Perhaps rather than trying to go through these one by one, I’m wondering, perhaps I can ask Ric  a question: if you were to update the Betty’s Notes in Ameliapedia, what would you give as the one or two best explanations for the Bob/Betty discrepancy?

I see no need to update Betty Notes in Ameliapedia. Betty's Notebook is full of "discrepancies" - information that doesn't make sense to us - but we weren't there, we're not privy to information that only AE and FN had, we don't know what their situation was.  Greg Daspit has nicely summarized five possibilities that have been suggested to explain the apparent discrepancy between comments in the notebook about knee-deep water and Bob Brandenburg's calculations of water depth for a particular spot on the reef. I'll add a sixth.  Maybe the airplane was not in that spot at the time Betty heard what she heard.


I didn’t ask that you update Betty’s Notes in Ameliapedia -- don’t know why you think I did.

I did ask which explanations for the Betty/Bob discrepancy seemed most plausible to you. You referred me to Greg Daspit’s list of five possibilities. I’ll post reply to Greg’s post when I have an opportunity to do so.

You suggest a sixth possibility: “Maybe the airplane was not in that spot at the time Betty heard what she heard.” This is not discussed in Bob’s paper. Where was the plane when Betty heard what she heard, when did the plane move there, and what caused it to move?


On the ‘swells at high tide’ issue, there has been little or no commentary so far.

Probably because it's a non-issue.  There is no way we can know what swells there were at high tide.  Something appears to have caused the credible transmissions to stop after the early evening of July 7 and somehow removed the airplane from view by the time the Navy fliers were there on the morning of the 9th.  Going over the reef edge and sinking or being obscured by the surf is the only explanation we've come up with. If you have a better one, please let us know.

 I don’t agree with you that the possibility of waves flooding the Electra’s radio at high tide is a ‘non-issue’. We’re in agreement that we don’t know what the wave heights were. How then does it follow that we can discount the possibility that waves at high tide disabled the Electra’s radio? All that would have been required to do the job were ~ 10 inch waves during the high tide at ~1400 GMT on July 4; ~12 inch waves during the high tide at ~ 0300 on July 5; or ~ 6 inch waves during the high tide at 1500 GMT on July 5. Those are quite modest wave heights. Brandenburg’s tide reconstruction simplifies the ocean to a level surface, but after all, the ocean surface is not flat as depicted in the Brandenburg paper. Maybe the waves were sufficiently low to allow the Electra’s radio to keep broadcasting through these three ‘near misses’ but then again, maybe not. We can’t be sure. Rather mild wave action at times of high tide would have silenced the Electra’s radio before a number of the ‘credible’ radio signals, including Betty’s, were received.


I think that it is fair to say that, unless seas were fortuitously calm for our unfortuitous aviators, many of the post loss transmissions, including the one Betty received, would not have occurred.

That dog won't hunt.  When I was there last summer, at almost exactly the same time of year as we're talking about, the seas were calm for several days and then, late one morning and quite unexpectedly, a squall suddenly kicked up, the wind shifted and picked up to about 30 knots, wave height increased, and we were forced to cease operations for the rest of the day.  The same thing happened when we were on the island in June 2010. A week of calm weather and then one day a big squall came through, drenched everybody and tossed everything around.  No big weather system.  Just a big-ass squall. I've attached a picture of it bearing down on the island.  Ugly SOB.

In short, in June/July at Nikumaroro there is nothing unusual or fortuitous about long periods of calm weather punctuated by occasional severe squalls featuring high winds, driving rain (in 1991 we had hail), and significant chop on the ocean, on the reef and in the lagoon.  Many of the squalls come up from the southeast, like the one in the photo. I can easily see the wind and waves generated by one of those monsters pushing the plane over the edge.


But how calm was calm, Ric?— so calm that 6 inch waves didn’t pass over the reef at high tide?...10 inches?...12 inches?  If it were me out there, I think I’d perceive 6 to 12 inch waves to be a calm sea. Can you really be sure that the waves weren’t 6, 10 or 12 inches during those calm conditions you described?

I recall reading more than once on the forum or in other Tighar sources that walking on the reef during high tide is a difficult thing due to surf action.  Searching on the forum, I found this post by you, Ric in which you say:
You don't need to swim or body surf to get from the beach to the outer portion of the reef where we think the plane was - if you make the trip at low tide.  Even so, the reef surface is jagged and extremely slippery in many places.  You carry a stout walking stick and you go slowly. When the tide is in it's really not practical to venture out on to the reef.  The surf will knock you down and the sharks will take it from there.”

I also note in Bob’s paper that in the “Testing the Tighar Hypothesis” section, the action of surf on the plane is explicitly stated to be part of hypothesized conditions during the period:

 “ The TIGHAR hypothesis—that Earhart landed her Lockheed Electra 10E on the Western reef of Niku on 2 July 1937, and sent radio signals from there until 8 July 1927, when tide and surf forced abandonment of the aircraft…

So, your post, and Bobs remarks in his paper run counter to the notion that wave action on the reef can be ignored. So I would say, to borrow a colorful turn of phrase from you, ‘this dog does hunt’. I think it has caught something that has so far been missed. The possible effect of tides on whether the Electra could transmit should not be dismissed as a non-issue.

Finally, a bit farther along in the same section of Bob’s paper I quoted above Bob writes: “The hypothesis was tested with respect to each constraint, in the context of a northbound landing approach over the Norwich City wreck, as was flown by helicopter simulating an Electra landing…”

A video of this is available on YouTube. As it turns out, the tide was high at the time of the simulated flyover. About 17:00 into the clip helicopter flies over the remains of the Norwich City and we see the Electra landing area. Swells can clearly be seen moving over the reef towards the shoreline. I have attached a still of this view to this post; this still, and video it was taken from, nicely illustrate the ‘waves at high tide concept’ I’ve discussed (please note: I am not saying that the conditions seen from the helicopter were the same as in early July, 1937).

« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 11:31:53 AM by Ben Stevens »
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Adam Marsland

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #59 on: April 02, 2013, 02:59:41 PM »

"You suggest a sixth possibility: “Maybe the airplane was not in that spot at the time Betty heard what she heard.” This is not discussed in Bob’s paper. Where was the plane when Betty heard what she heard, when did the plane move there, and what caused it to move? "

You make good points, Ben...but even if Ric himself hasn't addressed it, the rest of us have been discussing this very question for the last couple of days.  There's a pretty plausible scenario for the plane to have been pulled out towards the reef by surf action, and as I and others have pointed out, it fits what we know of the transmission time, tide time, and sequence of events.

I just want to go back over the question of what happened after Betty's Notebook.  I still think the panicked atmosphere in the cabin, and the sudden drop-off in messages after that point, strongly suggest that the plane went over the edge soon after that (or at the very least, that they thought it would, and that subsequent messages from the plane, if they did occur, must have been difficult to achieve for some reason, such as inaccessibility of the plane).

I'd like to take a quick look at the post-Betty's Notebook credible messages:

July 6 0300 local:  Mrs. Ernest Crabb in Toronto hears what she thinks are AE/FN for the third time.
July 7 0025 local:  Itasca hears two long dashes with faint voice.
July 7 0120 local:  Itasca hears more or less the same.
July 7 0130 local:  Thelma Lovelace in New Brunswick, Canada hears the following:  "“Can you read me? Can you read me? This is Amelia Earhart. This is Amelia Earhart. Please come in.” Earhart then give her latitude and longitude, which Thelma wrote in a book, and continued: “we have taken in water, my navigator is badly hurt; (repeat) we are in need of medical care and must have help; we can’t hold on much longer.”  This may be the same transmission as the Itasca one(s) above.
July 7 2018 local (July 8):  Itasca hears "weak Radiotelephone signals.  Talk of Earhart."

Looking over TIGHAR's rationale for rating these credible, as usual, the logic tracks to me.  I am skeptical of Mrs. Crabb though -- she overheard conversations on three separate days.  I'd just like to point out that the only other cases of people hearing AE and FN more than once (other than folks in the South Pacific) were hoaxers.

Now let's go to the "time and tide" chart in the new TRACKS.  The July 6 transmission occurs at near high tide.  All three July 7 transmissions occur just after low tide, at the very beginning of the rise, basically the same conditions as Betty's Notebook.

So this, to me is very suggestive...first, I think there's a strong suggestion we can blow out the July 6 message entirely...for reasons stated above, plus it being the only message received that day, and IF the plane moved toward the reef, the water would have likely been too high at that point to send.  Or, an alternate scenario is that AE and FN had to undertake some kind of recovery effort for the plane, and after accomplishing that were only able to get one message out before the water got too high.

The July 7 messages, I have to agree, are not as easy to dismiss, and where they occur relative to the tide coming in is very suggestive.  The content of the one decipherable message even more so:  she talks of taking on water and Fred being seriously hurt.  Tracks both the content of the immediately previous message in Betty's Notebook AND the theory that the plane has been moved from its previously shallow resting place and is being dragged out to sea.  It all fits.  Interestingly for the first time a lat/long is given...is it possible they were able to determine this on July 6?  Seems unlikely with Fred out to lunch.  But it's interesting that the only message with a lat/long is about the last one.

The last message I'm on the fence about.  "Talk of Earhart" could conceivably refer to talk in the radio room...it doesn't explicitly say Earhart was mentioned in the message.  But who else would be radiophoning in the South Pacific?  Probably no one.  I don't really know what to make of this message (I don't have a clear enough grasp of it in relation to the prior ones), so I'm going to set is aside for a second.

So what more can be theorized from this?  Granted, this is speculation, but I think we can squeeze a few more drops out of this data:

1.  No, or virtually no, messages on July 6 suggests that something happened that day.  Most likely possibility is that after the tide receded on July 5, AE and FN were able to get to the plane and move it back, but it would appear not very far.  If the Crabb message is authentic, it suggests that this was achieved at around 1300 local, and that given the high tide that day, they were able to move the plane fairly close to its original spot.  If the Crabb message was NOT authentic, then they may have only been able to bring the plane back as far as the BN location per the broadcasts the next day.

2.  July 7....timing of messages relative to tide, along with the content of one of them, suggest the plane is back in deep water again.

3.  There may have been another attempt to move the plane back resulting in the final message, but I confess I have no idea where that particular data point fits into the puzzle.

4.  Looking at the timing of the radio messages, provisionally accepting the credible messages as being (mostly) from Earhart, a timeline could be constructed that theorizes as to their actual activities on the first several days.  Periods of long radio silence for example suggest sleep time....and from there other things could be hypothesized.  Speculation, yes...but grounded in good probability, and as someone else suggested, it may illuminate a path for further research.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 06:54:00 PM by Adam Marsland »
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