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Author Topic: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise  (Read 100538 times)

JNev

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Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
« Reply #75 on: October 23, 2013, 09:46:35 PM »

...Allow me to direct your attention to the following paragraph in Captain Wilhelm Friedell's Report on the USS Colorado's Search for Earhart, Research Document #7 on the TIGHAR website.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then came the Lexington's effort as reported by Captain Dowell, commander of the Lexington Groupand I tend to think thereby coverage of the next logical area(s).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I can't argue with the logic suggested by TIGHAR for placing the flight between Howland and Gardner by reason of radio analysis.  The navy herself concluded a similar likelihood as cited by Friedell, above -

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

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

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

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

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

Just a thought - and not meant to take away from the effort at-hand; just a venting of a personal realization: Earhart created one hell of a mystery when she got herself lost in the Pacific.  My closing thought is that we may need to be very prepared to look wide and deep.
- Jeff Neville

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pilotart

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Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
« Reply #76 on: October 23, 2013, 11:45:33 PM »

This would require rejection of ALL post-loss Radio Messages.  As thin as they are, any one of them require the Electra to be on dry ground.

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

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

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Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
« Reply #77 on: October 24, 2013, 07:54:48 AM »

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

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Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
« Reply #78 on: October 24, 2013, 08:06:56 AM »

This would require rejection of ALL post-loss Radio Messages.  As thin as they are, any one of them require the Electra to be on dry ground.

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

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

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

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

Consider -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ric,

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

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

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

Time also means that nature robs us of opportunity, so I hope readers can see that part of my plea is "if you care about it, get busy - sharpen your focus and your resolve".  You exemplify that approach by your own focus and stamina.  We don't have forever, so I hope people notice and care.
- Jeff Neville

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« Last Edit: October 24, 2013, 08:11:03 AM by Jeff Nevil »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
« Reply #79 on: October 24, 2013, 08:36:11 AM »

Ric,

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

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

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

The Nikumaroro Hypothesis is a bit like evolution.  It's still a theory but it's the only theory that is supported by hard evidence. 
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JNev

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Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
« Reply #80 on: October 24, 2013, 10:19:18 AM »

Ric,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Nikumaroro Hypothesis is a bit like evolution.

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

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

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

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

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« Last Edit: October 24, 2013, 10:22:53 AM by Jeff Nevil »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
« Reply #81 on: October 24, 2013, 10:37:05 AM »

Maybe I simply don't get 'hard evidence' - that term implies 'conclusive evidence' to me, but I may have missed on the semantics.

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

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

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

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

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

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Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
« Reply #82 on: October 24, 2013, 10:52:20 AM »

Maybe I simply don't get 'hard evidence' - that term implies 'conclusive evidence' to me, but I may have missed on the semantics.

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

Thanks for clarifying.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All you can pray for is the "except for a few idiots" artifact - your point on 'circumstantial' was adroit.
- Jeff Neville

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John Ousterhout

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Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
« Reply #83 on: October 25, 2013, 08:39:40 PM »

A question recently came to my mind that might relate to the topic - on July 2, Nauru reported hearing the "ship in sight" message from Amelia on 6210.  The ship sighted was believed to have been the Myrtlebank, which was "at least 60 miles south of Nauru" at the time, or maybe the Ontario.  I've read this account many times, but something jumped out to me recently - what happened to the 'donut hole' that should have prevented reception at 60 miles?
This brings to mind at least two options - 1) the 'donut hole' hypothesis is in error, or 2) the aircraft was much more than 60 miles away.
Assuming option 2), just how far away would the aircraft need to be for reception at Nauru?  To be significantly further south at that point in the flight indicates a major navigation error, and one that ends up well south of Howland.
Assuming option 1), how else to we explain the inability to hear the aircraft transmissions at close range, yet clear reception at greater range?
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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JNev

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Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
« Reply #84 on: October 25, 2013, 09:42:21 PM »

A question recently came to my mind that might relate to the topic - on July 2, Nauru reported hearing the "ship in sight" message from Amelia on 6210.  The ship sighted was believed to have been the Myrtlebank, which was "at least 60 miles south of Nauru" at the time, or maybe the Ontario.  I've read this account many times, but something jumped out to me recently - what happened to the 'donut hole' that should have prevented reception at 60 miles?
This brings to mind at least two options - 1) the 'donut hole' hypothesis is in error, or 2) the aircraft was much more than 60 miles away.
Assuming option 2), just how far away would the aircraft need to be for reception at Nauru?  To be significantly further south at that point in the flight indicates a major navigation error, and one that ends up well south of Howland.
Assuming option 1), how else to we explain the inability to hear the aircraft transmissions at close range, yet clear reception at greater range?

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

Maybe it has to do with the possibly lost antenna on take-off (which I think actually is supposed to relate to a receiving problem for the Electra), or I'm just not getting the 'donut hole' effect well enough somehow.
- Jeff Neville

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« Last Edit: October 26, 2013, 08:10:26 AM by Jeff Nevil »
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JNev

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Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
« Reply #85 on: November 13, 2013, 10:03:37 AM »

I am able to make some observations on the doughnut.  Between 1965 and 1970  I was an amateur radio operator, still am, and a member of Army MARS which meant I was allowed to use military frequencies  just below the 80 meter ham band  very close to 3105 kc.  I was part of a net that covered the Northern half of the US state of Alabama.  This appears to me to be about the same area under discussion after Earhart's signals were strength 4 and 5.  The power of the stations varied from 25 to 120 watts.  Under 8 am and 5 pm conditions I never observed stations anywhere in the northern half of the state which were unable to hear each other except in case of static from sever thunderstorms.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now I ponder wildly and aloud about a wildcard example:

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

Point thus:

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

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

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

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

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

But yes, the sky conditions create something to think about, for sure.
- Jeff Neville

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JNev

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Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
« Reply #86 on: November 14, 2013, 07:35:28 AM »

Earhart was running a magnetic course advancing a stale LOP using only airspeed and a watch with wind speed and direction unknown.  Yep DR alright.

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

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

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

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

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John B. Shattuck

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Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
« Reply #87 on: November 14, 2013, 12:58:58 PM »

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

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

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

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

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

As always, my opinion, YMMV

respectfully,

JB
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Monty Fowler

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Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
« Reply #88 on: November 16, 2013, 06:34:14 AM »

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

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

LTM, who's pretty sure Neil walked on the moon,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 CER
Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
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JNev

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Re: visual counterfeit , navigation and subsequent demise
« Reply #89 on: November 16, 2013, 07:06:20 PM »

I find much of this entire thread speculative from how much Noonan may have drunk to Noonan and Earhart's need for redemption.  I thought a little speculation of my own would perhaps be well received and I would get useful feedback as to what others thought about the matter.  Given the overcast may have extended 600 miles west, depending on how long you imagine Earhart would have been under before finding it worth mention  a couple of hundred miles south does not seem impossible or even terribly improbable.  However, it appears my speculation is heretical and for committing blasphemy I beg pardon. 
The best of luck to all,
Neff

Yes, highly speculative -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As always, my opinion, YMMV

respectfully,

JB

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

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

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

Nay, we merely suppose - much as Monty -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enough - off to Cheddar's or Fatz for chili and beer... outta here...
- Jeff Neville

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