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Author Topic: Beach the Electra - what if?  (Read 62891 times)

Monte Chalmers

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Re: Beach the Electra - what if?
« Reply #60 on: August 10, 2012, 01:39:12 PM »

My thread sure has taken a lot of turns since beaching the Electra.  :D  Since we're talking about navigation from Howland now - I saw this:
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The Curse of Howland Island
On December 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese attacked Howland Island and reduced its facilities into rubble.
It didn't say wheather by sea or air - I assume by air. There wouldn't be any radio signals or black smoke for guidance. And I would think navigation equipment in 1941 would be about the same.  So were the Japanese better navigators.... or better luck?
Monte TIGHAR #3597
 
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richie conroy

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Re: Beach the Electra - what if?
« Reply #61 on: August 10, 2012, 02:25:20 PM »

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I'll say it again - if the Navy were looking for a needle in a haystack, that's all they'd find.  They'd miss all the hay around it.  I believe that, if Earhart and Noonan and the Electra were in the Navy's search area, they'd have been seen.

Bill,
  I believe that Gary LaPook came up with a over 90% probability of the navy sighting them,,,, if they were there  ( or not dead ) and Gary has a very good record ( in my opinion ) of being pretty ‘right on’ in his posts. I also agree.


If Fred was piloting the plane i would support Gary's hypothesis all day, However due to Amelia being in control, were the flight ended is so unpredictably  ???

Ah, but was she really in control? Noonan was also a licensed commercial pilot, he was bigger than Earhart and he was not suicidal. Do you really think he would just sit back there at the navigation station calmly waiting to die while Earhart refused to fly the headings he gave her that HE KNEW would give them the best chance for survival?

Would you?

gl

What i meant was while Fred was at navigator's table and Amelia piloting, How much could they have drifted of course during night, Also if Amelia was suffering with her stomach was she activating the auto pilot so she could go the toilet, or would Fred have took over ?   
We are an echo of the past


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pilotart

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Re: Beach the Electra - what if?
« Reply #62 on: August 11, 2012, 02:17:21 AM »

As far as comparing Amelia and Fred's Pilot Qualifications:  Fred held a "Limited Commercial" (required 50 hours Flight Time and was limited to carrying passengers for hire within 10 miles of the airport).  Amelia had a "Transport Pilot's License" (required 250 hours Flight Time).
Are you saying that Noonan was not capable of keeping the plane right side up?
No, not at all, I was only responding to your statement "...also a licensed commercial pilot," which by no means was equal to Amelia's Certifications.  Non-Pilots may not be aware that the Commercial Certificate is very much an 'entry-level' and it was a long, long way up to the Transport Pilot Certificate with an Instrument Rating.
 
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He had at least 50 hours in 1930 when he got his license and we know that most pilots have a lot more than the minimum required flying hours when they get their licenses.
I by no means meant to imply that FN had only 50 hours or that AE had only 250 hours, those were just the 'minimum requirements' back then to get the Certificates they held and I agree that most pilots do get far more hours.  I received my Commercial at 340 hours which was then minimum +90 hours, (but as a Private Pilot, I had owned a Luscombe for a year before the test and hours were inexpensive for me) and my Airline Transport Pilot Certificate at 4,500 hours which was then minimum +2,000 hours and in between I needed to get an Instrument Rating, Multi Engine Rating, Gold-Seal Flight Instructor Certificate for Airplane Single/Multi/Instrument and an Advanced & Instrument Ground Instructor Certificate.

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How many more hours did he log in the following seven years? BTW, your source said he got his license in 1930 from the Airman Certification Branch of the FAA but the FAA was created by the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 so there was no FAA in 1930.
I would expect that most of his Logged Hours would have been as a Non-Pilot Flight Navigator while employed by Pan Am.  The Aeronautics Branch of the Department of Commerce was created in 1926 and was renamed the Bureau of Air Commerce in 1934 and in 1938 a new independent agency, the Civil Aeronautics Authority was created....
 
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The Electra represented Amelia's very first experience with a retractable gear aircraft.

Based on their experience with fixed gear aircraft, they may not have even considered the advantage a retractable gear aircraft would have in a water landing. With a fixed gear, it would usually be wise to avoid a water landing if possible, unlike the retract; you are just about guaranteed an instant 'flip' to inverted accompanied by a very quick stop.

As far as Fred's Navigation expertise:  He may have been one of the worlds leading Celestial Navigators, but he had previously always relied on Radio Direction Finding as the final approach for finding islands.
My main point above had to do with the question on this thread about AE & FN's likely choosing to put that Electra into the Lagoon or Landing it on the Reef by the Norwich City.

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You've been flying long enough so I'm sure you were taught during your instrument rating training how to do an NDB approach with the use of an ADF and that you flew a number of NDB approaches during this training. Let's say that after you got your instrument rating that it just happened to work out that every airport you flew into had an ILS approach so you never had to fly another NDB approach so there was no record of you having done an NDB approach, only ILS approaches, for a number of years. Then, several years later, you have your Jepps out and turned to the page for the anticipated ILS 31L approach at MDW that you have always flown in the past and you then hear on the ATIS, "THREE ONE LEFT I-L-S OUT OF SERVICE, THREE ONE LEFT N-D-B APPROACH NOW IN PROGRESS, INFORM CONTROLLER ON INITIAL CONTACT THAT YOU HAVE MIDWAY INFORMATION DELTA." So, do you die now or do you still remember how to use the ADF, when it becomes necessary, and fly the NDB approach to a safe landing?
It's true that except for an ICT in an Aircraft with ADF installed, you never need to 'Log' NDB Approaches.  As long as the Beacon was on the field and the cross-wind was not strong, you might be able to 'fake' it successfully and if it was to Navigate from a Beacon 5 miles out towards the Runway, you might stand a good chance of death.  To put this in FN's perspective; he had always depended upon Radio Operators to get the RDF Bearings for him, now he has flown all this way with Amelia and has had no success with RDF on any attempt TIKO, so when it became critical to use it, they failed and did die, the big mystery is how, where and when they died.

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In real life I have never flown a back course localizer approach, I have trained many pilots how to do them and I have no doubt that I would have no trouble flying a BC LOC APP if the situation presented itself.
It would still be very wise to do some of them in nice weather first.  There are some airports (KORL, KPIE and KPNE for three) which will often assign BC's whenever the wind favors it.
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(For the non-pilots,  ILS is Instrument Landing System which has the "localizer beam" and the "glideslope beam" to guide the plane to the runway down through the clouds. NDB is Non Directional Beacon which is a homing beacon that a pilot can navigate to using the ADF, Automatic Direction Finder, like the Hooven radio, and also used with an RDF, Radio Direction Finder, like Amelia's. Both the ILS and the NDB approaches will get the plane to the runway but the ILS is more precise so can allow landings in worse weather than the NDB and many pilots find it more difficult to fly the NDB approach than the "just keep the needles in the center" ILS approach. Using the NDB requires more thinking.)
Yes, this is why NDB Navigation was one of the best tools used in training for the Instrument Rating "Homing" to a Beacon is easy, it's "Tracking" Accurately away from the Beacon that gets complicated (and the Weems Book only mentions "Homing").  And, Up until the advent of GPS there were a great many airports with an NDB Approach as the only available option whenever the weather was below VFR.  Today, you need not even demonstrate NDB Proficiency if your Aircraft is not equipped with an ADF.  If you have a current Approach Approved GPS, you can now fly any 'NDB' Procedure in the US with the GPS providing sole guidance.

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The use of the the single line of position approach was taught to PAN AM navigators by Noonan and to all the flight navigators in WW2 and since, it is still required on the FAA Flight Navigator test, see FAR part 63. Pan Am did establish radio stations on their island stations but the landfall approach was always available if needed. Of course Noonan did not go out of his way and did not fly the extra miles necessary to fly the landfall approach when he could fly straight in by using the radio just like you do not do a full instrument approach if you are in VMC and have the airport in sight, you request a visual or a contact approach so that you can take the shortcut direct to the airport. This does not mean that you could not do a full approach if necessary just as Noonan could do a landfall approach if that proved to be necessary. Our WW2 navigators used the landfall approach to find islands because they had to find them the first time without the use of radio because they had to bomb them first before our guys could go ashore and set up RDFs for future flights, not the benign environment that Pan Am had when setting up its bases prior to the war.
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I seriously doubt that he had Gary LaPook's ability to plot a "Search Pattern"  to locate Howland Island.  His "Weems Bible" recommends RDF and as an alternative, using "The Precomputed Curve" which involves turning 90 degrees and watching for increasing or decreasing plotted LOP's to determine if landfall is ahead or behind.  Sounds like "flying the 337/157 North and South Line" to me.
Not really, the use of a precomputed curve is the easiest way to compute the landfall approach but is not the only way, see the texts available on my website. Here is a sample of the precomputed altitude curve for Noonan's arrival at Howland. The method that you mention is useful if you headed straight in to the destination so that when the LOP is intercepted you don't know which way to turn so that method will help you determine if you turned the wrong way. This whole issue is avoided by doing the standard landfall procedure and aiming off to the side so that there is no ambiguity. Mantz quoted Noonan describing this exact procedure to him. Here is a recent example of how this is done. Also see this description of an approach to Howland using the standard method.
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I don't have a scanner, but I have seen where Gary has posted pages from "Weems Air Navigation" I have the 1943 edition and it is on pages 336-339 and is credited to Lt. W. C. Bentley, Jr. US Army Air Corps.  The example given (Fig. 229) takes three hours of flying time, but if done properly; it should have taken them to Howland Airport and we know that did not happen.
The same information is on pages 395 and 396 of the 1938 edition of Weems available on my website. You find the same basic information in Weems, 1931 edition which I didn't have when I put up the website. Weems and Noonan were friends and Noonan contributed to the techniques found in the Weems manuals so there is no doubt that Noonan knew these techniques. Chichester used this procedure in 1931 crossing the Tasman sea in a Gypsy Moth biplane and he is given credit in the English speaking world for developing this technique but Portguese Admiral Coutinho used the same technique making the first flight across the South Atlantic in 1922. AFM 51-40 lays out the long history of this type of navigation so it was not something brand new in 1937.

You may just want to browse the other reference documents available on my website.


gl
Yes, thank you for your website and all its information, it was this page from your site that I was referring to above from the Weems 'Bible'. It was Fig. 253 on your edition and it is good to know that it was also in the 1930 edition.

Had FN forseen what a Problem they were going to have with their RDF, I'm sure he would have done the "offset" method, but if he did not, then that method of using Precomputed Altitude Curves was his logical next step. 

I thought I had recently seen where you have posted on this forum a different 'Search Pattern' involving visually covering areas according to estimated flight visibility and then running out of gas while doing it. :-[
Art Johnson
 
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pilotart

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Re: Beach the Electra - what if?
« Reply #63 on: August 11, 2012, 02:26:17 AM »


What i meant was while Fred was at navigator's table and Amelia piloting, How much could they have drifted of course during night, Also if Amelia was suffering with her stomach was she activating the auto pilot so she could go the toilet, or would Fred have took over ?

Fred had an accurate compass installed back at his Navigation Station.

Whenever Amelia would have needed a break, she would have set the Autopilot, but she would also have called Fred to a Pilot's seat to at least monitor the AutoFlight while she was gone for sure.

He could hand-fly the Electra without problem, as long as he used lots of 'trim' as Amelia moved all the way back to the can.  The Autopilot would have automatically trimmed the elevator to compensate for the CG changes.  edit:- I would have assumed it would need auto trim...

edit:-  Since AFAIK Fred had received no training in control of an aircraft by reference to the instruments on the panel, he could have possibly gotten into an 'upset' out over the water in the dark, so the Autopilot may have been critical.  Remember the Kennedy Tragedy on his night flight out to Martha's Vineyard and since the sixty's all Private Pilots receive enough 'Instrument' training to get out of trouble of they lose an outside horizon.  Since they were obviously still in the air after dawn, Fred would only had that problem if he flew into a cloud... 
Art Johnson
 
« Last Edit: August 11, 2012, 03:00:10 AM by pilotart »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Beach the Electra - what if?
« Reply #64 on: August 11, 2012, 02:33:16 AM »

  The Autopilot would have automatically trimmed the elevator to compensate for the CG changes.
Are you sure that her autopilot had auto-trim?

gl
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Beach the Electra - what if?
« Reply #65 on: August 11, 2012, 02:45:38 AM »


 I by no means meant to imply that FN had only 50 hours or that AE had only 250 hours, those were just the 'minimum requirements' back then to get the Certificates they held and I agree that most pilots do get far more hours.  I received my Commercial at 340 hours which was then minimum +90 hours, (but as a Private Pilot, I had owned a Luscombe for a year before the test and hours were inexpensive for me) and my Airline Transport Pilot Certificate at 4,500 hours which was then minimum +2,000 hours and in between I needed to get an Instrument Rating, Multi Engine Rating, Gold-Seal Flight Instructor Certificate for Airplane Single/Multi/Instrument and an Advanced & Instrument Ground Instructor Certificate.


Cool, now you have gotten me to get out my logbooks. I got my private with 43 hours, the minimum was 40 hours. I got the commercial with 230 hours, the minimum then was 200 hours. I got the ATP at 2279 hours, the minimum was 1500 hours. And along the way, the glider rating, the CE-500 type rating, the instrument rating, the multi-engine rating, the Gold Seal flight instructor certificate, single and multi-engine land and instrument; Ground Instructor- Advanced and Instrument. Looks like we have done the same kinds of flying.

gl
« Last Edit: August 11, 2012, 02:47:39 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Beach the Electra - what if?
« Reply #66 on: August 11, 2012, 02:58:25 AM »

Had FN forseen what a Problem they were going to have with their RDF, I'm sure he would have done the "offset" method, but if he did not, then that method of using Precomputed Altitude Curves was his logical next step. 

I posted this more than a year ago:


"Except that the two methods to use to find the island are not mutually exclusive. The RDF should have picked up the Itasca's signals several hundred miles out. They used radio bearings that were more than 600 NM on the flight to Hawii. So there is no problem aiming directly towards Howland expecting to be able to get radio bearings when within 200 NM. When they didn't get a signal there is no problem with turning off to start the landfall since that procedure is accurate enough to get them to Howland in case they never do get the radio signal. If, on the way to the offset point they do start receiving the signals then they would not have to continue all the way to the sun line LOP but would turn to head directly toward Howland as soon as they got the signals."

The problem with the particular method that you are referring to is that for it to work the azimuth of the sun must change rapidly and substantially but in the vicinity of Howland on July 2, 1937 the azimuth didn't change even one degree for more than an hour. The azimuth had only changed four degrees by the last radio transmission at 2013 Z and such a slight change in azimuth would not provide a large enough change in the measured height of the sun to provide them information that they were north or south of Howland, and would be lost in the normal uncertainty of celestial observation.
gl
« Last Edit: August 12, 2012, 11:43:48 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Beach the Electra - what if?
« Reply #67 on: August 11, 2012, 03:02:37 AM »



edit:-  Since AFAIK Fred had received no training in control of an aircraft by reference to the instruments on the panel, he could have possibly gotten into an 'upset' out over the water in the dark, so the Autopilot may have been critical.  Remember the Kennedy Tragedy on his night flight out to Martha's Vineyard and since the sixty's all Private Pilots receive enough 'Instrument' training to get out of trouble of they lose an outside horizon.  Since they were obviously still in the air after dawn, Fred would only had that problem if he flew into a cloud...
How do you know that Noonan never received any instrument training? It may not have been required for his 1930 license but he may still have received such training then and also in the subsequent seven years. Do your have his logbook?

gl
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Beach the Electra - what if?
« Reply #68 on: August 11, 2012, 03:09:21 AM »

Yes, this is why NDB Navigation was one of the best tools used in training for the Instrument Rating "Homing" to a Beacon is easy, it's "Tracking" Accurately away from the Beacon that gets complicated (and the Weems Book only mentions "Homing").  And, Up until the advent of GPS there were a great many airports with an NDB Approach as the only available option whenever the weather was below VFR.  Today, you need not even demonstrate NDB Proficiency if your Aircraft is not equipped with an ADF.  If you have a current Approach Approved GPS, you can now fly any 'NDB' Procedure in the US with the GPS providing sole guidance.
Come on, it's easy tracking outbound, I've trained many pilots in this technique. If you are due for an Instrument Proficiency Check then "come on down" and I will reacquaint you with how easy it is to do. Plus we know that Noonan understood the difference between "homing to" and "tracking to" a beacon since he told Earhart to "Keep Makapuu beacon ten degrees on the starboard bow" on the approach to Hawaii showing that he was using a ten degree wind correction angle to compensate for a cross wind from the left.

gl
« Last Edit: August 11, 2012, 11:42:09 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Gloria Walker Burger

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Re: Beach the Electra - what if?
« Reply #69 on: August 11, 2012, 07:10:08 PM »

Tom S wrote:
Gary does bring up an interesting point of who 'might' have been in controll during the last minutes of the flight. only 2 people know, and neither can tell us. ( Julia?)

Tom S, Who is Julia?
Gloria
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Bruce Thomas

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Re: Beach the Electra - what if?
« Reply #70 on: August 11, 2012, 08:31:24 PM »

Who is Julia?

Gloria, you had to be at the Earhart75 Symposium in June to get the full effect.  Julia was there. Here's a link to the website for Julia's book Your Eternal Hologram.
LTM,

Bruce
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Gloria Walker Burger

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Re: Beach the Electra - what if?
« Reply #71 on: August 11, 2012, 09:29:20 PM »

Bruce wrote:
Gloria, you had to be at the Earhart75 Symposium in June to get the full effect.  Julia was there. Here's a link to the website for Julia's book Your Eternal Hologram.

Thanks Bruce!
Gloria
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Beach the Electra - what if?
« Reply #72 on: August 12, 2012, 11:42:46 AM »



The problem with the particular method that you are referring to is that for it to work the azimuth of the sun must change rapidly and substantially but in the vicinity of Howland on July 2, 1937 the azimuth didn't change even one degree for more than an hour. The azimuth had only changed four degrees by the last radio transmission at 2013 Z and such a slight change in azimuth would not provide a large enough change in the measured height of the sun to provide them information that they were north or south of Howland, and would be lost in the normal uncertainty of celestial observation.
gl
This method might work at other places and times but not at Howland on that day.

As to doing the precomputation and graphing of the results, that was the normal procedure, and would have taken Noonan only one hour to do all the computations needed for the approach to Howland. He could have done these early in the flight or even the day before in his hotel room. So, on the approach, Noonan did not have to divert his attention away from taking additional sun shots or from looking for the island. See how this precomputation is done here.  And read the flight navigation manuals showing how do do this here.

And, as everybody assiduously and conspicuously ignores ("whistling past the graveyard"), Noonan only had to take one shot of the Moon which would tell him instantly if he was proceeding too far to the south of Howland.

See how a standard landfall procedure would work at Howland here.


gl
« Last Edit: August 12, 2012, 11:44:40 AM by Gary LaPook »
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pilotart

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Re: Beach the Electra - what if?
« Reply #73 on: August 13, 2012, 02:25:53 AM »

Gary,

Thank you for explaining the problem with the "Precomputed Altitude Curves" method of determining 'ahead or behind' near Howland on that morning.

As for why FN did not 'shoot the moon' to obtain a crossing LOP goes along with a lot of other 'why didn't...'s' on that fateful morning.

There is no doubt that the logical course would have been to follow your advice to use the off-set method and turn left to DR to that point up to 60 miles NW of Howland (or Baker) and then follow the LOP home.

As far as their noticing that their Radio Direction Finder had problems at 1742 GMT when she said they were 200 miles out, she did not mention a RDF problem until:
Quote
1928 GMT: "KHAQQ calling Itasca we are circling [?] but cannot hear you go ahead on 7500 with a long count either now or on the schedule time on 1/2 hour"
(Was speculated by TIGHAR that "circling" was actually spoken as "Listening".)
1930 GMT: "KHAQQ calling Itasca we received your signals but unable to get a minimum. Please take bearing on us and answer 3105 with voice." Another radioman reports this message as: "Amelia on again at 0800 [local time] says hears us on 7.5 megs go ahead on 7500 again."

(For non RDF'ers; "minimum" is what she needed in order to get a direction {to the Itasca} as she turned that round circle loop antenna on top of the cabin.)

If they had done that an hour and three-quarters earlier ("200 miles out"), they might have even figured out the problem in time and at least established voice on lower frequency or even direction on lower still (Itasca should have also been sending 'A's on her 400 kHz Transmitter and that would have provided Amelia a Null or "minimum")...

Do you think she had tried earlier and just did not report her problem?

Her message at 1912 GMT was "KHAQQ clng Itasca we must on you" do you think that might have been while they were following the LOP in from that DR'd 60 mile NW turning point?

The final message at 2013 GMT was "We are on the line 157 337...We are running [on] line [north and south]." 

If they had used an off-set, they should have been following the LOP only south and not north.

As far as Fred taking over the Flight Controls of the Electra, I doubt that that would have happened unless Amelia came completely apart in the air.  We don't know how much 'Stick-Time' he would have had in the Electra and more importantly, would have certainly taken away from his Primary Responsibility of Navigating... Such as it was.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Beach the Electra - what if?
« Reply #74 on: August 13, 2012, 03:17:47 AM »

Gary,


As far as their noticing that their Radio Direction Finder had problems at 1742 GMT when she said they were 200 miles out, she did not mention a RDF problem until:
Quote
1928 GMT: "KHAQQ calling Itasca we are circling [?] but cannot hear you go ahead on 7500 with a long count either now or on the schedule time on 1/2 hour"


(Was speculated by TIGHAR that "circling" was actually spoken as "Listening".)
1930 GMT: "KHAQQ calling Itasca we received your signals but unable to get a minimum. Please take bearing on us and answer 3105 with voice." Another radioman reports this message as: "Amelia on again at 0800 [local time] says hears us on 7.5 megs go ahead on 7500 again."

(For non RDF'ers; "minimum" is what she needed in order to get a direction {to the Itasca} as she turned that round circle loop antenna on top of the cabin.)

If they had done that an hour and three-quarters earlier ("200 miles out"), they might have even figured out the problem in time and at least established voice on lower frequency or even direction on lower still (Itasca should have also been sending 'A's on her 400 kHz Transmitter and that would have provided Amelia a Null or "minimum")...

Do you think she had tried earlier and just did not report her problem?

You don't think "WANTS BEARING ON 3105 KCS  ON HOUR   WILL WHISTLE IN MIC
ABOUT 200 MILES  APPX   WHISTLING NW"
at 0614 to 0615 Itasca time (1744 to 1745 Z) indicated that she was having a problem with her RDF? This transmission shows that she had not been able to get a bearing with her own RDF, I call this a problem. This was a complete change in the planned procedure, Earhart was supposed to take bearings on the Itasca, not the other way around.

And the same thing again just a half hour later at 0645~0646 Itasca time, 1815 to 1816 Z, see attached radio log.
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Her message at 1912 GMT was "KHAQQ clng Itasca we must on you" do you think that might have been while they were following the LOP in from that DR'd 60 mile NW turning point?

Yes.
Quote

The final message at 2013 GMT was "We are on the line 157 337...We are running [on] line [north and south]." 

If they had used an off-set, they should have been following the LOP only south and not north.

Using my example of a 60 NM offset when intercepting the LOP NNW of Howland, they would only fly SSE for 120 NM from the point of interception, twice the offset, at which point they would know that they had flown past Howland and that it was time to turn around and go back and look for the island.

This is from my website:

"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 maximum possible error. When
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."

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As far as Fred taking over the Flight Controls of the Electra, I doubt that that would have happened unless Amelia came completely apart in the air.  We don't know how much 'Stick-Time' he would have had in the Electra and more importantly, would have certainly taken away from his Primary Responsibility of Navigating... Such as it was.
You know as well as I do, since you are a flight instructor, that a reasonably smart chimpanzee can keep a plane right side up after it is established in cruise flight so Fred's lack of stick time in the Electra is immaterial. He might not want to try landing it but he would have no problem keeping it on heading and altitude. Once Earhart started to refuse to fly the headings that Noonan gave her, then his job as a navigator was over since the end result of his navigator's work is determining the headings to fly. What good would it do at that point to take additional sextant shots if Earhart is going to ignore the headings he computes from the sextant observations. At that point he moves into survival mode and does whatever it takes to save his own life.

gl
« Last Edit: August 13, 2012, 03:43:39 AM by Gary LaPook »
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