First attempt: flight planning

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Earhart was accompanied by three men on the first round-the-world attempt, which ended in disaster at Luke Field.

  • Manning: ship captain, pilot, navigator, radio operator.
  • Mantz: pilot, radio operator.
  • Noonan: navigator.

Mantz was scheduled to leave the plane in Honolulu; Noonan at Howland Island, and Manning in Darwin, Australia. Earhart intended to finish the rest of the flight solo.

The plan was to fly westward around the world.

William T. Miller, from the Bureau of Air Commerce, acted as a liaison between Earhart and the Coast Guard in laying plans for the landing on Howland Island, which was to be the second leg of the flight.

"During the preparations in March, Manning and Miller had suggested that a radio direction finder be set up on Howland Island 'if practicable.' A direction finding radio receiver can determine the direction or “bearing” from which an incoming signal is being transmitted. If the plane was having trouble using its own direction finder to home in on signals sent from the ship, the receiver on the island could take bearings on the transmissions from the plane and the operator could then radio the pilot with instructions about what course to follow. Direction finders work best on relatively low radio frequencies and, in March, the plan was for the plane to transmit signals on 500 kilocycles. Having a direction finder set up on Howland was a good idea but in March the request was not made until the ship was already at sea."[1]