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Author Topic: Such a large error  (Read 9232 times)

Mike Adams, EnCE

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Such a large error
« on: June 02, 2013, 09:58:43 PM »

I am new to this venue having been drawn in by the recent announcement of this group's dedicated work. It is just coincidence that my wife, my father in law, and myself visited Amelia's birth place in Atchinson just three weeks ago. We live in Texas but were visiting in Kansas and took a day trip to see the museum.

If I can offer any contribution it comes not from myself but from my father in law. I do have hundreds of hours in land navigation experience from my time in the military. Also have almost 200 logged hours of marine navigation experience from my sailing days. All of this with a compass, a map, celestial tables, and a sextant.

But my father in law was a B-29 pilot flying off of Tinian Island during the last several months of WWII. He and his crew had 30 combat missions to their credit by the time the war was over. Before that he was a navigator on B24 Liberators, a pilot on B-25s, and a flight instructor. He joined the the Army Air Corp in mid 1941 expecting to serve his time but then....

After the latest information on your sonar hit he and I had some extensive conversations about these findings. From our recent trip to Atchinson we got out our own charts and did some looking. Drawing from his own experience and knowledge all he could say was if AE and FN ended up on Niku that would have been the result of one heck of a navigational error.

His own crew had flown in daytime, at night time, in large formations and small. They had been the guide plane that the fighters would rendezvous with strictly to navigate the fighters to their target and back. In other words he has deep combat experience in navigating around the endless Pacific and he tells me that even the worst navigators he ever worked with or trained could not make such an error even on their worst day, or night. Even in the days of dead reckoning for them to end up 350 miles off course requires a stupendous navigational error. 

Especially considering that once AE and FN realized they were in trouble they would have checked and rechecked their navigational plotting, fixes, dates, times, azimuth, instruments, charts, math,  etc...

While I hope we are wrong and that you guys really have succeeded in solving this mystery I have to agree with my father in law and say this will not be the answer.  I will still  make a contribution in hopes that the funds can be raised to send in the ROV and turn that digital data into a real Lockheed Electra. Best of luck, In Shallah.

Mike Adams, K5CDA
"God makes the wind. We set the sails."
 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Such a large error
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2013, 04:36:33 AM »

... he tells me that even the worst navigators he ever worked with or trained could not make such an error even on their worst day, or night. Even in the days of dead reckoning for them to end up 350 miles off course requires a stupendous navigational error. 

Have you and he discussed the case of "Lady Be Good"?  They crashed roughly 441 miles away from their intended destination.

This reminds me of the dialogue in "The Princess Bride":

Vizzini: He didn't fall?  Inconceivable! 

Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 04:44:02 AM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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Bruce Thomas

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Re: Such a large error
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2013, 06:29:09 AM »

Even in the days of dead reckoning for them to end up 350 miles off course requires a stupendous navigational error.
Mike, the Niku Hypothesis does not say that "a stupendous navigational error" resulted in them flying directly to Niku, 350 miles off course. Rather, the hypothesis is that, having missed their target of Howland Island by enough to not spot that flyspeck of low-lying coral, their search methodology led them to Nikumaroro.

To "get into" the Niku Hypothesis you can begin your adventure into the volumes of reading available on the TIGHAR website with the "in a nutshell" webpage. Links there step you deeper into the hypothesis detail. You will also want to check out the Welcome to the TIGHAR Forum posting for very helpful links.
LTM,

Bruce
TIGHAR #3123R
 
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Such a large error
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2013, 09:05:11 AM »

Another place to reference is Table 1 from Time and Tide in the latest TIGHAR Tracks
“This result is consistent with radio signal propagation analysis
suggesting Earhart likely was between 80 and 210 nmi from Howland at 09:25.”
3971R
 
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Dave McDaniel

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Re: Such a large error
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2013, 07:58:48 PM »

... he tells me that even the worst navigators he ever worked with or trained could not make such an error even on their worst day, or night. Even in the days of dead reckoning for them to end up 350 miles off course requires a stupendous navigational error. 

Have you and he discussed the case of "Lady Be Good"?  They crashed roughly 441 miles away from their intended destination.

This reminds me of the dialogue in "The Princess Bride":

Vizzini: He didn't fall?  Inconceivable! 

Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Perfect! I thought I was the only one who saw wisdom in that wit! My hat's off to you!

LTM,
Dave

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Mike Adams, EnCE

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Re: Such a large error
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2013, 10:35:57 PM »

Very informative about how they found make perfect sense now.

We did read the transcriptions of the radio reports that were received shortly before they ran out of fuel and in the hours and days after that. The reports they sent concerning the north south azimuths they were flying on both sides of the latitude also make perfect sense. My father in law, Ben is his name, tells me that was SOP for B-29s in jeprody. In fact all aircraft of the time followed that procedure when lost and it usually worked. I am sure that most of you know the reason for flying north south as they flew along a particular latitude.

I also asked Ben how visible islands of that size are from aircraft at altitude. It surprised me when he told me that they were easily visible even from 10,000 feet and more. I know that will perplex people as it perplexed me. Still, I will leave that debate to those that have experienced the situation first hand.

After our visit to Atchinson the family sat around the dinner table lamenting the fate of those lost souls and how brave they were. I began thinking that as outlandish as it sounds Maybe they should have timed that leg to arrive at Howland not during daylight hours but at nightfall or even the dead of night.

While sailing in blue waters far offshore without GPS I had noticed that for myself it was easier to navigate by the stars as opposed to the sun and the horizon and a chronometer. Maybe that was becase taking accurate sextant readings from the deck of a rolling sailboat is tricky. But, there is another thing about navigating oceans at night, and that is light. At night even the smallest light is visable from far, far, away.

I try to picture AE and FN searching for the beams of several bright and powerful naval searchlights. Maybe one or two of them would even be tapping out "di-di-di-dit" ("H") while others made large swaths of light pointing in each of the four cardinal directions and still others made arcs at 45 degrees relative to the horizon and one or two were directed straight up into the dark night sky. I think that would have made Howland extremely visable for hundreds of miles. Much further than a visable daylight search for that "flea speck of an island."

But then that makes no difference today and I don't like Monday morning quarterbacks anyway.

God rest their souls.
"God makes the wind. We set the sails."
 
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