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Author Topic: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937  (Read 446907 times)

Malcolm McKay

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #360 on: August 30, 2012, 01:30:09 AM »


See Lambrecht's letter in which he discusses the planning for the search, no mention of radio bearing as affecting that planning. Lambrecht said exactly wht Fiedell said about this planning so I don't understand your comment about sweeping the bearings under the rug.

gl

I must admit I am puzzled as to why any one would claim that the Navy swept the post loss messages under the rug. Perhaps the Navy evaluated them, took note of the different transmission times, and wisely concluded that as they were not synchronous then they couldn't cross near Gardner - or anywhere. I note from the chart that shows them that where they cross is actually in the ocean, apart from one which can be extended to Gardner but could also be on a line traversing open sea (which makes the Electra as the source impossible). There is so much background noise and static regarding these messages, and I don't mean that just in the radio sense, that they are very difficult evidence to properly assess - they offer a veritable cottage industry of theories on their own.

Then we come right back squarely to the real problem which is the Navy despite the faults assigned to them by the wisdom of hindsight did actually search Gardner and didn't see anything apart from the rather ambiguous comment by Lambrecht of "recent habitation" but people tend to ignore that a term like "recent" is ambiguous unless it is qualified by saying how recent. Apart from the great big shipwreck on the reef, this could also refer to visible remains of the buildings from the Arundel period or even traces left by the Norwich City survivors, but even more importantly there was no Electra and certainly no sign of Earhart and Noonan. Who I would think it should be clear to everyone given Gary's explanation of survival chances (with which I agree) would, if they were on the island, be still ambulatory and not starving and collapsed comatose under a tree. Gardner may have not been quite the tropical paradise of the tourist brochures but it had food and it had water albeit brackish or obtainable.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #361 on: August 30, 2012, 01:36:11 AM »


It seems that the small amount of "poor" code that was copied, (by other than the Pan Am Stations) was mostly just gibberish and the only 'voice' that was copied did not reveal much about location either.  There were anecdotal stories of receiving position information that was recorded and then lost long ago.  [i]No one knows what their mental (or physical) condition was at that time.[/i]


If you accept that the transmissions came from Earhart they you do know that there mental state allowed them to wade out to the plane, crank up the engine and use the radio transmitter and it is reasonable that someone who could do those things could also figure out a way to send location information by sending out dots and dashes. Since none were sent I believe their absence lends support to the theory that the messages did not come from Earhart. I think I have said this many times before.

gl
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Gary LaPook

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #362 on: August 30, 2012, 02:39:30 AM »

Let's say you got up this morning, had breakfast and you are now ready to leave for work but you can't find your car keys. (Ill bet this has happened to everybody.) So you think, "they must be in the house somewhere because I needed my keys to get into the house. I came in through the garage and into the kitchen so maybe I left them in the kitchen." You go to the kitchen and start searching, you check the counter tops, the table, look in the drawers, open the cabinets, etc. At some point you say to yourself, "I have searched the kitchen thoroughly so the keys are not in the kitchen because IF they were in the kitchen I would have spotted them so they must be in another room" and you then stop searching the kitchen and start searching the living room. You have made a thorough and reasonable search of the kitchen and you must move on to another location where it is more probable that the keys are located because you have achieved a high "probability of detection" (POD) of the keys IF they had been in the kitchen and you can't spend all day searching every jar in the kitchen, you gotta get to work.

Lambrecht had to make the same type of decision, search Gardner thoroughly enough to achieve a high enough POD so that he was confident that IF Earhart and Noonan had been on Gardner that they would have been spotted then, like the guy that has to get to work, Lambrecht had to move on to search other islands where they were more likely to find the flyers. Although Lambrecht did not have the modern POD tables, which incorporate all the new information learned about conducting searches since 1937, using them now shows that Lambrecht made the right decision to move on since his search had achieved a high POD. If the search were conducted today, the same decision would be made.

All that we have examined from Lambrecht was the letter written many years later and the news article that mentioned "signs of recent habitation" that many have fastened onto and have asked, "whey didn't they go back and land people on Gardner to conduct a more thorough search based on this comment?"  The answer is that Lambrecht and the others were debriefed by their superiors, including Captain Freidell,  and they gave fuller explanations to them of what had been seen and the superiors decided that, whatever was seen that prompted that comment, that it did not indicate that the flyers had landed on Gardner. This was a high priority mission with LOTS if command emphasis, you don't just send a battleship thousands of miles without the people on board realizing that their careers are riding on the outcome so you can bet that that debriefing was quite thorough. Remember, they wanted to find the flyers, there would be much glory in that result and career enhancement and duty compelled them to land a search party unless they were certain that the "signs of recent habitation" were not in any way connected to Earhart. We don't know the details of that debriefing but you can bet that serious heads considered all the evidence at that time.

gl
« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 02:45:30 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #363 on: August 30, 2012, 03:04:49 AM »

I can't find the post right now, but somebody posted to the effect "that with 182 messages from Earhart" they must have been on land, or something like that. To keep things straight, Jacobson's catalog contains 182 messages but 62 of them were transmissions from the Itasca and 38 were judged to be not credible so leaving only 82 possible messages from Earhart. I know, I know,  "if even just one is.." but I just wanted to get the details right.

gl
« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 03:08:43 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #364 on: August 30, 2012, 08:24:05 AM »

I must admit I am puzzled as to why any one would claim that the Navy swept the post loss messages under the rug.

You might be less puzzled if you did a little bit of research. 
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #365 on: August 30, 2012, 05:52:03 PM »

I must admit I am puzzled as to why any one would claim that the Navy swept the post loss messages under the rug.

You might be less puzzled if you did a little bit of research.

But I have and I cannot see where there is any indication that they deliberately swept anything under the rug. Granted even though the Navy searchers saw no sign of the pair there is the "recent habitation" remark which perhaps should have led to a land search - however given the other visible signs on the island like the shipwreck and remains of the Arundel settlement I can understand the decision. That they didn't do a follow up search is not an indication that Earhart and Noonan were there to find, it is only that the Naval officer in command didn't consider that the cost in resources warranted it. From this distance are we justified in criticising that decision as he was operating using the latest information where we are operating from benefit of a hypothesis.
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richie conroy

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #366 on: August 30, 2012, 06:51:34 PM »

In Today's world

Take air France for instance, even with a oil slick an tail of aircraft on surface of water it still took over a year to locate the actual debris field an black boxes, And that's with twentieth century technology.

So rewind to 1937, A plane goes missing in vicinity of Howland island, We have the L.O.P they claimed they were on, you search north on that line fine no wreckage, oil or fuel spill's, to give reason for further investigation.

You search area to south on L.O.P, And come across Gardner island, You see sign's of recent habitation, however continued zooming fails to elicit a response, And so due to recent habitation you take it the island is occupied.

My question is, how can u assume an island is inhabited, if you fail to get a response in numerous fly over's When clearly there has been recent activity ?

Don't make sense does it.

Which lead's me to think, Amelia or Fred or Both could have been doing cartwheels on the reef an didn't get noticed because the search party had order request e.t.c look for silver plane on a reef, or floating debris in southern direction           
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john a delsing

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #367 on: August 30, 2012, 09:40:32 PM »

I think very few tighar members think that ae or fn where not sighted because of the naval personal's incompetence. Your example of them doing cartwheels on the beach and the navy not being able identify them as humans as they are only looking for a 'silver airplane' is, in my opinion, very far off base.
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dave burrell

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #368 on: August 30, 2012, 09:52:48 PM »

I think very few tighar members think that ae or fn where not sighted because of the naval personal's incompetence. Your example of them doing cartwheels on the beach and the navy not being able identify them as humans as they are only looking for a 'silver airplane' is, in my opinion, very far off base.

Good post John, and in the 1993 tighar tracks, "an answering wave" it is clear that nobody from Tighar was blaming the Navy.

Quote from research Bulletin #3
"In assessing the U.S. Navy’s search for Amelia Earhart it is unfair to apply current Search And Rescue (SAR) standards. Today’s techniques and tactics are, in part, the product of experience gained in unsuccessful operations such as the Earhart search. The question of “How thorough was the search?” is only worth asking if it helps answer the larger question of “What really happened to Amelia Earhart?” – and clearly it does. " End quote.

My opinion of statements about AE doing cartwheels on the beach suggesting the Navy Pilots did not do an adequate job, are exactly as expressed by John and old Tighar bulletins. The navy did the best job they thought necessary. They certainly saw writing in the sand on other islands, so they were not just looking for a plane.
I am confused why now there is "Swept under the rug" talk about the transmission signals. In years past and reading hundreds of posts both by old members and original adminstration, this was never the case.
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pilotart

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #369 on: August 30, 2012, 10:42:36 PM »

Gary,

Since they were of the opinion that the lost Electra had gone down into the sea, it would have been impossible in their view for any Post-Loss Radio messages to have come from the Electra.

I am not surprised that they did not mention any radio calls in their reports, perhaps it would be better to just say that the radio calls were ignored after their search had been completed.
They might have come to that conclusion later but I was directing you to his comments about the planning the search when one hypothesis they were considering was that she was on one of the Phoenix islands which is why they searched them and that planning did not rely on any radio bearings, just as Freidell said, the 157 LOP and that they had to be on land to transmit and the Phoenix islands were the closest land.
gl

Gary,

Yes, my statement on the Navy's opinion of the P/L Radio Data was referring to the time period after their search was complete.  Records show that they were taking radio messages into consideration during the search.

At the time of the initial planning of the Colorado's voyage, there had not been much of any radio messages received or considered.  Their plan to search southeast of Howland was based on their knowledge of Navigation and the LOP along with Amelia's 337/157 transmission.   Corsair Pilot Lambrecht's letter's description of planning mentions Phoenix Islands as possible landing sites, but does not mention P/L Radio as it was not written until the 1970's.

Capt. Wilhelm Friedell’s Report on the U.S.S. Colorado's Search for Earhart dated 13 July does mention modifying their search plan based upon P/L Radio messages:
Quote
The planes radio was believed to have been heard, if some of the many reports were presumed to be authentic, hence on land. <...>
The Commanding Officer therefore decided to hold to his original decision, that of searching to the southeast of Howland, with one modification, that being to search by planes, the land areas of the Phoenix Group, prior to the large water areas.
On 12 July Colorado was relieved by the Lexington.

The Pan Am Memos were written on 10 July and the Analysis of Radio Direction Finder Bearings in the Search for Amelia Earhart that you had linked me to, goes into great detail on the bearings and their reception using 21st Century knowledge.
 
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richie conroy

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #370 on: August 30, 2012, 11:01:36 PM »

Thank you John and Dave

I have the utmost respect for the search parties involved in searching for Amelia and Fred

My point is this.

They see sign's of recent habitation - Correct

They circle island numerous times to draw attention to islanders - Correct

However after repeated circling, they fail to attract the attention of the islanders and move on

So why did they assume the island was inhabited, Even though not one person came out into open area to see what was going on or to wave ?

Did they report back to base an say we saw recent habitation on Gardner island, but were unable to get attention of islanders, yet on all other island's the people come running out to see airplane.

So obviously you would seriously consider asking for a search party to be put ashore on the off chance, But then you see no plane so

we can only speculate why they felt no need to ground search island

   
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jgf1944

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #371 on: August 30, 2012, 11:10:07 PM »

From Lambrecht's report:
Most of this island [Gardner] is covered with tropical vegetation with, here and there, a grove of coconut palms. Here signs of recent habitation were clearly visible but repeated circling and zooming failed to elicit any answering wave from possible inhabitants and it was finally taken for granted that none were there. http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Lambrecht's_Report.html
    The key word "recent," is defined by my handy Mac dictionary as, "belonging to a past period of time comparatively close to the present." Particularly when the repeated circling and zooming brought no human response, I think Lambrecht used "recent" in line with that definition. That is, habitation signs were not all that close to the present.
     Had Lambrecht believed the habitation signs were fresh, wouldn't he have written "current habitation signs were clearly visible but, strangely, I got no human response, as if the inhabitants were somehow unable to respond. For that reason, I think Gardner warrants further attention." (Of course this is not to say that AE and FN did not create signs of habitation; all we are working on here are Lt. Lambrecht's perceptions and judgments.)
    Hmm, or maybe I'm way off base tonight because of this upset stomach. I recently ate something that didn't agree with me. All IMHO, John #3245.

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richie conroy

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #372 on: August 30, 2012, 11:21:18 PM »

Weren't a coconut crab's was it  ;D
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #373 on: August 30, 2012, 11:22:18 PM »


    The key word "recent," is defined by my handy Mac dictionary as, "belonging to a past period of time comparatively close to the present." Particularly when the repeated circling and zooming brought no human response, I think Lambrecht used "recent" in line with that definition. That is, habitation signs were not all that close to the present.

Exactly John, and as I pointed out in my post http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,253.msg19165.html#msg19165 it is relative term.

All this business about the Navy sweeping messages under the rug strikes me as a mixture of special pleading and cock-eyed hindsight.
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pilotart

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #374 on: August 31, 2012, 12:21:30 AM »


See Lambrecht's letter in which he discusses the planning for the search, no mention of radio bearing as affecting that planning. Lambrecht said exactly wht Fiedell said about this planning so I don't understand your comment about sweeping the bearings under the rug.

gl

I must admit I am puzzled as to why any one would claim that the Navy swept the post loss messages under the rug. Perhaps the Navy evaluated them, took note of the different transmission times, and wisely concluded that as they were not synchronous then they couldn't cross near Gardner - or anywhere. I note from the chart that shows them that where they cross is actually in the ocean, apart from one which can be extended to Gardner but could also be on a line traversing open sea (which makes the Electra as the source impossible). There is so much background noise and static regarding these messages, and I don't mean that just in the radio sense, that they are very difficult evidence to properly assess - they offer a veritable cottage industry of theories on their own.

Then we come right back squarely to the real problem which is the Navy despite the faults assigned to them by the wisdom of hindsight did actually search Gardner and didn't see anything apart from the rather ambiguous comment by Lambrecht of "recent habitation" but people tend to ignore that a term like "recent" is ambiguous unless it is qualified by saying how recent. Apart from the great big shipwreck on the reef, this could also refer to visible remains of the buildings from the Arundel period or even traces left by the Norwich City survivors, but even more importantly there was no Electra and certainly no sign of Earhart and Noonan. Who I would think it should be clear to everyone given Gary's explanation of survival chances (with which I agree) would, if they were on the island, be still ambulatory and not starving and collapsed comatose under a tree. Gardner may have not been quite the tropical paradise of the tourist brochures but it had food and it had water albeit brackish or obtainable.

Malcom,

You may of noticed that I had posted: "...perhaps it would be better (for me) to just say that the radio calls were ignored after their search had been completed." as I should not use unkind metaphors in reference to fine people who were doing the best they could and I can't blame them for not mentioning Post Loss Radio after their search was complete.  I would edit my original statement, but as you know 'once you put something online, it's forever there' (at least ;D in post 'quotes').  Let me state that I have nothing but respect for those people and what they tried to do.

Your statement:  "Perhaps the Navy evaluated them, took note of the different transmission times, and wisely concluded that as they were not synchronous then they couldn't cross near Gardner - or anywhere." shows a lack of understanding of radio bearings.

It is true that if you are locating a moving target, the times must be synchronous, but in locating a fixed target the times or days of the Bearings do not affect the accuracy.  In fact it allows for greater precision when you are plotting a stationary target.
 
The Bearing Chart simplifies the accuracy of those radio bearings and actually show a more precise assignment of Gardner Island that would be possible in my opinion.

Radio bearings were not that precise and at that time period were probably +/- one degree of accuracy or one mile left or right for each sixty miles from the station.  That would mean that those lines would be 1800/60=30 miles either side of center or a possible span of 60 miles.  This would make each line look as wide as the two bearings from Oahu that show 213/215.

The only area of importance is in the area of crossing, those lines that have no 'crossings' are just single LOP's and you can't determine position.  (Read the analysis if you want an explanation if those.)

If I were drawing a chart for navigation, it would just project the lines from the locations for Oahu, Midway and Wake.  It would just cover the area around the crossings and those 'lines' from the bearings would be about 60 miles wide (assuming about 1800 miles from the bearings centers).

Of course we also have that bearing from Howland experimental HF/DF at a width of about 12 miles.  This one was plotted from a pocket compass which was why it was drawn as "NNW/SSE".

With this you would end up with a hexagon about 100 miles across approximately centered on Gardner and the Howland bearing would only add precision.  My 'one' degree came from a 1936 estimate of HF/DF Ground Station Accuracy, no matter the "degree of accuracy" (you could even assign a different "degree of accuracy" for each specific Bearing depending upon confidence) that you wish to apply, it will still center in the same location, just grow in size.

Just as when you cross LOP's from celestial points, your location is considered to be somewhere within this hexagon (or quadrilateral when you only have two bearings) and you place more confidence in the center of the area.
__________________________________
Now with a disclaimer, I am going to delve into a little bit of 'coulda'-'shoulda' that has no effect on the outcome, because it was never acted upon:

From An Answering Wave: Why the Navy Didn’t Find Amelia

Rear Admiral Orin G. Murfin asked the Navy Department that he be permitted to divert the battleship U.S.S. Colorado and it was 2:08 PM on July 3rd before she cleared Pearl Harbor.  By now Murfin was aware that there was a fast ship with an aircraft aboard far closer to the search area and in receipt of radio signals at 7 PM on July 2nd (or 0600Z July 3rd) believed to be distress calls from Earhart. She was the British cruiser HMS Achilles (later to win fame in the pursuit of the Graf Spee). On July 3rd Achilles was 800 nm east of the island group Colorado would eventually search on July 9th. Unlike Colorado, she was familiar with the area and could have had her Supermarine Walrus observation plane overhead the suspect islands fully four days before they were, in fact, searched. No request was made for her assistance. Instead, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Lexington, preparing for Fourth of July celebrations at Santa Barbara, California, was ordered to rendezvous with four destroyers and proceed immediately to join the search, refueling in Hawaii on the way. But first she had to re-provision at Long Beach and then go to San Diego to take on aircraft whose pilots had to be recalled from holiday leave. It was July 5 before the Lexington Group began its 4,000 nm voyage to join the search.

It had seemed to me that a request would have been in order, considering the circumstances.  It seems that Political Concerns (USA vs British Empire relations in 1937 in the Pacific) trumped logic.  I would have thought that Admiral Murfin would have had the authority to make the request, you must know that Roosevelt would have approved...
_______________________________________________
Just to show how TIGHAR continues research and modifies and improves their hypothesis; the Achilles reception event was rejected in October 2000 as "not credible".  Then in a more recent study using 21st Century expertise, the same message is now considered credible.

Malcom, I am aware that we have agreed to different opinions on validity of radio messages and am aware that not all 'experts' will agree on the Post Loss Radio subject.

I do feel a need to correct an obvious misunderstanding when it falls within an area that I am qualified to comment on.
____________________________________________________________

There is no doubt that the contributions of the members who intelligently and constructively disagree with TIGHAR are what makes this public forum worthwhile and if it were only agreeing members, it might not accomplish nearly as much.
Art Johnson
 
« Last Edit: August 31, 2012, 11:26:08 AM by pilotart »
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