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Author Topic: Sunrise Encounter  (Read 99584 times)

Gary LaPook

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #30 on: June 02, 2011, 08:03:16 PM »

DR or pilotage? It's hard not to see at least some landmarks when flying in the center of the U.S.

The DR portion of the trip was about 300 miles of scud running at very low altitude in low visibility where you couldn't afford to look down long enough to study a map.  I had worked out a heading that should intersect with the shore of Lake Erie at a particular point. I just held that heading and tried not to run into anything. I hit the point within about a mile.  It wasn't legal and it wasn't smart, but it worked.

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After you intercepted your LOP (the shoreline) I'm guessing that you knew which way to turn to get to your destination since you aimed for a certain spot on the LOP. Works pretty good, eh? Maybe you and Noonan have something in common?

Gary LaPook
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #31 on: June 02, 2011, 08:34:47 PM »

In the past your have said that the several islands of the Phoenix Island group provided a "catcher's mitt" ensuring that Noonan would be certain to stumble onto at least one of these islands, that they were impossible to miss.

I don't think I ever said that and it's certainly not what I think or ever thought.  We launched this project 23 years ago based on the premise that AE and FN ran down the 157 line and reached either McKean or Gardner - because she had a way to get there.  We never seriously considered the possibility that she reached any of the other islands of the Phoenix Group. As you say, they're spread far apart. They are by no stretch of the imagination a "catcher's mitt."  Somebody on the old forum used to talk about the "catcher's mitt" thing.  Some ambitious soul could probably dig back through the old forum archives and resurrect the thread.

I welcome attempts to debunk the TIGHAR hypothesis - we're constantly trying ourselves - but please make sure you understand what we have hypothesized before you try to debunk it.

Or would they turn around and fly a standard search pattern

What is this "standard search pattern" you speak of?  Where is it described in 1937 or earlier sources?  Who taught it to AE or FN?  Where is the evidence that they did something like that, especially given that AE said they were doing something else (i.e. running on the line)?

with three hours of fuel on board to allow a long search, with Howland and Baker, with twenty mile visibility, presenting together a target 80 miles wide and only 50 to a hundred miles away, a target hard to miss.

How do I know this target is only fifty to a hundred miles away?  All I know is that I'm on the advanced LOP and I don't see an island.
Based on the most recent modeling of the Electra's transmitting antenna, they were probably at least 80 and perhaps as much as 210 nautical miles from Howland.  See The 3105 Donut

What choice would you make?

Let's see....do I wander around in the middle of the ocean hoping that I'll stumble across the island I'm looking for, or do I follow a line that should bring me within sight of one of four islands.  Not a hard choice.

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #32 on: June 02, 2011, 08:47:12 PM »

After you intercepted your LOP (the shoreline) I'm guessing that you knew which way to turn to get to your destination since you aimed for a certain spot on the LOP. Works pretty good, eh? Maybe you and Noonan have something in common?

I knew which way to turn when I reached the lakeshore because the shore of Lake Erie runs pretty much East/West and my destination (Binghamton, NY) was beyond the East end of the lake.  In that sense, it really didn't matter where I hit the LOP.  It mattered to Noonan.
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david alan atchason

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #33 on: June 02, 2011, 09:48:07 PM »

I spent a chunk of this morning trying to understand Gary LaPook's navigation lesson. I was able to digest it, and I learned much that I had been desiring to learn about celestial navigation. Thank you, Gary. My take is if they had navigated "by the book"  they would not have reached Gardner. But, as Ric says, who knows what they did? What if Amelia was panicking? My experience as an avid hiker/mountaineer is when I get lost, my first impulse is to do something stupid. Usually I am able to fight this impulse. Maybe they didn't.
Tonight I had the brilliant idea to take a ruler and draw a line from Lae to Howland on my map. Their flight should have passed over some of the Gilbert Islands, no? Maybe they saw one as the sun came up.Or some lights. By and by, they can't find Howland.  They can't receive radio messages. Amelia says something about "flying that line 157/337. Then the fuse blows on their dynamotor, the idea I got from that Pan Am captain's conjecture. Now they can't transmit and they know it. Maybe the dynamotor powers something else on the plane, too. Fred and Amelia discuss the Phoenix option. Too chancy. But Fred is pretty certain they are very near the equator. If they fly due west, they will hit the Gilberts which have so many islands relatively close together they can hardly miss. A little farther than Gardner, yes, but they have to weigh their odds, and  they suspect they are probably west of Howland, anyway. So they manage to land on one of the deserted Gilbert Islands. They aren't sure where  they are, but they fix their dynamotor and send the message Dana Randolph hears about "on a reef" Fred is seriously hurt and isn't helpful. There is no water, period. End of story.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #34 on: June 02, 2011, 09:55:28 PM »

With enough baseless speculation you can put them anywhere. You solve a mystery by following clues. 
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david alan atchason

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #35 on: June 02, 2011, 10:24:17 PM »

Well, give me A for effort. Is there anything that would rule this scenario out totally? It might explain why they gave no position or landmark in their apparent radio calls. Something that I question about the Niku Hypothesis.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #36 on: June 03, 2011, 05:55:40 AM »

Well, give me A for effort.

Not yet.  You haven't made any effort yet.

Here is some of your homework:

Find out how many deserted Gilbert islands there were in 1937.

Of those islands, find out how many had an area where the plane could land and send at least one post-loss message.

Of those islands, find out the history of subsequent settlement.  Why has no sign of the plane been found in the Gilberts?

Send expeditions to the islands of your choice and see for yourself whether you can find traces of the plane.

Set up a website where all and sundry can question the evidence you have collected.

This is what TIGHAR has done with the island group toward which the last recorded message points.

This is the standard of effort that you will have to meet.  I don't think you've really made much progress yet.

Quote
Is there anything that would rule this scenario out totally? It might explain why they gave no position or landmark in their apparent radio calls. Something that I question about the Niku Hypothesis.

I don't see how an emergency landing in the Gilberts has more explanatory power than an emergency landing on Niku.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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david alan atchason

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #37 on: June 03, 2011, 11:05:17 AM »

OK, then give me an A in baseless speculation. All I have done so far has been done from my armchair, it is true. I have read books, including Ric's and Tom King's and several others. I have Googled pertinent subjects and followed some leads. I have grasped Gary LaPook's lesson on mavigation. I have taken the Niku Hypothesis and tried to picture these events happening, with no hands on knowledge of the area. I may very well visit the Phoenix Islands. I bought a coconut to research coconuts. In my mind I see some inconsistencies in the Niku Hyp. Some weaknesses, if you will. My hypothesis has weaknesses and may prove to be terminally weak. Yes, I have to do much more homework and your comments show me a path. As for an expedition, I need more money. I will obtain a P.O. box where people can send it soon. Send cash only. Some of your questions in your post I will respond to shortly, but mostly in opinion and conjecture for the time being. Until I do more homework. In the meantime, any proven facts that would blow my hypothesis out of the water are welcome, then I won't have to do any further homework.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #38 on: June 03, 2011, 11:11:17 AM »

In the meantime, any proven facts that would blow my hypothesis out of the water are welcome, then I won't have to do any further homework.

I think you blew yourself out of the water.
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david alan atchason

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #39 on: June 03, 2011, 11:19:37 AM »

No, no, I haven't given up yet. It is not time to abandon my ship.
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Chris Johnson

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #40 on: June 03, 2011, 12:59:03 PM »

Their flight should have passed over some of the Gilbert Islands, no?

A Plane may have flown over the Gilberts?

Anecdotal (sp) evidence but certainly along the flight path.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #41 on: June 03, 2011, 02:03:10 PM »

Anecdotal (sp) evidence but certainly along the flight path.

Yes indeed.  Maybe someone really did hear the plane pass high overhead.  If so it is an indication that the flight was more or less on course when it was about 700 miles from Howland.  Did AE and FN know there was an island down there?  There was no electricity on those islands and it was the middle of the night.  Were there clouds?  If they could make out that there was an island below could they identify which one it was?

When they failed to find Howland they obviously didn't know where they were except that they were someplace on the LOP.  You can't DR back to a specific point from an unknown location. Turning back to the Gilberts is like going for the Phoenix Islands "catcher's mitt" - suicide.

If they did fly back to the Gilberts and get lucky enough to hit an island and land, theres another problem. All of the islands in the Gilberts archipelago were densely populated and under British administration.  Itasca and Swan visited the Gilberts as part of the Earhart search. Three islands in the Phoenix Group - Gardner, Hull and Sydney - were later settled specifically to reduce the over-population problem in the Gilberts.  How did AE and FN manage to avoid detection?
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david alan atchason

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #42 on: June 03, 2011, 09:33:44 PM »

I have done minimum research, but here's what little I have learned. I looked for population figures in the Gilberts. The only one I found stated that in 1905 the population was down to around 300. Now it is what, 60,000? This is going to require getting a history of the Gilberts somewhere. Nowadays every single island and atoll is populated. In the 30 years from 1905-1937 the island gained much population, but how or why? Were some of the more worthless atolls uninhabited in 1937? I'll try to find out. The coordinates for each island are given, and they seem to be very close together. I'll have to determine what the mileage is between them. In other words, if you were directly over one island, you should be able to see to the next one. Now, if the distance between the Phoenix Islands are about 200 miles, and the distance between Gilberts is 20-50 miles, and the Gilberts are arranged along a line, and I desperately need to find an island quick, I'm opting for the Gilberts, everything else being equal.  Flying due west from the Howland vicinity, I can hardly miss, or at least my chances are much better than the spaced out Phoenixes. Besides, AE and FN thought, the Gilberts are populated so our chances of rescue are good, Phoenix = bad. They don't know the Navy is going to send out search planes to the Phoenixes. They don't need a good landing area, they figure they can ditch the plane in the water near an island and somehow get ashore if worst comes to worst. But they luck out and are able to land and send radio messages. This is my developing hypothesis.
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david alan atchason

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #43 on: June 03, 2011, 09:51:05 PM »

I'll have to read about the search by the Itasca and Swan, I was not  aware of this. Is this in the archives somewhere? I'm not good at looking up items in the archives. Yet.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #44 on: June 03, 2011, 10:39:05 PM »

I have done minimum research, but here's what little I have learned. I looked for population figures in the Gilberts. The only one I found stated that in 1905 the population was down to around 300. Now it is what, 60,000? This is going to require getting a history of the Gilberts somewhere. Nowadays every single island and atoll is populated. In the 30 years from 1905-1937 the island gained much population, but how or why? Were some of the more worthless atolls uninhabited in 1937? I'll try to find out. The coordinates for each island are given, and they seem to be very close together. I'll have to determine what the mileage is between them. In other words, if you were directly over one island, you should be able to see to the next one. Now, if the distance between the Phoenix Islands are about 200 miles, and the distance between Gilberts is 20-50 miles, and the Gilberts are arranged along a line, and I desperately need to find an island quick, I'm opting for the Gilberts, everything else being equal.  Flying due west from the Howland vicinity, I can hardly miss, or at least my chances are much better than the spaced out Phoenixes. Besides, AE and FN thought, the Gilberts are populated so our chances of rescue are good, Phoenix = bad. They don't know the Navy is going to send out search planes to the Phoenixes. They don't need a good landing area, they figure they can ditch the plane in the water near an island and somehow get ashore if worst comes to worst. But they luck out and are able to land and send radio messages. This is my developing hypothesis.

----------------------------------------------

Tabituea is directly on course from Lae and about 550 nautical miles short of Howland. See:

https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/resources/trial/gnc-20-8.JPG

and:

https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/resources/trial/gnc-7-1.JPG

See generally:

https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/resources/trial

Gary LaPook
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