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Author Topic: After the Landing  (Read 323302 times)

Gary LaPook

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #240 on: June 16, 2012, 04:02:03 AM »



The thing about missing airplanes is that they generally leave some sort of trace, fire, smoke, smoking hole, broken trees, aluminum debris field, disturbed snow, vultures gathering - something that can be seen from farther away than a single person can be seen.  That's why the search visibility in the POD Chart starts at 1 mile, it was developed for missing airplanes and the signs they leave.  Gary likes to quote my sample that uses the 1mi visibility, which is probably reasonable if we're looking for the Electra or perhaps a VW.  However, in this case we're talking about looking for a person who is not necessarily out in the open, and I don't think a 4 mile, or even 1 mile search visibility is reasonable.  I would not use those values if I were managing an actual search for a missing person in heavy cover.

Gary on the other hand, believes he and our Navy fliers (apparently untrained in any SAR technique) can see and recognize a person on the ground under the tree cover from 4 miles away.  He apparently has very good eyes.


Andrew
I've pointed out before that you are conflating "search visibility" with "scanning range" so please re-read my attempt to convince you of this at my post here.

I also wrote this before:


"2. Perhaps you missed this part of my post:

"Look at the definition of "Scanning Range" which is the distance that a searcher "is expected to have a good chance of spotting the search objective" so scanning range is what you have mistaken for search visibility. To make this even more clear, the definition continues, "Scanning range can be less than but never greater than the search visibility" so these are obviously two different things."

3. The manual states that persons on the ground are the second most common search subjects so the CAP contemplates searching for persons and uses the POD table to plan the search for people  and to assess the effectiveness of the completed search.

If you are correct that the smallest thing covered by the POD table is the size of a car, since people are the second most common object searched for, where is the correction table that would be necessary to adjust the percentages derived from the POD tables to account for the smaller object of a person. And why don't the tables include greater distances than 4 mi because you can certainly see a crashed B-52 more than 4 mi away?"

And also this:
-----------------------------
Just for you Ric, I am attaching page 74 from the CAP manual since it appears to apply to you.

"Scanning range sometimes may be confused with search visibility..."

gl  * Pages 74-75 from ref_aircrew.pdf (47.09 kB - downloaded 22 times.)

I never claimed that a person can be spotted at 4 miles, again that is your misunderstanding of "search visibility." This is a value about the clarity of the air, that you can recognize a small object, maybe a house or a building at four miles. Lambrecht reported 30 miles visibility so the you use the 4 mile search visibility column in the POD table as that is the maximum visibility listed. With a .5 mile track spacing the farthest you have to look to see a person on the ground is 1/4 of a mile, not the 4 miles you misrepresented that I was claiming. In fact,  because the strip of land is so narrow on Gardner, the farthest one can be away from a person on the ground, and still be flying over the island, is less than 600 feet for fully 84% of the circuit. In fact, 39% of this donut is less than 700 feet wide and a further 45% is less than 1200 feet wide. Only the northern end of the island is a half nautical mile wide. This means that the search planes flying down the center of the strip of land would only have to search 350 feet either side of the plane (a little bit longer than a football field) for 39% of the circuit and 600 feet for 45% of the circuit. Only on the northern tip, constituting the remaining 16% of the island,  would they have to search a quarter mile either side, 1519 feet.

You now claim that the POD values are only valid for searching for large objects but I quoted your words "so 1 mile is usually the max Search Visibility used, especially if were looking for humans instead of Electras" so you used exactly the same method of using the POD table that I used and in this prior post didn't not make any other adjustment for a search for a person. Only after I posted the computation showing a high probability of detection did you then make a new post using an extrapolation method, not mentioned in the Search and Rescue Manual, to come up with an unsupported extremely low POD. I asked you to provide us with a scanned copy of an actual search planning document, the form 104a, showing that you had used this extrapolation method for a real search that you conducted and you have not provided one. I also asked you what track spacing you have used in the past when searching for persons and how you could ever arrive at a cumulative POD that would justify ever making a search for a person in the woods based on your unsupported, extremely low, extrapolated single pass POD, and you have not responded to that request either. You made a very big change in your method for determining the POD for a search for a person in your second post compared to your first post and the only thing that had changed between those two posts was that I posted my computation.

There is a big difference between "extrapolation" and "interpolation." "Interpolation" can be quite accurate while "extrapolation" rarely is.

The Search and Rescue Manual states that searching for persons is the second most common type of search yet there is no separate POD table for this type of search or any correction table to use in adjusting the published values for POD as would be necessary if your interpretation was correct, that the tables only apply to searches for downed aircraft. I have stated before that the people who drafted this manual were compelled to use conservative numbers so as not to overestimate the effectiveness of a search. So, if the values only applied to searches for aircraft and the same tables also had to be used for searching for people then, if the calculated POD was designed to apply to aircraft, then the numbers would overestimate the effectiveness of a search for a person and so would NOT be conservative. But, if instead, they assumed the worst case, that of searching for the more difficult object to find, a person, then the tables correctly, and conservatively, predict the quality of a search for a person and underestimate the effectiveness of a search for a larger object. The is a conservative way to draft the POD tables. So which one makes more sense when drafting this table, overestimating the effectiveness of a search for a person or underestimating the the effectiveness of a search for a larger object? Which would be more conservative? Which would result in more lives being saved?

My National Search And Rescue Manual is dated 1986. You referred us to a CAP document dated 2005. In spite of almost 20 additional years of search experience the POD table in your 2005 document is identical to the table in the 1986 manual. There is no separate POD table for searches for people nor is there a table to make an adjustment for searches for persons even though many thousands of such searches must have been made in this period. It appears that the drafters of the 2005 document were satisfied with the existing POD tables. They are also the same tables in the CAP Aircrew Reference Text (2004) excerpts of which I have attached including the definitions section. Compare "search visibility" with "scanning range." This document does have a table of distances you can expect to spot persons on the ground, 1/2 mile or less for a person in a clearing and one mile or less for a person in the open. Looking at the 1/2 mile of less situation, a track spacing of 0.5 miles means that you will pass within half of that distance, one-quarter of a mile, of every point which places a person well within the spotting distance and even better for a person in the open. This CAP document does NOT support your statement:
 "So in theory, with track spacing of .5 miles, flying at 500 ft AGL and IF you were able to see and recognize a person in the bush at a lateral distance of 1/8th of a mile (660 ft), you'd have a 1.25% POD for a single pass" in Reply #6.


None of these documents provide any guidance for "extrapolating" to your extremely low POD for a search for a person. The National Search And Rescue Manual manual is not a document just used by a civilian agency, the CAP, but is also an official manual of the military services, Army FM 20-150, Navy NWP-19, Air Force AFM 64-2, and Coast Guard COMDTINST M16120.5. I spent 26 years in the Army, the last 7 years in the Judge Advocate General's Corps, and there is not a chance in the world that there would not be guidance for making this type of adjustment in these manuals if such adjustment was authorized. The military is not going to leave it up to the imagination of some low ranking person planning the search for a lost person to come up with his "extrapolation" of the POD tables. And think of the all the lawyers parachuting in when a person dies because of an improperly planned search and then the evidence comes out that some low ranking person was just "winging it" by making an unauthorized extrapolation when planning the search. Get out your checkbook.

So at the end of this debate we are left with some anecdotes from Andrew and others saying the navy guys would not be able to spot Earhart and also some anecdotes saying that they could. Ric always criticizes "anecdotal" claims. But we also have several official government manuals clearly laying out the procedure for calculating the POD and that computation , even using Andrew's numbers and method in his first post, shows a high level of probability that they would have been spotted even in tree covered terrain if they were on Gardner when it was searched by the navy planes.

 I'm going to take Ric's advice to ignore anecdotes and I'm going with the official Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Civil Air Patrol documents.

gl
« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 05:02:38 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #241 on: June 16, 2012, 04:20:47 AM »



I'm waiting for you to produce evidence of "any acceptable kind" as to the nature of the training received.


Stop worrying about the training, I've stated that with no training all you have to do is look out the window or door or over the cockpit combing and you see stuff. My anecdote was doing that from army Hueys without any special training and being able to see guys wearing camouflage uniforms.

gl
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Gary LaPook

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #242 on: June 16, 2012, 04:37:26 AM »

I find the SAR aspect of sighting 'possible' survivors on Gardner Island intriguing. The theory and maths involved has been explained brilliantly. The personnel who carry out these tasks, superb. The equipment and techniques, outstanding.
That's the theory and, I'm sure it works in practice, sometimes.
And that's the point I would like to add, 'it works in practice, sometimes'.
I say that because during my research into other aircraft lost in the vicinity of Gardner island and, surrounding area. I have noticed that survivors of ditching aircraft who end up adrift on the Pacific ocean have all reported their difficulty in attracting the attention of SAR aircraft that have been sent to find them.
Now, the SAR aircraft and crews are actively looking for the ditched aviators.
The ditched aviators are actively trying to get the attention of the SAR aircraft.
There is no 'cover' to prevent sighting of downed aviators.
life rafts are a bright colour, to stand out from the background, to be seen.
And yet, they were not seen.
I'm sure there could be other factors that prevented sighting, weather? light? but, it would be foolish and, has been shown, that trained SAR teams actively looking and, ditched aircrews actively trying to get noticed, don't always end up meeting each other even in open water conditions.
I'm glad you brought this up because what you have described is accurately predicted in the National Search and Rescue Manual so provides further validation of that manual. It turns out that a survivor in the life raft will be able to see the search aircraft much further away than the searchers can be expected to see the life raft. According to table 4-4 and figure 4-3 of that manual, a fixed wing aircraft flying at 500 feet has only a 50% chance of spotting a person in a life raft under the most optimum conditions at 1.4 NM and only a 30% chance at 2.1 NM. In order to raise the POD up to 90% (still not certain) requires the plane to pass within 0.5 NM of the raft. So you can see that from the perspective of the person in the life raft that he expects the plane to see him but the reality is that he is mistaken in this expectation.

gl
« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 05:04:47 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #243 on: June 16, 2012, 04:47:51 AM »

Gary, I think Andrew has done a great job of summarizing  some of his experiences in SAR work, but let me, as an old Army pilot who spent more than 700 hours flying at low levels, usually less than 100 feet, in support of ground troops in Viet Nam put in my 2 cents worth. I also disagree with your pronouncements about how easily people on the ground can be detected. I have over flown friendly troops on the ground for hours at a time and we, my crew and I plus a second ship that was part of our team, frequently only got fleeting glimpses of them when they were in moderate cover and we basically knew where they were.


That's because you were flying too low. Look at the POD tables and you will see that the POD improves with higher altitudes and the lowest tabulated altitude is 500 feet and the highest listed altitude is 1,000 feet so at 100 feet or less you can expect the POD to be really bad. The marine search tables include altitudes all the way up to 3,000 feet and the POD for marine searches also increases with altitude. Oh, I just thought of this. The assertion that the bird activity caused the search to be flown at a higher altitude and that this caused the search to be less effective is proven wrong by the POD table since the POD increases with altitude, it does not decrease. (BTW, I've done a bit of flying myself.)
« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 05:27:20 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Adam Marsland

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #244 on: June 16, 2012, 05:04:31 AM »

Aerial observation techniques were highly developed during the "Great War" and there is no reason to think that the Army kept these techniques secret from their brothers in the Navy. Navy aviators did not just spot shell splashes they also scouted for other ships such as "the enemy."

I don't doubt that some of the aviators were good at seeing big objects at long range.

Quote
And this was not the first search for lost airmen conducted from planes. In 1927 planes were use to search for the missing pilots of the planes competing in the Dole Derby so search and rescue techniques were already developed ten years prior to the Earhart search.

The question is whether those techniques (if one search did, in fact, develop S.A.R. techniques comparable to those taught today) for doing a regular visual search for small objects were taught to the Navy personnel who were over Niku. 

Quote
Whatever disparagement of the skills of the Navy aviators the defenders of the Gardner hypothesis feel compelled to make, the commanders of the Colorado and the Lexington felt otherwise and they had current knowledge of the skill and training that the aviators possessed. If the commanders did not believe that the aviators had the necessary skill to spot Earhart then there would have been no reason to launch the search planes.

The commanders were commanded to go search.  They used the resources they had on board.  I don't deny their conviction that it would be easy to spot folks on tropical islands from the air.  I question whether that is a reasonable conviction, since they hadn't had any practice at doing so in the Great War and the Little War hadn't yet begun to produce wrecks and survivors in the Pacific Theater.
 
Quote
Any time a piece of evidence points away from the TIGHAR hypothesis, the defenders of the faith jump up to disparage it.

And believers in a different faith jump up to state their creed.

Strange things do happen.

An improbability is not the same thing as an impossibility.

A probability is not the same thing as a certainty.

You credit the six men (like Malcolm, without providing evidence of S.A.R. training) with so much skill that you conclude it is highly unlikely that AE and FN were on the island.  I do not give the men or their training that much credit, and rate the odds of them missing AE and FN (if they were on the island) higher than you do.

This is something about which reasonable people may reasonably disagree.

No more faith is involved on one side than the other.

Quote
I have never claimed that the failure to spot them on the island proved that they were not on the island. Even with a high probability of detection, it is just that, a probability, and it is never a certainty.

OK.  I made the same point above before reading these lines.

Quote
But it does provide one more piece of evidence on the not TIGHAR end of the scale, it doesn't prove it.

That sentence is a train wreck, and it doesn't quite follow from the concession you have just made about probabilities and certainties.

Quote
The TIGHAR enthusiasts pile everything they can find on the island (unless it has a clear date on it of 1938 or later) on their end of the scale as additional evidence of Earhart being on the island so it is certainly fair for me to bring up evidence pointing in the other direction.

Let's use parallel construction: you are also an enthusiast making judgments for which you are responsible.  If you call the material you are using "evidence," then you should also call the material used by your opponents "evidence."  If the proper description is "bringing up evidence" for what you do, then you should use that same neutral language for what your opponents do.

Otherwise, you are slanting the playing field rhetorically.   You say either view could be right, but portray those who view things differently from you as merely "piling up stuff on the scale," while you, the reasonable man, are "bringing up evidence."

My favorite post of the year.

I don't mind being wrong, myself, and I enjoy being proven wrong, because I learn something.  Having people asserting intellectual superiority by being intellectually dishonest, however, is just infuriating.  Especially when the assumption is no one will ever call them on it.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #245 on: June 16, 2012, 05:15:19 AM »


The TIGHAR enthusiasts pile everything they can find on the island (unless it has a clear date on it of 1938 or later) on their end of the scale as additional evidence of Earhart being on the island so it is certainly fair for me to bring up evidence pointing in the other direction.

Let's use parallel construction: you are also an enthusiast making judgments for which you are responsible.  If you call the material you are using "evidence," then you should also call the material used by your opponents "evidence."  If the proper description is "bringing up evidence" for what you do, then you should use that same neutral language for what your opponents do.

Otherwise, you are slanting the playing field rhetorically.   You say either view could be right, but portray those who view things differently from you as merely "piling up stuff on the scale," while you, the reasonable man, are "bringing up evidence."

I did, read what you quoted again.

gl
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Adam Marsland

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #246 on: June 16, 2012, 05:18:35 AM »

All this argument is silly.  It's trying to make a completely plausible event out to be something that's completely unbelievable.  Even if something has a 90% chance of happening, there's a 10% chance of it not happening.  I personally believe the idea that people doing a few passes over an island, no matter how competent, picking two people out and having a 90% chance of seeing them is laughable...I claim no expertise but again, it's just common sense. The real world does not function perfectly, and very few things have a 90% success ratio, no matter how competent the people involved.  But even in that unlikely event, 10% events do happen.  Roughly about 1 out of every 10 times.

Malcolm and Gary, is it your assertion that it is fundamentally impossible that AE or FN were unseen by the navy pilots flying overhead?  If not, then what is the point of all this back and forth?  If there was a 90% chance of being seen or a 35% chance of being seen, it's still perfectly plausible in either case that they were unseen.  Asserting a higher probability doesn't really do much of anything.  The fact that they were not seen is a data point against the Niku hypothesis.  Granted.  But to go to such lengths to try and assert that of course they would have been seen...to me, it's just silly.  You can't possibly know that.  You weren't in the cockpit, you don't have the pilot's eye view, you don't have a sense of the training or imperatives the pilots were functioning under, you have no idea what was going on the ground.  You just have your opinions, which are totally valid, but the fact is:  they were either there or they weren't.  If they were there, they weren't seen.  And unless you are prepared to assign a 100% probability to them being seen by the Navy fliers, all this argument accomplishes exactly nothing.  It's perfectly plausible that (a) they weren't there or (b) they were there, and weren't seen.  If you like (a), then the fact that they weren't seen supports your belief BUT it doesn't really carry nearly as much evidentiary weight against TIGHAR's thesis as you both seem to think it does -- because it's still perfectly possible and even plausible that they were missed even under a 90-10 scenario.  And the, to me rather desperate sounding, attempts to blow up the Navy overflight into something like a near-conclusive indictment of the TIGHAR theory sounds a bit strident and silly.

Give it up, guys.  However likely or unlikely the Navy overflight was to have found AE and FN, it's a data point for sure, but it's hardly conclusive against TIGHAR.  If AE or FN wound up on Niku, it's because of a string of events that, taken on their own, each had a low probability.  But if such were not the case, there would be no mystery.  Low probability events do happen....though in this case, I think it's a stretch to assert with such confidence that AE and FN being missed is such a low probability event.  But to the point trying to be made, it simply doesn't matter.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 05:24:01 AM by Adam Marsland »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #247 on: June 16, 2012, 05:40:00 AM »

All this argument is silly.  It's trying to make a completely plausible event out to be something that's completely unbelievable.  Even if something has a 90% chance of happening, there's a 10% chance of it not happening.  I personally believe the idea that people doing a few passes over an island, no matter how competent, picking two people out and having a 90% chance of seeing them is laughable...I claim no expertise but again, it's just common sense. The real world does not function perfectly, and very few things have a 90% success ratio, no matter how competent the people involved.  But even in that unlikely event, 10% events do happen.  Roughly about 1 out of every 10 times.
Well, that is your opinion that you admit you have no expertise to  base it on. I just referred everyone to the official military and CAP manuals that say you are wrong in your opinion, that's all. It is not my opinion that that there was a high POD, it is the opinion of those who do have expertise in this field, who drafted the manuals for use in the serious business of saving lives. Now if you can come up with some other official publications that support you opinion then please post them.
Quote

Malcolm and Gary, is it your assertion that it is fundamentally impossible that AE or FN were unseen by the navy pilots flying overhead?  If not, then what is the point of all this back and forth?  If there was a 90% chance of being seen or a 35% chance of being seen, it's still perfectly plausible in either case that they were unseen.  Asserting a higher probability doesn't really do much of anything.  The fact that they were not seen is a data point against the Niku hypothesis.  Granted.  But to go to such lengths to try and assert that of course they would have been seen...to me, it's just silly.  You can't possibly know that.  You weren't in the cockpit, you don't have the pilot's eye view, you don't have a sense of the training or imperatives the pilots were functioning under, you have no idea what was going on the ground.  You just have your opinions, which are totally valid, but the fact is:  they were either there or they weren't.  If they were there, they weren't seen.  And unless you are prepared to assign a 100% probability to them being seen by the Navy fliers, all this argument accomplishes exactly nothing.  It's perfectly plausible that (a) they weren't there or (b) they were there, and weren't seen.  If you like (a), then the fact that they weren't seen supports your belief BUT it doesn't really carry nearly as much evidentiary weight against TIGHAR's thesis as you both seem to think it does -- because it's still perfectly possible and even plausible that they were missed even under a 90-10 scenario.  And the, to me rather desperate sounding, attempts to blow up the Navy overflight into something like a near-conclusive indictment of the TIGHAR theory sounds a bit strident and silly.

Give it up, guys.  However likely or unlikely the Navy overflight was to have found AE and FN, it's a data point for sure, but it's hardly conclusive against TIGHAR.  If AE or FN wound up on Niku, it's because of a string of events that, taken on their own, each had a low probability.  But if such were not the case, there would be no mystery.  Low probability events do happen....though in this case, I think it's a stretch to assert with such confidence that AE and FN being missed is such a low probability event.  But to the point trying to be made, it simply doesn't matter.
I never made any claim that the search disproved the TIGHAR hypothesis only that there was a  high probability of detection and that this constituted one more piece of evidence pointing away from that hypothesis. And I only quoted the POD tables in the original thread because Ric had claimed in Finding Amelia that the POD tables supported his hypothesis and gave only a 10 to 20% POD meaning that the pilots had an 80 to 90% probability of not seeing Earhart when, in fact, the calculation shows it is much higher, and, instead of supporting the TIGHAR theory it tends to disprove it, see

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,517.msg6503.html#msg6503

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,517.msg6459.html#msg6459

 https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,517.msg6481.html#msg6481

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,517.msg6497.html#msg6497

Then Andrew reopened this discussion on the current thread.

gl

« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 09:11:21 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #248 on: June 16, 2012, 06:07:44 AM »

The examples I gave in my previous post in this thread were based on what actually happened as opposed to what should have happened according to a training manual/book/set of tables/theory/choice of crew/experience etc...

Some 70 feet down, Zamperini finally forced his way out of the sinking plane, scraping the skin off his back as he squeezed through a hole in the fuselage. He surfaced and caught his breath only to see fire, smoke, and debris on the water. “Swallowing a nauseous saltwater mixed with gasoline, oil, hydraulic fluid, and blood, I somehow managed to inflate my Mae West—my life jacket,” he says. “Then I noticed two crewmen about 20 feet away clinging to the side of a gas-tank float. I managed to grab onto a portion of a nylon parachute cord that was attached to an inflatable life raft. I climbed in, unhooked the oars, and rowed over to pick up our pilot, Russell Phillips, who was badly injured, and pulled him up into the raft. Then Francis McNamara, our tail-gunner, made it in. We were the only three survivors of the eleven-man crew.

“The next two days we saw B-25s searching for us, but they did not notice our flares or dye markers.

http://www.americainwwii.com/stories/luckylouie.html

Peering intently into the distance, all seven men strained their eyes against the dark clouds.  Then they saw it, a single-engine pontoon boat flying low through the squall about five miles away.  Bartek stood up in the raft he now shared with Rickenbacker and Adamson, Rick steadying him against the crash of the ocean swells, to wave his shirt.  All seven men, including Adamson, yelled at the top of their voices.  Then the dark clouds obscured the small plane in the distance and it disappeared.  The men had gone unseen on the dark waters.

Still, for the first time in nineteen days the doomed men saw signs of life beyond the rims of their raft.  A new optimism began to grow.

 
 
Day 19

The rain that had refreshed the seven survivors intermittently became more steady with the dawn.   By early afternoon the waves had become large, white-capped swells.  Water had been collected that might last for several more days.  Suddenly Captain Cherry yelled above the howl of the winds:

"I hear a plane.  Listen!"


 

Day 20 & 21

Two more similar airplanes appeared in the distant skies the following day.  The men had no way of knowing if they were American or Japanese aircraft, but by this time it mattered little.  Besides, neither pilot noticed the three small rafts that floated on the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean.

Four more airplanes appeared on the distant horizon early the following day, but again the men in the rafts went unseen.  During the afternoon the survivors were able to scoop up several small minnows that swarmed around the raft, a most welcome meal at a time when hopes began once again to sag.  As the day wore on, no more aircraft were spotted.  Rick feared that perhaps the rafts had been near an island base, then floated on past.


http://www.homeofheroes.com/wings/part1/8_newwar.html
I posted a photo I took of Zamperini here.

gl
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #249 on: June 16, 2012, 07:57:12 AM »

A very tough breed these WW2 flyers. I am amazed that Louis even survived the war never mind reaching a grand old age!
This must be the place
 
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C.W. Herndon

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #250 on: June 16, 2012, 08:05:06 AM »

Gary, I think Andrew has done a great job of summarizing  some of his experiences in SAR work, but let me, as an old Army pilot who spent more than 700 hours flying at low levels, usually less than 100 feet, in support of ground troops in Viet Nam put in my 2 cents worth. I also disagree with your pronouncements about how easily people on the ground can be detected. I have over flown friendly troops on the ground for hours at a time and we, my crew and I plus a second ship that was part of our team, frequently only got fleeting glimpses of them when they were in moderate cover and we basically knew where they were.


That's because you were flying too low. Look at the POD tables and you will see that the POD improves with higher altitudes and the lowest tabulated altitude is 500 feet and the highest listed altitude is 1,000 feet so at 100 feet or less you can expect the POD to be really bad. The marine search tables include altitudes all the way up to 3,000 feet and the POD for marine searches also increases with altitude. Oh, I just thought of this. The assertion that the bird activity caused the search to be flown at a higher altitude and that this caused the search to be less effective is proven wrong by the POD table since the POD increases with altitude, it does not decrease. (BTW, I've done a bit of flying myself.)

Gary, I usually have a lot of respect for your posts but in this case you have, in my opinion, stepped on it so to speak.

First of all, almost all of the Army close air support in Viet Nam was flown at very low altitudes until the Cobra helicopter came along. Although the cobra was normally flown at a higher altitude, usually 1500' or a little higher, in most cases he relied on a scout helicopter down on the deck , in many cases hovering right above the vegetation, to locate targets and mark them with smoke. Only rarely did the Cobra crew actually see what they were shooting at.

In the part of the country that I flew in your chances of survival decreased rapidly in the altitudes from 100' to 300' and then progressively got a little better up to 1500' which we considered to be fairly safe unless there were .51cal machine guns in the area. Army aircrews became very proficient in "scouting" operations at altitudes of 100' and below and received many hours of supervised practice before they were released to preform on their own. I personally had hundreds of hours of experience in this environment and yet you, apparently, pass that off as anecdotal and not worthy on consideration. I find this to be highly offensive. On the other hand you claim to have (expert?) experience, you don't mention how much, as an observer in a Huey that is credible. I am sure you have done a bit of flying yourself but how much of it was directly related to the questions here?

I guess that my whole point is that, in the eyes of one who has been there done that, your charts don't impress me much when it comes to finding people. Finding equipment yes, finding people no.

The Navy "Seawolf" pilots who flew Huey helicopters in the most southern parts of Viet Nam, where most of my experience was, used much the same tactics that the Army did.

By the way, US Air Force Pilots when in this area, with the exception of FACS (forward air controllers), rarely got below 5000' except when they were on takeoff/landing or cruising along at 400kts or more. The fighter pilots had to rely on the FACS to mark their targets with smoke before a strike and complete a BDA (bomb damage assessment) after the strike. On rare occcasions the troops on the ground surveyed the strike area to complete the damage assessment.
Woody (former 3316R)
"the watcher"
 
« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 08:56:12 PM by C.W. Herndon »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #251 on: June 16, 2012, 08:06:33 AM »

And I, Marty, am waiting for you to produce any form of acceptable evidence that the Navy airman were incapable of spotting Earhart and Noonan if indeed they were on the island.

The thought that they were "incapable" is not my thought.

Asking me to defend an argument I have not made is not logical.

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So far you have failed to do so, and as the question of the competence of the Naval aviators has been alluded to by implication, and in some cases directly, in discussions of why in the days following their disappearance Earhart and Noonan were not spotted by the Navy on Nikumaroro then during the fly over, I suggest that you prove conclusively that the Navy personnel were professionally incapable of doing so.

Proving a negative is notoriously difficult.

In the absence of objective evidence that the six personnel had S.A.R. training that would improve the odds of finding what they are looking for, I real it is reasonable to suppose that they only had the kind of training appropriate for finding targets and directing gunfire.  You are the one who claims that such specific training would make them omnicompetent (despite your own anecdote to the contrary about having your perceptual skills enhanced by training).

Your assertion, your burden of proof.

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If you aren't aware by now the TIGHAR hypothesis rests on rather shaky ground in regard to the material and documentary evidence ...

I believe I have indicated before now that I'm aware of the status of TIGHAR's work.  Evaluating how shaky the ground is depends on how one interprets the information TIGHAR has collected.

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... then adding to that flimsy case by imputing that the Navy search personnel were incompetent is an element of special pleading which actually weakens rather than strengthens the case.

Your argument seems to be:
  • Competent people are 100% reliable.
  • The personnel were competent because some of them had training in spotting targets and ships.
  • The personnel saw everything there was to see; hence we must conclude that AE and FN were not on Niku.
  • Anyone who says otherwise is insulting the competence of the Navy.
But I can disagree with the first premise. Without insulting the searchers, I can see reasons why they might have missed spotting the plane or the survivors if the plane or the survivors were on Niku.
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In view of that if it was my hypothesis that Earhart and Noonan met their end on Nikumaroro I would simply accept that they were missed by the Navy and leave it at that. The failure of the Navy to find the missing pair on the island is not proof positive that they weren't there, but that is all it is.

OK.  That's all I've ever said.

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Equally however it cannot be turned into proof positive, by adding a frisson of supposed Navy incompetence, that they were.

I agree that anyone who defended that straw man would be absurd.  I think I've said that already, more than once, in writing.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #252 on: June 16, 2012, 08:12:00 AM »

Stop worrying about the training, I've stated that with no training all you have to do is look out the window or door or over the cockpit combing and you see stuff. My anecdote was doing that from army Hueys without any special training and being able to see guys wearing camouflage uniforms.

OK.  If all we're doing is relying on anecdotal evidence, then anecdotes to the contrary have been abundantly supplied in this thread.

If all we are doing is comparing assertions, then what one person freely asserts as a matter of opinion may be freely denied by another as a matter of opinion.

I've never denied that people can see things by looking out the windows of aircraft.  I've done that myself.  I've seen lots of interesting things.  The view that I hold is that we now know how to help observers do an effective visual scan and that such training improves the odds (without ever reaching 100% reliability) of finding what is sought.

Since you're willing to drop your claim that the six personnel must have benefited from the 1927 search and hence to argue simply at the level of assertion, I'm willing to stop pointing out the complete absence of evidence supporting your earlier assertion.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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John Ousterhout

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #253 on: June 16, 2012, 08:45:49 AM »

What is the likelyhood of the Lockheed making a successful water landing?  Since the mostly likely failure mode of the flight was to end in open water, either sinking before searchers arrived to see it, or floating long enough for searchers to miss it, it might be instructive to compare those chances with the island search chances.
The ability of the Lockheed to float after a water landing has not been well established one way or the other, according to previous discussions that I'm familiar with.  The aircraft had lots of empty fuel tanks that may have provided significant buoyancy, although we know next to nothing about their design and whether they would actually float or sink.  If the search aircraft were as thorough as the CAP tables would seem to indicate, then is the only conclusion that the aircraft almost certainly had sunk by the time they flew over?  What was the likelyhood of the search spotting a floating Lockheed or wreckage of a water crash?
Or do we assume the Lockheed wasn't there to be spotted? 
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #254 on: June 16, 2012, 08:56:42 AM »

That would depend on a number of factors John...
Pilot skills
Dead stick ditching
Sea swell and conditions
There's probably more, maybe someone could add to the list.
The 2 aircraft that I mentioned that went into the Pacific sank within minutes, the plexiglass is no match for the Pacific Ocean. Once the plexiglass went the ocean poured in so fast they barely had time to get the rafts out never mind anything else.

This must be the place
 
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