# TIGHAR

## Amelia Earhart Search Forum => Celestial choir => Topic started by: Robert J Schafish on May 31, 2011, 08:24:40 PM

Title: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Robert J Schafish on May 31, 2011, 08:24:40 PM
The  discussions in the Celestial Navigation forum have led down many informative paths on aspects of navigation that have kept me coming back to see what new topics have come up or what new insights have been uncovered.  So I have decided to plunge in at the risk of exposing my ignorance of navigation, celestial or otherwise.  The general topic is the line of position technique.  The concept appears to be clear;  when you observe the sunrise then you know you are somewhere along the line that sunrise  describes over the surface of the earth.  The forum discussion on the line of position included much speculation on whether this technique was used by Noonan on the route to Howland.  It set me to ask if it was possible to estimate the time and/or distance from Howland when the AE aircraft would/could have encountered sunrise on the approach to Howland.  Would the results be consistent with communications from AE?

After reviewing the information in the Celestial Navigation forum it made sense to me to characterize the line of sunrise as moving along the earth’s surface at the velocity of the earth’s rotation.  Starting with that idea, and using the estimated flight path of the aircraft ( a line from Lae to Howland),  I plotted  the time of sunrise along the flight path but travelling from east to west,  opposite the direction of the aircraft.  The aircraft can be described as travelling along the same line from Lae to Howland  but in the opposite direction.  The intersection of the aircraft with sunrise on the morning of July 2, 1937  can be calculated from the two plots or by using the associated equations.

Sunrise at a given date and latitude and longitude was calculated using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) sunrise/sunset calculator at http://www.srrb.noaa.gov/highlights/sunrise/sunrise.html  I used the  NOAA web site to calculate the time of sunrise at Howland and at intervals of 100 miles, 200 miles and 300 miles from Howland along the projected flight path of the AE aircraft from Lae to Howland.  Latitudes and longitudes of these points were obtained using Google Earth.

I plotted the time and distance for sunrise along the Howland – Lae path using Excel which also produced an equation relating the time of sunrise west of Howland  (GMT)  = 0.00106 x +17.75 hours where x is the distance from Howland.

Table 1
Sunrise GMT   Miles from               Lat         Long
Howland
17:45         0         0 47’ 57.84” N      176 37’ 14.75”W
17:52         100         0 30’ 25.62” N             178   2’ 50.09”W
17.58          200         0 11’ 15.02” N      179  28’ 21.67”W
18.04         300         0   5’ 51.73” S      179   7’  14.03”E

I then used the time and location of the ship siting reported by AE (the Myrtlebank at 10:30 hours GMT) and  two radio transmissions by AE;   200 miles out  17:42, and 100 miles out at 18:12 hours and departure from Lae at 0:00 GMT  to plot the aircraft’s location along the projected flight path (Table 2)

Table 2
Time      Miles from Howland
18:12         100
17:42         200
10:30            1,121 (Myrtlebank siting)
0:00            2,556 (Lae)

Again, I used Excel to plot the data and produce an equation; GMT = -0.0077 X + 19.091 where X is the distance from Howland.

When the aircraft’s path and the sunrise line coincide then the time for both is the same. So at that time the two equations are equal;

0.00106 x +17.75 = -0.0077 X + 19.091.

Solving for X, the result is 153 miles from Howland at GMT = 17:55.

So, does this pass the laugh test?  Is the basic analysis correct?  Does the result make sense and does it tell us anything new or interesting? Comments and constructive criticism are welcome!
Cheers, Bob Schafish

Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: h.a.c. van asten on May 31, 2011, 09:48:43 PM
R.Schaf. I come back  one time for it : excellent analysis , separated from that your results confirm computations made by application of navigation technique of the era , see EJN-2008 & 2011.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on May 31, 2011, 10:19:46 PM

Solving for X, the result is 153 miles from Howland at GMT = 17:55.

So, does this pass the laugh test?  Is the basic analysis correct?  Does the result make sense and does it tell us anything new or interesting? Comments and constructive criticism are welcome!

It sounds like it is in the ballpark, but you should think about how many assumptions you have made about air speed and course made good from Lae to the intersection.

Note the information from Bob Brandenburg and Gary LaPook (http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,291.msg3716.html#msg3716) about how high the sun has to rise before a useful observation can be made: six degrees above the horizon (about a half-hour).  That shifts the time and place when Noonan would have drawn his line of position (http://tighar.org/wiki/Line_of_position) on his chart later in the morning and further east from your intersection between the flight line and the terminator.

I can't count how many times Ric and Bob and others have cautioned against using the time of transmission as the time of the position fix.  We don't know how long before Earhart's regularly-scheduled broadcasts Fred calculated their position or whether he took into account the lag between his calculation and the time of the transmission.  "All of the flight data provided by Earhart, with the possible exception of "ship in sight ahead", can be fit with a variety of paths. In other words, there are no internal inconsistencies with Earhart's data that she provided. The 200 and 100 mile out position reports are compatible simply because those positions were not the positions at the time she broadcast her messages, but were positions made somewhat prior to those times" ("Monte Carlo Simulation of Flight"). (http://tighar.org/wiki/Monte_Carlo_Simulation_of_Flight)

You can tell from the timeline of the transmissions (http://tighar.org/wiki/Transmissions_heard_from_NR16020) that the position reports are sketchy at best.  In the half-hour between the "200 miles out" message (1742 GMT) and the "100 miles out" message (1812 GMT), the aircraft almost certainly did not travel at 200 mph.  The second report seems more likely to be close to the time of the fix because it is after sunrise for the airplane.

What you have done is calculate one possible flight path and timeline.  Randy Jacobson talks about the defects of that approach:

"Another flaw in researcher's analysis is trying to reconstruct the flight using paper and pencil, as though there was only one solution that fit the data. There are literally millions of possible flight permutations that fit the available data, and it is only by using the computer and Monte Carlo simulations that any hope of determining the flight path can be considered. Monte Carlo methodology is a brute force means to obtain a solution to a set of equations or problem: literally thousands, if not millions, of possible solutions are examined. Some of these solutions are not valid, since they violate known data constraints; whereas others are assigned probabilities, based upon probabilistic estimates of input parameters. For example, let us consider that Earhart accounted for expected cross-winds, based upon forecasts, during her flight. She received a number of forecasts, and we must assign a probability to each forecast that she may have used. Similarly, we have to assign probabilities to actual wind aloft velocities and directions, extrapolated from surface measurements. Once all of these probabilities have been assigned, the Monte Carlo simulations are run, and what results is a probabilistic map of Earhart's position as a function of time. Even if there was a sharp peak in the distribution at any particular time, that does not mean Earhart was actually there, she could be anywhere where the probability is non-zero. The best use of Monte Carlo simulations is not only to determine the most likely flight, but where Earhart could not have gone"  ("Monte Carlo Simulation of Flight"). (http://tighar.org/wiki/Monte_Carlo_Simulation_of_Flight)
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Gary LaPook on June 01, 2011, 04:32:00 AM
The  discussions in the Celestial Navigation forum have led down many informative paths on aspects of navigation that have kept me coming back to see what new topics have come up or what new insights have been uncovered.  So I have decided to plunge in at the risk of exposing my ignorance of navigation, celestial or otherwise.  The general topic is the line of position technique.  The concept appears to be clear;  when you observe the sunrise then you know you are somewhere along the line that sunrise  describes over the surface of the earth.  The forum discussion on the line of position included much speculation on whether this technique was used by Noonan on the route to Howland.  It set me to ask if it was possible to estimate the time and/or distance from Howland when the AE aircraft would/could have encountered sunrise on the approach to Howland.  Would the results be consistent with communications from AE?

After reviewing the information in the Celestial Navigation forum it made sense to me to characterize the line of sunrise as moving along the earth’s surface at the velocity of the earth’s rotation.  Starting with that idea, and using the estimated flight path of the aircraft ( a line from Lae to Howland),  I plotted  the time of sunrise along the flight path but travelling from east to west,  opposite the direction of the aircraft.  The aircraft can be described as travelling along the same line from Lae to Howland  but in the opposite direction.  The intersection of the aircraft with sunrise on the morning of July 2, 1937  can be calculated from the two plots or by using the associated equations.

Sunrise at a given date and latitude and longitude was calculated using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) sunrise/sunset calculator at http://www.srrb.noaa.gov/highlights/sunrise/sunrise.html  I used the  NOAA web site to calculate the time of sunrise at Howland and at intervals of 100 miles, 200 miles and 300 miles from Howland along the projected flight path of the AE aircraft from Lae to Howland.  Latitudes and longitudes of these points were obtained using Google Earth.

I plotted the time and distance for sunrise along the Howland – Lae path using Excel which also produced an equation relating the time of sunrise west of Howland  (GMT)  = 0.00106 x +17.75 hours where x is the distance from Howland.

Table 1
Sunrise GMT   Miles from               Lat         Long
Howland
17:45         0         0 47’ 57.84” N      176 37’ 14.75”W
17:52         100         0 30’ 25.62” N             178   2’ 50.09”W
17.58          200         0 11’ 15.02” N      179  28’ 21.67”W
18.04         300         0   5’ 51.73” S      179   7’  14.03”E

I then used the time and location of the ship siting reported by AE (the Myrtlebank at 10:30 hours GMT) and  two radio transmissions by AE;   200 miles out  17:42, and 100 miles out at 18:12 hours and departure from Lae at 0:00 GMT  to plot the aircraft’s location along the projected flight path (Table 2)

Table 2
Time      Miles from Howland
18:12         100
17:42         200
10:30            1,121 (Myrtlebank siting)
0:00            2,556 (Lae)

Again, I used Excel to plot the data and produce an equation; GMT = -0.0077 X + 19.091 where X is the distance from Howland.

When the aircraft’s path and the sunrise line coincide then the time for both is the same. So at that time the two equations are equal;

0.00106 x +17.75 = -0.0077 X + 19.091.

Solving for X, the result is 153 miles from Howland at GMT = 17:55.

So, does this pass the laugh test?  Is the basic analysis correct?  Does the result make sense and does it tell us anything new or interesting? Comments and constructive criticism are welcome!
Cheers, Bob Schafish

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

Where did you get the assumption that they were (or should have been) at Howland at 19:05:28 Z (accurate to the nearest second) since this is where your 19.091 factor comes from?

How did you deal with the discrepancy in the required ground speeds from the 100 and 200 mile reports? Since you have them arriving at 19:05:28 Z the ground speed from the 100 mile report at 18:12 Z must have been 112 mph but from the 200 mile report it must have been 144 mph?

And you are assuming that they went straight in without flying an offset landfall approach which they might have been doing when they realized that the radio was not working . If they did fly a standard landfall approach then they would have had to travel more miles until they thought that they were at Howland. But regardless of the exact flight path we can be sure that they thought that they were at Howland by 1912 Z when Earhart reported "must be on you" but it is also quite likely that this report came some time after they thought they were at Howland, a delay of 5, 10  or even 15 minutes until making this transmission would not be unreasonable.

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

One thing I do have to laugh about is the level of precision that you (and others) use in stating your results. A calculator or computer is perfectly happy working to a precision of 10 or more  decimal places, 10 or more significant figures, but this is an example GIGO. As I have pointed out to others before, you cannot state your result to the nearest second when your original data was accurate only to the nearest minute (and maybe not even that accurate.) For example, the coordinates you used for Howland of 00° 45' 57.84" N and 176° 37' 14.75" W that you input into the sunrise calculator website (thank you for that link) you state to the nearest one-hundredth of a second of arc, how did you get the coordinates to that level of precision? One second of latitude (and longitude at the the position of Howland) is only 101.2685914 feet (let's just call it a hundred feet) so by stating the coordinates to a one-hundredth of a second you are claiming a precision of one foot! Even GPS only claims 10 meter accuracy which is more than 30 feet. The same with the other coordinates that you state, all accurate to within one foot? Your computer is perfectly happy coming up with numbers like this but they don't have any meaning in the real world.  The report of "100 miles" also has some margin of error. Even if it Noonan's estimate was perfect, the way it was stated, "100 miles", means that there is still a one mile ambiguity from 99.5 to 100.5 miles, 5280 feet,  which is 52 seconds of latitude or longitude at the position of Howland so it is kinda silly stating those position to the nearest one hundredth of a second, to the nearest foot.

The same problem with your times of sunrise. You put your coordinates into the sunrise website and just took out the results. But there is a one minute ambiguity, +/- 30 seconds, resulting in an ambiguity of 15 minutes of longitude (15 NM) ambiguity for the location and times of sunrise using this website, just like when using the Nautical Almanac sunrise table. Go back and enter any longitude from 176° 24' 28" W through 176° 39'  27" W for Howland and you will get the same 1745 Z time of sunrise. For the 100 mile out position you can enter any longitude from 178° 01' 59" W through 178° 16' 58" W and you will get the same time of 1752 Z.

One more way to look at this, you state the longitudes to one-hundredth of a second of arc. The terminator (the line separating day from night, the sunrise line) moves towards the west at a rate of 15° per hour so it takes 4 minutes to go one degree of longitude. A minute of arc is one-sixtieth of a degree so it takes 4 seconds to go 1' of longitude. A second of arc is also one-sixtieth of a minute so it takes only 1/15th of a second to move one second of longitude. At the precision that you are stating your longitudes, 0.01" or 1 foot, the terminator moves this far in 0.00067 seconds so I think it is interesting that you think you can predict sunrise to a  precision of 1/1500 of a second! Especially since the website gives the data to a level of 60 seconds, so you manage to calculate to a precision 90,000 times better than the original data!

Anyway, you should give some thought to what the numbers you computer spits out really mean.

Gary LaPook
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie on June 01, 2011, 07:10:02 AM
One thing I do have to laugh about is the level of precision that you (and others) use in stating your results.

TIGHAR board member, expedition veteran, retired USAF pilot/airline captain/NASA consultant and all-around great guy "Skeet" Gifford like to say, "Measure with micrometer, mark with chalk, cut with an axe."

In truth there can be no precision at all in reconstructing what happened during the failed Lae/Howland flight. All of the various analyses are full of confident statements about what Noonan would have done and wouldn't have done. It's all speculation.  To determine what actually happened requires evidence. The available evidence consists of reported radio transmissions from the aircraft both before and after it vanished, reported search results, photographs of apparent wreckage, and recovered artifacts. All of the available evidence suggests that the flight ended at Gardner Island. That it could have gotten there is undeniable. How it might have gotten there is unknown and ultimately unknowable.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Bill Lloyd on June 01, 2011, 10:05:42 AM
All of the available evidence suggests that the flight ended at Gardner Island. That it could have gotten there is undeniable. How it might have gotten there is unknown and ultimately unknowable.

Gary LaPook goes to great links to argue against the TIGHAR theory (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/debunking-tighar-s-theory).  He writes what amounts to a treatise on why it was not possible to follow the 157° LOP to Niku. (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/why-it-was-not-possible-to-follow-lop-to-nikumaroro)

Mr. LaPook is very adamant that there was no way for Noonan to navigate the 157° LOP since, among other reasons, it relocated after the first hour.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Gary LaPook on June 01, 2011, 01:31:51 PM
All of the available evidence suggests that the flight ended at Gardner Island. That it could have gotten there is undeniable. How it might have gotten there is unknown and ultimately unknowable.

Gary LaPook goes to great links to argue against the TIGHAR theory (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/debunking-tighar-s-theory).  He writes what amounts to a treatise on why it was not possible to follow the 157° LOP to Niku. (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/why-it-was-not-possible-to-follow-lop-to-nikumaroro)

Mr. LaPook is very adamant that there was no way for Noonan to navigate the 157° LOP since, among other reasons, it relocated after the first hour.

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

That should come as no surprise to anyone since I have been saying the same thing since I started posting to TIGHAR in 2002. Look at my March 18, 2002 post available in the archives at:

http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Forum/Forum_Archives/200203.txt

Gary LaPook
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Chris Owens on June 01, 2011, 02:10:32 PM
I have read, but don't understand  Gary LaPook's argument as to why it is impossible to fly the 157/357 LOP.  What happens if you:

• Take a sight at some time shortly after sunrise, giving you a LOP
• Continue flying for, say, an hour.  Advance the LOP by your best dead reckoning estimate of your course and speed over the ground.
• Hang a right and fly, by DR, a course as close to 157 as you can.
Admittedly this does not guarantee that you're flying any particular LOP, but it's pretty damn close.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Gary LaPook on June 01, 2011, 03:31:50 PM
I have read, but don't understand  Gary LaPook's argument as to why it is impossible to fly the 157/357 LOP.  What happens if you:

• Take a sight at some time shortly after sunrise, giving you a LOP
• Continue flying for, say, an hour.  Advance the LOP by your best dead reckoning estimate of your course and speed over the ground.
• Hang a right and fly, by DR, a course as close to 157 as you can.
Admittedly this does not guarantee that you're flying any particular LOP, but it's pretty damn close.

--------------------------------------------------------------
In short, it's not "pretty damn close."

Sure you can fly a heading of 157° but there is no guarantee of staying on the line that leads to Nikumaroro, or even near that line. Since we know that there was a wind out of the easterly direction, a heading of 157° would guarantee that they did NOT stay on the LOP since the crosswind would have blown them off to the west. A wind out of the east at 20 knots would have caused the plane to drift to the right by 9° so their track would have been 166°, not even close to their 157° heading. If the wind speed was 30 knots then the drift would have been 13° to the right making their track 170°. Based on a visibility of 20 miles, it would take an error of only 3° to cause them to pass so for to the west of Nikumororo that they wouldn't  have been able to see it. And Nikumroro is the furthest to the west of the Phoenix islands so missing it to the west would also guarantee that they would never see any of the other islands either.

The reason the difference between following an LOP versus just flying a heading is important is that if the LOP had been available then Noonan could have taken additional sights and corrected back onto the LOP if he got blown off course and there is no such corrective mechanism when just flying a heading. It is the difference between driving down a street that has curbs on both sides versus just driving off cross-country across an empty desert. Even on a long trip of 350 miles, if you stay on the road you are guaranteed of getting to your destination. Driving cross-country across 350 miles of featureless desert only guarantees you that you will end up somewhere in the desert.

Gary LaPook
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie on June 01, 2011, 07:26:07 PM
Gary LaPook is correct that you can't fly down (or up) an LOP.  All you can do is DR the course described by an LOP - in Earhart's case an 157 -337 line that passes through Howland.  Yes, the wind will blow you off course if you don't correct for it but correcting for drift is pretty basic to DR and Noonan should have had plenty of opportunity to get a handle on what the wind was doing that morning.

As I said above, we're never going to know for sure how the plane got to Gardner but I don't think you can "debunk" the entire body of evidence that suggests that it did by speculating that Fred Noonan couldn't Dead Reckon that airplane along a 157° True course for a couple hours without wandering way off the line.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Chris Owens on June 01, 2011, 08:09:11 PM
I have read, but don't understand  Gary LaPook's argument as to why it is impossible to fly the 157/357 LOP.  What happens if you:

• Take a sight at some time shortly after sunrise, giving you a LOP
• Continue flying for, say, an hour.  Advance the LOP by your best dead reckoning estimate of your course and speed over the ground.
• Hang a right and fly, by DR, a course as close to 157 as you can.
Admittedly this does not guarantee that you're flying any particular LOP, but it's pretty damn close.

--------------------------------------------------------------
In short, it's not "pretty damn close."

Sure you can fly a heading of 157° but there is no guarantee of staying on the line that leads to Nikumaroro, or even near that line. Since we know that there was a wind out of the easterly direction, a heading of 157° would guarantee that they did NOT stay on the LOP since the crosswind would have blown them off to the west. A wind out of the east at 20 knots would have caused the plane to drift to the right by 9° so their track would have been 166°, not even close to their 157° heading.

I was not talking about flying a heading of 157, I was talking about flying a  course of 157.  I would think that with an estimate of the winds, drift sights, and other tricks of the DR trade a navigator could get pretty close.  I don't know the state of the art in 1937, but would guess that hitting within 3 degrees of a desired course wouldn't be a miraculous feat.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Gary LaPook on June 01, 2011, 10:36:49 PM

I was not talking about flying a heading of 157, I was talking about flying a  course of 157.  I would think that with an estimate of the winds, drift sights, and other tricks of the DR trade a navigator could get pretty close.  I don't know the state of the art in 1937, but would guess that hitting within 3 degrees of a desired course wouldn't be a miraculous feat.
[/quote]

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

I think the most accepted value for the uncertainty in a DR position is 10% of the distance covered although Weems is overly optimistic and uses an estimate of 5%. The U.S. Navy Air Navigation Manual, H.O. 216, is much less optimistic. See:

So flying 350 miles to Nikumaroro would  lead to an uncertainty in the DR position of 35 miles (enough to miss Niku) even with a good DR. So if they knew they were right over Howland and purposefully decided to DR to Niku, they couldn't be certain of finding it. And, since they didn't know where they were (if they had known, they would have landed on Howland) there would be no way that they could DR to Niku. You cannot DR to a destination without knowing where you are starting from. The error or uncertainty in the starting position is carried forward into all subsequent DR positions to which there it the additional loss of accuracy due to the distance traveled.  The way you do DR is you put a dot on your chart representing your starting location, draw a line from that starting position in the direction you are going to fly, and then measure down that line the distance you think you have traveled. If you put the starting dot in the wrong place then everything on the course line that you drew are also wrong. Noonan's problem was that he wouldn't have known where to place that starting dot! If he had known where he was he would have drawn a line from that dot to Howland and would have DRed to Howland. You cannot start a DR plot without a starting location.

An example of how this works might make it clearer. If they were 60 miles west of Howland when they started DRing down the 157° course, even  with absolutely  perfect DRing and no additional loss of accuracy, at the end of 350 miles of flying, they would still be exactly 60 miles west of the course line. With a loss of accuracy of 35 miles, based on the accepted 10% estimate, you would draw a circle of 35 mile radius around the new DR position and estimate that your are somewhere within that circle. This means that you would be from 25 miles to to 95 miles west of the course line.

Gary LaPook
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Gary LaPook on June 01, 2011, 10:47:02 PM
All of the available evidence suggests that the flight ended at Gardner Island. That it could have gotten there is undeniable. How it might have gotten there is unknown and ultimately unknowable.

Gary LaPook goes to great links to argue against the TIGHAR theory (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/debunking-tighar-s-theory).  He writes what amounts to a treatise on why it was not possible to follow the 157° LOP to Niku. (https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/why-it-was-not-possible-to-follow-lop-to-nikumaroro)

Mr. LaPook is very adamant that there was no way for Noonan to navigate the 157° LOP since, among other reasons, it relocated after the first hour.

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

You should also note that I don't think too much of the various Japanese capture theories either which all depend upon Earhart being on some sort of a spy mission. See:

Gary LaPook
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Gary LaPook on June 01, 2011, 10:59:06 PM

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

I think the most accepted value for the uncertainty in a DR position is 10% of the distance covered although Weems is overly optimistic and uses an estimate of 5%. The U.S. Navy Air Navigation Manual, H.O. 216, is much less optimistic. See:

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

10% accuracy is the same as a 6° course accuracy.

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

Put yourself in Noonan's position. Even if in the past, on some occasions you achieved better than 10% accuracy, now that you are looking for a small island in the Pacific would you use that optimistic estimate or a more conservative estimate when making plans for what might be the rest of your life.

Gary LaPook
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: John Joseph Barrett on June 02, 2011, 05:23:43 AM
I don't think anyone has suggested that, upon not finding Howland, a decision was made to fly to Gardner. From what I gather, when Howland couldn't be located it just made sense to head for an area where there were known to be several islands. This would at least give them a chance to find something other than ocean to land on. Finding and landing on Gardner would have been more of a fortunate happening than a planned destination. Viewed from that perspective, if you know you are in one area, you should be able to navigate to another area with some degree of accuracy, not necessarily to a specific point, but at least to the general area. Get there, spot an island, land your plane, radio for help, and wait. I agree, to navigate to a specific place you do need to know where you are to begin with, not so much to go area to area.     -LTM-  John
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Chris Owens on June 02, 2011, 06:53:41 AM
Gary, thanks for the Weems and HO216 references -- the 5%, 10%, and "20 nm per hour + 1%" numbers were just the info I was missing.  Based on these numbers I agree that "advance the LOP and, if you don't see Howland, hang a right and DR down the 157 course" would not have been considered a sound navigational plan at the time.

Venturing into pure unanswerable speculation, is it plausible that they simply didn't have a backup plan for "what if radio navigation fails us?" and basically had to wing it, in which case "head off toward where Niku might be," while not prudent, beat the heck out of "circle until we run out of gas."   Failure to plan for radio failure would be consistent with AE's reputed overconfidence.  Would it be consistent with FN's approach to navigation?

Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Bill Lloyd on June 02, 2011, 08:08:54 AM
I am not a celestial navigator nor have I ever used a sextant while flying an aircraft, however, I have been an aviator  for many years. Most all of my military and civilian commercial time is with turbine engines. I am dual rated, multi engine fixed and rotary wing, instrument rated and have flown extensively offshore in commercial rotary wing.  Before the days of GPS and even before LORAN in the Gulf we used DR and commercial radio stations to navigate.  WLS in New Orleans intersected with  KTRH in Houston would get us to the Getty field in marginal weather. In later years we went to IFR night in the Sikorsky 76, Bell 414 and the BO-105

How did the Electra navigate to Gardner Island?

In this case, my sense of offshore flying tells me that the logical choice to follow, if Howland could not be found and I had no radio, would be to stay on the track of 157° true and proceed toward the Phoenix Islands. This choice is predicated upon the premise that that in flight planning the charts had been studied and in looking for options for an alternant destination it was decided that the Phoenix group was the nearest and within range and on the track of 157° true, which happened to be identical to the sunrise LOP landfall. To do this type of planning would not be inconsistent with what we appear to know about Noonan.

Of course to DR. the magnetic heading would have to account for the wind and magnetic variation. The wind direction and force could be estimated by looking at the water which is one of the first things that I learned in off shore flying. I would hold this heading or crab angle, set the throttles and mixture to the most economical setting and have Noonan attempt to compute ground speed and wind and give me an estimate to the  Island.  I would have him unrolling his charts for the Phoenix group and compute how much flying time we had left.  We would not be concerned that the original sun line had rotated because the heading  to the Phoenix group is set in and an attempt to stay the course will be made until we come upon Gardner. If the magnetic heading is the correct one, that is, adjusted for wind and magnetic variation, then  Gardner Island will come into view about ten miles distant off the starboard side. If  not enough wind correction is applied and we drift to the right, then we could very well hit Gardner head on.

The aforementioned is but speculation on my part, but based on my experience, it is the option that I would have adopted to get out of  the scrape.  Apparently, Earhart must have thought something along these lines or she would not have died on Gardner Island.

Mr. LaPook, I suggest that you take a very close look at the evidence that TIGHAR  has proffered in this case. I understand that you might know a thing or two about evidence. Although most of the evidence is circumstantial and some of it is mislabeled and would not be admissible, the body of evidence supports the inference that Earhart came to Earth on Gardner Island.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on June 02, 2011, 09:16:48 AM
... In this case, my sense of offshore flying tells me that the logical choice to follow, if Howland could not be found and I had no radio, would be to stay on the track of 157° true and proceed toward the Phoenix Islands. ...

Remember that the last transmission received (http://tighar.org/wiki/Last_transmission) said that AE and FN were flying "the line" north and south.

The first purpose of flying along the line, first to the north (it seems) and then to the south, was to find Howland.

Failing that, there was the prospect of more islands to search for to the south than to the north.

This piece of navigational logic was brought to TIGHAR's attention by the two Toms (http://tighar.org/wiki/Thomas_A_Willi,_CDR_USN_%28Ret.%29) (Gannon and Willi), both of whom were accomplished navigators.

Here is an unassailable truth: "People disagree."  Please notice that if anyone disagrees with this statement, they provide fresh evidence that it is true.  Only someone incapable of thoughtful self-reflection would deny this observation.

Navigators are people, so it follows that, from time to time, "navigators disagree."  Some navigators find the clue in the last transmission as pointing toward Niku as the most reasonable place to look for the downed aircraft; others do not thing that the last transmission points toward the plane's final resting place.

Such is life.

If this were the only piece of evidence in the case for the Niku hypothesis (http://tighar.org/aw/mediawiki/images/b/b9/The-Case-for-Nikumaroro.pdf), it wouldn't stand up in course.  But there seem to be other lines of evidence pointing toward Niku as well--lines of evidence developed after TIGHAR took the navigational clue seriously enough to search the island.

"The dogs bark, but the train moves on."
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie on June 02, 2011, 10:00:29 AM

Remember that the last transmission received (http://tighar.org/wiki/Last_transmission) said that AE and FN were flying "the line" north and south.

The first purpose of flying along the line, first to the north (it seems) and then to the south, was to find Howland.

Failing that, there was the prospect of more islands to search for to the south than to the north.

Exactly.  To "decide to head for the Phoenix Islands" you must know know that you're already too far south of Howland to get there by flying up the line.  That was clearly not the case. They knew they were on the LOP but they didn't know where.  After a brief exploration to the north, the only sensible thing to do is head south, hoping that you've hit the line north of Howland and you'll reach your intended destination, but knowing that even if you've hit the line south of Howland there are other islands - Baker,McKean, Gardner - on or close to the line.

"The dogs bark, but the train moves on."

I love it!  Here's another one.

Rule Number One for Crisis Management:
Shoot the wolf closest to the sled.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Gary LaPook on June 02, 2011, 10:35:57 AM
I don't think anyone has suggested that, upon not finding Howland, a decision was made to fly to Gardner. From what I gather, when Howland couldn't be located it just made sense to head for an area where there were known to be several islands. This would at least give them a chance to find something other than ocean to land on. Finding and landing on Gardner would have been more of a fortunate happening than a planned destination. Viewed from that perspective, if you know you are in one area, you should be able to navigate to another area with some degree of accuracy, not necessarily to a specific point, but at least to the general area. Get there, spot an island, land your plane, radio for help, and wait. I agree, to navigate to a specific place you do need to know where you are to begin with, not so much to go area to area.     -LTM-  John

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

Take a look at the chart:

each of the squares is 60 nautical miles (the same as 69 statute miles) on an edge. Still think you could be certain that you would just bump into one of them by chance? Would you be willing to bet your life on that?

Gary LaPook
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: John Joseph Barrett on June 02, 2011, 11:11:03 AM
Gary,  I am not saying that I would be willing to bet my life on finding land randomly in an area of that size. But I also don't think I would have put my life on the line without being as prepared as I could have been before the flight. I wouldn't have ventured forth without at least first learning how to properly use my radio, both voice and morse. I am no navigator and don't claim to be, but if I was and was planning a flight to an island in the middle of the ocean, I do think I would pay attention to any other landfall that may be in the area just in case I couldn't get to where I wanted to go. I don't know if the LOP was planned as it was as a back-up measure to reach the Phoenix islands in case Howland was missed or not, maybe that accounts for the 10am departure from Lae. I do know that if I was lost over the ocean and low on fuel and my choices came down to looking for the one original island or heading to an area where I knew there were several islands I would choose the latter in an effort to increase my odds. This doesn't offer any guarantee, but it's better than nothing. I'm not saying that is what happened, but it is what I would do. It is not possible without discovering some evidence of preplanning as a contingency to say that AE and FN felt the same, but any port in a storm is better than nothing. - John
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie on June 02, 2011, 11:37:08 AM
Still think you could be certain that you would just bump into one of them by chance?

With half-way decent information about the wind I think I could DR a line for a few hundred miles with good accuracy. Lindbergh did it for 1,700 miles.  I'm no Charles Lindbergh, but I've done it for about 300 miles.

Would you be willing to bet your life on that?

What choice do I have?
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Chris Owens on June 02, 2011, 12:42:07 PM

What choice do I have?

Therein lies a fundamental truth.

We don't know what AE's and FN's contingency plan was for dealing with communications or radionavigation failure, and that's frustrating.  Did they really say to themselves, "Well, if radionavigation fails, we'll just DR our way to safe territory?"  That seems, on the face of it, insane.  Maybe they just didn't make such a contingency plan. Or maybe they knew full well the risks and said, "If radionavigation fails, we'll drown." ("Q: What's my plan if my reserve parachute fails to open, too? A: Die.") We'll never know what they were thinking.

Similarly, sitting here now,  I can say that I sure as heck wouldn't have continued the flight if I hadn't been able to establish 2-way radio communications with Lae right after take-off, as that would indicate something significantly wrong. But they did.  Evidently, "Verify that we've got reliable 2-way comms before leaving land very far behind" wasn't part of their plan, or if it was, they changed it.   Their sense of contingency planning was very different than ours.

It would seem that they put themselves, either deliberately (by considering the possible failures and deciding that there wasn't much of an alternative plan) or inadvertently, by failing to consider the possible failures, into a box from which the only exit was to try to find the Phoenix islands....
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie on June 02, 2011, 01:42:10 PM
We don't know what AE's and FN's contingency plan was for dealing with communications or radionavigation failure, and that's frustrating.  Did they really say to themselves, "Well, if radionavigation fails, we'll just DR our way to safe territory?"  That seems, on the face of it, insane.

In 1978 I DRed a deaf and dumb (no radios) Cessna 182RG from Kansas City to Binghamton In an age when we use GPS to navigate across town, relying on Dead Reckoning seems insane, but in 1937 it was routine.

Maybe they just didn't make such a contingency plan. Or maybe they knew full well the risks and said, "If radionavigation fails, we'll drown." ("Q: What's my plan if my reserve parachute fails to open, too? A: Die.") We'll never know what they were thinking.

That's true. We'll never know what they were thinking, but we do know that the 157-337 LOP could be precomputed and it obviously falls through multiple islands and we know that Earhart specifically said, "We are on the line 157 337 ....running on line north and south."  If that's not implementing a contingency plan, what is it?

Similarly, sitting here now,  I can say that I sure as heck wouldn't have continued the flight if I hadn't been able to establish 2-way radio communications with Lae right after take-off, as that would indicate something significantly wrong. But they did.  Evidently, "Verify that we've got reliable 2-way comms before leaving land very far behind" wasn't part of their plan, or if it was, they changed it.   Their sense of contingency planning was very different than ours.

Yes it was, because they were living at a different time than we are. It is clear from abundant sources that Earhart did not consider two-way radio communication to be important. She did not use the radio the way we use radio.

It would seem that they put themselves, either deliberately (by considering the possible failures and deciding that there wasn't much of an alternative plan) or inadvertently, by failing to consider the possible failures, into a box from which the only exit was to try to find the Phoenix islands....

If they had enough information to "try for the Phoenix Islands" they could have tried for Howland.  I don't think there was ever a point at which they decided to try for the Phoenix Islands. They followed a procedure that stood the best chance of bringing them to one of four islands. They hoped the island would be Howland but any of the other three was better than no island at all.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Chris Owens on June 02, 2011, 02:07:38 PM

In 1978 I DRed a deaf and dumb (no radios) Cessna 182RG from Kansas City to Binghamton

Really?  In one leg?  In IMC all the way without reference to any visible landmarks?

Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Gary LaPook on June 02, 2011, 06:12:38 PM

In 1978 I DRed a deaf and dumb (no radios) Cessna 182RG from Kansas City to Binghamton

Really?  In one leg?  In IMC all the way without reference to any visible landmarks?

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

Main difference, you knew where you were when your started.

Gary LaPook
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Gary LaPook on June 02, 2011, 06:19:45 PM
Still think you could be certain that you would just bump into one of them by chance?

With half-way decent information about the wind I think I could DR a line for a few hundred miles with good accuracy. Lindbergh did it for 1,700 miles.  I'm no Charles Lindbergh, but I've done it for about 300 miles.

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

Lindbergh was aiming for a continent, pretty hard to miss a continent. It turned out well for him but if he had missed Paris he still would have received a hero's welcome wherever he touched down.

Gary LaPook
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Gary LaPook on June 02, 2011, 06:24:10 PM
We don't know what AE's and FN's contingency plan was for dealing with communications or radionavigation failure, and that's frustrating.  Did they really say to themselves, "Well, if radionavigation fails, we'll just DR our way to safe territory?"  That seems, on the face of it, insane.

In 1978 I DRed a deaf and dumb (no radios) Cessna 182RG from Kansas City to Binghamton In an age when we use GPS to navigate across town, relying on Dead Reckoning seems insane, but in 1937 it was routine.

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

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

Gary LaPook
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Gary LaPook on June 02, 2011, 06:31:21 PM
Still think you could be certain that you would just bump into one of them by chance?

With half-way decent information about the wind I think I could DR a line for a few hundred miles with good accuracy. Lindbergh did it for 1,700 miles.  I'm no Charles Lindbergh, but I've done it for about 300 miles.

Would you be willing to bet your life on that?

What choice do I have?

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

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. This is not true as these islands are spread very far apart from each other and the plane could fly through the entire island group without being close enough to any of the islands to be certain of seeing land. See chart gnc-20, (each square on this chart is 60 nautical miles on a side, 69 statute miles.)

Here is an analogy to help make this clear.

You are walking down a street. A black limousine pulls up next to you. Two big guys jump out, rough you up and throw you into the trunk. After a long drive the car finally stops and you are pulled out of the trunk. It is now dark. You look around and you realize you are standing in Yankee Stadium.

Vito Corleone walks up to you and says. "I've got a little proposition for you."
"What kind of a proposition, " you ask nervously.
"See the outfielders out there, right, center and left field?"
"Yes" you say.
"Here is my proposition" says the Godfather. "I will have my pitcher pitch one ball to you. You hit it, and if it is caught on the fly by any of the outfielders, I will give you a hundred thousand dollars."
"And if they don't catch it, what do I have to pay you?" you reply.
"Oh, nothing" say the Godfather, "My boys will just shoot you in the head and dump your body in the river where you can sleep with the fishes. Oh, I forgot to mention, the outfielders are not allowed to move."
"Gee, do I have any other options?" you ask.
"Tell you what" the Godfather goes on, "since I am such a nice guy I will make you another proposition but you will have to choose between just these two. I will have the pitcher pitch you three balls and you hit them back to the pitcher or to the shortstop and if either the pitcher or the shortstop catches one of the balls on the fly I will give you a million dollars."
"And if they don't catch one of the balls..." your voice trails off.
"Same deal, my boys shoot you in the head."

So which proposition do you choose?

This is the true "catcher's mitt" situation, Earhart and Noonan's true situation.

If you take the first proposition you have only one chance to hit the ball and the non-moving outfielders present very small targets to hit that are far away. Even if the ball is caught you only get one hundred thousand bucks. If the ball is not caught you sleep with the fishes.

If you take the second proposition you get three chances to hit the ball and the pitcher and shortstop have three chances to catch the ball and they are much closer and make much bigger targets to hit at this close range. If one of them catches the ball you get a million dollars, ten times more than the first proposition. If they don't catch the ball you are no worse off than with the first proposition, you still end up sleeping with the fishes.

So would Noonan and Earhart have flown 350 nautical miles across the sea, hoping to find several small island which are spread so far apart that even with 20 mile visibility you could fly between them without seeing any of them, knowing that they would have only one chance since they would burn up all of their fuel on the way leaving nothing left to fly a search pattern with? And even if they had some fuel left, how would they know when to start flying a search pattern? And even if they are successful in finding one of the islands, there they are, barely alive, with no water or food, the airplane destroyed, no round the world flight, AE and Putnam bankrupt. If not successful they sleep with the fishes.

Or would they turn around and fly a standard search pattern 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. And if successful they win the big prize, the airplane is refueled and the round the world flight is completed, accolades and money roll in and AE and Putnam have fame and wealth. If not successful they are no worse off than if missing the Phoenix islands, they still sleep with the fishes.

What choice would you make?

Gary LaPook
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie on June 02, 2011, 07:55:34 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.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Gary LaPook 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.

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

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
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie 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 (http://tighar.org/TTracks/2008Vol_24/1008.pdf)

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.

Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie 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.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason 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.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie on June 02, 2011, 09:55:28 PM
With enough baseless speculation you can put them anywhere. You solve a mystery by following clues.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason 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.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ 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 (http://tighar.org/wiki/Last_transmission).

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.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason 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.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie 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.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 03, 2011, 11:19:37 AM
No, no, I haven't given up yet. It is not time to abandon my ship.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Chris Johnson 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? (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/ResearchPapers/Worldflight/finalflight2.html)

Anecdotal (sp) evidence but certainly along the flight path.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie 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?
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason 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.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason 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.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Gary LaPook 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:

and:

See generally:

Gary LaPook
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on June 03, 2011, 10:53:41 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.

"Searches without Rescue." (http://tighar.org/wiki/Earhart_Project#Searches_without_Rescue)

"How to search tighar.org." (http://tighar.org/news/help/82-how-do-i-search-tigharorg)
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: h.a.c. van asten on June 03, 2011, 11:22:14 PM
Mr.B.Lloyd , Let it be that a position line exists and is linear for a short time only . if you have reasonable position to start from , it is very well possible to set course for another island than destination by flying the rhumb line , e.g. , to compass point 157 +/- variation on 15... magnetic. You should only be aware of your fuel reserves being ample to reach your evasive land point , and if not : stay where you are within the future rescue area.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Gary LaPook on June 04, 2011, 12:22:12 AM
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:

and:

See generally:

Gary LaPook

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

If you are aiming for a string of islands and if the spacing between adjacent
islands is less than twice the prevailing visibility, then you should not be able
to pass between them without seeing one or the other and so you can consider
them to be just one target combining both of their sizes and the prevailing
visibility.

In the Gilberts, from the south shore of Arorae on the south to the north shore
of Markei on the north is 284 NM (measured on a north-south line, perpendicular
to the probable course of Earhart's plane if aiming for the Gilberts) with the largest
gap between islands of only 38NM. So if the visibility is 20 NM this string of islands
represents a target 304 nautical miles wide.

Then there is a gap to the north of 65 NM to Makin which is 20 NM
in diameter. Then comes a large gap of 165 NM to the south shore of Knox in
the Marshalls. North of Mili there is a 45 NM gap. You could pass through any
of these three gaps with 20 nm visibility and not see any of the islands.

The problem is that the distance from Howland to the nearest one is 450 NM and it is 620 NM to the furthest.

Gary LaPook
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Gary LaPook on June 04, 2011, 12:30:13 AM
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.

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

What you did is exactly the same as the landfall procedure. You aimed for a linear feature (shoreline of Lake Erie for you, sun line LOP for a celestial navigator) that you can't miss and when you hit it you turned to follow it in the direction of your destination.

gl
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie on June 04, 2011, 07:19:40 AM
What you did is exactly the same as the landfall procedure. You aimed for a linear feature (shoreline of Lake Erie for you, sun line LOP for a celestial navigator) that you can't miss and when you hit it you turned to follow it in the direction of your destination.

That's true and that's where the similarity ends.  My LOP was an en route checkpoint. It did not fall through my intended destination. Although I aimed for a particular point (and hit it within about a mile) it didn't really matter where I hit it. Because I was approaching it from a shallow angle there was never any question about which way I would turn when I reached it so there was never a question of whether to use an offset. Also, my LOP was a physical feature.  Once I reached it I could quickly tell where I had intercepted it and I didn't need to DR to follow it.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie on June 04, 2011, 08:20:14 AM
Flying due west from the Howland vicinity, I can hardly miss, or at least my chances are much better than the spaced out Phoenixes.

How do they know they're in the Howland vicinity?  How close do you have to be to Howland to be in the Howland vicinity?  All they know for sure is that they are somewhere on a 157 337 line that passes through Howland.  They haven't had any voice response to their calls to Itasca. They did hear Morse code "A"s - the pre-arranged signal from Itasca - but they couldn't get a bearing.  what's the problem?  Are they too far away or is there something wrong with their radio?  They don't know.

They know that Howland is somewhere on the line that they're on. That's all they have to go on. It would be crazy to leave that line. When Earhart says she is "running on line north and south" she is trying to find Howland. She did not say, "We're going to try for ...."   There is no indication that they at any time decided to stop trying to find Howland and proceed to some alternate destination whether it be the Phoenix Islands, the Gilbert Islands, or Coney Island.  When they head SSE on the line they're still hoping to see Howland appear.  When Gardner first appears on the horizon their first thought is probably, "Hallelujah! We found it!" but they would soon see that this island doesn't look anything like what Howland is supposed to look like.  But it's the only island they've got and it's infinitely better than no island at all.

A hypothesis that they decided to try return to the Gilberts has to discount the clear evidence that they did something else.  If you're going to discount evidence you can put them anywhere but don't expect anyone to take you seriously.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 05, 2011, 07:02:58 PM
I wasn't expecting anyone to take me too seriously, but the minimum research I have done, mostly by rereading your book, Ric, does not preclude my theory at all as I stated it roughly in previous posts. In fact if anything it makes me more confident. Yes, the possibility exists that I am way off and only making a fool of myself, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. As I believe, the radio went out altogether after her last message for whatever reason. Of course then, she can't announce a different plan to anyone. Even if they were certain that the 157/337 line would take them to Howland, it doesn't follow to me that it would then aim them close enough to Gardner that they would certainly sight it, nor do they know that. At least not on my not very detailed map. In your book, the Lockheed engineers seem to think she had a lot more flying time than was the general belief. Enough to get to the Gilberts, by their calculations. The search by the Itasca and Swan was cursory, if not superficial. There were no planes sent out to search the Gilberts one by one. As you have said yourself, there is no way we can know what AE and FN actually did no matter how loopy it may sound, you can't completely rule out anything physically possible. This may sound silly, but what I did is looked for a Gilbert Island that sounded like NY or New York City in Betty's account, and voila, Nonouti (http://www.janeresture.com/nonouti/index.htm). I looked that up. It was and is always populated. But there is an islet, Noumatong, which is now a bird sanctuary and was most likely deserted in 1937. It's miles from the principal towns. I won't go into point by point questions I have about the Niku Hyp. at this time and how they fit into this Hyp. of mine. I propose  they could have been unfortunate enough to wind up there. See, I didn't abandon my ship yet.

Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 05, 2011, 07:19:00 PM
Coming in on the middle of your discussion (haven't had time to bactrack through all four pages), but your description of Noumitang sounds a lot like the radio account of the woman from West Texas, whose son later traveled in the Gilberts and came back with a story that he linked to AE. I think that was on another thread recently?

Something about her and FN landing on a small island that the natives visited to hunt & fish; the natives eventually found them...one died, the other stayed or was picked up...something like that.

I'm not voting for your hypo; it just caught me attention.

My own leading hypo is the same as Ric and gang; my runner-up is that they crashed/landed in the water just off the Seven Site, never left that site, and were dead within days.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie on June 05, 2011, 07:36:34 PM
I wasn't expecting anyone to take me too seriously,

Good.  If you change your mind try to find some evidence to back up your hypothesis.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 05, 2011, 07:54:42 PM
My methodology is this. When I first found TIGHAR, I was fascinated that I had come upon the answer to the AE mystery. After some time, I found I was questioning some of the evidence. The Niku Hypo started to seem unsatisfying. My quibbling questions on this forum went largely unaddressed. Sometimes I was mistaken. But I wanted a Hypo. that "fit like a glove". Through serendipity I found it. Yes, I am discounting evidence of TIGHAR's  that I find not 100% convincing. But that doesn't necessarily make me wrong. I am taking their evidence and putting my interpretation on it. I will take the opportunity to make my comments after I have scrutinized each point so that I don't look silly by misquoting the evidence. Or more silly than necessary.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 05, 2011, 07:56:22 PM
Oh, here I found it in the archives: the two part letter from Mabel Duncklee (Larremore), who was a young mother in West Texas at the time.

In her second letter, she mentions that he son was stationed in the South Pacific during the war and afterwards. At some point, he went to an island where the natives showed him a grave that was supposedly AE's. They said she and FN had crash landed on a small island where the natives go to fish. FN was dead, and the natives brought back AE and whatever they could strip from the plane. AE "was transported to the [native's home island], where she recovered from her inujuries, and was on the island for quite awhile before she recovered and passed away."

Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 05, 2011, 07:59:11 PM
Whoops, that should read "was on the island quite awhile before she became ill and passed away".

A connection? Who knows...

Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 05, 2011, 07:59:45 PM
By the way, I am not hiding out. I have tried to put my photo on my profile just now, but the screen says "File too big" or it just doesn't work. I am using a standard thumbnail from my "pictures file".
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 05, 2011, 08:12:48 PM
Zach, this is what I mean about the evidence. My thinking this afternoon was this: The Islanders on Niku seemed to have a penchant for collecting pieces of airplanes. Now it has been said that there was pieces of metal probably from a B-24 as well as pieces consistent with AE's plane. Obviously, some pieces were transported there from away. I propose that the pieces consistent with Amelia's plane were her plane transported there by islanders who probably came from Nonouti. They didn't come from Niku because there was no plane on Niku. I could elaborate on the question of AE's plane parts found on Niku does not prove her plane crashed or landed on Niku. Do you see how my discounting works in this case?
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 05, 2011, 08:55:37 PM
If you do a search, it becomes immediately clear that Nonouti is one giant flat, occassionally punctured by a large grove of trees. Beautiful sandy beaches that seemingly stretch on forever, in large places barely covered by water at low tide. Google Earth has a nice picture of Noumatong Island...at least, the half that isn't covered by a cloud.

I wonder how much tourism there is there. There are some pics by a German gentleman of the coast of the island, and a recent fishing expedition that claims to be the first tourists to Nonouti (but their story sounds like the standard "real experience" canned tourist adventure that assures they were anything but the first).

As we're lazying about on a Sunday afternoon, I remember that somewhere, back there in the dust, was another story related by Ric or one of the other TIGHAR folks, about having a drink with a Navy pilot who talked about seeing an old WWII era plane crashed on beach of some no-name island, but when Gardner was described to him, the guy got confused and embarrassed and said he must remember wrong.

Who knows...probably nothing left to find at this point anyway. Obviously, if there was a plane there, then the German photographer would have seen it while walking around the beach shooting pictures.

I stick with the official theory of TIGHAR, but this is interesting to think about.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 05, 2011, 09:06:35 PM
Hey, you're not going to believe this, but there actually is what appears to be the outlines of a plane on a narrow spit, just .8 mile S/SW of the Nonouti "label point" on Google Earth.

I'm not sure how to post an image here...I don't have snip (still on Vista).

0-32'47.48"S

174-13-17.24E

at Eye Alt of 127 M

probably some tourist plane, stripped for parts in the 70s.

or just natural straight lines that mistakenly look like a plane.

Still, check it out, if just for fun.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 05, 2011, 09:22:27 PM
I've got an image, but it won't paste and I can't seem to attach it. I just emailed the image to Ric, who is educated enough on this to take one look, and make the right call.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 05, 2011, 10:44:43 PM
Well I don't have the Pro version of Google Earth, so I can't send a normal wmv file around. I did send Ric (who is probably tired of my emails) a PPT Deck with screenshots of the plane in question, complete with the measuing stick. I tried to upload that here, but the file size is too big, so I am just stuck with attaching one image.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 05, 2011, 11:03:42 PM
Ok, from the top...
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 05, 2011, 11:04:24 PM
Zooming in...
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 05, 2011, 11:05:02 PM
A little more...
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 05, 2011, 11:11:51 PM
Final Shot.

I don't know much about planes (except what I read on Ask The Pilot, and a stint I did in finance at Boeing years ago), so I'm hoping someone will jump in and disavow me of any notion that we might be on to something.

The dimensions look right (roughly 39 x 53 right?), but it sure cuts in sharply after the wing...too bad we can't make out the type of tail. That would be a very helpful indicator. I don't know why the picture is fuzzy there....a reflection in the sun?

It could be our intrepid AE/FN, but probably just a island hopper that someone gave up on years go...there is apparently a doctor on the island, and possibly a magistrate (judging from the stories by the tourists posted online), so a quick phone call would probably nip this in the bud.

Well I promise not to poste any more pictures of random planes from around the globe, LOL.

Goodnight!
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on June 06, 2011, 06:51:05 AM
... As we're lazying about on a Sunday afternoon, I remember that somewhere, back there in the dust, was another story related by Ric or one of the other TIGHAR folks, about having a drink with a Navy pilot who talked about seeing an old WWII era plane crashed on beach of some no-name island, but when Gardner was described to him, the guy got confused and embarrassed and said he must remember wrong. ...

I don't remember that particular sequence appearing in our annals--but my memory is demonstrably unreliable!

Candidate #1: The Wreck Photo

"Is This Earhart's Electra?" (http://tighar.org/Publications/TTracks/13_1/wreckphoto.html)

(http://tighar.org/Publications/TTracks/13_1/wreck.jpg)

"The Wreck Photo Resolved." (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/Bulletins/55_WreckPhotoResolved/55_WreckPhotoResolved.htm)

(http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/Bulletins/55_WreckPhotoResolved/03Ki_54_in_Beijing.jpg)

This whole story was a very nice piece of detective work on TIGHAR's part.

Candidate #2: Don Iwanski

From the old Forum: (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Forum/Forum_Archives/200312.txt)

Date:         Thu, 18 Dec 2003 12:23:39 EST
From:         Dave Bush
Subject:      Re: Amelia Earhart The Salvaging of NR16020

What did you do to Mr. Iwanski to PO him so bad? He has spent considerable time and effort building a website to try and discredit you and to delude people into believing him. For me, his biggest mistake is in his personal scenario - on board a US aircraft carrier passing so close to a dangerous reef - what skipper would do that? - and that the skipper would make the announcements on the intercom system to the crew. Total BS. Of course, I've never worked on a carrier (but I visited the US Enterprise back in the 60's when she was docked in Galveston, Texas, so that may make me as expert as Mr. Iwanski) so I could be mistaken in my assessment. Also, how many ordinary seamen would remember an event like that with such detail as to be able to determine the make and model of an airplane that they had never seen before and had no knowledge of. Unless he has absolutely perfect recall, there is WAAAY too much detail in his description. Maybe he had too many magic mushrooms for breakfast.

What's the REAL story Mr. Gillespie?

LTM,

Dave Bush

*****************************************************************

From Ric

Okay, I have not wanted to talk about Don Iwanski because I didn't want to embarrass him, but he has now gone public with his claims and has taken some very public shots at me and TIGHAR so I guess I need to tell my side of the story.

Don first contacted me back in July saying that he had seen an aircraft wreck on Nikumaroro from the hangar deck of USS Constellation in 1980.  I thought that was pretty interesting and I discussed this new  "lead" with our Earhart Project Advisory Council (EPAC) but we soon learned that Don didn't really know that the island was Nikumaroro.  He was just sure that it must have been Nikumaroro.  The more he tried to remember, the more he remembered, and the more skeptical we became - but we honestly tried to help him check out his recollection.  We did research on the Constellation's 1980 cruise and we even tracked down the address and phone number of the now-retired commanding officer.  Don declined to contact him.  One of our researchers had occasion to visit the Naval Historical Center in Washington on other business and took time to research the route that Constellation had taken en route from the Indian Ocean to California.  She passed nowhere near Nikumaroro.

Don was undeterred.  If it wasn't 1980 it must have been 1979 - the only other cruise he was on.  Week by week he remembered more and more and the tale got more and more complex and bizarre.  It was, frankly, a bit alarming to watch but the more I tried to make him see that this was all happening in his head the more I became, in his mind, an antagonist who was trying to keep him from exposing the truth.

Sometime after the first of the year I'll be down at the Naval Historical Center myself doing research on another project and I'll check out the 1979 cruise.  But Don is now way beyond accepting official documentation that disagrees with his story.  I'm sorry that he decided to lash out at me and at TIGHAR.  I feel no resentment toward him.  I just wish I could have helped him.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 06, 2011, 06:52:06 AM
Thanks, Zach. I am a dud at Google Earth. I tried to work with it yesterday, but I got nowhere. I can carry on my running commentary with Ric, accepting the evidence but disputing the interpretation, but it proves nothing, gets us nowhere. If necessary I can go to Nonouti, I am retired and can afford it. But it would seem that I must prepare, and that will take time.
One thing about your supplying a pertinent old post yesterday. She said FN was dead, Amelia recovered, but then died. I thought if Amelia did recover, surely the word would have gotten out somehow. I see it this way, since I am engaging in pure speculation. Amelia and Fred are on the island (Noumatong) 3 days or so with no water except what little they had in the plane. Fred gives his share to Amelia. He is basically a good guy. They do know where they are, Nonouti has a distinctive shape, they probably had a chart or two. They are discovered by some fishermen but Fred is already gone. Amelia is barely alive but they give her water and she seems to get better. But the damage has been done, she lives maybe a week, then succumbs to kidney failure, caused by the dehydration. Since the fishermen have no way of communicating, they can't call up their cousin in Tarawa, and it all happens so fast they bury the two of them and go back to work, they are getting hungry again. Or maybe they do tell somebody, but nobody has heard the news of the flight so nobody knows what they are talking about. Who knows?
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 06, 2011, 07:09:01 AM
That previous post confuses me, but what if the sailor in question passed by Nonouti and he did see a wrecked plane there? Certainly dangerous reefs describe the place. I would guess there was lots of plane wrecks on lots of islands at that time, but maybe this one was the one we are looking for.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 06, 2011, 07:17:20 AM
Well Ric took a look at this and said it was clearly a no-go. Even has a friend on the island who is familiar with the Earhart search, and never mentioned this plane.

So I will take that as definitively putting this to rest...

...have a great week!
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on June 06, 2011, 08:34:02 AM
The dimensions look right (roughly 39 x 53 right?), but it sure cuts in sharply after the wing...too bad we can't make out the type of tail. That would be a very helpful indicator. I don't know why the picture is fuzzy there....a reflection in the sun?

Strange things happen when an image is digitally magnified beyond the limits of the optics of a camera.

"Artifacts refer to a range of undesirable changes to a digital image caused by the sensor, optics, and internal image processing algorithms of the camera" ("Artifacts: Digital Imaging Glossary"). (http://www.dpreview.com/learn/?/Glossary/Digital_Imaging/Artifacts_01.htm)

The lighter field in your last image does not look much like a plane to my amateur eye.  To me, it resembles a clearing or a different vegetation pattern.  If it is the wing of the Electra, it should be pretty much out in the open where people ought to have found and identified it by now.

(http://tighar.org/aw/mediawiki/images/thumb/c/c4/Planform.gif/800px-Planform.gif)

People have seen many things in the Google imagery for Niku (http://tighar.org/wiki/Google_Earth) that, upon closer inspection from the ground and from the water, are not what they seemed to be in the imagery.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie on June 06, 2011, 08:52:23 AM
This is what I wrote to Zach off-forum:

It's an intriguing image and I can understand how you'd think it might be an airplane.  If I saw an image like this in the Google Earth image of Nikumaroro I'd certainly want to check it out.  The first thing I'd do is look at other satellite images acquired at different times, in different lighting, with better resolution.  We have many satellite images of Niku but, unfortunately, only Google Earth for Nonouti (which, btw, is pronounced "no nose" but AE and FN probably wouldn't have known that).  Google Earth is an unreliable source for assessing shapes of small features.  The processing system they use creates "artifacts" that aren't really there and tends to resolve curved lines into straight lines.  I can show you the foundations of the lost city of Atlantis on the bottom of the lagoon at Niku in the Google Earth image.

The "wingspan" of the feature in the Nonouti image is similar to that of a Lockheed Electra and, of course, many other aircraft types.  The planform is different and I don't see any suggestion of engines.  The feature is underwater in the lagoon about three-quarters of a mile from the nearest land.  I don't see any way an aircraft could land there and be able to send radio messages.

Nonouti was, and is, densely populated. People fish in that lagoon all the time and that feature is in shallow water or we couldn't see it in the Google Earth image. If it's an airplane it's hard to imagine that its presence is not common knowledge among the people who live there.  My friend Manikaa Teuatabo is from Nonouti. He's a Kiribati Customs officer who has accompanied several of our expeditions and he has never said anything about an airplane in the lagoon back home.

Bottom line:  I strongly suspect that the feature is coral but I can't say that it couldn't be an airplane. However, I can say that I dont see any way it could be the Earhart airplane.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on June 06, 2011, 01:09:42 PM
... I can show you the foundations of the lost city of Atlantis on the bottom of the lagoon at Niku in the Google Earth image. ...

(http://tighar.org/aw/mediawiki/images/thumb/e/ee/Atlantis.png/800px-Atlantis.png)

For four other samples of artifacts in Google Earth images, see "Google Earth" (http://tighar.org/wiki/Google_Earth) in the Ameliapedia.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 06, 2011, 01:32:49 PM
At first I thought Zach's image was of Noumatong, which is a separate islet, but upon rereading it seems like it's maybe the northwest part of Nonouiti which is away from the towns on the other end of the island. I don't know if I can quickly learn how to use Google Earth whether I would get a better image than Zach's. If my hypothesis is realistic, I was not expecting the plane to still be sitting there more or less intact, especially if islanders stripped it. Yes, I could go to Nonouti in a couple  months or so, but it seems like it would be much easier to have some locals check around if their interest was aroused. The image I have of main island Nonouti shows it as a series of land forms, maybe separated by channels, I don't know if the entire island is regularly visited. Anyway you would think somebody would notice a plane that was there 74 years by now.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Chris Johnson on June 06, 2011, 01:47:19 PM
Yes, I could go to Nonouti in a couple  months or so, but it seems like it would be much easier to have some locals check around if their interest was aroused. The image I have of main island Nonouti shows it as a series of land forms, maybe separated by channels, I don't know if the entire island is regularly visited. Anyway you would think somebody would notice a plane that was there 74 years by now.

Ric wrote just above  ;D
Quote
Nonouti was, and is, densely populated. People fish in that lagoon all the time and that feature is in shallow water or we couldn't see it in the Google Earth image. If it's an airplane it's hard to imagine that its presence is not common knowledge among the people who live there.  My friend Manikaa Teuatabo is from Nonouti. He's a Kiribati Customs officer who has accompanied several of our expeditions and he has never said anything about an airplane in the lagoon back home.

Bottom line:  I strongly suspect that the feature is coral but I can't say that it couldn't be an airplane. However, I can say that I dont see any way it could be the Earhart airplane.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie on June 06, 2011, 02:02:47 PM
Yes, I could go to Nonouti in a couple  months or so, but it seems like it would be much easier to have some locals check around if their interest was aroused.

Exactly how were you figuring on getting to Nonouti?  What's your plan for getting in touch with the locals?
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Chris Johnson on June 06, 2011, 02:29:53 PM
Yes, I could go to Nonouti in a couple  months or so, but it seems like it would be much easier to have some locals check around if their interest was aroused.

Nonouti travel guide (http://wikitravel.org/en/Nonouti)  ;D
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie on June 06, 2011, 02:32:48 PM
Note the absence of information about actually GETTING there.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Chris Johnson on June 06, 2011, 02:41:14 PM
Yes, I could go to Nonouti in a couple  months or so, but it seems like it would be much easier to have some locals check around if their interest was aroused.

Nonouti travel guide (http://wikitravel.org/en/Nonouti)  ;D

Wednesday 6.30am looks good (http://www.kiritours.com/Travel/AirKiribati/Schedule.html)

But David, you've read Sex Lives of Cannibals to know all about Air Kiribati!
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Alex Fox on June 06, 2011, 03:34:13 PM
Maybe "Space Archaeology" could help?  Check out BBC (Discovery Channel in the U.S.) tonight when this airs.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110526/ts_afp/usegyptbritainspacearcheology_20110526152657

Quote
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Archaeologists have uncovered as many as 17 buried pyramids in Egypt with the help of NASA satellite imagery, according to a documentary to be aired by the BBC on Monday.
. . .
The BBC, which funded the research, released the findings this week ahead of a broadcast describing the technique and what was uncovered.

"I couldn't believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt," Parcak was quoted as telling the BBC.
. . .
Infrared images, which were taken by satellites orbiting 700 kilometers (435 miles) above the Earth, revealed the below-ground structures.

The satellites used powerful cameras that can "pinpoint objects less than one meter (three feet) in diameter on the Earth's surface," the report said.
. . .

edit:  looks like this already aired.    On 5/30.  Anyone catch it?

Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Alex Fox on June 06, 2011, 03:41:18 PM
Another article:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-13522957
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 06, 2011, 03:42:26 PM
I'm building a dugout canoe as we speak. it should do the job. I'll be there in less than a year, I expect.
As I said, I'm confused exactly where the plane image is. I tried Google Earth and I couldn't see it. But I'm more interested in Noumatong, which I believe I did find the image of. If there is no actual plane, I'm no worse off than you are on Niku with no plane. Since I can't seem to sell my hypothesis here, let alone get any help, I guess I'm on my own at this time. I suppose if your friend on Nonouki had any info at all about old, old rumors he would have told you by now. So I would say if and when I do go there, I would need some time to get more info and make up some kind of plan. I'm going to Peru soon and will be there till July 14, so nothing much will happen till after that.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 06, 2011, 03:51:29 PM
Yeh, maybe that's the wreck of an Air Kiribati plane in that satellite image.

I have seen those Egyptian images. I just read "Ancient Egypt 39,000 BCE" by Edward F. Malkowski. Another mystery to solve as soon as I've wrapped up AE.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 06, 2011, 04:41:55 PM
David, yes the object is located roughly 2/3rds mile south of Nonouti, just north of the "teardrop".

Noumatong Island (the best that I can tell) is the landformation three miles further south, much of our view in GE blocked by a cloud.

There appears to be consistent air traffic on the atoll; you can go on youtube and see some footage, as well as lots of pics of the surrounding area (including a few from the island). Unlike Gardner, this place really is paradise.

With so much flying going on, there is no doubt in my mind that the locals are fully aware of the object. I think what we have is an old tourist plane...if you look at it long enough (like I did last night) you will eventually see the characters from South Pacific file out of Air Kiribati, wave their hands and sing "Bali-ha'i".

All in all, this was a fun detour...I can see how people get the bug for this kind of thing. And having seen those wide open sandflats on youtube, I wish I could go there myself.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: James G. Stoveken on June 06, 2011, 04:45:49 PM
I'm building a dugout canoe as we speak. it should do the job. I'll be there in less than a year, I expect.

David, any chance of taking Mr. Van Asten with you?  We wanna make sure you find the place.      :D
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 06, 2011, 07:11:36 PM
He's already signed on as my navigator. :o
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 06, 2011, 07:17:14 PM
Zach, that's what I thought, it was on Nonouti. I found Noumatong (I think) on GE  but it was partially blocked by a cloud and there was no sign of recent habitation. Still, Noumatong is where my crystal ball says AE and FN might have wound up.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Bill Lloyd on June 06, 2011, 07:35:55 PM
Yes, I could go to Nonouti in a couple  months or so, but it seems like it would be much easier to have some locals check around if their interest was aroused.

Exactly how were you figuring on getting to Nonouti?  What's your plan for getting in touch with the locals?
I'm building a dugout canoe as we speak. it should do the job. I'll be there in less than a year, I expect.

David, any chance of taking Mr. Van Asten with you?  We wanna make sure you find the place.      :D

Maybe you could get Gary LaPook to fly you there in his Cessna 172. Also maybe you could arrange for Mr. Van Asten to fly as co pilot and navigator. You could sit in the back and take notes on the interesting exchange between those two about celestial navigation and trigonometry. What an interesting flight that would be.

Of course we would have to arrange to have floats put on Garys Cessna so he could land in the lagoon.

After you are finished on Nonouti, then perhaps you could get Gary and Van to hop over and intercept the 157° LOP that runs through Howland. Gary could demonstrate how to fly a search pattern and find Howland. Mr. Van Astern could then demonstrate how to DR from a lost position to Gardner Island.

Take a sat phone and keep TIGHAR informed daily so that they may post updates for us.

Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Gary LaPook on June 06, 2011, 07:46:53 PM
Yes, I could go to Nonouti in a couple  months or so, but it seems like it would be much easier to have some locals check around if their interest was aroused.

Exactly how were you figuring on getting to Nonouti?  What's your plan for getting in touch with the locals?
I'm building a dugout canoe as we speak. it should do the job. I'll be there in less than a year, I expect.

David, any chance of taking Mr. Van Asten with you?  We wanna make sure you find the place.      :D

Maybe you could get Gary LaPook to fly you there in his Cessna 172. Also maybe you could arrange for Mr. Van Asten to fly as co pilot and navigator. You could sit in the back and take notes on the interesting exchange between those two about celestial navigation and trigonometry. What an interesting flight that would be.

Of course we would have to arrange to have floats put on Garys Cessna so he could land in the lagoon.

After you are finished on Nonouti, then perhaps you could get Gary and Van to hop over and intercept the 157° LOP that runs through Howland. Gary could demonstrate how to fly a search pattern and find Howland. Mr. Van Astern could then demonstrate how to DR from a lost position to Gardner Island.

Take a sat phone and keep TIGHAR informed daily so that they may post updates for us.

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

Sure, here's a link to a description of how we can do it.

http://fer3.com/arc/m2.aspx?i=108664&y=200906

gl
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Chris Owens on June 06, 2011, 09:06:40 PM
Don't laugh, there's a guy named Bill Compton who has flown his 1966 Bonanza (single engined piston lightplane) from Anchorage to Hawaii quite a few times.  http://www.pilotsofamerica.com/forum/showthread.php?t=32061 (http://www.pilotsofamerica.com/forum/showthread.php?t=32061).

Oh.... and he's paraplegic, too.

Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Gary LaPook on June 06, 2011, 10:00:03 PM
Don't laugh, there's a guy named Bill Compton who has flown his 1966 Bonanza (single engined piston lightplane) from Anchorage to Hawaii quite a few times.  http://www.pilotsofamerica.com/forum/showthread.php?t=32061 (http://www.pilotsofamerica.com/forum/showthread.php?t=32061).

Oh.... and he's paraplegic, too.

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

Certainly hundreds, if not thousands, of single engine planes have been ferried as far as Australia via Hawaii.

gl
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: h.a.c. van asten on June 07, 2011, 04:36:55 AM
Mr.lloyd ,

I am afraid mr.Lapook would beforehand warn the gamekeeper , for a decisive action.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 07, 2011, 09:03:08 AM
Quote
Maybe you could get Gary LaPook to fly you there in his Cessna 172.[/quote

That would be a be a splendid idea the 3 of us. Even though my posts are in a humorous vein (I find life is funny) I do not rule out a trip to the Gilberts. My whole lifestyle these days is traveling, generally doing long treks and viewing ruins. I have really been interested in the Pacific for quite a while and I have never been there. From the views on YouTube, it looks like Nonouti is a regular party area for Aussies. I am sure it's not hard to get there, I will pretend I am an avid fisherman. I see at my local airport in Beverly Mass. there are planes for sale, the Cessna 172 I saw yesterday is not but a very similar model is. First I have to learn to fly a plane though. If do get around to the Gilbert trip it would be great to have company, especially AE enthusiasts who can pass as normal people when necessary.

I did think of a possible hitch just now. Since Noumatong is a bird sanctuary, I wonder if anybody is allowed to go there? I think on the US sanctuary islands you need special permission, and looking for airplane parts is probably not a valid reason. Maybe we would need to bring some Navy Seals to help us out.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: h.a.c. van asten on June 07, 2011, 10:49:33 PM
The  discussions in the Celestial Navigation forum have led down many informative paths on aspects of navigation that have kept me coming back to see what new topics have come up or what new insights have been uncovered.  So I have decided to plunge in at the risk of exposing my ignorance of navigation, celestial or otherwise.  The general topic is the line of position technique.  The concept appears to be clear;  when you observe the sunrise then you know you are somewhere along the line that sunrise  describes over the surface of the earth.  The forum discussion on the line of position included much speculation on whether this technique was used by Noonan on the route to Howland.  It set me to ask if it was possible to estimate the time and/or distance from Howland when the AE aircraft would/could have encountered sunrise on the approach to Howland.  Would the results be consistent with communications from AE?

After reviewing the information in the Celestial Navigation forum it made sense to me to characterize the line of sunrise as moving along the earth’s surface at the velocity of the earth’s rotation.  Starting with that idea, and using the estimated flight path of the aircraft ( a line from Lae to Howland),  I plotted  the time of sunrise along the flight path but travelling from east to west,  opposite the direction of the aircraft.  The aircraft can be described as travelling along the same line from Lae to Howland  but in the opposite direction.  The intersection of the aircraft with sunrise on the morning of July 2, 1937  can be calculated from the two plots or by using the associated equations.

Sunrise at a given date and latitude and longitude was calculated using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) sunrise/sunset calculator at http://www.srrb.noaa.gov/highlights/sunrise/sunrise.html  I used the  NOAA web site to calculate the time of sunrise at Howland and at intervals of 100 miles, 200 miles and 300 miles from Howland along the projected flight path of the AE aircraft from Lae to Howland.  Latitudes and longitudes of these points were obtained using Google Earth.

I plotted the time and distance for sunrise along the Howland – Lae path using Excel which also produced an equation relating the time of sunrise west of Howland  (GMT)  = 0.00106 x +17.75 hours where x is the distance from Howland.

Table 1
Sunrise GMT   Miles from               Lat         Long
Howland
17:45         0         0 47’ 57.84” N      176 37’ 14.75”W
17:52         100         0 30’ 25.62” N             178   2’ 50.09”W
17.58          200         0 11’ 15.02” N      179  28’ 21.67”W
18.04         300         0   5’ 51.73” S      179   7’  14.03”E

I then used the time and location of the ship siting reported by AE (the Myrtlebank at 10:30 hours GMT) and  two radio transmissions by AE;   200 miles out  17:42, and 100 miles out at 18:12 hours and departure from Lae at 0:00 GMT  to plot the aircraft’s location along the projected flight path (Table 2)

Table 2
Time      Miles from Howland
18:12         100
17:42         200
10:30            1,121 (Myrtlebank siting)
0:00            2,556 (Lae)

Again, I used Excel to plot the data and produce an equation; GMT = -0.0077 X + 19.091 where X is the distance from Howland.

When the aircraft’s path and the sunrise line coincide then the time for both is the same. So at that time the two equations are equal;

0.00106 x +17.75 = -0.0077 X + 19.091.

Solving for X, the result is 153 miles from Howland at GMT = 17:55.

So, does this pass the laugh test?  Is the basic analysis correct?  Does the result make sense and does it tell us anything new or interesting? Comments and constructive criticism are welcome!
Cheers, Bob Schafish

If you start computation @ sunset near Nukumanu , which is a fixed and approved reference point , you should attain the same outcomes for the sunrise time-coordinates group when applying a due eastward (90 deg) convey of A/c.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 08, 2011, 11:16:36 AM
To demonstrate how great minds think alike: Page 317 of Goerner's book.
In her discussions with Eugene Vidal and William Miller, she had said, "If we don't pick up Howland, I'll try to fly back into the Gilberts and find a nice stretch of beach. If I have to do that, let's hope I choose an island that has fresh water."
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 08, 2011, 08:00:51 PM
Well David, I know nothing of navigation, so I can't comment on your argument with the broader community here. Quite frankly, it's a bit over my head.

But that aside for a moment, the basic idea of AE/FN aiming for a stretch of clustered atolls/islands that they would be likely to hit doesn't seem that odd to me, it's just a variation on the TIGHAR hypothesis (althoug Nonouti is a hell of a long ways off from Howland...a nerve-wracking long time to test your bet on Plan B, after missing Howland). There have certainly been more outlandish ideas about the Electra's disappearance over the years.

A landing on the tideflats in the atoll fits very nicely in a number of ways:
-She had plenty of terrain to land on.
-Much of this terrain is either exposed or very shallow (perhaps depending on the tide), which may have given her the ability to send radio signals until the battery runs dead, fuel runs out, or the saltwater rises high enough to interfere with the electronics.
-If we buy that Betty's scribbled "N.Y.?" meant "New York City?" and not "New York?", then an American pronounciation of Nonouti would be similar.
-It fits closely with Mabel's recounting (only two things need tweaking:the word "reef" to "sand spit", or "sandbar", and then take the view that the "unchartered island" mentioned in Mabel's recalling didn't refer to an unchartered, isolated seamount, but to a known island (part of an atoll) that was too small for international maps to bother to recognize.
-It fits exactly the story told to Mabel by her son (after all, we have to treat them separately as Mabel and her son have mutually exclusive stories: any veracity established with one does not automatically translate to the other). This is kind of the exciting part, about natives rescuing AE, FN unfortunately passing away, etc.
-The object in the GE images is relatively protected...I wouldn't expect storms to send in pounding waves at such shallow (a few feet) depths, just swift currents.
-There are a lot of other items you could tick off, like some of the radio triangulation lines going not that far from Nonouti, etc.

So it all sounds great; like a Clive Cussler novel! The old man would be proud.

Of course, the obvious problem with all of this is that Nonouti was under British protection since the 1890s, and populated before that. I don't know if they had a full-time magistrate on the atoll during the '30s, but there must have been periodic visits, as well as deliveries of goods/communication. The more you read up on it, the more you realize that these "lonely" atolls/islands had a surprising amount of traffic between them. And then of course during the war itself, the northern Gilberts were a scene of considerable activity, especially Tarawa, which should be familiar to all of us. So I have a hard time believing that AE could have landed somewhere within the atoll, and it escape the attention of the outside world in the subsequent years, regardless of whether she was dead or alive.

For awhile I thought mabye the takeaway from the discussion this week was that, even though Nonouti is a dry run for us, maybe the basic hypothesis of her flying towards closely clustered islands and then landing on a tideflat might be applicable somewhere else...

...except Nonouti is almost exceptional in its tideflats. No other location in the area has that characteristic, until you get much further south. Too far south for AE/FN.

However, if you are still certain that AE/FN went down on Noumatong, or on the Nonouti spit, or on any one of several small islands dotting the atoll, you're best bet is to purchase more recent photos than the ones GE is using (which date to 2005). Digital Globe has several available for purchase (I think they're roughly \$24 bones a pop), and some are categorized by date and % cloud cover. That way you could see Noumatong with no cloud cover (and it also has a spit to the north), as well as peer through the ridiculously shallow aquamarine sea.

Good Luck!

Just don't spend your paycheck there, because while your apt to get some amazing photos, it's unlikely the Electra will be in any of them.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 08, 2011, 09:12:04 PM
So I pass this along as an FYI, please don't bother the good people of Kiribati, as I've already checked on this with the local tourism office.

Dear Sir

Thank you for the query in regard to the object you consider a plane wreck or something else.

According to the recordings from Nonouti locals during our cultural mapping there is no hints of an aircraft wreck around the area you showed on a powerpoint. or your information also
the area you spotted can be very low tide and dry during lowest tide. The cultural mapping we did was in 2009 and I hope the digital google map of Nonouti island was uploaded lately on the web.[It was actually from 2005].

It is also advisable for the Island council of Nonouti to really give us the detailed information on the spot you are curious to know,, who knows the site might have been a wrecking site or something related to culture.

I would like to forward this information too to the Local Government division in the MISA for their assistance.

Best Regard and hoping to share more cultural issues and heritage for Kiribati in future for your interests!

It's hard to believe that something with such sharp angles could be coral. Right angles never rarely exist in nature.Then again, Ric and Moleski have mentioned that the GE algorithm sometimes assembles things in strange fashion (but why the fashion of a plane?). Perhaps if the area is "dry at lowest tides", this is simply a picture of someone who took advantage of that, before flying on their merry way.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 08, 2011, 09:14:43 PM
From my meager reading about these Pacific islands my take is that many people traveled to many places frequently, even Niku. To me, that implies that whatever is found on Niku could have been brought from somewhere else. Even Amelia's coat with her name tag sewn in does not prove she herself left it there. Unfortunately, that problem applies to Nonouti and Noumatong, also. I think we can agree that if her plane was ever on or near Nonouti, it is gone by now. So I'm trying to think what could be recovered there that would prove anything, short of finding their bodies. Possibly a piece of their plane that could be proven to belong to it. My latest tangent I am on is my contention that her plane would float. It should have floated indefinitely. If it did, it would imply that if they landed on some beach on some atoll, the plane sooner or later would float off, given favorable winds and currents. All this does is open up more possibilities. Or, she could have made a water landing and drifted a considerable distance, and if she did have an emergency radio setup as Putnam  supposedly said, well then she could broadcast distress calls while floating and not be able to give much in the way of location. I just finished reading Fred Goerner's book with it's Japanese capture theory and I must admit it's very convincing. I'm not sure why this theory is rejected nowadays, I haven't come across that info, yet. So I'm going back to pondering what to do next, for now.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 08, 2011, 09:24:54 PM
Well in regards to her sending messages while the plane was floating, I originally rejected that out of hand, then a few days ago decided to give the idea a least an investigation, and sure enough, on one of the threads devoted to radio signals and the technology behind them, an authority on the subject from the military flatly rules out any possibility of this. (How's that for a run-on sentence?)

So based on that, and a little common sense, I would rule it out as well.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 08, 2011, 09:28:22 PM
Zach, I didn't read that letter from Kiribati as discouraging tourists from coming there just to look around. I don't think I would be bothering them at all if I showed up with \$\$\$\$ in my pocket. I would hesitate to visit there if access to Noumatong was not allowed, though. That would defeat the purpose of the trip.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 08, 2011, 09:37:00 PM
No I meant it as a general announcement to everyone: please don't abuse their earnestness and good-hearted disposition by spamming them with email.

I took the lead on behalf of all us (although in my email I only represented myself).
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 08, 2011, 09:42:58 PM
Yes, I have read the opinions, one of them I think is Brandenburg, but why did Putnam say they put a special battery in the cockpit so the radio would be usable if she landed in the water? He also said the plane would float, the fuselage tanks had been installed in such a manner that the plane would. If he didn't think so, why would he ask the Navy to search one or more far out areas on the ocean? Even Goerner doesn't address this possibility. He's got them landing on or near Mili in the Marshalls. So if they were floating and the Japanese aircraft carrier found them and plucked them out of the water (I believe an aircraft carrier would have this equipment) what difference would it make, really?
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on June 08, 2011, 10:21:59 PM
It's hard to believe that something with such sharp angles could be coral. Right angles never rarely exist in nature.Then again, Ric and Moleski have mentioned that the GE algorithm sometimes assembles things in strange fashion (but why the fashion of a plane?). Perhaps if the area is "dry at lowest tides", this is simply a picture of someone who took advantage of that, before flying on their merry way.

"Seeing is not believing" when it comes to digital artifacts.

Here is a Google Earth image of Niku's lagoon:

(http://tighar.org/aw/mediawiki/images/e/ee/Atlantis.png)

TIGHAR has been all over that area several times.

There are no "sharp angles" made out of coral down there.

The sharp angles come from oddities of digital technology.

What you see in the picture is not what you see when you are there on the ground or in the water.

"Artifacts in Digital Imaging." (http://www.acecam.com/magazine/artefact.html)

"Artifacts in sunset photography." (http://mintaka.sdsu.edu/GF/observing/artifacts.html)
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Chris Owens on June 08, 2011, 10:22:44 PM
Well in regards to her sending messages while the plane was floating, I originally rejected that out of hand, then a few days ago decided to give the idea a least an investigation, and sure enough, on one of the threads devoted to radio signals and the technology behind them, an authority on the subject from the military flatly rules out any possibility of this. (How's that for a run-on sentence?)

So based on that, and a little common sense, I would rule it out as well.

Vague references without links are even more annoying than some other thing.  ;D
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 08, 2011, 10:46:32 PM
You know I have a hard time going back and finding things I've already read in the forums...it's made me lazy over time because I've kind of given up...I've run up the white flag! Moleski usually bails me out.

I'm much better at finding actual docs that are archived or elsewhere on the site.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 08, 2011, 10:57:49 PM
Chris, I noticed your post asking about the existence of any Japanese documentation of radio traffic. That's thought provoking...I guess the same could be asked about documentation by the British and Australians. I'm sure Singapore and Hong Kong had their ears on.

As an aside, I think the signal readings from us Americans were all calculated by people in the North Pacific and West Coast...would that make a difference? If the Aussies calculated a position after picking up the same message as someone from Pan Am, wouldn't that have the potential to fine tune the positioning...I wonder by how much...?
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 09, 2011, 09:52:14 AM
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie on June 09, 2011, 11:54:12 AM
Chris, I noticed your post asking about the existence of any Japanese documentation of radio traffic. That's thought provoking...I guess the same could be asked about documentation by the British and Australians. I'm sure Singapore and Hong Kong had their ears on.

What makes you think Singapore and Hong Kong "had their ears on?"

As an aside, I think the signal readings from us Americans were all calculated by people in the North Pacific and West Coast...would that make a difference? If the Aussies calculated a position after picking up the same message as someone from Pan Am, wouldn't that have the potential to fine tune the positioning...I wonder by how much...?

What "signal readings" are you referring to?
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Alex Fox on June 09, 2011, 11:56:38 AM
I'm sure if the Japanese found her plane, they would have taken it away to be thoroughly scrutinized, which may be why it's so hard to find her plane. In fact, they undoubtedly had a large naval presence in the Marshalls, only a couple hundred miles away. They could have been on the scene in mere hours, instead of the days it took for the US to make an extensive search.

A couple hundred miles?  I'm no cartographer, but to me it looks like about 900.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie on June 09, 2011, 01:21:18 PM
We can discuss Japanese Capture on this forum if anyone can offer the first inkling of actual evidence that any such thing happened.  I will, henceforth, remove postings that are pure speculation.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 09, 2011, 02:19:31 PM
Well Ric, since they were major cities for commerce and trade, they would be major hubs for radio communication, and I'm sure the British had communications offices that regularly picked up (and perhaps monitored) radio traffic in the broader region. To Chris' point, maybe one of those offices picked up a snippet they thought might be attributable to AE/FN, and documented it. (Actually, Chris' point was about the Japanese, but the same idea would go for the rest of the region). I think it was yourself that mentioned that there was not always cooperation/communication between the different powers in the region, and that this was also typical of the search for the Electra.

Oh, and my question was about how someone from the Itasca, Hawaii, or the West Coast would calculate the source of a radio transmission, and specifically whether trying to get a fix on that source from additional listening stations to the east and south of the probable location would adjust that reckoning to any significant degree.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 09, 2011, 02:26:17 PM
So just to clarify, my question/comment has nothing to do with the Japanese capture "theory", which I always thought was sensationalist anyway.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie on June 09, 2011, 02:41:13 PM
Well Ric, since they were major cities for commerce and trade, they would be major hubs for radio communication, and I'm sure the British had communications offices that regularly picked up (and perhaps monitored) radio traffic in the broader region.

There were no scanners in the 1930s. "Monitoring" all frequencies would have to be done manually. Radio traffic was sent and received on set legally-approved frequencies at set times.
Nobody should be listening on Earhart's "night time" frequency of 3105 Kcs.  That frequency was reserved for U.S. aircraft making in-flight transmissions to ground stations.   Also, Earhart's voice radio was not strong enough to be heard and understood at distances greater than about 600 miles - usually less.  She might be heard at much greater distances on a harmonic of her primary frequencies but that would be by accident - which seems to have occurred in several instances.

Oh, and my question was about how someone from the Itasca, Hawaii, or the West Coast would calculate the source of a radio transmission, and specifically whether trying to get a fix on that source from additional listening stations to the east and south of the probable location would adjust that reckoning to any significant degree.

You can't calculate the source of a radio transmission without a direction-finding antenna.  The only bearings taken on post-loss signals suspected of being from Earhart were taken by Pan Am at Mokapu (near Honolulu), Midway and Wake; and by the Coast Guard direction finder on Howland.  See Analysis of Radio Direction Finder Bearings in the Search for Amelia Earhart (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/ResearchPapers/Brandenburg/RDFResearch/RDFAnalysis/RDFAnalysis.htm)
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Chris Owens on June 09, 2011, 05:28:48 PM
The only bearings that we can document as having been taken on post-loss signals suspected of being from Earhart were taken by Pan Am at Mokapu (near Honolulu), Midway and Wake; and by the Coast Guard direction finder on Howland.  See Analysis of Radio Direction Finder Bearings in the Search for Amelia Earhart (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/ResearchPapers/Brandenburg/RDFResearch/RDFAnalysis/RDFAnalysis.htm)

Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Ric Gillespie on June 09, 2011, 05:39:18 PM
The only bearings that we can document as having been taken on post-loss signals suspected of being from Earhart were taken by Pan Am at Mokapu (near Honolulu), Midway and Wake; and by the Coast Guard direction finder on Howland.  See Analysis of Radio Direction Finder Bearings in the Search for Amelia Earhart (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/ResearchPapers/Brandenburg/RDFResearch/RDFAnalysis/RDFAnalysis.htm)

True, but you can add that caveat to every piece of information we have.  Earhart's was the only aircraft that we can document was trying to fly to Howland Island on July 2, 1937.  We're pretty sure hers was the only one because we can't document any other that even might have been trying to fly to Howland that day. The same can be said of the radio bearings.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Zach Reed on June 09, 2011, 07:05:21 PM
Ric, thanks for the education on this...I learn something every time I stop by the forums.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: david alan atchason on June 10, 2011, 09:17:26 AM
I am not pushing the Japanese Capture theory, as Zach said, the book was written in a sensationalist manner which makes me suspicious to begin with. I am just keeping an open mind. Please do not comment I have holes in my head. Yes, I do learn a lot from this forum.
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Alex Fox on June 10, 2011, 09:58:30 AM
Just now I was playing with Google Earth, I still can't find the plane that Zach did, but I was searching around Noumatong Islet and I found my own plane. I don't know how to copy and paste it here. It is off the eastern edge of Noum. There is dark cloud shadow (I think) to the east. This shadow has a bump in the top part that sort of resembles a head with horns. Just north of that, a little to the right, is a shape that looks like a plane with the right hand wing clipped off a little bit. Zach indicated there are better maps. Fortunately this image is not covered by clouds at all.

I don't see it.  But for academic purposes, it is extremely useful when people post actual Google Earth coordinates when referencing Google Earth.  I saw Mr. Moleski did this in a thread I was looking at yesterday, and it helped me find and mark (with a great deal of precision) the Seven Site, the graphic distortions in the lagoon, etc.  I was looking for coordinates of the Norwich City, which I did not find, but I think I did ultimately find pieces of the NC.

To record coordinates, look at the bottom center of Google Earth screen.  They indicate the position where your mouse is hovering.  If it is not shown, then make sure the status bar is activated, under "View" and "Status Bar".
Title: Re: Sunrise Encounter
Post by: Martin X. Moleski, SJ on June 10, 2011, 10:15:14 AM
I was looking for coordinates of the Norwich City, which I did not find, but I think I did ultimately find pieces of the NC.

The remain wreckage of the Norwich City (http://tighar.org/wiki/Norwich_City) is hidden by clouds in the Google Earth imagery.

Try this in the "Fly To" field:

-4.660635372778139 -174.5451192981475

The location of the wreck is also indicated in many of the Niku maps (http://tighar.org/wiki/Maps_of_Nikumaroro) that Pat Thrasher has drawn over the years.