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Author Topic: Course lines, speed lines, where's Howland, and... where did she go?  (Read 102246 times)

Ric Gillespie

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Re: Course lines, speed lines, where's Howland, and... where did she go?
« Reply #45 on: December 11, 2011, 09:55:59 AM »

That "scare story" comes from Bob Brandenburg,  TIGHAR's radio expert, not a boiler operations expert.

TIGHAR's Bob Brandenburg is LCDR Robert Brandenburg USN (ret), a career naval officer who, among other things, captained a Destroyer Escort during the Vietnam War.  I'm sure he'd be happy to compare his knowledge of boiler operations at sea with yours any day.

See what I wrote about this before at: https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,383.msg4989.html#msg4989

In that posting you wrote:
"But this is all a theoretical discussion and we do not have to even consider it since there are all the contemporary eye witness accounts and documents saying that the smoke screen was there for hours, it stretched more than ten miles down wind and would have been visible for 40 miles."

All of the Coast Guard and Navy after-action reports include heavy-doses of not-our-fault, blame-the-victim.  Factual errors and false assumptions abound.  There was also a noticeable element of getting-our-story-straight.  Commander Thompson's (CO of Itasca) "Radio Transcripts Earhart Flight" is the worst of the lot.  Many, but by no means all, of the inaccuracies and self-serving distortions in the official reports are described and documented in Finding Amelia. 

Elgin Long even includes a photograph of the Itasca making smoke and you can see the quality of the smoke for yourself.

The gentleman's first name is spelled Elgen.  He captions the photo in his book:
"The Itasca makes smoke as boats bring ashore a landing party to assist Earhart on her arrival. Note how the smoke lies on the surface and dissipates as it drifts away." The caption is in error.  We have the same photo.  It came from Itasca's quartermaster Frank Stewart (now deceased).  The photo was taken in 1936 during one of Itasca's earlier trips to Howland.  The ship is not laying down smoke for Earhart.  She's apparently "blowing tubes."

I don't know how long Itasca made smoke but I don't think it matters anyway.  I think the available evidence strongly suggests that Earhart was never close enough to see any smoke short of a nuclear test.


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richie conroy

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Re: Course lines, speed lines, where's Howland, and... where did she go?
« Reply #46 on: December 11, 2011, 02:20:46 PM »

it has been solved just no smokeing gun yet BUT

i think amelia an fred knew exactly were they was, an like amelia's second to last flight were they landed 160 odd miles off course, it attracted more media attention

i think this because in the itasca logs amelia says they are circling but can not see u, circling what!! how would they know they had turned 360 degree's unless hey had a target to judge on which i think was hull an then was able to get to gardner were they were able to land   
We are an echo of the past


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richie conroy

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Re: Course lines, speed lines, where's Howland, and... where did she go?
« Reply #47 on: December 11, 2011, 02:31:52 PM »

which back fired an givin, the fact they were both slim people i.e 8 stone at most, its supriseing they lasted the time to last positive radio call transmission
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Course lines, speed lines, where's Howland, and... where did she go?
« Reply #48 on: December 11, 2011, 03:13:48 PM »

That "scare story" comes from Bob Brandenburg,  TIGHAR's radio expert, not a boiler operations expert.

TIGHAR's Bob Brandenburg is LCDR Robert Brandenburg USN (ret), a career naval officer who, among other things, captained a Destroyer Escort during the Vietnam War.  I'm sure he'd be happy to compare his knowledge of boiler operations at sea with yours any day.
Your authority is Lieutenant Commander Brandenburg, mine is Admiral Knight, I win. ;)
Ask Brandenburg why they couldn't simply blow the boilers at more frequent intervals if there was a concern. And also ask him about the fact that normal procedure had them blowing the boilers at 0800, only 1:46 minutes after the start of the smoke, so no damage yet. (The 1:46 is a maximum time since the deck log states that Earhart called at 0614 and it then logs the start of the smoke but doesn't include a time for starting the smoke. It is unlikely that they started the smoke at the exact same instant as the radio call from Earhart so we can only be sure that the smoke started sometime after 0614. The next log entry is at 0645 and documents another call from Earhart so we can only be sure that the smoke started sometime between these two entries, 0614 and 0645 so it is possible that smoke was only being made for 1:15 prior to the standard blowing of the tubes at the end of the watch at 0800.) So the tubes would be clear at that point (0800) and it was only necessary to make smoke for an additional 43 minutes until Earhart's last report of "157-337 LOP" at 0843. There is no reason to believe that the ship couldn't make smoke for 43 minutes after blowing the boilers.

Quote

See what I wrote about this before at: https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,383.msg4989.html#msg4989

In that posting you wrote:
"But this is all a theoretical discussion and we do not have to even consider it since there are all the contemporary eye witness accounts and documents saying that the smoke screen was there for hours, it stretched more than ten miles down wind and would have been visible for 40 miles."

All of the Coast Guard and Navy after-action reports include heavy-doses of not-our-fault, blame-the-victim.  Factual errors and false assumptions abound.  There was also a noticeable element of getting-our-story-straight.  Commander Thompson's (CO of Itasca) "Radio Transcripts Earhart Flight" is the worst of the lot.  Many, but by no means all, of the inaccuracies and self-serving distortions in the official reports are described and documented in Finding Amelia.
Except the two wire service reporters had nothing to hide and they could have written block-buster stories disputing the official cover-up of Itasca's failure to provide the smoke that Itasca had promised in a radiogram to Earhart that led directly to her loss. Can we say Pulitzer prize? Also, the Hawaiian radio amateurs on Howland had nothing to hide either, they shared no blame for a lack of a smoke screen and they logged the smoke being made.
 
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I don't know how long Itasca made smoke but I don't think it matters anyway.  I think the available evidence strongly suggests that Earhart was never close enough to see any smoke short of a nuclear test.
I agree completely, they never saw the smoke or they would have landed on Howland. That is why I wondered why Brandenburg had to make such a big deal about it.

gl
« Last Edit: December 12, 2011, 02:14:33 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Course lines, speed lines, where's Howland, and... where did she go?
« Reply #49 on: December 11, 2011, 05:06:12 PM »

Gary.  Not seeing the smoke is the only reason they missed Howland????
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Heath Smith

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Re: Course lines, speed lines, where's Howland, and... where did she go?
« Reply #50 on: December 11, 2011, 05:28:15 PM »


In the Itasca log at the Purdue site, just after the 0807 log entry it says in parenthesis, which indicated updates after the actual events, the smoke trail was concentrated and stretched out 10 miles. Granted that who ever wrote this probably created this guesstimate after the events of that day had unfolded.  Assuming an 8mph wind, this would suggest that they started the generation of the smoke roughly and hour and a quarter earlier. This of course assume an accuracy of the guesstimate of the trail length and that the time of day this was made was around 0807.

It did not state the elevation of the smoke which would be an important detail for determining how far away they might have been to miss it. Does this boiler smoke rise like another other smoke or would it tend to remain just above sea level?
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Course lines, speed lines, where's Howland, and... where did she go?
« Reply #51 on: December 11, 2011, 06:26:25 PM »

That "scare story" comes from Bob Brandenburg,  TIGHAR's radio expert, not a boiler operations expert.

TIGHAR's Bob Brandenburg is LCDR Robert Brandenburg USN (ret), a career naval officer who, among other things, captained a Destroyer Escort during the Vietnam War.  I'm sure he'd be happy to compare his knowledge of boiler operations at sea with yours any day.


Your authority is Lieutenant Commander Brandenburg, mine is Admiral Knight, I win. ;)
Let's see, how does that go again? Lieutenant Commander; Commander; Captain and then comes Rear Admiral, right?

gl
« Last Edit: December 11, 2011, 07:02:22 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Course lines, speed lines, where's Howland, and... where did she go?
« Reply #52 on: December 12, 2011, 03:51:35 AM »

N.B. This post has been removed because of ad hominem attacks.I have issued a warning to Gary asking him to confine his remarks to the arguments at hand, and not to impugn the character of other TIGHAR members.

People are free to disagree, but they must adhere to the basic standards of etiquette for the Forum.

The questions debated here are things about which reasonable people may reasonably disagree.  Please act on the assumption that everyone is doing the best that they can to think and speak responsibly.

Marty

« Last Edit: December 12, 2011, 07:22:21 AM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Course lines, speed lines, where's Howland, and... where did she go?
« Reply #53 on: December 12, 2011, 06:36:40 AM »

Thanks again Gary,
As I recall from reading somewhere, the Electra was also able to change headings ( ;)), making it theoretically unnecessary for Fred to switch places with Ameila in order to take a sun elevation from the copilot's seat, or from any other window.  Distortion through a window is least when shot at angles closest to perpendicular to the glass (plexiglass?), and a heading change for a minute or so would seem well worth the improvement in accuracy.  I don't recall seeing any mention of this in Fred's notes or Amelia's writings, so call it hypothetical.
Then again, we also know from her writings that AE used the autopilot, which would also offer Fred ready access to the left hand seat.  He obviously had plenty of options to use any window he needed.
Without my doing any research on the subject, I suspect that the 11-degree field of view mentioned was figured assuming a human eyeball in normal seating position, from which point the windshield subtended 11 degrees vertically.  It also sloped back quite a bit, offering a much higher view if the human eyeball were to lean forward and look up, or if a sextant or octant were moved to a favorable position nearer to the windshield.  11 degrees is plenty for normal piloting duties.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
« Last Edit: December 12, 2011, 07:07:02 AM by John Ousterhout »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Course lines, speed lines, where's Howland, and... where did she go?
« Reply #54 on: December 12, 2011, 06:52:23 AM »

That reminds me of a series of exchanges I had with TIGHAR's all around expert, Lieutenant Commander Robert Brandenburg U.S. Navy (Ret.)
I have excerpted below one of our exchanges. This exchange involved various in-flight celestial navigation issues and Lieutenant Commander Robert Brandenburg U.S. Navy (Ret.) was then acting in his navigation expert role (as opposed to his radio expert role or his boiler operations expert role, etc.) He challenged me to explain how Noonan could take various sights. I am including an excerpt of Brandenburg's March 23, 2002 post to illustrate his "expertise" in this area. I have also attached the complete posting and my response as pdf files so you can see the complete context.

I see nothing remarkable in these exchanges.  Failure to agree with you does not necessarily constitute a lack of expertise.  What I do find remarkable is your contemptuous  tone.  This is not the first time you've lashed out at someone who doesn't agree with you.  Postings like this say a lot more about you than about the person you try to denigrate.  I'm asking Marty to put you on the "watch" list.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Course lines, speed lines, where's Howland, and... where did she go?
« Reply #55 on: December 12, 2011, 12:23:59 PM »

Thanks again Gary,
As I recall from reading somewhere, the Electra was also able to change headings ( ;)), making it theoretically unnecessary for Fred to switch places with Ameila in order to take a sun elevation from the copilot's seat, or from any other window.  Distortion through a window is least when shot at angles closest to perpendicular to the glass (plexiglass?), and a heading change for a minute or so would seem well worth the improvement in accuracy.  I don't recall seeing any mention of this in Fred's notes or Amelia's writings, so call it hypothetical.
Then again, we also know from her writings that AE used the autopilot, which would also offer Fred ready access to the left hand seat.  He obviously had plenty of options to use any window he needed.
Without my doing any research on the subject, I suspect that the 11-degree field of view mentioned was figured assuming a human eyeball in normal seating position, from which point the windshield subtended 11 degrees vertically.  It also sloped back quite a bit, offering a much higher view if the human eyeball were to lean forward and look up, or if a sextant or octant were moved to a favorable position nearer to the windshield.  11 degrees is plenty for normal piloting duties.
As they were approaching the LOP the sun would have been almost directly in front of them so the place to take those sextant shots was from the co-pilot's seat through the windshield. We know that Noonan did exactly this on the flight to Dakar. At 1237 Z on the way to Dakar, Noonan measured the sun’s altitude with his Bendix bubble octant (a kind of a sextant) through the cockpit windshield as the sun was almost directly in front of them and the measured altitude was 65̊ 34' so he was obviously not constrained by any "11 degree" altitude limit.  Also on the way to Dakar, at 1341 Z Noonan took another observation of the sun, this time from the left side cabin
window. He measured 74̊ 48' with his octant. These observations were made using the same octant, through the same windows and in the same airplane as on the Howland flight.
I have attached a list of Noonan's sextant observations on the way to Hawaii and it shows that he was able to take observations in all directions around the plane and as high as 75 degrees.
gl
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Course lines, speed lines, where's Howland, and... where did she go?
« Reply #56 on: December 13, 2011, 09:51:51 AM »

Hi Heath. Please take a look at Celestial navigation forum. Topic is "Working the flight backwards". In particular reply #95 by Jeff Neville. His reply has a clear snapshot of why they turned south when they did. (the theory anyway).

I think in general that the general consensus is they went to far southof Howland, headed north on the LOP but turned back south just a bit too soon.
If you read Neville's post #95 then make sure you also read post #87 at http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,452.msg5618.html#msg5618
post # 99, at http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,452.msg5637.html#msg5637
post #104, http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,452.msg5647.html#msg5647
and post #73, https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,452.msg5586.html#msg5586

Then if you want more complete information go to:
https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/navigation-to-howland-island
and also look at the standard flight navigation texts available here:
https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/topics/landfall-procedure
and  more generally here:
https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/

If you read Neville's post #95 then you might also like to ask him about the last time he did a sun line "landfall" approach to an island (I did my last one about seven months ago on May 1, 2011, see: https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/other-flight-navigation-information/recent-landfall-approach  and I've done lots of them before) and also ask him when he took his last sextant observation in flight, (I took some today.)

gl

Gary, I am honored that you continually find me to be such a worthy nemisis to strive to impeach somehow.  I MUST be on the right track.

I am happy for your recent experience.  Was it done in the Howland vicinity, perhaps?  Good for you.

---


So, oh-where-oh-where has my little Lockheed gone?   :D   


It's a big ocean.

More later.

gl
« Last Edit: December 13, 2011, 02:01:41 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Course lines, speed lines, where's Howland, and... where did she go?
« Reply #57 on: December 13, 2011, 12:09:25 PM »


Jeff
I, too lean in favor of the Gardiner landing hypothesis.
However, AE's last transmission specified  "Running North and South" on LOP 157/337" which is a binary statement.  Was she running from 337 to 157 i.e. towards the SSE and Gardiner, or from 157 to 337 i.e. towards  NNW and the Marshalls??  Unfortunately she was a sloppy comminicator, and IMHO a sloppy pilot at the very least.  Commander Thompson, faced with the ambiguity of AE's binary information, made a choice.  He chose to "search" in the NW.  OOPS
When the cavalry (the Navy) arrived they spent the better part of a week searching in every direction except the SSE  OOPS.
I lean to the SSE because it (the Phoenix Island Group) is closer to where AE was when she realized that she was lost and had better look for some alternate, drier landing place than anything near her then.
No Worries Mates
LTM   Harry (TIGHAR #3244R)
 
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Rich Ramsey

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Re: Course lines, speed lines, where's Howland, and... where did she go?
« Reply #58 on: December 13, 2011, 02:46:38 PM »

I'm gonna say it and if it is the wrong thing to say, the wrong place to say I am sorry. But why in the world would anyone take off for such a long flight, with such limited window for error. Bound for such a small target with out verifying the radio works both ways. Honestly would any of you pilots do this?  If I am to follow all this correct the proof we have (debated or not) is the antenna was ripped off at take off.  That means from the get go she could hear no body? Why not turn around? Why not have someway of someone reaching her by chase plane to say we can't hear you? Why go on with no radio? I don't expect an answer as there is no way to get one short of finding a Diary on Niku. Just voicing some frustration with it all. The Logic Ric put's forth with the evedence of the video is sound. It just doesn't make since for someone to continue on with no radio and for everyone there not get word to her via a Chase plane or something. (end rant)
"Hang Tough"
Rich
 
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Heath Smith

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Re: Course lines, speed lines, where's Howland, and... where did she go?
« Reply #59 on: December 13, 2011, 03:17:25 PM »

Quote
Re-consider Itasca's initial search effort - her commander acted on what he believed in a very short period of time.  The picture had been forming in his head that morning from all that had been pouring in, including probably lots of nuanced opinion all around him.  He did the best he could in deliberate haste.

I am really trying to understand the rational of the CG and Navy for their push East and North West. Was there any basis whatsoever for this decision?

Early media reports state that a direction finder was used at some point to say that she was either NW or SE, but I suspect that this information is just not true since the direction finder on Howland had dead batteries and there was no such equipment on the Itasca.

If true, why in the world would they think that she passed North?

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