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Author Topic: Betty and Bob  (Read 94015 times)

Ben Stevens

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Betty and Bob
« on: March 26, 2013, 10:58:52 AM »

Hello,

In the post-loss signal catalog (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/ResearchPapers/Brandenburg/signalcatalog6.html) Betty is assumed to have been listening on July 5, 1630 to 1815 EST, or 2130 to 2315 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Bob Brandenburg marks as a hatched area in Figure 11 of his tide reconstruction paper in the latest issue of Tighar Tracks. According to Bob’s tide reconstruction, the tide level was about half a meter below the bottom of the Electra's tires during this period. So from Bob’s tide reconstruction the plane was well clear of sea level at this time—the wheels weren’t even wet—and it would have been possible for Amelia and Fred to make the broadcast that Betty heard.

However, I see a discrepancy. On the next to last page of Betty’s notebook
 (http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Notebook/notebook.html)
she reports hearing AE saying: "Water knee deep-let me out" , and on the final page Betty records AE saying: "knee deep over". When interviewed by the Ric about her notebook, Betty's recollection was: "in here she was saying the waters coming up like she could see water rising" and "that sounds like she was having trouble getting water so high the plane was slipping".

So Betty’s notes have Amelia saying that the sea was sweeping knee deep under the Electra, and  Betty’s adult recollection to Ric was that the Electra was slipping under the influence of the sea washing underneath it. But Bob Brandenburg’s tide reconstruction has the reef high and dry, during Betty’s listening period on July 5. I checked Bob Brandenburg’s charts to see if perhaps on another day the tide level during 2130 to 2315 GMT corresponded to a knee-deep tidal level but it appears not. On all but one day the tide level was pretty far below the level of the Electra’s wheels; the one day the tide level reached the wheels was July 2, but even then the water level barely reached the wheels, and that was at the very end of Betty’s listening period although Betty has Amelia first saying ‘water knee deep’ a some time before 22:30 GMT, when the tide level had not yet even reached the Electra’s wheels.

So, the notion that the tide level was knee deep beneath the Electra when Betty was listening, and that the Electra was slipping under the influence of the sea, doesn’t seem to fit in well with the results of Brandenburg tide study. Or, am I missing something?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2013, 11:22:58 AM »

So, the notion that the tide level was knee deep beneath the Electra when Betty was listening, and that the Electra was slipping under the influence of the sea, doesn’t seem to fit in well with the results of Brandenburg tide study. Or, am I missing something?

No, that's true.  Good point.  It does appear to be a discrepancy.  Thoughts?
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2013, 11:38:43 AM »

Storm surge?
3971R
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2013, 11:44:14 AM »

Storm surge?

No storms were recorded in the region at that time, but it doesn't take a storm to create large swells.  Brandenburg's graphs are based on calm conditions.  Ocean swells could send knee-deep water running over the reef surface even at low tide.
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John B. Shattuck

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2013, 02:23:35 PM »

Betty caught lots of fragments; hard to know if there was more or the context AE was making.  i.e. "water is knee deep...when we have to stop transmitting" etc.  I think the more definitive point is the presence of a transmission when a transmission is possible.
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Ben Stevens

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2013, 05:42:03 PM »

Storm surge?

No storms were recorded in the region at that time, but it doesn't take a storm to create large swells.  Brandenburg's graphs are based on calm conditions.  Ocean swells could send knee-deep water running over the reef surface even at low tide.
Ric

The idea about swells occurred to me, too. But the complication I see there is that waves break when they reach shallow water. So since the water level under the Electra was nil, the swells would have broken well before reaching the Electra (remember, the tide level was around -0.6 to -0.7 meters lower than the bottom of the Electra’s wheel during the time Betty was listening) so I can’t see the swells passing knee deep under the Electra.  Maybe after the swells broke, sheets of water would run up the reef, but that doesn’t sound to me like what Betty reports, and I can’t see how the plane would move under those circumstances.

Another point about swells, however, is that swells would be rolling in at high tide as well. On July 3 the high tide at 14:00 GMT reached to the propeller clearance limit, 10 inches below the radio dry limit. So, a swell of 10 inches or more around the time of high tide, which seems quite mild, would have put the radio permanently out of commission.  The higher of the two high tides  on July 5, looks to have gotten to within about 6 inches of the radio transmitter dry limit, so a swell of more than 6 inches would have put out the radio. And at high tide, the water was deep enough, I think, for swells to reach the Electra.

So, reconciling the Betty story with Bob’s tide reconstruction, and factoring in the effect of swells, does in my mind does cast some doubt about who it was Betty really heard --Amelia, or other random radio transmissions. Also, it now seems to me that the possibility of even modest swells  at high tide raises doubts about whether the Electra was in any condition to transmit any of the credible radio signals received on July 5  or later.

Hmmn, interesting…
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2013, 07:25:46 PM »

So, reconciling the Betty story with Bob’s tide reconstruction, and factoring in the effect of swells, does in my mind does cast some doubt about who it was Betty really heard --Amelia, or other random radio transmissions.

Random radio transmissions?  Could you be a little more precise?  Betty's notebook, irrespective of her later recollections, is a transcript of a near-panicky person who claims to be Amelia Earhart, calling for help and trying to deal with a second person who is acting irrationally.  Betty either heard genuine radio transmissions from Earhart, or she heard hoax radio transmissions from someone pretending to be Earhart, or a radio play about Earhart - or Betty made the whole thing up and her notebook is a fraud.  I'd like to hear your argument for any of those or, if there is another possibility we haven't thought of, please tells us - but "random radio transmissions" is not sufficient.

Also, it now seems to me that the possibility of even modest swells  at high tide raises doubts about whether the Electra was in any condition to transmit any of the credible radio signals received on July 5  or later.

Of course there is the possibility that the Electra was in no condition to transmit, but if that was the case we need a credible alternative source for the credible signals..
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John A Fisher

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2013, 10:09:07 PM »

Betty caught lots of fragments; hard to know if there was more or the context AE was making.  i.e. "water is knee deep...when we have to stop transmitting" etc.  I think the more definitive point is the presence of a transmission when a transmission is possible.

It could be as you say a series of disconnected transmission fragments but that only answers the question by inventing a circumstance to explain it. The acceptable solution I suggest is to answer the question with information that explains it. As it stands it is fair to say that the apparent discrepancy opens to doubt previous interpretations. In other words if that is a true transcript then if Earhart was in water that deep she could not be transmitting. That is the rebuttal, if I have understood it correctly, that is related to the dismissal of claims that they could have transmitted from a floating Electra.   :)   
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Bill de Creeft

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2013, 01:37:49 AM »

I'm new to the forum but not new to the subject (see my intro, and the comments I made concerning "158 338" and my comments concerning prop clearance) but I've been following the discussion the last couple of days...
There still is skepticism about the radio transmission, and that skepticism seems to have influenced the search in the past.
To repeat myself, I flew with shortwave my main connection with my airplanes my office, the boats I was servicing, and other aircraft, here in Alaska, for years before everyone switched to side-band.
Also the FCC, in their wisdom, made us move off of 2512 because it was not an aircraft frequency so we could no longer talk to a boat when it was having a problem and calling for help; I won't go into how many times we saved boats and even lives over the years...we went to 3411 and listened to blueberry pie recipes from the lodges.
Then we all went to Marine VHF and we could all watch out for each other on that
My point is, that sitting in my house in Homer Alaska, I have heard boats in australia...heard a sailboat talking to the radio in Darwin as clear as a bell, for hours...so i absolutey believe Betty, as I said last week.

So tonight I opened google earth and brought up Howland I., took a straight line to Gardner I. , went down that line to the position that Betty repeated *twice*..."309 S" and look where it puts you ....
 
I don't have a way to measure miles, or to show the heading on the google map
( and I can't find  "165 E" (it should be "west" shouldn't it?)
But that's what Amelia said on the radio.. Fred had been injured and was 'out of it'..."309 S   165 E"
I think they were following 158 degrees down from the Howland area and at '309 South' latitude they saw an Island ahead of them and got busy getting ready to land...That much comes out of Bettys notebook; all we have to do is believe her.
If it's too far to see the island  from that spot it just means that's the last position they took and then there was land straight ahead.
Has anybody put that on a chart to see where it is?
Fred did the research...all we would have had to do is believe them and go there...

I still have the old late-thirties Stromberg Carlson big radio in my log cabin...just needs about 60 feet of longwire but hasn't been plugged in for about 30 years!
we used to listen to the marine forecast on it.

Bill

Says "Shortwave...Aircraft...Broadcast"
 Come see if we can pick up Amelia !?!
Bill de Creeft

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2013, 09:40:16 AM »

It could be as you say a series of disconnected transmission fragments but that only answers the question by inventing a circumstance to explain it.

"Disconnected transmission fragments" is not a viable explanation for the phrases transcribed in Betty's Notebook.

The acceptable solution I suggest is to answer the question with information that explains it.

Agreed.

As it stands it is fair to say that the apparent discrepancy opens to doubt previous interpretations.

Agreed.  There needs to be a reasonable possible resolution (or resolutions) to the apparent discrepancy.

In other words if that is a true transcript then if Earhart was in water that deep she could not be transmitting. That is the rebuttal, if I have understood it correctly, that is related to the dismissal of claims that they could have transmitted from a floating Electra.   :)

Not so.  The Electra could still transmit in "knee deep" water.  The discrepancy is that, in Betty's Notebook, Noonan expresses concern about "waters high" and "waters knee deep" and "knee deep over," but Brandenburg's water level calculations indicate that the reef surface at the plane's supposed location in calm sea conditions is nearly dry.
There is no reference in Noonan's comments as to where the water is high, knee deep, or knee deep over.  If Betty can hear Noonan he must be in the cockpit where the microphone is.  Noonan is therefore judging the water depth by looking out the cockpit window. That's difficult.  He can't see the wheels from the cockpit. He may have been way off - especially in his irrational, panicked state.

Another possibility is that the aircraft did not stay in one location on the reef for the several days that credible post-loss signals were sent. 
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2013, 11:10:56 AM »

From the Time & Credible Signals figures in the latest TIGAR Tracks issue, the high tides were getting higher and higher each day during the July 2nd to July 8th period.  If they could taxi, they may have wanted to move the plane to what they thought was a better location like the crew of the Coydon did when they landed on a reef with rising tides. The Coydon crew said "The reef looked higher a little further on and, since we appeared to have landed undamaged, we started to taxi towards it".  I think it is a possibilty AE and Fred may have decided to take a similar action and in trying to relocate, got stuck for a while in a lower spot. The path to a higher spot may have involved a route that crossed lower spots.  Note the number of credible signals tapered off after July 5th. Maybe some of the few remaining credible signals on the 6th to 8th were powered by what power was left on the battery? Either from being out of gas or stuck in a different spot where the props could not run as much anymore?
There are Betty's notes which indicate the crew's concern about the battery. "watch that battery".
3971R
 
« Last Edit: March 27, 2013, 11:17:39 AM by G. Daspit »
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Bill de Creeft

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2013, 11:34:03 AM »

We always had much better radio contact with the floatplanes if we were sitting on the water...I could easily talk to the FAA in FBX when I was sitting on the lake in Homer (that is normal operations; not like what we're discussing, of course, but worth keeping in mind) but not as well when in flight.
As long as the antennae is not touching the water, it would help to have water helping the "radio ground"by having the belly in the water.

As a side note, when everybody up here had a CB radio in their cars and airplanes, we continiully could not hear each other because of "skip" from Los Angeles freeway!...two way conversation with a station called "Billy Goat Gruff" who was at the scene of an accident on the freeway and I was tryig to call the office to get some fuel down to the lake here in town !!
So random radio contacts from anywhere on the globe was no big deal !

So back to the subject: If I recall correctly; the generator was on the right engine...which gear collapsed and when?
Was Nessie torn off and the plane stationary and one wing resting on the reef?
What does that do to the situation...the right engine would not run so it would have had to be the left engine that was down...if that was a factor at all...if the could run at "dry times" and then transmit just on battery at night when the reception was best...they were not running the engine while they were using the radio..."no hum from the engine " reported and it would have been too loud in the cockpit to be talking at the required 1500 rpm to produce voltage...
Lots of factors!
As for the Location: if you fly down 158 degree heading from Howland Is. to Gardner Is you pass through 3 deg. 9Minutes South and then 4 minutes 28 minutes South to Niko......now look at what Amelia told Betty...
I just don't have the mileage available to me and breakfast is about to be thrown out, I am told !?!
Later!
Bill
Bill de Creeft

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Bill de Creeft

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2013, 01:02:24 PM »

OK Ric...Couldn't find "reply" because I hadn't hit log-in recently enough !!

I want to clarify my degrees and minutes thing...

From Betty's notebook , and thats quoting Amelia who is quoting an injured Fred Noonan...so lt's of garbleing, I get this: "If you hold 158 degrees from here (Howland Is?) you will get to the nearest land (Phoenix Is Group)."

Ok; if you fly 158 degree track to the Island Group you come down through Position 3 degrees  9 minutes South, at which point I suppose you could see Gardner Is. which is at 4 degrees 28 minutes South.

Question: How many miles from 3 deg 9 min S to 4 deg 28 min S....? Could they see gardner that far away??

If that distance is too far to see Gardner, then I believe that they took that position and the NEXT thing they saw was Gardner so didn't bother at that point with position fixes because they were committing to a Landing...then Fred got injured in the landing and Amelia was left without an effective navigator.
If it turns out that they could have seen the Island at that point, it gets even simpler...He took a fix, wrote it down, and they flew to the Island and they landed...at 4 degrees 28 minutes South. (or whatever it really is)

The distance from 3 deg 9minutes South to 4 deg 28 minutes South looks to be about the last fifth of the difference from Howland to Gardner.

We don't know what the distance is from where he picked up the 158deg. (157)/338(337) or what actual heading she had to hold on the compass (unless the wind is dead on your nose, you are going to have to crab into the wind to hold a coarse)
But he was the best Navigator going and whatever he told her to do, she did it...she had flown the atlantic solo, don't foget)

So now tell me where this all falls apart...??

It's all been available since I was that 5 year old kid in California who saw the Lexington leave "to go look for Amelia Earhart"
Bill
Bill de Creeft

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2013, 01:36:47 PM »

Question: How many miles from 3 deg 9 min S to 4 deg 28 min S....? Could they see gardner that far away??

Gardner is 4° 32' S.  From 3° 9' S it is 97 nautical miles to Gardner.


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Bill de Creeft

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Re: Betty and Bob
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2013, 02:34:10 PM »

I'm going to let that soak for a while !?!
Bill
Bill de Creeft

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