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Author Topic: "We're on Gardner Island. Gardner, Gardner, Gardner!"  (Read 53946 times)

Ric Gillespie

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Re: "We're on Gardner Island. Gardner, Gardner, Gardner!"
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2015, 02:53:07 PM »

Although we know Noonan carried a lot of charts, he described his method of using plotting sheets for overwater work in his letter to PVH Weems outlining his Pan Am navigation techniques.

Whether it's radio or navigation or flight planning, it's easy to forget how differently Earhart and Noonan operated from the way we do things today.
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Craig Romig

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Re: "We're on Gardner Island. Gardner, Gardner, Gardner!"
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2015, 02:57:23 PM »

Maybe the island was named. But never heard. Such as we are on Gardner island just north of Norwich city (NYC) as betty noted.
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Jeff Palshook

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Re: "We're on Gardner Island. Gardner, Gardner, Gardner!"
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2015, 03:09:01 PM »

The U.S. Navy didn't have a nautical chart showing Gardner Island or the Phoenix Islands? Then how did the COLORADO navigate to Gardner Island?  How was CAPT Friedell, CO of COLORADO, able to report to the Naval Hydrographic Office that the shape of Gardner Island, as depicted on the nautical chart he was using, was significantly in error, based on the observations Friedell and his crew collected as it sailed past Gardner Island?  How was LT Lambrecht able to fly accurately to Gardner Island before the COLORADO sailed within sight of Gardner?  How was Lambrecht able to accurately fly to all the other islands in the Phoenix group?  C'mon, Ric.  The Navy didn't have a chart of the Phoenix Islands?  Try another explanation.

Jeff P.
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Dale O. Beethe

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Re: "We're on Gardner Island. Gardner, Gardner, Gardner!"
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2015, 03:15:06 PM »

Ricker,  Would it have been standard procedure to pencil in any geographical features you felt to be important? (Such as the Phoenix Group?)  In land navigation in the Marine Corps we would sometimes use a map overlay instead of needing a whole map sheet.  We would draw in anything we felt we needed, leaving out stuff we didn't.  Would it have been along those lines?
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Tim Collins

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Re: "We're on Gardner Island. Gardner, Gardner, Gardner!"
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2015, 03:30:33 PM »

Is there a higher resolution version of that map available?

There is a high-res facsimile of the map on the DVD that comes with the hard-cover edition of Finding Amelia. I'll put the PDF (51.8 MB) in a Dropbox.  Any TIGHAR member who wants a link can just send me an email at ric@tighar.org

Thanks. I apparently already have it then.
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Bob Smith

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Re: "We're on Gardner Island. Gardner, Gardner, Gardner!"
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2015, 04:39:37 PM »

In reading about Fred and his background in navigation, particularly his work for the airlines in plotting the routes all across the Pacific, it would seem likely he knew just about every nook and cranny of the islands and at least an approximate location in relation to Howland, Baker, Gardner and the rest of them that were well known to aviators and military. Even if officially accurate charts were not yet available, wouldn't somebody like Fred have to know where the islands were and their proximity to each other? He was a pilot as well as a well established ship officer to say nothing about his better than ordinary general navigation skills. In 1937 it was only a few years before the landing strips and bases were built on many islands including Baker, Howland and others in the Phoenix Group.
Bob S.
 
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Friend Weller

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Re: "We're on Gardner Island. Gardner, Gardner, Gardner!"
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2015, 04:47:39 PM »

I remember from the one of the videos that the shape of Gardner Island was drawn more "square" with a keyhole-shaped lagoon on maps prior to 1938.  IIRC, this was how the island was represented until a refined shape was published in 1938.  If Fred had seen other (USN) maps prior to the flight with Gardner on it and perhaps remembered it's "incorrect" shape (but as we we are discussing here, it is not on the USN maps of the Howland/Baker vicinity) it may be that he knew there was land to the south but as Howland was the destination, memorizing the names of those islands may not have been a priority or worrying about their shapes on a map back in the States.  As you say Ric, "Any port in a storm".   ???
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: "We're on Gardner Island. Gardner, Gardner, Gardner!"
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2015, 05:49:40 PM »

The U.S. Navy didn't have a nautical chart showing Gardner Island or the Phoenix Islands? Then how did the COLORADO navigate to Gardner Island?  How was CAPT Friedell, CO of COLORADO, able to report to the Naval Hydrographic Office that the shape of Gardner Island, as depicted on the nautical chart he was using, was significantly in error, based on the observations Friedell and his crew collected as it sailed past Gardner Island?  How was LT Lambrecht able to fly accurately to Gardner Island before the COLORADO sailed within sight of Gardner?  How was Lambrecht able to accurately fly to all the other islands in the Phoenix group?  C'mon, Ric.  The Navy didn't have a chart of the Phoenix Islands?  Try another explanation.

The chart I posted was used by Admiral Murfin's office (14th Naval District HQ at Pearl Harbor) to record the search.  Logically there should have been a chart that picked up where that one left off.  As you say, COLORADO must have had a chart.  So why did Murfin's office draw in the Gardner Island area instead of using the published chart?  Maybe it was just easier.
The point is that the chart that included Howland Island did not show Gardner Island.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: "We're on Gardner Island. Gardner, Gardner, Gardner!"
« Reply #23 on: August 26, 2015, 05:59:18 PM »

Maybe the island was named. But never heard. Such as we are on Gardner island just north of Norwich city (NYC) as betty noted.
That's possible but it seems odd that the name does not appear in any of the reports of post-loss receptions.  Did everybody miss it?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: "We're on Gardner Island. Gardner, Gardner, Gardner!"
« Reply #24 on: August 26, 2015, 06:05:13 PM »

In reading about Fred and his background in navigation, particularly his work for the airlines in plotting the routes all across the Pacific, it would seem likely he knew just about every nook and cranny of the islands and at least an approximate location in relation to Howland, Baker, Gardner and the rest of them that were well known to aviators and military.


Fred did not plot routes all across the Pacific.  Fred worked only for Pan Am and only on the route across the North Pacific.  His experience as a mariner was confined to the Atlantic and South America.

Even if officially accurate charts were not yet available, wouldn't somebody like Fred have to know where the islands were and their proximity to each other?

No.  Officially accurate charts almost certainly were available. The charts he needed were the charts that covered his proposed route.


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Steve Robertson

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Re: "We're on Gardner Island. Gardner, Gardner, Gardner!"
« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2015, 06:58:51 PM »

The missing aviators, if they lacked both a map and a name for their island, obviously might attempt to communicate their location by determining geographical coordinates, or proximity to other islands etc. I have sometimes enjoyed speculating that they might also have attempted to describe the shape of the island itself.

I was intrigued by the reference in Betty's notebook, page 53, to 'Fig 8', because from certain viewpoints Niku looks a bit like a figure 8. Well, I think so anyway! From low elevations and an appropriate viewing angle the point of land which extends into the lagoon near the top of Aukaraime North visually "comes close to" Bauareke Passage, thus one may perceive a lagoon in two parts partly separated by land.

I wonder if amongst the confusion of words and numbers Betty's half-heard snippet records an attempt by Earhart to describe the island's shape. Clearly there is nothing to be proven here. But its fun to speculate. The visual trick only works from some viewing positions, and not from others.

I encourage readers with Google Earth to have a little fly around and see what they think. I also wonder what that very select group of people who have actually seen Niku from the air think about my Figure 8 hypothesis.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: "We're on Gardner Island. Gardner, Gardner, Gardner!"
« Reply #26 on: August 26, 2015, 07:37:28 PM »

   I also wonder what that very select group of people who have actually seen Niku from the air think about my Figure 8 hypothesis.

I have to say that it never struck me as a figure 8 but I think it's a fascinating idea.
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Ricker H Jones

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Re: "We're on Gardner Island. Gardner, Gardner, Gardner!"
« Reply #27 on: August 26, 2015, 08:57:27 PM »

Ricker,  Would it have been standard procedure to pencil in any geographical features you felt to be important? (Such as the Phoenix Group?)  In land navigation in the Marine Corps we would sometimes use a map overlay instead of needing a whole map sheet.  We would draw in anything we felt we needed, leaving out stuff we didn't.  Would it have been along those lines?
It is sometimes done, for example aids or hazards to navigation, if the plotting sheet covers a significant area.  Because celestial potting gets kind of busy, a simple large scale sheet is easier to use and the fix or position can be transferred to a chart for maintaining track, speeds, winds, etc.
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Eddie Rose

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Re: "We're on Gardner Island. Gardner, Gardner, Gardner!"
« Reply #28 on: August 26, 2015, 09:50:59 PM »

See if this accurately summarizes the situation:

Unable to find the mapped island with their planned navigation and Coast Guard assistance, they were able to successfully locate an unmapped/unknown island 350 miles away starting from an unknown position while under life or death pressure running out of fuel... during which time they failed to communicate the change of plans and must have flown through clear enough sky to get a bearing and known their actual position, yet decided to continue further away from their target and support vessel.
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Greg Daspit

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Re: "We're on Gardner Island. Gardner, Gardner, Gardner!"
« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2015, 10:48:35 PM »

See if this accurately summarizes the situation:

Unable to find the mapped island with their planned navigation and Coast Guard assistance, they were able to successfully locate an unmapped/unknown island 350 miles away starting from an unknown position while under life or death pressure running out of fuel... during which time they failed to communicate the change of plans and must have flown through clear enough sky to get a bearing and known their actual position, yet decided to continue further away from their target and support vessel.
The radio log evidence indicates were flying on a LOP, North and South to try to locate Howland, not knowing if they were north or south of it on that line. There is no evidence they were 350 miles from Gardner when doing this. See when they changed frequencies and the "donut" for the chances they could be heard. The donut provides a clue on how far they were from Howland. I think the evidence suggests that they were well south of Howland and while flying south on the LOP to locate Howland, spotted Gardner instead.
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« Last Edit: August 27, 2015, 09:31:31 PM by Greg Daspit »
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