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Author Topic: October 1937 exploration  (Read 67520 times)

Bill Lloyd

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #60 on: July 13, 2010, 08:11:19 PM »

Some insight into the attitude of at least one of the Colorado pilots toward the Earhart search may be had from Lt. jg William Short's letter home, written during the search (also on the Finding Amelia DVD). In the mid-1930s U.S. Naval Aviation was somewhat like that of the Royal Air Force in those years - small, laid back, everybody knew everybody, sort of an exclusive flying club.
Ric, from my experience, that is still the atmosphere in Naval aviation, at least it was at Subic Bay with the 7th Fleet in the 60s and 70s.  

You say that like it's a BAD thing...

~ A former Naval Aviator
Not a bad thing at all my friend.  I did service with the Navy Seawolves and they were some of the finest aviators that I ever knew.  Quite a number of them are fellow members of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association. (VHPA).
« Last Edit: July 14, 2010, 03:32:56 PM by Bill Lloyd »
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Mark Petersen

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #61 on: July 23, 2010, 12:47:30 PM »

I just watched the TIGHAR video of the helicopter tour of Nikumaroro again (for about the 10th time, but the first time in awhile).   What strikes me is how much larger the island looks in the video compared to the Sat photo.  It also convincingly shows how difficult it would be to spot someone on the ground even at the low altitude that the helicopter was flying.  

I once sat through a presentation on human visual perception that was given by a ph'd researcher and former director of a lab at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.  I wish that I could remember his name, but his lab did some of the pioneering post-war research into this subject for the Navy.  It was a fascinating presentation and he said that the part of the eye (the fovea) that is responsible for resolving fine details such as reading text in a book, or looking for cars or pedestrians when driving, is tiny and represents an area that is about the same size as the tip of a thumb when held at arms length.  The rest of the eye is used for peripheral vision and is good at detecting motion but not at resolving detail.  He went on to say that the way that humans have evolved to use the fovea is to constantly scan the eye around which is used to "stitch" an image together in the brain.  One of the points that he made in his presentation is that while scanning or searching with the fovea, a significant period of time can elapse before the fovea covers a wide area and finds something of interest.  One of his key points was that if the viewer is in motion (like flying in a plane) then large areas will not be scanned before it passes by.  Psycho-perceptual factors can also play a role.  For example, if there is something visually interesting (sort of like a false positive), the fovea may linger on that object longer than necessary at the expense of searching other areas of interest.  Looking at the shoreline at Niku, it is full of visually distracting objects that would make it hard to spot a person on the ground.  This is especially true when one considers that the apparent size of a person on the ground (after factoring in the angle due to the height of the plane) is probably no more than a few feet.  It would be interesting to hear his perspective of the 1937 Lambrecht search, I'm sure that after watching the helicopter video that he would put the odds of successfully finding someone on Niku based on a 5 minute overflight at higher altitude at close to nil.  If this is of interest to Tighar I can put out some feelers and contact him, he seemed to be the type that would be very interested in the research that TIGHAR is doing and I'm sure that he would want to delve into this.




« Last Edit: July 23, 2010, 03:18:40 PM by Mark Petersen »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #62 on: July 23, 2010, 04:39:39 PM »

...  It would be interesting to hear his perspective of the 1937 Lambrecht search, I'm sure that after watching the helicopter video that he would put the odds of successfully finding someone on Niku based on a 5 minute overflight at higher altitude at close to nil.  If this is of interest to Tighar I can put out some feelers and contact him, he seemed to be the type that would be very interested in the research that TIGHAR is doing and I'm sure that he would want to delve into this.

There's no harm in approaching him in your own name and explaining your view to him.

The odds of a formal invitation from TIGHAR seem to me to be slight at this stage.  The #1 activity these days is sorting through the material collected on Niku VI.  Explaining how six pairs of eyes could have missed seeing them on the island comes second to trying to find evidence that they were there to be missed. 
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Mark Petersen

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #63 on: July 23, 2010, 06:10:47 PM »

Hi Marty,

Okay I'll get in touch with him.  It should be interesting to hear his perspective.  My guess is that he'll think that 6 eyeballs won't change things very much because the overall probability is so low (6 times 0 is still 0).  He may have some insights that could prove valuable though.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #64 on: July 23, 2010, 07:42:48 PM »

Okay I'll get in touch with him.  It should be interesting to hear his perspective.

Agreed.

Quote
My guess is that he'll think that 6 eyeballs won't change things very much because the overall probability is so low (6 times 0 is still 0).  He may have some insights that could prove valuable though.

His work certainly does help to account for how AE and FN might have been overlooked.  In and of itself, that helps weaken one argument against the Niku hypothesis ("If they were on Niku, they would have been spotted on the 9th of July"), but it does not provide guidance for testing the hypothesis itself. 
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Bill Lloyd

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #65 on: July 25, 2010, 08:50:03 PM »

I have read in some of the discussion posts from about eight years ago that the three observers on the Colorado planes were ROTC cadets.  I wonder where the trained observers were and why they were not aboard on this important mission.

The observers on the Gardner Island search were not ROTC cadets. Two were regular enlisted observers and one was the ship's Ass't 1st Lt. and Damage Control Officer.  The "trained observers" were not trained in aerial searching.  The mission of the battleship's planes was to act as forward observers to adjust the fire of the big guns.

In Lambrecth's report he writes about his cadet observer, "Writers of south sea island legends to the contrary, it took those natives exactly forty-five minutes to paddle three-quarters of a mile. But the wait supplied the Senior Aviator and his Cadet observer with sufficient time to take stock of their surroundings."

This was in the lagoon at Hull Island in the afternoon after the Gardner search. Do you know who this "cadet" was?
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Bill Lloyd

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #66 on: July 26, 2010, 05:40:13 PM »

I have read in some of the discussion posts from about eight years ago that the three observers on the Colorado planes were ROTC cadets.  I wonder where the trained observers were and why they were not aboard on this important mission.

The observers on the Gardner Island search were not ROTC cadets. Two were regular enlisted observers and one was the ship's Ass't 1st Lt. and Damage Control Officer.  The "trained observers" were not trained in aerial searching.  The mission of the battleship's planes was to act as forward observers to adjust the fire of the big guns.

In Lambrecth's report he writes about his cadet observer, "Writers of south sea island legends to the contrary, it took those natives exactly forty-five minutes to paddle three-quarters of a mile. But the wait supplied the Senior Aviator and his Cadet observer with sufficient time to take stock of their surroundings."

This was in the lagoon at Hull Island in the afternoon after the Gardner search. Do you know who this "cadet" was?
In answer to the question, on page 7 of the Colorado Lookout, the aviators who took part in the search are listed.  “Aviators who took part in the search in addition to Lieut. Lambrecht, were Lieuts. (jg)  L. O. Fox and W. B. Short, and Aviation Cadets J. A. Wilson, W. Jordan and R. A. Leake.”
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #67 on: July 27, 2010, 07:49:38 AM »

The observer in the back seat of Lambrecht's airplane for the second flight on July 9 ( the flight during which Lambrecht landed in the lagoon at Hull) was Aviation Cadet J. Ashley "Ash" Wilson.  He was a NAVCAD - Naval Aviation Cadet.  NAVCADs went through flight training at Pensacola and then did what amounted to an internship before becoming full-fledged Naval Aviators.  Ash Wilson went on to become a Capt. and served with distinction during WWII.  I had a long and delightful telephone conversation with him early in the project. Great guy. I expect that he's probably gone by now.
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