Advanced search  
Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: The state of aerial over-water navigation, mid-1930's  (Read 2770 times)

John Balderston

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 137
The state of aerial over-water navigation, mid-1930's
« on: September 08, 2019, 08:34:43 AM »

Good morning fellow TIGHARs.  This morning, seeking something of interest to go with a nice hot cup of coffee, I did a YouTube search on "Harold Gatty", one of the pioneers in long-distance aerial navigation and a colleague of Fred Noonan.  YouTube offered up this film, "US Army Air Corps Avigation Training" posted by the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdxGXQ8vmmY&t=2100s

According to the description the film was made in the summer of 1935.  To give context, roughly the same time Pan American Airways' Fred Noonan was pioneering trans-Pacific routes, and two years before AE's world flight.  The film gives an overview of standard long-distance over-water practices and procedures as taught to USAAC student navigators.  You can't help but note that in 1935 the AAC's standard crew is a pilot, a navigator, and A RADIO OPERATOR.  The radio operator transmits and receives using morse code rather than voice. 

Doubly ironic, after we are shown how the navigator computes course and position, we are informed that "However, the development of dependable aircraft radio makes it practicable for all data to be computed in the base operations office and communicated to the airplane" (about 38:30 into the video).

The conclusion (although this is certainly not a revelation) - If AE had followed what were by 1937 well-standardized procedures for long-distance over-water navigation, she wouldn't have gotten into trouble. 

ps - I also enjoyed the 1935 images of a sparsely populated San Diego, flying up the "Silver Strand" past the Hotel del Coronado to "Rockwell Field" (ie NAS North Island) and Point Loma with almost nothing on it but Cabrillo lighthouse.  And how about those flying boats?  :)

John Balderston TIGHAR #3451R
 
« Last Edit: September 08, 2019, 02:23:51 PM by John Balderston »
Logged

Martin X. Moleski, SJ

  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 2961
Re: The state of aerial over-water navigation, mid-1930's
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2019, 08:55:35 AM »

If AE had followed what were by 1937 well-standardized procedures for long-distance over-water navigation, she wouldn't have gotten into trouble. 

That is one of many ways that the accident chain might have been broken.

On her first attempt to fly around the equator, she had three men with her in the cockpit.  Two were excellent radiomen who could communicate in Morse code; two were navigators.  Paul Mantz was also an excellent pilot. 

Coulda, shoulda, woulda. 
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
Logged

Ric Gillespie

  • Executive Director
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 5600
  • "Do not try. Do or do not. There is no try" Yoda
Re: The state of aerial over-water navigation, mid-1930's
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2019, 09:00:37 AM »

That's a real classic.  We often forget that the B-17 was originally intended as a coastal defense weapon.
Logged

John Balderston

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 137
Re: The state of aerial over-water navigation, mid-1930's
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2019, 02:52:23 PM »

Thanks Marty and Ric.  For the want of a radio operator and a decent trailing wire antenna . . . .  Or as Ric points out in "Finding Amelia", end of chapter 10, we know AE heard Itasca using the DF loop.  If only, if only. . .

Ric's point on the B-17 as coastal defense weapon made me remember the Army Air Force flying long range patrol missions with B-17s in the runup to Pearl Harbor, and the delivery flight of B-17s that arrived from the mainland in the middle of the attack.

I went back and looked at the film footage - I think the those B-17A models are flying in front of pre-eruption Mount St. Helens
John Balderston TIGHAR #3451R
 
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
 

Copyright 2019 by TIGHAR, a non-profit foundation. No portion of the TIGHAR Website may be reproduced by xerographic, photographic, digital or any other means for any purpose. No portion of the TIGHAR Website may be stored in a retrieval system, copied, transmitted or transferred in any form or by any means, whether electronic, mechanical, digital, photographic, magnetic or otherwise, for any purpose without the express, written permission of TIGHAR. All rights reserved.

Contact us at: info@tighar.org • Phone: 610-467-1937 • Membership formwebmaster@tighar.org

Powered by MySQL SMF 2.0.15 | SMF © 2017, Simple Machines Powered by PHP