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Author Topic: Navigational Charts of Lae to Howland @ Oakland to Hawaii  (Read 2622 times)

Randy Conrad

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Navigational Charts of Lae to Howland @ Oakland to Hawaii
« on: August 01, 2020, 07:44:07 AM »

Several weeks ago while I was down in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma stopped in the Ninety-Nines Museum at the airport, and had a chance to look around. What was interesting were these two maps. I don't know if Tighar has a set of these in their archives, but thought it was interesting to look at.
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Randy Conrad

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Re: Navigational Charts of Lae to Howland @ Oakland to Hawaii
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2020, 07:48:24 AM »

Navigational Chart Part Two
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Randy Conrad

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Re: Navigational Charts of Lae to Howland @ Oakland to Hawaii
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2020, 07:51:05 AM »

Navigational Chart Part Three
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Navigational Charts of Lae to Howland @ Oakland to Hawaii
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2020, 08:22:53 AM »

Thanks Randy. I didn't know the 99s had the original charts.  The Howland-Lae chart is from the first world flight attempt. The Honolulu- Oakland chart is from Earhart's 1935 Pacific flight.
It's interesting that the Howard-Lae chart still exists.  It means she didn't take it with her for reference on the second attempt.  Also notice, Baker and the Phoenix Group are not shown.
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Randy Conrad

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Re: Navigational Charts of Lae to Howland @ Oakland to Hawaii
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2020, 08:51:50 AM »

Ric,
    While I was down there, a staff member who was in charge of the museum at the time told me that if we are in need of maps, charts, or anything else that we might need to look for they could help search for it in their archives. The museum manager, Shaylyn Sawyer...was out for the day and still waiting for her reply email on a few questions I had at the time. She can be contacted at 405-685-9990, fax# 405-685-7985. Email address is museum@ninety-nines.org.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Navigational Charts of Lae to Howland @ Oakland to Hawaii
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2020, 09:01:30 AM »

Thanks Randy.
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Randy Conrad

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Re: Navigational Charts of Lae to Howland @ Oakland to Hawaii
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2020, 08:33:59 PM »

Ric,

 Do we have a copy of the second World Flight attempt map in Tighar's possession? Curious to see what difference there is between the two maps. Let me know...thanks!
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Navigational Charts of Lae to Howland @ Oakland to Hawaii
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2020, 07:15:15 AM »

Do we have a copy of the second World Flight attempt map in Tighar's possession? Curious to see what difference there is between the two maps. Let me know...thanks!

There is no mention of Williams preparing a map for the second attempt, but if he did she would probably have taken it with her.
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Randy Conrad

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Re: Navigational Charts of Lae to Howland @ Oakland to Hawaii
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2020, 11:31:07 PM »

Ric....am I correct on this...but isn't this map supposed to be going the other direction as per her first attempt itinerary. Basically, wandering what the deal is with this map...when she has arrows going into two different directions. Curious to know...thanks
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Navigational Charts of Lae to Howland @ Oakland to Hawaii
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2020, 07:54:52 AM »

Ric....am I correct on this...but isn't this map supposed to be going the other direction as per her first attempt itinerary.

No.  The map is from Howland to Lae, which is what she planned to do on the first attempt. 

Basically, wandering what the deal is with this map...when she has arrows going into two different directions. Curious to know...thanks

I don't know why Williams also showed reciprocal headings. The map is dated February 9, 1937 - before the first attempt. At that time there was no thought of possibly doing the world flight west to east.
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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Navigational Charts of Lae to Howland @ Oakland to Hawaii
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2020, 09:58:35 AM »

Interesting that the position of Howland on Williams' chart is the inaccurate location, some 6nm west of the position I get from Google Earth.  Seems that if this same approach was used on the second attempt, Howland's position would have been similarly mis-plotted.  I know this has been discussed in the past, but I'm not sure it was a result of examining this chart, or some other source.  In any case, I think this is a pretty good indication that they did not have the correct position for Howland.

Thanks to Chris Kennedy for bringing this to my attention.  Chris was a member of several of the early NIKU Expeditions.

LTM
Andrew
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Navigational Charts of Lae to Howland @ Oakland to Hawaii
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2020, 03:31:19 PM »

Howland's official location is now
0° 48′ 25.84″ N, 176° 36′ 59.48″ W

This is what Randy Jacobson had to say on the subject:

"As for the erroneous Howland position, Bill Miller, when he first worked the

Line Islands (Howland, Baker, and Jarvis) colonization scheme in 1935/36,

was the one who reported to the CG and US Navy the revised position.

Richard Black, his successor, also knew of the revised positions.  Bill

Miller was AE's technical liason with the US Gov't for planning the first

flight.  I find it absolutely inconceivable (but undocumented) that he did

not provide her with the revised position.  It was only "classified" until

such time as the US Hydrographic Office could update their charts, which was

done in 1938.  It was not a true secret or classified piece of information

in the strict sense of the word."

And yet, Miller's April 5, 1935 report to the Treasury Dept. (Coast Guard) on Howland Island,  written at sea en route to Baker Island having just left Howland, gives the island's position as 0° 49' N  176° 43' W - the erroneous position used by Williams. The correction must have come later.
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Randy Jacobson

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Re: Navigational Charts of Lae to Howland @ Oakland to Hawaii
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2020, 05:03:16 AM »

Hmmm...Ric is correct.  I don't find the corrected Howland position in any of the first 4 equatorial island cruise reports.  As I'm going through the reports now, I'll let you know when I find the revised position. 

Found it.  A letter dated 24 Oct 1935 from CDR Darby, USCGC Itasca, to the USN Hydrographic Office, gives the revised Itasca fix.  This was found in the NARA Hydrographic Office files, not in the cruise reports.

It is possible, but improbable, that the captain of the Itasca did not provide that information to Miller, for those inclined towards conspiracy theories.  (I hope QAnon is reading this forum...). 

« Last Edit: August 12, 2020, 05:14:13 AM by Randy Jacobson »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Navigational Charts of Lae to Howland @ Oakland to Hawaii
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2020, 08:04:13 AM »

Hmmm...Ric is correct.   

There's a first time for everything.

Found it.  A letter dated 24 Oct 1935 from CDR Darby, USCGC Itasca, to the USN Hydrographic Office, gives the revised Itasca fix.

Good.

It is possible, but improbable, that the captain of the Itasca did not provide that information to Miller, for those inclined towards conspiracy theories.  (I hope QAnon is reading this forum...).

Ahh, but Itasca was not tasked with supporting Earhart's first attempt, so Darcy would not be in communication with Miller.  Miller would be coordinating with USCG Shoshone.  By the time of the second world flight attempt, Miller was out of the picture, transferred to Australia. Richard Black was in charge of U.S. Government support of Earhart.  He was aboard Shoshone in March and was also aboard Itasca in July.  On May 15, 1937 Black sent the attached memorandum to "Whom it may concern." (NR16020 came out of the repair shop on May 19.)  Unfortunately there is no distribution list of who got the memo, but it's hard to believe that the guy in charge of supporting Earhart did not think it would be a good idea to let her know the island was not where she thought it was.
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Randy Jacobson

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Re: Navigational Charts of Lae to Howland @ Oakland to Hawaii
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2020, 01:02:21 PM »

The Itasca fixes were made during the September 1935 cruise, when Miller was aboard.  He was also on the next two cruises.  He should (aha!  we're not supposed to use a should have/could have, are we??) have had the new information.  There was no reason for Itasca to be assigned for the next cruise, so CDR Darby should have relayed it to Miller; he certainly relayed it to his colleagues at the CG HQ in Honolulu. 

Now whether Miller retained the information of the revised location somewhere in his files and relayed it to Earhart is another story.  Certainly, he could have requested that information from the CG for her had he not retained a copy.  Hmmm...lots of coulds/shoulds, isn't there? 

In hindsight, the fact that AE couldn't see Howland when she was supposed to even if she was 6 miles off from the true position of Howland seems to me not the significant factor here.  Remember, even ships had no difficulties finding the island and they definitely didn't have the proper position of the island. 

The biggest failure, in my opinion, was that AE didn't plan to arrive at Howland an hour or so before sunrise, where a bonfire on land and/or search lights on the Itasca could help guide her to the island.  It is much easier to see something at night with lights on the ground/water surface than during the day with sun glare, clouds, etc. impeding visibility.  When recovering gear from the ocean depths or bottom, we always planned for a night recovery specifically for this reason (the object had a pressure-sensitive strobe lamp).  We could see a good 10 miles from ship with a strobe in the water at night but hardly 500 yards looking during the day. 
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