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Author Topic: Will 2022 be the year?  (Read 4410 times)

Don Yee

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Will 2022 be the year?
« on: December 15, 2021, 07:57:32 PM »

Greetings.
Wondering if 2022 is the year we'll see the headline, "Amelia Earhart Mystery finally solved!"
If I understand things the new film footage that would perhaps confirm the aluminum patch came from her Electra is on-going and perhaps will give us an answer soon. Ballard has another expedition to assess the area around the island and he could find a smoking gun. Either of those could prove the final piece of the puzzle. Don't get me wrong, I'm convinced, but one or both of those would represent a tipping point for the public.
Thoughts?
Happy holidays.
Don...
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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Will 2022 be the year?
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2021, 04:39:53 PM »

Don

I agree, it could happen this year, the 85th anniversary of her disappearance. 

The photo analysis looks like it will be definitive, one way or another.  Smoking gun, or not.  Fingers crossed, but ready for either outcome.

I think Ballard is particularly aware of the 85th milestone, and he is setting up his daughter as Scientific Director of the expedition for the recognition.  It would make her career, so to speak.

It would also make TIGHAR's day.  Ballard's finding the aircraft will also be a win for TIGHAR. 

Overnight success after only 34 years!

AMCK

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Barry S. Hogrefe

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Re: Will 2022 be the year?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2022, 09:25:27 PM »

Andrew - In your latest post, you mentioned a 'new' expedition being set up by Bob Ballard. Do you know what the particulars are of this, like dates, agenda, etc. I was wondering that since his last expedition to Niku didn't find anything, and that the expedition was pretty extensive in it's search area, what would be the driving force in this new expedition?
Thanks,
Barry
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Jeff Lange

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Re: Will 2022 be the year?
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2022, 07:43:01 AM »

We can all dream........ BUT

As Ric has stated before- there will NEVER be a smoking gun to satisfy everyone. Even if we pulled an engine from the depths with a pristine data tag on it- THEY ( you know, that ever present populace called they?) would say we planted it there. So, solved to OUR expectations--perhaps. Smoking gun to permanently lay to rest any questions-  not so much. >:( :P
Jeff Lange

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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Will 2022 be the year?
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2022, 02:07:36 PM »

Andrew - In your latest post, you mentioned a 'new' expedition being set up by Bob Ballard. Do you know what the particulars are of this, like dates, agenda, etc. I was wondering that since his last expedition to Niku didn't find anything, and that the expedition was pretty extensive in it's search area, what would be the driving force in this new expedition?
Thanks,
Barry

Barry

I don't have any particulars other than what can be found at the end of this article
https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/robert-ballard-man-who-found-the-titanic-cmd/index.html

Ballard indicates that Nat Geo is funding this upcoming expedition, and that his daughter Emily will likely be in charge.  The 2022 R/V Nautilus Expedition research itinerary has not been announced, but in 2019 he indicated that NOAA was sending him back to Howland Isle and other US protectorates in 2021 for deep water mapping with multiple deep water AUVs operating in parallel.  That never happened during the 2021 Expedition, so I believe it has been deferred to 2022.  Toggling the deep water work at Howland with a trip to Nikumaroro is a logical thing to do given their relative proximity.  Ballard is a student of history, and this summer is the 85th anniversary of Earhart's disappearance and I'm sure that is not lost on him or Nat Geo.  Given that, I'd be surprised if he did not choose to be out there on or about July 2nd.  Just an educated guess, but think of the media value of being able to announce finding the Electra on July 2, it would amplify what will already be huge news.

Regarding what they found or didn't find in 2019, ultimately what they did is collect data.  As TIGHAR has learned over the years, negative data is still data, and helps guide future efforts.  The tools Ballard used were really good for what they were attempting, a search of the steep terrain down to whatever depth the ROVs were capable.  What they found is that the Electra was not in the areas they searched.  What does that mean?  In most searches, it means that the search box needs to be expanded.  This is the same scenario as Ballard's 2019 search for the Samoan Clipper, he didn't locate it on the first try, so they need to expand the search box.  Titanic took 4 expeditions to find.  To search further into the deep water, they need different technology, and this time they'll be deploying the wolf pack of AUV's. 

All of this is predicated on the belief that the Electra went into the deeper water in a substantial piece(s).  The engines and center part of the aircraft, at a minimum, would be hard to disaggregate or disintegrate and should be out there somewhere.  Given the 1000 gallons of empty fuel tanks, I believe that the aircraft would have some level of buoyancy in the sense that it would not sink like a rock, and in a 2-3 knot current could be carried away from the steep slopes of the Island and settle out into the deep water.  I think Ballard, and by extension Nat Geo, thinks this scenario, supported by the rest of TIGHAR's research, is reasonable enough to make the effort and expense to investigate.  Personally, I subscribe to this hypothesis, but Ric and I are not entirely in alignment on this scenario.  If the aircraft were busted up into a million pieces in the surf, I believe there would have been pieces for Ballard to find.  His search was granular enough to find lots of small things including our own trash from previous expeditions, hats, beer cans, lost sonar fish, etc. if there were aircraft parts there to be found, he would have found them.  Therefore he needs to look elsewhere, and that means farther out into the deep water.

The driving force is Nat Geo's willingness to invest further in the Nikumaroro hypothesis. 

Time will tell.  I'm hoping for a very exciting summer.

Andrew
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Scott C. Mitchell

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Re: Will 2022 be the year?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2022, 08:04:32 AM »

Andrew said above:  "Given the 1000 gallons of empty fuel tanks, I believe that the aircraft would have some level of buoyancy in the sense that it would not sink like a rock, and in a 2-3 knot current could be carried away from the steep slopes of the Island and settle out into the deep water. "

Could the sinking trajectory not be modeled?   The underwater topography has not changed.  The starting point would be based on TIGHAR's estimated location of the wreck based on eyewitness testimony.  As Andrew points out, the buoyancy of the core of the aircraft, with empty fuel tanks, can be estimated.  Another major variable would be the speed and direction of the prevailing currents.  We would not be looking for a sure-fire bulls-eye prediction, but instead a sum of prediction curves based on variables.  At a minimum that would define a search pattern based on scientific probability, rather than a big-box search pattern based on the hope that the wreck is out there somewhere. 

Then again, I have a lot of respect for the TIGHAR investigators and such searchers as Dr. Ballard - it would be surprising if something like this analysis has not already been projected.

Scott
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Jon Romig

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Re: Will 2022 be the year?
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2022, 06:09:25 PM »


“Could the sinking trajectory not be modeled?   The underwater topography has not changed.  The starting point would be based on TIGHAR's estimated location of the wreck based on eyewitness testimony.  As Andrew points out, the buoyancy of the core of the aircraft, with empty fuel tanks, can be estimated.  Another major variable would be the speed and direction of the prevailing currents.”

I think there are a lot more variables that probably limit the ability to make predictions of where the Electra might have ended up:

1. The sinking rate will be governed by not just the buoyancy of the fuel talks but the weight of the remainder of the aircraft that is still attached to the wreck. As a result the sinking rate is not calculable.

2. The hydrodynamics of the wreck (including whether the wings remained attached), which would have an influence upon the “glide path” of the sinking wreck toward its final resting place.

Both 1 and 2 will affect how long the wreck would have been subject to subsurface currents, and these currents may vary depending upon depth and distance from Niku.

3. Whether the wreck would have floated for a time, and it’s path be affected by surface wind and waves rather than, or in addition to, subsurface currents. Of course this factor includes weather conditions at the time, and it is apparent that the wreck would likely have been washed off the reef during a storm.

4. Whether the fuel tanks may have been pierced during wave action upon the reef, and be damaged or leak, which would change the buoyancy over time.

5. we can be pretty sure that currents off the West end of Niku vary depending upon depth, tides, seasons, Pacific Decadal Oscillations (el Nino) and surface conditions.

Those are just the confounding factors that occur to me in a short time. I am sure there are more. The search area of deep water IMO will have to be quite extensive, but if the wreck travelled a significant distance from the reef it may be largely intact and thus detectable using less sophisticated sensing technology than detailed video using ROVs.

Jon
Jon Romig 3562R
 
« Last Edit: January 30, 2022, 06:14:38 PM by Jon Romig »
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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Will 2022 be the year?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2022, 08:51:17 AM »

The Ocean Exploration Trust has announced the R/V Nautilus' 2022 Expedition itinerary.

https://nautiluslive.org/expeditions/2022

I don't see that the Nautilus is planning on getting out to the Phoenix Islands, so unless they are planning a side trip and prefer not to publicize it, maybe this is not the year. 

I do note that Nat Geo is still a sponsor of the 2022 Expedition.  Whether or not that means anything is hard to tell.

Best

Andrew
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Don White

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Re: Will 2022 be the year?
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2022, 12:43:48 PM »

The attraction of this theory seems to be in the possibility that a locatable and identifiable wreck awaits discovery on the ocean floor.

My question is, when is this theorized to have happened? It seems to be in the time between the last credible radio transmission (airplane on ground, intact and above water) and the Colorado overflight that did not see an airplane. Or could it have been later?

If the airplane floated away and sank and remains where it sank, then are the reports of an airplane wreck seen and scavenged by the islanders all untrue?

If it floated away and then was washed back up so the islanders could find it, then what happened to it?

We already have the mystery of the disappearing and appearing airplane, that was there for a few days, not there when the Colorado flight looked for it, not noticed by the several expeditions to the island between then and colonization, but found by the colonists after they arrived there.

LTM,
Don
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Bill Mangus

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Re: Will 2022 be the year?
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2022, 03:02:19 PM »

I'll go ahead and offer my theory of things related to NR16020.

At some point in time between the last credible radio and the overflight by the Colorado scouting planes, rising surf, perhaps a brief period of stormy weather, the fuselage, wings and tail surfaces separated from the main spar and disappeared onto or over the edge of the reef flat.  The tail surfaces and outboard sections of the wings traveled in stages around to the lagoon entrance reef flat where they were photographed in the early 1950's or seen by colonists ashore in the lagoon.  The battered fuselage section(s), perhaps a bit less buoyant than the wing sections, went over the edge and/or were mixed up in Norwich City wreckage and not recognized by the overflight due to the high tide and surf.

All that would have been left at or near the site of the Bevington Object would have been the main spar, perhaps inverted, and maybe one or both engines, although I believe they went over the edge pretty early-on after the break-up.  This is what Emily' father showed her and what she recounted to Ric.  The main spar remains were eventually washed over the edge and became mixed-up or buried in the Norwich City wreckage when the aft portion of the ship broke off in 1938. That would explain why nothing has been seen by the various ROV searches over the years, notably Ballard's recent expedition.

I'm not saying this is the only explanation, but it is one that fits what has or has not been seen.
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Randy Jacobson

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Re: Will 2022 be the year?
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2022, 06:48:13 AM »

There is no evidence from any of the search vessels from July 2 to July 9 of any significant weather or sea conditions, as evidence by the hourly sea and swell records.  Swell is a "swell" indicator of storm conditions from distance, including most of the central Pacific.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Will 2022 be the year?
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2022, 07:46:17 AM »

There is no evidence from any of the search vessels from July 2 to July 9 of any significant weather or sea conditions, as evidence by the hourly sea and swell records.  Swell is a "swell" indicator of storm conditions from distance, including most of the central Pacific.

Anyone who has spent time at Niku knows it doesn't take a storm for there to be heavy surf on the reef.
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Don White

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Re: Will 2022 be the year?
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2022, 07:11:27 PM »

Which also provides an explanation for why they didn't take more ashore -- an assumption based on how little has been found (perhaps the islanders found most of it before Tighar got there) but a very plausible one.

LTM,
Don
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Don Yee

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Re: Will 2022 be the year?
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2022, 06:51:15 PM »

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/podcasts/overheard/article/amelia-earhart-the-lady-vanishes?rid=6004AA3191A718DE3C8EBB87DB8BFA9E&cmpid=org=ngp::mc=crm-email::src=ngp::cmp=editorial::add=History_20220307

Interesting post from National Geographic today.

"HIEBERT: The castaway-hypothesis people are at 95 percent, the crash-in-the-ocean people are at 95 percent. Even the Japanese-capture people are—they believe they’re at 95. How in any of those cases can you get close to 100 percent? And this is something that fascinates me as a professional scientist, as an archaeologist. How do you get to 100 percent?"

Not sure how you get to 95% with no evidence, but I'm just a professionally trained scientist.
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