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Author Topic: Drift in the Dark part 8  (Read 1285 times)

Colin Taylor

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Drift in the Dark part 8
« on: March 22, 2023, 09:28:02 AM »

Drift in the Dark
Part 8 of 8

What happened next?

https://photos.app.goo.gl/QSCpH8HuoBG4brCe7
https://photos.app.goo.gl/RqQTphnkpa7nrXB37
   
 Itasca set off at 10:40 L Howland/ Itasca (22:10 GMT) to search the 337 position line. Sunset at Howland was 17:55 L. In the darkness they used search-lights but the sea was rough with six-foot swells. At 21:45 L Itasca was ordered to return to Howland to assist the seaplane which had set-off from Pearl. At 10 kts they had gone only 110 NM North of Howland. At 07:10 L they were back at Howland, only to be told the seaplane had turned back to Hawaii. At 07:19 L Itasca set off again this time to search Westward between the 180 meridian and Howland; the 157/337 sun-line forgotten.

 On the 16th July Itasca was asked to recommend a search area and defined an area which was very close to the ditching position but two weeks too late.
 
A different kind of drift

 I have plotted the ditching site on the Tihgar chart of the tracks of the search vessels. (Figure 8) After the ditching, the Electra would not float for long. If Earhart and Noonan got themselves into a dingy they drifted under the influence of the equatorial current plus the SE trade-winds. Itasca reported the current at 0.5KTS to the West and the surface wind which was Easterly 10 to 15.  At 12 NM per day they would drift toward the North Gilberts or the South Marshall Islands, 700 miles away in about 2 months. Their track was just outside the search area. This explains why they were not found.

The Dreamer in me

  Years later researchers visited the Marshall Islands and interviewed people with vague recollections. I wonder if a faint collective folk memory was generated - of a man and a woman washed up on some remote beach in the Marshalls; quietly buried un-recognised by the locals with other (Japanese) things on their minds. I wonder if Noonan’s watch is to be found in some flea market in the Marshalls or in someone’s ditty box; a souvenir of successive generations in the Islands?


« Last Edit: April 25, 2023, 10:35:03 AM by Colin Taylor »
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Christian Stock

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Re: Drift in the Dark part 8
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2023, 08:11:33 AM »

Interesting work. I think the consensus is that they did not have a life raft.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Drift in the Dark part 8
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2023, 03:35:07 PM »

I don't see any new facts to support your speculation.  You need to provide evidence, not speculation, that the plane ditched in the ocean and provide credible explanations for the abundant evidence that it didn't.  The sent the post-loss radio signals?  Who was the castaway whose remains were found in 1940?
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Colin Taylor

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Re: Drift in the Dark part 8
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2023, 10:36:49 AM »

 Well of course, everything is speculation until the final truth is revealed. However, I prefer to describe my report as deduction and a new interpretation of existing facts.
 I introduced position 156 to explain the confusing radio position reports received at Lae. How else do we explain them?
 I point out the sea level pressure reports which show that the wind must have been a South Easterly Trade Wind causing drift North of track and not a North Easterly as forecast.
 I deduced the generic shape of the approach to Howland and the search pattern and explained my reasoning. The radio reports fit on the search pattern in a logical order. What other search pattern explains the radio reports?
 The final ditching position explains why they were not found. They were outside the search area.
 As to the radio traffic after expiry of the fuel endurance, there is nothing to explain. There is not one coherent distress message or position report. Earhart did not make radio calls after alighting because the aircraft was not intact on land and was never found. On the other hand, the search effort generated a huge amount of radio traffic which could have been misinterpreted. Radio direction finding on High Frequency over 1000s of miles was nothing like as accurate as modern short range VHF direction finding.
 The remains of a random castaway are irrelevant unless there is DNA or other forensic evidence. None of the physical evidence gathered so far links directly to Earhart or Noonan.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Drift in the Dark part 8
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2023, 12:44:54 PM »

Well of course, everything is speculation until the final truth is revealed.

No, everything is not speculation and there is no such thing as the "final truth." The best you can do is show, through experimentation, that a hypothesis is supported by enough quantifiable evidence that it has a high enough probability of being correct to be accepted as true. 
 
However, I prefer to describe my report as deduction and a new interpretation of existing facts.

You have it backward. You can't support a hypothesis with deduction. You can use deduction to formulate a hypothesis, but it's just speculation until you test it and show that it is correct.  Facts are facts.  They are not subject to verification but not interpretation.

I introduced position 156 to explain the confusing radio position reports received at Lae. How else do we explain them?

The coordinates in the 05:19Z position report described in Chater's letter make no sense and were apparently incorrectly heard or transcribed.
Chater said she said, "POSITION 150.7 east 7.3 south".  The coordinates were probably really 157 East, 7.3 South which would put them on the southern coast of Choiseul, a spot Noonan could identify on a map.  He had to have a landmark to his lat/long during the day.  But that's not a testable hypothesis so we can't say it's a fact.
 
I deduced the generic shape of the approach to Howland and the search pattern and explained my reasoning.

You guessed what the generic shape of the approach to Howland and the search pattern might have been and explained your reasoning.

The radio reports fit on the search pattern in a logical order. What other search pattern explains the radio reports?

The plane hit the advanced LOP about 200 nm south of Howland, explored northward for a time but turned around too soon and began searching southward. It's an untestable hypothesis but we know that, due to anomaly in the dorsal antenna's radio propagation pattern, Itasca stood virtually no canoe of hearing her a Strength 5 unless she was at least 150 nm away.  It also explains how she arrived at Gardner with enough fuel to send the post-loss radio messages.

The final ditching position explains why they were not found. They were outside the search area.

There are other explanations that are much better supported by facts.

As to the radio traffic after expiry of the fuel endurance, there is nothing to explain. There is not one coherent distress message or position report.

That's not true.

Earhart did not make radio calls after alighting because the aircraft was not intact on land and was never found.

There is abundant quantifiable evidence the plane did make radio calls after alighting, so it had to be on land.  There is also quantifiable evidence the credible post-loss transmissions were made only when the water level on the reef was low enough to permit an engine to be run to recharge the battery.  There is also quantifiable photographic evidence of wreckage of the plane's landing gear on the reef.

On the other hand, the search effort generated a huge amount of radio traffic which could have been misinterpreted. Radio direction finding on High Frequency over 1000s of miles was nothing like as accurate as modern short range VHF direction finding.

If you can refute Bob Brandenburg's analysis please do so.

The remains of a random castaway are irrelevant unless there is DNA or other forensic evidence.

There is other forensic evidence.  If you can refute Richard Jantz's peer-reviewed paper in the journal Forensic Anthropology please do so.

None of the physical evidence gathered so far links directly to Earhart or Noonan.
That's true.  All of the physical evidence qualitative and circumstantial.  It's the quantifiable electromagnetic (radio-related), photographic, and osteological evidence that established a near-100% probability that Earhart landed and died on Nikumaroro.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2023, 11:06:40 AM by Ric Gillespie »
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Eric Sussman

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Re: Drift in the Dark part 8
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2023, 11:03:58 AM »

I spent 2 years in Mili Atoll as a Peace Corps from 1968-70.  During that time Fred Goerner (The Search for Amelia Earhart) wrote to me and asked if I could investigate the possibility of an Earhart landing in the atoll. It took a while to become semi fluent in their language and be accepted within their community.  I then interviewed many local natives in their own language throughout the atoll and could find no evidence to support such a theory.  Although the Marshallese love legends and always aim to please any foreigners who visit them.  It is ingrained in their culture. Again no legend of an airplane landing or any survivors.  It is not surprising that since my service there, many people have visited the atoll and found some cooperative natives to support the landing theory and transport to Jaluit Atoll and finally Saipan.  The official position of the Marshallese government is now that Earhart landed on Mili and have commemorated her memory with a stamp. This is not surprising in view of Marshallese culture and eagerness to please. I did finally did meet Fred Goerner and stayed at his house on my return to the US.  Although his book claimed that she likely landed on Mili Atoll, after my visit and conversations with him he no longer felt his Mili theory was valid.
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Colin Taylor

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Re: Drift in the Dark part 8
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2023, 11:16:20 AM »



Quote
The plane hit the advanced LOP about 200 nm south of Howland, explored northward for a time but turned around too soon and began searching southward

I offer a plausible explanation, based on known facts, as to why they ended up 170nm North of Howland.  I also calculated a wind of 032oT/29kts  to put them 7 degrees South of track. But I rejected that wind as being unseasonal. How do you think they ended up 200 miles South of Howland?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Drift in the Dark part 8
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2023, 11:26:41 AM »

I offer a plausible explanation, based on known facts, as to why they ended up 170nm North of Howland.

Your explanation is not plausible because known facts, such as the Pan Am directional bearings and the post-loss radio signals, put the plane on land in the vicinity of Gardner Island.

How do you think they ended up 200 miles South of Howland?

No one knows, or can know, what winds they encountered.  During the night, Noonan was relying on Dead Reckoning.  No one has any way of knowing what estimates he made about wind.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Drift in the Dark part 8
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2023, 11:30:08 AM »

Incidentally, this whole thread should be in the Alternate Lines of Inquiry section. Not Celestial Choir.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Drift in the Dark part 8
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2023, 10:35:52 PM »

Incidentally, this whole thread should be in the Alternate Lines of Inquiry section. Not Celestial Choir.


Moved.

LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Colin Taylor

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Re: Drift in the Dark part 8
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2023, 03:28:38 PM »

 Deduction is not guesswork or speculation. It is drawing conclusions from known facts; in our case, the radio and weather reports. There is meaning in the order in which the radio messages were sent that defines the search pattern. There is meaning in the pressure distribution which defines the wind direction.  We know the headings and airspeeds from the flight plan and the forecast. We can determine the track and groundspeed to wherever you or I think they ended up. Then we calculate the wind-velocity that put them there. An unseasonal North Easterly would put them South of track, or a seasonal South Easterly Trade Wind would put them North of track. Which is more likely?

 Whatever forecast Noonan used, it was not correct or they would have stayed on track. Even when they deviated to avoid adverse weather, they regained track as demonstrated by the plot of radio reports received by Lae.

‘That’s Navigation’, sang the Celestial Choir.

 The Pan Am DF signals do not make my analysis implausible.
Of the eight signals, only two were valid and pointing at Gardner. They were bi-directionally ambiguous and described as ‘rough bearing only possible, due to weakness and swinging of signals.…and….close to 3105 but signals so weak that it was impossible to obtain even a fair check. Average seems to be around 215 degrees – very doubtful bearing’.

 Let me quote from Brandenburg’s conclusions, ‘All of the bearings were approximate at best, due to weakness and short duration of signals, and potential terrain interference effects in the case of the Mokapu site. And none of the signals included conclusive evidence as to the source identify’.
And yet his conclusion is…’ the weight of available evidence strongly supports the TIGHAR hypothesis.’
 No it doesn’t!

As to the skeletal evidence. The doctor who actually handled the bones thought they were a stocky male. Subsequent investigators, on the basis of his measurements, though it might be a tall woman!
 Jantz’ observes that 11 men from the Norwich City died but were undocumented so he disregards them. He uncritically thinks Earhart was ‘in the area and went missing’. His conclusion was: suppose that Earhart was on the island then the bones were more likely hers than Noonan’s. That is all.

But OK I get it. Your ball. Your game. Nicumaroro or bust.
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Jeff Lange

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Re: Drift in the Dark part 8
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2023, 06:33:32 AM »

Oh Boy!

Another "make the facts fit the narrative" posting! While ignoring anything that doesn't.

Getting my popcorn ready to watch this develop.

Oh, and at least spell the island correctly!
Jeff Lange

# 0748CR
 
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Randy Jacobson

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Re: Drift in the Dark part 8
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2023, 08:42:33 AM »

Quote
We can determine the track and groundspeed to wherever you or I think they ended up.

That's where we differ in our approach to the problem of her disappearance.  I and most of TIGHAR do not first "think of where they ended up" and then find a hypothesis that fits.  Rather, we use all of the data to determine a variety of hypotheses, and research each of them to find one that fits the majority of the data.  Should data arise (e.g. Niku island searches) that precludes that hypothesis, we either reject or modify the hypothesis as appropriate.  It is only when a preponderance of the evidence to support a hypothesis do we state conclusions about where they ended up. 

As I stated earlier in one of your earlier posts, I performed a Monte Carlo run of AE's flight assuming pure dead-reckoning, based upon what she and FN had for weather when they took off.  Assuming they did not receive updated weather during the flight, and using weather forecasts available to us but not to AE/FN ("actual weather"), the MC analysis puts them to the SW of Howland at the time they see the sunrise.  It appears that they overcorrected for the forecast winds when the actual winds were lower.  Does this mean they were SW of Howland at the time?  No; it is only one of many "facts" to account for when hypothesizing their track and where they ended up.

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Greg Daspit

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Re: Drift in the Dark part 8
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2023, 02:30:07 PM »

Earhart reported they were somewhere on a "line" that was "on" Howland. There is nothing in the radio logs that she was diverting from that line or even a logical reason that for her to abandon it.  There is no way to know if the winds were under or overcompensated for, especially since she did not know which side of the island she was on. She said she was running north south on it, so she obviously did not know.
1.   The Pan Am DF station on Mokapu “heard weak carrier signals on 3105 kHz and got a bearing of 213°, that could be in error by plus or minus 10° due to signal direction shifting.” 3105 was the frequency Earhart was using and Itasca was not transmitting on it at the time.
2.   There was no position heard in the Mokapu DF signal, but at the same time the DF bearing was taken, Dana Randolph heard Amelia Earhart say her position was on a reef Southeast of Howland. The position Randolph heard from Earhart is consistent with the Mokapu bearing taken at the same time. For Dana Randolph and others to hear Amelia Earhart at all means she did not ditch.
3.   There are only two feasible reefs SE of Howland for her to be on. The reef at McKean island is one. The other is Nikumaroro. A photograph taken 3 months after she disappeared shows the landing gear from the plane on the reef of Nikumaroro in the same spot a plane wreck was reported by people on the island.
3971R
 
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Colin Taylor

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Re: Drift in the Dark part 8
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2023, 08:54:11 AM »

Oh Boy!

Another "make the facts fit the narrative" posting!
Jeff, how exactly am I making facts fit the narrative? I started with the flight route, the weather forecast, the radio reports and that led me to a conclusion.

Randy, I am not 'first thinking of where they ended up'. The end point is derived from the facts and the calculations.

  It appears that they overcorrected for the forecast winds when the actual winds were lower.


[/quote]

I would put it this way: they corrected for the forecast wind but the actual wind was different. Which is basically the same thing.
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