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Author Topic: Lihir Island  (Read 7221 times)

Travis Nutsch

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Lihir Island
« on: August 10, 2023, 01:20:34 AM »

Ok so I just realized...

Several newspapers say they were unable to set their chronometer before takeoff.  I can reference if needed.

The betty notebook has coordinates that in my opinion obviously point to the midpoint of the flight.

The latitude portion of these coordinates is shared with the coordinates of lihir island.

What I just realized is if you ignore longitude the latitude line of the midpoint of the flight is just about exactly 281 miles south of the howland island latitude line.  This in turn means Lihir Island is also on a latitude line 281 miles south of the Howland Island latitude line if you ignore longitude because they did not have a good chronometer.

Are there any other explanations for the "281 south"?  Gardner is more like 400 miles away and y'all checked there plenty and no plane to be found.

"American Knowmad"
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Lihir Island
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2023, 06:32:21 AM »

Invalid methodology. Pick an island, any island. If you're selective enough, imaginative enough, and ignore enough, you can put the airplane anywhere you want it; and many have - Bougainville, Buka, Mili, Saipan, etc. 

Are there any other explanations for the "281 south"?

Yes.  There is good reason to think the 281 message was phony.

  Gardner is more like 400 miles away and y'all checked there plenty and no plane to be found.

Absence of evidences is not evidence of absence. The plane was clearly there in 1937 but whatever is left after over 80 years is not findable.
If you're going to propose an alternative hypothesis it has to offer plausible alternative explanations for all of the evidence.
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Travis Nutsch

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Re: Lihir Island
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2023, 10:03:14 AM »

Strongly disagree as far as findable.  Unless it was intentionally disposed of or buried or something crazy it should be findable.  Plenty of older artifacts have been found intact under water for longer than that.  Ballard agrees with me on that anyway.

What is the official TIGHAR position on wether or not she had a Morse code key or some other way to send CW?
"American Knowmad"
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Lihir Island
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2023, 11:21:58 AM »

Strongly disagree as far as findable.  Unless it was intentionally disposed of or buried or something crazy it should be findable.

Scattered shards of aluminum and engine components grown over with coral or buried in underwater landslides (common on the Niku reef slope) might be findable theoretically, but not in a practical sense.

  Plenty of older artifacts have been found intact under water for longer than that. 

Many aircraft have been found in lakes, rivers, and lagoons.  Give me an example of an aircraft that has been found in a dynamic underwater environment like the steep, storm-pummeled reef slope at Niku.   

Ballard agrees with me on that anyway.

Ballard says, "... it's not the Loch Ness monster, it's not Bigfoot, that plane exists which means I'm going to find it."   I'm waiting.

What is the official TIGHAR position on wether or not she had a Morse code key or some other way to send CW?

The airplane originally had two sending keys, one in the navigator's station and one in the cockpit.  After Manning quit there was nobody who knew Morse so there was no need for a key.  The one in the navigator's station was not reinstalled when the plane was repaired after the Luke Field accident and the one in the cockpit was left in Miami.

She could not send CW using the mic. The airplane had a radio control panel of toggle switches (pictured below) that seems to have been unique to her airplane. It is not described in any of the literature and but its functions are obvious.
Bottom right toggle turns the transmitter on or off.
Top right toggle selects either CW (key) or PHONE (voice).
Top left toggle selects either DAY (6210 kHz) frequency or NITE 3105.
Bottom left toggle REC turns the receiver on or off
The bottom middle toggle is the most interesting.  It appears to turn the MIKE (microphone) on or off.  Normally that would be done by holding down the push-to-talk button on the mic but the buttons on early mics were stiff and Earhart apparently didn't want to have to hold the button down.  If the mic stayed keyed if the MIKE toggle was in the up position it would explain the "hot mic" that allowed Betty to hear the back and forth between Earhart and Noonan.


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Travis Nutsch

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Re: Lihir Island
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2023, 12:37:23 AM »


The bottom middle toggle is the most interesting.  It appears to turn the MIKE (microphone) on or off.  Normally that would be done by holding down the push-to-talk button on the mic but the buttons on early mics were stiff and Earhart apparently didn't want to have to hold the button down.  If the mic stayed keyed if the MIKE toggle was in the up position it would explain the "hot mic" that allowed Betty to hear the back and forth between Earhart and Noonan.




Oh wow i love that.  Would that not have been why they couldn't hear anyone?  Their tx was transmitting...  also likely cant get an RDF minimum while TXing.  Eventually a hot mic will probably overheat something in the radio and it will not send a usable signal.  Function might return after it cools down .  On the ground shutting the engine down and restarting the engine to transmit would do this.  The circuit probably has a single wire shorted to ground in order to transmit.  The mic had this wire initially and they added another path through this switch shorted to ground.  On old school microphones to my knowledge the switches are rather large and robust likely capable of a fair bit of current.  Could the additional tx switch on the panel have been under rated and not sufficient to pass the required current safely and it failed?  Or perhaps the added wire just shorted out somewhere because they added an extra wire to the system and therefore extra possible failure point.

I recall seeing some compiled information about her radios somewhere.  Going to try and find that to read now.
"American Knowmad"
KF7FEV
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Private Pilot
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