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Author Topic: The Last Flight of Amelia Earhart  (Read 9978 times)

Colin Taylor

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The Last Flight of Amelia Earhart
« on: November 16, 2023, 10:34:56 AM »

Hi Everybody

I have made a video called The Last Flight of Amelia Earhart.

It is in two parts on YouTube and here are the links:

https://youtu.be/O9YQHkNXbZI

https://youtu.be/WPDOcWvOQn8

Take a look and tell me what you think.

Cheers
Colin
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: The Last Flight of Amelia Earhart
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2023, 11:02:23 AM »

Welcome to the club.  Sooner or later, everyone gets to post a Youtube video about what really happened to Amelia Earhart.

I started watching Part 1 but after two factual errors in first few minutes, I gave up.
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Colin Taylor

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Re: The Last Flight of Amelia Earhart
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2023, 04:45:03 AM »

Hi Ric

I am willing to correct any errors. What are they?

Colin
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: The Last Flight of Amelia Earhart
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2023, 07:34:34 AM »

Hi Ric

I am willing to correct any errors. What are they?

Colin

In Part One:

• A fuel tank was not taken out during repairs.

• Howland is not an atoll.

• Manning was not the radio operator. He was the sole navigator until 3 days before the March 17 departure for Hawaii.

• The Navy weather forecast was not received the evening before the departure from Lae.

Guinea Airways manager Eric Chater, in a letter written three weeks later, recalled that the forecast had come in via Samoa at 7:30 the morning of Thursday, July 1 (Lae time).  U.S. Navy records contradict Chater and show that Lt. True’s forecast was not transmitted from Hawaii until more than an hour after that time. Messages relayed through Samoa were taking a minimum of three and a half hours to reach Lae, if they got there at all, so True's forecast probably arrived in Lae around 11:00.
Whenever the forecast actually reached New Guinea, the picture it painted of the weather to be expected along the route was typical for the region:
" Earhart, Lae. Forecast Thursday:
   Lae to Ontario – Partly clouded. Rain squalls 250 miles east Lae. Wind, east south east, 12 to 15.
   Ontario to longitude 175 – Partly cloudy, cumulus clouds about ten thousand feet. [Visibility] mostly unlimited. Wind, east north east, 18.
   Thence to Howland – partly cloudy. Scattered heavy showers. Wind, east north east, 15.
   Avoid towering cumulus and squalls by detours as centers frequently dangerous.
––Fleet Air Base, Pearl Harbor."
 
The forecast was for “Thursday,” but who's Thursday? True had sent the forecast at 12:20 Hawaiian time on Wednesday, June 30. Across the International Date Line in Lae, New Guinea, at that moment, it was 8:50 A.M. on Thursday, July 1. Was this a forecast for Earhart’s today or for True’s tomorrow? Unclear as the intended day may have been, the prognostication was so typical of the region that it did not much matter.
Your premise assumes that Noonan's navigation relied entirely upon an ambiguous forecast that was well-over a full day old.

• The fuel in Lae was 80 octane, not 87 octane.

• Sunrise at Howland was at 06:15 local time, not 05:45.  You Google "Sunrise at Howland Island on July 2" you get "05:46 (GMT -12)", but Itasca was using GMT -11.5.

• You explanation for Earhart's obviously erroneous position report to Lae at 3:19pm, “height 10000 feet position 150.7 east 7.3 south, cumulus clouds, everything okay" makes no sense.  Noonan cannot get a precise lat/long position in daylight without a visual checkpoint on the ground. 
The most likely explanation is that Earhart reported her position as 157 east, 7.3 south. That would put her 600 nautical miles from Lae on the coast of Choiseul Island in the Solomons, 130 nautical miles south of her planned course. Noonan could get the latitude/longitude by noting their position on the Choiseul coastline. He could then plot a correction to put them back on course for the next visual landmark, the Nukumanu Islands (which you, for some reason, call the "Numanu" islands).

All of your conclusions in Part One are unwarranted assumptions based on sloppy research and bad data.  I don't have the time or the stomach for Part 2.

 

 
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Colin Taylor

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Re: The Last Flight of Amelia Earhart
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2023, 06:22:09 AM »

Hi Ric

Thanks for the feedback. 

• A fuel tank was not taken out during repairs.

That is correct, my mistake. The fuel system was modified during the repairs, but the 13th tank had been removed the previous year. 

• Howland is not an atoll.

In Wikipedia, Howland is described as an island and an atoll. Howland is an island with a fringing coral reef, therefore an atoll, but does not have a central lagoon.

• Manning was not the radio operator.

I said that both Manning and Noonan were navigators. However, Manning was the only crew member competent on Morse code, hence ‘the radio operator’. His absence as a radio operator and the deletion of the Morse keys was crucial to the outcome of the flight.

• The Navy weather forecast was not received the evening before the departure from Lae.

I did not say the forecast was received, I said it was prepared the previous evening. The time stamp on the message was 2250 (GMT according to Chater). So, somebody’s evening, but it took hours to relay the message to Lae, arriving in the morning.

My premise is that the flight plan depended on the forecast, but the execution of the flight depended on ALL available navigation techniques which were substantially foiled by the adverse weather.

• The fuel in Lae was 80 octane, not 87 octane.

I said 80 octane.

• Sunrise at Howland was at 06:15 local time, not 05:45.  You Google "Sunrise at Howland Island on July 2" you get "05:46 (GMT -12)", but Itasca was using GMT -11.5.

Sunrise at Howland was 05:45 Howland Local Time which was 06:15 Itasca Local Time when Itasca was in the vicinity. Both are correct and equally confusing.

• You explanation for Earhart's obviously erroneous position report to Lae at 3:19pm, “height 10000 feet position 150.7 east 7.3 south, cumulus clouds, everything okay" makes no sense.  Noonan cannot get a precise lat/long position in daylight without a visual checkpoint on the ground. 
The most likely explanation is that Earhart reported her position as 157 east, 7.3 south. That would put her 600 nautical miles from Lae on the coast of Choiseul Island in the Solomons, 130 nautical miles south of her planned course. Noonan could get the latitude/longitude by noting their position on the Choiseul coastline. He could then plot a correction to put them back on course for the next visual landmark, the Nukumanu Islands (which you, for some reason, call the "Numanu" islands).

My explanation makes complete sense based on known facts. The Chater report is unambiguous: she reported 150.7 east 7.3 south at 03:19pm. That position was a dead reckoning position based on standard navigational techniques for avoiding weather, but the time makes no sense. They must have been SOMEWHERE at 03:19pm; we both agree there is a missing position at about 600miles. I am offering a plausible explanation without changing the facts to suit a theory. Noonan may well have made observations based on seeing islands through gaps in the cloud. Numanu and Nukamanu are names on different charts for the same group of islands.

One valid point out of seven. I suppose you could call that a bad review!
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Randy Jacobson

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Re: The Last Flight of Amelia Earhart
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2023, 07:54:14 AM »

There are Earhart reports from the Atlantic crossing where the position was taken from a prior from take-off plot of position along the track assuming dead reckoning and no winds, i.e a projected position as a function of flight time.  However, those positions did not correspond to the time of her broadcasts.  Furthermore, there is no evidence from anywhere on her flights that the position report was according to the time of her broadcast.  Where we do have the navigational charts, the position was calculated prior to her broadcast up to 30 minutes or so.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: The Last Flight of Amelia Earhart
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2023, 08:41:30 AM »


• A fuel tank was not taken out during repairs.

That is correct, my mistake. The fuel system was modified during the repairs, but the 13th tank had been removed the previous year. 


The repair orders say nothing about modifying the fuel system and the Inspection Report done when the repairs were completed shows no change.


• Howland is not an atoll.

In Wikipedia, Howland is described as an island and an atoll. Howland is an island with a fringing coral reef, therefore an atoll, but does not have a central lagoon.


Wikipedia is often wrong.  Howland lacks the reef flat and central lagoon of a true atoll.  For example (from ScienceDirect):
"Turneffe Islands Atoll does not have a deep central lagoon, its reefs do not form an entire margin, and there is no reef flat, all of which are features of a true atoll."


• The Navy weather forecast was not received the evening before the departure from Lae.

I did not say the forecast was received, I said it was prepared the previous evening. The time stamp on the message was 2250 (GMT according to Chater).


It was not prepared the previous evening and Chater says nothing about a "time stamp"  He said "At 7.30 a.m., July 1st, the following weather report was received from Tutilla ....".  7:30 a.m. in Lae is 2130 GMT.
The forecast sent to Earhart from Fleet Air Base, Pearl Harbor via Samoa was transmitted at 0915 GMT on June 30 which was 10:45 p.m. on June 29 in Hawaii.
In other words, the forecast was over 12 hours old when it was received in Lae and more than 39 hours old when Earhart took off

• The fuel in Lae was 80 octane, not 87 octane.

I said 80 octane.


I had it backward.  You said 80 octane.  87 is correct.

• Sunrise at Howland was at 06:15 local time, not 05:45.  You Google "Sunrise at Howland Island on July 2" you get "05:46 (GMT -12)", but Itasca was using GMT -11.5.

Sunrise at Howland was 05:45 Howland Local Time which was 06:15 Itasca Local Time when Itasca was in the vicinity. Both are correct and equally confusing.


You're still confused.  Howland was using Hawaii Time which was GMT -10.5 in 1937. So, aboard Itaca sunrise was at 06:15.  On Howland, sunrise was at 7:15.

• You explanation for Earhart's obviously erroneous position report to Lae at 3:19pm, “height 10000 feet position 150.7 east 7.3 south, cumulus clouds, everything okay" makes no sense.  Noonan cannot get a precise lat/long position in daylight without a visual checkpoint on the ground. 
The most likely explanation is that Earhart reported her position as 157 east, 7.3 south. That would put her 600 nautical miles from Lae on the coast of Choiseul Island in the Solomons, 130 nautical miles south of her planned course. Noonan could get the latitude/longitude by noting their position on the Choiseul coastline. He could then plot a correction to put them back on course for the next visual landmark, the Nukumanu Islands (which you, for some reason, call the "Numanu" islands).

My explanation makes complete sense based on known facts. The Chater report is unambiguous: she reported 150.7 east 7.3 south at 03:19pm. That position was a dead reckoning position based on standard navigational techniques for avoiding weather, but the time makes no sense. They must have been SOMEWHERE at 03:19pm; we both agree there is a missing position at about 600miles. I am offering a plausible explanation without changing the facts to suit a theory. Noonan may well have made observations based on seeing islands through gaps in the cloud. Numanu and Nukamanu are names on different charts for the same group of islands.

 

There's no missing position at 600 miles and Noonan never gave lat/long positions based on dead reckoning.  The first report at 04:18 GMT does not include a lat/long position because Noonan had no landmark.  The 05:19 report (misunderstood or mis-transcribed by Lae) is accurate.

One valid point out of seven. I suppose you could call that a bad review!

You're still 0 for 7.
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Colin Taylor

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Re: The Last Flight of Amelia Earhart
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2023, 06:30:48 AM »

Hi Ric

----87 octane fuel agreed. You are 2 for 7

----The fuel system modifications during the crash repair, I got from the book Missing by Nesbit, P16 (‘equalising lines added’).

----The weather forecast: according to Elgen Long, P185, ‘...True had sent the message the evening before’.

     In the archivehttps://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/JacobsonDatabase/RADIOMES/MSG7.PDF P79, the message has a date stamp 193706302250

----The position report at 2:18pm (4:18GMT): Chater said ‘...the plane was called and asked to repeat the position, but we still could not get it’. That is due to the poor radio reception, so there is a missing position.

 You cannot have it both ways. If the position 150.0E 7.3S is accurate, then it is a dead reckoning position and the time is wrong. If it is not correct, then there is a missing position at 05:19GMT which we have to fill-in. That is why you invented position 157.0E 7.3S and I invented Position 156.

----Sunrise at Howland was 05:45 Howland Local Time. That is specific to the location of Howland and has nothing to do with time zones. It is 06:15 Itasca Local Time when Itasca is in the vicinity and is 07:15 Hawaii Local Time according to whatever convention is in use.
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Randy Jacobson

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Re: The Last Flight of Amelia Earhart
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2023, 07:21:17 AM »

IIRC, Howland was on Hawaii standard time, and the Itasca was off Hawaii time by 1 hour.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: The Last Flight of Amelia Earhart
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2023, 07:27:46 AM »

----The fuel system modifications during the crash repair, I got from the book Missing by Nesbit, P16 (‘equalising lines added’).

Secondary source.  If not cited to a primary source it's not reliable.

----The weather forecast: according to Elgen Long, P185, ‘...True had sent the message the evening before’.

That's right.  The evening before the morning of July 1 was the evening of June 30.

In the archivehttps://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/JacobsonDatabase/RADIOMES/MSG7.PDF P79, the message has a date stamp 193706302250

You're right.  I was looking at an earlier forecast.
 
----The position report at 2:18pm (4:18GMT): Chater said ‘...the plane was called and asked to repeat the position, but we still could not get it’. That is due to the poor radio reception, so there is a missing position.

The full quote is "The Lae Operator heard the following on 6210 KC –“HEIGHT 7000 FEET SPEED 140 KNOTS” and some remark concerning “LAE” then “EVERYTHING OKAY”. The plane was called and asked to repeat position but we still could not get it."  She made "some remark concerning Lae."  Chater is assuming she gave a position, but the best Noonan could do without a landmark was an estimated distance from Lae. 
 

 You cannot have it both ways. If the position 150.0E 7.3S is accurate, then it is a dead reckoning position and the time is wrong. If it is not correct, then there is a missing position at 05:19GMT which we have to fill-in. That is why you invented position 157.0E 7.3S and I invented Position 156.

 

You're assuming the time is wrong.  I'm assuming that 157E 7.3S was misunderstood as 150E 7.3S. I think my assumption is more reasonable.

----Sunrise at Howland was 05:45 Howland Local Time. That is specific to the location of Howland and has nothing to do with time zones.

It has everything to do with time zones. Sunrise at Howland was 05:45 Howland Local Time according to present day time zone conventions.
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Don White

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Re: The Last Flight of Amelia Earhart
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2023, 05:31:48 PM »

It was confusion over time zones that led the Itascans to think Amelia wasn't sticking to her radio schedule. She was, but in a different time zone from theirs.

Don W
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