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Author Topic: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937  (Read 443969 times)

Gary LaPook

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #255 on: August 23, 2012, 01:51:50 AM »

Bill
Remember that by the time AE and FN would have reached niku they would have been in the air at least 24 hours, if you assume they were awake several hours prior to take off they had been up 27 or so hours straight with increasing stress over the last few, it's hard to say with any definiteness that they would have been making really rational decisions at that point.

As to your concern about fatigue causing lapses in decision making, I know that I have landed after ferrying a plane across the ocean after being awake for more than thirty six hours, flying solo without autopilots and doing celestial navigation at the same time. But stronger evidence on this point than my experience is the experience of the many other ferry pilots.  I posted here information showing that there have been at least 6,000 planes ferried across the Pacific to Australia by solo pilots in single engined airplanes that are slower than the Electra with the legs being longer than the Lae to Howland flight and many or most of those planes did not have autopilots. It is 2600 SM from Honolulu to Pago Pago and in a Cessna 172 that only cruises at 100 mph that is 26 hours, or longer if you have a headwind, so the 20 hour flight from Lae to Howland was nothing out of the ordinary for thousands of ferry pilots. In case you are missing the point I am trying to make, "solo" means that your are the only person in plane and if you don't have an autopilot and you fall asleep then you are rudely awakened by the ocean coming through the windshield. And, of course, all of these pilots had to be awake for a number of hours before their takeoffs too. With two pilots on board, Noonan was also a pilot, they could take turns napping if necessary and Noonan's navigation duties did not require his full time attentions. On the flight to Hawaii he got star fixes approximately every two hours each of which take less than 20 minutes to accomplish, plenty of time in between to nap or to spell Earhart on the controls.

In 1935 Earhart flew solo from Hawaii to California, it took 18 hours.  Was she so fatigued that she just fell out of the plane to go immediately to sleep on the tarmac? The flight to Hawaii in 1937 took almost 16 hours. Did Earhart and Mantz, who sat next to her in between the engines, fall immediately to sleep due to fatigue when they landed in Hawaii? And they had also been awake for a number of hours before the takeoff.

In 1935 two guys set an endurance record of 653 hours aloft, more than 27 days, without landing. The really exciting part of that record was the necessity of greasing the rocker arms on the engine every 50 hours. They had a bar mounted along each side of the plane, and every 50 hour one guy would climb out on the left side, move to the nose and use a grease gun on the nipples on his side. He then climbed back into the plane, handed the grease gun to the other guy who then did the same on his side of the engine. They had to do this 13 times. They didn't collapse from fatigue. Then, in 1986, Dick Rutan and Jeanna Yeager flew around the world in 216 hours, more than nine days, and didn't die from fatigue either.

And don't forget Lindbergh flew for 33 and a half hours solo and had actually been awake for 55 hours by the time he landed at Le Bourget in Paris.

You come up with speculative problems that do not really exist in practice.

gl
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Gary LaPook

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #256 on: August 23, 2012, 01:54:52 AM »


Malcom's and Gary's special pleading that the Colorado pilots must have seen Earhart and Noonan if they were there dismisses the abundant evidence that they WERE there.
Show us the "smoking gun" Ric.

gl
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Gary LaPook

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #257 on: August 23, 2012, 02:41:55 AM »


And, again, my opinion comes directly from SAR experience in the military.  In fact, I suggest that it's more than an opinion.  And I'll say it again with authority - after literally dozens of SARs, my experience dictates that if Earhart and Noonan were on Gardner Island during the USN aerial search(es), they would have been seen.


Bill, you're new around these parts. We have discussed the probability of Earhart being spotted by the Lambrecht search extensively before so, if you haven't looked at these older posts before, I suggest you go back and read them, and here are links to make it easy.


Earlier posts on the current thread:

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,253.msg12707.html#msg12707


https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,253.msg15121.html#msg15121

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,253.msg15149.html#msg15149

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,253.msg15150.html#msg15150


"Odds of spotting survivors from the air" thread:

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,517.msg6459.html#msg6459

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,517.msg6481.html#msg6481

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,517.msg6496.html#msg6496

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,517.msg6497.html#msg6497

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,517.msg6503.html#msg6503

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,517.msg6513.html#msg6513

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,517.msg6523.html#msg6523

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,517.msg6540.html#msg6540

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,517.msg6556.html#msg6556

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,517.msg6567.html#msg6567


"After the landing" thread:

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,646.msg14675.html#msg14675

gl

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Adam Marsland

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #258 on: August 23, 2012, 05:42:28 AM »

Hey Gary...

You wrote a bunch of stuff, I checked it out, but really, it all falls under the category of my earlier criticism.  You just like to show that stuff is possible under adverse circumstances, and use that as evidence to say those adverse circumstances don't matter at all.  Ever.  And shouldn't be taken into account.   I find that way of thinking, with all due respect, silly.  You go as far as to say that extraordinary feats of courage, stamina, endurance, etc., aren't extraordinary at all.  It happens all the time.  Well, yeah...I suppose "I Should Have Died" doesn't do stories on all the people that DID die.  Doesn't make good television. 

Look no further than the Air France flight out of Africa that crashed a few years back because one of the pilots didn't bother to tell the others he was yanking on the joystick the whole time.  No fatigue there, no line of communication errors, no nothin'.  Inexperienced pilot and a protocol misunderstanding.  In a perfect world, there are all kinds of ways it could have and should have been averted.  But in the real world, the plane still crashed and everyone died.

People do not always perform optimally.  They do not always do what we think they should have done, what we expect them to do.  Particularly -- once again -- when we apply our own biases to their behavior. 

The bottom line, guys:  it does not take much imagination to think of a totally plausible scenario by which those two did not do what you think they should have done.  To assert that "there's no reason to think that they would have..." is to basically blind one's eyes to all manner of possibilities that are totally reasonable to arise from the situation that they may have been in.

TIGHAR has suggested various possibilities for the Lambrecht miss, all based on their own first hand investigation on the ground and their own experience:  the planes probably could not be heard until they were right overhead; the scaveola was dense and it is possible that the duo could not make it to the beach in time, and further possible one or both was incapacitated; and further that actual visual sighting of the two of them from the air was more difficult than it looks.  And, as I pointed out, the duo was likely probably expecting a sea and not air rescue.

All these explanations strike me as completely reasonable and plausible.  Most of the criticisms of them have sprung from this kind of "best case" thinking...since something COULD have been done (assuming circumstances allowed it, which we do not know), that's what they WOULD have done, and since it WASN'T done, it didn't happen.  That is not a logical argument.  It's bunk.

I mean, yeah.  It's weird Lambrecht didn't see them.  But it's not THAT weird.  The argument that's been put forth is that it's so improbable for them not to have been seen (because of course we know that they must have been totally able bodied and would have had a signal fire, etc., etc., or if not Fred Noonan would have heroically overcome his injuries and sent up a flare, etc.) that any explanation is totally far-fetched.  And that is just totally unsupported by the evidence provided, and also by common fair logic.  We simply don't know what happened.  You don't, and I don't.  But I can think of a lot of reasons off the top of my head why they weren't seen that are far more plausible than a fully rested pilot downing a passenger jet because he was yanking on a joystick and didn't mention it to his copilots.  And yet...it happened!
« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 05:50:32 AM by Adam Marsland »
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Matt Revington

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #259 on: August 23, 2012, 07:05:20 AM »


You come up with speculative problems that do not really exist in practice.

gl


Yes Gary people are sometimes capable of performing well even under very fatiguing conditions and pilots out of the need to survive are probably better at it than most of us.   However there is evidence that AE and FN were not at their best as they closed in on Howland.  FN should have been able to get them close enough to see Howland or the Itasca smoke signal ( or find it by flying a simple search pattern) by celestial navigational as you with considerable knowledge have argued here numerous times, but he simply didn't for reasons we can only speculate about.  AE got away from the preflight planned radio frequencies usage that would have made communications better, also due to lack of preparation and knowledge ( also perhaps due to equipment issues) they failed to make proper use of their redundant navigational aid, the radio direction finder.  I believe the radio operator on the Itasca said he thought that he heard stress or panic in AE last few transmissions.  Therefore its not entirely speculative to say that AE and FN were not at the best on that flight, although I can't prove fatigue was the cause it likely would contribute.  But, and I am speculating now, if she was panicked at time of her last transmission, and the Niku hypothesis is correct, then she would have been  unlikely to be less panicked a couple of hours later when they reached gardner , low on fuel and more tired.  Therefore coming back to the point I was making to Bill its pretty hard to say what kind of decision they would make at that point.  Bill had stated that the only logical choice was to ditch in the lagoon and given his experience I can't argue with that beyond saying that some of the other people on this site with flying experience don't seem to feel that way.  All I was saying was that nothing went right that day for them and to assert that they had to make a particular logical choice at the end of a 24+ hour series of problems, misjudgments and mistakes is projecting too great a certainty onto the situation.
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #260 on: August 23, 2012, 07:36:11 AM »

It is widely acknowledged that fatigue can influence aircrews ability to perform their tasks and can be a contributory factor in flight safety. This is why it was deemed necessary to limit the number of hours a flight crew can be at the controls and, the number hours between flights. Of course this didn't apply in the 1930's and, it doesn't apply to world record attempts but, it is recognised as being an issue. As such there are rules and regulations.
http://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story.cfm?newsId=6762   




This must be the place
 
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Monty Fowler

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #261 on: August 23, 2012, 01:48:33 PM »

Show us the "smoking gun" Ric.
gl

Oh good Lord ... next we're going to get into a whose is bigger argument or something. Gary, you are very good at making an argument for your version of what happened to Amelia and Fred, but your incessant carping and sniping and ... other words I could use but will not ... denigrates your position into something that more resembles a schoolyard bully in a "got you last" contest.

Ric and TIGHAR do "lay it all out there." Far, far more than any other person or group that is involved in this mystery. When they are wrong or screw up, they have the gumption to say so. When they have something that is ready to go, they put it out there for the entire world to see. TIGHAR allows the world at large to take endless potshots at them - for free! - on this website. 24/7, 365 days a year, for years now. I, personally, don't know if I would put up with it as long as TIGHAR has, to the degree that TIGHAR has.

I think that says an awful lot about how TIGHAR does things and the overall character of the organization. It also, in the end, says some important things about the character of some of the more voiceferous detractors.

LTM, who will go back to pushing paper now,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 CER
Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
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Bill Roe

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #262 on: August 23, 2012, 02:14:18 PM »


And, again, my opinion comes directly from SAR experience in the military.  In fact, I suggest that it's more than an opinion.  And I'll say it again with authority - after literally dozens of SARs, my experience dictates that if Earhart and Noonan were on Gardner Island during the USN aerial search(es), they would have been seen.


Bill, you're new around these parts. We have discussed the probability of Earhart being spotted by the Lambrecht search extensively before so, if you haven't looked at these older posts before, I suggest you go back and read them, and here are links to make it easy.

gl

Thank you Gary.  A lot of that stuff I've read.  I've also viewed the video tour of the island.  It's incredible that you found the time to assemble and post all those links - after all, I would imagine that your wife has you cleaning up her kitchen after the mess you made distilling water.   ;) ;D

Anyway I got into a lot of trouble in these pages my first day so I must be very careful how I word things from now on.  So let me put this as diplomatically as possible :  Earhart and Noonan were not on Gardner Island at the time of the Naval aerial search.  Or at all - and I'm surprised that you didn't come up with artifacts out of your kitchen proving that shoe leather can be found in the weirdest places.   ;D

Further to my recent posts regarding SAR, a sane, rational, opining human being (and let's make it two, okay?) having ditched on a reef, is aware that and hoping for rescue by sea, air or any means possible.  They will make themselves available.  They will not hide in the dense jungle. 

I'll also say this again - the Navy Aircraft were circling over the island at 400 feet.  They were also buzzing the island.  They spent time over that geographical area.  The pilots were looking and they had spotters.  They were not looking for trees.  They were not looking for crabs.  They were not looking for cocoanuts.  They were looking for people only and if there were people on that island, that's all those Navy guys would have found.

Gary, you can publish all your computations, percentages, odds, statistics all you want.  That crap is good for planning only.  It's not even good for negotiating as you and Ric discovered.  We're talking about real life.  We're talking about disciplined Navy guys with a specific mission flying sorties to locate downed Americans - well known and admired Americans at that.  These guys are not about to screw up, in fact, they want to look good.  Earhart and Noonan will each owe the Navy Fliers a beer if discovered. And that has value - ifyouknowwhatimeanandithinkyoudo.  :P :D

Artifacts - interesting.  Everything about those artifacts makes us want to believe that they were part of Earhart and Noonan.  I'll tell ya what - here's a theory that has not been advanced:  Earhart and Noonan ditched in deep water near an inhabited island in that geographical area.  The natives plucked them out of the water with some stuff that Earhart and Noonan salvaged and took them home.  OOPS!  Not a wise thing to do so the natives, somehow, got Earhart and Noonan to Gardner and marooned them there.

You know, it's a wonder that our mismanaged USPS has not come up with an Air Mail stamp commemorating her 75th anniversary of incompetence.[\facetious sneer]

Gary, I've flown over stuff like that.   Here's something I've never seen in print but you learn and retain very quickly:  A pilot looks down and sees an oval yellow/orange flame - that's a SAM!  A pilot looks down and sees a round yellow flame with a black dot in the center - that's a SAM coming right at you!  The point is that we see and find what we're looking for if it's there.
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Dave Potratz

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #263 on: August 23, 2012, 03:30:41 PM »


if the Navy search aircraft could determine "signs of recent habitation"; if Earhart and Noonan were there, they'd have been seen also.


I agree with those who feel that's just too big a stretch in logic:

IF AE & FN were on Gardner, THEN they would have been seen?    Nope, doesn't follow, IMO.

dp

I think you are mis-stating Bill's logical proposition.  To me it reads "IF the search was good enough to see the signs of habitation, THEN it was also good enough to find AE and FN if present."  Of course we are all free to agree or disagree with either or both of those ways of reading what Bill said.

Hmm, IMO, that's a distinction without a difference.

dp
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Gary LaPook

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #264 on: August 23, 2012, 10:03:29 PM »


Further to my recent posts regarding SAR, a sane, rational, opining human being (and let's make it two, okay?) having ditched on a reef, is aware that and hoping for rescue by sea, air or any means possible.  They will make themselves available.  They will not hide in the dense jungle. 


Gary, you can publish all your computations, percentages, odds, statistics all you want.  That crap is good for planning only.  It's not even good for negotiating as you and Ric discovered.  We're talking about real life.  We're talking about disciplined Navy guys with a specific mission flying sorties to locate downed Americans - well known and admired Americans at that.  These guys are not about to screw up, in fact, they want to look good.  Earhart and Noonan will each owe the Navy Fliers a beer if discovered. And that has value - ifyouknowwhatimeanandithinkyoudo.  :P :D


Planning, AND determining when a search has reached a high enough level of probability of detection (POD) so that the search should be ended. (And I don't think it is appropriate to call such a manual "crap.") According to the tables in the National Search And Rescue Manual there was a very high probability of Earhart being spotted IF she was on Gardner in the brush when the search was made and a very, very high probability if she was in the open, on the beach or standing on the reef, so the tables support your position that they would have been spotted if they had been there. When the POD reaches a high level then the reasonable conclusion is reached that the object being sought is NOT in the area being searched so the search is ended there and possibly other areas are then searched. If the Lambrecht search were being conducted today, with all the additional knowledge of detection probabilities incorporated in this manual, the search would have been ended, just as it was in 1937, after the passes made by Lambrecht since by then the POD had reached such a high level that the conclusion was reached that Earhart and Noonan were not on Gardner. Although the probability can never be 100% it can get pretty close to that. Can we be 100% certain that they would have been spotted?, no (and I have never claimed that) but we can have a high level of confidence that had they been there that they would have been spotted.

The NSAR Manual is what we call a "learned treatise" (pronounced, lern-id) and these are powerful and compelling evidence with judges and juries because they are drafted by experts in the specific field of knowledge, they are used and relied upon by other experts in the field (in the case of the NSAR manual to conduct searches to save lives, a very serious usage,) they are of general applicability, and they are not drafted for the purpose of supporting either side in the controversy so there can be no claim of bias, either intentional or unintentional.

So you and I agree on this issue as do the experts who drafted that manual.

gl
« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 10:42:59 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #265 on: August 23, 2012, 10:50:45 PM »

Bill
Remember that by the time AE and FN would have reached niku they would have been in the air at least 24 hours, if you assume they were awake several hours prior to take off they had been up 27 or so hours straight with increasing stress over the last few, it's hard to say with any definiteness that they would have been making really rational decisions at that point.

What does being fatigued at the time they arrived at Gardner have to do with their not being seen seven days later?

gl
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Diego Vásquez

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #266 on: August 23, 2012, 11:03:53 PM »

William of Occam said, "Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem"

Ric -

1)  You must not have gotten the memo - the use of foreign words or phrases to impress your readers is passé.

2)  Just kidding, couldn't resist the pun though.  But speaking of Latin usage, it does remind me of the Queen's annual Christmas message (its a big deal to Poms and Ozzies) around 1994 or so, the year that her house burned down and Charles split from Diana, which wasn't considered acceptable by royal standards (especially hers) back then.  Her Majesty's advisors suggested that she should not be as stiff as she traditionally had been and that in order to show her human side to the people, she should acknowledge the obvious problems rather than her usual "no comment" about them.  She acknowledged the horrible year all right, but as only the Queen could do in an attempt to reach the people, she said it in Latin, and acknowledged her "Annus Horribilis."  The tawdrier of the tabloids had a field day with headlines about the "Queen's Horrible Anus!"  Moral:  If you want to emphasize scholarly rigor, its certainly fine to use Latin - but you might lose some people.

Quote
To suggest that the array of evidence gathered by TIGHAR over 24 years of research .... Occam says we're right.  (emphasis added)

3)  Puns and humor aside, the more apropos question might be, "What sayeth Melville?"
I want to believe.

Diego V.
 
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Gary LaPook

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #267 on: August 23, 2012, 11:04:36 PM »


TIGHAR has suggested various possibilities for the Lambrecht miss, all based on their own first hand investigation on the ground and their own experience:  the planes probably could not be heard until they were right overhead; the scaveola was dense and it is possible that the duo could not make it to the beach in time, and further possible one or both was incapacitated; and further that actual visual sighting of the two of them from the air was more difficult than it looks.  And, as I pointed out, the duo was likely probably expecting a sea and not air rescue.


You left out the additional speculation that the dog ate the homework.

gl
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #268 on: August 23, 2012, 11:44:00 PM »


TIGHAR has suggested various possibilities for the Lambrecht miss, all based on their own first hand investigation on the ground and their own experience:  the planes probably could not be heard until they were right overhead; the scaveola was dense and it is possible that the duo could not make it to the beach in time, and further possible one or both was incapacitated; and further that actual visual sighting of the two of them from the air was more difficult than it looks.  And, as I pointed out, the duo was likely probably expecting a sea and not air rescue.

All these explanations strike me as completely reasonable and plausible.  Most of the criticisms of them have sprung from this kind of "best case" thinking...since something COULD have been done (assuming circumstances allowed it, which we do not know), that's what they WOULD have done, and since it WASN'T done, it didn't happen.  That is not a logical argument.  It's bunk.

Yes that is very true, they have offered a range of plausible reasons for the failure of the Navy searchers, but what they haven't done is actually demonstrated that Earhart and Noonan were on Nikumaroro to be missed by the searchers. If they had we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Every time I see the word plausible I am reminded of what my old archaeology professor would say when someone advanced a theory that relied on a smidge of salt to help it "Plausible, very plausible ..." which would then be followed by him bringing the discussion crashing back to what the available evidence actually demonstrated once the hint of sodium chloride was removed.

Removing the hint of sodium chloride is what this discussion is about. To do so first one must establish the presence of Earhart and Noonan on Nikumaroro without doubt, then one can hypothesize why the Navy searchers didn't see them, we can't come at it the other way around. There is nothing unreasonable in that is there?   
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Gary LaPook

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #269 on: August 24, 2012, 02:20:13 AM »


Look no further than the Air France flight out of Africa that crashed a few years back because one of the pilots didn't bother to tell the others he was yanking on the joystick the whole time.  No fatigue there, no line of communication errors, no nothin'.  Inexperienced pilot and a protocol misunderstanding.  In a perfect world, there are all kinds of ways it could have and should have been averted.  But in the real world, the plane still crashed and everyone died.


It was only four minutes and twenty-three seconds from the time that the autopilot tripped off until Air France 447 hit the ocean, not much time for the crew to figure out what to do to solve their problems. In the TIGHAR scenario, Earhart had seven days, 165 hours,  to get her stuff together, set up signals, plan on how to signal any rescuers that came into view, etc., prior to the Lambrecht overflight so I fail to see the relevance of your example.

gl
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