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Author Topic: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937  (Read 446539 times)

Ric Gillespie

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jeff f

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #61 on: January 12, 2011, 11:23:07 AM »

>If we allot 5 minutes of searching to each of those locations we’re left with 28 minutes as a reasonable guess for the amount >of time that was spent over Gardner Island.

so three planes did 30 minutes of loops and passes around niku
hard to imagine two aviators with their wits about them trying to be found ...not being found

my take

ae and fn are already dead .......or.... were never there

i was thinking what would i do.........
i dont know anything about wilderness survival....
number one priority is get found !
if i got matches i am starting a huge fire i would happily burn the whole island  ....that would be a really big fire
i would use sticks stones and sand and write huge help help signs all over the beach
i stay near the beach where i think help is coming from
if i hear a plane i run to the beach   jump up and down and wave and  (yell ...which is silly but i do it anyway)
then i find religion




« Last Edit: January 13, 2011, 08:34:30 AM by jeff f »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #62 on: January 12, 2011, 12:58:07 PM »

so three planes did 30 minutes of loops and passes around niku
hard to imagine two navigators with their wits about them trying to be found ...not being found

It's important not to misinterpret the calculations. We don't know how long the planes were over Gardner.  28 minutes seems like a good guess for the maximum time they might have had.  The actual time may have been much less.  Note that Lambrecht said that, during the leg from McKean to Gardner, they saw the ship to starboard.   Note also that the ship's log says that at 0945 the ship was 15 miles from Gardner.  It's hard to know how far away the ship may have been when the flight crossed its path but Lambrecht's statement implies that the flight was rather late getting to Gardner.  At 90 knots the 43 nm trip to McKean should have taken about half an hour, so they should have been there by 7:30.  Five minutes at  McKean takes us to 7:35.  The 67 nm leg from McKean to Gardner should take about 45 minutes, bringing them up overhead Gardner at 8:20.  If so, they crossed the ship's path sometime around 8:15 - but it was an hour and a half later before the ship was 15 miles from Gardner. At 8:15 Colorado was still way off to the north.   It's hard to understand how Lambrecht could possibly have seen the ship that early. 

i was thinking what would i do.........
and i dont know anything about wilderness survival....
if i got matches i am starting a huge fire i would happily burn the whole island down ....that would be a really big fire
i would use sticks stones and sand and write huge help help signs all over the beach
i stay near the beach where i think help is coming from
if i hear a plane i run to the beach   jump up and down and wave and  (yell ...which is silly but i do it anyway)
then i find religion

You might want to start with the religion.  Hinduism would be a good choice if you could count on being reincarnated as a bird.
Starting a fire is a good idea but you'd have to have a big fire all ready to go, preferably with some gasoline or oil on hand to get it started quickly, but then you need to get to your prepared bonfire and get it going before the planes leave.  If you're back in the bush you don't hear a plane until it's right overhead (been there, done that) and it can easily take 10 minutes to claw your way out to the beach.  You can use sticks and coral slabs to write HELP on the beach if you're expecting an aerial search - but as far as you know yours was the only airplane in this part of the world. You can jump up and down and wave but the constant trade winds are making the background vegetation wave too so there is no relative motion to attract attention.  It's extremely difficult to spot people on the ground on Gardner even if you know they're there.
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jeff f

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #63 on: January 13, 2011, 02:16:38 PM »

why werent ae and fn found

1 they were deep in the jungle and couldnt get to the beach in time ( why would they go deep in the jungle?)
2 the airplane wreckage was visible but misinterpreted as being related to the norwich city (not buying this)
3 they were on the beach yelling waving and all but they were still very hard to see and were missed (by all three of those slow moving crop dusters ? naw)

seems to me that we are coming up with barely plausable reasons to explain why they weren't found but still have them surviving for some period of time

continue to put me down for ....

they have already died or were never there

« Last Edit: January 14, 2011, 01:20:15 PM by jeff f »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #64 on: January 13, 2011, 04:27:03 PM »

One of the items for sale in the TIGHAR store is a 30 minute video entitled An Aerial Tour of Nikumaroro. I've never talked to anyone who has seen it who thinks that it's not perfectly understandable how the Colorado search planes could have missed Earhart and Noonan.
Maybe we need an abbreviated, free YouTube "trailer."
« Last Edit: January 13, 2011, 07:20:40 PM by Ric Gillespie »
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James G. Stoveken

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #65 on: January 13, 2011, 05:10:45 PM »

Jim Stoveken
 
« Last Edit: January 13, 2011, 05:13:21 PM by James G. Stoveken »
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Mark Petersen

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #66 on: January 13, 2011, 08:46:39 PM »

It's impossible to convince everyone of the logic behind a failed search, even if they watch the aerial Niku video (which I find very convincing).  Even if the smoking gun is found, some people still won't believe it, just as some people believe that we never landed on the moon and 9/11 was a government plot....

But back on topic.  If we assume the generous number of 28 minutes over Niku, that works out to about 2 full circles and maybe a few minutes more for the repeated "zooming" that Lambrecht reported.  2 full circles at 90 mph while staying far enough away from the ground to avoid bird strikes doesn't strike me as very thorough at all.  Using Andrew's POD numbers it works out to what about 10-15%? 
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James Edward England

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #67 on: January 14, 2011, 09:42:47 AM »

... my best guess of the altitude that Lambrecht was flying was 1000 ft +- 300.  But that's just a guess.  I'm a newbie with Google Earth though and I'm sure others can do better.

I’ve flown a lot of aerial SAR [search and rescue] and low altitude ship identification runs [called ‘rigging’] in Lockheed P-3s, the other Orion.  Most of it was over water at three hundred feet altitude, ~175kts, in the Pacific and Bering.  People standing on shipboard or on unobstructed land are relatively easy to see under reasonable light and in clear atmosphere.  However, haze, low clouds, sea spray and low sun angles and shadows incrementally increase difficulty of spotting people on shore or beach.  Beyond that, after an amazingly short time, even an  experienced, motivated spotter gets bored and listless and loses focus and attention on task.

In this case, it is unlikely in the extreme that experienced SAR aircrew would’ve missed a 10E in the tidal verge offshore.  It’s also unlikely spotters would’ve missed smoke of any kind rising from an uninhabited island.  Even footprints on a beach are visible from low altitude.  

Consider this—even if  AE & FN landed or ditched close enough to get ashore, if FN was aft at his nav station during the landing/ditching, he would have had every opportunity to get hurt.  His injury would have complicated their survival process immeasurably to something between ‘dire’ and ‘impossible’.  There is no evidence that I can find that either of them had any survival training or skills, including making themselves more visible to SAR crews.  And their tools for water or jungle survival were minimal at best, even if they carried the same equipment inventoried by the Navy after the aborted westbound attempt in Hawaii-- little more than a Boy Scout camping kit, really.

In the end Amelia’s bravado failed and she was finally overwhelmed by a confluence of importunity.

jim
« Last Edit: January 14, 2011, 09:46:18 AM by James Edward England »
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Mark Petersen

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #68 on: January 14, 2011, 02:34:23 PM »

Jim good points.  You mention that it's possible to see things like foot prints at 300 feet and as Tighar has uncovered, Lambrecht did report that they saw "signs of recent habitation".  So they did see something on Niku, despite the fact that there was no recent habitation on Niku (except possibly FN and AE) and those somethings could have been the sorts of things that you are describing.  I also agree that it would be next to impossible to miss a 10E if it were intact on a reef flat at low tide.  But if the 10E weren't there (swept over the reef), or pounded into pieces which would have been at least partially obscured by the tide, at the time of the search (which wasn't at low tide), it's not so unreasonable to envision a failed search.  Also, from what Ric and others have posted it sounds probable that FN would have been at the co-pilot seat and helping to search for land as he was able to move back and forth over the tops of the internal fuel tanks.  Not that it changes things as he could have just as easily been injured in the co-pilot seat. 

Getting back to the altitude question.  If you take Lambrecht's comments about "repeated circling and zooming", combined with "no lower than 400 feet".  It could be implied that the circling was done at higher altitudes, with zooming (which I assume means diving) down to no lower than 400 feet.  With that in mind the roughly 1000' altitude indicated in the photo might well have been the altitude that they used for circling.  It would be interesting to get your perspective of a POD at higher altitudes than you've been flying and in the range of 400-1000'.

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Bruce Thomas

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #69 on: January 18, 2011, 03:37:26 PM »

I live in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, and frequently see and/or hear private jet aircraft that I presume have taken off at the small airport about 15 miles west of me.  Such was the case this morning, as I walked the dog about 7 a.m. and my ears tracked an east-bound jet that was probably about 1000'-1500' above me, but the low cloud cover (pre-dawn rain today) kept me from spotting the plane.  Naturally, they couldn't see me, either.  As unrelated to the cloud cover on Nikumaroro on 7/2/1937 as that is, it still had me thinking of Lambrecht and the others.

But the cases that do relate are these:  we seem to be on a frequent flight path for military chopper flights (probably out of Dobbins).  I'll hear the familiar whoop-whoop from my days in Vietnam and yearn to see that wonderful Huey.  But there are lots of tall pines in my subdivision, and though my ears have my head swiveling in the right direction, spotting the chopper through the branches is often not possible.  I'll run down to the street and try to catch a glimpse that way, with less tree cover, and darn:  the sound of the blades just diminishes in the distance, with not a single glimpse.  I couldn't see it, and for darn sure, those aboard the chopper couldn't see me either.  On the rare occasion when I do catch a glimpse, it's flying about 500' and is just a fleeting image through the pine branches.   

Point being:  it really doesn't take much to convince me that two forlorn downed aviators couldn't catch a break that day and get spotted by a trio of loud planes flying by at a reasonably low level.  It's too easy to not be in the right place at the right time.  There are a whole lot of things that would have had to "go right" for the tale to have ended more happily.
LTM,

Bruce
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Friend Weller

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #70 on: January 18, 2011, 08:06:22 PM »

Too bad (or have I missed it somehow?) we don't have more information on the search pattern that was conducted over the island.  What if AE and FN were on the "wrong" end of the island when the planes arrived?  As we've discussed previously, in an incapacitated condition moving about the island or from the lagoon to the shore would be difficult.  As the planes were in constant motion, stumbling through the undergrowth or across the coral rubble to reach a point where there was a chance to be seen from the air would be an near-impossible task. 

Perhaps their footprints were able to be seen but they weren't where the planes were to be seen by the aviators.....??  Twenty-eight minutes may have been enough time to examine the island from the air but not for the injured on the ground to get to where they could be seen at the end of their footprints.

LTM,
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Kevin Weeks

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #71 on: January 19, 2011, 05:52:41 AM »

But the cases that do relate are these:  we seem to be on a frequent flight path for military chopper flights (probably out of Dobbins).  I'll hear the familiar whoop-whoop from my days in Vietnam and yearn to see that wonderful Huey.  But there are lots of tall pines in my subdivision, and though my ears have my head swiveling in the right direction, spotting the chopper through the branches is often not possible.  I'll run down to the street and try to catch a glimpse that way, with less tree cover, and darn:  the sound of the blades just diminishes in the distance, with not a single glimpse.  I couldn't see it, and for darn sure, those aboard the chopper couldn't see me either.  On the rare occasion when I do catch a glimpse, it's flying about 500' and is just a fleeting image through the pine branches.   

Point being:  it really doesn't take much to convince me that two forlorn downed aviators couldn't catch a break that day and get spotted by a trio of loud planes flying by at a reasonably low level.  It's too easy to not be in the right place at the right time.  There are a whole lot of things that would have had to "go right" for the tale to have ended more happily.

I've mentioned this before when Ric uses the helicopter as "proof" that you cannot hear aircraft over the island. there are many reasons why a helicopter cannot be used for this comparison.

helicopters are designed to disperse the sound of the rotors, you can't tell where the sound is coming from until you actually see it.

most modern helicopters are turbine powered. quite a different sound.

the control of a helicopter involves changing the angle and pitch of the blades, further dispursing sound

there is no tone change in the sound of a helicopter. The objective of the zooming that was used by the search crew was to change the pitch of the engine and prop to a higher and louder pitch. certain pitch noises are easier to hear so by changing the pitch you increase the chance of detecting it.

I'm sure there are many other obvious differences here, but this is my personal experience with a helicopter base and two regularly flown stearman bipes in the town I grew up in. there is also an aerobatic plane (extra I think) that practiced over the lake around here. the zooming is dramatic on this plane. he comes at you slightly louder than say a cessna 172 but once that exhaust is pointed at you when he pulls up with the engine revved it's like slapping you up side the head saying "wake up dummy!"
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Hector M Zapata

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #72 on: January 19, 2011, 10:07:31 AM »

FN injuries vs post landing radio transmissions.

I have one question in mind, if FN was injured then it was not a landing but a "crash landing" if they crash landed bad enough to cause injures, is it possible that they can operate the radio? I dont know wich antenna they were able to use top of plane or bottom, also they need to run the engines to operate the radio, right? just a tought....
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #73 on: January 20, 2011, 06:36:56 AM »

In this case, it is unlikely in the extreme that experienced SAR aircrew would’ve missed a 10E in the tidal verge offshore.  It’s also unlikely spotters would’ve missed smoke of any kind rising from an uninhabited island.  Even footprints on a beach are visible from low altitude.

The crews aboard Colorado's Corsairs were anything but experienced SAR aircrew.  Their training was as artillery spotters for the ship's guns and the whole concept of SAR as a specialized skill had not yet been invented.   
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: FAQ: Colorado / Lambrecht Search, 9 July 1937
« Reply #74 on: January 20, 2011, 09:04:16 AM »

maybe this has been discussed-----but do we know of any bad weather on Niku, from July2-July 9? Thinking in terms of the Electra not being visible during the air search. IF a storm had been though the area during that time, it might account for the Electra having disappeared in 7 days---actually more like 4--because of the radio transmissions. Another thought---we know that the radio was used for 2 (?) days after the disappearance--so that makes the time that AE and FN were "alone" was 5 days before the air search. This doesnt really help, but the thought of breaking it down into smaller chunks of time, might help for Ric to solve the mystery. Last thought---IF the Electra was submerged just off the reef---how far below the surface is visiblilty? Perhaps Ric can tells us that---using the kite experiment.
Tom :-\
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