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Author Topic: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing  (Read 80734 times)

Brad Beeching

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Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« on: February 11, 2011, 12:25:11 PM »

Please excuse what may be a dumb question. Assuming that the Gardner Island theory is correct, and Amelia landed there, what makes folks assume that Fred and/or Amelia (or both) were seriously injured in the landing? If they survived long enough to make campsites I should think that they were in reasonably good condition at least for the first few days or weeks. I will grant you that setting down on a reef is prob'ly a fairly violent affair but wasn't the Electra equiped for rough field environments?

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Injuries?
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2011, 12:44:32 PM »

There are a few suggestions of injury in Betty's Notebook.  Noonan appears to be irrational and Betty says she had the impression that he had sustained a head injury, although there is nothing in her transcript that makes specific reference to a head injury. Some other shortwave listeners reported references to Noonan being injured.
At one point in Betty's transcript Earhart seems to be in pain and and a word that Betty recorded as "uncle" may have been "ankle" - but that's pure speculation.  
In short, the evidence for injuries is pretty thin.  On the other hand, speaking from experience, it's not hard to get banged up when negotiating the reef/island interface. The reef surface close to shore is deeply pitted and often viciously jagged and a type of algae grows on parts of the reef that make it, as we say, "slicker'n snot."
« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 04:54:56 PM by moleski »
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Brad Beeching

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Re: Injuries?
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2011, 01:43:10 PM »

Betty's log and her comments make for a haunting read. Ric, where can I find your impressions and conclusions of your interviews with Betty? I dont know where to find them. Im sure you do not have the time to repeat what you think about Betty's log every time some newbe comes on board!

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ps. I just followed the trail to Ric's book. Is "Finding Amelia" still available? I have a feeling that will go a long way to answering alot of my questions... and saving electrons in the process...
Brad

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« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 02:54:25 PM by Brad Beeching »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Injuries?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2011, 04:56:21 PM »

Is "Finding Amelia" still available? I have a feeling that will go a long way to answering alot of my questions... and saving electrons in the process...

Yes, Finding Amelia is still available.  You can get it in soft cover from Amazon for a paltry $12.89 but you won't get the data DVD that comes with the hardcover edition.  The hardcover edition is now out of print but Amazon still has some for $20.06.  You can get the hardcover edition signed and dated by the author at the on-line TIGHAR Store for $100 and we'll throw in a TIGHAR membership ($55 value).  No charge for the satisfaction of knowing you're part of this historic effort.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 05:02:17 PM by moleski »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Injuries?
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2011, 05:01:03 PM »

Betty's log and her comments make for a haunting read. Ric, where can I find your impressions and conclusions of your interviews with Betty? I don't know where to find them. I'm sure you do not have the time to repeat what you think about Betty's log every time some newbie comes on board!

How to Search tighar.org.

Search results from tighar.org for "Betty's Notebook."

Quote
ps. I just followed the trail to Ric's book. Is "Finding Amelia" still available? I have a feeling that will go a long way to answering a lot of my questions... and saving electrons in the process...

Signed and dated hardcopy from TIGHAR.

From Amazon.com.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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david alan atchason

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2011, 10:07:29 AM »

 I am assuming A & F actually landed on Gardner. Then my real interest begins. I have commented previously that Betty's message might be consistent with Fred having sunstroke and/or dehydration. Nobody gave me any input on that on the forum. I speculate that they didn't survive long, 4-5 days maybe. I could certainly be very wrong about that. I plan to see for myself what a castaway could do to survive on an island like Gardner. I have to learn about coconuts, digging for water, puddles in trees, food sources, etc. I intend to go there, probably in 2012 with that NZ boat that was mentioned on forum. Has anybody had any experience with them? They want a CASH deposit, not credit card, makes me a little cautious. I haven't heard of any TIGHAR members eager to do this trip. Are there any? I might like to make this a big trip, visiting also Easter Island (I have been there) also Nan Madol, maybe Tarawa.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2011, 10:11:04 AM »

There's another aspect to the question of whether or not Noonan was somehow incapacitated.  With almanacs and a sextant and/or octant Noonan should have been able to come up with an accurate lat/long for the island on the first night.  With any kind of decent chart he should be able to get the name of the island.  And yet, in none of the post-loss messages that have intelligible content are there coordinates for Gardner or anything that sounds like Gardner.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2011, 10:22:41 AM »

I intend to go there, probably in 2012 with that NZ boat that was mentioned on forum. Has anybody had any experience with them?

Last year Pacific Expeditions advertised and booked a similar excursion with a different boat, the Southern Cross. They were scheduled to arrive at Nikumaroro while we were there.  They failed to obtain a PIPA permit and we were asked by PIPA to prevent them from landing if they showed up.  We issued flintlock pistols and cutlasses to the team but Southern Cross never arrived.  When we got back to Samoa the ship was there, reportedly with "engine trouble."  I have corresponded with PIPA about the Pacific Expedition's advertised plans to do two trips to the Phoenix Group this year. They report that, this time, they seem to be complying with the regs.

In a one or two day visit you're not going to learn anything meaningful about how a castaway might survive.
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david alan atchason

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2011, 10:31:12 AM »

In reading "Finding Amelia" that was a big question to me, that is, if they were that chatty, why couldn't they just say there is a wrecked freighter on the beach right near where we are sitting? Or maybe they did and no one heard. In the far fetched department, could it be that the Norwich City's name had become obliterated so that only showed the N and they Y? Like N....... ...Y? So that maybe they assumed that was the ship's real complete marking?
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david alan atchason

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2011, 10:46:29 AM »

Yes, Ric, exactly, a one or two day trip will teach me very little. But it will be more than I can learn from my armchair. That is why I hesitate to sign up with Pacific Expeditions. Especially CASH deposit. I am interested in the Pacific Islands in general, so I would be open to corresponding with like minded people. I can spend considerable time on the islands, I am retired, but it doesn't seem like Pacific Exped is interested in catering to anybody who would want to study the Phoenix Islands in more depth. I don't understand why they are offering the Phoenix Islands to begin with. Unless they hope to sign up people curious about the Gardner hypotheses. Another mystery. In addition to my skin diving training I will soon practice the use of cutlasses and flintlock pistols.
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2011, 11:14:50 AM »

Wouldn't it be likely that if Fred was injured on landing that Amelia would then be left to search the island for help and water/resources therefore leaving Fred to maintain radio watch?  If Fred couldn't move to explore but was able to talk then he is the likely candidate to man the only link they have remaining to the outside world.

 Amelia would have taken a few days to explore the island and likely by the fourth day would now realize the mess they were in and be with Fred again trying to raise someone on the radio.  Also assuming that his condition deteriorates over the next few days as his injuries, thirst, heat exhaustion and hunger start to take their toll, he is in bad shape by the time Betty hears the messages now being put out by Fred and the returned Amelia.

If both were fit on landing then I could see them taking turns to search the island with one exploring and one manning the radio. This would allow one to rest and conserve energy while the other explored. However the messages don't talk about hearing both castaways equally during the first days. They do mention Amelias voice at night I believe, but isn't this when she likely returned to the Electra to discuss their predicament with Fred and too rest. 

All conjecture but I can't see both exploring and no one manning the radio. An injured Fred is the logical choice to remain by the radio and this tends to fit into the radio messages that it was mostly a man responding during the day. Wouldn't this also mean Fred would have suffered unimaginably if left inside the Electra aluminum skinned body during the day with the sun beating down on it?  Little or no water with the baking heat would just compound the severity of the injuries.  He would/could go downhill fast.

On a slightly different point....  I'm assuming the Electra engines were electric start equipped and not hand cranked. Did the engines have a separate starter battery or did they use the same batteries as the radio?  If using the same battery then there is a danger of running the battery too low to restart the engine.  Would Fred know how to start an engine if Amelia was off exploring?  If no then would she do this herself meaning she had to stay close to the aircraft?  Lastly, what type of landing could the Electra have where it stayed on it's wheels but Fred was still seriously injured?  I'm not sure where the answers to those questions lead anyone but they all are tied to the first four days when radio messages were reportedly heard.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2011, 11:42:44 AM »

Did the engines have a separate starter battery or did they use the same batteries as the radio?

There were two batteries but we don't know whether Earhart used one as a dedicated engine start battery.

Would Fred know how to start an engine if Amelia was off exploring?

Dunno

Lastly, what type of landing could the Electra have where it stayed on it's wheels but Fred was still seriously injured? 

Any abrupt stop could throw him forward and without a shoulder restraint he might easily strike his head on the instrument panel.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2011, 11:55:35 AM »

I did get a funny look from the helmsman when I said, "If that other boat shows up lay me alongside at pistol shot."
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2011, 12:02:57 PM »

Thanks Ric

Would that abrupt stop pitching Fred forward with just a lap belt apply to Amelia as well or would holding the control yoke give her the ability to avoid the same pitch forward?  Would the energy in such a "crash" not tend to pitch the plane forward onto it's nose thereby damaging the props? Especially when landing on the coral. It's reported that the coral is smooth enough to land on but then what would cause the plane to pitch Fred into the instruments?  You have seen this area first hand Ric and being an aviator would have a more expert opinion on this but it's puzzling to me that the aircraft could land in such a manner as to seriously injure Fred but also stay on it's wheels in good enough shape to run it's one engine to recharge the batteries. BTW. It would make sense that since the aircraft had two batteries that AE would now use them wisely by dedicating one to radio, even if she had not previously done so as routine practice. I would hope she had her wits about her for this type of survival thinking.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2011, 12:42:40 PM »

Would an eye patch and parrot complete the picture?
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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