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Author Topic: The Cooper Report and the 3105 Donut - why did AE quit transmitting?  (Read 28810 times)

Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: The Cooper Report and the 3105 Donut - why did AE quit transmitting?
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2012, 11:40:37 AM »

But please reread my quote above of AE's transmission.  She says: "We received your signals but unable to get a minimum. Please take a bearing on us and answer 3105 with voice."  Clearly she was going to listen on 3105 after receiving the As.

But she apparently reconfigured her receiving system so that she did not hear the answer on 3105.

My suggestion is that she leave it set for Direction Finding (whatever that meant in terms of switches and knobs) and only change the frequency.

Her DF was designed to work with low frequencies.  There was no reason for her to try direction finding solely on 7500 kcs.  In fact, as far as we can tell, she had no rational reason to expect her equipment to work on that frequency at all.  But if she had tried doing DF on that frequency, she probably would have heard voices talking to her, which then should have led to getting everything straightened out in getting her DF system or the Itasca's to provide a bearing to Howland.
LTM,

           Marty
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Steve D. Burk

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Re: The Cooper Report and the 3105 Donut - why did AE quit transmitting?
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2012, 12:08:06 PM »

Yes, Marty, I think we are in agreement now.  See my correction above.  This is, however, "drifting" (AE's term?) away from my primary concern as to what the most likely explanation is for not hearing from AE after 8:45 am that morning.  Could Itasca and others only hear her on 3105 and she switched to 6210, never to return to 3105 again while in flight?  Is that a superior explanation to the "crash and sink" scenario?  This is where I am currently stuck. 
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Steve D. Burk

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Re: The Cooper Report and the 3105 Donut - why did AE quit transmitting?
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2012, 03:49:25 PM »

Thank you very much, Jeff, for that thorough and thoughtful answer.  As a newbie I wanted to be sure that I understood the basics of the various hypotheses.  Personally I find it very difficult to accept that given the dire circumstances and the ease of switching from 6210 to 3105 that AE would only transmit on 6210 for the last several hours.  On top of that, if she was using 6210 ---and only 6210---for several hours, why wasn't she heard?  And finally, the idea that she may have totally given up trying to transmit ---after she had heard the As signal from the Itasca and reported hearing them ---seems the most far-fetched of all options.  She could easily have handled transmitting as she flew SE towards Gardner I., just as she had done as she approached Howland (varying from signal level 1 to 5 in the process).  The "crash and sink" option is abhorrent to me, but encompasses much of what occurred in a manner that doesn't strain credulity ---at least for me.  It appears on these pages there are some very technical disagreements about what distance 1100 gal (if she really even started with that amount) can produce for this Electra.  So, at this point we disagree, Jeff.  However, I find the TIGHAR research to be fascinating and surely hope the upcoming Search is a success!
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: The Cooper Report and the 3105 Donut - why did AE quit transmitting?
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2012, 05:16:20 PM »

Personally I find it very difficult to accept that given the dire circumstances and the ease of switching from 6210 to 3105 that AE would only transmit on 6210 for the last several hours.

I don't find it difficult.  It was daytime.  She thought it was time to use her daytime frequency

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On top of that, if she was using 6210 ---and only 6210---for several hours, why wasn't she heard?

Perhaps for the same reason (whatever it may have been) that she wasn't heard on 6210 until four+ hours after takeoff from Lae.  We are accustomed to extremely reliable radio equipment.  The folks in 1937 were not.  Notice that the Itasca did not want her to change her frequency--I suggest that they knew from experience how hard it might be to pick up the higher frequency: "KHAQQ from ITASCA. Transmitting information on answering frequencies. We can hear you fine on 3105. Please go ahead on 3105. Sent on 7500. Unanswered. 8:42-8:46."

Note, too, that they transmitted this on 7500 kcs, which means that they had to use Morse Code, which means that they did not understand that Earhart and Newman could not understand Morse Code, which is just one more component of the failure to communicate.
LTM,

           Marty
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Steve D. Burk

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Re: The Cooper Report and the 3105 Donut - why did AE quit transmitting?
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2012, 07:23:47 PM »

At 7:58 am AE requested (on 3105) a long count from Itasca.  Itasca immediately responded (as best they could) on 7500 with a series of Morse code As.  Two minutes later AE acknowledged (on 3105) hearing the Itasca signals.  From that exchange, she certainly would have concluded that Itasca had been able to hear her on 3105 even though she could not hear them via voice.  That fact is the type of potentially life-or-death noteworthy bit of information that would not be lost on AE.  But instead we are to believe that she subsequently switched to 6210 because it was her "daytime" frequency ---flew several hours using only 6210 while getting no response whatsoever from Itasca--- and never used 3105 again despite having had success in contacting Itasca at 8 am on 3105---while the sun was up.  I guess it is possible, but ....there is another explanation for this pilot thatwas, according to her, "low on fuel" and lost ...
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The Cooper Report and the 3105 Donut - why did AE quit transmitting?
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2012, 09:56:44 PM »



Perhaps for the same reason (whatever it may have been) that she wasn't heard on 6210 until four+ hours after takeoff from Lae. 

But Chater explained that the reason that they could not hear the plane on 6210 for several hours after takeoff was due to "local interference" so no reason to think there was something weird with the propagation of the frequency and there should not have been any "local interference" at Howland so there is no reasonable explaination as to why she would not have been heard on that frequency IF she had completed switching the transmitter. This, coupled with her prior statement of "1/2 hour of gas left," supports Long's theory that she lost the engines at that time (remember both engines were fed from the same tank so both would flame out within seconds of each other) and was too busy attempting the ditching to talk on the radio as had been suggested.

If, instead, she flew for almost three more hours to Gardner then it is beyond credulity that she would not have had the time, the ability and the imperative to transmit "in the blind" on each of her frequencies informing Itasca and the whole world  of her intentions.

gl
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The Cooper Report and the 3105 Donut - why did AE quit transmitting?
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2012, 10:12:02 PM »

No, I think you missed the point I was trying to make there Gary.
1. When low on fuel (gas?)would it not be wise to put it down somewhere as a priority?
O.K. so she was attempting to ditch just moments after her last transmission at 2013 Z so didn't have the time to talk on the radio, I'll buy that. And yes, you want to ditch or land prior to the engines going quiet since this gives you the ability to adjust your touchdown as necessary based on what you are seeing in the last few seconds. Once you run that last drop of fuel through the carbs you are stuck with crashing into whatever is in front of you. We call this a "precautionary landing." I remember one dark night landing in a corn field with engine problems and I had the ability to jump over some power lines I saw at the last second and land safely beyond them. If I had waited for the engine to quit completely then I would have hit the lines and I would not be typing this now.
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2. Having trouble comminicating with Itasca was a distraction, many aircrashes are attributed to crew being distracted with some problem or another, meanwhile no one is actually flying the plane. I recall Eastern Airlines flight 401 where the whole crew concentrated their efforts on a 'faulty' landing gear light while the plane flew itself into the ground.
The EA 401 event lasted only 8 minutes from start to finish, not the three hours necessary to fly to Gardner. Also, the crew of EA 401 made a number of radio transmissions during that period.
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3. I'm sure it's easy to press a switch, look out of the windows and fly the plane at the same time  :), in normal circumstances ;)
It's pretty easy in abnormal circumstances too, I've done it lots of times.

gl
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: The Cooper Report and the 3105 Donut - why did AE quit transmitting?
« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2012, 06:20:45 AM »

But Chater explained that the reason that they could not hear the plane on 6210 for several hours after takeoff was due to "local interference" ...

Chater gave an explanation that made sense to him.

I find it hard to imagine that "local interference" overrode the eight scheduled transmission times that were not heard.

I understand that this is speculative.

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If, instead, she flew for almost three more hours to Gardner then it is beyond credulity that she would not have had the time, the ability and the imperative to transmit "in the blind" on each of her frequencies informing Itasca and the whole world  of her intentions.

It's not beyond my credulity.  AE did lots of things that are, in retrospect, incredible.  It strains my credulity that she would fail to master the radio system on which her life depended, and yet, that seems to have been the choice she made.  When push came to shove, she did not know how to transmit a signal on the right frequency for the right length of time for the Itasca to get a bearing, nor did she know what was the best frequency for her to use to take a bearing on.  She didn't switch between 3105 and 6210 during the morning hours; in my imaginative reconstruction of what she "would have done," she didn't switch between 3105 and 6210 after announcing her plan to go to her daytime frequency.

I've got to add the failed RDF test in Lae to my list of indicators of how irrationally Earhart behaved.  This was the one leg of the flight where radio direction finding was essential; she tested her equipment; she and the equipment flunked the test; she explained away the results; the next time she tried to use the equipment, she flunked the test again. 
LTM,

           Marty
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: The Cooper Report and the 3105 Donut - why did AE quit transmitting?
« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2012, 08:03:59 AM »

Here's another point regarding lack of comms since last transmission and possible flight to Gardner. Were they still within communication range of Itasca when no communications were heard? If comms had been made and heard by Itasca does anyone have any theories as to what AE would have said?
E.g. We're heading... Or, our position is... Or, we don't know where we are
Could they have given Itasca enough info to locate them, be it the ditching or Gardner island theory?
This must be the place
 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: The Cooper Report and the 3105 Donut - why did AE quit transmitting?
« Reply #24 on: April 04, 2012, 08:37:24 AM »

Were they still within communication range of Itasca when no communications were heard?

Yes.

AE was heard on 6210 from 0418 GMT to 718 GMT in Lae.  Since she took off at 0000 GMT, those receptions were heard four to seven hours after takeoff.  No matter what cruise speed we imagine for the aircraft, that's a long way from Lae.  If the aircraft was in the vicinity of Howland on the morning of July 2, then it pretty well couldn't have gotten further away from Howland with the fuel reserves it had than the four-to-seven hour range after takeoff.

The thought that the aircraft splashed and sank immediately after the 2013 GMT transmission is not a new thought.  Several people have written on that topic, and some searches have been done on the basis of that assumption.
LTM,

           Marty
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The Cooper Report and the 3105 Donut - why did AE quit transmitting?
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2012, 02:25:44 AM »


Chater gave an explanation that made sense to him.

I find it hard to imagine that "local interference" overrode the eight scheduled transmission times that were not heard.

I understand that this is speculative.

There is a big difference between listening on the frequency and hearing nothing but silence and listening on the frequency and hearing loud buzzing sounds being caused by bad brushes on a large electric motor running in a building a mile from the airport making sparks and loud radio signals. (That is one possibility.) But whatever made the noise, called "interference," it can't be confused with silence on the frequency. Chater said "interference" not "silence" or "nothing heard,"  and the Chater report is a "primary source." And he called it "local interference" which is the type of interference made by malfunctioning electrical equipment located in the vicinity of the receiver which is different than receiving radio signals from some far away station that are coming in stronger than the desired signals from Earhart making it impossible to hear the weaker signals from Earhart.

gl
« Last Edit: April 05, 2012, 02:40:41 AM by Gary LaPook »
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JNev

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Re: The Cooper Report and the 3105 Donut - why did AE quit transmitting?
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2012, 06:10:37 AM »

Do we know enough about Chater's abilities to know that he knew the difference?

Marty made a good point - Chater gave an explanation for the issue in his best understanding, whatever that was.  I'm not confident that Chater was that precise in his judgment on this point.

LTM -
- Jeff Neville

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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: The Cooper Report and the 3105 Donut - why did AE quit transmitting?
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2012, 07:38:53 AM »

Do we know enough about Chater's abilities to know that he knew the difference?

I don't know enough about him to say.

He doesn't tell us what his sources were: direct participating in keeping watch in the radio station; reading logs; interviews with radio operators; hearsay.

When AE was close to Lae, the signal from the aircraft was not strong enough to overcome "local interference."  When she was four to seven hours away, they could hear her. 

Whatever the true cause of the gap may be, at the very least it shows how strange things do happen with radios.  I doubt that anyone would have predicted before her departure that it would be four hours before anyone knew that the flight was proceeding safely.
LTM,

           Marty
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The Cooper Report and the 3105 Donut - why did AE quit transmitting?
« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2012, 03:03:45 AM »


He doesn't tell us what his sources were: direct participating in keeping watch in the radio station; reading logs; interviews with radio operators; hearsay.

When AE was close to Lae, the signal from the aircraft was not strong enough to overcome "local interference."  When she was four to seven hours away, they could hear her. 

Well I think we can all agree that the phrase "local interference" didn't just come to Chater in a drug induced haze after he dropped LSD. Either he was in the radio shack and heard it himself or Balfour told him what he had heard. If Chater  heard it himself he probably asked Balfour what he was hearing and Balfour used the phrase "local interference."

It is not surprising at all that the local interference stopped, for example, one possible explanation, the factory down the street shut down that electric motor which could make loud interference.

gl
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