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Author Topic: Noonan Navigation Error  (Read 120382 times)

h.a.c. van asten

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2011, 03:24:56 PM »

Your pt. b . Amelia announced "whistling now"  when she had asked for a bearing . This means that her knowledge on theory and practice of RDF was marginal : for any bearing only the carrier , not modulation , is necessary . Pressing the microphone switch would have been sufficient . Also , her switching to the "night" 3105 kcs channel at sunset near Nukumanu was erroneous : at Lae the sun was still 10 deg above the horizon , and low frequency 1000-5000 kcs signals get quenched by sunlight , which she evidently was not aware of and contact with Balfour was lost . The continuous headwinds prohibited a Fixed Square Search to have been set in from 1912 GMT : the remaining fuel  (38 galls) was insufficient , but from A/c´s  position Howland would have been seen from one of its first legs , if not the very first leg to port .
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2011, 01:00:32 AM »

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1. The batteries were borrowed from the Itasca where they were normally used to power up the gun mount.

2. The only use of the RDF by Earhart that I know of was Noonan's instruction to her to "keep the Makapuu beacon ten degrees on the starboard bow" as they approached Hawaii. But Manning was working the radio and most likely set up the RDF for her so the only thing she needed to do was to listen for the null as she changed the heading slightly right and left.

3. There were no cloud shadows in the vicinity of Howland on July 2, 1937. Itasca reported the nearest clouds as being 40 NM away. Don't confuse Earhart's  approach with the Pellegrino flight in 1967 or with the movie on the Waitt website.

http://searchforamelia.org/helicopter

gl

gl

1. - Batteries - source is interesting but moot - the batteries were depleted from the previous night's efforts to track the flight, hence my point.

2. - Interesting - good observation; that fits my wonderment to a degree.  One would think she was more experienced than that, but perhaps she was not experienced at all at handling the equipment herself.  It is one thing to chase a needle, quite another to handle the frequencies, etc.

3. - Clouds - first for me, memory not always great but I don't recall it that way - check Itasca's deck logs - if I'm reading them correctly Itasca was recording 'bc' (blue sky with clouds / scattered or broken) with 'cu's at anywhere from 2 - 3/10s coverage ('scattered') around the time of AE's closest approach. Cu's are big, puffy and dense enough to cast deep shadows; those conditions make a pretty spotted ocean.  Was not even considering '67 flight or Waitt's exercise.  However, if I've misread that deck log information then I'd appreciate the correct reading with a reference regarding the weather at Howland vicinity on morning of July 2, 1937.  In any case, they didn't 'spot' the island...

LTM -

Thompson's cruise report, page 5 says ceiling unlimited within 40 miles of Itasca and the sun rose "clear." Thompson's transcript report on page 47 said the weather was "clear" at the time.

I just read the deck log and from 7 to 11 am it notates "bc" which indicates some clouds and the type is given as "cu," cumulus, except at 7 am when the type is given as "s-cu," strato-cumulus. The sky coverage was 4/10ths at 8 am, "blank" at 9 am, 2/10ths at 10 am and 3/10ths at 11 am. The 9 am observation is the most critical as it is closest in time to Earhart's final messages. How do we interpret the "blank?" Examining he rest of the deck log shows that there is at least a "1" entered in conjunction with every other "bc" notation. So one of these entries is in error since there is a contradiction. If the "bc" notation was correct then there shouldn't be a "blank." If the blank is correct then there shouldn't be a "bc" but instead it should have been a "b." My resolution of this contradiction is to go with the "bc" being the error at 9 am based on the Thompson reports as it is fairly certain that he would have gone out on deck during this period and observed the sky conditions for himself while looking for the plane.

And don't forget that Itasca was making thick black smoke that made a ten mile long streak that should have been easily distinguishable from cloud shadows.
gl
« Last Edit: August 04, 2011, 01:56:09 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2011, 11:37:35 PM »

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Thompson's cruise report, page 5 says ceiling unlimited within 40 miles of Itasca and the sun rose "clear." Thompson's transcript report on page 47 said the weather was "clear" at the time.

I just read the deck log...

And don't forget that Itasca was making thick black smoke that made a ten mile long streak that should have been easily distinguishable from cloud shadows.
gl

"Thompson's cruise report, page 5 says ceiling unlimited within 40 miles of Itasca and the sun rose "clear." Thompson's transcript report on page 47 said the weather was "clear" at the time." -

Excepting Thompson's later report references to 'clear at the time' (what time - and which may be in conflict with the deck logs if he is referring to the same 'time' as in the logs for the times we are speaking of), 'ceiling unlimited' and 'sun rose "clear"' can easily be entirely consistent with clouds less-than 5/10s coverage. In weather terms there is no 'ceiling' unless you have 5/10s or more sky coverage; it does not take a complete overcast to make a ceiling. 

"Sun rose clear" is also entirely consistent with "s-cu" clouds in Itasca's vicinity at 7 a.m., building to cu 4 at 8, etc.  Consider: the sun rose to the east - opposite direction from which AE would approach, and earlier than when she would have been looking...

"I just read the deck log and from 7 to 11 am it notates "bc" which indicates some clouds and the type is given as "cu," cumulus, except at 7 am when the type is given as "s-cu," strato-cumulus. The sky coverage was 4/10ths at 8 am, "blank" at 9 am, 2/10ths at 10 am and 3/10ths at 11 am. The 9 am observation is the most critical as it is closest in time to Earhart's final messages. How do we interpret the "blank?" Examining he rest of the deck log shows that there is at least a "1" entered in conjunction with every other "bc" notation. So one of these entries is in error since there is a contradiction. If the "bc" notation was correct then there shouldn't be a "blank." If the blank is correct then there shouldn't be a "bc" but instead it should have been a "b." My resolution of this contradiction is to go with the "bc" being the error at 9 am based on the Thompson reports as it is fairly certain that he would have gone out on deck during this period and observed the sky conditions for himself while looking for the plane." -

One way to 'interpret' the blank is that it is simply a "blank" - more of an omission than 'inconsistency'.

Another way to reasonably consider the blank, or 'interpret' the blank, is to note the obvious - 9 a.m. is nestled half-way between recorded times when there were between 4/10s and 2/10s coverage (8 and 10 a.m.) so 'bc' was likely; the question then is 'how much bc / cu'?  I believe my analysis is rather pale compared to one already well-made by TIGHAR.

Perhaps whomever was writing the log failed to get an opinion from another observer as to the amount of coverage - it is one yeoman thing to record in a log - and even to see the obvious 'bc' conditions, but somewhat more of an experienced call to make as to type (s-cu / cu, etc.) and percentage of cover.  We can probably agree that Thompson and others were rather busy around that time.  I doubt weather observations were foremost on his mind if there was blue sky and clouds present; sky coverage type and percentage may have therefore easily have taken a back burner around 9 a.m.

It can also be noted that coverage increased by 11 a.m. to 3/10s - that only further suggests clouds in the area most of the morning.  Thus, 'bc' noted at 9 a.m., even with the attending 'blank' you mentioned, becomes rather well bracketed - and increases the likelihood that AE would have found shadows on the ocean when she was in the area...

"And don't forget that Itasca was making thick black smoke that made a ten mile long streak that should have been easily distinguishable from cloud shadows." -

That has been rather thoroughly challenged and debunked as Thompson making his best personal case for cover - one more reason for me to question much that was reported by that gentleman after the search.  Whatever smoke Itasca may have laid down was probably premature, starting at 0614 hours.  It is highly unlikely that Itasca did or even could have done such a thing - very detrimental to her boilers to have laid down that much 'black smoke', but it certainly adds poignant irony to the story.

Of course we're all stuck with 'interpretations' based on what we've found, and neither of our arguments can be 'proven' today.  We also can never really know just how close AE even got to Howland and whether these factors applied directly or not, so one is of course most welcome to his or her own interpretations. 

That said, had AE gotten close, it seems to remain a fair consideration that her ability to 'spot' Howland island may well have been visually compromised by cloud shadows.  Compare it with Niku from the air: that big, blue lagoon and fringing reef makes it a whole different consideration - which is quite consistent with the notion of her having found it later that morning.

LTM -

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1. Actually it took 6/10ths coverage to have a ceiling, not 5/10ths. Now that we have switched to the METAR format we have also switched to "octas" so now it takes 5/8ths coverage to constitute a ceiling.

2. They would have been approaching fom the northwest on the LOP at least for the final part of the flight when they couldn't get any radio bearings.

3. But even if there were clouds in the area, cloud shadows may look like islands but they do not look like ships, especially white ships making black smoke. By radiogram, Earhart had been informed that Itasca would be making smoke during the day and shining spotlights at night so she would have known to look for the smoke.

4. And just how do cloud shadows "compromise" Earhart's ability to spot Howland and the Itasca? The shadows do not obliterate the actual island or the ship. The only way they could cause a problem is if Noonan allowed Earhart to turn off the LOP to chase after a cloud shadow instead of staying on the LOP until positive identification of the island and the ship and the smoke, not very likely since none of the cloud shadows had a white ship standing just off shore making black smoke. I don't know about you, but I have flown over many islands and cloud shadows and I always managed to stay on course until I positively identified the island.

5. Since you seem concerned about cloud shadows in the vicinity of Howland, what about cloud shadows near Niku? There is no reason to believe that they knew what any of the Phoenix islands looked like so they could have been fooled by shadows in that area. And, possibly even more important, what about cloud shadows on the way to Niku? When near Howland they were not low on fuel, according to Ric, so no reason to go chasing after cloud shadows, they could calmly stay on their course and ignore such shadows. But later, on the proposed route to Niku, fuel would have been getting low, even using the most optimistic estimates, so it is very likely that desperation would have been growing in the plane tempting them to follow the Sirens' song and turn off course to chase those same shadows which were holding out the hope of saving their lives especially since they were not aiming for a particular island in the Phoenix group. They could have been zig-zagging all over the Pacific making it more likely that they used up their limited fuel before getting as far as Niku and making it more unlikely that they would find it after wandering in many directions off course.

6.  I read Brandenburg's article and he comes up with all kinds of speculative horrors if smoke is made for too long a period of time. Well from 0614 until AE's last transmission at 0842 is only two and a half hours, not very long. He conjures up scare stories about what would happen if soot is allowed to build up too thickly on the boilers' water tubes. The normal practice is to blow the tubes every watch (a four  hour period) while underway and twice a day when in harbor. (Blowing the tubes entails opening the steam valves that direct steam through perforated tubes located next to the water tubes and the steam blows out the accumulated soot making huge belching clouds of very black smoke as the soot is expelled with the stack gases.) If the boilermen were concerned that soot was being accumulated at a faster rate than normal due to having a too rich mixture necessary for laying down a smoke screen then they could blow the tubes more often and not wait the full four hour period. The boilermen and the engineering officer knew their jobs.

Brandenburg correctly points out that Itasca was using heavy bunker oil and then compares it with more modern fuel oil called NSFO. He then states: " Even NSFO smoke screens are not very durable. In anything more than a light breeze, say 5 knots or so, the smoke is pushed rapidly down onto the surface where it flattens and thins out within three to five miles. This results in rapid vertical thinning of the smoke, thus drastically reducing its visual contrast with respect to the sea surface." That is not a surprise that lighter oil would make a lighter, shorter lived smoke screen than the actual smoke screen  being made by Itasca using heavy bunker oil.


But this is all a theoretical discussion and we do not have to even consider it since there are all the contemporary eye witness accounts and documents saying that the smoke screen was there for hours, it stretched more than ten miles down wind and would have been visible for 40 miles. Elgin Long even includes a photograph of the Itasca making smoke and you can see the quality of the smoke for yourself.  If you have Morrissey's book look at pages 257, 258, 260 and 291 for various descriptions of the smoke being made by Itasca. The quote on 257-258 is from the Commanding officer of the Lexington saying that the "Itasca was laying a heavy smoke screen which hung for hours." He also says as printed on page 260 that "the Itasca's smoke plume could have been seen 40 miles or more." Now the captain of the Lexington was not there at the time so he was relying on reports from others but the captain of the Lexington would know the capabilities and characteristics of smoke made by ships in 1937 better than Mr. Brandenburg so could evaluate these reports.


Safford publishes Itasca's log for July 2nd. It contains the entry: "0614 Vessel began laying down heavy smoke to assist Miss Earhart."  There was no log entry saying when they stopped making smoke so does this mean that they never stopped and they are still making smoke to this very day? Or does it mean that they only made smoke for 30 minutes (as Brandenburg would have us believe) or for more than two hours or until they started their search, and then stopped without making a log entry? which scenario makes the most sense? Safford also publishes the Itasca radio message sent to COMHAWSEC the  higher commander at 1402 on July 2nd, just 7 hours after AE failed to arrive stating in part  that Earhart passed the island and  "missed it in the glare of the rising sun though we were smoking heavily at that time period." Itasca was at that time searching northwest of Howland with every expectation of rescuing AE so Captain Thompson would not have been in CYA mode yet. In addition to the coast guard personnel on the ship there were two wire service reporters who had no reason to cover up anything, their butts did not need to be covered so they would have reported that no smoke was being made if, in fact, it wasn't. The Hawaiians on Howland also reported that smoke was being made, see James Kamakaiwi diary.


Look at Black's cruise report, page 10.

 Entry for 8:07:

"...Itasca was laying down smoke screen stretching for ten miles. Smoke remained concentrated and did not thin out much..."
So smoke was being made until at least 8:07.

So I think we have to accept some things as fact and this is one of them unless everybody was lying.

And I don't know where Brandenburg got this:

"And making heavy black smoke for a protracted period -- more than 30 minutes or so -- was inviting trouble in the form of a tube rupture (caused by uneven heating of the tube surface due to rapid and uneven soot accumulation) which resulted in water and steam spewing into the fire box, dousing the fire and, worse, causing the firebrick lining the inside of the fire box to crack from chill shock and crumble into a pile of rubble in the middle of the firebox. Such an event would require major and expensive shipyard repairs, and avoidance of such a failure was uppermost in the mind of any ship Captain."


Holy crap, Batman!

Contrary to what Brandenburg's claims, what actually concerned the boilermen and the engineering officer about soot on the tubes was not catastrophic damage to the boiler but that "(1) The soot acts as an insulator and slows heat transfer to the water within the tubes. (2) If the soot remains in a boiler when fires are secured, it absorbs moisture from the air; the moisture activates the sulfuric acid in the soot, and this acid in turns attacks the metal of the tubes and boiler drum. (3) If allowed to remain too long, the soot packs into a solid mass and can be removed only by tedious hand cleaning. To maintain maximum boiler efficiency, tubes should be blown, while underway every 4-hour watch and, while in port, twice a day." (Knight's Modern Seamanship, Rear Admiral Austin M. Knight, U.S. Navy, 13 Ed. , pages 57-58, attached.) The admiral apparently forgot to mention the horrors that Mr. Brandenburg imagines. Maybe Mr. Brandenburg knows more about marine engines and boilers than Admiral Knight. Notice, as long as the tubes are blown regularly, there is no need for hand cleaning every 600 hours as Brandenburg claims. If the engineering officer or the boilermen became concerned with soot building up too rapidly when making a smoke screen they could have simply blown the tubes at more frequent intervals.

Soot is five times more efficient as an insulator than asbestos. A layer of only 1/8 inch of soot results in a heat loss of 47% and an increase in fuel consumption of 8½%.  As the layer of soot builds up, the stack temperature rises since the exhaust gasses are not being cooled by the transfer of heat to the water in the boiler. The rise in stack gas temperature is measured and  used to determine  when the tubes need to be blown.

Also see excerpts from Boilerman 3 & 2, the U.S. Navy training manual for boilermen 3rd and 2nd class which is attached. BTW, nowhere in this manual or in Knight's Modern Seamanship is there any mention of the horribles that inhabit Brandenburg's fertile imagination.

-------------------------------------------------------

For those interested in marine steam engines, the next time you are in California there are several places where you can see one. If in San Diego you can visit the Berkely moored just north of the Star of India. You can visit the boiler room and engine room and see her triple expansion, reciprocating steam engine.

http://www.sdmaritime.com/contentpage.asp?ContentID=49

When in San Francisco, you can visit the Jeremiah O'Brien which is a Liberty ship and you can see her boilers and her four cylinder, triple expansion, reciprocating steam engine. (I know it sounds like an oxymoron to have a four cylinder, triple expansion engine but this was a fairly common type. Instead of having one very large low pressure cylinder, these engines have two smaller low pressure cylinders working in unison for the final expansion of the steam.)

http://www.ssjeremiahobrien.org/


If in the L.A. area, you can visit the Lane Victory, a victory ship moored in San Pedro harbor near Long Beach. Her engine is not as interesting as those in the other two ships because Victory ships have steam turbine engines rather than reciprocating engines, but still worth the visit.

http://www.lanevictory.org/

For you lawyers out there, a case involving blowing the tubes of a ship ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court, see:  HURON CEMENT CO. v. DETROIT, 362 U.S. 440 (1960) -- US Supreme Court Cases

STEWART, J., Opinion of the Court

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

362 U.S. 440
Huron Portland Cement Co. v. City of Detroit
APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF MICHIGAN
No. 86 Argued: February 29, 1960 --- Decided: April 25, 1960

MR. JUSTICE STEWART delivered the opinion of the Court.

This appeal from a judgment of the Supreme Court of Michigan draws in question the constitutional validity of certain provisions of Detroit's Smoke Abatement Code as applied to ships owned by the appellant and operated in interstate commerce. [p441]

The appellant is a Michigan corporation, engaged in the manufacture and sale of cement. It maintains a fleet of five vessels which it uses to transport cement from its mill in Alpena, Michigan, to distributing plants located in various states bordering the Great Lakes. Two of the ships, the S.S. Crapo and the S.S. Boardman, are equipped with hand-fired Scotch marine boilers. While these vessels are docked for loading and unloading, it is necessary, in order to operate deck machinery, to keep the boilers fired and to clean the fires periodically. When the fires are cleaned, the ship's boiler stacks emit smoke which, in density and duration, exceeds the maximum standards allowable under the Detroit Smoke Abatement Code. Structural alterations would be required in order to insure compliance with the Code.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0362_0440_ZO.html


gl


« Last Edit: August 08, 2011, 01:16:31 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2011, 12:39:53 PM »

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"And don't forget that Itasca was making thick black smoke that made a ten mile long streak that should have been easily distinguishable from cloud shadows." -

That has been rather thoroughly challenged and debunked as Thompson making his best personal case for cover - one more reason for me to question much that was reported by that gentleman after the search.  Whatever smoke Itasca may have laid down was probably premature, starting at 0614 hours.  It is highly unlikely that Itasca did or even could have done such a thing - very detrimental to her boilers to have laid down that much 'black smoke', but it certainly adds poignant irony to the story.


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6.  I read Brandenburg's article and he comes up with all kinds of speculative horrors if smoke is made for too long a period of time. Well from 0614 until AE's last transmission at 0842 is only two and a half hours, not very long. He conjures up scare stories about what would happen if soot is allowed to build up too thickly on the boilers' water tubes. The normal practice is to blow the tubes every watch (a four  hour period) while underway and twice a day when in harbor. (Blowing the tubes entails opening the steam valves that direct steam through perforated tubes located next to the water tubes and the steam blows out the accumulated soot making huge belching clouds of very black smoke as the soot is expelled with the stack gases.) If the boilermen were concerned that soot was being accumulated at a faster rate than normal due to having a too rich mixture necessary for laying down a smoke screen then they could blow the tubes more often and not wait the full four hour period. The boilermen and the engineering officer knew their jobs.


Look at Black's cruise report, page 10.

 Entry for 8:07:

"...Itasca was laying down smoke screen stretching for ten miles. Smoke remained concentrated and did not thin out much..."
So smoke was being made until at least 8:07.

Now for a DUH! moment. The normal practice it to blow the boilers to remove the soot at the end of every watch. Watches are four hours long, midnight to 0400; 0400 to 0800; 0800 to 1200, etc. Because of this schedule, the boilers were due to be blown prior to 0800 (it takes about 15 minutes) say about 0745, only one and a half hours after Itasca started to make smoke. This means that the boilers were due to be blown right in the middle of the period of interest and this would have made a hellacious amount of black smoke with the soot suspended in the smoke cloud making the smoke even more visible to earhart. Her last message was at 0842 less  than one hour after the completion of the soot removal so there is obviously no basis for Brandenburg's concern and opinion that they could not have been making smoke during the critical period that Earhart was approaching Howland. And, again, if there was concern about soot build up they could have done the blowing earlier than scheduled and more frequently.

gl
« Last Edit: August 06, 2011, 09:25:46 PM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2011, 02:10:14 PM »


I read somewhere (sorry, I’ll try to find the link) that some of the Charts of the day (1937) had  Howland Island mislocated 5 nm West of its “true” position.  Had AE/FN used such a chart in their planning for the Lae to Howland leg, then they would have arrived near the charted location expecting to see Howland on their nose position only to see open ocean and They probably would have announced “We must be on you but cannot see you…”  Howland would have been 5nm away on their right wing, a very bad position for a pilot in the left seat of a low wing monoplane to see a tiny speck of island.  Was the Itasca making smoke? Could AE have seen it?
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2011, 06:08:51 PM »


I read somewhere (sorry, I’ll try to find the link) that some of the Charts of the day (1937) had  Howland Island mislocated 5 nm West of its “true” position.  Had AE/FN used such a chart in their planning for the Lae to Howland leg, then they would have arrived near the charted location expecting to see Howland on their nose position only to see open ocean and They probably would have announced “We must be on you but cannot see you…”  Howland would have been 5nm away on their right wing, a very bad position for a pilot in the left seat of a low wing monoplane to see a tiny speck of island.  Was the Itasca making smoke? Could AE have seen it?
--------------------------------------

See prior post at
https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,169.210.html

and other posts on that topic.

The incorrect coordinates were west of Howland so if Noonan used them for his computations then the LOP they would have been following was about 4 NM to the west of Howland and Howland would have been on the left wingtip.
One has to allow for the possibility of a 7 NM uncertainty in a celestial LOP so Howland could have been as much as 12 NM on the left wingtip or 3 NM on the right wingtip but it would have been much more likely to be nearer to about 4 NM on the left wingtip.

It is also very possible that Noonan had the correct coordinates as they had been found prior to the second attempt and it seems unlikely that this critical information would have been kept from him as everybody involved in this enterprise appreciated the critical nature of the navigation to Howland.

See graph of altitudes at Howland and at Williams coordinates, attached.

 
gl
« Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 06:17:18 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #21 on: August 09, 2011, 10:49:10 PM »


I read somewhere (sorry, I’ll try to find the link) that some of the Charts of the day (1937) had  Howland Island mislocated 5 nm West of its “true” position.  Had AE/FN used such a chart in their planning for the Lae to Howland leg, then they would have arrived near the charted location expecting to see Howland on their nose position only to see open ocean and They probably would have announced “We must be on you but cannot see you…”  Howland would have been 5nm away on their right wing, a very bad position for a pilot in the left seat of a low wing monoplane to see a tiny speck of island.  Was the Itasca making smoke? Could AE have seen it?

--------------------------------------------------------

Was the Itasca making smoke?

Scroll up four messages to reply # 20 for the answer to your question.

gl
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2011, 02:00:34 AM »

The erroneous coordinates had been corrected by survey of Itasca , 1936 , but the results appeared in files after March 1937. Manuals like Norie , Imray , Laurie -1941, H.O.no.117 Distances Between Ports - 1943 register the westerly coordinates pair . Williams visited the Hydrographic Office in March 1937 , his Howland-Lae great circle plan is the only known , undated but evidently for the flight intended for March . Mr.Howe describes the situation as in EJN-2008 : island did not run in sight below A/c´s progression line . If the crew had the right coordinates charted , no difficulty would occur , neither for island 5 mls to port , nor to starboard : the Itasca crew members (nearly all) on deck @ GMT 1912 would have seen the aircraft if its crew would not have herself seen the island .
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2011, 07:22:58 AM »

The easterly coordinates , of course . H
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2011, 10:35:27 AM »


Right, However I don't believe Fred planned a direct route from Lae to Howland.  I think he planned an offset route running from Lae to the midpoint of a line of position connecting Howland and Gardner.  The midpoint would have been 200 miles SSE of Howland and 200 miles NNW of Gardner on a line of 157/337 degrees (had their chart been accurate).  They then would have tracked the LOP to Howland.  They would have arrived at the LOP from Lae at about 0600 (Howland), 1800 GCT and made their turn (to port) for the 200 mile run to Howland arriving there (at the charted position, that is) at about 0730 Howland time 1930 GCT.  The watchers would have expected them to appear from the West (from 260 degrees on a course of about 080 degrees) when they were coming in from the SSE, i.e. 157 degrees on a course of 337 degrees.
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #25 on: August 10, 2011, 11:46:15 AM »


I'll make it as simple as I can.

IF the chart had Howland mislocated by 5 nm WEST of its true position, THEN Howland's true position is 5 nm EAST of the charted position. AND, when arriving at the charted position from the SSE on a track of 157/337 (a heading of about 340 degrees when corrected for wind),THEN Howland's true position would have been to starboard of the nose position (at about 110 degrees relative to the nose).  Like I said, a difficult place  for a pilot in the left seat to see.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #26 on: August 10, 2011, 11:55:12 AM »


I'll make it as simple as I can.

IF the chart had Howland mislocated by 5 nm WEST of its true position, THEN Howland's true position is 5 nm EAST of the charted position. AND, when arriving at the charted position from the SSE on a track of 157/337 (a heading of about 340 degrees when corrected for wind),THEN Howland's true position would have been to starboard of the nose position (at about 110 degrees relative to the nose).  Like I said, a difficult place  for a pilot in the left seat to see.

--------------------------

Take a look at the standard flight navigation manuals available here:

https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/topics/landfall-procedure

https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/navigation-to-howland-island

https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/

You will see that the standard way to make this approach, and the most logical, would have the interception to the northwest. In addition, an approach from the southeast gives up the value of Baker Island as a backstop without providing any countervailing advantage. Also, a flat glass window was installed on the left side only of the plane which provided for more accurate celestial observations to the left  adding another reason for putting the sun out on the left wingtip while tracking the LOP. And, don't forget, Noonan has a pair of MK1 eyeballs and would have been looking for he island to the left, right, straight ahead, and back near the tail as far as he could see, (which we know was within 20 degrees of the tail from the celestial observations he took on the flight to Hawaii.) And certainly no reason to use a 200 NM intercept unless they had been dead reckoning all the way from Lae which we know was not the case.

gl

« Last Edit: August 10, 2011, 12:06:14 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #27 on: August 10, 2011, 01:05:03 PM »

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Let me see if I have this straight.
FN was in the rear of the cabin with his access to the cockpit blocked by gas tanks and no way to communicate with the pilot, AE, except by way of written notes passed back and forth on the ends of a bamboo pole or screaming above the noise of the engines
He had no way to see outside the cabin except thru a window installed on the left side of the plane for the purpose of celestial viewing.  Yet this guy was supposed to be of use to the pilot trying to spot a sliver of land 1000 feet below on the starboard side of the plane in the middle of the ocean?  I think not!

Coming from the SSE they would have arrived over Baker about 20 minutes before Howland (about 70 minutes or so after the offset turn at 0600 Howland 1800 GCT.)  Baker was a little dimple of land in the ocean and certainly would not have provided a place to land, although, if ditching a fuel-starved plane were required, a good pilot might put his plane down near the "dimple" and glided on the water so that the plane stopped with its nose on or close to the shore (such as it was).

The planning of the Lae to Howland leg was atrocious.  The communication between the "Flyers" and the "Watchers" was terrible.  The RDF skills of the pilot were non-existant.  The P&DR was excellent, but remember there was a Sperry AutoGyro autopilot on the plane  "George" (and I don't mean George Putnam) did a great job of flying the plane.  All you pilots will know what I mean by "George".
No Worries Mates
LTM   Harry (TIGHAR #3244R)
 
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #28 on: August 10, 2011, 02:22:39 PM »

It is to be expected that mr.Noonan , for the critical just before and after sunrise period , was in the r.h. copilot´s seat (entrance via the top of 4 fuel containers and a narrow path between the remaining 2) to have a good view on the sun first , and further to assist to RDF operations and searching for land . On the offset lane he most probably if not certainly , according to his earlier interview by P.Mantz , did not check by celestial . The turn off point was established by DR from ETA (GMT 1859) via the direct to Howland course . A course running between Howland and Baker , btw , was not in the direction of the sun from Howland´s approximate latitude , and therefore useless for an offset approach . Baker was visited by US marines in 1945 , pictures of the operation show it to be entirely covered by white sands and beaches , excellent landing ground if no better is available .
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #29 on: August 10, 2011, 02:33:55 PM »

In one of her books Amelia says mr.Noonan advised her to keep the Hawaii RR station 10 degrees to starboard , evidently during an offset approach operation assisted by RDF . That is the one only report on the RDF subject .
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