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Author Topic: Noonan Navigation Error  (Read 166104 times)

Gary LaPook

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #75 on: August 12, 2011, 10:47:54 AM »

Not Coutinho but air navigator A.W.Brown (pilot J.Alcock) , June 1919 , ckecked position at sunrise : " At sunrise Brown was prepared to check his position by observing the azimuth of the sun ... At five in the morning he obtained a sun line with his artificial horizon and as of 0720 worked out a fix " (evidently via sin Z = sin d / cos L , H) . (Rogers , p.70 , A/c was @ 400 ft altitude) .  Navigator G.G.H.Cooke of airship R 34 , btw used a marine sextant on the sea horizon for sights on the sun .

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

van Asten wrote in post #69:

Quote from: h.a.c. van asten on August 11, 2011, 12:42:30 PM

   " Mr.Lapook ,  I have recently sent to you texts from Cugle "Practical Navigation" . This manual uses the tables of H.O.no.9-II . The sunset - sunrise method for longitude appears in the  imprints  1924 through 1943 . Also in "Precision Astrolabe" by Rogers it is recorded that Portuguese navigators of early transatlantic crossing established longitude at sunrise . It is true that it is an "emergency" fashion , but if no body other than the sun is available , it is the best you have . Mr. Noonan plotted an advanced sunline over Howland in his chart , can anybody answer to the good question how he would have done that without a sunrise observation which also gave him the distance to Howland , 100 mls out @ GMT 1815  ?"


 The Portuguese navigators featured in Roger's book are Gago Coutinho and his pilot, Sacadura Cabral, the first to fly across the South Atlantic in 1922. Now he claims that he was referring to Arthur Whitten Brown who, along with John Alcock, became the first to fly non-stop, dry land to dry land, across the Atlantic in 1919. Alcock and Brown are English.

Brown used a marine sextant for some of his observations and the same sextant with a bubble attachment for others only because bubble sextants had not yet been perfected. This was 18 years before the Earhart flight, a period of rapid advances in bubble sextant development as spelled out in chapter 6 of the same book that van Asten relies on, Precision Astrolabe, by Francis M. Rogers (1971). (Rogers was a professional historian with many published books to his credit.) What did the internet look like 18 years ago, a period of similar rapid development of technology?

gl
« Last Edit: August 12, 2011, 11:33:15 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #76 on: August 12, 2011, 11:04:42 AM »

... What did the internet look like 18 years ago, a period of similar rapid development of technology?

I don't know.  I wasn't there.  I did have e-mail, but I wasn't browsing until 1995.   :-\
LTM,

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Gary LaPook

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #77 on: August 12, 2011, 11:31:03 AM »

Not Coutinho but air navigator A.W.Brown (pilot J.Alcock) , June 1919 ,  ckecked position at sunrise : " At sunrise Brown was prepared to check his position by observing the azimuth of the sun ... At five in the morning he obtained a sun line with his artificial horizon and as of 0720 worked out a fix " (evidently via sin Z = sin d / cos L , H) . (Rogers , p.70 , A/c was @ 400 ft altitude) .  Navigator G.G.H.Cooke of airship R 34 , btw used a marine sextant on the sea horizon for sights on the sun .

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

I saved this til last and am putting it in a separate reply because of its importance.

Up til this point I believed that Mr. van Asten just did not understand how celestial navigation in flight was done since he only has a theoretical understanding of the subject, having never done it himself. I read his two published papers and contacted him for the friendly purpose of helping him learn how celnav is done in an airplane. I now realize, that in addition to his lack of knowledge, that he is being purposefully dishonest!

In his current post he writes:

"air navigator A.W.Brown (pilot J.Alcock) , June 1919 ,  ckecked position at sunrise : ' At sunrise Brown was prepared to check his position by observing the azimuth of the sun ... At five in the morning he obtained a sun line with his artificial horizon and as of 0720 worked out a fix '" This is a direct quote from page 70 of Precision Astrolabe. Note van Asten's premeditated and calculated use of the ellipsis.

Putting back in the words that van Asten dishonestly left out, the full quote reads:

" At sunrise Brown was prepared to check his position by observing the azimuth of the sun, a technique which we are now beginning to suspect could have been employed by the Norsemen. The 'indefiniteness of dawn', however, precluded this possibility. At five in the morning he obtained a sun line with his artificial horizon and as of 0720 worked out a fix ."

The "indefiniteness of dawn" precluded any type of observation of the sun by Brown at sunrise. The words that he left out completely contradict van Asten's claim. Later, well after sunrise, Brown used a bubble attachment to his marine sextant to take a normal measurement of the sun's altitude. The "indefiniteness of dawn" obviously applied to Brown since it would make no sense to claim that every time the Norsemen tried to measure the azimuth of the sun (doing this a thousand years ago) that they were prevented by "indefiniteness of dawn" especially since this method is only a theory and doesn't have any actual proof behind it.

This time I will keep my promise and not respond to any more of van Asten's B.S. I'm going to have to bite my tongue (my fingers?) but ya'll will have to evaluate van Asten's claims for yourselves.

gl

« Last Edit: August 12, 2011, 01:13:11 PM by Gary LaPook »
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #78 on: August 12, 2011, 12:14:54 PM »

The "..."  in my sentence represents the quote of " indefiniteness etc " , being that of no importance since it concerns the Norsemen , not Brown who , as from the text obtained a sun line at 5 in the morning , which must have been close to , if not at sunrise given the point of time . Why would Brown "prepare" when knowing beforehand that the observation annex reduction would fail ? I see a lot of somewhat hostile remarks , but still no answer(s) to the primary questions : how did Noonan acquire the advanced sun line , and how did he , consequently , establish the 100 mls out position @ GMT 1815 , plus : how did he manage when communicating the 071920 fix ? Do not forget that , dip included for 1,000 ft altitude , he saw sunrise @ 0712:20 GMT , 40 seconds before 0718 if you wish , this giving Noonan the certainty that his precomputed running fix worked out excellently , so that he could safely communicate the belonging coordinates for 0754:53 GMT . From someone having good insight in navigation I would have expected positive criticism , not negative remarks on unimportant details only , giving the impression that somebody pays for "debunking" anything pointing in the direction of a reasonable view on the subject .
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #79 on: August 12, 2011, 12:46:40 PM »


GL
Yes, I have used "the side of the road" on many occasions during long drives but have never had the occasion to use the "side of a cloud" when on a long flight.  LOL

On the Sierra occasion, there was no "side of the road"  The west bound lanes were blocked , and the west bound shoulder was blocked for a distance exceeding 30 milees (statute).  Nothing moved for 9 hours as the snow built up from an inch to over 2 feet.  Fortunately the long line of stranded cars kept the pavement relatively clear of snow and we were all able to "inch" our way down rthe west side of the Hill after the Highway Patrol and CalTrans got the semi off the road (no small feat)

Neiither the  CHP nor CalTrans could figure out, or didn't care enough to figure out,  how to stop or slow down the East bound traffic, establish one lane of west bound traffic on that side  and escort cars 20 or so at a time from the west bound side to the east bound lanes and relieve somewhat the west bound jam.

Luckily we had a full tank of gas and snacks and drinks (drunk sparingly, LOL)  Our car trunk now includes two HEREs (Human Element Range Extenders)  LOL
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 #80 on: August 12, 2011, 02:50:41 PM »

Sry I was in error with sunrise with this comment , A/c was @ 7,000 ft , not 1,000 ft . Delete .
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #81 on: August 12, 2011, 03:20:20 PM »


Gary and H.A.C
Hey Guys, relax (offerring two white flags, not of surrender but of truce), take deep breaths, think of something pleasant and just agree to disagree.
No Worries Mates
LTM   Harry (TIGHAR #3244R)
 
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #82 on: August 12, 2011, 05:21:51 PM »

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


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.

- I'm not concerned at all, it was AE who got lost - I'm right here; however, you are ignoring the contrast between the islands which I clearly stated - Niku is nothing like Howland - it is a big string of jewels with a bright torquiose lagoon; Howland more resembles a... cloud shadow. - Jeff

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

I agree with you that if they were near Niku that Niku would be easier to spot from the air, even with cloud shadows, than Howland but you missed my point that the problem with cloud shadows could have been on the way to Niku where they would have tempted Earhart to go chasing after them especially because she had no particular island destination so no ETA to dispel earlier cloud shadow "islands."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

- And the good captain knew how to cover his tracks; I'll trust the well-researched information on TIGHAR's site on this one, much more reliable than your speculation. - Jeff

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

The only thing I could find on the website that addresses the capability of Itasca making smoke was the article you pointed me to in your previous post, http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Forum/FAQs/itasca.htm. Since this is just an unsupported summary opinion by Brandenburg, can you provide a link to the research that you say is available on the site.  Reading the short Brandenburg article, I did not see any cites to any boiler operation manuals, just his unsupported opinion. I provided cites and excerpts of Navy manuals to support my points.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++==
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.

- No, I don't think we have to 'accept' any such thing; enough careful research has gone into these 'facts' to blow battleship sized holes in many of them.  The character of the Itasca's captain is clear enough in his reporting of the effort - although much that was done was admirable, he was long on CYA.  Such an officer in the day was invincible to others aboard - no one was likely to contradict what he 'said' the record 'was'; after all, they all 'knew' he and all concerned had done their best - it had to be AE who got herself lost... - Jeff

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

So you believe that the captain, to cover his butt, got Mr. Black to lie for him? And he got the Hawaiians on Howland to lie for him too?And the captain also got the two news service reporters (who's butts were not on the line) to cover up for him also? How did he get them to miss out on their opportunity of a lifetime to advance their careers by grabbing the headlines with "CAPTAIN FAILED TO CARRY OUT ORDERS BY FAILING TO TO MAKE PROMISED SMOKE SCREEN, DIRECTLY LEADING TO LOSS OF WORLD FAMOUS AVIATRIX" film at ten.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++==


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.

- Uneven heating among the tubes, etc. create all kinds of stress; relative cooling in one section / component and extreme heat in the next creates the potential for what amounts to a bomb - it's basics 101 in boiler-world.  Point is to do what was described is counter to good practices and it was not likely what really happened.  In any case, AE certainly never reported finding any smoke that we're aware of... the rest may be - speculation.  I appreciate your insight, but also happen to be long familiar with steam engines of many sorts. - Jeff
-------------------------------------------------------

Again, are you saying that the boilermen and the engineering officer did NOT know their jobs? Are you saying that they could not have blown the tubes more frequently than at the change of the watch if they thought it necessary?


gl
« Last Edit: August 13, 2011, 09:58:23 AM by Gary LaPook »
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #83 on: August 12, 2011, 11:38:14 PM »

It concerned central sunset , bubble sextant : no dip , refraction yes . No averaging of sights needed since position is precomputed , just see the sun in the bubble and ready you are . Since dip @ 7,000 ft is 1  deg  25´ the sun was , unarmed eye , 6 minutes plus visible after setting . For the inaccuracies you claim the 0715 to 0720 period is reasonable for position transmission time . If close to Nukumanu , why not wait a few minutes and radio "Over Nukumanu" in lieu of broadcast intricate coordinates like 04-33´.5 / 159-07´ ?  Part of the answer is that navigators use coordinates , not acres .
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #84 on: August 12, 2011, 11:50:24 PM »

Since Itasca was between A/c and horizon 38 mls , 61 km  away most probably , sea was black and smoke was black ; if smoke field was as large as Howland itself , optical angle from 1,000 ft did not trespass  1´ arc  which is the resolution limit for the eye in clear air . In case of some horizon haze ship and smoke obscured .
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Jeff Scott

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #85 on: August 16, 2011, 10:45:09 PM »

Since this thread has been divested of the fuel consumption and range discussion, I'm bumping my question to Mr. LaPook back up.  I think it may have been overwhelmed by other subjects:


Since you must be the only person in the world who knows where FN was at or near the time of landing approach, maybe you could tell us where the plane ended up?

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

Yep, on the bottom of the ocean.

gl

Gary--I'm curious if you have any thoughts on approximately where the plane would have most likely ended up on the bottom of the ocean.  Given your detailed analyses of Noonan's navigation techniques and theories on what he would have advised Earhart to do as their ill-fated flight drew to a close, have you reached any conclusions on where they most likely would have gone down?  Further, do you have any ideas on why the multiple searches of the sea floor around Howland haven't found anything?

I'd appreciate your insights!

My question basically boils down to this:  all the deep sea searches have focused on the sea floor to the north and west of Howland.  Since they haven't found anything, it leads to a few possibilities...

1) They're looking in the right place but just haven't found the Electra because of equipment limitations, obscuration by terrain, or plain bad luck.
2) The plane went down further north or further west than has been searched.
3) The plane didn't end up north or west of Howland after all (South or east? Gardner Island? Mili Atoll? New Britain? The Delta Quadrant??)

Gary, what is your opinion?

For reference, here is a map of the region searched by the Waitt Institute.

It's not too late to be great.
 
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #86 on: August 17, 2011, 03:56:54 AM »

Since this thread has been divested of the fuel consumption and range discussion, I'm bumping my question to Mr. LaPook back up.  I think it may have been overwhelmed by other subjects:


Since you must be the only person in the world who knows where FN was at or near the time of landing approach, maybe you could tell us where the plane ended up?

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

Yep, on the bottom of the ocean.

gl

Gary--I'm curious if you have any thoughts on approximately where the plane would have most likely ended up on the bottom of the ocean.  Given your detailed analyses of Noonan's navigation techniques and theories on what he would have advised Earhart to do as their ill-fated flight drew to a close, have you reached any conclusions on where they most likely would have gone down?  Further, do you have any ideas on why the multiple searches of the sea floor around Howland haven't found anything?

I'd appreciate your insights!

My question basically boils down to this:  all the deep sea searches have focused on the sea floor to the north and west of Howland.  Since they haven't found anything, it leads to a few possibilities...

1) They're looking in the right place but just haven't found the Electra because of equipment limitations, obscuration by terrain, or plain bad luck.
2) The plane went down further north or further west than has been searched.
3) The plane didn't end up north or west of Howland after all (South or east? Gardner Island? Mili Atoll? New Britain? The Delta Quadrant??)

Gary, what is your opinion?

For reference, here is a map of the region searched by the Waitt Institute.



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

You may appreciate my frustration since  celestial navigation was accurate enough to get them to Howland without any assistance from the radio. You can see excerpts from flight navigation manuals that explain this method and provide authority for my position and you can also read my in depth analysis of this on my website at:

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


Rather than saying the most probable location for the wreckage (since it makes no sense that they ended up there either) I would call it the "least unlikely" place to find the plane. I go with northwest of Howland near the LOP and far enough away that they were in the cloudy area described by Itasca, at least 40 NM away from Howland. If they had flown into the clear near Howland then Noonan could have taken accurate observations of the Sun and of the Moon, gotten an accurate fix and locate Howland. So I will go with explanation 1 with a touch of 2 on the side.

See

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


"Based on this last report of in-flight weather conditions, we can be certain that Noonan was able to take sights at 1623 Z, only two hours and forty-nine minutes before the "must be on you" transmission at 1912 Z. So looking at this as the worst case scenario, we can do the same computations as before about the uncertainty of the D.R. position at 1912 Z. In two hours and forty-nine minutes the plane would have covered 366 NM at 130 knots so the uncertainty caused by dead reckoning for 366 NM is 18 NM for the 5% estimate; 36 NM for the 10% estimate and 60 NM using the most pessimistic estimate of DR accuracy. We have to add to these estimates the original 10 NM uncertainty in a fix obtained at 1623 Z so the totals are 28 NM, 46 NM and 70 NM of uncertainty at 1912 Z. Noonan knew the time that he obtained his last celestial fix and would have used the right amount of offset to allow for the possible uncertainty.

So these two cases mark the bounds of the possible uncertainty in the north and south direction, 70 NM if the last fix was obtained at 1623 Z and 42 NM if the last fix was obtained as late as possible (clouds permitting) at 1740 Z. Either way they would not have flown for hours southward still expecting to find Howland."

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

And this does not even take into account using the Moon, which was well placed to provide another LOP running across the Sun LOP and telling them their latitude. The Moon was well up in the sky but we know that Noonan was capable of taking such high shots since he took observations as high as the Moon was on his crossing to Dakar. (see: https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/navigation-to-dakar )

Without any additional sights after twilight at 1740 Z or after the 1623 Z message there is a limit on how much uncertainty there would be in Noonan's DR position. I already showed what it would have been at 1912 Z and it would deteriorate at a rate of 13 knots (using the 10% estimate), 13 NM for every hour after 1912 Z  so even at 2400 Z the extra 4:48 would have added only 62 NM to the uncertainty making the total uncertainty (using the 10% estimate) only 92 NM if the last sight was taken at 1740 Z and 110 NM if the last sight had been taken at 1623 Z. Even using the most pessimistic estimate of DR accuracy from the U.S. Navy's Flight Navigation Manual, H.O. 216, prescribed for beginning navigators the uncertainty would have been only 134 NM for the last sight being taken at 1740 Z and 162 NM if no sight had been taken after the 1623 Z message.

Noonan had to know, even if just by DR, that he was in the vicinity of Howland and any Sun or Moon sights would have narrowed the uncertainty down to about plus and minus 7 NM from the derived LOPs so no reason to fly off to the Phoenix, Marshall, or Gilbert islands or to fly to New Britain or Hawaii or Chicago.

But, again, it makes no sense that they would not have proceeded far enough southeast on the LOP after the standard intercept northwest of the island (see: https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/topics/landfall-procedure ) to not break into the clear and shoot the Sun and Moon and find Howland.


gl
« Last Edit: August 17, 2011, 10:56:36 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Alex Fox

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #87 on: August 17, 2011, 04:01:39 PM »

Noonan had to know, even if just by DR, that he was in the vicinity of Howland and any Sun or Moon sights would have narrowed the uncertainty down to about plus and minus 7 NM from the derived LOPs so no reason to fly off to the Phoenix, Marshall, or Gilbert islands or to fly to New Britain or Hawaii or Chicago.
This makes some sense, and you very well may be correct in your analysis.  But let's imagine they do actually find the Electra just off the reef of Nikumaroro.  Can you think of any rational reason that had happened, or did Noonan forget how to navigate?
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #88 on: August 17, 2011, 05:10:32 PM »

Noonan had to know, even if just by DR, that he was in the vicinity of Howland and any Sun or Moon sights would have narrowed the uncertainty down to about plus and minus 7 NM from the derived LOPs so no reason to fly off to the Phoenix, Marshall, or Gilbert islands or to fly to New Britain or Hawaii or Chicago.
This makes some sense, and you very well may be correct in your analysis.  But let's imagine they do actually find the Electra just off the reef of Nikumaroro.  Can you think of any rational reason that had happened, or did Noonan forget how to navigate?


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

Noonan didn't forget how to navigate so I am the first one to admit that I have no explanation for why they didn't find Howland.  I'm not real concerned that they will find the plane near Nikumororo nor Mili, nor New Britain, nor Saipan.

You should also read:

https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/why-it-was-not-possible-to-follow-lop-to-nikumaroro

gl
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Jeff Scott

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Re: Noonan Navigation Error
« Reply #89 on: August 17, 2011, 09:28:20 PM »

I was poking around the Waitt site today and found a new photo they didn't have before.  If you feel Earhart and Noonan may have gone down further north, this one interestingly enough shows their 2006 zone searched with Nauticos as well as the 2009 search region.  How much farther north could they have possibly gotten?  I just wish their maps included some kind of scale...



Their site also makes the statement the "team left the area with an extremely high degree of confidence that the area explored can be eliminated from future searches."  I wonder how they can be so bold when the maps seem to suggest regions of rough topography where something could conceivably hide.
It's not too late to be great.
 
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