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Author Topic: Sunrise Encounter  (Read 137499 times)

Chris Owens

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #90 on: June 06, 2011, 09:06:40 PM »

Don't laugh, there's a guy named Bill Compton who has flown his 1966 Bonanza (single engined piston lightplane) from Anchorage to Hawaii quite a few times.  http://www.pilotsofamerica.com/forum/showthread.php?t=32061.

Oh.... and he's paraplegic, too.

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Gary LaPook

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #91 on: June 06, 2011, 10:00:03 PM »

Don't laugh, there's a guy named Bill Compton who has flown his 1966 Bonanza (single engined piston lightplane) from Anchorage to Hawaii quite a few times.  http://www.pilotsofamerica.com/forum/showthread.php?t=32061.

Oh.... and he's paraplegic, too.


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

Certainly hundreds, if not thousands, of single engine planes have been ferried as far as Australia via Hawaii.

gl
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #92 on: June 07, 2011, 04:36:55 AM »

Mr.lloyd ,

I am afraid mr.Lapook would beforehand warn the gamekeeper , for a decisive action.
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david alan atchason

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #93 on: June 07, 2011, 09:03:08 AM »

Quote
Maybe you could get Gary LaPook to fly you there in his Cessna 172.[/quote

That would be a be a splendid idea the 3 of us. Even though my posts are in a humorous vein (I find life is funny) I do not rule out a trip to the Gilberts. My whole lifestyle these days is traveling, generally doing long treks and viewing ruins. I have really been interested in the Pacific for quite a while and I have never been there. From the views on YouTube, it looks like Nonouti is a regular party area for Aussies. I am sure it's not hard to get there, I will pretend I am an avid fisherman. I see at my local airport in Beverly Mass. there are planes for sale, the Cessna 172 I saw yesterday is not but a very similar model is. First I have to learn to fly a plane though. If do get around to the Gilbert trip it would be great to have company, especially AE enthusiasts who can pass as normal people when necessary.

I did think of a possible hitch just now. Since Noumatong is a bird sanctuary, I wonder if anybody is allowed to go there? I think on the US sanctuary islands you need special permission, and looking for airplane parts is probably not a valid reason. Maybe we would need to bring some Navy Seals to help us out.
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #94 on: June 07, 2011, 10:49:33 PM »

The  discussions in the Celestial Navigation forum have led down many informative paths on aspects of navigation that have kept me coming back to see what new topics have come up or what new insights have been uncovered.  So I have decided to plunge in at the risk of exposing my ignorance of navigation, celestial or otherwise.  The general topic is the line of position technique.  The concept appears to be clear;  when you observe the sunrise then you know you are somewhere along the line that sunrise  describes over the surface of the earth.  The forum discussion on the line of position included much speculation on whether this technique was used by Noonan on the route to Howland.  It set me to ask if it was possible to estimate the time and/or distance from Howland when the AE aircraft would/could have encountered sunrise on the approach to Howland.  Would the results be consistent with communications from AE? 

After reviewing the information in the Celestial Navigation forum it made sense to me to characterize the line of sunrise as moving along the earth’s surface at the velocity of the earth’s rotation.  Starting with that idea, and using the estimated flight path of the aircraft ( a line from Lae to Howland),  I plotted  the time of sunrise along the flight path but travelling from east to west,  opposite the direction of the aircraft.  The aircraft can be described as travelling along the same line from Lae to Howland  but in the opposite direction.  The intersection of the aircraft with sunrise on the morning of July 2, 1937  can be calculated from the two plots or by using the associated equations.

Sunrise at a given date and latitude and longitude was calculated using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) sunrise/sunset calculator at http://www.srrb.noaa.gov/highlights/sunrise/sunrise.html  I used the  NOAA web site to calculate the time of sunrise at Howland and at intervals of 100 miles, 200 miles and 300 miles from Howland along the projected flight path of the AE aircraft from Lae to Howland.  Latitudes and longitudes of these points were obtained using Google Earth. 

I plotted the time and distance for sunrise along the Howland – Lae path using Excel which also produced an equation relating the time of sunrise west of Howland  (GMT)  = 0.00106 x +17.75 hours where x is the distance from Howland. 

                                                   Table 1
Sunrise GMT   Miles from               Lat         Long
                        Howland
17:45         0         0 47’ 57.84” N      176 37’ 14.75”W
17:52         100         0 30’ 25.62” N             178   2’ 50.09”W
17.58          200         0 11’ 15.02” N      179  28’ 21.67”W
18.04         300         0   5’ 51.73” S      179   7’  14.03”E

 I then used the time and location of the ship siting reported by AE (the Myrtlebank at 10:30 hours GMT) and  two radio transmissions by AE;   200 miles out  17:42, and 100 miles out at 18:12 hours and departure from Lae at 0:00 GMT  to plot the aircraft’s location along the projected flight path (Table 2)

                                                         Table 2
                                        Time      Miles from Howland
                                         18:12         100
                                         17:42         200
                                         10:30            1,121 (Myrtlebank siting)
                                           0:00            2,556 (Lae)

Again, I used Excel to plot the data and produce an equation; GMT = -0.0077 X + 19.091 where X is the distance from Howland. 

When the aircraft’s path and the sunrise line coincide then the time for both is the same. So at that time the two equations are equal;
 
0.00106 x +17.75 = -0.0077 X + 19.091. 

Solving for X, the result is 153 miles from Howland at GMT = 17:55.


So, does this pass the laugh test?  Is the basic analysis correct?  Does the result make sense and does it tell us anything new or interesting? Comments and constructive criticism are welcome! 
Cheers, Bob Schafish
   


If you start computation @ sunset near Nukumanu , which is a fixed and approved reference point , you should attain the same outcomes for the sunrise time-coordinates group when applying a due eastward (90 deg) convey of A/c.
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david alan atchason

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #95 on: June 08, 2011, 11:16:36 AM »

To demonstrate how great minds think alike: Page 317 of Goerner's book.
In her discussions with Eugene Vidal and William Miller, she had said, "If we don't pick up Howland, I'll try to fly back into the Gilberts and find a nice stretch of beach. If I have to do that, let's hope I choose an island that has fresh water."
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Zach Reed

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #96 on: June 08, 2011, 08:00:51 PM »

Well David, I know nothing of navigation, so I can't comment on your argument with the broader community here. Quite frankly, it's a bit over my head.

But that aside for a moment, the basic idea of AE/FN aiming for a stretch of clustered atolls/islands that they would be likely to hit doesn't seem that odd to me, it's just a variation on the TIGHAR hypothesis (althoug Nonouti is a hell of a long ways off from Howland...a nerve-wracking long time to test your bet on Plan B, after missing Howland). There have certainly been more outlandish ideas about the Electra's disappearance over the years.

A landing on the tideflats in the atoll fits very nicely in a number of ways:
-She had plenty of terrain to land on.
-Much of this terrain is either exposed or very shallow (perhaps depending on the tide), which may have given her the ability to send radio signals until the battery runs dead, fuel runs out, or the saltwater rises high enough to interfere with the electronics.
-If we buy that Betty's scribbled "N.Y.?" meant "New York City?" and not "New York?", then an American pronounciation of Nonouti would be similar.
-It fits closely with Mabel's recounting (only two things need tweaking:the word "reef" to "sand spit", or "sandbar", and then take the view that the "unchartered island" mentioned in Mabel's recalling didn't refer to an unchartered, isolated seamount, but to a known island (part of an atoll) that was too small for international maps to bother to recognize.
-It fits exactly the story told to Mabel by her son (after all, we have to treat them separately as Mabel and her son have mutually exclusive stories: any veracity established with one does not automatically translate to the other). This is kind of the exciting part, about natives rescuing AE, FN unfortunately passing away, etc.
-The object in the GE images is relatively protected...I wouldn't expect storms to send in pounding waves at such shallow (a few feet) depths, just swift currents.
-There are a lot of other items you could tick off, like some of the radio triangulation lines going not that far from Nonouti, etc.

So it all sounds great; like a Clive Cussler novel! The old man would be proud.

Of course, the obvious problem with all of this is that Nonouti was under British protection since the 1890s, and populated before that. I don't know if they had a full-time magistrate on the atoll during the '30s, but there must have been periodic visits, as well as deliveries of goods/communication. The more you read up on it, the more you realize that these "lonely" atolls/islands had a surprising amount of traffic between them. And then of course during the war itself, the northern Gilberts were a scene of considerable activity, especially Tarawa, which should be familiar to all of us. So I have a hard time believing that AE could have landed somewhere within the atoll, and it escape the attention of the outside world in the subsequent years, regardless of whether she was dead or alive.

For awhile I thought mabye the takeaway from the discussion this week was that, even though Nonouti is a dry run for us, maybe the basic hypothesis of her flying towards closely clustered islands and then landing on a tideflat might be applicable somewhere else...

...except Nonouti is almost exceptional in its tideflats. No other location in the area has that characteristic, until you get much further south. Too far south for AE/FN.

However, if you are still certain that AE/FN went down on Noumatong, or on the Nonouti spit, or on any one of several small islands dotting the atoll, you're best bet is to purchase more recent photos than the ones GE is using (which date to 2005). Digital Globe has several available for purchase (I think they're roughly $24 bones a pop), and some are categorized by date and % cloud cover. That way you could see Noumatong with no cloud cover (and it also has a spit to the north), as well as peer through the ridiculously shallow aquamarine sea.


Good Luck!


Just don't spend your paycheck there, because while your apt to get some amazing photos, it's unlikely the Electra will be in any of them.
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Zach Reed

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #97 on: June 08, 2011, 09:12:04 PM »

So I pass this along as an FYI, please don't bother the good people of Kiribati, as I've already checked on this with the local tourism office.

The reply:

Dear Sir

Thank you for the query in regard to the object you consider a plane wreck or something else.

According to the recordings from Nonouti locals during our cultural mapping there is no hints of an aircraft wreck around the area you showed on a powerpoint. or your information also
the area you spotted can be very low tide and dry during lowest tide. The cultural mapping we did was in 2009 and I hope the digital google map of Nonouti island was uploaded lately on the web.[It was actually from 2005].

It is also advisable for the Island council of Nonouti to really give us the detailed information on the spot you are curious to know,, who knows the site might have been a wrecking site or something related to culture.

I would like to forward this information too to the Local Government division in the MISA for their assistance.

Best Regard and hoping to share more cultural issues and heritage for Kiribati in future for your interests!



It's hard to believe that something with such sharp angles could be coral. Right angles never rarely exist in nature.Then again, Ric and Moleski have mentioned that the GE algorithm sometimes assembles things in strange fashion (but why the fashion of a plane?). Perhaps if the area is "dry at lowest tides", this is simply a picture of someone who took advantage of that, before flying on their merry way.
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david alan atchason

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #98 on: June 08, 2011, 09:14:43 PM »

From my meager reading about these Pacific islands my take is that many people traveled to many places frequently, even Niku. To me, that implies that whatever is found on Niku could have been brought from somewhere else. Even Amelia's coat with her name tag sewn in does not prove she herself left it there. Unfortunately, that problem applies to Nonouti and Noumatong, also. I think we can agree that if her plane was ever on or near Nonouti, it is gone by now. So I'm trying to think what could be recovered there that would prove anything, short of finding their bodies. Possibly a piece of their plane that could be proven to belong to it. My latest tangent I am on is my contention that her plane would float. It should have floated indefinitely. If it did, it would imply that if they landed on some beach on some atoll, the plane sooner or later would float off, given favorable winds and currents. All this does is open up more possibilities. Or, she could have made a water landing and drifted a considerable distance, and if she did have an emergency radio setup as Putnam  supposedly said, well then she could broadcast distress calls while floating and not be able to give much in the way of location. I just finished reading Fred Goerner's book with it's Japanese capture theory and I must admit it's very convincing. I'm not sure why this theory is rejected nowadays, I haven't come across that info, yet. So I'm going back to pondering what to do next, for now.
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Zach Reed

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #99 on: June 08, 2011, 09:24:54 PM »

Well in regards to her sending messages while the plane was floating, I originally rejected that out of hand, then a few days ago decided to give the idea a least an investigation, and sure enough, on one of the threads devoted to radio signals and the technology behind them, an authority on the subject from the military flatly rules out any possibility of this. (How's that for a run-on sentence?)


So based on that, and a little common sense, I would rule it out as well.
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david alan atchason

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #100 on: June 08, 2011, 09:28:22 PM »

Zach, I didn't read that letter from Kiribati as discouraging tourists from coming there just to look around. I don't think I would be bothering them at all if I showed up with $$$$ in my pocket. I would hesitate to visit there if access to Noumatong was not allowed, though. That would defeat the purpose of the trip.
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Zach Reed

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #101 on: June 08, 2011, 09:37:00 PM »

No I meant it as a general announcement to everyone: please don't abuse their earnestness and good-hearted disposition by spamming them with email.


I took the lead on behalf of all us (although in my email I only represented myself).
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david alan atchason

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #102 on: June 08, 2011, 09:42:58 PM »

Yes, I have read the opinions, one of them I think is Brandenburg, but why did Putnam say they put a special battery in the cockpit so the radio would be usable if she landed in the water? He also said the plane would float, the fuselage tanks had been installed in such a manner that the plane would. If he didn't think so, why would he ask the Navy to search one or more far out areas on the ocean? Even Goerner doesn't address this possibility. He's got them landing on or near Mili in the Marshalls. So if they were floating and the Japanese aircraft carrier found them and plucked them out of the water (I believe an aircraft carrier would have this equipment) what difference would it make, really?
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #103 on: June 08, 2011, 10:21:59 PM »

It's hard to believe that something with such sharp angles could be coral. Right angles never rarely exist in nature.Then again, Ric and Moleski have mentioned that the GE algorithm sometimes assembles things in strange fashion (but why the fashion of a plane?). Perhaps if the area is "dry at lowest tides", this is simply a picture of someone who took advantage of that, before flying on their merry way.

"Seeing is not believing" when it comes to digital artifacts.

Here is a Google Earth image of Niku's lagoon:



TIGHAR has been all over that area several times.

There are no "sharp angles" made out of coral down there.

The sharp angles come from oddities of digital technology. 

What you see in the picture is not what you see when you are there on the ground or in the water.

More examples here.

"Artifacts in Digital Imaging."

"Artifacts in sunset photography."
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
« Last Edit: June 08, 2011, 10:42:43 PM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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Chris Owens

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Re: Sunrise Encounter
« Reply #104 on: June 08, 2011, 10:22:44 PM »

Well in regards to her sending messages while the plane was floating, I originally rejected that out of hand, then a few days ago decided to give the idea a least an investigation, and sure enough, on one of the threads devoted to radio signals and the technology behind them, an authority on the subject from the military flatly rules out any possibility of this. (How's that for a run-on sentence?)


So based on that, and a little common sense, I would rule it out as well.

Vague references without links are even more annoying than some other thing.  ;D
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