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Author Topic: Did Noonan take control?  (Read 7551 times)

Gary LaPook

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Did Noonan take control?
« on: March 17, 2012, 01:44:48 AM »


what i meant was Amelia might have wanted to continue on the flight path in the hope they found howland, an Fred might of insisted on the 337 157 L.O.P to give them more chance of finding an island

so in the event of a dispute, givin it was life or death decison makeing, would Fred have tryed  to take control of plane 

did he take control of plane an thats why he got injured ?

just thinking aloud  :)

It was Noonan's responsibility to decide how to navigate the aircraft from point a to point b, he was the only one with the knowledge in the plane who could do that.

There is an old joke. A new navigator is assigned to a B-24, flying bombing missions over the western Pacific during WWII, taking off from Moritai island and bombing Borneo. The pilot had a reputation of being a "hard ass." He yelled for the new navigator to come up to the cockpit. The pilot then pulled his .45 out of his shoulder holster, slapped it down on top of the instrument panel and yelled at the navigator, "I'll shoot any damned navigator that gets us lost!"

The navigator thought for a moment and then followed suit. He pulled his .45 out, slapped it down on top of the instrument panel and said to the captain, "if we get lost, I'll know it before you do!"

When you cut right to the chase, out over the ocean on the way to Howland, Earhart had been reduced to the status of a helmsman who had to steer the headings given to her on a note by Noonan. Earhart had no way herself to determine what way she should point the nose of the plane in order to ever see land again. She had no way to know what island the heading given to her by Noonan was taking them. On her prior ocean crossing flights, solo across the Atlantic and solo from Hawaii to California, she was dead reckoning and aiming for continents that she could not miss. The only issue on those flights was reliability of the engines and having sufficient fuel to reach the continent ahead of her. It did not matter if she wandered off course far to the right or left, as long as the engine kept making noise for a long enough period of time, she was guaranteed of reaching dry land.

So if you were in Noonan's place, directing Earhart to fly certain headings in order to fly a thorough search pattern and Earhart refused to do it, what would you have done, your life is on the line. I had a case once where a plane crashed out of control shortly after takeoff at night with two flight instructors on board. The senior instructor, a woman, had hired the other instructor and was giving him a checkout. The engine quit right after takeoff due to a fuel system malfunction. Directly ahead of them was a mile long, perfectly flat, bean field, the best possible place to make a forced landing. In fact, the senior instructor had made two successful forced landings in that field before. The plane went into a spin and crashed straight down, out of control killing both pilots. The only explanation the experts could come up with was that the new guy panicked and was fighting the woman flight instructor on the controls.

Try that at a thousand feet over the ocean and you probably will not be making any more radio transmissions.

« Last Edit: March 17, 2012, 01:55:16 AM by Gary LaPook »
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