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Author Topic: LOP nonsense  (Read 34285 times)

Ric Gillespie

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LOP nonsense
« on: August 30, 2011, 09:04:57 AM »

This needs to be straightened out.
Gary LaPook has been on something of a campaign to discredit TIGHAR's hypothesis that Earhart and Noonan ran down the 157 337 line and landed at Gardner/Nikumaroro.

On his website at https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/why-it-was-not-possible-to-follow-lop-to-nikumaroro he writes:
"Contrary to TIGHAR's premise, there was no way to navigate along the "157º-337º LOP" to Nikumaroro  (I have written countless posts about this, the navigation is quite simple even though to non navigators it might sound complicated. To a navigator it is no more complex than getting in your car and driving to the supermarket to get a gallon of milk) so they did _not_ end up on that island."

Unfortunately, Gary has a gross misunderstanding of TIGHAR's hypothesis.  We are not suggesting that Earhart or Noonan navigated down the line using celestial navigation to stay on course.  As Gary points out, again and again, there is no way to do that.  It is TIGHAR's hypothesis that, upon reaching the LOP calculated to fall through Howland Island, and not seeing Howland Island, AE and FN turned and flew first northwestward, then southeastward along the line by means of the the only navigation method available to to them at that time - dead reckoning.   As Lindbergh once said, "The only thing wrong with dead reckoning is the name."  He used it to cross 1,700 miles of trackless ocean from St. John's Newfoundland and hit Dingle Bay, Ireland on the button.  To suggest that a navigator of Noonan's caliber could not dead reckon a few hundred miles - perhaps as few as 150 miles - with decent accuracy is, frankly, nonsense.
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Walter Runck

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Re: LOP nonsense
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2011, 10:58:37 AM »

It seems to me that there is a little too much lawyering going on around here.  By that, I mean that people are focusing on intent at the expense of evidence.  Whether or not AE/FN were trying to fly from somewhere near Howland to Gardner or not, it sure seems like someone did, and at about the same time.

If I leave my office and walk due west to my car, find it and drive home, it doesn't mean that I know I was due east of my car to start with.  It just means I knew enough about the location of my car to find it from where I was.  My track from the office doesn't tell anyone how I knew where the car was, why I walked to it, what I was thinking about on the walk or what happened to me after I found the car.  Perhaps I stored it as a waypoint in my phone, activated it as a target, calculated range and bearing, put myself on a direct course to the car and never looked up.  Maybe I just parked it in the same spot as always or under the only tree around.  Regardless, the evidence that I found the car and drove off is all that an observer would have available to study or try and refute.

If I go missing, someone searches my house, finds my briefcase with papers signed by my boss that day at the office, fresh tire tracks matching the new Goodyears I just bought and my only neighbor remembering hearing a car go up my driveway, but no sign of me or the car, it still doesn't matter how I knew how to find my car.  You can argue that I was too stupid to find my car or my house, that I had better things to do than to leave work or that you wouldn't have done it that way, but the evidence that I found it and drove home remains.

The navigation challenge debated here is a great one and I've learned much from the choir, but the fact remains that all you need in order to fly from somewhere around Howland to Gardner is a working aircraft, some fuel and some luck.  Not knowing how to do something doesn't mean you can't do it.  I do it all the time, usually involving something with buttons or a keyboard.  Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while. 
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: LOP nonsense
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2011, 12:02:16 PM »

If having tha A/c is a 100% chance , having the fuel is 1 to 10 and having the luck is 1 to 1,000 , all at the same time , your chance to find the island is 1 to 10,000 , given that you know where you came from . If the chance to exactly know where you are on departure is 1 to 12 , your succes depends on 1 case out of 120,000 or : a stroke of accident must save you , not luck .
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: LOP nonsense
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2011, 01:08:40 PM »


Luck had nothing to do with it!
They had the A/C. they had the fuel, they had a chart, they had a compass, they had a directional Gyro, they had an autopilot.  They had just flown over 2600 sm and come close enough to Howland for their radio signal to come in as S5 and loud enough to "blow the doors off the radio room" meaning that they were near their destination.  Having arrived at the LOP and not seeing Howland they turhed to the NNW (337 degrees) and still not seeing Howland reversed course to the SSE (157 degrees) and flew the course to Gardner ( a much larger island with  a brillaintly colored  lagoon and landed there.  Begin story.   LTM
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LTM   Harry (TIGHAR #3244R)
 
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Walter Runck

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Re: LOP nonsense
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2011, 01:09:51 PM »

OK, back at you.  I'll accept your probability formulation for the sake of argument, but ask you to fix a different variable.  What do you think the odds are that they landed and died on Gardner? One in ten? One in a thousand?  Remember that for every 9 or 999 trials where they don't end up on Gardner, you have to explain away a lot of physical and anecdotal evidence that someone did.  Call it 1 in x.  So if 100% aircraft times 10% fuel times some amount of luck (call it y) equals x, then y equals x times 10.  If you accept one in 1000 odds that they made it to Gardner, the luck required is 1/10000, but 90% of your argument now rests on them not having the fuel available and that is far from being established.  If the odds on sufficient fuel go up to 50/50, it takes only 20% as much luck for things to work out.

Being skeptical of the Gardner hypothesis is understandable, but facts like contemporary telegrams about skeletons and sextant boxes are pesky things and adherence to crashed and sank theories that ignore post-loss indications of a temporary existence on dry land makes sense only in a well insulated bubble of belief.
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: LOP nonsense
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2011, 02:17:34 PM »

If a pilot in the Howland region states to have for one hour fuel available , and 70 years later we arrive by thourough recalculation at the same figures , what do you think then of a non insulated bubble of unbelief ?
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: LOP nonsense
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2011, 03:37:59 PM »


1. No comtemporaneous info thar  AE ever said "1/2 hour left".
2. Even if she did say that, 1/2 hour till what?  empty tanks?  Going into her reserve of 110 gallons?  what?

They had enough fuel  Period!
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Bruce Thomas

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Re: LOP nonsense
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2011, 05:06:32 PM »

If a pilot in the Howland region states to have for one hour fuel available , and 70 years later we arrive by thourough recalculation at the same figures , what do you think then of a non insulated bubble of unbelief ?

The late Roberto C. Goizueta (Cuban-born chairman, president, and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company) was said to have had a favorite saying, "Si mi abuela tuviese ruedas sería una bicicleta,"* which he used "as a cutting rejoinder whenever someone posed a question he considered unanswerable, or one based on improbable assumptions."

*If my grandmother had wheels, she would be a bicycle.
LTM,

Bruce
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« Last Edit: August 30, 2011, 05:08:38 PM by Bruce Thomas »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: LOP nonsense
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2011, 06:39:28 PM »

If a pilot in the Howland region states to have for one hour fuel available , and 70 years later we arrive by thourough recalculation at the same figures , what do you think then of a non insulated bubble of unbelief ?

As usual you have your facts wrong. At 07:42 local time the radio operator aboard Itasca charged with communicating with Earhart logged her as saying "... but gas is running low."  At the same time, the operator charged with maintaining other communications but was sporadically eavesdropping on the Earhart calls logged "... sez running out of gas only half hour left."  An hour later Earhart is still aloft and transmitting and says nothing about fuel.  Which operator do you believe?
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Walter Runck

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Re: LOP nonsense
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2011, 09:06:34 PM »

If a pilot in the Howland region states to have for one hour fuel available , and 70 years later we arrive by thourough recalculation at the same figures , what do you think then of a non insulated bubble of unbelief ?

If there was one hour of fuel left, then how is there a 10% chance of being able to fly long enough to reach Gardner?  Some hours are longer than others? 

My question remains unanswered.  What do you think are the odds they made it to Gardner?  If this is a non-zero number, how is it derived?

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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: LOP nonsense
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2011, 11:59:24 PM »

As usual the operator of the 1/2 hour left . Besides the fuel for reaching destination , A/c had a 100-oc fuel store . From recomputation follows that @ GMT 1912 22 galls 87-oc and 25 galls max. (but probably 16) remained . 22 galls was for about  1/2 hour .
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: LOP nonsense
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2011, 12:19:09 AM »

If the chance to have enough fuel for Gardner is 20% and the chance for having the navigational possibility is 59% , other things equal and al other statistics 100% cooperating , the chance to reach the island is  (1/5 x 1/2) x 100% = 10% . The actual odds for reaching Gardner from the Howland region were : the insufficient fuel reserves and having no defined point of departure for setting a course .
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: LOP nonsense
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2011, 12:22:41 AM »

1/2 hour until from 100-oc store fuel flow was necessary .
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: LOP nonsense
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2011, 01:23:13 AM »

Agreed , by DR it was very well possible to reach Gardner , without using a position line , by drawing a course line in the chart . Even if your position line for Howland was incorrect , which it evidently was , from an at random guessed place near Howland you could comfortably with some luck run Gardner in sight . Lindbergh btw flew from one vast land mass to another , which is different from landfall for a small island without nearby ground with reasonable basics for landing your plane .
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: LOP nonsense
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2011, 08:00:30 AM »

Agreed , by DR it was very well possible to reach Gardner , without using a position line , by drawing a course line in the chart .

Good. Something we can agree on.

Even if your position line for Howland was incorrect , which it evidently was , from an at random guessed place near Howland you could comfortably with some luck run Gardner in sight.

Not a random guessed place. The course line to Howland was clearly incorrect but the position line (the LOP advanced by DR to fall through Howland) should have been reasonably good.  They clearly thought they were on the line (AE said so) and they were clearly running on the line (AE said so) and the Navy, at least, agreed with TIGHAR that they probably ran down the line toward Gardner.

Lindbergh btw flew from one vast land mass to another , which is different from landfall for a small island without nearby ground with reasonable basics for landing your plane.

That's true, but my point was that Lindbergh did not blunder into the European land mass. He hit his aiming point - Dingle Bay, Ireland - right on the nose after 1,700 miles of DR.  Five years later, Amelia Earhart played the same game.  She was no Charles Lindbergh and she hit Ireland about 120 nautical miles off course. So, let's see .... if we use that as a measure of her ability to maintain a DR course (without any help from a navigator) it looks like she's about .07 nm off for every mile she flies by DR.  Worst case: If she DRed the entire distance between Howland and Gardner (about 350 nm) with no help from Noonan she should be off by roughly 24 miles.  That's hardly a scientific assessment but it's an interesting exercise.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2011, 08:02:26 AM by Ric Gillespie »
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