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Author Topic: Working the Flight backwards  (Read 122813 times)

Ric Gillespie

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Re: The broken page
« Reply #105 on: September 09, 2011, 05:37:49 AM »

So it appears that your position regarding the Rabaul airport is that, if it is not depicted on the Williams chart, then neither Earhart nor Noonan whould know of its existence.

O.K. I'll buy that position.

So I take it now, that to be consistent, that you are now also taking the position that neither Earhart nor Noonan knew of the existence of the Phoenix Islands since they are not depicted on the Williams chart either. So we can now agree that they could not have flown down the LOP to those islands since they did not know of their existence.

Agreed!

gl

I don't take positions. I follow the evidence.  I don't know whether AE and FN knew about the airfields on Rabaul or not.  All I know is that there seems to be no evidence that they did.  Similarly, I do not know whether AE and FN had a chart that showed the Phoenix Islands but there seems to be abundant archival and physical evidence to suggest that they went there - whether by intention or accident.  As I've said many times, they don't need to be searching for Gardner to get to Gardner.  All they need to do is what AE said they were doing - running on the line north and south.

You are drawing conclusions based on supposition.  You can't do that.   You can't say "He wouldn't have done XYZ so he didn't do it."  By the same token, you can't say (as you did above) that because we have no evidence that someone knew something we can conclude that they didn't know it.

If you want to investigate something you gather facts, form a hypothesis, and then you test it.  You have gathered lots of facts but I can't see that you have formed a hypothesis, let alone attempted to test it - unless your hypothesis is that the airplane did not reach Gardner.  The only way to prove that is to find the airplane someplace else.  Where do you plan to look?
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: The broken page
« Reply #106 on: September 09, 2011, 05:58:02 AM »

Ric, I am anxiously awaiting an answer from Mr. LaPook on that very question. His site sets out to "debunk" TIGHAR's theory and also has information where he says they couldn't have been on a Japanese spy mission.  It doesn't say what he believes happened to AE and FN. Since he agrees they did not get to Howland and he says its impossible to get to Gardner then I must assume he believes they went into the ocean near Howland.  He says if you are close to your destination standard practice would be to fly a search pattern. He says FN couldn't have been far from Howland so presumably Mr. LaPook is an advocate of the crashed at sea theory.  But I would prefer to hear that from him rather than me putting two and two together by stringing bits and pieces of evidence together and getting it wrong.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: The broken page
« Reply #107 on: September 09, 2011, 03:30:31 PM »

The discussion up to now gives clearence for the conclusion that the sunline flown along was not the line over actual Howland in its (false) coordinates ....
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: The broken page
« Reply #108 on: September 09, 2011, 05:20:29 PM »

Thanks Jeff for the reply and the links. I will look at each one as I do for the majority of links presented in this forum.

I am a Niku Theory believer. There is, IMHO, enough evidence that I would be really shocked for the outcome to be anything but.  My recent post on reminding people that AE and FN were last seen at Lae was to remind everyone that there is no written diary of events of that fateful flight. There is evidence to support the Niku Theory but this is like a diary with many missing pages.  Painfully slowly however, the pages are being put back together as they are found and validated with facts. I am intrigued by the many directions forum contributors go in as it leads to even more discussion.  Mr. LaPook should be thankful that he can post his dissenting opinion here.  This says a lot for the faith TIGHAR members have in the Niku Theory. But I still think he should share his thoughts on their fate and not just offer "debunking" theories.  Fair is fair.

You're so right Jeff about what will happen if (when) the smoking gun is found.  Many will claim they knew it all along and others will be naysayers. Your comment about how it may be stated that the aircraft crashed at sea and the currents moved it made me laugh out loud until I realized you're probably right. But I'm sure Ric and gang are ready for the onslaught.

Anyway we need to keep thought process and creative ideas flowing. Perhaps one will lead to another and that will help strengthen the theory. More reading this weekend for sure. Thanks again Jeff for the links and your reply.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: The broken page
« Reply #109 on: September 09, 2011, 08:20:00 PM »


Jeff
You mentioned an error being discussed.  I don't have a link but I remember it being said that some charts of the area had  the location of Howland mislocated by 5 nm west of its "true" position.  Hence the relative location of Gardner to Howland would have been incorrect and the course connecting them would be more like the line 158/338 rather than 157/337.  Whether the additional error, 5 nm,would have affected the spotting of Gardner or not, who knows.  Nor do we know whether FN had one of those charts or not.  Maybe the charts he flew by are still on the plane.
No Worries Mates
LTM   Harry (TIGHAR #3244R)
 
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The broken page
« Reply #110 on: September 10, 2011, 12:29:33 AM »

Ric, I am anxiously awaiting an answer from Mr. LaPook on that very question. His site sets out to "debunk" TIGHAR's theory and also has information where he says they couldn't have been on a Japanese spy mission.  It doesn't say what he believes happened to AE and FN. Since he agrees they did not get to Howland and he says its impossible to get to Gardner then I must assume he believes they went into the ocean near Howland.  He says if you are close to your destination standard practice would be to fly a search pattern. He says FN couldn't have been far from Howland so presumably Mr. LaPook is an advocate of the crashed at sea theory. But I would prefer to hear that from him rather than me putting two and two together by stringing bits and pieces of evidence together and getting it wrong.

I already posted my answer to your question, see reply #95 on the "Noonan Navigation Error" thread:

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,383.95.html

gl
« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 02:39:45 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: The broken page
« Reply #111 on: September 10, 2011, 06:23:27 AM »

N.B. This post is from Gary LaPook.  It seems to have been the one that was causing some problems with the thread.

Quote from: Harry Howe, Jr. on September 09, 2011, 10:20:00 PM<blockquote>
Jeff
You mentioned an error being discussed.  I don't have a link but I remember it being said that some charts of the area had  the location of Howland mislocated by 5 nm west of its "true" position.  Hence the relative location of Gardner to Howland would have been incorrect and the course connecting them would be more like the line 158/338 rather than 157/337.  Whether the additional error, 5 nm,would have affected the spotting of Gardner or not, who knows.  Nor do we know whether FN had one of those charts or not.  Maybe the charts he flew by are still on the plane.
</blockquote>--------------------------------------------------------------------
This question is always coming up, hopefully this will be the final answer to this question.

Clarence Williams was hired by Earhart to plan the flight legs for her. His planning was for a westbound circumnavigation but he also included information for an eastbound flight. As part of this navigation planning he drew "strip charts" covering the legs and extending a reasonable distance on each side of the planned course line. One of these strip charts covered the leg between Lae and Howland and Mr. Williams completed this chart on February 9, 1937. A copy of this chart is now in the archives of Purdue University. I am attaching a scan of this chart. You will notice near the northeast corner of the chart that the coordinates for Howland that he used for his planning which are 0° 49' north latitude, 176° 43' west longitude.

But this is not the end of the story. Sometime before Earhart departed on her second attempt, Itasca, on its normal resupply cruise, determined more accurate coordinates for Howland and Itasca did this by using the most accurate navigation system available, celestial navigation.  The new coordinates for Howland are 0° 48' north latitude, 176° 38' west longitude. These coordinates were published in navigation manuals starting at least as early as 1938 and possibly in some earlier sources. These are still the coordinates published in official government manuals. Although there is no proof that these more accurate coordinates were communicated to Earhart, it is a reasonable assumption that they were based on the high government support for this flight; building an airport on the island for her use; sending several naval ships, in addition to the Itasca, on two cruises in support of the Earhart flight; Earhart's personal relationship with the White House (she gave flight lessons to Eleanor Roosevelt); and the obvious danger to Earhart if she was not provided with the most up to date coordinates would be apparent to everybody in possession of the new coordinates. The new coordinates are one nautical mile south and five nautical east of the old coordinates.

But if Earhart did not have the updated coordinates, would have made any difference?

Noonan was using the coordinates that he had for doing his celestial calculations. He calculated what the altitude (the height above horizontal) of the sun would be as viewed from those coordinates. The sun's altitude changes constantly as the earth turns during the day so Noonan had to do these calculations for the times that he took observations with his sextant. Most likely he did these calculations in advance, either at Lae or early in the flight, to cover the period that he expected to be approaching Howland, say for the period from 1815 Z (the time that the sun would first be high enough for accurate observations) to 2400 Z. This sounds complicated, but using the tables that he was using, H.O. 208, it would have taken only about one hour for all the calculations to cover this five hour and forty-five minute period. (See: https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/resources/dreisonstock-h-o-208 and https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/topics/precomputed-altitude-curves ) Then, when Noonan took observations of the sun, he simply compared his measured observation atitude with the calculated altitude for the same time at the coordinates for Howland, the difference instantly tells him if he is on the LOP (line of position) that runs through the coordinates or how many miles he must correct to get onto the LOP. One degree difference in the altitudes means a 60 NM space between him and the LOP. A one minute of arc difference (1/60th of a degree) means a one nautical mile difference. If he was using incorrect coordinates then his calculation would show his distance from the LOP running through those incorrect coordinates and not his distance from the correct LOP that actually runs through Howland. Noonan would follow the erroneous LOP to the incorrect coordinates and end up one nautical mile north and five nautical miles west of the corrected coordinates for Howland. So with twenty NM visibility they would have been able to see Howland from there.

But is gets a little more complicated. I have attached a map of Howland with the these two sets of coordinates plotted. You will notice that the newer, more accurate coordinates, are actually located 0.75 NM west of the west shore of Howland. Itasca's navigator had calculated the wrong coordinates (but these are still the published official coordinates) and this 0.75 NM error is most likely due to the Itasca's chronometer running three seconds slow. But is Google Earth more accurate than Itasca's navigator? Yes, I have checked the accuracy of Google Earth in this area, see my prior reply #72 on this thread. So even if Noonan was using the updated coordinates, the LOP that passes through those coordinates would have taken them 0.75 NM west of the island. This also means that the older coordinates are actually a little further from Howland, 6.6 NM straight west from the western shore of Howland. But the LOP did not run straight north and south but at an angle, 157°-337°. So plotting this LOP through to old coordinates shows that it passes just 5.0 NM from the nearest part of Howland and only 4.1 NM from the new coordinates.

So does it make a difference which set of coordinates that Noonan was using? No, they would have seen the island from five nautical miles away. Even allowing for the maximum likely error in a sextant observation of seven NM they would still have passed within 12 NM of the island and should have seen it with the visibility existing at the time. In addition, the smoke trail produced by Itasca blew further west than 12 NM so the plane should have passed directly over the smoke trail even if Nnonan's observation had the maximum likely error at the time.

gl
LTM,

           Marty
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« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 12:49:51 PM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The broken page
« Reply #112 on: September 10, 2011, 05:38:26 PM »

N.B. This post is from Gary LaPook.  It seems to have been the one that was causing some problems with the thread.

Quote from: Harry Howe, Jr. on September 09, 2011, 10:20:00 PM<blockquote>
Jeff
You mentioned an error being discussed.  I don't have a link but I remember it being said that some charts of the area had  the location of Howland mislocated by 5 nm west of its "true" position.  Hence the relative location of Gardner to Howland would have been incorrect and the course connecting them would be more like the line 158/338 rather than 157/337.  Whether the additional error, 5 nm,would have affected the spotting of Gardner or not, who knows.  Nor do we know whether FN had one of those charts or not.  Maybe the charts he flew by are still on the plane.
</blockquote>--------------------------------------------------------------------
This question is always coming up, hopefully this will be the final answer to this question.

Clarence Williams was hired by Earhart to plan the flight legs for her. His planning was for a westbound circumnavigation but he also included information for an eastbound flight. As part of this navigation planning he drew "strip charts" covering the legs and extending a reasonable distance on each side of the planned course line. One of these strip charts covered the leg between Lae and Howland and Mr. Williams completed this chart on February 9, 1937. A copy of this chart is now in the archives of Purdue University. I am attaching a scan of this chart. You will notice near the northeast corner of the chart that the coordinates for Howland that he used for his planning which are 0° 49' north latitude, 176° 43' west longitude.

But this is not the end of the story. Sometime before Earhart departed on her second attempt, Itasca, on its normal resupply cruise, determined more accurate coordinates for Howland and Itasca did this by using the most accurate navigation system available, celestial navigation.  The new coordinates for Howland are 0° 48' north latitude, 176° 38' west longitude. These coordinates were published in navigation manuals starting at least as early as 1938 and possibly in some earlier sources. These are still the coordinates published in official government manuals. Although there is no proof that these more accurate coordinates were communicated to Earhart, it is a reasonable assumption that they were based on the high government support for this flight; building an airport on the island for her use; sending several naval ships, in addition to the Itasca, on two cruises in support of the Earhart flight; Earhart's personal relationship with the White House (she gave flight lessons to Eleanor Roosevelt); and the obvious danger to Earhart if she was not provided with the most up to date coordinates would be apparent to everybody in possession of the new coordinates. The new coordinates are one nautical mile south and five nautical east of the old coordinates.

But if Earhart did not have the updated coordinates, would have made any difference?

Noonan was using the coordinates that he had for doing his celestial calculations. He calculated what the altitude (the height above horizontal) of the sun would be as viewed from those coordinates. The sun's altitude changes constantly as the earth turns during the day so Noonan had to do these calculations for the times that he took observations with his sextant. Most likely he did these calculations in advance, either at Lae or early in the flight, to cover the period that he expected to be approaching Howland, say for the period from 1815 Z (the time that the sun would first be high enough for accurate observations) to 2400 Z. This sounds complicated, but using the tables that he was using, H.O. 208, it would have taken only about one hour for all the calculations to cover this five hour and forty-five minute period. (See: https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/resources/dreisonstock-h-o-208 and https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/topics/precomputed-altitude-curves ) Then, when Noonan took observations of the sun, he simply compared his measured observation atitude with the calculated altitude for the same time at the coordinates for Howland, the difference instantly tells him if he is on the LOP (line of position) that runs through the coordinates or how many miles he must correct to get onto the LOP. One degree difference in the altitudes means a 60 NM space between him and the LOP. A one minute of arc difference (1/60th of a degree) means a one nautical mile difference. If he was using incorrect coordinates then his calculation would show his distance from the LOP running through those incorrect coordinates and not his distance from the correct LOP that actually runs through Howland. Noonan would follow the erroneous LOP to the incorrect coordinates and end up one nautical mile north and five nautical miles west of the corrected coordinates for Howland. So with twenty NM visibility they would have been able to see Howland from there.

But is gets a little more complicated. I have attached a map of Howland with the these two sets of coordinates plotted. You will notice that the newer, more accurate coordinates, are actually located 0.75 NM west of the west shore of Howland. Itasca's navigator had calculated the wrong coordinates (but these are still the published official coordinates) and this 0.75 NM error is most likely due to the Itasca's chronometer running three seconds slow. But is Google Earth more accurate than Itasca's navigator? Yes, I have checked the accuracy of Google Earth in this area, see my prior reply #72 on this thread. So even if Noonan was using the updated coordinates, the LOP that passes through those coordinates would have taken them 0.75 NM west of the island. This also means that the older coordinates are actually a little further from Howland, 6.6 NM straight west from the western shore of Howland. But the LOP did not run straight north and south but at an angle, 157°-337°. So plotting this LOP through to old coordinates shows that it passes just 5.0 NM from the nearest part of Howland and only 4.1 NM from the new coordinates.

So does it make a difference which set of coordinates that Noonan was using? No, they would have seen the island from five nautical miles away. Even allowing for the maximum likely error in a sextant observation of seven NM they would still have passed within 12 NM of the island and should have seen it with the visibility existing at the time. In addition, the smoke trail produced by Itasca blew further west than 12 NM so the plane should have passed directly over the smoke trail even if Noonan's observation had the maximum likely error at the time.

gl

-------------------------------------
Unfortunately I couldn't upload the Williams chart, it caused the site to crash. I have, however, now uploaded it to my site so you can view it here:

https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/resources/williams-charts

I am attaching the chart I created on Google Earth showing the relationship of he Williams coordinates point and the resulting LOP, to Howland and to the newer coordinates.

gl
« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 10:14:35 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Working the Flight backwards
« Reply #113 on: September 10, 2011, 07:33:11 PM »

Here is the image that caused the system to hang up (for reasons as yet undetermined):



It's a beautiful chart.
LTM,

           Marty
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Working the Flight backwards
« Reply #114 on: September 10, 2011, 08:48:23 PM »

Oh oh!  This is a scan of the Howland to Lae strip chart that may have been used by FN.  If it broke the forum, and AE and FN never found Howland with it, then I would say there is definitely something wrong with this chart. LOL!!!
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: Working the Flight backwards
« Reply #115 on: September 11, 2011, 12:45:56 AM »

Differences of William´s coordinates with coordinates computed from theory and with calculator are of a few arcmin magnitude , trivial since in the era logarithmic calculations were in use . Remarkable is that about GMT 0720 the communicated fix 159-07-E / 04-33-30 -S  is 8.5 nm south of the latitude as computed for 159-07 from William´s figures . With the coordinates from calculator and formulae the difference is 7.5 nm south . It probably says that mr.Noonan worked out his own plan for the leg since the fix coordinates exactly match for the rhumb line between coordinates of Lae and Gagan on Buka Island .
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: Working the Flight backwards
« Reply #116 on: September 11, 2011, 02:33:40 AM »

Not in discussion now , but you recently asked me to provide one air navigation manual handling the sunise-sunrise fixes as in the EJN 2008-2011 treatises which you considered false at these items . Go to Navigator´s Information File , NIF revised October 1944 , approved 2-28-44 , Section 3 , § 7. 2 , where LOP´s and fixes @ sunrise , sunset are described inclusive handling for horizon dip from higher then sea level altitudes . A moderate degree of accuracy is involved in case of relative emergency . Such situation mr. Noonan was in since he incurred 45 minutes delay on the Lae-Nukumanu leg , by which the duration of flight trespassed 18 hrs as a result of which arrival near Howland would be too late for establishing a stars fix .
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Working the Flight backwards
« Reply #117 on: September 11, 2011, 04:23:57 AM »

Not in discussion now , but you recently asked me to provide one air navigation manual handling the sunise-sunrise fixes as in the EJN 2008-2011 treatises which you considered false at these items . Go to Navigator´s Information File , NIF revised October 1944 , approved 2-28-44 , Section 3 , § 7. 2 , where LOP´s and fixes @ sunrise , sunset are described inclusive handling for horizon dip from higher then sea level altitudes . A moderate degree of accuracy is involved in case of relative emergency . Such situation mr. Noonan was in since he incurred 45 minutes delay on the Lae-Nukumanu leg , by which the duration of flight trespassed 18 hrs as a result of which arrival near Howland would be too late for establishing a stars fix .

-----------------------------------------------------------
see attached
gl
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Working the Flight backwards
« Reply #118 on: September 11, 2011, 06:31:53 AM »

Oh oh!  This is a scan of the Howland to Lae strip chart that may have been used by FN.  If it broke the forum, and AE and FN never found Howland with it, then I would say there is definitely something wrong with this chart. LOL!!!

The hassles were all worthwhile.

I've never seen a strip chart.

I believe that someone in this documentary about Jean Batten mentions how proud she was of doing all of the strip charts she needed for her record-setting flights.  It's clearly not a trivial task!
LTM,

           Marty
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: Working the Flight backwards
« Reply #119 on: September 11, 2011, 06:50:36 AM »

1. Noonan did not read NIF-1944 , but he had read earlier books , see R.Conyers Nesbit (professional navigator) "Missing Believed Killed" , he says (ex-) sea navigators were cenversant with the sunrise method. 2 . NIF paragraph is not only for LOP , the belonging example derives logitudes . 3 . For altitude correction / dip Noonan had H.O.208 , dip 31´ for 1,000 ft alt. 4 . Agreed , moderate accuracy ; this may have added to reasons why island was not found . 5 . Unobstructed sea horizon .  Article EJN 2008 shows precomputation for the sunrise fix probably planned by Noonan , if he executed the program is second item , but visibility about Howland was good as recorded . 6 . The method described in EJN 2008 is exactly the one as by NIF-1944 , the latter stating the observation with unarmed eye is sufficient , the first assuming a marine sextant preset for dip has been used , be it for the green filter only , anyone can check this by download .

Noonan (as recorded by P.Mantz , see Hollywood Pilot by Dwiggins) let the offset track fly by time-distance DR on the ETA via direct course to destination , that may have been the reason , or an additional feature ,  for breakdown of the attempt .

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