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Author Topic: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?  (Read 172466 times)

Ric Gillespie

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #45 on: December 15, 2011, 07:09:19 AM »

I would not expect the difference between a case for an octant and a case for a sextant to be obvious to a casual observer, if found on a beach (although the serial numbers is a compelling argument).  I also would expect FN to bring the case for the Octant, to protect it in flight.  Where's that case?

The boxes for bubble octants and nautical sextants are actually very different.  See photo.

Didn't AE mention the "Phoenix islands"?

Not that I recall.

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John Ousterhout

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #46 on: December 15, 2011, 08:54:44 AM »

I know, and you know, that the cases are quite different.  My point wasn't clear - to someone not familiar with octants, the case found on the beach might have been described as being for a “sextant”.  Were octants common enough for the difference to be well known?  I was under the impression that they were primarily used by airmen, not by sailors.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #47 on: December 15, 2011, 09:19:36 AM »

I know, and you know, that the cases are quite different.  My point wasn't clear - to someone not familiar with octants, the case found on the beach might have been described as being for a “sextant”.  Were octants common enough for the difference to be well known?  I was under the impression that they were primarily used by airmen, not by sailors.

Read the Bones Chronology, page 5.  The box was shown to Harold Gatty.

"I return the sextant box which I had retrieved from Captain Nasmyth in order to show it to Mr. Gatty who has expert knowledge of such matters. Mr. Gatty thinks that the box is an English one of some age and judges that it was used latterly merely as a receptacle. He does not consider that it could in any circumstance have been a sextant box used in modern trans-Pacific aviation."
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #48 on: December 15, 2011, 10:51:49 AM »

...but looking at all the things that Earhart removed from the plane, including even papers and her Colt pist0l

Colt pistol???  Did AE have a Colt pistol??  I would LOVE for AE to have had a Colt pistol. For Christmas I'm asking Santa for documentation that AE had a Colt pistol.
Merry Christmas, Ric!

If you read Mary Lovell's book I can understand your Christmas wish to Santa Claus.

Mary Lovell's wrote at page 267-268:

"...Her obsession with weight may have been taken to extreme length,
for according to Harry Balfour, radio operator at Lae, survival
equipment was also taken off. Balfour claimed that "she unloaded all her
surplus equipment on me including her [Very] pistol and ammunition,
books, letters and facility books"".

What Balfour actually said was:

"...[A]ll messages received from her were forwarded to her husband
together with some private papers she left with me at the radio station,
she also gave me her automatic pistol and ammunition and some radio
facility books, but these I do not have now they became lost during the
war."

Letter from Balfour reprinted as exhibit 38 in Safford's book.


Long also writes:

"Earhart handed the package ...to Balfour...Balfour opened the paper and
inside was a 32-caliber handgun with a small box of ammunition."


Long, page 192.


I am curious who changed "automatic pistol" to "[Very] pistol",
was it Ms. Lovell or her source? She footnotes this information as
coming from Francis X. Holbrook, NA&SM Library, Amelia Earhart General
File: F0171300. The fact that "Very" was put in brackets shows that it was
deliberately changed, but why and by whom? Was it ignorance or political correctness?

There were plenty of .32 caliber automatic pistols available at the time, it was, and is, a popular caliber. Many manufacturers, FN, Savage, Star, Walther, Browning, etc., and one of the most popular in the U.S. was the Colt Pocket Pistol, model 1903. I had read somewhere (I don't remember where) that this was this model that AE carried. I have attached a photo of this type of automatic pistol.

We have all probably seen Colt Pocket Pistols in action. When Bogart shoots Edgar G. Robinson at the end of the 1948 movie "Key Largo" he is using one. Again when Bogart shoots Major Strasser at the end of the 1943 movie "Casablanca" Strasser falls to a bullet from a Colt Pocket Pistol. If you haven't seen this movie recently you should go out and rent it since you get the bonus of seeing an Electra taxiing at the Van Nuys airport, it's "the Lisbon plane."

gl


P.S.
Just for you Ric, because of your background in adjusting aircraft accidents, I am attaching a copy of my office's Christmas card.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2011, 10:56:22 AM by Gary LaPook »
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #49 on: December 15, 2011, 11:07:20 AM »

Thanks Ric, I'm convinced. 
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #50 on: December 15, 2011, 11:47:25 AM »

If you read Mary Lovell's book I can understand your Christmas wish to Santa Claus.

Unfortunately neither Lovelll, nor Balfour, nor Long provides any real documentation that Earhart had a pistol, let alone a Colt pistol.  I know I've seen a photo of her holding a Very pistol.  I think it was during that same weighing session/photo op prior to the first world flight attempt.


Thanks for the Christmas card.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #51 on: December 15, 2011, 12:03:36 PM »

If you read Mary Lovell's book I can understand your Christmas wish to Santa Claus.

Unfortunately neither Lovelll, nor Balfour, nor Long provides any real documentation that Earhart had a pistol, let alone a Colt pistol.  I know I've seen a photo of her holding a Very pistol.  I think it was during that same weighing session/photo op prior to the first world flight attempt.


Thanks for the Christmas card.
Well Ric, Balfour was there and must have held the pistol in his hand so I count his letter as "documentation." As to it's being a Colt, I know I read it in a different book about Earhart's life, not one that concentrated on the disappearance. It was talking about her carrying the Colt at other times and didn't just talk about the final flight. If you are looking for a registration form or federal forms, well they didn't exist in those simpler times so don't dismiss Balfour's statement. (BTW, do you think Balfour was just having an hallucination after smoking dope one night?)
gl
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #52 on: December 15, 2011, 12:32:23 PM »

Gary, Could you post a link to this documentation being quoted as an exhibit in a book?  Thanks  I can't seem to find it.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #53 on: December 15, 2011, 12:40:38 PM »

Gary,

Please take this as a compliment.  If I ever commit a crime I'm hiring you as my lawyer. I'm confident you would find a reason to prove I wasn't even at the scene.

To Jeff's latest post....  In the case of a very long trip would you not take a second sextant anyway as a backup?  Your point about it likely being an FN habit is likely bang on. Navigation was FN's career. In fact on a clipper he probably needed the "preventer" less than he needed it on the global trip with AE.
As I said, there is no evidence that Noonan carried a second sextant on the Earhart flight, no witnesses, no documents and no photographs. No marine sextant is listed on the Luke field inventory. Noonan's letter would not be admissible evidence in a court of law to prove that a second sextant was carried on the Earhart flight because it is too remote in time and the circumstances are too different. In fact, the letter itself shows the circumstances are not the same, as Noonan wrote "Due to the spacious chart room and large chart table aboard the Clipper, the navigation equipment need not be so severely limited as in smaller planes..." and no one can dispute that the Electra is a "smaller plane" compared to the S-42. And note, Noonan did NOT say in the letter, "I always carry a marine sextant as a 'preventer.'" And Noonan made no mention of a marine sextant in his article published a year later. (BTW, as to Noonan's experience at sea, ships commonly carried only one sextant.) (Although there is such a thing as "habit evidence," this one letter comes nowhere close to the requirements to prove an action based on a "habit.")
Could they have crammed in an additional sextant, probably, but looking at all the things that Earhart removed from the plane, including even papers and her Colt pistol, a second sextant would seem pretty low on Earhart's priority list. We pilots want two of everything, two engines, two spark plugs in each cylinder, two magnetos on each engine, two fuel pumps, two navcoms, two GPSs, etc., but there is a limit. How about two life rafts, two parachutes for each person, two coffee pots, two "potties?"
By 1937 the Pioneer octant had been perfected and was carried in thousands of Air Force and Navy planes, virtually unchanged, through the end of WW2. Bubble octants are extremely simple and reliable instruments. Bubble octants were used on trans-oceanic airline flights through the 1970's and commonly on Air Force planes until less than ten years ago, (I believe that there are still some Air Force planes with them.) In all of these uses, only ONE octant was carried in each airplane, no "preventer" in B-17s, no "preventer" in Boeing 707s, no "preventer" in B-47s, no "preventer" in C-130s, and no "preventer" in B-52s, and none of these planes were limited by space and weight constraints like the Electra. No second octant was carried in any of these planes because they are so simple and reliable.
So, like I said, there is no evidence to prove that a marine sextant was carried on the Electra, the burden of proof is on those who make that claim.

gl

Are you saying that if FN lost, misplaced, broke or had his primary sextant stolen then he would have been able to get it replaced easily anywhere on the world trip?  Are you also saying that unless it was recorded somewhere in evidence then he couldn't possibly have had it with him?  And aren't all the aircraft you list as having "no preventer" loaded up with modern, electronic nav equipment that have backup systems? Doesn't that mean the bubble octant in those aircraft is the backup to the backup?  Whereas for FN it was his primary method of navigation?
Please excuse my ignorance of aeronautics and navigation practices.
If the Electra had been "lost, misplaced, broke" along the way could they have gotten a replacement easily? O.K., more on point, if the Mk IIB drift meter had been "lost, misplaced, broke" along the way could they have gotten a replacement easily? The drift meter was also a critical piece of navigation equipment but, according to the Luke Field Inventory, only one of these were carried. The drift meter is smaller and lighter than a marine sextant so no reason not to carry a back up of that yet they didn't. The aircraft had two mounts for the drift meter, one on each side of the plane because this is necessary to measure drift when the wind comes from one side or the other. They also carried a third mount for it that could be mounted in the propped opened door when necessary to measure drift when the drift was slight and Noonan had to be able to look directly behind the plane in order to measure the drift. Yet, in spite of the detail paid to the use on this critical instrument, they didn't carry a backup.

Through WW2 celestial navigation was the only method of long range, oceanic navigation. Towards the very end of the war, LORAN-A came on line and was installed in some planes. For example, the B-17 carrying Rickenbacker (a very big VIP on a high priority mission) only had celestial navigation for navigation and had only one octant on board and this was five years after Earhart disappeared.  At the end of the Cold War, when radio navigation equipment was installed in our planes, on the B-52s (and the KC-135s that were to accompany them to the U.S.S.R.), celestial navigation was planned to be the primary means to get there because it was believed that the Ruskies would turn off all of their radio navaids when the war started (DUH) and jam any other radio navaid so only celestial could be counted on to get the job done. And they carried only ONE octant in each plane and space, weight and cost was not an issue.

See Air Force Manual, AFM 51-40 (1951) that shows that this was still the primary method in 1951. You also find celestial navigation in the most recent Air Force navigation manual AF PAM 11-216 (2001).

gl
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 01:27:03 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #54 on: December 15, 2011, 12:51:00 PM »

Gary, Could you post a link to this documentation being quoted as an exhibit in a book?  Thanks  I can't seem to find it.
O.K.
I notice that it was addressed to Holbrook so the original is probably at the NA&SM Library, Amelia Earhart General
File: F0171300.
gl
« Last Edit: December 15, 2011, 12:53:49 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #55 on: December 15, 2011, 12:51:34 PM »

do you think Balfour was just having an hallucination after smoking dope one night?

No, I think he was recalling the details of something that happened many years before he wrote the letter.  I think recollections, whether related orally or written down, many years after an event are unreliable.  If they're not, then we all have to buy tickets for Saipan.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #56 on: December 15, 2011, 12:56:40 PM »

do you think Balfour was just having an hallucination after smoking dope one night?

No, I think he was recalling the details of something that happened many years before he wrote the letter.  I think recollections, whether related orally or written down, many years after an event are unreliable.  If they're not, then we all have to buy tickets for Saipan.
Well that might make sense about his recollections about the radio communications, an important element of the story, but the pistol comment is so tangential to the main story that he would have no reason to even think about it when writing his letter if it didn't happen.

gl
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Chuck Varney

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #57 on: December 15, 2011, 12:59:03 PM »

 I’m confused by recent exchanges in this thread that relate to angular markings on sextants, and the implied measurement capability that such markings might permit.

In Reply #33, Gary said: “. . . the sextant carried by Noonan had a scale marked only every two minutes of arc.” I’m guessing he was actually referring to a Pioneer bubble octant, as he’s expressed doubts that AE’s Electra carried a marine sextant.

In Reply #36, Ric seized upon the “two” from Gary’s post, substituted degrees for minutes, and reported: “. . . I checked and the Brandis Navy Surveying Sextant is, indeed, marked in two degree increments”.
 
In Reply #46 Thom brought up another sextant and recalled: “. . . my archaic old Esco (also marked in 2° increments). . .”.

Ric and Thom, the sextants you refer to had a vernier, or micrometer drum and vernier, did they not?

The Smithsonian website includes two marine sextants which they identify as Brandis “U.S. Navy surveying” sextants. They claim both can be read to 30 seconds of arc, using a vernier and magnifier. One is reported to have its arc marked at 10-minute intervals, and the other at 20-minute intervals.

Chuck
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #58 on: December 15, 2011, 01:11:25 PM »

Ric and Thom, the sextants you refer to had a vernier, or micrometer drum and vernier, did they not?

The Brandis sextants I've seen don't have any kind of "drum." The one I have here has a vernier and magnifier on the arc which is marked in 2° increments.
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #59 on: December 15, 2011, 01:29:28 PM »

Maybe they did lose the driftmeter and thats why they drifted too far south and couldn't find Howland.   :)
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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