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Author Topic: The Last Takeoff Footage.  (Read 76976 times)

Gary LaPook

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #30 on: December 07, 2011, 09:32:52 PM »

So if you think that this can't be done then you are disagreeing with the navigation experts in the U.S. Navy and with Noonan.

I wouldn't dream of it.  So Noonan had flares, was able to use them effectively, got accurate winds aloft information, and was able to navigate accurately to Howland. What are a relief.
This is always your retort.

Every once in a while an airliner crashes but that doesn't mean that the technology and the procedures are wrong and that airliners can't actually fly. Prior to those flights on which an airliner crashed, neither the dispatcher nor the pilot nor anybody else expected the resulting crash. The same with Noonan and Earhart. Neither they, nor the people on the ground, had any reason to believe that the navigation methods used by Noonan would not get them safely to Howland until sometime after 20:13 Z when they failed to arrive and they stopped transmitting.

Stuff happens.

What happened, I don't know and nobody else knows either.

Here's another example of an unexpected ending. Eddie Rickenbacker was on a special mission during WW2. On takeoff in a B-17, the plane blew a tire and swerved off the runway and the navigator's octant flew across the cabin floor. The navigator examined it and thought it was O.K. They then departed in a second B-17 and ended up ditching way off course and Rickenbacker and crew drifted for 24 days in life rafts. The octant had apparently suffered some hidden damage. If the navigator had suspected any problem prior to takeoff he would have gotten a different octant so neither he nor anybody else suspected the eventual ditching.  Like I said, stuff happens.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Rickenbacker
"Adrift at sea

One of Rickenbacker's most famous near-death experiences occurred in October 1942.[23] He was sent on a tour of the Pacific Theater of Operations to review both living conditions and military operations, and also to deliver personally a secret message to General Douglas MacArthur from the President. After visiting several air and sea bases in Hawaii, Rickenbacker was a passenger in the B-17D Flying Fortress numbered 40-3089, which strayed hundreds of miles off course while on its way to a refueling stop on Canton Island in the Central Pacific Ocean. The B-17 was forced to ditch in a remote and little-traveled part of the Central Pacific.

The failure in navigation has been ascribed to an out-of-adjustment celestial navigation instrument, a bubble octant, that gave a systematic bias to all of its readings. That octant reportedly had suffered a severe shock in a pre-takeoff mishap. This unnecessary ditching spurred on the development of improved navigational instruments and also better survival gear for the aircrewmen. The B-17's pilot-in-command, Captain William T. Cherry, Jr., was forced to ditch his B-17 in the Pacific Ocean, rather close to Japanese-held islands, also. However, the Americans were never spotted by Japanese patrol planes, and they were to drift on the ocean for thousands of miles.

For 24 days, Rickenbacker, the Army captain Hans C. Adamson, his friend and business partner, and the rest of the crewmen drifted in life rafts at sea."

gl
« Last Edit: December 07, 2011, 10:17:33 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #31 on: December 07, 2011, 10:53:32 PM »

So what people are trying to do in this forum is raise scenarios as to why "stuff happens".  Isn't that why accidents are investigated?  Find out why something happened and try to make sure it isn't going to happen again. Your Rickenbacker story is a perfect example of that.

As you also point out Gary no one knows what happened and there is no one who lived to tell the tale. Hence we have a mystery. 75 years old. No black boxes. No witnesses. No smoking gun. But there is a lot (preponderance?) of evidence that permits a theory. You don't agree with it which is your right. But how many people have you convinced over the years that the TIGHAR theory isn't plausible? 

I happen to enjoy your posts.  They tend to keep people defending the theory. But Ric is right too. If everything you say is accurate then AE and FN should really have landed on Howland. You don't leave any other option.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #32 on: December 08, 2011, 06:21:31 AM »

I happen to enjoy your posts.  They tend to keep people defending the theory.

Amen to that.  Critics and skeptics keep us re-examining our evidence and our thinking. 
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #33 on: December 09, 2011, 03:32:24 AM »

I think that everyone has always assumed that Lae was a sleepy little backwater airport, maybe one or two planes a day.
I didn't know there was an airport in Rabaul and you haven't shown that Earhart knew either.  Yes, once she got to Lae she undoubtedly found out but by then it was too late to change her departure point for Howland even if she wanted to.

Why was it too late to change her departure point to Rabaul? The runways at Rabaul were longer than at Lae, there was fuel available there and it was in the same country as Lae so any diplomatic clearances she may have needed to operate from New Guinea would also have allowed her to depart from Rabaul. Since the runways were longer, she could have filled up all the tanks even if this meant using less than full power for takeoff (I only state this since others have made that claim) if only 87 octane fuel was available at Rabaul. (It is also possible that 100 octane fuel may have been available at Rabaul since that was the capital city of New Guinea.) TIGHAR has calculated that the 1100 gallons on board at takeoff from Lae provided 24 hours of endurance so filling all the tanks, 1151 gallon, should have given at least one hour additional endurance. With a 25 hour endurance and with the existing winds, the point of no return to Rabaul would not have occurred until at a distance of 1807 SM from the departure point. Since it is only 2184 SM from Rabaul to Howland (compared to 2556 SM from Lae) the point of no return would have been only 377 SM short of Howland so they would have had the capability to turn around and return safely to Rabaul until quite close to Howland if there had been any problems causing Noonan to not be able to get celestial observations to fix his position during the night. If there were no problems and they decided to continue, then the flight would have taken less than 18 hours leaving a 7 hour fuel reserve, allowing them to reach the Gilberts or even Nauru if they were unsuccessful in finding Howland. The Gilberts were inhabited and the many islands were closer together than the Phoenix islands so provided a better emergency target.

If, instead they had departed Rabaul with the same 1100 gallons they had when they departed Lae, the PNR would have 440 SM short of Howland and they would still have had a 6 hour reserve allowing a diversion to the Gilberts if they couldn't locate Howland after going past the PNR.

All in all, Rabaul would have provided a much safer departure point.

See attached files.


gl
« Last Edit: December 09, 2011, 04:22:20 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #34 on: December 09, 2011, 06:01:14 AM »

Now that's an interesting concept Gary. It sounds like a much safer route. HOWEVER, (wait for it)   AE didn't do that.  (Sorry I stole your line Ric). 

Sorry Gary. I couldn't resist.  I initially thought it might have been the time crunch to get back to California but AE did sit around at Lae waiting for the right weather and a time check.  Although it was unplanned time.

Perhaps she could have made that shorter trip to Rabaul first and she might have survived. Perhaps she could have carried a little less fuel and a radioman instead. Perhaps she might have.....   You get my point.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #35 on: December 09, 2011, 07:06:07 AM »

At most destinations Earhart had pre-positioned her own fuel.  It's not clear whether that was true at Lae.  In any event, the fuel had to be paid for and, by the time she got to Lae, Earhart was low on cash (see Finding Amelia page 71).  We tend to forget that AE had to deal with such mundane issues.

Would Rabaul have been a better departure point?  Perhaps.  Would AE have been wiser to learn Morse code and be sure she knew how to operate her RDF?  Without a doubt.  Should she have coordinated earlier and more closely with the Coast Guard?  Of course.  We could go on and on.  As Gary has often pointed out, the Lae/Howland flight was well within the capability of the airplane and navigational methods and technologies of the time and yet the flight failed to reach its intended destination.  Yes, "stuff happens" but, especially in aviation, it happens most often to the negligent and incompetent. 
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #36 on: December 09, 2011, 10:27:34 AM »

At most destinations Earhart had pre-positioned her own fuel.  It's not clear whether that was true at Lae.  In any event, the fuel had to be paid for and, by the time she got to Lae, Earhart was low on cash (see Finding Amelia page 71).  We tend to forget that AE had to deal with such mundane issues.

Would Rabaul have been a better departure point?  Perhaps.  Would AE have been wiser to learn Morse code and be sure she knew how to operate her RDF?  Without a doubt.  Should she have coordinated earlier and more closely with the Coast Guard?  Of course.  We could go on and on.  As Gary has often pointed out, the Lae/Howland flight was well within the capability of the airplane and navigational methods and technologies of the time and yet the flight failed to reach its intended destination.  Yes, "stuff happens" but, especially in aviation, it happens most often to the negligent and incompetent.
I agree with you Ric. We don't know what went wrong with the celestial navigation part of the equation but we do know that Earhart decided not to use Morse code (she could have learned it), and left the trailing wire antenna behind which foreclosed the possibility of getting bearings from the Itasca. Then she didn't take the time to learn radio operation as shown by her not even knowing that she had to transmit for more than just a couple of seconds if she ever wanted to get a bearing from Itasca. We know that her transmitter worked and there is no reason to think that it would not have worked on 500 kc (it worked on the flight to Hawaii ) if she had kept the long antenna. (It might even have put out a weak, but possibly strong enough, signal for Itasca to get a bearing on her but there is no indication that she ever tried it, she never announced that she was going to give it a try.) We know that her receiver worked (at least after she switched to 7500 kcs) so Itasca could have given her a bearing on that frequency after measuring it on 500 kcs. Even if she could never receive a bearing from Itasca, at least Itasca would have known where to search for the plane after it went down. When the flight was being planned they obviously realized that radio would be important to the success of the flight since they put the appropriate radio equipment on board and hired a radio operator, Harry Manning. After he bailed out on her the necessity of radio did not go away so she should have made sure to have the same radio capability, either by getting a new radio operator or by learning how to correctly operate the radios herself and by learning Morse code at a usable level, it isn't that difficult, and she had plenty of time (three months) to do this. On the flight to Hawaii they were able to get bearings as far a 660 NM from the shore station and Earhart should have been able to get usable bearings if she had taken the time to learn proper radio usage.

So I do criticize her preparation, planning, and lack of professionalism relating to the World Flight, not her piloting of the aircraft, and I do not mean to take anything away from her prior accomplishments.

gl
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #37 on: December 09, 2011, 11:01:36 AM »



Aha, the 800 lb elephant.
AE was negligent and incompetent, that constitutes "Pilot Error" as the primary cause of the "accident", not "poor communications" although that was certainly a contributory cause.

As far as not having cash, I think George could have handled that.  Gary makes an excellent case for Rabaul.  My guess is that they had charts, etc for the first attempt and just reversed the route and not changing anything except direction.  Again, poor decision making.
No Worries Mates
LTM   Harry (TIGHAR #3244R)
 
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John Ousterhout

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #38 on: December 09, 2011, 11:15:03 AM »

Ric sez: "At most destinations Earhart had pre-positioned her own fuel.  It's not clear whether that was true at Lae."
Interesting, I wasn't aware of that.  Did she have drums of fuel from a reliable source sent to those locations, or pay to have fuel sent to those locations (by the lowest bidder?), or was fuel "pre-paid" at the various airports, trusting it to be of good enough quality?
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #39 on: December 09, 2011, 11:24:22 AM »

As far as not having cash, I think George could have handled that.

It's a common misconception that Putnam was wealthy.
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Dan Swift

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #40 on: December 09, 2011, 01:14:11 PM »

Rabaul still looks much scarier to me!  After just a few minutes in the air.....no more land in site. 
A lot of land nearby with a departure from Lae.  Still sticking to my opinion on that as a safer departure point.   Give me more land to fly by or over until I have to face the loneliness of open water.   
TIGHAR Member #4154
 
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #41 on: December 11, 2011, 11:30:51 AM »

I have started to re read "Finding Amelia" and am, yet again, surprised at the number of discrepancies in so many official documents and eye witness reports.  Today's black boxes and other electronics help with keeping the facts straight. 

Even in these TIGHAR forums I find I have to be very careful, usually not succeeding, in keeping what I believe to be the facts straight.  Opposing sides in arguments, entrenched positions, quoting of official yet disputed documents, etc. make it difficult not to go down the wrong path in our thinking.  Just look at the example in the photograph quoted by Gary as he reads it from Elgen Long as a photo from July 2, 1937 and Ric's position that the same photo was from years earlier.  Its very easy to read a statement and feel confident that it certainly sounds valid only to have its authenticity quashed can leave people wondering what to really believe.

The science of the TIGHAR hypothesis and the real known facts will continue to be questioned until the mystery is solved, if ever. 
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #42 on: December 11, 2011, 05:51:56 PM »

Opposing sides in arguments, entrenched positions, quoting of official yet disputed documents, etc. make it difficult not to go down the wrong path in our thinking.

Yep.  That's what makes this investigation so compelling.  It's mostly about methodology.  It's less about WHAT to think than it is about about HOW to think.

  Just look at the example in the photograph quoted by Gary as he reads it from Elgen Long as a photo from July 2, 1937 and Ric's position that the same photo was from years earlier.

It's not my "position" that the photo dates from 1936.  The photo is one of more than two dozen given to us by the ship's former quartermaster.  They all date from the 1936 cruise.  He wasn't aboard for the Earhart cruise.

Its very easy to read a statement and feel confident that it certainly sounds valid only to have its authenticity quashed can leave people wondering what to really believe.

That is precisely what has plagued Earhart researchers for nearly 75 years.  That's why I say the investigation is all about learning how to think - how to decide what is most likely to be true.

The science of the TIGHAR hypothesis and the real known facts will continue to be questioned until the mystery is solved, if ever.

I agree.
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #43 on: December 11, 2011, 06:07:44 PM »

Is that why I find this forum so intriguing?  I enjoy every post I read here as I am continually learning. For instance your point that those 1936 photos were just you presenting the facts not your position. I get your point. It really is about HOW to think.  I like to tackle problems from non traditional angles. Case in point is my post on "Could the Electra have taken off from Gardner"?  I believe the TIGHAR hypothesis is true but sometimes I like to see how others reply to different ideas to see how they think.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #44 on: December 11, 2011, 06:12:33 PM »

Congratulations.  You get it!
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