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Author Topic: Could the Electra have taken off from Gardner?  (Read 40669 times)

Irvine John Donald

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Could the Electra have taken off from Gardner?
« on: December 10, 2011, 10:11:43 AM »

There have been numerous suggestions that the Electra landed on Gardner in good enough shape to run the right engine for the radio and did not crash land.

I pose the question. Could the Electra have been in good enough shape that AE and FN were able to take off from Gardner? 

Consider. There was no sign of the aircraft when 3 navy aircraft flew over the island mere days after the last post loss radio message.  The plane was in good enough shape to run the right engine at least.

The castaways realized quickly, due to water shortage and lack of response to their radio messages that help, if coming, would arrive too late.  They left their few belongings on the island and took off knowing it was their last chance. (Presumably into the sunset).

She could have used the 100 octane fuel to "boost" her take off. Wink wink Gary

Wow.  How's that for assumptions? 
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
« Last Edit: December 10, 2011, 10:13:49 AM by Irvine John Donald »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Could the Electra have taken off from Gardner?
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2011, 10:38:22 AM »

Okay.  The Colorado planes come and go.  They must have come from a ship.  Let's take off and go find the ship.  They can't find the ship.  They run out of gas and go down at sea.  What's the debris in the Bevington photo?  Who was the castaway whose bones and campsite were found in 1940?
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Could the Electra have taken off from Gardner?
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2011, 10:53:25 AM »

If it were me, and I thought I could take off again from the reef, I'd climb as high as possible while transmitting the whole time and generally trying to make myself as noticable as possible, while staying within gliding/landing distance of the reef.

Then again, from what I've read, a landing on the reef is likely to cause flat tires at a minimum.  That would rule out a takeoff, but then again, we're just fantasizing here.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Could the Electra have taken off from Gardner?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2011, 10:55:01 AM »

I was suggesting they took off before the Colorado search. Desperate move by desperate people. Last post loss transmission on Thursday night, July 8 means plane was upright and they could transmit. Next day, July 9 around noon is Colorado search of Gardner.  No sign of plane.

I also have no idea where they would think to go.  Another island?  Look for search ships? Try for Howland?  Just speculation for sure.

Castaway skeleton?  Ladies shoes in AE size?  Glass containers for toiletries?  Sure seems like it was AE but no smoking gun. The island has had natives and north Americans visit on and off. Perhaps the castaway was a visiting native who died as a result of wrestling a medium sized coconut crab out of a tree? (Official Gardner island sport?).

It's all speculation.  John says fantasizing but I save that word for other subjects.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
« Last Edit: December 10, 2011, 11:53:32 PM by Irvine John Donald »
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Could the Electra have taken off from Gardner?
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2011, 11:16:13 AM »

I would like to correct information from my earlier post.  The last "credible" post loss radio signal was on Wednesday, July 7th at 2018 Gardner time see http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/ResearchPapers/Brandenburg/signalcatalog5.html  Item #175

The search by the US Navys Grummans from the Colorado were on Friday, July 9th around mid morning local Gardner time See http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Lambrecht's_Report.html

This means the Electra disappeared sometime within that approximately just under 40 hour window.  The TIGHAR hypothesis is that the aircraft was pulled from the shore into the deeper water just off the reef where it landed.  See http://tighar.org/Publications/TTracks/15_1/hypothesis.html    This same reference only says that the seas got rougher that week but do not mention a storm. 

Is it likely that the castaways would simple land and leave the aircraft right where it stopped?  Remember this is on a flat reef at low tide around noon on July 2nd.  As the castaways would have observed the tide coming in and evidence of a high tide line on the beach, would they have just left the plane where it landed or move it closer to safety? 

In the flight over Niko video the simulated landing by the helicopter first shows the proximity to the Norwich City and then shows the simulated landing on the reef flats.  This isn't close to the beach.  Its quite exposed.  Ric has commented that the plane could not be taken onto the beach due to the jagged and pitted geology between the reef flat and the beach itself.  However we do have post loss radio messages meaning the Electra was upright and able to run the right engine.  At least up to within 40 hours of the aerial search.

The aerial search was done by three aircraft with two crew in each.  They saw the Norwich City and from the height they were flying (minimum 400 feet to avoid birds) they would have had a good view of the reef flat where its presumed the Electra landed.  No report of a big silver airplane.  Where did it go? 

Is it possible the castawys recognized that the Electra was their best piece of survival gear and moved it away from high tide's harm?  She did have the engine running for the radio.  She probably had an idea of how much fuel she had left.  Why not just inch the plane higher up the beach to avoid the high tide damage.  If there was any because we know the transmitter didnt get wet or it would not likely have worked. See Wet Radio under the Radio section of the forum.  Ric's reply # 6 says  "She seems to have sent radio calls for several days (nights actually).  She can only do that from the airplane.  The airplane has to be somewhere where the water does not reach the transmitter at high tide and where the water is low enough at low tide for her to run the engine to recharge the batteries.  The place where the debris is seen in the Bevington photo does not meet those criteria.  Where the airplane was "parked" while sending radio messages does not necessarily have to be where it stopped at the end of its landing roll - unless the landing ended in a gear collapse.  She can land wherever the reef looks smoothest and then taxi to a higher spot that may not be as smooth but gives her a few more inches - anything to stay above water.  She can't taxi to anywhere near the beach.  Way too pitted and jagged.

This, of course, is all theorizing.  We start with what we believe to be fact and then say, "If this is true then this must also be true.
""

So did the castaways then abandon their best survival gear (the Electra) to the high tides that had NOT taken the aircraft into the depths all week.  Did the high tides then, within the 40 hour window, when we would have had cycles of high and low tides, destroy the aircraft such that it went over the edge of the reef and left nothing substantial for the aerial searchers to identify as possible aircraft wreckage.  All within a 40 hour window?

Could the castaways have decided to use the aircraft as one last, or best, chance to get away?   Facing ever growing physical weakness as food and water ran out would they do the one thing they knew how to do and that was to fly the Electra out?

But they were never found.  They likely then crashed at sea, leaving their few possessions including some Electra parts they had taken on shore to act as tools for cutting open crabs or coconuts.  But NR16020 hasn't been found, signals lasted until July 7th Gardner time then stop, No severe weather like a tropical storm reported in the 40 hour window (would have to have started and stopped between last message and good flying weather of Friday July 9th). 

It is only speculation.  But isn't this testing the hypothesis?  Or am I advancing a theory?  I look forward to the responses and corrections.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Could the Electra have taken off from Gardner?
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2011, 11:44:25 AM »

Why not just inch the plane higher up the beach to avoid the high tide damage?

Because there is no smooth taxiway from the reef flat to the beach.

The water is impossibly deep close to the shore in the so-called "boat channel."
LTM,

           Marty
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Could the Electra have taken off from Gardner?
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2011, 12:01:16 PM »

Thanks Marty. So there was no "safe" spot on the beach hence my point that the aircraft was exposed. No way for the aircraft to be off the reef flat when the aerial search was done?  So within the 40 hour window the seas had to have become rough enough to pull the Electra off the reef. And since it hadn't been pulled off the reef by 8.18pm local Gardner time on July 7th then the seas had to have gotten much rougher after that time and before the aerial search of Friday morning. 

Is the "boat channel" still deep at low tide Marty?
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Could the Electra have taken off from Gardner?
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2011, 02:09:12 PM »

Is the "boat channel" still deep at low tide Marty?

I haven't seen the channels myself.

Howard Alldred (RIP) said "no."

"Location and Geology of Nikumaroro":   "Either in association with the beachrock outcrops, or as a result of its absence, a 'boat channel' runs along the inboard edge of the reef flat. Where it is actually present, the boat channel is often no more than a series of discontinuous channels, troughs and pools. The walls of these pools are usually steep-sided, and they are commonly less than 1 metre deep. ...   On Nikumaroro, where it is actually present, it is a non-navigable series of discontinuous channels, troughs and pools, not usually more than 1-metre deep. They form temporary sediment traps."
LTM,

           Marty
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Chris Johnson

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Re: Could the Electra have taken off from Gardner?
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2011, 02:46:07 PM »

Why would you take off from an island with next to nothing fuel to fly to a watery grave? At least on dry land you have a chance (however slim) of survival/being found.
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Could the Electra have taken off from Gardner?
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2011, 04:49:37 PM »

I wouldn't think they expected to land in a watery grave any more than they thought flying around the world would end up on a desert island as a castaway with no water.   Rather as a last desperate chance to spot a better (inhabited or at least with water) island or a rescue ship.  As John points out in an earlier reply you could stay within landing distance of Gardner.

It's speculation on that 40 hour window where the Electra "disappeared". It didn't go on the beach, it wasn't spotted by aerial search, no definitive evidence of its wreckage has been found.  Where is it?  If it was a boat we might think it was aside away.  If a car we might think it was driven away. If it's a plane we might think...
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Could the Electra have taken off from Gardner?
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2011, 06:06:19 PM »

The "Flew Away" hypothesis requires that we attribute the evidence discovered at the Seven Site both in 1940, 1996, 2001, 2007 and 2010 suggesting that the pilot of the aircraft died there to some other person.  In other words, we must postulate that that TWO American women of the 1930s managed to get themselves marooned on Gardner Island.  It also requires us to disregard numerous anecdotes, photographic evidence, and artifacts that strongly suggest that wreckage from the Electra was present on the island.
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Could the Electra have taken off from Gardner?
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2011, 06:29:43 PM »

Yes. It does require us to re think that evidence. So it's not likely they flew away because that evidence is pretty compelling. But apparently not compelling enough to convince the world at large that the mystery is solved.

Take Gary Lapook for instance. Seems like a good, decent, intelligent man with a serious technical background in the aeronautical world. He isn't convinced the TIGHAR hypothesis is true. He tests a lot of the evidence on a regular basis.

My "fly away" idea is primarily for me to question that 40 hour window that personally troubles me. Presenting it in this forum and reading others opinions on it is my way of testing the hypothesis. Active debate is healthy. Evidence is compelling. Finding the Electra is the smoking gun. Since a physical search is so expensive to mount on a large scale (Search until its found) shouldn't we hypothesize about where it is as much as we can?  The DNA evidence would have done the trick too.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Could the Electra have taken off from Gardner?
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2011, 07:50:38 AM »

Yes. It does require us to re think that evidence. So it's not likely they flew away because that evidence is pretty compelling. But apparently not compelling enough to convince the world at large that the mystery is solved.

I don't think we've asked the world at large to accept that the mystery is solved. I tried that once in 1992 and found out that people have to decide for themselves.
 
Take Gary Lapook for instance. Seems like a good, decent, intelligent man with a serious technical background in the aeronautical world. He isn't convinced the TIGHAR hypothesis is true. He tests a lot of the evidence on a regular basis.

Hypotheses are tested by experimentation.  If I formulate a hypothesis that the reef surface north of Norwich City is smooth, the only way I can test that hypothesis is to go there and see if it's smooth.  I can't test it by citing an official government report on reefs or by citing my own experience walking on reefs in the Caribbean.  Gary does not test hypotheses. What Gary does on a regular basis is the same thing he does for a living - he tries to convince a jury (the members of this forum) that the plaintiff (TIGHAR) is not entitled to the award it seeks (contributions toward further research).  He cites reports, manuals, and his own experience to challenge TIGHARs assumptions and allegations, while trying to denigrate the credibility of TIGHAR's expert witnesses.  Standard lawyer stuff but it's kinda fun to play Perry Mason with him.  We need to be able to defend our case against all comers. Gary, of course, scrupulously avoids stating any hypothesis of his own.  That would put HIM on the stand.

My "fly away" idea is primarily for me to question that 40 hour window that personally troubles me. Presenting it in this forum and reading others opinions on it is my way of testing the hypothesis.

You're not testing the hypothesis either.  You're trying to assess the likelihood that your hypothesis is correct. Your hypothesis is essentially untestable.  Most of the hypotheses we argue about on this forum are untestable.  We'll never know where the Electra was on the LOP when Itasca heard AE say "We must be on you...", if she was ever on the LOP.  All we can do is try to assess the likelihood of various possible scenarios.  That helps us decide which testable hypotheses to actually test.  If it is more likely that she crashed & sank near Howland then maybe it's worth searching for the plane on the ocean bottom in that area. If it is more likely that she landed at Gardner and then flew away then maybe it's worth searching for the plane on the ocean bottom some distance from Gardner. If it is more likely that she landed at Gardner and the plane went over the reef edge then maybe it's worth searching for the plane there.

Active debate is healthy. Evidence is compelling. Finding the Electra is the smoking gun. Since a physical search is so expensive to mount on a large scale (Search until its found) shouldn't we hypothesize about where it is as much as we can?

We should consider every scenario we can think of to account for the evidence.  If we formulate a hypothesis that requires us to disregard evidence we have to also formulate hypotheses for why the disregarded evidence can be disregarded. For example, the Flew Away hypothesis requires that we disregard the evidence that the pilot of the aircraft was the castaway whose bones were found in 1940. We must then come up with a hypothesis to explain who that castaway was.

  The DNA evidence would have done the trick too.

And may yet, but I think the plane is a better bet.
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Could the Electra have taken off from Gardner?
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2011, 08:07:08 AM »

Thanks Ric. A thoughtful, helpful, and polite response. 
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Chris Austin

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Re: Could the Electra have taken off from Gardner?
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2011, 08:53:11 AM »

How about a variation of a take-off attempt during the 40 hour window.
The attempt ends in a crash landing and possible overturn into the surf. One survivor gets out and goes on to the 7 site where they eventually expire; could it explain "Nessie" too?
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