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Author Topic: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.  (Read 453130 times)

Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
« Reply #240 on: January 19, 2012, 12:51:13 PM »


Gary
Chief of SMOKE??   Was that a prerequisite for Law School?
Just joshing , a little humour.
Actually, I am continually amazed at the depth of your knowledge and read all of your posts with interest.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
« Reply #241 on: January 19, 2012, 06:15:50 PM »


Gary
Chief of SMOKE??   Was that a prerequisite for Law School?
Just joshing , a little humour.
Actually, I am continually amazed at the depth of your knowledge and read all of your posts with interest.
Not an absolute requirement, but it helped.

gl
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
« Reply #242 on: January 19, 2012, 07:49:39 PM »


Gary
Thanks for  tolerating my  meager attempt at humour.  You are indeed a Class Act.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
« Reply #243 on: January 19, 2012, 10:41:51 PM »


Gary
Thanks for  tolerating my  meager attempt at humour.  You are indeed a Class Act.
Boy am I dense, I never saw the connection with the current discussion.
 
"Chief of Smoke" is the informal usage commonly used in preference to the official title of "Chief of the Firing Battery." I commanded four 8 inch M110A2 self propelled howitzers plus the Fire Direction Center (FDC) and the ammo section, about 70 soldiers in all. My friends just called me "Smoke" as in "Hey Smoke, where to you want us to set up the FDC?" The "firing battery" is the part of an artillery battery that actually sends those 200 pound projectiles downrange and the other part of the artillery battery handles administration and logistics, "ash and trash" is what we called those guys.

gl
« Last Edit: January 19, 2012, 10:47:25 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
« Reply #244 on: January 20, 2012, 12:51:34 AM »

Did you operate the FOUR-DEUCE? I ended up as CHIEF OF SMOKE for an M110 firing battery.

Nothing as sophisticated as you. A simple reservist in the Canadian infantry. 81mm mortar was my specialty. Many years ago.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
« Last Edit: January 20, 2012, 06:11:03 AM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
« Reply #245 on: January 22, 2012, 07:47:04 PM »


What is "obvious" to one may not be obvious to another.

Since that same telegram says "LAE DISPATCH ARRIVED LATE TONIGHT. THINK WE HAVE SOLVED CABLE CREDIT DIFFICULTY," it might be referring to the preceding telegram, address both to Putnam and the Tribune, which read, in part: "ARRANGE CREDIT IF TRIBUNE WISHES MORE STORY."  The Tribune telegram might mean, "We received the telegram from Earhart that asked us to arrange credit for her."  In other words, Putnam does not have to take any further action on that particular request made in the telegram that was sent to both parties.
The problem with that explanation is that the "ARRANGE CREDIT IF TRIBUNE WISHES MORE STORY" radiogram arrived at 5:53 p.m. which I don't think anyone would describe as "ARRIVED LATE TONIGHT. Prior to 6:00 p.m. is normally called "afternoon" not "night" and certainly not "late night." The confirmatory telegram sent out later on the night of the 29th did refer to this radiogram but also to the "DISPATCH" that arrived later, "late night". They apparently arranged credit in response to the 5:53 p.m. telegram that allowed Earhart to send the "dispatch" later that day.

Earhart sent only two "dispatches" to the newspaper, the one in dispute and the second one that was printed several days later. The confirmatory telegram referred to a "dispatch" sent by Earhart from Lae on June 30th, (Lae date and time.) The story printed in the Harold Tribune had the dateline "Lae, New Guinea, June 30th."

I rest my case.


gl
I have filed this motion to reopen this case based on newly discovered evidence that adds further support to my original evidence. Attached hereto, and incorporated herein by reference, is a true and correct copy of a telegram from George Palmer Putnam to Mr. Hill at the New York Herald Tribune dated June 29, 1937. This court is requested to take judicial notice, pursuant to Evidence Code section 452, that this document is maintained in the archives of Purdue University and is equally available to all parties  on Purdue's website here.

Attached hereto, and incorporated herein by reference, is a true and correct copy of an acknowledgment telegram sent by Mr. Hill to George Palmer Putnam at 11:32 p.m. on June 29, 1937. This court is requested to take judicial notice, pursuant to Evidence Code section 452, that this document is maintained in the archives of Purdue University and is equally available to all parties on Purdue's website here.

Comparing this new evidence, the telegram from Mr. Putnam to Mr. Hill, with the previously produced evidence, the acknowledgment telegram from Mr. Hill to Mr. Putnam, makes it clear that Mr. Hill was responding to the telegram from Mr. Putnam by responding to the request contained in the earlier telegram, "PLEASE WIRE IF EARHART LAE STORY REACHED YOU NOTHING RECEIVED HERE." The telegram from Mr. Hill to Mr. Putnam provides the direct response to this question, "LAE DISPATCH ARRIVED LATE TONIGHT."

A reasonable inference from these two telegrams is that Earhart cabled her dispatch directly to the New York office of the New York Herald Tribune and not to the Oakland office where Mr. Putnam was located.

Providing further proof that Mr. Hill was responding to Mr. Putnam's telegram, is that Mr. Hill's telegram also responded to a second request stated in the earlier telegram from Mr. Putnam concerning the photographs for Acme.

This court is requested to rule that the disputed fact, that Amelia Earhart sent both dispatches from Lae to the New York Herald Tribune by telegram or by radiogram or by a combination of both telegram and radiogram, has been proved by a preponderance of admissible evidence and by reasonable inferences drawn therefrom in accordance with Evidence Code section 600(b). As the prevailing party in this action, we also ask this court to issue its order awarding us our costs and against the other party as provided by the Civil Code.
gl
« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 06:43:39 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
« Reply #246 on: January 23, 2012, 04:39:34 PM »

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Regarding which way to offset when starting the search pattern you would normally turn in the direction to take you to an area you haven't been through yet, if that is not the situation you normally offset into the wind, in this case to the east. But for Noonan, since they knew the wind was out of the east and they expected a smoke trail that would extend off to the west, it would be less likely that they missed to the west than that they missed to the east by overshooting the LOP because they would have had to have been much shorter of the LOP to miss the smoke, so they should offset to the west when returning to commence the modified square search pattern.

I see what you are saying. It would make a lot of sense to look for the smoke rather than the Island itself in this case. My question is did they know that a smoke trail was being laid for them or was that something the Itasca did on it's own? Had they used smoke from a boiler on other occasions? One interesting note I found looking over the logs was a reporter who stated that the smoke trail stretch out for miles and was "low on the water". This is very interesting because we can guess that the range of visibility to the smoke was not improved by the altitude of the smoke.


The answer to your question is "Yes" they did know smoke was being laid for them as confirmed by the attached radiogram sent on June 19, 1937 at 1340 Itasca time.

gl

« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 09:08:17 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
« Reply #247 on: January 25, 2012, 12:49:52 AM »

I have attached another chart showing two options for flying from the position reported in the 0718 Z radio transmission to Howland. Flying directly to Howland is 1,716 SM while over flying Nauru to Howland is 1,746 SM, only 30 SM longer, about 12 minutes more flying time, about eight gallons of gas.

The assumption you are making in your calculation is that after flying on the approximation of the great circle route to the 0718 Z position, Noonan then abandoned the preplanned flight segments and started from scratch to add time and distance to the route.  Only if he decides to do so from 0718 Z does he "only" spend 12 minutes and 8 gallons of gas.

But he could have saved even more by flying directly to the Naura light from Lae.

It is you are making the assumption that they had assiduously stayed on the great circle from Lae to Howland which we know is not the case because there is no way your can contort the 0519 Z position report to put them on the great circle route. They apparently thought it prudent to add a few extra miles to the flight to avoid the predicted squall lines on the direct line and to get good visual fixes on those two islands since celestial navigation would not work during that part of the day. Although the 0718 Z position is on the direct line from Lae to Howland it is also on the line from the 0519 Z position over Choiseul to Nauru. Flying directly from Lae to Nauru is 1440 SM while flying over the 0718 Z position, just west of Nukumano, and then on to Nauru is 1451 SM, only 11 SM longer. This is only 5 minutes flying time to be subtracted from the 6 hour reserve (based on the 18 hour enroute estimate and the 24 hours of fuel onboard), I wouldn't lose much sleep over that.   
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He couldn't wait to decide the issue until he missed the Ontario and still have the fuel and time economy that you have calculated--nor the blessed assurance that he would be able to find Nauru as a way of finding where he was.

They had much more assurance of spotting the extremely bright lights at Nauru than they did of spotting the lights of the Ontario, whatever they may have been. Noonan had no assurance that Ontario would be sending out a radio beacon or shining a searchlight (and indeed, that was the case) but he did know that the bright lights at Nauru would be on all night. From 8,000 feet the horizon is 117.8 SM away to which you add the distance the light can be seen from sea level for the 560 foot high light which is 31.2 SM making a total visible distance 149 SM. Even if the working lights were lower than the Nauru lighthouse they would still add about 20 SM making the minimum distance 138 SM. This is less than the 217 SM I had calculated before, (tongue-in cheek,) but still a considerable distance. On the 606 SM leg from Nukumano to Nauru, to be off course by 138 SM, so as to miss the Nauru lights, would require a DR error of 23% which is  more than double the 10% accepted uncertainty in dead reckoning. And because of the brightness of the working lights they would, most likely, have been seen even further away due to their loom. Basically the Nauru lights put up a block across their path 276 SM long, (see attached chart,) impossible to miss.
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You're not talking about the natural variations from a flight path that happen all the time.  You're talking about charting an entirely different course.

Yep.
Why do it, you ask.
In the Army we have "exercises" to make sure everything will work right, when it is needed, because this is serious business, people's lives might depend on it. We load up our vehicles with all the required equipment, inspect our troops to make sure that they have their weapons and all of their equipment, (including their tooth brushes and underwear), in their duffel bags, we crank up the radios and establish the radio net using the proper codes, call signs and frequencies, we start up the vehicles, assemble the convoy and move out down the road. We drive a couple of miles, get the column turned around, then come back in and put everything away. By checking everything, even little things like tooth brushes, we find any problems and correct them now so that we know everything WILL work when needed.

Nauru provided the opportunity for Noonan to "exercise" all of his navigation stuff and Ontario did not provide this opportunity. Noonan knew exactly where Nauru was located, it wasn't going anywhere. Ontario might be on station or it might not. Even if Ontario was trying to maintain its station, its navigators also had positions with a certain amount of uncertainty. Noonan could get a fix over or very close to Nauru and compare his coordinates with the known position of Nauru and if they agreed then he knew his sextant was working right, his chronometer was still correct, he was using the correct page of the Nautical Almanac, he was doing his computations correctly and was doing his chart work properly. If anything was not right then his position would not agree with that of Nauru and Noonan would know he had a problem of some sort.  He had the opportunity to "exercise" the entire navigation system before making the irreversible commitment to Howland since they had not yet passed the PNR so could return to Lae or Rabaul to sort things out.
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I don't see any indication in the radio traffic that supports your contention that Noonan didn't want the Ontario on station around the mid-point of the flight.  Quite the contrary.
No reason not to have Ontario there since it gave Noonan a chance to "exercise" the RDF if Ontario was broadcasting, but it wasn't. So from that point they had to have some suspicion of their radio, if they didn't already, but they couldn't be sure if it was their radio or if the Ontario was at fault. Either way, they had no assurance that they could use the RDF to find Howland so this would make the celestial navigation "exercise" over Nauru even more important. This would have been a good point to turn around when they didn't hear Ontario since they were putting all of their eggs into one basket. (Well worth adding just a few extra miles to the flight, don't you think?)

gl
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 06:21:50 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Heath Smith

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Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
« Reply #248 on: January 25, 2012, 04:03:16 AM »

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From 8,000 feet the horizon is 117.8 SM away to which you add the distance the light can be seen at sea level for the 560 foot high light which is 31.2 SM making a total visible distance 149 SM.

I believe the maximum distance that they could have seen the lights at 560ft from 8,000ft is 121 SM, but that is not really significant.

Your theory requires that they flew directly at Nauru from the 7:18 GMT report. If they did this wouldn't you expect more radio traffic between Nauru than a single report ("a ship ahead") at 10:30 GMT as they would have been in radio range of Nauru for an extended period of time?

This also negates any value of the flight plan that accounted for magnetic variances. I think that area is really neglected in the conversations about the significance of the flight plan and why you would want to stick to it.

This also negates FN's ability to take celestial observations. If he had this excellent track record of doing so, why would he need a land reference? As I recall the Ontario logged that the weather conditions were very good (40 mile visibility) and he should have easily been able to take readings.

Maybe it is just me but this would seem to be more the behavior of a navigator gone rouge, completely abandoning the flight plan and all the preparations that preceded it.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
« Reply #249 on: January 25, 2012, 04:40:44 AM »

From 8,000 feet the horizon is 117.8 SM away to which you add the distance the light can be seen at sea level for the 560 foot high light which is 31.2 SM making a total visible distance 149 SM.

I believe the maximum distance that they could have seen the lights at 560ft from 8,000ft is 121 SM, but that is not really significant.
The formula is 1.32 times the square root of the height. For 8,000 feet this equals 118.1 SM. Then you do the same for the height of the light, 560 feet which produces 31.2 SM. "Put 'em together and what have you got?" 149.3 SM.
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Your theory requires that they flew directly at Nauru from the 7:18 GMT report. If they did this wouldn't you expect more radio traffic between Nauru than a single report ("a ship ahead") at 10:30 GMT as they would have been in radio range of Nauru for an extended period of time?
Earhart was taciturn based on the dearth of radio transmissions.
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This also negates any value of the flight plan that accounted for magnetic variances. I think that area is really neglected in the conversations about the significance of the flight plan and why you would want to stick to it.

Applying magnetic variation is trivial and pilots and navigators do it all the time. No reason to use Williams' charts for this since variation is printed on all flight and marine charts. You simply look for the isogonic line in your vicinity, read off the variation, and apply it to your true course. This is really simple stuff. Look at this chart. The dashed line running upward just to the west of Nukumano in the isogonic line labeled "8° E." And look at Noonan's Atlantic chart. The isogonic lines are also dashed lines and are easiest to see near the lower left corner of the chart.
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This also negates FN's ability to take celestial observations. If he had this excellent track record of doing so, why would he need a land reference? As I recall the Ontario logged that the weather conditions were very good (40 mile visibility) and he should have easily been able to take readings.
No it doesn't. My point is that he would take a celestial observation over Nauru so that he could compare what he computed for his celestially derived position with the known correct answer, the location of Nauru, so he could make sure everything was working right.
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Maybe it is just me but this would seem to be more the behavior of a navigator gone rouge, completely abandoning the flight plan and all the preparations that preceded it.
Yes, it is just you.
I'll say it one more time. The strip chart was a planning document, not meant to be used in flight. It was prepared to assist Earhart in planning her route, times enroute, fuel required to be pre-positioned, etc. It was prepared by a different navigator, Clarence Williams, who did not have Noonan's experience. What do you even know about Williams' qualifications to even make the strip chart? It was prepared for a flight going in the opposite direction so why would you expect the more experienced navigator, Noonan, to slavishly follow a strip chart drawn by a less qualified person for a different flight, a flight FROM Howland TO Lae? Noonan had his own marine charts of a much larger scale and much more detail than William's strip chart to plot his, Noonan's, course line and his fixes just like the Atlantic chart. Noonan also had current information such as the lights on Nauru and the current weather such as storms to be avoided. Williams had none of this. We don't have Noonan's chart showing the route he planned for the flight from Lae to Howland since he took it with him on the flight, so how can you say that he abandoned his flight plan, you do not know what his flight plan was. His Atlantic chart shows his work which is different than Williams. He used the best charts he could find and those were marine charts and you can see many that he used at the Purdue archives.

gl
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 05:17:29 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
« Reply #250 on: January 25, 2012, 11:15:39 AM »


Gary
You are right on.
When I was in the Army we did everything as you described.  Practice, Practice, Practice until we got it right.  Then Practice again.

With your browser, look up The Lincoln Highway, Military Convoy, 1919,   Eisenhower.  An interesting, but sometimes boring, report of the first military convoy across the US (coast to coast) on the first, and then the only, hard surface road across the US, The Lincoln Highway.
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Heath Smith

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Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
« Reply #251 on: January 25, 2012, 02:50:27 PM »

Quote
The formula is 1.32 times the square root of the height. For 8,000 feet this equals 118.1 SM. Then you do the same for the height of the light, 560 feet which produces 31.2 SM. "Put 'em together and what have you got?" 149.3 SM.

You cannot just add the two together. Try again.

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Earhart was taciturn based on the dearth of radio transmissions.

Because she was not heard this is not proof that she was not transmitting.

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Applying magnetic variation is trivial and pilots and navigators do it all the time.

If everything is trivial, why even create a flight plan? I suggest that it was not trivial and the fact they did not make it to Howland as proof.

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Noonan, to slavishly follow a strip chart drawn by a less qualified person for a different flight, a flight FROM Howland TO Lae?

Because he was hired as a navigator. This does not give him liberty to create a flight plan as he saw fit on a whim. If this were the case, I am sure that this would have been communicated in one form or another. I see no evidence that this was the case. The fact that they made it back to the flight line at 7:19 GMT contradicts this theory. If you took a match to the flight plan, there was no reason to head back to the flight line. If FN was so expert as to trash the flight plan, and head to Nauru, the heading from 5:19 GMT to 7:19 GMT makes no sense at all.

I do not think there is any evidence of the Electra heading to Nauru so I will drop it there.

« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 06:48:26 PM by Heath Smith »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
« Reply #252 on: January 25, 2012, 07:04:11 PM »

Quote
The formula is 1.32 times the square root of the height. For 8,000 feet this equals 118.1 SM. Then you do the same for the height of the light, 560 feet which produces 31.2 SM. "Put 'em together and what have you got?" 149.3 SM.

You cannot just add the two together. Try again.

Of course you can add the two distances together, in fact, you must. I posted excerpts from THE standard navigation text on this subject before and, for your convenience, I am attaching it again. This text explains how you compute the range of a light, taking into account the height of the light and the height of the observer. Take a moment to read it and look at the diagram at the bottom of the page. Take a look at my prior post.

gl
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 10:36:19 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
« Reply #253 on: January 26, 2012, 12:06:37 AM »

Applying magnetic variation is trivial and pilots and navigators do it all the time.

If everything is trivial, why even create a flight plan? I suggest that it was not trivial and the fact they did not make it to Howland as proof.
As I said, applying variation is trivial, and every student pilot masters this requirement prior to their first cross-country flight, usually within 20 hours of their first flying lesson, during which time the student has also spent a little bit of his time learning to fly the airplane too.

Quote
Because he was hired as a navigator. This does not give him liberty to create a flight plan as he saw fit on a whim. If this were the case, I am sure that this would have been communicated in one form or another. I see no evidence that this was the case. The fact that they made it back to the flight line at 7:19 GMT contradicts this theory. If you took a match to the flight plan, there was no reason to head back to the flight line. If FN was so expert as to trash the flight plan, and head to Nauru, the heading from 5:19 GMT to 7:19 GMT makes no sense at all.

Oh yes it does, that is what a navigator is hired to do, that is why he gets paid the big bucks. It is his responsibility to decide how to navigate the aircraft from point a to point b, he is the only one with the knowledge in the plane who can do that.

There is an old joke. A new navigator is assigned to a B-24, flying bombing missions over the western Pacific during WWII, taking off from Moritai island and bombing Borneo. The pilot had a reputation of being a "hard ass." He yelled for the new navigator to come up to the cockpit. The pilot then pulled his .45 out of his shoulder holster, slapped it down on top of the instrument panel and yelled at the navigator, "I'll shoot any damned navigator that gets us lost!"

The navigator thought for a moment and then followed suit. He pulled his .45 out, slapped it down on top of the instrument panel and said to the captain, "if we get lost, I'll know it before you do!"

When you cut right to the chase, out over the ocean on the way to Howland, Earhart had been reduced to the status of a helmsman who had to steer the headings given to her on a note by Noonan. Earhart had no way herself to determine what way she should point the nose of the plane in order to ever see land again. She had no way to know what island the heading given to her by Noonan was taking them. On her prior ocean crossing flights, solo across the Atlantic and solo from Hawaii to California, she was dead reckoning and aiming for continents that she could not miss. The only issue on those flights was reliability of the engines and having sufficient fuel to reach the continent ahead of her. It did not matter if she wandered off course far to the right or left, as long as the engine kept making noise for a long enough period of time, she was guaranteed of reaching dry land.

And you still keep referring to "the flight plan." As I have said before, we do not have their "flight plan" we only have a preliminary planning document prepared months before by a different person for an entirely different flight in the opposite direction with very different navigational considerations. Whatever flight plan Earhart and Noonan came up with incorporated a detour around the predicted storms based on current information that they had that was not available when Williams drew his strip chart many months before. Earhart and Noonan also had new information about the lights on Nauru that Williams did not have. If Williams did know about the Nauru lights he might have drawn his strip chart to go over Nauru, or maybe not, since it was a much easier route going towards Lae than going towards Howland. Noonan would have been remiss as a navigator if he didn't take these factors into account in making the actual flight plan for the actual flight from Lae to Howland. By the way, do you have any proof that they even took Williams' strip chart with them? (the document that you like to refer to as "the flight plan.") This actual strip chart is now in the Purdue collection so we know that chart did not go on the flight. Was a copy of it made to carry with them? do you have any proof? Actually there is evidence that they did not take a copy of this strip chart with them. This is not the only strip chart that Williams prepared, he made one for each leg of the route around the world. The entire set of strip charts is at Purdue so we know that none of the originals went with them. We only know of one copy of his strip charts that actually went on the flight, the one for the leg from California to Hawaii because Purdue has this copy with its hand written notations. Purdue doesn't have any other such strip charts for any of the other legs. Earhart sent back her charts when they had completed each leg and they are all at Purdue, an example of which is the Natal to Dakar chart that I have on my website. If they had also been carrying Williams' handywork with them then these strip charts would also have been sent back along with the other charts and we would find this second copy, most likely bearing some notations similar to the one for the Hawaiian flight, at Purdue and they are not there. So it looks like they left Mr. Williams behind when they started around the world eastbound.

In fact, for the Lae to Howland leg it is quite likely that they had "abandoned" Williams' "flight plan"  even before they left the States. Noonan looked at the Williams' plan and said "no way, it is an entirely different navigational situation going to Howland than going the other way, towards Lae, which is basically aiming for a continent. I will work out a proper plan for this much more difficult route taking advantage of everything I can find along the route based on my experience of flying over the Pacific, experience that your Mr. Williams lacks." He may have planned to overfly Nauru even before leaving the States and certainly prior to departing Lae. Is there any evidence of this, you ask. Yep, the telegram from Nauru. Do you think the Nauruians just woke up one  morning and said to themselves "gee, let's send an unsolicited message concerning the lights here on this island to Lae." Or is it more likely that it was sent in response to a telegram from Earhart asking for that information since she and Noonan had already been planning to fly over Nauru? Which is the more likely explanation of the Nauru telegram?

You also apparently missed this in my prior post which responds to your last question:

"Although the 0718 Z position is on the direct line from Lae to Howland it is also on the line from the 0519 Z position over Choiseul to Nauru."

When I lived in Chicago, I used to fly down to the Caribbean every winter to charter a sailboat. We would take off from Midway airport around midnight, overhead Chattanooga, land for fuel at Atlanta about dawn, overhead Jacksonville and then fly down the beach all the way to Ft. Liquordale. There we would rent a life raft, top off the tanks, fly east over Bimini before turning southeast and then landing on Grand Turk where we RONed, drank some pina coladas, and listened to some reggae. Next day we took off early, landed in the British Virgin Islands at the Beef Island airport and picked up the boat at noon. That was my standard flight plan. I haven't flown it in 30 years but I still remember that it was 1019 nautical miles from Midway to Ft. Lauderdale. But, even though that was my standard flight plan, there were many times when I didn't follow it. It was common to run into weather over Chattanooga where you run into the mountains, mountains make weather, so I would change my plan and head for Birmingham for fuel then this route took me down the center of Florida instead along the beach. Plans are made to be changed based on new information.

Noonan and Earhart did exactly what any flight crew would do, make new plans that incorporated new information. Airplanes do not run on rails nor are they constrained by lines painted on pavement, they can go anywhere they please on a whim, making changes in their route "on the fly."

If you can't get your head around flying examples then here is an example for our ground bound frends. Say you are planning a trip from Chicago to LA on United Airlines and when in LA you also plan to rent a car and drive out to Palm Springs. You ask a friend of yours, who is familiar with LA, his recommended driving route from LA to Palm Springs and he draws a line on a road map down "The 10" (Interstate 10) which goes to Palm Springs. But something comes up and you have to postpone your trip for several months, then when you are checking airlines you find that there is an inexpensive direct flight from Chicago to Palm Springs and you go that way. While in Palm Springs you still want to visit LA so you rent a car and plan to drive into LA and you still have your friend's road map with you. But, you see on TV that there is construction work on the westbound side of the "The 10"  so you look at the road map, and then decide to take "The 60" instead of "The 10" since that road also goes into LA. You are not bound by the line drawn by your fiend on the road map that prevents you from considering new information and choosing a better route
gl
« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 03:27:27 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The flight plan, magnetic course, headwinds.
« Reply #254 on: January 26, 2012, 12:17:23 AM »

Interesting argument about diverting to Nauru.  I don't buy it.

Too much construct, too little motive for AE and FN to have done it when I look at the whole context.  Why would FN drive extra complexity into the effort?  As 'simple' as it is for the navigator making a pure case here, it also would drive many more opportunities into the flight for error.

Is that the sum of your point, Gary?  That FN  pressed an exercise into the flight which compounded opportunties for error - and that the pair finally got caught in that web somehow? 
Can you describe how Noonan's taking the normal celestial sights, that were already part of the plan, only this time taking some of those  sights over a brightly lit island that they could find just by ("go to the light, Luke" ) following the lights in from 150 miles out, which provided a reliable visual checkpoint, provided compounded opportunties for error ?

gl
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