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Author Topic: Waitt search report.  (Read 64471 times)

JNev

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Re: Waitt search report.
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2012, 10:51:41 AM »

I have never been able to understand why there has been such a rub over 'when' in the first hour of daylight the shot might have been made, given that we can understand that the sun's azimuth was constant for an hour after sunrise.  The point seems to be that a shot made at any reasonable time within that hour would have been a reliable way to establish a LOP.

That's something I've learned from Gary.  In my talks and writing, I've been guilty of speaking as if the observation could only be made at the crack of dawn.



That is the only point I have been trying to make, he didn't just have one opportunity to establish his position in relationship to the 157°-337° LOP running through Howland but could, and probably did (based on the published navigation manuals of the time as the normal procedure) take a number of such observations, each one leading to a more accurate measure of the distance remaining to the point of interception. And (again according to contemporary manuals including the one written by Noonan's friend P.V.H. Weems) the normal procedure was to then take additional observations while following the LOP to ensure accurately staying on the LOP.

gl

In reading this again I am struck (again) that it makes no sense for FN to have not been able to get very close to Howland.  From what we know of the weather and visibility, a number of sun shots should have been easy enough, and there is nothing in AE's remarks about there being a problem with that part of the navigation.  Her report of being on the line at least strongly suggests, despite the pilotage / DR possibilities, that some form of celnav was at work.

'Visibility' for whatever set of reasons seems to be a real issue - if not of the heavens, then of the sea and what lay there.  Somehow they don't seem to have gotten nearly as close to Howland as AE seemed to believe in her reports - not only was Itasca listening and watching carefully, but Kamakaiwi reported a dispersal of eager crew out at the runways, etc. to keep watch, and finally he and his crew "keeping "a shart lookout, with a field glass, on all horizons" after the plane was last hear from, so there does not seem to be any lack of attention from the surface.  Of course he wrote that after the fact, but he describes an eager crowd who wanted to see the airplane arrive, etc.

Visibility of the island and ship from the air could have been a problem for many reasons - including distance: that somehow Noonan's celnav still never got them as close as he though for some reason.  I don't understand that so well, given that FN should have been able to not only establish a LOP, but to find their point of intercept as Gary mentions.  Gary's personally familiar with using the same technique as a 'preventer' (back-up to his primary navigation over the ocean) to ensure his own landfalls and may have some ideas of what could go wrong, and perhaps how close or distant that may have left the flight from Howland.

Given what celnav can to (latitude and longitude placement) I am left considering whether NR16020 really did arrive more closely than some of us think - but never saw the smoke from Itasca or the island due to glare, haze, shadows - or some combination.  If they were low, below a cloud deck, it seems a silhoutte of Itasca might be visible, if not the low-lying island.  1000 feet was mentioned at some point, if memory serves, but that might be a few hundred too high for that kind of sighting.

No one on Itasca or Howland saw or heard the plane either, obviously.

Confound it.  Despite what FN should have been able to do with his celnav, NR16020 just somehow doesn't get near to Howland after all, and for some reason if a reliable LOP was defined, it doesn't look like they located a particular latitude along that line either - until perhaps further 'down' the LOP.  Otherwise it seems that FN should have been able to get them much closer to Howland after all.  Maybe the sun just wasn't high enough during the time they should have been near Howland to determine latitude, and that only followed after time passed and the flight was further toward the Phoenix group, along the LOP.

I am taken back to Hooven's report and note the thing he and TIGHAR seem to hold in common: arrival at the Phoenix islands.  Where Hooven departs is in trying to understand how the navy could have possibly missed the pair - he goes the Japanese capture route.  That almost seems bizarre to me - and could almost make me walk away from Hooven's view, except for one thing (in addition to his scholarly ability and approach): he was trying very hard to answer how the two came to be missing from the few places they might have made landfall.  In his understanding, they had simply been made to disappear.  That is a very haunting question for all of us who believe they landed at Gardner, but Hooven never had the information we have today from TIGHAR's findings on Niku.

I largely share Hooven's belief as to where the flight could have gone; I don't share his explanation for the disappearance of the survivors and their plane.  I can only imagine that it was just enough of a bad day for FN as he was trying to find Howland, had none of the DF steer he was hoping for, and for AE as she was trying to fly to it and spot it, that laying eyes on Howland just couldn't happen.  I am left seeing how perhaps FN was able to eventually help her find the Phoenix group, and that the Electra likely ended-up there by flying a heading along that LOP.

Thanks, Gary, for the explanation on celnav.  As I've said, it's 'confounding' to me that FN didn't somehow still find Howland, but that's what we're stuck with at a base level.

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Gary LaPook

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Re: Waitt search report.
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2012, 11:31:05 AM »


Did someone invent this 'pause' theory "ONE FIFTY (PAUSE) SEVEN EAST" to fit the time stamps? Is there any real written evidence that suggest that this was the case?

Did they also say "SEVEN (PAUSE) THREE SOUTH"?

Or was it really "ONE FIFTY SEVEN POINT SEVEN EAST SEVEN POINT THREE SOUTH" as we have assumed?
Yes, I just did, copyright 2012.

The fact that 157° east fits the time stamp and 150° 07' east does not is "real evidence" that this is the case.

Written evidence, yes. We know that using the "." (point) was Balfour's notation for separating degrees from minutes from the radiogram from Nauru, (see attached.) Navigators state positions in degrees and minutes not in decimal degrees and do not use the "point" to separate the two in spoken position reports nor even in written notation. A navigator would state it just as I said, "ONE FIFTY SEVEN EAST." If the real value was 150° 07' east he would have said "ONE FIFTY (pause) SEVEN EAST" or "ONE FIFTY ZERO SEVEN EAST" or "ONE FIFTY OH SEVEN EAST." Did they also say  "SEVEN (PAUSE) THREE SOUTH" yes, and there was no ambiguity because 73° south is 3900 NM further south. The only time a navigator would use the "point" in giving a position would be if he was giving it to a precision of one-tenth of a minute which would only be of concern to a surface navigator as flight navigation is never attainable to that level of precision. For example, if a ship's navigator had determined the erroneous position to a high level of precision, say 150° 07.3' east, he might have transmitted, "ONE FIFTY (pause) SEVEN POINT THREE EAST" or "ONE FIFTY ZERO SEVEN POINT THREE EAST" or "ONE FIFTY OH SEVEN POINT THREE EAST." This has been standard since well before Noonan's time as a review of any navigation text will confirm.

Your riposte, "but it wasn't Noonan on the radio, it was Earhart." O.K., pilots don't talk that way either, see an example of pilot speak I posted here.

The most likely explanation of the errant "point" is that Balfour supplied it himself. Do we have any evidence of this?  Yes! We don't have to look any farther than the telegram from Nauru to show Balfour's notation. He gives the location of the light as "lat.0.32 S Long.16.55 East". (Didn't anybody else notice the error in this location? that location is in the Congo in Africa!) The correct longitude for Nauru is 166° 55' East. In addition to inserting "points" we see that Balfour doesn't do a perfect job as shown by the errors in the Nauru telegram, the wrong longitude and the wrong height for the light, he added an extra zero to the height of the light.

The other evidence, as I pointed out, is that there was no way for Noonan to determine that erroneous position since it was in the open sea with no land nearby as a landmark and celestial navigation could not have provided those erroneous coordinates.


gl
« Last Edit: January 16, 2012, 03:25:51 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Heath Smith

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Re: Waitt search report.
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2012, 06:18:59 PM »


What about the .32S? While not completely accurate, it is close.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Waitt search report.
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2012, 11:06:45 PM »


What about the .32S? While not completely accurate, it is close.
To the level of precision attainable in flight navigation, to the nearest minute of latitude  and longitude, the position of Nauru is 0° 32' south, 166° 55' east.
gl
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Heath Smith

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Re: Waitt search report.
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2012, 06:25:40 AM »


Looking at that telegram it is pretty sloppy in general. It looks like the person typing it was drunk. This is where the 5600ft altitude came from instead of the 560ft. There is also the 29.908 barometer?

It might have read 0.32S 165.5E which is close to 0° 32' south, 166° 55' east.

Perhaps Balfour preferred to work in decimal and actually converted the coordinates given by AE? Maybe he heard "SEVEN ZERO ELEVEN SOUTH ONE FIFTY ZERO FOUR TWO" and gave the decimal equivalent?

It is too bad all of these folks are deceased.

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Heath Smith

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Re: Waitt search report.
« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2012, 07:41:05 AM »


Here is another example of sloppy record keeping, even by two people that were at Lae.

Collopy: "At about three p.m. a message came through to the effect that they were at 10,000 feet but were going to reduce altitude because of thick banks of cumulus clouds. The next and last message was to the effect that they were at 7,000 feet and making 150 knots, this message was received at approx. 5 p.m."

Chater: "These reports were then transmitted by the Lae Operator by radio telephone during each hourly transmission time arranged by Miss Earhart until 5.20 p.m. local time. Arrangements had been made between the plane and Lae station to call at 18 minutes past each hour and arrangements made to pass any late weather information, but local interference prevented signals from the plane being intelligible until 2.18 p.m. The Lae Operator heard the following on 6210 KC –“HEIGHT 7000 FEET SPEED 140 KNOTS” and some remark concerning “LAE” then “EVERYTHING OKAY”. The plane was called and asked to repeat position but we still could not get it. The next report was received at 3.19 pm on 6210 KC – “HEIGHT 10000 FEET POSITION 150.7 east 7.3 south CUMULUS CLOUDS EVERYTHING OKAY”. The next report received at 5.18 p.m. “POSITION 4.33 SOUTH 159.7 EAST HEIGHT 8000 FEET OVER CUMULUS CLOUDS WIND 23 KNOTS”.

1) Collopy says "about 3pm" and "about 5pm", 3:19pm and 5:19pm are not "about" the top of the hour.

2) Collopy mentions a plan to reduce altitude at 3pm from 10,000ft to avoid because of a "thick banks of cumulus clouds", not mentioned by Chater. While the clouds are reported by Chater a plan to reduce altitude is not.

3) Collopy says that around 5pm, they were at 7,000ft making 150 knots, Chater says 8,000ft making no mention of air speed but instead mentions being 'over the clouds' and reports the head winds at 23 knots

All in all, I would says Collopy was probably inventing information. He was not at the radio and received this information second hand.

It really is no wonder that all of this information is suspect.

I am beginning to wonder if they really did take off at 10:00am local Lae (12:00GMT). Maybe that is when they left the hanger and due to the excitement of the moment they lost all track of time. Perhaps she slowly made her way to the end of the runway and warmed up the engines and perform their pre-flight checks. The might not have departed for an additional 20 minutes or more.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Waitt search report.
« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2012, 09:53:20 AM »

3) Collopy says that around 5pm, they were at 7,000ft making 150 knots, Chater says 8,000ft making no mention of air speed but instead mentions being 'over the clouds' and reports the head winds at 23 knots

You're doing it yourself.  Chater said nothing about headwinds.  He said that Earhart said "WIND 23 KNOTS."

All in all, I would says Collopy was probably inventing information. He was not at the radio and received this information second hand.

It really is no wonder that all of this information is suspect.

I am beginning to wonder if they really did take off at 10:00am local Lae (12:00GMT). Maybe that is when they left the hanger and due to the excitement of the moment they lost all track of time. Perhaps she slowly made her way to the end of the runway and warmed up the engines and perform their pre-flight checks. The might not have departed for an additional 20 minutes or more.

I agree and yet, using these suspect numbers, millions of dollars of deep-sea searching have been spent based on down-to-the minute calculations of where the airplane was at 20:13Z - the (erroneously) presumed time of Earhart's last in-flight message heard by Itasca.

TIGHAR board member/ former United Airlines instructor pilot/ NASA consultant Capt. "Skeet" Gifford has a saying:
"Measure with micrometer; mark with chalk; cut with an axe."
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Heath Smith

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Re: Waitt search report.
« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2012, 01:23:49 PM »

Quote
You're doing it yourself.  Chater said nothing about headwinds.  He said that Earhart said "WIND 23 KNOTS."

I meant that he stated the 23 knot head wind in his report stating that this came from Earhart, but did it really? This was probably 2nd hand information from the radio operator Balfour. Who knows though, he might have even have fabricated that as well. If Collopy could not keep the story straight, who says that Chater was not inserting bogus observations as well. It sounds like these 3 sat around and exchanged ideas after the fact. If you asked the three you would probably have three different stories.

From what I understand there was a telegram out of Lae that stated Noonan himself measured the 23 knots while still at Lae. Given the constructions of these reports after the fact, I would not be surprised to learn the report from Chater was another fabrication either by himself or by Balfour.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Waitt search report.
« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2012, 04:12:29 PM »

Quote
You're doing it yourself.  Chater said nothing about headwinds.  He said that Earhart said "WIND 23 KNOTS."

I meant that he stated the 23 knot head wind in his report stating that this came from Earhart, but did it really?

You miss my point.  Chater DID NOT state a 23 knot head wind in his report.  All he did is quote Earhart, "WIND 23 KNOTS."  Maybe it was a 23 knot head wind. Maybe it was a 23 knot tail wind.  Maybe it was a 23 knot cross wind. There is no way to know. By calling it a "head wind" you're treating your own supposition as a fact.

This was probably 2nd hand information from the radio operator Balfour. Who knows though, he might have even have fabricated that as well. If Collopy could not keep the story straight, who says that Chater was not inserting bogus observations as well. It sounds like these 3 sat around and exchanged ideas after the fact. If you asked the three you would probably have three different stories.

Chater's letter was written on July 25 - roughly two weeks after the events he described.  Collopy's letter was written on August 28 - nearly two months after the events he described.  I see no reason to think that anyone was inserting bogus information.  I think they were both remembering as best they could.  It would be surprising if there weren't discrepancies in their recollections.

From what I understand there was a telegram out of Lae that stated Noonan himself measured the 23 knots while still at Lae. Given the constructions of these reports after the fact, I would not be surprised to learn the report from Chater was another fabrication either by himself or by Balfour.

I'm not aware of any such telegram.
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Richard C Cooke

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Re: Waitt search report.
« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2012, 04:26:50 PM »

From what I understand there was a telegram out of Lae that stated Noonan himself measured the 23 knots while still at Lae. Given the constructions of these reports after the fact, I would not be surprised to learn the report from Chater was another fabrication either by himself or by Balfour.
If they had measured a 23kn headwind then I hope they would not have left because they would know that if sustained they would arrive at Howland on fumes.

rc
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Waitt search report.
« Reply #25 on: January 15, 2012, 04:37:42 PM »

If they had measured a 23kn headwind then I hope they would not have left because they would know that if sustained they would arrive at Howland on fumes.

Of course nobody had any way of measuring winds aloft anywhere along the route.  Lae did not even have a meteorologist.
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Heath Smith

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Re: Waitt search report.
« Reply #26 on: January 15, 2012, 04:41:56 PM »

Quote
Quote
From what I understand there was a telegram out of Lae that stated Noonan himself measured the 23 knots while still at Lae. Given the constructions of these reports after the fact, I would not be surprised to learn the report from Chater was another fabrication either by himself or by Balfour.

I'm not aware of any such telegram.

You are correct, I had mis-read another quote.
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richie conroy

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Re: Waitt search report.
« Reply #27 on: January 15, 2012, 04:54:28 PM »

can some 1 tell me the order these logs are suppose to be in from start to finish plz

http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/Bulletins/37_ItascaLogs/PDF.html
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Waitt search report.
« Reply #28 on: January 15, 2012, 05:26:25 PM »

can some 1 tell me the order these logs are suppose to be in from start to finish plz

There is a log for Position 1 and a log for Position 2.  There were kept simultaneously. 

So Page 1 of the log for Position 1 covers roughly the same time period as Page 1 of the log for Position 2 - and so on.
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richie conroy

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Re: Waitt search report.
« Reply #29 on: January 15, 2012, 06:03:46 PM »

so position 2 page 3, that was when amelia was last heard saying running on line N ES S at 08:43

an was never heard of again.

now the reason am asking is because if u scroll down page to log 10:00-2 it says

NRUI2 V NRUI: - PER TO / GET THE RDO COMPASS WRKING NOW, 7500

NRUI2 Call sign of high frequency direction finder on Howland Island.

does this log mean the radio compass were'nt working till this time... or does it mean get it working on 7500 ?
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