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Author Topic: TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTYONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND  (Read 13696 times)

Gary LaPook

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TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTYONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND
« on: January 13, 2012, 01:01:47 AM »

On page 82 of Finding Amelia Ric quotes from the July 1st message from Earhart to Itasca stating "Due local conditions, take-off delayed until 21:30 GCT  (sic), July 2nd..." On the next page Ric goes on "Earhart was saying that she intended to take off from Lae at 7:30 AM on Friday, July 2." I have attached a copy of this message.
Earhart sent a similar radiogram to Putnam stating the same takeoff time. I have also attached a copy on this radiogram.

The problem with Ric's interpretation is that the wording is as clear as it could possibly be:

"TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTYONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND"

which would be, in Lae, 7:30 AM on Saturday, July 3rd, not Friday, the 2nd. The notations on the second radiogram also come up with the same 7:30 AM Lae time for the departure (but doesn't state the date) and then adds 19 hours to estimate the time of arrival at Howland, 1630 GMT and 4:30 AM at Howland. The last time shown, 9:30 AM PST is in error, it should be 8:30 AM PST. These times would all be on July 3rd. ( Note, the person doing these calculations used a zone description for Howland Island of +12 hours, not the +11:30 actually being used by Itasca.) It is also interesting that whoever it was that did these penciled calculations used a 19 hour estimate for the enroute time and not Williams' 17:01 or even the 18 hours in the departure telegram. So, it would not have been surprising to this guy that Earhart reported "must be on you" at 19:12 after takeoff.

But, in fact, Earhart actually took off at 10:00 AM, Friday July 2nd which was 0000 GMT July 2nd, twenty-one and a half hours sooner than what they had told the Itasca and Putnam. It is amazing that Itasca was even prepared to monitor the radios twenty-one and a half hours earlier than what Itasca had been told was the expected departure time.

Ric is not alone with this problem, I haven't found any other book that remarks on this discrepancy.

gl
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 02:03:34 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTY ONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2012, 06:28:07 AM »

Does this mean all the historical data is wrong by 1 day? So they departed one day EARLIER?
Hum. Then Itasca would have not been listening 1 day earlier. But----They heard her inflight. Idont get it--
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Gary LaPook

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Re: TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTYONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2012, 10:44:36 AM »

Does this mean all the historical data is wrong by 1 day? So they departed one day EARLIER?
Hum. Then Itasca would have not been listening 1 day earlier. But----They heard her inflight. Idont get it--
They did receive a radiogram reporting the takeoff so they had some time to prepare but they might have had to scramble to get it done. They might have taken to opportunity to go down at Baker Island since the first message told them they had lots of time to take care of their other duties. See attached.

gl
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 02:04:27 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTYONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2012, 10:22:18 PM »

Does this mean all the historical data is wrong by 1 day? So they departed one day EARLIER?
Hum. Then Itasca would have not been listening 1 day earlier. But----They heard her inflight. Idont get it--
They did receive a radiogram reporting the takeoff so they had some time to prepare but they might have had to scramble to get it done. They might have taken to opportunity to go down at Baker Island since the first message told them they had lots of time to take care of their other duties. See attached.

gl

I'm surprised that there has not been some discussion about this.
gl
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 02:04:54 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTY ONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2012, 06:44:01 AM »

AE appears to have been oblivious by the way she gave the date and time per location.

She seems to have given the planned hour for takeoff as Greenwich Mean Time, but given the planned day for takeoff as local time.

"TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTY ONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND"

So far as I know, none of the contemporary accounts express surprise that she took off from Lae on 2 July (local time) rather than 3 July.  The hour of takeoff does not seem to have been correctly communicated in advance of the takeoff--I think there are some indications of urgency in trying to get that detail communicated to the Itasca.

So, even though Gary's complaint is technically correct, what she meant should probably be defined by what she did, rather than by she said in the telegram.  It seems as though she didn't think about the GMT date when she was working out the GMT time.

After spending hours and hours--and making dozens of mistakes myself--in working out the relationship between timezones--I'm willing to cut AE some slack here.  It's an easy mistake to make, and it does not seem (in my view) to be part of the accident chain.  Even if she had gotten this telegram correct (1 July 2130 GMT = 2 July 0730 Lae), it wouldn't have saved her.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTYONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2012, 11:41:59 AM »

AE appears to have been oblivious by the way she gave the date and time per location.

She seems to have given the planned hour for takeoff as Greenwich Mean Time, but given the planned day for takeoff as local time.

"TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTY ONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND"

So far as I know, none of the contemporary accounts express surprise that she took off from Lae on 2 July (local time) rather than 3 July.  The hour of takeoff does not seem to have been correctly communicated in advance of the takeoff--I think there are some indications of urgency in trying to get that detail communicated to the Itasca.

So, even though Gary's complaint is technically correct, what she meant should probably be defined by what she did, rather than by she said in the telegram.  It seems as though she didn't think about the GMT date when she was working out the GMT time.

After spending hours and hours--and making dozens of mistakes myself--in working out the relationship between timezones--I'm willing to cut AE some slack here.  It's an easy mistake to make, and it does not seem (in my view) to be part of the accident chain.  Even if she had gotten this telegram correct (1 July 2130 GMT = 2 July 0730 Lae), it wouldn't have saved her.
I wouldn't be at all surprised that your explanation is the correct one, that Earhart just got the date wrong. This would mean that she actually planned to take off at 2130 GMT July 1st but she actually took off at 2400 GMT July 1st (0000 GMT July 2nd) so she actually took off two and half hours later than she had planned, no big deal. However, for the Itasca, the radiogram, on its face, is as clear as could be and they would have had no reason to suspect an error in the time and date in the radiogram considering how many other times Earhart had notified them of delays.  They would have had no reason to question an extra day of rest and maintenance on the plane because it was certainly reasonable. Itasca never received any notification that this was an error so, to them, the plane did take off 21 and a 1/2 hours earlier than they expected and Itasca didn't receive any information until many hours after that takeoff that Earhart was on her way. If I were Thompson I would have been P.O.ed. (the term "dizzy dame" comes immediately to mind.)

And it might actually have had an effect on the outcome. I am speculating here, but they might have planned a better power supply for the Howland Island HF RDF but they didn't see any reason for haste, planning to do it the next day when they expected Earhart. Perhaps they had drained the batteries for the RDF practicing with it, planning to recharge them the next day and then didn't have the time to do so when Earhart popped up 21 - 1/2 hours sooner than expected.

gl
« Last Edit: January 24, 2012, 10:03:06 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTYONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2012, 02:37:18 PM »

AE appears to have been oblivious by the way she gave the date and time per location.

She seems to have given the planned hour for takeoff as Greenwich Mean Time, but given the planned day for takeoff as local time.

"TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTY ONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND"


I wouldn't be at all surprised that your explanation is the correct one, that Earhart just got the date wrong. This would mean that she actually planned to take off at 2130 GMT July 1st but she actually took off at 2400 GMT July 1st (0000 GMT July 2nd) so she actually took off two and half hours later than she had planned. However, for the Itasca, the radiogram, on its face, is as clear as could be and they would have had no reason to suspect an error in the time and date in the radiogram considering how many other times Earhart had notified them of delays. They would have had no reason to question an extra day of rest and maintenance on the plane because it was certainly reasonable. Itasca never received any notification that this was an error so, to them, the plane did take off 21 and a 1/2 hours earlier than they expected and Itasca didn't receive any information until many hours after that takeoff that Earhart was on her way. If I were Thompson I would have been P.O.ed. (the term "dizzy dame" comes immediately to mind.)


gl
As further reason for Itasca to have not suspected an error in this radiogram is the fact that the last prior radiogram they had received from Earhart gave her planned departure as "JULY FIRST TWENTYTHREE THIRTY GCT" (see attached) conditioned on receiving favorable weather information. The last radiogram moved the takeoff time later by twenty-two hours which makes perfect sense while waiting for weather data. There is no reason to suspect that she was sending a second, expensive, radiogram just to let Itasca know that she had changed her plans to leave only two hours earlier  than in the previous radiogram (2130 versus 2330 GMT on July 1st) so why would Itasca have given any thought to the possibility that Earhart had actually meant "JULY FIRST" and not "JULY SECOND" as clearly stated in the radiogram.

gl
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 02:39:03 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTYONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2012, 04:49:23 PM »

I am speculating here, but they might have planned a better power supply for the Howland Island HF RDF but they didn't see any reason for haste, planning to do it the next day when they expected Earhart. Perhaps they had drained the batteries for the RDF practicing with it, planning to recharge them the next day and then didn't have the time to do so when Earhart popped up 21 - 1/2 hours sooner than expected.

I don't buy that line of thought.

I think all of their plans were made before she reached Lae and started stringing them along about her departure date.

It seems to me that someone would have said, "We thought we had an extra day to get ready" if, in fact, they had been caught off guard by her departure. 

I grant that this, too, is speculation.
LTM,

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Heath Smith

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Re: TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTYONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2012, 07:31:26 PM »


I found the below image in the Thompson transcripts PDF.

Another quote:

Somewhat after 0200GMT, July 1, Earhart sent a message to Black stating that the take-off is delayed until 2130GMT July 1, she would appreciate a weather forecast, and to please notify Ontario of the schedule change. Source: 20 NARA, RG. 26, Thompson Radio Transcripts. Back.

http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/ResearchPapers/Worldflight/2ndattemptcommo.html#20
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John Ousterhout

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Re: TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTYONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2012, 07:48:09 PM »

Itasca Commander Thompson didn't want the responsiblity for the Navy supplied HF DF equipment or for providing an Operator, so Navy Radioman 2nd Class Frank Cipriani was "borrowed" from the dry-docked Roger B. Taney a few days before the Itasca departed Honolulu on 25 June.  By that time, Putnam had sent the Itasca an estimated departure date of 24 or 25 June (Finding Amelia, p52).  This would seem to have been sufficient time to prepare for a July 1 or 2 flight.  Cipriani was sent ashore on Howland to man the DF rig in the early evening of July 1, Itasca time (Finding Amelia, p83).   James Carey, the AP correspondend aboard the Itasca at the time, reported expecting AE to arrive about 10:30 the next morning, which makes me think it was common knowledge among the Howland group, and presumably with Cipriani, too. He may not have known what to expect for battery life, but he began listening at 9 or 10pm immediately that evening.  "Official" notification of the takeoff had occured just before 8:00 pm aboard the Itasca.  This may have prompted Thompson to send Cipriani ashore to man the DF rig a few hours earlier than planned, since the news pushed the expected arrival time up to 0630.  Cipriani had been conserving the batteries, so only picked up the end of Earhart's long dashes at 0800 (her next-to-last transmission), but she stopped before he could get a bearing.  The HF DF batteries were dead by 0900 according to Cipriani's log. The Itasca had concluded that Earhart was down by then and had recalled all CG personnel to begin the search (at 8:26). Cipriani stayed ashore. (Finding Amelia, p98).

I found the information very interesting that Cipriani actually heard Amelia on the HF DF rig.  For some reason that fact had escaped my attention the first time through.  The HF DF reception occured during the only minutes of the flight when Amelia and Itasca were in actual contact with each other (although not "communicating").  This is the most heartbreaking moment of the history, to me.  The DF rig had the capability to get a bearing, if she continued long dashes for another 30 seconds, maybe even less.  She also heard the Itasca at that time (on 7500? or 3105?).  A couple minutes later and she was gone.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTYONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2012, 11:32:26 PM »


I found the below image in the Thompson transcripts PDF.

Another quote:

Somewhat after 0200GMT, July 1, Earhart sent a message to Black stating that the take-off is delayed until 2130GMT July 1, she would appreciate a weather forecast, and to please notify Ontario of the schedule change. Source: 20 NARA, RG. 26, Thompson Radio Transcripts. Back.

http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/ResearchPapers/Worldflight/2ndattemptcommo.html#20
That's the same error found in Finding Amelia.
That is NOT what the Thompson transcript says. I have attached the page from the Thompson radio transcripts and you will notice that this is the same message (including notifying the Ontario part) but the date for the takeoff is JULY 2ND NOT JULY 1ST.

I have also attached a copy of the actual message, it says July 2nd not July 1st.

gl
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 11:34:50 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Heath Smith

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Re: TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTYONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2012, 04:02:05 AM »


What about this one from Tutuila to Itasca?
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTYONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2012, 01:12:14 PM »


Gary, and others
Gary has it right, she was a "Dizzy Dame" (caps mine hjh)
Rissel Brines had it right in August 1937 when he described her as a "Dumb Ninny: (caps mine, hjh)  See The Brines Letter in TIGHAR Archived Documents, item#16.

The point isn't whether she knew when she was leaving Lae, or when she was intending to leave Lae, or when she might leave Lae, the point is that there were people at Howland, on the Itascca, perhaps on Baker, on the Ontario, etc. that needed to prepare for their role in her arrival.  What was her problem with being accurate and precise in her communications?
No Worries Mates
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Heath Smith

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Re: TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTYONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2012, 02:30:40 PM »


What confuses me is that she requested that weather reports be sent to her at 10:00am (Lae Time) for a Noon take off and then she departed Lae as the weather report was rolling off of the telegraph. There was a big emphasis prior to departure about these weather reports yet she left without them. Very strange.
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richie conroy

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Re: TAKEOFF DELAYED UNTIL TWENTYONE THIRTY GMT JULY SECOND
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2012, 02:31:46 PM »

in this telegram she sends the time is 03:58 AM july 2ND an she states they will try to get off tomorrow which means they were leaveing july 3rd ?



http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/earhart&CISOPTR=1419&REC=4
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