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Author Topic: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland  (Read 356781 times)

Gary LaPook

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #120 on: February 09, 2012, 11:27:30 PM »

Think about this:
For most of that 2,500 mile flight you're over parts of the Pacific that get very little ship traffic and, in 1937, no air traffic.  (On all of our nine voyages to Nikumaroro, only ONCE have we encountered another ship at sea once we got out of immediate Hawaiian, Fijian, or Samoan waters - and that was a possible pirate.) There was no plan for either Ontario or Itasca to conduct any kind search.  In other words, just as with Earhart's other ocean flights, if you go down at sea - either by ditching or by parachute, whether you have a life raft or not - your chances of rescue are effectively nil. What sense does it make to carry the weight of rafts or parachutes?  You are toast.  Bring some jam.  It's lighter.

For those who don't think parachutes are of value over water then think about this. Since the founding or our country there have only been 44 presidents. If George H.W. Bush had not had a parachute, then there would be two different names on that list of 44 names.

 gl
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #121 on: February 09, 2012, 11:35:37 PM »


Tom
The neat thing about opinions, everyone has one!  I agree with you.

There is no way in the world that I would jump out of the Electra, going 150 mph, thru a hatch over my head nor out the door.  No way, Jose.   I'd ride that baby down to, hopefully, a soft uneventful landing and get out as quickly as I possibly could, raft and kites or no raft and kites.

But then, I'm not AE.
I can understand that the idea of jumping out of a plane with a parachute is pretty scary (I know that from experience!) But, we know, that Earhart must have considered the scariness aspect of it and then still came to the decision that she could foresee some type of in-flight emergency on the around world flight when jumping would be the safest course of action to take, that is why she had parachutes along.  So it looks like she was prepared to get over the scariness and hit the silk.
gl
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Heath Smith

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #122 on: February 10, 2012, 02:48:15 AM »

Quote
From 1623 Z to 1912 Z the plane traveled only about 360 NM, 10% of which is 36 NM plus the uncertainty of the celestial fix of 10 NM makes the total DR uncertainty at 1912 Z only 46 NM if a fix was obtained about 1623 Z.

Given what you said about the legal standards and standard practices you are presenting evidence for opposing legal counsel here.

I think you make a very good case that they did not get a fix at 16:23 GMT.

If I read between the lines it seems that you are suggesting that they were well within visual range (potentially of Howland and Baker) yet failed to find the either island during a search for them. Is this the case? This seems the most unlikely scenario.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 03:15:29 AM by Heath Smith »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #123 on: February 10, 2012, 04:16:18 AM »

Quote
From 1623 Z to 1912 Z the plane traveled only about 360 NM, 10% of which is 36 NM plus the uncertainty of the celestial fix of 10 NM makes the total DR uncertainty at 1912 Z only 46 NM if a fix was obtained about 1623 Z.

Given what you said about the legal standards and standard practices you are presenting evidence for opposing legal counsel here.

I think you make a very good case that they did not get a fix at 16:23 GMT.

If I read between the lines it seems that you are suggesting that they were well within visual range (potentially of Howland and Baker) yet failed to find the either island during a search for them. Is this the case? This seems the most unlikely scenario.

As to getting a fix at 1623 Z through partly cloudy conditions see https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,533.msg7185.html#msg7185


The time of the last fix, which determines the distance traveled until intercepting the LOP, which determines how far you have to search along the LOP to ensure a complete search, 10% of the distance traveled since the last fix times two since you could be off to the left or right. The most efficient way to use this information is to make the standard landfall approach with the offset at least equal to the possible uncertainty in the DR. We don't know the time of the last fix but Noonan did know and, according to standard flight navigation procedures and texts, would allow the proper amount of offset to allow for the amount of DR uncertainty. From a 1623 Z fix the uncertainty was 46 NM (I like to round up to an even 60 NM to include an additional safety margin plus Harold Gatty said to use 10 % or a  minimum of 60 NM.) requiring a search along the LOP of 92 NM if using the landfall procedure or 138 NM ( 60, 120 and 180 if using the 60 NM number) if proceeding straight in towards Howland. No matter which technique was used however, the search would not take them more than 46 NM (60 NM) south of Howland. Looking at worst case, no fix since Ontario 1100 NM away then the offset becomes 110 NM (you might round up to 125 NM) with a search along the LOP of 220 NM with the offset or 330NM if going straight in (250 NM or 375 NM with the 125 NM safety margin number) and the search would not take them more than 110 NM (or 125 NM) south of Howland.  Either way, the technique should have brought them within sight of Howland. This also shows the advantage of using the landfall technique since going straight in adds a 50% penalty in the amount you have to search along the LOP. The landfall procedure cures any accumulated DR error. Something obviously went wrong. A possible explanation is damage to the sextant causing it to give consistently wrong readings causing an overshoot or an undershoot so that they would have been following an LOP parallel to the correct one but too far short or long to bring them within sight of the island. Another scenario is that they were not able to take additional sights as they tracked along the LOP (which is the normal procedure, see texts here and here.) In this case the possible DR error will continue to grow as the plane travels along the LOP until it possibly becomes large enough to allow the plane to be flying too far away to see the destination. An example should make this clear. Let's say they take an observation of the sun and it shows that they have arrived at the planned intercept point on the LOP 110 NM north-northwest of where they think Howland is located. The sextant observation carries a possible uncertainty of plus and minus 7 NM, it is possible, but unlikely, that they are seven NM either east or west of the line through Howland. If they take additional observations periodically then they should stay within 7 NM of the proper line through Howland. But if they were prevented from getting additional sights, dropped sextant, solid cloud cover then the accuracy of the track would accumulate DR errors. After flying 220 NM along the LOP there would be an additional 22 NM possible error so the plane could be up to 29 NM either east or west of the LOP and be too far away to see the island. Is this a likely explanation, no because Itasca reported conditions that were perfect for observing the sun as the plane searched along the LOP. So it's looking more and more like a faulty sextant.

gl

gl
« Last Edit: February 11, 2012, 12:20:20 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #124 on: February 10, 2012, 05:40:39 AM »

Gary----I stand corrected. Yep she did report ship in sight at 1030GMT---And yes, pilotage and DR are different. And yep---Ive flown over the ocean at nite---still dark. Thank goodness for GPS, ---oh and Delta, and a Boeing 767, and above the clouds, someone else flying, and the stewardesses.
intended as respect------remind me not to get in a courtroom with you!
Tom
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #125 on: February 10, 2012, 06:29:44 AM »

I have written what Noonan did while approaching Howland (including using the "Landfall procedure" of offsetting to the north-northwest) and you always complain that this is just speculation. You complain that I have no evidence of what Noonan did but you are wrong, I have admissible evidence that would stand up in a court of law.

But this is not a court of law.  The objective of a lawyer in a court of law is not to discover truth - it is to win the case.  A good lawyer can argue either side of any given case.  You win by convincing the judge, or jury, that your representation of events is correct.  The rules of evidence define and limit what tools you can use to make your case but essentially it's a sales job.  Many an innocent man has gone to jail, or worse, because the prosecution "proved" he was guilty.  Many a felon has gone free because the defense "proved" there wasn't sufficient evidence to convict.  OJ walked.

But, of course, this could be overcome by direct evidence that he was not acting in conformity with his training or with the customary practices in his field so this puts the burden on you, Ric, to come up with admissible evidence that Noonan was NOT doing that.

If this was merely a court of law I would cite your exhaustive testimony describing all the ways Noonan should have been able to find Howland and argue that the fact that he clearly didn't is direct evidence that he was not acting in conformity with his training or with the customary practices in his field.  I would then produce evidence that experienced naval aviators at Pearl Harbor in 1937 believed that Noonan would probably run southeastward down the LOP; that experienced aerial navigators (Willi and Gannon) later agreed with that assessment;  that the post-loss radio signals show that plane was on land and sending distress calls for nearly a week; that the Colorado pilots saw signs of recent habitation on Gardner Island; that a photograph taken three months after the disappearance shows debris on the reef that is consistent with the landing gear of a Lockheed 10; that three years after the disappearance the bones of an otherwise unexplained castaway were found on Gardner Island, etc., etc., etc.

The "jury" of this forum is a lot tougher than any jury you'd ever face in court. Many of them have expertise and experience that would never survive voir dire.

"If you have a logged radio transmission in which Earhart said "Noonan told me to pass on that he will not use the normal procedures for finding an island but will do something different this time" then you win but without that logged message, I win."

Gary, it's not about winning.
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #126 on: February 10, 2012, 06:49:58 AM »

We all bring something to the table in this search. Some more than others, but its the team that succeeds. The object is to find the answers to the mystery.
I have no real expertise in this issue---other than I am an 'expert' in fluidline fabrication and technology---hense the brake line segment of the video thread. I am amazed and honored to be among you folks. Lawyers, Doctors, Pilots. Nuclear Physist, Teachers (help me!). But whether we are super educated, or just a humble member here, we are ALL part of a team looking for answers. 
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #127 on: February 10, 2012, 08:36:40 AM »

Probably the wrong thread for this--Marty correct me--
I re=read some some of the reference material. (Thanks Gary for making me think!)
Ok -Ontario was on station at 2*59'S/165*23' E. The Myrtle Bank was near 2*20'S/167*10' E, both south of Nauru Island. At 1030GMT she radios the she sees a ship. Dont know which one ( the the time), but the Myrtle Bank reaches Nauru the next morning and report hearing a plane last nite.
Captain Irving on Tabituea in the Gilberts (Kiribati) reports hearing a plane pass overhead at nite.
Both of these locations are pretty close to being on course for Howland. Tabituea is about 500 NM from Howland, directly on course. So 3.3 hours flight time @150 mph would but the Electra on Howland. We "know" the Itasca was using search lights during the night to possibly guide the plane to Howland.
Nikumaroro is about 350NM from Howland, SE. It appears that she WAS on course during the night, having onverflown Nukumanu Island, the Myrtle Bank, and Tabituea Island. It appears that Fred had her on course, and on time. Her report of 100 miles out maybe be correct, but what my problem is, what happened that she couldnt see the Island? Was she coming out of the cloud bank west of Howland?. She reports circleing, looking for  Howland. Fred was apparently confident that he navigated her to the right spot.
So, is it logical to assume  :o that he thought flying the sunline was a better chance, than turning back to the Gilberts?
Tom
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #128 on: February 10, 2012, 08:45:37 AM »

She reports circleing, looking for  Howland.

Read Things Not Said and tell me if you still think she reported circling.
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #129 on: February 10, 2012, 10:10:14 AM »

Corrected again------still reading Finding Amelia
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #130 on: February 10, 2012, 10:59:46 AM »


Gary
"... get everything off the plane"
Geez, why not just taxi to higher ground?
You're expecting rescue around daybreak, why on earth would you unload the plane and have to re-load it later?

Why not plan on re-fueling off the Itasca,(Assuming that Cmdr Thompson had enough sense to load a couple of drums of fuel, prolly not a good assumption as it turned out)   taking off, and flying to Howland to continue the trip?
Maybe after a couple days when it has become clear that the Itasca isn't coming then ya kick into "survival" mode and continue to use the "fixed" radio to send out distress calls during low tide periods (credible reports of calls heard for 5 days, 2018 hours 7/07/37 Gardner time,).
No Worries Mates
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #131 on: February 10, 2012, 11:35:23 AM »

Harry sez "...why not just taxi to higher ground?"

There's rather deep water between the island and the reef.  Too deep to taxi through, and very rough according to the Niku reports.  An airplane landing on the reef can't taxi to "higher ground" that would be above the water level.  The highest parts of the reef are submerged during high tides.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #132 on: February 10, 2012, 12:20:48 PM »


John O
Thanks for that info.  I thought that the  coral reef flat sloped slightly up to the beach and  was relatively dry during low tide periods.
No Worries Mates
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #133 on: February 10, 2012, 12:54:55 PM »

Ric
In the Itasca log the word 'circling' was placed over the previous entry which was deciphered as having said 'drifting'. Could AE have been referring to...

"However, frequency drift or a lack of selectivity may cause one station to be overtaken by another on an adjacent channel. Frequency drift was a problem in early (or inexpensive) receivers; inadequate selectivity may affect any tuner."

when she mentions 'drifting'.

Maybe the Itasca crew misundertood the context in the way she used the word 'drifting' and replaced it with 'circling' instead ?
Jeff
This must be the place
 
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #134 on: February 10, 2012, 01:16:54 PM »

Ok--since I apparently didnt get it the first time--daaaaaaaaaa=Let me throw this out there--
The electra overflew Tabituea Island, on course to Howland. About 500 miles or 3.5 flight hours to go. Hum----Large thunder storn ahead. Turn right about 150* to get away from it for about 30 minutes, then turn left 360* for about an hour, then back to 070 to Howland. Maybe, they were'nt able to make the left turn to intersect the original course becaue of the low ceiling. Even if Fred had her turn gradually back to the left, the course would still be south of Howland. So they got to the 157/337 sunline, but were south because of the clouds, and didnt see Howland, or the Itasca. Fred had her fly south, and finally seeing Gardner and the Norwich City from a distance, they thought they had it Howland. Once they realized it wasnt the Itasca, they new it would be 2 1/2 hours to fly to Howland with fuel running out. They chose to land, instead of running out of fuel inroute to Howland and ditching.\\

Yep---I'm crazy=
Tom
 
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