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Author Topic: LaPook Hypothesis: Box Search around 157-337  (Read 122919 times)

Gary LaPook

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Re: LaPook Hypothesis: Box Search around 157-337
« Reply #75 on: July 03, 2012, 04:36:55 AM »

Jeff,

good points to which i'm sure GLP will have some kind of informed answer to stimulate discussion  ;D
I'm working feverishly on it now.

gl
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: LaPook Hypothesis: Box Search around 157-337
« Reply #77 on: July 03, 2012, 06:29:37 PM »

We don't know where they might have been when the started their search.

My theory about Gary's theory is that the alleged box search has to start from a point that guarantees the failure of the search (since that is, in fact, the known outcome of any search they did that day).

It isn't a single location, since the size of the LaPook Box depends on independent assumptions about how much gas was available for the search.  The bigger the box imagined, the further the starting point has to be from Howland and Baker.

Or so it seems to me. 
LTM,

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John Ousterhout

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Re: LaPook Hypothesis: Box Search around 157-337
« Reply #78 on: July 03, 2012, 08:17:47 PM »

There are some technically complicated ways that they might have missed Howland, and some "stupid" ways.  We tend to concentrate on the technical ways, but I suspect most pilots with any experience remember "stupid" mistakes that could have equaled missing Howland.  I have one such tale:
One of my early cross-country flights was to an unfamiliar airport with no tower and no radar, in a wide valley.  I was in radio communication with the folks at the airport during my approach.  I'd DR'd to the approximate location of the airport, but couldnt see it in the distance.  I had an excellant view of the valley.  As it turned out, I made a radio call at the time I had figured I was at the airport, which turned out to be 90 degrees to my left, but I was concentrating on the view ahead.  The folks on the ground figured out that I was the only plane the could see south of the airport at the time and told me to look to my left.  TADAAA! There was the airport.  I landed, they signed my logbook, and I learned a lesson about approaching an unfamiliar airport.
With that in mind, I can easily imagine AE/FN navigating to a location close to Howland, making their radio call ("We must be upon you, but cannot see you"), then starting a search pattern that actually takes them away from Howland.  Then again, they had a LOT more flying experience than I do, so my example may not count for anything.
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JohnO
 
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Chris Johnson

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Re: LaPook Hypothesis: Box Search around 157-337
« Reply #79 on: July 04, 2012, 04:01:06 AM »

John O,

thats interesting as i'd presume that AE was saying "were here or here abouts and can't see you, if you see me say so and tell me where to look"

Of course we now know that they were unable to recieve voice so in this case a "look left/right etc" would not work.
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JNev

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Re: LaPook Hypothesis: Box Search around 157-337
« Reply #80 on: July 04, 2012, 05:05:23 PM »

Good example, John.

I have a suspicion - which will remain unprovable unless all truths are one day revealed to me on that distant shore, that 'stupid mistakes' were the likely culprit.  Not 'stupid' in the sense that our aviators were indeed stupid, rather in the sense of if they could only realize what really happened it might be a 'you've GOT to be KIDDIN' me...' moment when realized.

I hope the Almighty shielded them from that pain if it is so...

As I've just said above, the '7 mile' photo is daunting.  Personally, I'd not be very happy to be in that vicinity with the clock ticking while a pair of P&W's were starting to pull at the last sips of go juice available to them.

LTM, and with much respect to tiny islands on a big sea -
- Jeff Neville

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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: LaPook Hypothesis: Box Search around 157-337
« Reply #81 on: July 04, 2012, 05:48:38 PM »

how much gas was available for the search.  The bigger the box imagined, the further the starting point has to be from Howland and Baker.

This is the main point Marty. AE 'we must be on you' but, if they started a search pattern from 'we must be on you' then obviously they weren't 'on you' otherwise they would have found Howland easily within a few minutes. They didn't.

Could they have flown so close to Howland to

a) not see it
b) not be heard
c) not see the smoke

Maybe, then logic would be to start a search pattern.
If they implemented a search pattern that again produced a, b and c again then they couldn't logically be anywhere near Howland.

IMHO
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: LaPook Hypothesis: Box Search around 157-337
« Reply #82 on: July 04, 2012, 06:07:23 PM »

Could they have flown so close to Howland to

a) not see it
b) not be heard
c) not see the smoke

Maybe, then logic would be to start a search pattern.
If they implemented a search pattern that again produced a, b and c again then they couldn't logically be anywhere near Howland.

IMHO

I agree with your logic.

Some assumptions have to be made about the visibility of the island, the ship, and the smoke to draw up some kind of "exclusion zone" for different theories about the end of the flight.

What I mean is that if they had entered that zone, they almost certainly would have found Howland.

Since they didn't find Howland, it seems that they must not have gotten into that zone.

The LaPook Search Box (or variations of it) has to be located outside that zone.

I suppose we could start with a 7-mile radius around Howland.  Then blob it out to the west for however far we imagine the smoke might have been visible.  And there'd have to be some guessing for that part of the zone around the smoke trail--would it be more or less visible than the island itself?  How far would it last?

I guess everybody has their own zone in mind, more or less.  I used to think that they might even have come within five miles of the island, east of it, and just missed seeing it while flying the line north and south.  I don't think that is such a reasonable guess any more.  The dead reckoning from a sun shot near dawn to an advanced LOP through Howland should have been pretty straightforward. 

No matter what really happened, Fred must have felt pretty bad about the navigation toward the end.  :(
LTM,

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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: LaPook Hypothesis: Box Search around 157-337
« Reply #83 on: July 04, 2012, 06:33:08 PM »

Good summary Marty. I watched the last footage of AE and FN plus read about their relationship prior to leaving Lae. Oh dear, she looked and was reported as being 'shattered', 5 hours sleep per night for 40 days? not good even for ex-paras. FN? looked odd, can't put my finger on it yet.

When you have been in charge of men who have been through hell you get the knack of reading their faces and, their minds. You can tell when something isn't right, Woody probably knows what I mean. You can see the cracks appearing and, it's your job to prevent the cracks from spreading.
AE and FN departing Lae, I noticed cracks.

Still, that said Howland should have been a walk in the park, not.
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JNev

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Re: LaPook Hypothesis: Box Search around 157-337
« Reply #84 on: July 04, 2012, 07:55:34 PM »

Wow, Jeff Victor and Marty -

That gets to be a tough set of constraints for the 'search box' if one believes in the smoke and enough visibility to discern Howland through shadows and such... and it could throw the flight off anywhere to north or south (I still think east-west placement near the LOP within the tolerances Gary has described is fairly reasonable).  Too far north is nowhere; too far south is... well, there's another ship on the way - about 75 years too late.  ;)

I think your illustration is sensible, Marty.  Starting to look like either the smoke trail wasn't so thick after all and the island was just that elusive, or they just never got close enough to that corridor to see either one.

Jeff Victor, I surely respect your experience in reading the faces, but that's a long lens IMHO since we don't really know the people; granted I guess it could be studied against other footage of the two to try to discern a change for the worse, etc.  The fatigue concern is a good point though - something went wrong, for sure.  Lindbergh almost lost it over the Atlantic by dozing off - had only a bit of sleep prior to his 33 1/2 hour flight to Paris.  Post trained himself for weeks in advance to stay alert for hours on-end after brief cat naps before his solo round-the-world flight, and apparently did doze for brief periods while his Sperry autopilot droned him through for short periods. 

I guesss Noonan could have caved to slumber - but I think had I been AE and realized it, I'd of jolted him out of it pretty quickly... good grief, you don't suppose she caused him to hit the door and keep going, do you...  :o

Seriously, I doubt we can ever know what went on in the 'Human Factors' department aboard NR16020 on that flight, for sure anyway.

LTM -
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: LaPook Hypothesis: Box Search around 157-337
« Reply #85 on: July 05, 2012, 08:10:49 AM »

Don't know if anyone else has noticed the contradictory evidence being put forward in separate threads. When you look at them together it doesn't add up.
The ability of Fred Noonan to navigate accurately, get fixes on the sun, the moon and so on yet, they couldn't see Howland.
The probability of them implementing a successful search pattern that would lead them to Howland yet, they couldn't see Howland.
The ability of the Lambrecht SAR team to see someone waving from a beach yet, the failure of AE and FN too see Howland and Itasca and the smoke and Howland Island, all of which are a tad bigger than someone waving from a beach but, they couldn't see Howland.
When you take all these bits of the jigsaw that have been analysed and shown as likely and, put them together, it doesn't make sense.
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: LaPook Hypothesis: Box Search around 157-337
« Reply #86 on: July 05, 2012, 08:53:43 AM »

Yes, it is an interesting dilemma, isn't it Jeff Victor?

LTM -

Strange to say the least Jeff. When you look at each point separately it can be proven/demonstrated to be correct. Tables/charts/maps/reports etc... All support this. But when you put the three examples I have selected from recent threads TOGETHER, then they start to contradict each other.
There must be something that can unify these contradictions.
Let's start a list, feel free to add to it, bearing in mind it has to unify the contradictions...
a) Ran out of gas
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: LaPook Hypothesis: Box Search around 157-337
« Reply #87 on: July 05, 2012, 01:02:40 PM »

I have been persuaded by the overwhelming evidence given that fred Noonan did get a sighting from the sun and the moon. He had no problem in navigating to Howland either by the direct approach or, the off-set approach.
Missed it.
Not to worry though, they couldn’t have missed it by much, Fred would have got them real close. I have also been persuaded that the professional thing to do in this situation would be to implement a search pattern, which I agree with. So, you can’t fly a LOP to Gardner island and, the Phoenix Islands are no ‘catchers mitt’ (missing B17 spent 4 hours trying to find Canton Island) which I agree with. So a search pattern it is then from, ‘we must be on you’ and, Freds excellent navigation to get them close to Howland in the first place.
Missed it again.
Well they must have been close and, from reading countless SAR tables etc… which have been posted informing me of how easy it was to spot a gnats backside from 1000 ft and 20 miles and so on… They didn’t see Howland or the Itasca or the smoke. Itasca didn’t see them or hear them. But they must have been there, navigation on the button, search pattern on the button, good visibility.
But no, nothing.
One or more of these points must be wrong, even if you include the limited gas situation.

IMHO
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Chris Johnson

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Re: LaPook Hypothesis: Box Search around 157-337
« Reply #88 on: July 05, 2012, 01:58:43 PM »

My 2p's worth;

1. some people try to apply post 1937 standards for things that were in their infancy
2. just look at the waite and Niku Helocopter footage
3. It may not be a catchers mit but from Howland through the Phoenix you've got more than a one in chance of finding an island.
4. As Woody mentions they may both have been less than 100%
5. OK may have missed it so don't flame me but where does it say that AE/FN would have run a box search
6. Lambrecht - a cover up (non illuminati/free mason)
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John Hart

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Re: LaPook Hypothesis: Box Search around 157-337
« Reply #89 on: July 05, 2012, 06:56:23 PM »

Gary,

Thanks for the point out to the background data.  It led me to this thread where it is now clearer to me what the overall debate is about.  I will admit to less expertise than is exhibited here but I will pose a caution to the debate.  In my time as an aviator (1983-2005) the USAF progressed from basic DR flying to basic spinning mass INS (lots of drift), to ring laser INS, to INS with Kalman filtered GPS, to embedded GPS/INS.  Most of that transformation occurred in a very short time (~1989-2001).  Your references are mostly post 1940 and much was learned during the war years as military aviation dramatically advanced the navigational knowledge.  I had seen a few of your references but not many but I had seen a Weems reference that may have been the same or earlier to your reference at:

[ftp]https://b98f4441-a-62cb3a1a-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/fredienoonan/resources/weems/weems-396-397.JPG?attachauth=ANoY7crN2oMcDFIs-Z1vBV0CMypbchRttj179c35KuFvER37EVL_ag0bhV17scWgn7aL1gGu0beZvRT5Z3taLFhD28Esyz8GAJ0g4HWdQfeOR4H8-cYIDlwL-sve0CVdTjrbtp1OgPx3zLyzlxaScn1NZtsbhswRSEPXFNGrubV2dYisRMQjg76-pJM6NaZSnC5nrljip2k2AcazIYu07NLZrZ91vQQStXjuCuyF7b17Qji2PAFZ2TCic8VQIUIhv0AKlFwnYGb2&attredirects=0/[ftp]

directing you to page 397 which closely describes the decision making process I described,  Noting this is dated 1938 with the latest info at the time I would expect FN to be at or behind this level of technique, not using much that is found in your other references that date to 1940+.

But as a "driver" I will step back from the debate and wait to see what comes of future research.  Admitting I learned how to use a Wiz Wheel in pilot training and promptly lost it thereafter.  But the historian in me cautions all not to post-strapulate (a word I made up) 1940s procedures to 1937, much less current procedures.

Either way, as I have stated, we have no way of knowing what the atmospheric conditions were for finding an island at that time and what thought process went through their minds as they decided what to do.  So I put myself in the mind of the rudimentary navigation of the time (which obviously isn't hard for me to do) and my knowledge of the islands in close proximity and I stick by the decision I would have made.  Don't fly around in an expanding box, circle, donut, racetrack, or any other fuel burning operation looking for one tiny island.  Rather head for a long line of them and hope you find one.

I found the reference to the gentleman who tested his navigation techniques and compared them to his GPS interesting.  It is one thing to assess your navigation knowing where you are (thank you GPS) and flying only a short distance over water, it is quite another to have flown those great distances in 1937 and needing to decide what to do with no land in sight, with who knows how many hours of fuel remaining, when you get where you expect to be and see nothing.  I will admit, they could have done just about anything that none of us can predict.  So we pick one we think most likely and stick to it.  Funny thing is, in the end, they could have wound up in the same place regardless of which choice they took depending on how much fuel they really had left.  As others have stated a good miss to the south followed by an expanding search pattern could also have led to a landfall somewhere SSE of Howland.  Maybe Mackean, maybe in the water.

By the way, when I flew F-4s the Weapons System Officers (WSOs) made sure we did not call them navigators.  And you could depend on the F-4 INS to find the U.S. 4 out of 5 times if you started out flying over it.  My hat's still off to FN for even getting on that airplane that AM.

JB
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