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SASless
10th Sep 2016, 20:29
Gadzooks....Amelia disappeared from "Radar" but managed to make about 100 Radio Calls calling for assistance. Who would have guessed?



http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/true-stories/amelia-earhart-made-contact-with-radio-operators-for-days-after-her-plane-went-down/news-story/8e20fc380b52a24ae5cb6e612d3d6c7a

Nervous SLF
10th Sep 2016, 20:58
Oh well live and learn as I didn't think that radar was in common use in the Pacific in 1937.

Pontius Navigator
10th Sep 2016, 21:39
When was long range short wave voice used?

I know short wave dated from the 20s but short wave voice, using SSB, was much later. Yes broadcast stations used voice but an aircraft in1937? More likely any message would have been . -. -- --- .-. ... .

SASless
10th Sep 2016, 22:03
Interesting information re Comm's issues.



https://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/Bulletins/37_ItascaLogs/traffic.html

Cazalet33
10th Sep 2016, 22:10
She couldn't do Morse. He couldn't do radio nav.

They didn't even have the right aerials or frequency crystals.

She was a crap pilot and a non-navigator. He was a brilliant navigator but a shit-faced piss-artist. They were both severely hypoxic and probably dehydrated, They were both chronically fatigued, he from a three-day bender, she from three days of dancing the Bombay Quickstep.

What could possibly go wrong?

I reckon she started her orbits to find Howland Island about half an hour too soon and became fixated on that sunrise LoP without understanding just what it was or the significance of time and headwinds upon it. She orbited below the cumulus until the fuel ran out. Ththththat's all, folks.

West Coast
10th Sep 2016, 23:30
She was a crap pilot and a non-navigator. He was a brilliant navigator but a shit-faced piss-artist.

Internet warrior.

radeng
11th Sep 2016, 01:21
It's certainly a fact that she couldn't read Morse. He wasn't much of a radio operator and they had crystals and a transmitter for frequencies around 3 and 6 MHz.

Dropped off radar? What bleedin' radar? There was no such thing in the Pacific in 1937, and only experimental stuff going up in the UK then. The only radar around in service was still being introduced into the German Navy with the Seetakt on 375MHz.

Turbine D
11th Sep 2016, 01:34
The mysteries of Pacific Ocean aircraft disappearances continue to fascinate, even when radar is a common technology commodity, think MH370.

radeng
11th Sep 2016, 01:44
There's an awful lot of Pacific and Indian oceans with no radar coverage, even from Jindalee - which might detect something but not necessarily know exactly which flight it is.

Stanwell
11th Sep 2016, 04:33
Tighar?
That snake-oil salesman, Ric Gillespie, is at it again, eh?
His modus operandi is well known - but, as they say, 'there's one born every minute'.

The millions that gullible people have contributed to fund his lifestyle... oh dear.
He really should get Tracey Curtis-Taylor on his team - they'd go well together.

BTW, Cazalet's brief observations on Amelia's and Fred's abilities and characters are quite correct.

.

meadowrun
11th Sep 2016, 05:55
Ever notice how all these newish TV explore and solve mysteries shows are terminally boring, endlessly repetitious within the program and total failures in the goal of "Discovery" of anything new?
All very much like Geraldo and Capone's safe.

Tankertrashnav
11th Sep 2016, 11:44
Frankly when you look at the size of the oceans the only mystery is that more aircraft don't disappear without trace - even nowadays. Meadowrun is correct about these books and TV programmes - a whole industry has grown up to investigate the so called "Bermuda Triangle, and none of them ever say anything new or draw a credible conclusion.

One that amuses me is the various conspiracy theories about Glenn Miller's disappearance. A single engined aircraft with a poor reputation for carb icing sets off to fly across the channel from wartime England in poor weather in December and disappears. Now how on earth could that happen?

Mr Optimistic
11th Sep 2016, 12:27
Well I have learnt what the Bombay Quickstep is :)

If there were two of them, one male one female, but only one skeleton found, can't see the significance to the story of whether it's male or female. Now two, one of each, would have been clearer!

parabellum
11th Sep 2016, 13:33
A single engined aircraft with a poor reputation for carb icing sets off to fly across the channel from wartime England in poor weather in December and disappears. Now how on earth could that happen?


Learn something everyday, I thought it was a US Air Force C47!

Fareastdriver
11th Sep 2016, 13:51
Lifted from Wiki

His plane, a single-engined UC-64 Norseman, USAAF serial 44-70285,

https://canavbooks.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/norseman-wpafb033194444-70551_sm1.jpg

Sue Vêtements
11th Sep 2016, 14:08
Well I have learnt what the Bombay Quickstep isDid you, like me, look it up in "Anorectal and Colon Diseases: Textbook and Color Atlas of Proctology" :bored:

Stanwell
11th Sep 2016, 14:21
Well I have learnt what the Bombay Quickstep is :)

If there were two of them, one male one female, but only one skeleton found, can't see the significance to the story of whether it's male or female. Now two, one of each, would have been clearer!
The 'skeleton find' had been disproven along with everything else they turn up.
They'll find some flotsam on a beach and then try to build a story around it.
Press releases then go out ... "We're getting close - can you help us? Donate more money!"

Checkboard
11th Sep 2016, 14:34
She was a crap pilot and a non-navigator.
Well, she could take off and land - and was brave enough to set out on a journey in 1937 that would intimidate many today. That's a loong way from "crap" in my book.

And in the day, navigation and piloting were mostly separate professions (as they are now - pilots don't navigate, computers do). No admonition there, really.

radeng
11th Sep 2016, 15:09
Must have been a pretty advanced airframe, though, to appear on a non-existent radar!

Above The Clouds
11th Sep 2016, 15:28
When was long range short wave voice used?

I know short wave dated from the 20s but short wave voice, using SSB, was much later. Yes broadcast stations used voice but an aircraft in1937? More likely any message would have been . -. -- --- .-. ... .

What do mean RMORSE or do you mean ENMORSE ?

I thought voice was available at that time using KC bands 300 upwards ?

Cazalet33
11th Sep 2016, 16:09
Well, she could take off and land - and was brave enough to set out on a journey in 1937 that would intimidate many today. That's a loong way from "crap" in my book.

Bravery does not preclude being crap at taking off, as she showed when she crashed on takeoff on an earlier attempt to do this gig.

She reminds me so much of Crash Tracey C-T: brilliant at charming men into sponsoring her and paying to rebuild her wrecked-on-takeoff airframes and providing the requisite publicity razzamatazz, but a bit crap at actually flying and navigating an aeroplane on her own.

Stanwell
11th Sep 2016, 16:20
Well, to be fair..
She actually did do those things she claimed - including some pretty daunting solo flights.
A very single-minded and determined woman - and that's what brought her unstuck in the end.


The Kiwi aviatrix, Jean Batten, was similar. Once she'd got what she wanted, she'd drop him and move on to the next wealthy benefactor.
The difference was, she was an astounding navigator - using just a compass and watch.

SASless
11th Sep 2016, 16:51
How many Men died just trying to fly cross the Atlantic?:=

Hempy
11th Sep 2016, 17:02
Well, she didn't die, but she was the first female passenger to cross the Atlantic :ok:

Cazalet33
11th Sep 2016, 17:30
“I was just baggage, like a sack of potatoes,”

Amelia Earhart, in her own words.

Mr Optimistic
11th Sep 2016, 19:37
'Bombay Quickstep'? No, inferred it without use of textbooks :) Shame the skeleton story has been debunked, liked that. Presume the sextant etc goes down the same plughole.

radeng
11th Sep 2016, 19:58
Airborne HF R/T was around pre-WW2 but was somewhat limited, even in the services, and most HF comms were Morse. Even at the start of WW2, airborne HF radio was pretty crude. It wasn't until the 1950s and pre SSB that carrying a wireless op started to die out, and SSB with self tuning radios pretty well completed the process. There was a common air - ground frequency in the US just above 3MHz just after WW2 and maybe before. The introduction of VHF into the RAF at the early stages of the war brought a big advantage, although a lot of the BoB was fought with HF radio - mainly the TR9, which was a damn awful radio and crude by the standards of amateur radio equipment of the early 1930s!

G-CPTN
11th Sep 2016, 20:21
The USCGC Itasca was on station at Howland, assigned to communicate with Earhart's Electra and guide them to the island once they arrived in the vicinity.
Through a series of misunderstandings or errors (the details of which are still controversial), the final approach to Howland Island using radio navigation was not successful. Fred Noonan had earlier written about problems affecting the accuracy of radio direction finding in navigation.
Some sources have noted Earhart's apparent lack of understanding of her direction-finding system, which had been fitted to the aircraft just prior to the flight. The system was equipped with a new receiver from Bendix that operated on five wavelength "bands", marked 1 to 5. The loop antenna was equipped with a tuneable loading coil that changed the effective length of the antenna to allow it to work efficiently at different wavelengths. The tuner on the antenna was also marked with five settings, 1 to 5, but, critically, these were not the same frequency bands as the corresponding bands on the radio. The two were close enough for settings 1, 2 and 3, but the higher frequency settings, 4 and 5, were entirely different. Earhart's only training on the system was a brief introduction by Joe Gurr at the Lockheed factory, and the topic had not come up. A card displaying the band settings of the antenna was mounted so it was not visible. Gurr explained that higher frequency bands would offer better accuracy and longer range.
Motion picture evidence from Lae suggests that an antenna mounted underneath the fuselage may have been torn off from the fuel-heavy Electra during taxi or takeoff from Lae's turf runway, though no antenna was reported found at Lae. Don Dwiggins, in his biography of Paul Mantz (who assisted Earhart and Noonan in their flight planning), noted that the aviators had cut off their long-wire antenna, due to the annoyance of having to crank it back into the aircraft after each use.
More here:- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelia_Earhart#1937_world_flight

Cazalet33
11th Sep 2016, 22:23
There is a rather good documentary on the topic. Unfortunately the current copy on goochoob has been stretched horizontally in video and longitudinally on the soundtrack.

Nevertheless, it's worth watching.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckE_yEGeuy8

Cazalet33
13th Sep 2016, 10:46
I can't make sense of the Gardner Island theory. Itasca's radio log is very clear that Earhart was alternatively orbiting the location where she expected the island to be and flying up and down the sunrise LoP.

She declared that she estimated that she had only half an hour's fuel left and said she was continuing to look for Howland. At no time did she say that she was diverting to Gardner Is.

Such a diversion would have made no sense anyway. Only Howland had any landing ground. Being uncertain of their actual position, Earhart and Noonan could not have DR'd to Gardner even if they'd wanted to.

As for the teenage girl's fantasy of listening to Earhart chattering for two hours, let's get real. The aircraft's radio needed an engine to be running continuously for the whole of those two hours. That is physically impossible after a ditching in the shoals off Gardner Island or anywhere else.

Earhart's last recorded message is clearly shown in Itasca's log. It is reasonable to presume that the fuel ran out a short time thereafter, probably assymetrically and possibly resulting in a loss of control.

A reasonable explanation for the non-discovery of the wreck might be that the headwinds over the previous 12 hours had been substantially greater than expected and the aircraft was therefore a hundred miles, or whatever, short of Howland when she and Noonan thought that they were "on top of" Howland/Itasca.

My own personal theory is that Earhart countermanded her navigator in some way. She'd done that before, twice, and on each occasion she landed at the wrong airport.

radeng
13th Sep 2016, 16:03
Some sources have noted Earhart's apparent lack of understanding of her direction-finding system, which had been fitted to the aircraft just prior to the flight. The system was equipped with a new receiver from Bendix that operated on five wavelength "bands", marked 1 to 5. The loop antenna was equipped with a tuneable loading coil that changed the effective length of the antenna to allow it to work efficiently at different wavelengths.

Doesn't change 'the effective length'. Just changes the available tuning range!

which had been fitted to the aircraft just prior to the flight.

If fitted 'just prior to the flight', the odds of the aircraft having been 'swung' in order to calibrate the D/F at various frequencies seem pretty low. So get variable un-calibrated semi-circular, quadrantal and octantal errors and the D/F accuracy becomes very questionable, especially when getting into the lower HF range.

Cazalet33
13th Sep 2016, 16:19
She needed a two-day training course in how to use DF. First full day should have been classroom education in how the thing works and how it does not. Second day should have been practical training with at least two lengthy flights. Instead, she had a half-hour familiarisation with the kit before it was installed, most of which time was spent posing with it for PR photographs.

Her otherwise competent navigator was no better.

She'd been given two military vessels to act as intelligent navaids. One was stationed at the the mid-point of the GC track; the other at the terminus. She didn't even bother to familiarise herself with how to properly communicate with those ships, nor did she bother to learn the capabilities and limitations of the ships.

KLM technicians at Lae had checked out and calibrated her gear, but she learned nothing from them and I don't think they realised just how ignorant she was.

radeng
13th Sep 2016, 17:02
KLM technicians at Lae had checked out and calibrated her gear

How many days did they spend on doing that? Anything under two days on the D/F alone would have probably been inadequate - ground calibration over a full 360 degree swing on all bands and frequencies to be used and then a test flight to check it.

She needed a two-day training course in how to use DF. First full day should have been classroom education in how the thing works and how it does not. Second day should have been practical training with at least two lengthy flights.

I agree in principle Caz, but I suspect that 2 days would not have been long enough. There were no automatic aircraft D/F sets in those days - apparently the first appeared in about 1943 - so whoever was using it had to learn about the use of the 'sense' function and possibly sense aerial level control, as well as the causes of errors and how the error calibration curves should be used.

There's a very hale and hearty 94 year old at my Probus club who was a Fleet Air Arm Telegraphist/Air Gunner on Swordfish. He has told me about one flight where the navigator got the D/F 'sense' wrong and they flew on a reciprocal bearing until reaching land and running out of fuel before landing somewhere in the Gulf. They also walked thirty odd miles to some civilisation. His big moan of the time is the difficulty of getting into a Sidcot flying suit in naval bell bottom trousers! I don't suppose his navigator had as little as two days training on using the D/F.

Pontius Navigator
13th Sep 2016, 20:06
ATC, yr right .. -.

evansb
13th Sep 2016, 20:15
Hypoxic? Hardly, given their last reported altitude was 1,000 feet.

A U.S. observation aircraft reported signs of recent human habitation when overflying an atoll south of Howland Island within days of her disappearance. No surface followup ever took place, until of course, years later...

Pontius Navigator
13th Sep 2016, 20:18
Radeng, a similar but tragic case, as taught at nav school in the 60s was Lady Be Good.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Be_Good_(aircraft)

uffington sb
13th Sep 2016, 21:36
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Be_Good_(aircraft

G-CPTN
13th Sep 2016, 21:50
The Amelia Earhart disappearance seems like it was an accident waiting to happen.

Inadequate attention to detail by AE.

evansb
13th Sep 2016, 22:01
Yes, and it was the most difficult leg, navigation wise, ever attempted by an aviator of either gender, up to that time. Pioneering and human frailty are not inseparable.

G-CPTN
13th Sep 2016, 22:20
I don't consider her gender to be relevant - she was obviously a feisty person, but she was over confident and (as has been suggested) didn't understand the magic box that had been fitted and expected it to work like magic.
Of course, it is possible that those who briefed her overplayed the equipment and underplayed the idiosyncrasies.

Loose rivets
13th Sep 2016, 22:48
I suppose it was a while before VDF was invented. I used to like VDF approaches.

tartare
14th Sep 2016, 00:03
Very interesting thread.
Have the Jean Batten book at home (being kiwi) but wasn't aware of the reality behind the Amelia legend.

Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect.

— Captain A. G. Lamplugh, British Aviation Insurance Group, London. c. early 1930's.

Cazalet33
15th Sep 2016, 11:03
Hypoxic? Hardly, given their last reported altitude was 1,000 feet.

Quite certainly hypoxic. The planned altitude was only seven or eight thousand feet, but they soon had to climb above building Cu and flew most of the route at 12,000' to 13,000'. 16 hours at 12,000' most certainly will render you hypoxic.

The descent to 1,000' didn't come until the very end, long after the navigational errors had been made.

I have no doubt that the accumulated effects of hypoxia, dehydration and extreme fatigue had a very severe effect on their cognitive abilities.

Looking at the nitty-gritty of the sight reduction calcs Noonan had to perform with pencil, paper and tables, I can see some absolute bear traps.

Towards the end of the leg they were crossing from the Southern hemisphere to the North. That means a change of sign in the astro calcs. Then they moved from the Eastern hemisphere to the Western. That is yet another change of sign in a different part of the calcs. These are easily remembered when one is fresh and well rested, but with the severe debilitating effects of hypoxia, dehydration and intense fatigue it would be extremely easy to make a mistake which would not be obvious to either of the crew members.

Pontius Navigator
15th Sep 2016, 11:24
A thought on these mystery revelations, it strikes me that young, thrusting editors and producers 'discover' the mystery and decide it will sell to a generally gullible public. Then some voluble and believable talking head tells them what they want to hear (and has a trip at their expense and pockets the dosh).

Stanwell
15th Sep 2016, 11:44
That's exactly it, Pontius.
And how do these thrusting young editors and producers "discover" the story that will suck in the gullible?
Copious press-releases periodically disseminated by the Ric Gillespie circus, of course.
It's been going on for years - and still people don't wake up to the scam.

Cazalet33
15th Sep 2016, 11:58
It's a great pity that even the better tv outlets are so dumbed down nowadays.

The technicalities of how Noonan navigated that sector are interesting in their own right and could make the basis on a very interesting documentary. The concept of LoPs is explainable, even to muppets who think that navigation is something which is done by a Tomtom or a Garmin.

Uncle Fred
15th Sep 2016, 14:59
Interesting points (no pun intended) Cazalet. I never thought about the North to South and East to West transitions coupled with the cruize at 12k.

KenV
15th Sep 2016, 15:08
There was a posting on the internet within minutes of her dropping from radar coverage. That no one followed up is a clear and blatant example of sexism. Had she been a he, then a SAR helicopter would surely have been dispatched to the last radar contact position. And the fact that no one even bothered to look for an ELT signal is proof positive of the vast conspiracy to cover up the truth.


;-)

Above The Clouds
15th Sep 2016, 15:33
There was a posting on the internet within minutes of her dropping from radar coverage. That no one followed up is a clear and blatant example of sexism. Had she been a he, then a SAR helicopter would surely have been dispatched to the last radar contact position. And the fact that no one even bothered to look for an ELT signal is proof positive of the vast conspiracy to cover up the truth.

KenV :D:D:D

Cazalet33
15th Sep 2016, 23:22
In order to experience and understand some of the workload that Noonan had when hand-crunching the numbers to reduce an astro sight to a distance off or along track, I done some dummy calculations. I used the same tables that he would have used and I avoided using a pocket calculator. My only cheat was to use the desktop computer to obtain realistic elevation angles of heavenly bodies at plausible times and locations along the last few hundred miles on their track. I used Nories Tables and the 1937 almanac.

Looking at her two position reports while approaching the island, I think I've found one blooper. It's one I almost made myself when reducing a theoretical sunshot.

At 17:45z she reports having 200 miles to run. She'd then have been at approx 0° 3'N 179 54'E.

Half an hour later she reports 100 miles to run.

Something's wrong with that. Her typical cruise speed was 142kts IAS. At light weight after an 18 hour fuel burn that could have been as much as 150kts. She had about a 25kt headwind. Her g/s would have been something like 130kts, not 200.

With the Lae to Howland GC passing so close to Lat0° Long 180° I'm sure that Noonan would have made that point a waypoint to simplify the arithmetic. He'd have told her to let Itasca's crew know that they had 200 miles to run from that point. That'd be plenty of time to let the radio crews and airstrip crew get ready for her arrival.

So why the oddity of the erroneous 100nm fix?

Having departed at 00:00z on Friday the 2nd of July, that is the page of the almanac he'd have been constantly referring to. With severe fatigue and a lot of hypoxia and a heavy workload in the top of descent phase, I think Noonan simply overlooked the fact that when he went into the Western hemisphere at approximately 17:45z he should have turned the almanac page back by one day to Thursday the First of July.

That error, on an early morning sunshot would shift their perceived position Westwards by about 60nm. Add an unrelated error due to Noonan having been given an obsolete position for the island which was about 6 miles West of actual, and you have a 66nm nav bust right there. In other words, they were 66 miles West of the island when they thought the data was telling them that they were overhead.

They convinced themselves that the island had to be along the LoP on that sunshot, ie perpendicular to the direction of the sun, so they flew 60 miles in each of those directions and of course found nothing. If they just kept on going towards the sun for another 70 miles or so they'd probably have passed close to the Southern end on the island.

I've also found another error, but that's a whole 'nuther matter.

John Hill
16th Sep 2016, 00:12
Cazalet33, Fred Noonan may or may not have been confused by the change of signs 0 latitude and 180 longitude but he would not be the only one.

I recall being SLF on a flight PHNL to NZAA when the latest in passenger entertainment was a cabin screen showing a little aircraft inching it's way across a map of the Pacific. None of the passengers seemed to be concerned when at 180 degrees the 'aircraft' made a sharp turn and headed towards Tahitti!

Uncle Fred
16th Sep 2016, 05:59
Cazalet

What an interesting exercise to run through--thanks for sharing that.

I will have to admit that my familiarity with the story is based on a book read 3 decades ago and history/mystery programs that I might see whilst dead tired in a layover hotel somewhere in the world. This means my familiarity is nothing but what is probably always just been trotted out. It was therefore nice to read of a scenario that is based on how they were navigating in the first place and what pitfalls befell them.

Do you then believe that they just ditched at sea and came to grief out on the briny?

An exercise that I of course will never be able to test out, but I have always wondered how close to a coastal fix I could get on a North Atlantic crossing by just using the segment time and mag heading (that should be printed with the drift kill included) that is listed on the computer flight plan. Say I could see St Johns below and then took up a constant speed and turned only according to time. I wonder how close I would come to the other coastal fix after the four or five hours.

It was actually one of my interview questions when I got hired. If you have the flight plan (CFP) and you lose everything what is the min equipment you need to get somewhere close to safety across the ocean. I said a clock and a good compass.

John Hill
16th Sep 2016, 06:48
IIRC in 1935 Jean Batten flew across the Atlantic (from Africa to South America) with almost no navigational gear and hit the coast close enough for her to recognise where she was from her photograph of her intended landfall.

Stanwell
16th Sep 2016, 07:26
Yes John.
Just a magnetic compass and a watch.

John Hill
16th Sep 2016, 07:36
Stanwell, at one point her compass went a bit haywire due to CBs in the area but I dont recall what she did until it settled down again.

tartare
16th Sep 2016, 07:45
Great section in the book talking about how she eyeballed drift using lines on the wings matched up against the sea surface - or something like that...

John Hill
16th Sep 2016, 07:49
Tartare, I heard of an old French man who flew a Piper Cub around the South Pacific and he had a tiny dentist size mirror fixed to the side of his plane which he used to sight the island he was leaving referenced to lines painted on his horizontal stabiliser.

Pontius Navigator
16th Sep 2016, 08:03
In training in the 60s we did a 5 hours no-aids navex. This was similar to that practised by maritime crews who flew far longer but they did have Loran and Consol (some). They also has Blue Silk Doppler later on.

Simply the technique was to fly in visual contact with the sea and use either a 3-drift wind or drift and wind lane. The former involved taking a drift reading using a drift sight, altering course 45 degrees, taking a second, reversing 90 degrees, another drift and then final 45 degrees to parallel track. It was accurate but done every 20minutes with 2 min legs increased time lost along track to 6 min per hour.

Drift and windlane could be done along track if the direction of the wind could by measured using the sun compass for direction and drift sight for drift. What Tartare describes above is similar to D&WL or visual as below.

An experienced pilot could also 'read' the wind making a visual assessment of bearing and speed based on sea conditions.

Any of these techniques became near impossible if you could not see the sea though fog, low cloud, or a night.

Aids, such as a smoke float and WFU(wind finding unit) using the bombsight were developed which would offer a night solution and also during daylight.

radeng
16th Sep 2016, 09:53
KenV

Are you sure that there was no immediate search because the authorities didn't want the chem trail equipment discovered?

Cazalet33
16th Sep 2016, 11:52
Do you then believe that they just ditched at sea and came to grief out on the briny?


I don't believe they ditched. They crashed.

We know that they knew they were running out of fuel. They flew the sunrise LoP, North and South, probably about 60 miles in each direction. At the Northerly end of the line they'd have turned right and at the Southerly end they'd turn left, thus advancing the line of search ahead and into wind.

When fuel exhaustion finally came, if it was the under engine which failed in a turn at a thousand feet, I'm sure she'd have made the classic mistake of a poor pilot and would have tried to lift the wing with aileron instead of stomping hard on top rudder. She'd have put the thing on its back before Noonan could swear and it would have hit the water near vertically like a gannet diving for fish. No time for a final distress call.

Cazalet33
16th Sep 2016, 12:46
When Earhart flew the Atlantic solo, probably her only meaningful aviation accomplishment, she didn't 'navigate'.

Her nominal target was Le Bourget because that was where Lindbergh had landed (from Long Island) five years earlier, but any landfall would have won her immense adulation. All she had to do was fly roughly Easterly and arrive somewhere between Cape Wrath and Trafalgar. That's not navigation.

When she landed near Londonderry (from near St Johns) she didn't know whether she was in Scotland, Ireland, England or France.

sycamore
16th Sep 2016, 13:05
Caz, you may be interested in the Historic` Forum on `Flypast/Keypublishing`,about new theories,or the alternative search areas...

Cazalet33
16th Sep 2016, 17:09
https://s11.postimg.org/h4211c54j/DFloop.jpg

VP959
16th Sep 2016, 17:54
Thanks for the interesting nav exercise. I've not done any celestial nav for around 30 years, around the last time I did a long sailing trip before I bought a GPS (still have it, a Garmin I bought in 1992!). I spent an interesting hour going over the calcs, and I reckon you're spot on about the probability of Noonan just forgetting to go back to Thursday. I agree about the hypoxia probability, too, especially as they had had no prior acclimatisation, having taken off from near sea level.

I once took off with the dump valve open, having had our taxy and pre-take off checks interrupted three or four times, because on an incident at the airfield. Having completed the post-take off checks and established ourselves in the climb (on AP) the pair of us sat back until it was time to level off at FL220. After a few minutes, I noticed one ear feel a bit painful, and fail to clear, and commented on it to the (fair bit older) guy in the left seat. He didn't answer, so I looked over and he seemed to be dozing. I wasn't bothered, and didn't think him falling asleep was odd (good clue there!).

The ear wouldn't clear and really started to hurt, and that was the only thing that crept through my fading consciousness to tell me something might be wrong. For some reason I looked down at the cabin alt gauge (which was small, aft of the power levers, next to the dump valve control, and not that easy to see) and saw it was at 19,000ft and climbing.................

Even then I wasn't thinking straight. I didn't think to make a radio call, had a real problem trying to work out what to do, and in the end just wound the height bug back and let the aeroplane make the descent while I tried to clear my ear. At around 15,000ft I thought to make a pan call and close the dump valve (made little difference, as there wasn't enough bypass to push the cabin pressure back up).

The guy next to me woke up at around 8,000ft and took over, and we both flew back to base feeling pretty damned stupid. We had around 4 hours worth of fuel and were heading over the coast towards the North Atlantic when the incident happened. I reckon we were just a gnats width away from being another case of an aeroplane flying on with unconscious crew until the fuel ran out. To this day I have no idea how I missed closing the dump valve, as I always used to have my thumb under the next check on the flip cards, plus the guy next to me must have made exactly the same error with his cross-check.

Cazalet33
16th Sep 2016, 18:09
Interesting, Veep.

From what we now know, prolonged exposure to lowish level hypoxia is pernicious. 12 hours at 12,000' will bugger you right up. It soaks the O2 right out of your entire body, not just the instantaneous PPO2.

Noonan and Wossername were at and beyond that level for 14+hours. Combine that with pre-existing chronic fatigue and a lot of dehydration (wimmin didn't habitually carry a bottle of mineral water in those days) and you've got a pair of incipient zombies.

KenV
16th Sep 2016, 18:21
Are you sure that there was no immediate search because the authorities didn't want the chem trail equipment discovered? I'm confident that was at least one of the motivators.

KenV
16th Sep 2016, 19:11
Caz, thanks so much for your walks down memory lane. It's been many years since I did celestial nav, and you did a GREAT job tying it in with the Earhart disappearance. My sincere thanks for that.

VP959
16th Sep 2016, 19:22
Interesting, Veep.

From what we now know, prolonged exposure to lowish level hypoxia is pernicious. 12 hours at 12,000' will bugger you right up. It soaks the O2 right out of your entire body, not just the instantaneous PPO2.

Noonan and Wossername were at and beyond that level for 14+hours. Combine that with pre-existing chronic fatigue and a lot of dehydration (wimmin didn't habitually carry a bottle of mineral water in those days) and you've got a pair of incipient zombies.
Without a doubt. At the time of that incident I'd probably done half a dozen refreshers in the chamber, at 25,000ft, mask off, and thought I was fully aware of my personal initial signs of hypoxia and the immediate actions to take (mask on, switch to 100%). Despite this, I didn't think to don my emergency mask, neither did the guy next to me, who had around 18,000 hours or so in his log book, and had endured far more chamber runs than I had.

We both concluded that the slow decrease in cabin pressure over ten minutes or so, was what fooled us. In the chamber we would always be on oxygen through the climb to 25,000ft and only take our masks off at alt. The effects are very different when you're suddenly deprived of oxygen uptake like that, than they are when you're slowly deprived of it, I'm absolutely sure.

The only common factor was becoming task-focussed, in my case all I wanted to do was clear my painful ear. The other symptoms of hypoxia that I'd noted as "early warning signs" during chamber runs either weren't there or I didn't notice them. The level of confusion was surprisingly high, I really couldn't work out how to pull the power off and descend, and I have absolutely no idea why I just decided to wind the height bug back. It worked, but wasn't the fastest way down by any means, and looking back I should have just pulled the power off and shoved the nose down, holding us as near Vne as I could. There was no way my brain could do that, though.

We sort of shrugged it off at the time, as "one of those things", but years later I still look back and think just how close we came to death. The odd thing is that I'd never, ever, had ear trouble, even doing explosive decompression runs in the chamber, and have no idea why my ear played up that day. I'm also near-certain that the fact that I was 15 years younger than the guy next to me meant that he went under first. It was all just luck, one of those days where the holes in the Swiss cheese don't quite all line up.

Pontius Navigator
17th Sep 2016, 10:11
Once, in a Hastings at about 16,000 feet the FE came down the back without the walk around bottle. After a period in the toilet he returned and then leant over our seats for a few minutes. Our captain was concerned and we offered him oxygen. I can still remember the stupid grin on his face a he declined. I guess he was off oxygen for at least 10-15 minutes.
He had probably much reduced critical faculties.

VP959
17th Sep 2016, 11:23
On one hypobaric chamber run I remember one bloke going berserk when the doc asked him to don his mask again. Those of us sitting with masks on had to physically restrain him on the floor of the chamber whilst the doc put his mask back on. When he came to he had no memory of the incident at all, and wouldn't believe us when we recounted the tale to him. IIRC it terminated his flying career before it started, because of his adverse reaction.

I was always surprised by the wide variation of response to hypoxia during those biennial chamber sessions. For me, the visual problems (vision going black and white, then turning to tunnel vision) were always the first indications, and I'd usually be able to do the "write your name and address repeatedly" or "do some repeating arithmetic" bits OK, right up to the point where the doc asked me to put my mask back on.

During the aircraft incident recounted above I don't recall any visual deficit at all, I was just extremely confused.

Pontius Navigator
17th Sep 2016, 13:55
VP, as you said earlier, there is a world of difference between losing oxygen while at height and no oxygen in the climb.

The chamber runs seemed predicated on an oxygen disconnect at height rather than an insideous loss of pressure through a leak, faulty system or forgetting to switch it on. Certainly in my case coming off oxygen at height I felt unwell and went back on before LOC.

Insidious loss is perhaps the worst case.

radeng
17th Sep 2016, 18:09
GPS can be led astray. There was very interesting article in the IEEE Spectrum magazine the other month about spoofing GPS, including being being able to convince it that the yacht it was on was doing 1000mph or thereabouts. That one is obvious but continually arranging to be few degrees off course could well take some noticing, especially when the work load is high.

Pontius Navigator
17th Sep 2016, 18:57
Radeng, there was a well documented case of a cruise ship out of Bermuda I think when a sailor tripped on the antennae cable and disconnected the GPS. The watch keepers failed to notice the computer had gone into DR and they failed to cross check the position. They expected the position to be accurate and assumed that those cross checks they did do were close enough.

Approaching land fall they then convinced themselves that the radar picture matched the chart. They ran aground.

Cazalet33
19th Sep 2016, 12:04
Not all of her fatal misjudgements can be ascribed to hypoxia.

The day prior to departure from Lae she flew a test flight. The primary purpose was to check out the operation of a fuel mixture trimming device. Secondary purpose was to try out the DF.

The first frequency she asked the Lae radio operator to transmit turned out to be one which her loop antenna was not tuneable to. It was the radio op, not she, who figured that one out. He offered another frequency and she found she could receive that one OK. What she couldn't do was find a null bearing. No matter which way she pointed the loop she just couldn't identify a bearing. She just shrugged this off, presuming that as she was so close to Lae the signal strength must have saturated her receiver.

It seems quite incredible that she didn't fly one or two hundred miles away from the station to get to somewhere where she could could obtain a bearing. For one thing, if there was a minimum range within which DFing did not work, then she needed to quantify it. More importantly, she needed to get some practical experience of actually obtaining and using QDMs.

Her decision not to pursue that investigation shows lousy command judgement and was quite certainly fatal.

Her last chance to survive her own folly came at the mid-point of the flight. USS Ontario had been pre-positioned at the mid-point of the GC. Her task was to serve as a weather station; a radio relay; an NDB; and perhaps as a DF station. Earhart never established 2-way comms with 'Ontario' and quite certainly never got a DF bearing off her. The ship's lookout reported that they did not hear an aircraft at any time that night.

A coast radio station did hear her saying that she had the lights of "the ship in sight", but this was at a time when she would have been a hundred miles beyond 'Ontario'. That ship was an related merchantman called Myrtlebank which was on passage from New Zealand.

When she arrived, by D/R, at the position of 'Ontario' without having obtained 2-way and without getting a QDM she should immediately have turned back to Lae. She knew of a 23kt headwind outbound, so she had oodles of fuel for a turnback and by trimming the power back from max range to max endurance she'd have had plenty of loiter time to wait for dawn at Lae.

The sighting of what only we know to have been Mytlebank was the confirmation bias which sealed their fate. From that moment their lifespan was exactly that of their fuel supply.

Brian Abraham
20th Sep 2016, 04:43
Was the position of the Mytlebank ever established for the time of "in sight" broadcast?

Cazalet33
20th Sep 2016, 13:24
Good question.

From the official report into the hugely intensive search effort and subsequent investigation, we know where Myrtlebank was at the time Earhart reported seeing a ship which she probably presumed was 'Ontario'.

http://s11.postimg.org/3tivjvztf/Myrtlebank_Position.jpg


1° 40'S 166° 45'E

When they passed over what we now know to have been Myrtlebank, they were 100nm along track and about 65nm cross-track to Port, ie to the Nor'ard, of track from where they thought they were. That's a pretty major nav bust to have already incurred in the first and easiest half of the flight.

Brian Abraham
21st Sep 2016, 08:04
Thanks Caz. Have an interest in her story as at the time the Old Fella was working for the Burns Philp Shipping Co. in Salamaua, and he and some others travelled by company launch up to Lae in order to see her pass through. Amelia and Fred spent the night in the mess with them all. Pity he's no longer around for a grilling, only thing I can recall was him saying that on their take off they dropped off the end of the runway and flew extremely low over the sea before climbing away. The old "town" airport no longer exists.

Cazalet33
21st Sep 2016, 09:42
Yes, the witnesses all comment on that drop off the end of the runway and into ground effect over the sea. Scary stuff.

They used a special high octane fuel for the overweight takeoffs. It was very scarce and they husbanded the precious resource very carefully. As soon as climb speed and positive rate had been established they switched over to the normal ferry tanks.

One entirely plausible explanation for the fact that they were still airborne an hour after radioing that they only had half an hour fuel left is that they had either forgotten about that tank or had hoped against hope that they would still need it for a departure from Howland and eventually realised that the game was over.

BlankBox
3rd Nov 2016, 19:16
...and the saga continues...

https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/193213-finding-amelia-earhart-how-modern-forensics-finally-plotted-a-course-to-gardner-island

Stanwell
3rd Nov 2016, 22:36
Ah, yes. Same ol' story - just polished a bit.
Where did that Extremetech article originate?
The Ric Gillespie/TIGHAR publicity machine, of course - He's another Tracey Curtis-Taylor .. only uglier.

I'd been watching this latest episode on a US forum. "Now, if you'll just send me your credit card details ... "
Like they say .. "There's one born every minute".
.

sycamore
4th Nov 2016, 20:06
Try `earhartsearchpng.com` for a different viewpoint...

Nervous SLF
4th Nov 2016, 20:20
Try `earhartsearchpng.com` for a different viewpoint...

Stanwell says:- . "Now, if you'll just send me your credit card details ... " Like they say .. "There's one born every minute".

I see Mr Billings in the above link is also after donations :)

Above The Clouds
4th Nov 2016, 23:35
Good question.

From the official report into the hugely intensive search effort and subsequent investigation, we know where Myrtlebank was at the time Earhart reported seeing a ship which she probably presumed was 'Ontario'.

http://s11.postimg.org/3tivjvztf/Myrtlebank_Position.jpg


1° 40'S 166° 45'E

When they passed over what we now know to have been Myrtlebank, they were 100nm along track and about 65nm cross-track to Port, ie to the Nor'ard, of track from where they thought they were. That's a pretty major nav bust to have already incurred in the first and easiest half of the flight.
I see in that report an error, maybe just a typo at the time but none the less.

15. That the planes position at 07.20 GCT was given 4° 33' S, 159° 06' east

17. That the following messages were received from the plane:

0720, to Lae: position report gives the Long as 159° 07' W.

West or East ?

Cazalet33
5th Nov 2016, 00:41
Yes, a typo. Yes, the 07:20 Longitude was East, not West.

radeng
5th Nov 2016, 00:59
They should have had a properly qualified radio officer who could also take accurate D/F bearings..............

Brian Abraham
5th Nov 2016, 04:27
KLM technicians at Lae had checked out and calibrated her gearThe old man who was at Lae at the time is no longer around to query, but I very much doubt KLM had an operation there. Their route at the time terminated at Bandoeng, a long, long way from Lae. QANTAS maybe, but Guinea Airways had an extremely large base and I'd put my money on them.

radeng
5th Nov 2016, 13:37
On the subject of hypoxia, the Pike's Peak mountain railway in Colorado only allow visitors to stay at the top for 20 minutes or so: that's at over 13,000 feet. I suspect you can get acclimated to some extent over a long enough period of time.

Stanwell
5th Nov 2016, 14:08
Try `earhartsearchpng.com` for a different viewpoint...
sycamore,
I've been aware of David Billings' following of what he feels is a very strong lead.
He does sound like a genuine chap who's spent mostly his own money pursuing that link.
Thinking that the Electra could have made it back to New Britain is a bit of a leap of faith, though, I think.
Oh well, as they say .. 'If it keeps him off the streets' .. but pardon me if I don't find myself inclined to support his hobby.

David Billings
10th Nov 2016, 23:16
I have not posted on pprune in years but since the last post on this thread felt the need to do so....

Sycamore

Thanks for notifying interested people of the existence of the www.earhartsearchpng.com site.

Nervous SLF

Thankyou, Nervous SLF, for bringing the donations button to the notice of the forum. I didn't really want to ask for donations but after shedding heaps of pounds in East New Britain decided it would be a nice thing if those interested in seeing an end to the Earhart Mystery contributed to some of the weight.... even minutely. Any donation is an individual's choice.

Stanwell says:

sycamore,
I've been aware of David Billings' following of what he feels is a very strong lead.
He does sound like a genuine chap who's spent mostly his own money pursuing that link.
Thinking that the Electra could have made it back to New Britain is a bit of a leap of faith, though, I think.
Oh well, as they say .. 'If it keeps him off the streets' .. but pardon me if I don't find myself inclined to support his hobby.

Stanwell, Sycamore would know that I not only "sound like", but AM indeed a "genuine chap", because Sycamore and I were engaged in a little bit of business in Borneo a long time ago while dressed in green.

Stanwell.... Yes, it is a strong lead in my opinion, given by some old guys who didn't think all that much about it "at the time" but from what we have learned from them and since then, certain things click into place.

I have to ask you, if you were given certain information by some other genuine chaps who were also engaged in a little bit of business in New Guinea a long time ago and that information was perhaps the key to a very large aviation mystery; what would you do with it ? Would you sit on it, or would you, being deeply involved in aviation for all of your life, take some action and DO something about it ? Answer me that. There is a wreck there, if it is the Electra, great. If it is a somebody else's and there are remains there, then someone else gets closure.

It's not a leap of faith, Stanwell, it is a possibility.... because the figures in the return hypothesis I put up do work, you can try them yourself... Work the Groundspeeds and see where YOU think AE & FN actually were at 1912GMT... The figures in the return hypothesis arise from standard Aerodynamic Formulas. You would realise wouldn't you, that any possibility that could solve this mystery has to be followed up ? That is, if you are inclined to be a person deeply involved in aviation. If you are not a deeply involved person, then you shouldn't care and can go about your business without worrying about it. Leave it to those that do.

The New Britain search has "the" only piece of documentary evidence as to where Earhart and Noonan are and it has WWII Army Veteran eye witnesses to what looked like to them to be an "old" wreck with Pratt & Whitney engines, not a wartime wreck, a wreck that had been there since before the war reached New Guinea.

I was nearly lost in 1968, in Sabah and I wondered then, "Who would have come looking for me ?" I now know that someone like me "might" have come looking, perhaps out of interest.

Keep your money Stanwell, no need to press the button to finance "my hobby", which keeps me off the streets. A strange and slightly unsettling choice of words there to say about someone you don't really know who has spent twenty odd years on a serious project. I see that you are deeply involved in "solo" and "sole" so perhaps that is an easier subject for you to grasp.

David Billings
www.earhartsearchpng.com

Stanwell
10th Nov 2016, 23:58
David,
Good post .. :ok:

p.s. I also spent a bit of time in green, so I do have an appreciation of the difficulties you've been dealing with in that countryside and climate.
Further, a couple of mates and myself annually get into what we call 'researched industrial archaeology'.
We just look, examine and take some photos - never souveniring.
It's very satisfying when you're able to come up with a couple of answers.
I wish you luck.
.

mgahan
11th Nov 2016, 06:40
As the guys looking for MH370 would tell you, "If only we had something to actually pin the detail of the search on we would probably find it." Well folks I think David has a critical piece of evidence that may well lead to solving part of the mystery or, if not, at least remove one theory that has very strong chance of being the correct one.

Why do I make that assertion? Well, several years ago I had the chance to sit for many hours with David and a couple of others and forensically analyse his theory based on that one piece of evidence. Whyteboard, maps, blank paper ... the lot. I challenged him on every step and documented his responses.

I then passed the theory past a couple of well experienced aviators and guess what? When you take the critical data and put it into all the equations along with other well documented proven facts it has as much, if not more, strength than many of the other theories of where that aircraft and occupants came to grief.

We were so convinced we started planning the expedition.

Why haven't we been there? Several reasons but the main one is $$$. David Livingstone may have been funded by the publishing industry but these days the glossy mags and TV shows are just not willing to finance the expedition; they will go along and pay their own way and possibly a bit more but the brunt of the expedition cost has to be found elsewhere. And that "elsewhere" has not come up despite several approaches to likely sources.

Assuming my numbers come up one Saturday night I'll be calling Mr Billings and one of several documentary makers who are very interested but until then the mystery remains and that critical piece of evidence waits to be put to the test.

MJG
Out in the mid Pacific not too far from where she wanted to end up that day.

David Billings
12th Nov 2016, 00:24
...and getting the wrong answer

In re-reading Page 5 of this thread I see the post by "Above the Clouds" copies a section of the "Official Report" posted by Cazalet 33 on Page 4 of the thread.

On Page 4, Brian Abraham in post #75 asks:

"Was the position of the Mytlebank ever established for the time of "in sight" broadcast? "

Without posting the picture again (because it is on this page anyway) on the Page 4 posts copied to Page 5, Cazalet33 in post #76 writes:

"Good question.

From the official report into the hugely intensive search effort and subsequent investigation, we know where Myrtlebank was at the time Earhart reported seeing a ship which she probably presumed was 'Ontario'."

There then is the section of the 'Official Report posted'.... and then Cazalet33 continues:

"1° 40'S 166° 45'E

When they passed over what we now know to have been Myrtlebank, they were 100nm along track and about 65nm cross-track to Port, ie to the Nor'ard, of track from where they thought they were. That's a pretty major nav bust to have already incurred in the first and easiest half of the flight."

"What we now know to have been Myrtlebank...."

Now, in making an exuberant statement like that and going on to say "...a pretty major nav bust...", it would be beneficial to the poster to do some sums before the event. Google Earth is there to help you in this, because it can be seen that from the Electra position at 0720GMT quoted in the report to the approximate position of the Myrtlebank quoted in the report, the distance is 490 Nm.

If the Electra has a G/S of 111 Knots (128 Mph) at 0720GMT as per Para 15. of the report and then travels close enough to see the S.S. Myrtlebank at 1030 GMT at the position at Para 19. of the report , then it has taken 3 Hours 10 minutes (or 190 minutes) to be able to see it.

Given that the S.S. Myrtlebank's position was as stated, then the Electra has travelled 490 Nm in 190 minutes giving a G/S of 2.6 Nm per Minute or a G/S of 155 Knots (180 Mph) average for the distance.

Now I put to readers of this statement, that if this is so, then over the time and distance the Electra has accelerated from 111 Knots G/S average at the rate of 0.232 Nm per minute/m or 13.9 Nm per hour/hour (16 mph/hr) in order to be able to see the Myrtlebank at 1030 GMT.

At 0820 GMT the G/S of the Electra is 125 Knots average, at 0920 the G/S is 140 Knots average and at 1020 the G/S of the Electra is 154 Knots average.

In other words, Earhart has progressively opened the throttles to achieve an acceleration rate of 14 Knots (16 Mph) every hour over three hours in the face of a forecast headwind component, so that she was able to see the S.S. Myrtlebank and in doing so, Earhart has destroyed her Long Range Fuel Plan.

If the terminal speed of 180 Mph average overhead the S.S. Myrtlebank had been retained and the Electra steered correctly towards Howland Island, they would have been there at 1730 GMT in time for breakfast of Coffee and Pancakes in the Officers Wardroom on board the USCG Itasca (after a quick shower)...... at 0630L. The call at 1912GMT: "Must be on you but cannot see you...", would never have been made.

The positions, particularly the 0720 GMT Position was not quite like that but what I have posted will give readers the correct perspective.... The ship could not have been the S.S. Myrtlebank.


David Billings
www.earhartsearchpng.com