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Amelia Earhart PNG Theory

Old 6th Jun 2009, 11:14
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Amelia Earhart PNG Theory

Just wondering if David Billings has managed to get enough money together to start a search for the famous missing aircraft of Amelia Earhart on the island of New Britain in PNG.

Saw a doco on the National Geographic channel and his theory wasn't mentioned as a possible scenario. Anyone have his website / any info regarding his search?
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Old 6th Jun 2009, 11:34
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Try here!

AIRCRAFT SEARCH PROJECT IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Amelia Earhart Articles: Wings Over Kansas
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Old 25th Jul 2009, 04:10
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Amelia Earhart PNG Search

Seal 11 & 2 Dogs.....

I was up in Port Morbid when this jumped onto PPRuNe and a mate has just sent me the url, so here's the response......

I'm still looking ! 15 years on and we have not come across one scrap of metal in the jungle which we could say was part of the Electra.

The big problem is getting the Americans to take off their fogged glasses and study the evidence and come up with the dough for the required Magnetometer Survey. Strange thing was when I contacted CILHI in Hawaii, the C.O. of the Recovery Unit got back to me through a third party who was Australian (the guy had a diving outfit on the NSW coast and he had done some work for the U.S. Navy). The offer was that the U.S. Army would fund it but I was to walk away when it was found. So the U.S. Army know all about it but I am still hampered by that condition which I will not agree to.

I am convinced after 12 trips and some $120,000 down the gurgler that the wreck is buried. It is an expensive place to get to and requires two chopper lifts to get the team and equipment in. Last time we went by boat, which was interesting, if somewhat more dangerous than a single engined chopper.

There are landslips in the area and the loggers have been into parts of the search area and left a terrible mess which the torrential rain dumps off the edge of the ridge.

The evidence is excellent both in documentary form and the verbal descriptions from the surviving Vets. There were four in 1994. Only two of them left now.

I have had an agent in L.A. scouring for money for two years and it is looking brighter but the GFC is causing some delay. First it was the Iraq War that stopped the funding, then Afghanistan and now the GFC.

There is a picture of the map edge with the "600H/P S3H1 C/N1055" under "Pictures" and this is our main evidence. The story makes interesting reading and takes about an hour to read through.

Anyone have any questions, pm me or mail me at the address on the website (preferred).


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Old 26th Jul 2009, 12:10
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Maybe Dick Smith might come to the party or generate some interest in finding the wreckage !!
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Old 26th Jul 2009, 13:51
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That website was quite an interesting read. David, do you have the lat-long coordinates of where you think the wreckage is? Just trying to get a rough idea of the area you're referring to.
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Old 26th Jul 2009, 21:36
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Clearly Mr Billings doesn't believe she crashed in the Marshall Islands, was rescued by the Japanese, lived in Japan until after the war and returned to the US to live out her days, under an assumed identity, finally dying in 1980s.

About Beyond 37'

A Basic Comparison Of The Eyes

"Monsignor James Francis Kelley of Rumson, a retired priest and close friend of Mrs. Bolam's, didn't want to comment on her possible dual identity. "I could not state my feelings," said Mrs. Bolam's confessor. "Doing so would violate everything I learned in the confessional." 1982 Woodbridge New Jersey News Tribune.

Based on their correspondence and information he eventually did convey, there is no doubt Monsignor Kelley and Irene-Amelia developed a deep mutual respect for each other over the course of their long friendship. For not only was he her confessor, but he described how he also served as her post U. S. return therapist. (Monsignor Kelley held Doctorates in Psychology and Philosophy.)

Five years after 'not stating his feelings' about it, in July of 1987 upon the completion of his autobiography in which he claimed to have included a chapter about his friend, Amelia in it... Monsignor Kelley finally decided to disclose to news reporter, Dean Magley who he had previously acquainted, the basic framework of the true Irene-Amelia story. Magley, with his Wife Carol accompanying him traveled to New Jersey from Michigan to conduct an in-person interview with the Monsignor at his Rumson, New Jersey mansion home. The retired Monsignor disclosed many things to Magley about his long friendship with Amelia (Irene-Amelia) following World War Two. Soon Magley started writing a book about it. [Note: Magley would also follow up on a conversation he had with the now late Astronaut, Wally Schirra in the 1970s. Schirra had intimated to Magley, that not only was Amelia still living in the United States in the 1970s, but he had even recently 'seen' her. A few years after Irene-Amelia died, Magley managed to interview the famous Astronaut on film. During said interview he further queried Schirra on the matter. Magley asked Schirra how he came to know what he did, and on camera Schirra replied how "reliable people" had conveyed to him the true identity of the woman he had previously referenced to Magley.] Sadly, Dean Magley died of cancer within a short time after his final 1989 correspondences with Monsignor Kelley, never completing his ms. Yet Magley's writings about Kelley's words to him and his Schirra filmed interview still remain, and are highly worth noting. (*See further NASA mention below.) Add to this as well, the following end to a conversation excerpted from a remarkable 1991 taped interview with none other than Monsignor James Francis Kelley, conducted by the now late USAF Colonel Rollin C. Reineck, (Ret.) (Also note the complete 1991 follow-up tape recorded conversation at the bottom of this page that took place between Col. Reineck and Monsignor Kelley's Sister, Gertrude Kelley Hession who was a past good friend and traveling companion of Irene-Amelia's.)

Rollin Reineck: Specifically, I want to know about Amelia Earhart. Did you bring her home from Japan?

Monsignor Kelley: Yes, I was instrumental in getting her freed and she stayed here. I have some of her things here. I'm certain it's in my book. I did write a book, and I'm positive I did put in a chapter about her.

RR: I understand you were President of Seton Hall (University.)
Kelley: Yes, I was President of Seton Hall for many years.

RR: If I were to come back and talk to you would I be able to see some of the things you have of Amelia Earhart's?
Kelley: Absolutely. Surely.

RR: We believe Jackie Cochran was sent to Japan to help bring Amelia home. Are you aware of that?

Kelley: Yes, I was involved with that.

RR: Could you give me your address?

Kelley: (Provides his Rumson, New Jersey address.)

RR: I'm going to try to come back to talk to you.

Kelley: All Right.

RR: Thank you for your help.

Kelley: What city are you in?

RR: Honolulu, Hawaii

Kelley: Oh my gosh, and you're going to come over here?

RR: Yes sir. If you Have things of hers I would like to see them. Are you aware that she was Irene Bolam?

Kelley: What?

RR: Amelia Earhart was Irene Bolam?

Kelley: That's right, yes.

(*)Note from the paragraphs preceding the Kelley-Reineck conversation: The following excerpts come from a 1993 story written about Irene-Amelia (AKA Irene Craigmile Bolam) by Mrs. John Bolam, her survived sister in-law: "She was intelligent, articulate, and had a commanding presence. She knew a lot of important people including many high-ranking military officers, astronauts and flyers." [Colonel Reineck's book as well, references Irene Bolam being awarded a medal of appreciation by NASA in the early 1960s.][The late Arizona Senator, Barry Goldwater was also a past friend of Irene-Amelia's.] "Guy and Irene knew people all around the world, some of which were well known figures in high places." "She appeared to be completely familiar with any subject we might bring up about flying in the old days, such as types of planes, instruments, early airports, etcetera." "After Guy died, she still continued to manage Radio Luxembourg accounts while trekking around the world." [Irene-Amelia actually took over as corporate President of Radio Luxembourg following Guy's 1970 passing.] "She thoroughly enjoyed life, people, events, theater, travel, new heights. She was the epitome of a "'Classy Lady.'" "Irene told us she was a member of the 99s and the Zonta's, but others say her name does not appear in the records of either organization. Why then would they ask her to speak at their national and international meetings?" (Note: It was later learned how from the mid-late 1940s on as 'Irene Craigmile,' Irene-Amelia was listed in the Long Island chapter of Zonta records, and at times she appeared in Zonta published photographs.)

It was also described in this same article, how according to what his own brother, John somehow came to either know or believe, Guy Bolam had been "a member of British MI6."

Note: Amelia Earhart co-founded the 99s Women's Flying Organization in 1929 and was its first President. Amelia had also joined the Boston chapter of the Zonta's in 1928, but after moving to New York in 1931 she mostly participated, when she could, in Zonta functions held there. Today, Zonta still annually presents its prestigeous Amelia Earhart Scholarship award to aspiring female college students.

The 1982 Woodbridge New Jersey News Tribune series also described Irene Craigmile (Irene-Amelia) as a Long Island Chapter Zonta member, although not prior to 1945. It also inferred her mulit-lingual ability to have enabled her position for Zonta as an International Relations Chair Person. (Recall as Amelia she already spoke several languages.) Regardless of this, and though they were asked the Zonta organization itself would not volunteer any records about Irene Craigmile's past membership. There does exist however, numerous Zonta pamphlets still in public circulation with her photo and name appearing from the late 1940s on. On the other hand, there does not appear to be any record of an Irene Craigmile, Heller, or Bolam ever having been a member of the 99s. Such would make sense, where within a month of the original Irene Craigmile having earned her pilot's license in late May of 1933, she realized herself to be pregnant out-of-wedlock with her last flight instructor, Al Heller's child. There exists no record of her ever piloting a plane after that. Indeed, the original Irene Craigmile appeared to have no more than twenty-odd hours of solo flying time in 1933, and that's all she ever had according to record, before she eloped to marry Al Heller that same August.

"(Peter) Busatti (who had known Mrs. Bolam for many years) said he accompanied Mrs. Bolam to the Wings Club in New York City on one occasion. He said a full length portrait of Amelia Earhart hangs in the room dedicated in her honor. "'It was a dead ringer for Irene,'" he said. "'Sometimes I thought she was, sometimes I thought she wasn't.'" "'I told her she looked like Amelia Earhart and she said, 'No, I don't look like her.'" Busatti said. At a Wings Club event in Washington, Busatti mentioned all the admirals and generals seemed to know her." 1982 Woodbridge New Jersey, News Tribune.

"After her death, [Irene-Amelia's] rumors resurfaced that she was in fact Amelia Earhart, the famous aviatrix who disappeared on a flight between Lae New Guinea and Howland Island in the south Pacific on July 2, 1937. Mrs. Bolam's son, Clarence Heller then requested Mrs. Bolam's fingerprints from the medical school [Rutgers University, College of Medicine and Dentistry] to settle the Amelia Earhart question. The request was deinied. Heller's wife, Joan, said her husband, Mrs. Bolam's only child, sent a registered letter to the medical school requesting the fingerprints, but the request was denied. She said medical school officials told her that Mrs. Bolam's body had been disguised in some manner so that only one or two people in the school knew which was her body. She said she spoke to Norma Davenport, attorney for the school, and was told that an agreement that Mrs. Bolam signed with the school precluded the release of her fingerprints. "'We're not entitled to them,'" Mrs. Heller said she was told. "'They won't tell me anything except that her identity has been switched." She further said Mrs. Davenport refused to give her a copy of the agreement between the school and Mrs. Bolam or to tell her what the agreement specified." 1982 Woodbridge New Jersey News Tribune.

"Dr. Man Wah Cheung of Roosevelt Hospital, who treated Mrs. Bolam for two years, said he remained "'puzzled,'" even after her death, about whether she might have been the missing aviatrix." Dr. Cheung's puzzlement is shared by his assistant, Rose Mulligan. "'Who knows,'" she asked, adding "'I never met anyone like her.'" 1982 Woodbridge New Jersey News Tribune.

Nothing evidenced this fact more than the later 2002 discovery of photo forgeries used within the series, that combined the images of more than one woman to represent a single identified human being. The forged photos were used in a series ending display, and were meant to depict the life long birth to death images of the person known as 'Irene Craigmile Bolam.' Indeed, they were engaged as the chief instrument used to try and finally convince the public, how Irene-Amelia could not have ever been the former Amelia Earhart. For twenty years said forgeries went undetected. This might also remind one of the old addage: 'Sometimes the best way to hide something valuable, is to place it in full view as if it isn't really that valuable.' Think about it: For two weeks in October of 1982, great lengths were gone to by the Woodbridge New Jersey News Tribune, in order to outright lure its readers into considering the notion of the woman whose true identity had been the subject of high scrutiny over the course of the previous twelve years, and who had just died a few months earlier, how she possibly had been the survived, former Amelia Earhart. Then on the last day of the series, the paper suddenly demonstrated its own almost magic capability, to soundly conclude how the woman in question could not have been the former Amelia Earhart after all, by deferring to photographs that at times sloppily combined plural human being images in order to forge one human being's image. So much was done in order to persuade its readers into believing a false truth, that there was never a mystery at all pertaining to the woman in question. Now it can be said with certainty, the series was nothing more than an outright scam, or a lie, that had been highly conceived and orchestrated with a sole end goal in mind. And such a goal was: To outright trick its readers into accepting a false truth. Or, to accept a historical truth that was not a real historical truth... at all.

As mentioned above, on 11/2/91 the now late Colonel Rollin C. Reineck, USAF (retired) recorded his 'Monsignor Kelley' follow-up conversation with the Monsignor's Sister, Gertrude Kelley Hession. The following is the complete transcription of said conversation, with Col. Reineck's own introduction and a few 'explanatory notes' added by Beyond 37':

"The following is a transcript of a taped telephone conversation I (Reineck) had with Gertrude Hession on 2 November 1991. Gertrude was the younger Sister of Monsignor James Francis Kelley. This event took place after I had met with the Monsignor in 1991. A few of the words spoken by Gertrude were hard to understand, otherwise I believe I have interpreted all words correctly:"

ROLLIN C. REINECK: We had it on good authority from other people that the Monsignor did take care of Amelia Earhart when she came back to the U. S. and I wanted to confirm that with you.

GERTRUDE KELLEY HESSION: Now that I couldn't confirm. Why I say that is that I was not in the area at that time. My husband had been transferred with the parent company. I wasn't living in the area so I don't know what really happened. I can say -- he may have. He does many things that we don't know of. As far as that is concerned I couldn't say yes.

ROLLIN: I see. You don't know whether he did or not. Is that what you're telling me?

GERTRUDE: I don't know.

ROLLIN: I talked to someone in St. Croix who knew Mnsgr Kelley. His name is DeKoster. Do you know him?

GERTRUDE: Are they from New Jersey?

ROLLIN: No, they have a home in St Croix. (U.S. Virgin Islands)

GERTRUDE: No. I don't know them. I know the De Kosters from New Jersey.

ROLLIN: They may have a home there too. [Note: The DeKosters were quite wealthy, Donald DeKoster, a long time good friend of Monsignor Kelley’s was a prosperous Detroit auto industry executive.] Anyway they have a house right near the Monsignor’s house in St. Croix.

GERTRUDE: I don't think I've met them.

ROLLIN: They told me that at one time you and Amelia Earhart were to come to visit, but that one of you got sick and couldn't make it.

GERTRUDE: Well now, I'll tell you. I have visited there with Irene Bolam. And, you know who Irene Bolam is?

ROLLIN: Right, yes.

GERTRUDE: Yes, are you acquainted with the name?

ROLLIN: Yes of course.

GERTRUDE: Now, Irene and I had visited out at St. Croix. Irene Bolam and I took several trips together. But actually, I did not know Irene as a child - as a young person - to be able to give you a good background. I know of her family, The doctor O'Crowley and her aunt, but actually, I didn't know too much about her. I met her when her husband died, Bolam was ill with appendicitis. That was when I really knew her intimately. She never discussed much about Amelia Earhart. I don't know if..., that she ever denied it out-rightly to me – you know – that she had no real connection there. But, oh, I had my doubts many times. She had a yacht in Red Bank. As did the Erwins. I don't know if you know them. They had a yacht up there in Red Bank. Irene had her boat there and we used to go out on it. She would always discuss planes coming over. Pulling down maps, pinpointing all these different areas. It made you wonder you know. But I don't know how helpful I can be to you. I wish I could be more.

ROLLIN: You said something a second ago. You said she never denied being Amelia Earhart.

GERTRUDE: Oh, not in my company.

ROLLIN: Did she ever affirm it at all.

GERTRUDE: She. Oh, the only time I recall her making a denial was at the time of her death. There was a memorial service. There was a memorial service for her down where she lived you know. She had a party for all of her friends. She had pre-arranged this affair. And, it was a memorial party. And, some of those people down around Rossmoor could give you a much better explanation about her. She did have a folder made up, pre-advance.

ROLLIN: I have a copy.

GERTRUDE: Oh, then you know where she says "If you believe this."

ROLLIN: Do you know Diana Dawes?

GERTRUDE: Oh yes, she was one of her closest friends I would say.

ROLLIN: When we were back visiting the Monsignor, (Gertrude’s Brother) we visited Diana the next day.

GERTRUDE: Oh Yes, She [Diana Dawes] was about one of her closest friends I would say. More intimate than I. Although, we took all those wonderful trips together. She used to get very upset with people coming up and wanting her to admit – you know – that she was Amelia Earhart.

[Note: Ms. Dawes was left many of Irene’s personal belongings after Irene died in 1982, to include the photographs of the Irenes used in the study, to also include the ones appearing in this website. Plus, the “pre-advance” folder Irene had made for her 1982 Memorial Dinner featured the ‘other’ Irene Bolam on its cover, a person Joe Gervais never met before. Diana Dawes, before she passed away in the late 1990s held to her opinion of highly suspecting the Irene Craigmile Bolam she knew to have been the former Amelia Earhart.]

ROLLIN: What was your personal opinion.


ROLLIN: Your personal opinion was that she was or was not?

GERTRUDE: You know when they were writing the book, Amelia Earhart Lives. That was a very trying time for her. I can recall people coming up. There was a judge. I can't remember his name. [Judge Edward Kennedy.] Anyway he was helping her control those people. I think one was Gervais and the other one.

ROLLIN: Klaas, Joe Gervais and Joe Klaas.

GERTRUDE: Right. Oh you know, that was very disturbing and the judge was handling it. She sued. I sat in on some of the depositions with her. I think she --- didn't she win that suit?

ROLLIN: No. She sued Mc Graw Hill, Joe Klaas and Joe Gervais for two million dollars. She kept asking for a postponement. Finally, [Gervais] agreed to pay her the two million dollars if she would come to court and give her fingerprints in front of the judge.

GERTRUDE: Oh no, that's something she would never do.

ROLLIN: No. She wouldn't do that, so she dropped the suit [against Gervais and Klaas] after that.

GERTRUDE: I think we lost touch about then, but I know that things were very trying for her. (NOTE: This is a contradicting statement made by Gertrude. The lawsuit ended in early 1976, and it was known how at least until 1979 Gertrude continued to occasionally see and even travel at times with Irene.)

ROLLIN: Why wouldn't she give her fingerprints?

GERTRUDE: Why? She didn't want people to prove she was or wasn't - apparently. And even her own son does not have her fingerprints.

ROLLIN: I'm not sure that is her son.

GERTRUDE: Irene was married three times.

ROLLIN: I have her marriage certificate and it says that when she married Bolam, it was her second marriage.

GERTRUDE: Oh really.

ROLLIN: I asked you a minute ago, do you think she was or was not Amelia Earhart.

GERTRUDE: I was very dubious, because there were so many times she would slip, you know with comments and make you feel, you know, and yet, I never really wanted to probe. I felt she could tell me if she wanted to tell me. It was that type of friendship. But there were many times when it was difficult not to go after her and say come on, sit down and tell me. But, we just never quite did. She had a friend by the name of Mary (Eubank) who would have known her as a class mate at the academy of the Boswell Sisters and St. Dominic's academy. She was sent there by her grand parents. She would have known her as a high school person. To me she was the closest one. Then she had two aunts who lived up around the shore line. [The O’Crowley Sisters Edna Madaline O’Crowley Horsford and Attorney Irene Mary Rutherford O’Crowley.] (Attorney Irene) O'Crowley was one. They were two sisters. It was always a very sensitive thing with Irene (Craigmile Bolam.) She would get very disturbed about it when people would come up to her in front of her son you know, at the Flyers Group, Wings Club, or something like that, she would get very upset.

ROLLIN: When I was talking to another lady, her name was Helen Barber, who also knew the Monsignor in St. Croix. She told me that when Amelia Earhart came back and the Monsignor was giving her spiritual and psychological care as well, he tried to get her to keep her name, but she didn't want to – according to the story – because she said she was embarrassed for what she had done.

[Note: Such a statement is questionable. Col. Reineck appeared to be reading something into the story that wasn’t necessarily there. According to Donald DeKoster, in 1979 Monsignor Kelley mentioned to him how Irene decided she “didn’t want to be the famous Amelia Earhart any more,” alluding to her strong desire to continue living her life after the WWII years as a private person in the U. S., as opposed to a highly famous ‘public’ person. Her post-war confidence, the respect she commanded from others, her continued love for Japan, the orient, and the United States…, as well as her overall positive attitude measure never suggested she was embarrassed about anything from her past. Rather, she may have found it to hard to explain what she had somewhat inadvertently become involved with during the war years, after realizing herself to be a somewhat subjugated victim of inordinate circumstances.]

GERTRUDE: Oh really, I don't know, I've never heard that. But my brother got to know her quite well. After all, she would have confessed to him, ah, especially when she was ill at the hospital. We went to visit her on numerous occasions, and that was a very secret deal too. When she was in the hospital, she had this oriental doctor and his name was kept quiet always as to her relationship with people and what not. And that's when she died at that hospital. I do know my brother visited her because I took him there several times as he was her confessor. What she told him, I don't know. I don't know how you could get it from him. I wish you well with this.

ROLLIN: Let me give you my name and address; etc.

GERTRUDE: I gather from what you said that you thought she may have been Amelia Earhart.


GERTRUDE: Yes, there were times, yes, I must admit that. If I had been really curious. But, I think I valued our friendship more.

ROLLIN: That's what Diana Dawes said. She said that although she was almost positive, she never asked because it would have upset her and she would lose her friendship. ….I won't take up any more of your time. Thank you very much. You've been a real help. Thank you Gertrude.

(They sign off.)

Note: It is fairly certain Mary Eubamk and the original Irene Craigmile were past good friends, and Mary Eubank was likely introduced to the original Irene’s famous family friend, Amelia Earhart at some point either in the late 1920s or early to mid 1930s. Accordingly, in 1949, the same year records show Viola Gentry and Jackie Cochran corresponding with each other, Jackie Cochran’s own stowed records index indicates at least one letter exchange between Jackie and one 'Mary Eubank.' When Tod Swindell discussed Mary Eubank with the original Irene’s Son, Larry Heller in person in 2006, Mr. Heller appeared reluctant to discuss the subject of Mary Eubank, the woman who was known to at times have cared for him as he grew up. He also refused to verify the spelling of her last name. When asked if it was spelled ‘Eubank’ or ‘Eubanks’ he replied he “couldn’t remember.” Yet it would seem he had to have been aware it was ‘Eubank.’

Beyond 37' holds copies of all audio tape recordings of conversations that took place between Colonel Reineck and Monsignor Kelley, Reineck and DeKoster, Reineck and Mrs. Helen Barber of Wayne, Pennsylvania (who as mentioned also knew Monsignor Kelley well and was told many things by Kelley about his past relationship with Irene Craigmle Bolam,) and between Colonel Reineck and Gertrude Kelley Hession. Beyond 37' also holds a copy of Dean Magley's 1985 filmed interview with now late NASA Astronaut, Wally Schirra.
Note: Edited for brevity.

Last edited by Chimbu chuckles; 26th Jul 2009 at 21:50.
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Old 26th Jul 2009, 23:15
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Note: Edited for brevity.

Thanks for thinking of us, Chuck
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Old 26th Jul 2009, 23:22
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There is just one thing missing in the story for me: the motive. Why would they bother to go to such lengths to switch identities, indeed what would have been her motive to do or go along with that? Seems uncharacteristic of such an achiever.
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Old 26th Jul 2009, 23:35
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I have been interested in this mystery for over 30 years, and whilst I have not devoted the time or resources to it that people such as Mr Billings or Elgen Long have, I have read lots of books on different theories regarding what became of AE.

Almost without exception, these books (there must be about 75, of which I have read perhaps a third) contain quite strong evidence supporting the particular theory that the book is based on. These include -
  • AE crashed on Gardner Island (now known as Nikumororo) in the Phoenix group
  • AE crashed near Saipan and was executed by the Japanese
  • AE was taken to Fiji and died there

Whatever her fate, people will continue to wonder until either positively identified wreckage of her Electra, or DNA-matched remains resolve the mystery.

I do consider the New Britain site to be a credible possibility, and I certainly hope Mr Billings does find a suitable benefactor to fund the expedition.
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Old 27th Jul 2009, 00:19
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Earhart Project PNG


I tried Dick Smith about five years ago but he was too busy making jam. I don't know whether I actually got to him but I did get a response showing no interest, whoever it was from.

Smiling Monkey:

The search area is inland from Wide Bay at the southern end of the east coast of the Gazelle Peninsular. It's in that narrow neck of land 35 kms wide. In WWII the Australian Army drew the Bomb Line across there and anything that moved east of the bomb line drew some whistling things that come out of the air.


The Bolam Theory has been proved to be hogwash. Bolam was known in a bank in NYC during WWII. The Catholic priest, Father James Francis Kelley was in dementia. Colonel Rollin Reineck who was a Navigator on B-29's at the end of WWII was passionate about the Bolam Theory and would never listen to the proof. His book has it that Earhart intended flying from Lae to Ni'hau Island at the western end of the Hawaiian chain (where there are no landing grounds) to sit it out for three weeks and then make a dramatic re-appearance.

Chimbu, I hope that you put that on PPRuNe "tongue in cheek" !

While I'm here, a few words about the other theory that Earhart ended up on Nikumaroro Island (formerly Gardner Island) in the Phoenix Group..... The Theory is that Earhart reached a sunline through Howland Island but was south of Howland and flew down the line heading south until she reached Nikumaroro. Some bones found in 1940 started this one off....... ....think 1937, no navaids, zilch.

The theory has four flaws:

1. Noonan had to know his position in order to navigate from that known position to Gardner Island. He had to know where he was in Longitude and Latitude in order to steer a course to the island. It would be no good saying, "just steer SSE and we should hit something....."..... The theory depends on the Electra being on a sunline which cuts through Howland Island but there is absolutely no evidence that they "actually" were at that sunline. The 1912GMT radio call "We must be on you but cannot see you..." only says that Earhart "thought" they were at Howland or very close to it (even in a lateral sense). In "thinking" they were there, that is not good enough. This points to a lack of true navigation. In other words, they were "unsure" of their position, ie: "Lost". To sum up, if Noonan was completely sure of his position in order to Navigate to Gardner, then "why" did he not say, "I know where I am, steer XXX degrees for Howland...", there would have been no need to go to Gardner.

2. If they took a stab (a chance) at finding "an" island to the South of their position, they are quite literally "INSANE". The Pacific is so large that they would have gone down literally "anywhere". Neither Earhart or Noonan were insane.

3. Earhart had stated to Gene Vidal, when asked what she would do if she could not find Howland: "I will turn back for the Gilbert Islands, find a place to put it down on the land, find a beach, or ditch close to shore." In the first attempt she made in March 1937, the plan had been to leave Hawaii with 900 USG of fuel and fly to Howland Island, a distance of 1900 miles. Her contingency was the same..."the Gilberts". Now, that means that 900 USG was enough for the 1900 miles HAWAII-HOWLAND plus another 600 miles, HOW-GILBERTS. That means 2500 miles on 900 USG. For the LAE-HOW flight she carried 1100 USG which then, was enough for 2556 + 600 miles = 3156 miles, at "Cruise" power. Why would she then, at the last minute, unsure of her position, change her mind and head for Gardner when she was unsure of her position, instead of heading for the North-South spread of the Gilberts which extends for some 500 miles and is difficult to miss ? You cannot navigate from an "unknown" position to another "known" position, you have no means of navigating. Heading for the Gilberts would in certainty gaurantee a landfall.

4. The Hypothesis is on shaky ground in the fourth instance because it dismisses the fact that 11 Crewmen died in the wrecking of the S.S. Norwich City, a steamer plying on a Northern route across the Pacific which struck the reef edge and lodged there in 1928. Eleven crew died trying to reach shore in the shark-infested sea. Some were washed up on the beach and buried in shallow (coral) graves by the survivors. Bones found in 1940, undoubtedly came from these poor souls. Also, during WWII, some 30-odd US Navy men were based there at a LORAN station. Discarded bits and pieces from that Loran station litter the island.

I hope that I have given some more to think over. I did puit the website in my mail yesterday but a mod must have removed it. it's the usual prefix and suffix for a website with "electranewbritain" in the middle.

I'm off to PX at Port Morbid for a week tomorrow so if there are any questions or whatnot, just pm me or email me (email preferred) at the address on the website and I'll answer them, that's if the Gate WiFi is working !


Dave Billings

NOTE: Website is now:

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Old 27th Jul 2009, 00:44
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Earhart Project in PNG


Dave's the name Mate....

I didn't know there were that many books ! There can be a thousand books all espousing their theory as far as I'm concerned but none of them have any documentary evidence that what they say is true.

When I stood at the fax machine at PX in 1994 and a reduced copy of the map came through showing "600H/P S3H1 C/N1055", what was left of my hair stood on end. The map is genuine and had been kept by a Veteran from the same unit that carried out the patrol for 48 years. He handed it to the Veteran who first saw the engine on the jungle floor and that veteran picked off the tape covering the writing (which is in indelible pencil). He did that so as to have the "whole" map photocopied for me as I was scheduled to meet with him in Perth W.A.

I had a problem with the 600H.P. at first as the engine was rated at 550 in all the books but with 100 Octane it did produce 600 for Take-off. Tying the metal tag removed off the engine mount with the letters and number on the map edge is also a problem as we do not have the tag. The ex-W.O. said to me in 1995, "The tag had letters and numbers on it which didn't mean anything to me....but I handed it in with the patrol report".

What we had then was the words of the Vets when they were at Tol plantation when an Officer approached them witha piece of paper in his hand and told them the U.S. Army were not interested because they said, "It's not one of ours".... The date on the map is five weeks after the find of the wreck and it would take that long for the U.S. Army to get back to them. There is the annotation "Ref:" before the "600 H/P S3H1 C/N 1055" so whoever wrote the words on the edge of the map stated that the string of letters and numbers was a "Reference" and I deduce that the reference came from the signal that the Officer was reading out to the men.

We know that the Tag was given to their Brigade HQ because there is a signal in the AWM that states, "The patrol report will be available at 0900 Hrs together with a/c plates". Plates ? Maybe more than one tag or plate was removed, but the Vets have no knowledge of a second tag or plate

There you are, a little bit more to think about.


Dave Billings.

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Old 27th Jul 2009, 01:44
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Some interesting details at this address including a partial image of the map clearly showing the message. | Ask Us - Amelia Earhart Disappearance

David, do you have a more detailed picture of this map?
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Old 27th Jul 2009, 02:19
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What interesting reading ........ fascinating stuff.

Dick Smith - where are you?
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Old 27th Jul 2009, 02:42
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Amelia Earhart Project in PNG

Merlins Magic:

Yes I have a full colour copy of the map but I am not about to display it publicly. Suffice to say that marking on it indicating where the patrol went are straight lines and it doesn't work that way in that jungle in East New Britain.

They thought that they had reached a point further then they actually did get by the end of the second day. So for the first few ground searches we were in the wrong area. After twelve visits I know exactly how far you can get in a days' searching over the differing types of terrain, which is mostly steep stuff but there are some nearly level bits.

My belief now is that I have got the area down to a couple of square kilometres but I do believe it is buried. It has been 72 years.....


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Old 27th Jul 2009, 02:53
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Amelia Earhart Project in ENB

Captain Midnight:

Read post No.10 concerning Dick Smith.

Really, I am a bit wary about Dick anyway, he has a tendency (so I believe) to march in and take over and that would not wash with me.
I like his energy when he does get going but holding him down while we got everything into place would be the question.

As I say, the response I got was in the negative, so that's it.

All it would take, as I said to a Northwest 747 Captain about four years ago is: "If all the pilots on Northwest put 100 dollars each in we'd have it licked..." but that drew no response. Northwest were the first customer for the Lockheed Model 10 Electra.

Worldwide, if all pilots put $1.00 in we'd have the dough, that's how silly it is.


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Old 27th Jul 2009, 03:30
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I'm curious..........

"During Earhart and Noonan's approach to Howland Island the Itasca received strong and clear voice transmissions from Earhart identifying as KHAQQ but she apparently was unable to hear voice transmissions from the ship. At 7:42 a.m. Earhart radioed "We must be on you, but cannot see you -- but gas is running low. Have been unable to reach you by radio. We are flying at 1,000 feet." Her 7:58 a.m. transmission said she couldn't hear the Itasca and asked them to send voice signals so she could try to take a radio bearing (this transmission was reported by the Itasca as the loudest possible signal, indicating Earhart and Noonan were in the immediate area). They couldn't send voice at the frequency she asked for, so Morse code signals were sent instead. Earhart acknowledged receiving these but said she was unable to determine their direction.

In her last known transmission at 8:43 a.m. Earhart broadcast "We are on the line 157 337. We will repeat this message. We will repeat this on 6210 kilocycles. Wait." However, a few moments later she was back on the same frequency (3105 kHz) with a transmission which was logged as a "questionable": "We are running on line north and south." Earhart's transmissions seemed to indicate she and Noonan believed they had reached Howland's charted position, which was incorrect by about five nautical miles (10 km).
3 Mhz AM voice transmissions during day time in the tropics would not have much range, so they must have been relatively close to the Itasca?

If Earhart was low on fuel at or near Howland Island, how did they have enough fuel to return to New Britain?

Have you been able to verify that PW1340-S3H1 Ser No 1055 was indeed an engine installed in Earhart's Lockhart L-10E?
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Old 27th Jul 2009, 04:14
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Amelia Earhart Project in PNG

Torres et al:

There were several radio calls heard from Earhart and only one of them can be said to have indicated an "actual" position. As we know AE & FN left Lae at 0000GMT 2nd July. Note, I work in Statute miles as did Earhart.

I do not believe the Electra went direct, LAE-HOW because of a radio call heard by Lae at 0518GMT which gave the Lat/Long of 7 d 3' S, 157d 0 E.
If you read "The Chater Report" on the www. made by Eric Chater of Guinea Airways, this call is recorded as 150.7 E, which if correct it means the Electra has only covered 249 Miles in the 5.3 hours. So it cannot be correct and the more sensible Longitude is 157 E. You say it to yourself over and over again and you can then understand how Harry Balfour recorded it at 150.7.

150-7, 150-7, 150.7...157. That is 686 Miles after 5.3 hours (05:18)which is a more reasonable Groundspeed but still not accurate because we do not know that she was over Mount Maetambe on Choiseul Island at the particular time. "18 Minutes" past the hour was one of her stated broadcast times. The time/distance delivers 129 mph G/S average for the sector.

Why go by way of Choiseul Island ? There was a reported tropical storm south of the Eastern end of New Britain.

From Choiseul they would then head north-east for Nukumanu Island, which they had to see before dark for a positive fix. The sector is 224 miles. Nukumanu is on the direct line LAE-HOW and the dogleg only adds 31 miles.

Harry Balfour in Lae heard her in the area of Nukumanu Island which is 873 Miles from Lae in a direct line calling at 0718 but the position given is about 20 miles West of the Island. They have now covered 910 miles.
I have worked out that Noonan was assuming the wind at 12mph Easterly but Earhart reported a wind of 23 mph buit did not give a direction. As we know, in July , the trade winds are Easterly. That higher abeam wind would have blown them slightly west of the atoll.

She then climbs to Cruise level and was heard agian at 0800GMT by Lae "on course for Howland". Mary Lovell's book says at 12,000 feet, others say 10,000. There was a reason for going to 12,000 so I accept that.

At 1030GMT she calls, "Ship in sight ahead", recorded by Nauru Radio.
There was a US Coastguard vessle at the half way point named the USCG Ontario. It could not communicate with AE or she with it for it only had LF radio. It was 1278 miles from Lae.

The timing is right for the ship to be the Ontario and she has covered 1309 miles in 10.5 hours which delivers a G/S of 124mph average LAE-ONT sector. By this time she should have been doing 138 mph, so she is down on G/S. Note that the average G/S has dropped off since leaving Choiseul whereas it should have increased due to fuel burn off. This would indicate a wind increasing in strength.

The USCG Ontario recorded a surface wind of 20 Knots from 083 degrees at the time she would have been going over. That's a direct headwind. So up at 10K or 12K wherever she was it would have been more. From extensive playing around with times, distances, etc, in a MS Excel programme I made which shifts points and distance and takes into account winds, I do believe that the upper wind was at 35 mph Easterly. I cannot get her to the Ontario at that time of 1030GMT without that value wind.

To cut a long story short I believe they were 250-300 miles from Howland Island when they turned back.

Fuel at turnback I have calculated to be about 300 USG.

The evidence of how she "could have got back to New Britain" rests on pages 36 and 37 of her own book "Last Flight" wherein it says:

"Daylight comes at last. The stars fade. We are throttled down to 120 indicated airspeed so not to arrive in darkness. We are burning less than 20 gals. gas at 10000 ft. We have tuned on Makapu. Keep it 10 degrees to starboard bow is the order".

This excerpt is from her first attempt at a World Flight when she flew from Oakland to Wheeler Field on Hawaii. They were making too much G/S and would have arrived in the dark, so she slowed it down.

There are those who say this is 20 USG "per engine" but the Cruise power setting for 10,000 feet at the same stage of a trip is 38 USGPH so 40USGPH would be a Cruise + setting, ie; it would not slow the ship down. Why these people cannot accept Earhart's own words is beyond me.

So if she had 240USG left she can endure for 12 hours and on the way back she has the TAS + the Tailwind. She can get back to ENB.

Torres, the Serial No. is not of the engine. The serial number is the airframe.... Earhart's Electra was the 55th Model 10 built, hence it had the Construction Number 1055 (C/N1055). Her engines were Serial No's 6149 and 6150.


Dave Billings

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Old 27th Jul 2009, 04:26
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Worldwide, if all pilots put $1.00 in we'd have the dough, that's how silly it is
What a horrendous waste of money that would be!

They paid the ultimate price for one too many shortcuts. Aviation has a history of extracting that toll!

Either her radio gear had failed, and there is evidence an antenna fell off her plane as it departed New Guinea, or she did not understand how to operate the plane's direction finding antenna, which was a very new technology
If she had it, she should have taken the time to learn how to use it.

The Itasca crew also reported that Earhart changed frequencies often making it difficult for her to receive the ship's replies
Poor planning or execution?

the ship requested she switch to more powerful Morse code better suited to direction finding. Unknown to the cutter, Earhart had the Morse radio and its antennas removed from the Electra during its repair since she disliked using the equipment and neither she nor Noonan could read Morse code.
Just plain stupid!

The first and most accepted theory is that Earhart ditched the Electra at sea in the vicinity of Howland Island. If so, the aircraft most likely sank within minutes. The aviators may have been able to escape, but it is believed they had left behind any rafts or other emergency gear to save weight.
More stupid!

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Old 27th Jul 2009, 04:58
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Amelia Earhart Project in PNG

Fork Tailed disposer of Dr's:

All of the above except one.

While ever the mystery exists, people will wonder what happened. We know they took the risk and paid for it with their lives, that's called a failed exploration. Did every thing work well on Apollo 13 ? Or the space shuttle that blew up ?

Earhart lost her Rx, yes. She removed the Trailing aerial, yes. She didn't want to know Morse, yes. Noonan did know some Morse and had stood in for W.Ops on PAA. When you think about it, they knew their Tx's were heard and it would have been simple to set up a Tx on HF and an Rx in morse on 500 Kcs using the HF aerial.

There is no evidence about the loss of an aerial at Lae though. I have tried to squeeze it out of the gentleman who started that one about "old timers at Lae said she left some aerial wire on the strip..." Reportedly said to "a" U.S. serviceman at Lae during WWII. Who was the U.S. serviceman at Lae during WWII ? No reply. Who were the old timers at Lae pre-WWII, no answer. I think any civilians left at Lae when the honourable gentlemen from the north arrived were taken to Rabaul and from there their fate would have been the Montevideo Maru.

So we continue to wonder and we continue to look.


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Old 27th Jul 2009, 05:42
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Dave I didn't post tongue in cheek because I find Admiral Chester Nimitz's and Wally Shirra's words compelling. They, at least, believed she had not died near Howland Is in 1937. The pictures of 'Irene' in 1966 compared to earlier AE pictures are interesting too.

I am perplexed though that Beyond 37 makes no mention of Noonan's fate nor does it seek to explain how AE, if she had deliberately sought to 'drop out', managed to convince FN to go along with it.

What is the truth behind the AE commemorative stamp issue - you would think copies would be available still and examples posted on the Beyond 37 website?

Why would she try for Lae when Rabaul makes much more sense? New Ireland is a pretty reasonable aiming point for DR. I first heard the ENB crash site story when based in Rabaul and could never work out why she would head for Lae.

The US Govt spares absolutely no expense looking for the mortal remains of its serviceman from WW2, Korea and Vietnam. I flew the Graves Reg guys from Hawaii around more than a few times in PNG in the 80s/90s and they are a dedicated bunch - one of their Officers said to me once, "We have a blank cheque - no budget constraints".

If you have a piece of paper with her airframe serial number on it I would have thought they would crawl over broken glass to put a team in from Graves Registration.

Personally I think the most likely scenario is they ended up in the water somewhere - but stranger things than the Emelia/Irene scenario have been known to happen.

Certainly your assumptions posted above are interesting too - Good luck with it.
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