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    Re: Amelia Earhart's aerial navigation
    From: Ronald P Barrett
    Date: 2009 Nov 27, 17:37 -0800
    A number of matters more with Navigator Noonan trying to shoot a below the horizon sun shot from a plane with no astrodome and and a slot-front window in the ITCZ.

    1. In looking at the pictures of the L-10AE, I feel there is no way an aft cabin shot of the sun rise could be accomplished due to the fat wing chord and engine nacelle being in the visual path. Like I said prior one does need to do an engineering study of the visual paths or views possible from all the L-10AE's windows using as best as is known sextant:by a navigator if possible as you need to know what you are looking for. The view of the sun would have been slightly to the left of the flight center line of the flight path of apx 080 degrees. The sun rise azimuth was to be 067 degrees at that time/date.

    2. If one studies the front cockpit windows you see that the view from the cockpit seat as Ruth Richter Holden (owner of the current flying L-12A Electra ) stated to me, "Like looking out a mail box slot." That says a lot. I found the sister ship to AE's Electra up at the Canadian Air museum and you can see by their picture details of the cockpit window Noonan might have been sighting through. So he had to have his head way up in the crown of the cockpit area, to get the sextant to be able to sight out over the glare shield and out the bottom edge of the window. HUMM???

    3. Upon further analysis: would Noonan have been sighting through the left cockpit window pain? Were the frames in the way? If he could shoot...could he see over the engine nacelle? If so was he shooting through a prop into the sun? What were the real glare/optical problems. They look horrific to me.

    4. It needs to be noted shooting an off-the-nose rising sun shot from 5,000ft altituude would give a Nav a dip correction of nearly seventy-miles. So without the correction Noonan would have thought he was apx 70 miles nearer Howland than he actually was. At a higher altitude it would have been even greater; so when possible was a let down initiated?

    5. Looking at the picture does any one think we need to look at the visual/sighting paths possible for Noonan's sun-rise celestial observations?

    Thanks, Ron Barrett, USAF Ret Nav & President of Air Force Navigators Observers Association (www.afnoa.org)



    --- On Fri, 11/27/09, Gary LaPook <glapook---.net> wrote:

    From: Gary LaPook <glapook---.net>
    Subject: Re: [NavList 10825] Re: Amelia Earhart's aerial navigation
    To: navlist@fer3.com
    Date: Friday, November 27, 2009, 7:19 AM

    Greg Rudzinski wrote:

    A few more questions. The abrupt ending of voice radio transmission
    implies trouble. Is it possible that the batteries/magneto and or fuel
    pump failed then causing a ditch short of Howland on the LOP
    approach ? What were there chances without a life raft?

    Greg

    On Nov 18, 9:59 pm, Gary LaPook <glap...---.net> wrote:

    > Greg Rudzinski asked:
    >
    > Maybe Gary can comment on the following:
    > 1. Time tick before departure.
    > 2. Sobriety of Noonan.
    > 3. Life raft.
    > 4. Radio antenna.
    > 5. Head winds.
    > 6. Celestial opportunities.
    > 7. Sleep deprivation.
    > 8. Was it possible to fly right over Howland Island and not see it?
    > 9. Was Howland charted correctly.
    > 10.What would have been a better less risky route?



    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    I think I have answered most of these questions already except:


    There are other possible explanations for the sudden loss of radio calls from AE. In her last call she announced that she was changing frequency to her daytime freq of 6210 kHz and may have not operated the radio controls correctly. And remember tube type radios had sudden failures regularly.

    It would not have been a magneto problem since each engine has two independent magnetos and the engine will run perfectly well on just one(that is why you have two.) To lose electrical power to the radio would take a simultaneous failure of both the battery and the generator, unlikely. However, if the generator had failed sometime before and AE hadn't noticed this on her ammeter then the battery would have gradually run down and the radio would have eventually stopped working.

    There is no reason to believe that they did not have a life raft.

    I believe that they did ditch northwest of Howland on or near the LOP due to some type of failure but I have no idea what.





    6. They reported clouds several times but that doesn't mean that there were clouds continuously so as to prevent celestial sights. They should have been on top of most clouds during the night. AE cabled Putnam that Noonan needed star sights so if they couldn't get them they would have turned around. In addition to the sun, the moon would have been well positioned to give good cuts as they approached Howland. It was about 76 high at the start but coming down and we know from a noon sun sight while crossing the Atlantic that he could get a sight 75 high so should have been able to shoot the moon.

    7. I remember flying 14 hours after having been up 16 hours already so landed after being awake for 30 hours. I got out of the plane, sat down of the tarmac, leaned back against the tire and was asleep in an instant. But it didn't hit me until after I had landed and I had no trouble flying the NDB approach to the airport. Remember Noonan wasn't banished to the nav station, he sat in the co-pilot seat to take sights too. The autopilot did most of the flying and Noonan also could fly the plane while AE grabbed a nap and Noonan could also have napped between taking sights.

    8. Itasca reported that Howland was surrounded by clear skies for a 40 mile radius and Itasca was making smoke so it should have been impossible to fly over it without seeing it.

    10. The original plan was to fly around westbound and to refuel in the air over Midway Island since there was no airport there, only a seaplane base. The Navy put the kibosh on that idea, the felt AE was not skillful enough to attempt aerial refueling. There were no other airports available, in fact there was no airport on Howland, they had to bulldoze one for AE.






    > Excellent post Gary. Thanks.
    >
    > A few more questions. The abrupt ending of voice radio transmission
    > implies trouble. Is it possible that the batteries/magneto and or fuel
    > pump failed then causing a ditch short of Howland on the LOP
    > approach ? What were there chances without a life raft?
    >
    > Greg
    >
    > On Nov 18, 9:59 pm, Gary LaPook <glap...---.net> wrote:
    >   
    >> Greg Rudzinski asked:
    >>
    >> Maybe Gary can comment on the following:
    >> 1. Time tick before departure.
    >> 2. Sobriety of Noonan.
    >> 3. Life raft.
    >> 4. Radio antenna.
    >> 5. Head winds.
    >> 6. Celestial opportunities.
    >> 7. Sleep deprivation.
    >> 8. Was it possible to fly right over Howland Island and not see it?
    >> 9. Was Howland charted correctly.
    >> 10.What would have been a better less risky route?
    >>     

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