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    Re: Amelia Earhart's aerial navigation
    From: Jackie Ferrari
    Date: 2009 Oct 23, 12:48 +0100

    I've done a bit of research over theyears on Noonan. Mainly biographical,
    but some navigation. There is actually little known of the instruments
    carried on the flight. Much more is known of the instruments he used on the
    Clipper Flights for which he was Chief Navigator. He is quoted in a letter
    to Weems as always carrying a marine sextant as a 'preventer'. He was an
    officer in the merchant marine for 22 years. So most information on his
    navigation for the  fateful flight can be supposed only from his MO for the
    Clipper Flights. Perhaps nore significantly we can surmise more from
    studying the navigation of Natal to Dakar leg of which I know Gary knows
    lots! :)
    Re Greg's question about whether there was a celnav bubble on the Electra.
    It seems not but there was non refractive glass installed.
    Regarding the sextant he used . There is a very good photograph of it. It
    looks to be a Pioneer Octant if I recall correctly? Definitely an octant
    though and not a quadrant. He also owned a Ludolph sextant at one time. Pan
    Am used Baush and Lomb octants,  so he would be familiar with all of these.
    Re. Earharts celestail navigation experience. Definitely nil it would seem.
    Thats why she needed Noonan. At first she was just going to use him for the
    Pacific stretch but decided to take him all the way. She most definitely
    would not have done so if it wasnt necessary as she (and Putnam) had far
    more to gain by her doing the flight SOLO. Someone once questioned her lack
    of experience and she replied tartly, 'Thats what I have a navigator for!'.
    Regarding RDF. No she had scant knowledge of this either and in her original
    plan she intended to take Harry Manning as the radio operator. Noonan
    distrusted radio direction finding intensely but would have been competent
    enough to use it.
    I'm looking forward to seeing the film if it comes to Scotland. From pics I
    have seen they have done a very good job with Eccleston in resembling Fred.
    Kind Regards,
    Jackie Ferrari.
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Greg R." 
    Sent: Friday, October 23, 2009 5:08 AM
    Subject: [NavList 10239] Re: Amelia Earhart's aerial navigation
    frankreed@HistoricalAtlas.com  wrote:
    > what kind of sextant did they carry on that flight?
    Well, I'm not Gary, but if I remember what I've read over the years about
    her final flight I think it was actually a Navy quadrant (I think the reason
    being it was easier to take sight with from an aircraft window - don't
    remember if the Electra was fitted with a bubble for celnav or not).
    > Did Earhart herself know any celestial navigation?
    Kinda doubt it - if I remember right, she never really mastered the RDF
    (radio direction finder), which I think was supposed to be used for the
    final navigation to Howland (which was just a speck of land in the vast
    Pacific Ocean).
    Earhart wasn't even all that great of a pilot (I read something somewhere
    that her piloting skills were only regarded as "average"), she ground-looped
    during the takeoff roll on the first around-the-world attempts and the
    Electra had to be sent back to Lockeed at Burbank for repairs.
    --- On Thu, 10/22/09, frankreed@HistoricalAtlas.com
    > From: frankreed@HistoricalAtlas.com 
    > Subject: [NavList 10236] Amelia Earhart's aerial navigation
    > To: NavList@fer3.com
    > Date: Thursday, October 22, 2009, 4:38 PM
    > I thought it might be interesting to get a conversation
    > going about Amelia Earhart's navigation --really Fred
    > Noonan's navigation-- on their ill-fated circum-navigation
    > back in 1937. There's a movie opening this week, "Amelia",
    > produced by and starring Hilary Swank as Earhart. It's
    > getting beat up pretty bad in the early reviews (currently
    > at a dismal 22% fresh on RottenTomatoes.com:
    > http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/amelia_2009/), but I'm
    > sure many of us will see it eventually.
    > So... I know next to nothing about their navigation. Gary
    > Lapook knows lots, and I expect I'm setting you up for some
    > typing, Gary. :-)
    > I'll just start off with some basic questions: what kind of
    > sextant did they carry on that flight? Did they have
    > multiple instruments? Were their different instruments
    > during various legs of the flight? At what altitude would
    > sights have been taken (or did it matter)? I remember a
    > discussion a few years ago of a proposed theory claiming
    > that Noonan didn't understand the correction for the Moon's
    > parallax... that theory struck me as pretty light-weight at
    > the time. Can we dismiss it? Did Earhart herself know any
    > celestial navigation?
    > Thanks in advance to any and all who can fill me in on
    > this.
    > -FER
    > PS: Hey, Gary: when you visited Mystic back in 2008, did
    > you get a chance to drive by the house where Amelia married
    > George Putnam in Noank?
    > >
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