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    Re: Amelia Earhart's aerial navigation
    From: Jackie Ferrari
    Date: 2009 Oct 26, 07:18 -0000

    One of the few things we know for sure is there was a pelorus fitted on a
    bracket at the starboard window which I understood him to have used to take
    bearings . This is shown in several photographs.
    I havent seen the film yet, but I have heard it pays scant attention to
    Noonan. But at least this time round they get the resemblance right.
    Apparently he is portayed as unintelligent and boisterous. Quite the
    opposite. He was highly intelligent and quiet spoken.
    
    Jackie Ferrari
    
    
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: 
    To: 
    Sent: Monday, October 26, 2009 12:46 AM
    Subject: [NavList 10276] Re: Amelia Earhart's aerial navigation
    
    
    
    When I started this thread, I noted:
    "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."
    
    The "Top Critics" score for this film is down to an awful 12%, ranking it as
    one of the worst movies of 2009 so far. But what can I say -- I liked it!
    
    Last night at 23:00, I noticed there was a showing at 23:20 at a theater
    about a fifteen-minute drive away (in downtown Chicago). It took me ten
    minutes to get out the door, but no worries since the previews would
    probably run fifteen minutes. Sure enough, I was in my seat with time to
    spare... I agree with one reviewer that the movie is cliche at times, and
    you half-expect some random character to jump up and shout "gosh, these
    twenties sure are roaring!" and sure enough, Earhart's character later comes
    close to saying "this Great Depression sure is depressing!". But really, I
    think most of the reviewers just wanted more dirt, more post-modernism, more
    irony, more gossip. And what little gossip there was back in 1928 now stands
    as normal behavior. I feel that those reviewers were disappointed by the
    real Amelia Earhart, who was a good old-fashioned heroic aviator, even more
    so than the film. I won't give a real review of my own here since it's
    off-topic, but I do advise you to read Roger Ebert's review (linked via the
    site above). He wrote one of the very few positive reviews, and I think he
    got it right.
    
    As for the navigation, the thing that struck me as I was watching the movie
    was that navigation in that early era of aviation was often about hitting
    the right continent. In her first flight across the Atlantic, where she was
    the "commander" (passenger), Earhart and her two-man crew arrive in Wales
    instead of Ireland. Close enough. On her second trans-Atlantic flight, this
    time as pilot and flying solo, she lands in Ireland instead of France. Close
    enough, but cheering crowds in Paris would surely have made a better
    photo-op than one farmer and a few dozen sheep. Really, on their
    round-the-world flight, hitting Howland Island in mid-Pacific was a
    radically different problem, and it's clear that Noonan's participation was
    essential no matter who was pilot. Earhart needed not just any navigator,
    but an expert navigator. Too bad the film treats Noonan as the usual
    cardboard cut-out. The phrase "celestial navigation" does make it into the
    film though with no detail, and there seems to be a good representation of
    gear in the aircraft. Noonan appears to be using some sort of pelorus to get
    sun azimuths, but I don't recognize that instrument, and for all I know it
    was a pure fabrication for the sake of the film. There was no indication of
    altitude sights being taken. There's a case visible that could be the fabled
    marine sextant that Noonan supposedly carried when he was flying.
    
    A final thought for aviation fans: there are some beautiful aircraft scenes,
    some of the best I've seen from a Hollywood film in years, and none of it is
    CGI as far as I could tell (though the cutter Itasca off Howland is very bad
    CGI). I only noticed one possible gaffe: it appears that there is a round
    door intended to fit into a square hatch in the side of the Electra. I
    predict it will not fit.
    
    -FER
    
    
    
    
    
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