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    Re: Amelia Earhart's aerial navigation
    From: Gary LaPook
    Date: 2009 Nov 16, 01:18 -0800

    1. he most likely used a Pioneer octant similar to the A-5 and A-7 but 
    there is no record to prove this. See 
    2. TIGHAR claims that he also carried a marine sextant . They base this 
    claim on a letter Noonan had sent to Weems describing the equipment 
    carried on the much larger Pan Am Clippers and there is no reason to 
    believe that he carried one in the much more limited Electra.
    I decided to do some more checking on the accuracy of Google Earth 
    coordinates to make sure they were accurate in the Pacific. I found the 
    published coordinates of Mili airport, 6� 05' N, 171� 44'E;  Mujuro 
    airport, 7�  03' 44'' N, 171� 16' 19" E; and Kosrae airport, 5� 21' 25" 
    N, 162� 53' 30"E since these were the closest to Howland. Then going to 
    them with Google Earth I found that the Google Earth coordinates were 
    exactly right, correct to the accuracy of the positions given in the 
    airport database. Mili was only given to the nearest minute but the 
    others were to the second. ( A second is only 100 feet!) You can check 
    for yourself, just go to Google Earth with those coordinates which you 
    will see fall on the runways.
    The only coordinates that have any relevance are those for where Howland 
    is actually located, which we now know to a high level of accuracy, and 
    the coordinates known to Noonan that he was aiming for. The difference, 
    if any, would be the size of any built in error in following the LOP to 
    the island. If Noonan was using the 176� 43' W value then he was aiming 
    about five or five and a half NM west of the western shoreline of 
    Howland. If he was using the 176� 38'W value he was aiming within one 
    half mile of the shoreline. Either way they should have been able to see 
    the island.
    frankreed@HistoricalAtlas.com wrote:
    > 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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