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    Re: Amelia Earhart's aerial navigation
    From: Gary LaPook
    Date: 2009 Nov 27, 05:19 -0800

    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  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  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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