A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Brad Morris
Date: 2016 Jun 22, 05:00 -0400
I've been following your investigation of Earhart for quite some time, mostly quietly, sometimes not. But this may be the first time I personally noticed Paul Manning mentioned. That Earhart would not make an effort to replace Manning or learn the RDF herself is quite damning. In all the talk over the details of Noonan's celestial navigation, I missed that they essentially flew without a skilled RDF operator. Wow.
Which brings us right back Noonan. He understood position finding and using all sources of information to find that position. It's drilled into every navigator. Why didn't he learn how to use the RDF, along with Earhart? Perhaps the criticism in the display is actually well founded. Shouldn't he have learned the RDF equipment?
In hindsight, they both look rather foolhardy. Howland Island is a fly spec in the Pacific and finding it with celestial alone was really putting all their eggs in one basket. Noonan *must* have known that celestial navigation is not foolproof. Failing to learn the RDF or replace the skilled operator, simply IMHO makes them both out to be foolish risk takers. In fact, to these eyes, it looks dangerously foolish.