Amelia Earhart mystery solved?

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Thomas Veil, Apr 1, 2007.

  1. macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    This is fascinating reading. It's a little lengthy to quote here, but this CNN story gives tantalizing details that indicate we might finally have discovered what happened to her.

    The thing that interests me most is the cavalier treatment given back then to people who offered up clues, such as radio messages they believe they received from Earhart.

    But that sounds typical for the time. The Titanic didn't have a lookout on-deck, and after the collision they didn't have nearly enough lifeboats, because they were so confident the ship could not be sunk. And at Pearl Harbor, the lone guy who reported radar contacts was told it was probably nothing important.
  2. macrumors 603


    This is an intriguing search ongoing. I read about it yesterday, and search the TIGHARwebsite.
  3. macrumors G3

    It did. Two infact. Fred Fleet (he saw the iceberg first and notified Moody on the bridge) and Reginald Lee.

    As for Amelia Earhart, the Gardner Island theory has always been the most plausible one IMHO, though I'm surprised CNN has only just picked up on this, the theory has been around for awhile now.
  4. macrumors 68030

    yup about pearl harbor. can you imagine how that fellow thought? being told it was probably the flight of b-17s inbound. BUT, let's not get into pearl harbor :) plenty of conspiracies about the US govt knowing about the attack and then letting it happen so the country's citizens would be angry and join the cause (which they did). kind of rhymes with another conspiracy in the year 2001, but let's not go there.

    interesting about amelie. would be nice to put it to rest. also interesting to note that it would be very hard to lose a plane in this day and age of satellites and GPS gadgets. i guess it could happen, but we'd probably find them sooner.
  5. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    It has, but apparently the reporter's diary is a new element, as is the plans to return to the island to search for more forensic evidence. The wreckage of an airplane as large as the Electra should not be difficult to find. I think one of the problems with the Gardner Island theory has been the failure to find more of the airplane.
  6. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    It's just much harder to get lost in the first place. In those days pilots mainly used the dead-reckoning method of navigation when flying without reference to the ground -- in this case, verified by a sextant. This is a simple time and heading method. The biggest problem with dead-reckoning is that small errors in course, and unknown wind vectors, can produce huge position errors over time, and disaster, especially when you're trying to find a speck of land in a huge ocean.
  7. macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    That'll teach me to believe the movies. :rolleyes: :D

    Musta been too late to turn such a massive ship, then, I guess. Or was there another reason?
  8. macrumors 65816

    I thought she was abducted by aliens and ended up in the Delta Quadrant in stasis where Voyager found her and thawed her out...
  9. macrumors 6502a


    We can only hope....:)
  10. macrumors 68020

    dude me too
  11. macrumors 603


    Lots of reasons why the Titanic struck the iceberg. The main reasons were that A) The rudder was way too small to turn that big of a ship. Just like the situation with the life boats, the rudder was in specs with the requirements at the time. The sister ship Olympics' collision with a destroyer should of made it obvious that the class needed bigger rudders. But white star brushed it off. B) Titanic was going way to fast in time to slow down and avoid the ice berg. The captain was trying to show the world that Titanic although big was fast. A bit ironic that the captain on the Titanic was the captain on the Olympic when she crashed into the destroyer?

    A lot of new regulations came about due to the Titanic disaster.
  12. macrumors G3

    Cameron's Titanic was actually pretty much accurate, including the dialogue and that the watch didn't have access to binoculars to aid their vision (which had been reported missing from the look-out cage sometime between leaving Southhampton, and arriving at Queenstown).

    I've only ever seen 'A Night To Remember' once (and none of the other Titanic films), and I can't remember how events leading up to the incident were portrayed in that, though this was the movie that portrayed Titanic being christened with the stereotypical breaking of a champagne bottle over the bow (this wasn't White Star tradition on any of their ships) so they could well have got that watch wrong as well.

    Pretty much as quagmire suggested.

    The rudder was too small for a ship the size of Titanic. The rudder design, and size was actually a nod to the old sailing ships of the 19th century.

    That said, it wasn't solely responsible for the Titanic's inability to avoid the iceberg. The Titanic employed a new screw configuration, with 3 screws instead of the usual 4 screw.

    Two screws were situated on the wings (outer screws) and were powered by 2 triple expansion engines, whilst the centre screw was fed by a parsons low pressure turbine fed by waste steam from the other two engines.

    This at the time was considered very much a technological advance over 4 screws, and on previous installations in the twins Megantic (conventionally powered) and Laurentic (reciprocating and turbine) the latter had proven to be substantially more economical to run in service. Hence it's appearance on the Olympic Class liners.

    I believe that the achilles' heel of this configuration (coupled with the small rudder) was that the centre turbine engine could not be reversed, so when the order was given to place the engines full astern, the centre screw just stopped, thus disrupting flow to the rudder and further handicapping it's turning ability.

    Had Moody actually (or being capable of) placed the port engine full astern, and the starboard engine full flank, whilst maintaining a reduced speed on the centre screw, the Titanic may have potentially being able to turn more than the 2 points (22 1/2 degrees) that it did and might have missed the iceberg altogether.

    I tend to believe that was a bit of a myth, whilst speed trials were indeed scheduled for the Monday or Tuesday, the Titanics service speed was well below the Mauretania's (21 knots vs. 25 though the Mauretania actually exceeded 27 knots during it's record crossing) and had a much lower flank speed of 23-24 knots versus 30+ knots, meaning that the Titanic was unlikely to contest the Mauretania's Blue Riband record.

    He was, though he wasn't actually piloting the Olympic. It was under the control of a Trinity House pilot George Bowyer at the time of the accident, because of it's location within the Solent.

    Captain Smith did have a history of incidents with ships that were under his order though.
  13. macrumors 603


    Is it true that the Titanic wouldn't have sunk if it had hit the iceberg head-on? Because it veered to avoid it, it ended up with several compartments being holed, instead of just one.
  14. macrumors 68000


    Thats whats in the Federation records.
  15. macrumors G3

    Potentially. Though there still would likely have been massive loss of life because the bow contained many of the 3rd class and crew compartments.

    Had Titanic actually had fully watertight compartments like the Mauretania's it's debatable whether the Titanic would've sunk at all. What crippled the Titanic was that as each compartment flooded, it dragged the bow further down and the water cascaded into the next compartment and so on. This wouldn't have occurred had the compartments been fully watertight.

    Interestingly, as a result of the Titanic disaster and subsequent findings of the enquiry, the third and final ship of the Olympic Class (Britannic) was fitted with many changes that would've saved the Titanic e.g.

    • Double skin to the height of the watertight bulkheads.
    • An increase in height of the watertight bulkheads to B deck (first 5 compartments) and E deck (the remaining 12).
    • An increase in depth and subdivision of the double bottom.
    • Stengthened hull amidships.

    These changes would've likely been enough to keep Titanic afloat with the damaged she sustained, or at least long enough for both the Carpathia and Californian to have made it her before she sank.
  16. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Wow, Amelia Earhart gets lost a second time. The first time over the Pacific Ocean, the second time in this thread.

  17. macrumors G3

    No need to get your kinckers in a twist... ;)

    Here you go...

    I suspect that they'll continue to find nothing other than the relatively small parts of aluminium like on previous visits.

    The relentlessness of 70 years of that pacific surf would have broken it up relatively quickly, and as such I don't believe that a significant sized piece of it still exists.

    Just look what nearly 80 years of exposure has done to the remains of the SS Norwich.

    They've found plenty of aircraft aluminium matching the type used in the construction of the Electra, but as they say, without serial numbers it's impossible to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Electra landed on Gardner.

    Even evidence of the Electra's parts on Nikumaroro doesn't necessarily prove that the Electra actually landed there, and that Earhart and Noonan survived.

    Some will argue that it's perfectly conceivable that accident debris from ditching at sea could potentially have washed up on the reefs there, and was later used by the inhabitants, hence it's scattering around the island.
  18. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Almost completely intact WWII airplanes are found in the Pacific. The Electra is a big, sturdy airplane. Pieces of it at least would have remained intact.

    Based on the reports, it appears the airplane was ditched near enough to land for Earhart to use the radio for a time. This suggests shallow water in very close proximity to the island (which, incidentally, is uninhabited), if that is in fact where they ditched.
  19. macrumors G4


    Thanks for the link Thomas Veil! It made for quite an interesting read. :)
  20. macrumors G3

    But those planes landed on water and than sank.

    Earhart is though to have landed on the low tide exposed coral reef that surrounds Gardner. That there's hardly any remains of the SS Norwich after 77 years, it suggests to me that something like a Lockheed Electra (which really wasn't all that big of an aircraft) would be broken up relatively quickly by the breaking surf on the coral reef.

    That said, inhabitants in 1940 (I think) did report the wreckage of a plane just north of the SS Norwich, but without further comment, it's impossible to determine how wrecked it actually was at the time.

    Earhart allegedly landed on the coral at low tide, just north of the SS Norwich. Infact those are two possible explanations for why a U.S. Navy search plane that flew over Gardner didn't spot the Electra, because it was either submerged at high tide, or it was mistaken for wreckage from the SS Norwich.

    It was obviously partially on dry land for a period of time at some point though, as the radio was powered by one of the engines (the right one if I remember correctly), which potentially gives us two reasons as to why the suspected radio transmissions ceased. Either the plane was swamped by the tide, or the plane ran out of fuel. Or both of course.

    Gardner was uninhabited at the time of Earharts landing, but was inhabited on and off between '38 and the mid 1960's BTW, and there's plenty of evidence that suggests they were using aircraft aluminium for everyday tools, boxes etc etc.
  21. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    The Electra is quite a sizable airplane, every bit as large as naval warplanes of the era, a great many of which can be found today virtually intact in shallow Pacific waters. The Electra also features two, huge radial engines. Those can't be made to go away so easily.

    As for running the engine, good luck making that happen on a ditched airplane, especially on one that presumably ran out of fuel. Chances are, they'd have had radio power only for as long at the batteries held out.

    Maybe the next expedition will turn up some harder evidence. Finding one of those engines would certainly go a long way towards settling the controversy.
  22. macrumors 6502a


    Didn't I see somewhere that the steel used in the Titanic's hull construction wasn't up to spec either? Too brittle -- too much carbon -- not flexible enough to absorb impacts? I think The Discovery Channel had something about that last year. Or maybe it was the Edmund Fitzgerald. Anyway, it sank.
  23. macrumors 603


    The rudder was in spec at the time, but that was based on a lot smaller ships then the Olympic class ships. Not sure about the steel though.

    Also, History channel just did a special on the Titanic this weekend. From what they gather, the break up started around 11 degrees. That the ship broke differently from what was hypothesized. That the bottom was crunched and the top was clean. On the wreckage, the top was a mess and the keel was a clean break. They also hypothesized that if the break up didn't happen Titanic could of floated a bit longer, but that is another hypothesis into the mix.
  24. macrumors G3

    Maybe, but look at what's left of the SS Norwich (that beached on the same coral)... not much.

    70 years is a massive amount of time to be exposed to the constant pounding of the pacific surf on rock hard coral, and if it's capable of reducing a steamship to a few remaining core parts, it'll be more than capable of reducing a comparatively fragile aluminium aircraft to its core parts in substantially less time.

    The Gardner Theory is based based on the idea that the plane landed, rather than ditched, and there is anecdotal evidence supporting this.

    Inhabitants of the island reported seeing the wreckage of an aircraft on the coral just north of the SS Norwich a year or so after Earhart went missing.

    Betty Klenck reported picking up the distress calls of Earhart sometime after their fuel would've expired. I forget if it was Lockheed or the manufacturer of the radio itself, but it was confirmed that one of the Electra's engines had to be running to power the radio, because the batteries were incapable of powering it themselves.

    I suspect that the plane itself hadn't run out of fuel, they would've stumbled upon Gardner well before the 5 hour reserve had expired, and if Betty Klenck's claims are to be believed, and I don't personally see why they shouldn't be, then she reportedly heard Earhart state that they "were leaving the plane, because the water was knee-deep on her side," which to me indicates that the incoming tide caused the cessation of the radio transmissions, and not the Electra running out of fuel.

    Also that the tide was coming in, gives a possible reason why the U.S. Navy were unable to spot the plane on the coral, because it potentially would've been submerged at that time. Though one would've thought, that the recent signs of habitation on a known uninhabited island, would've perhaps maybe indicated that the island warranted a more indepth search.

    Absolutely, though I'm personally convinced that the Gardner Island Theory is the correct one.

    It's possible that the engines were eventually washed up on incoming and storm tides into the vegetation that borders the reef, equally the engines could've gradually been taken out on outgoing tides in to the (very) deep water that is known to surround the island.

    The metal used in the Titanic contained a relatively high amount of sulphur, that is prone to making metal brittle when exposed to low temperatures.

    Though I believe there's a consensus that the metal didn't fracture when the ship hit the iceberg, but that impact caused the rivets to fail and the plating to separate. A sample of rivets were tested back in the mid '90's and were found to contain higher than normal levels of silicate slag, that may have contributed to the rivets not been as strong as they perhaps could've been.
  25. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    The ship was grounded on a reef, where it remained exposed to wave action. The airplane would not have remained on the reef for very long. After it sunk, significant portions of it would likely have remained intact, especially the engines. Landing on a reef -- that would have been an extremely difficult maneuver to execute successfully, and based on what I've read, seems to be the least plausible part of the Gardner Island theory. The engines are far too heavy to have been washed onto the beach once they'd hit the bottom.

    The Gardner Island theory may be the best one available currently, but you have to be careful about how evidence is presented in situations where few hard facts are known -- a lot of ambiguous, anecdotal and circumstantial evidence gets treated as proof. There's a tendency towards wanting too much for it to be the true story.

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