Bill Prymak analyzes Earhart-as-spy theories

To anyone familiar with this blog, the late Bill Prymak needs no introduction. Prymak the founder and first president of the Amelia Earhart Society (AES) was a great researcher and good friend whose significant contributions to the repository of Earhart knowledge continue to resonate.

For those new to this blog, this page of posts will give you an idea about Prymak’s legacy, which included three trips to the Marshall Islands, where he interviewed Bilimon Amaron in 1989 and found a previously unknown witness on Enajet Island, Joro, whose knowledge of the July 1937 landing of Amelia Earhart and Electra NR 16020 off Barre Island was considerable.

As one might imagine, Prymak had some very definite opinions about what happened to Amelia Earhart, and he wasn’t shy about airing them when asked. Today I present a previously unpublished commentary, from February 2011, in which he looks at perhaps the most popular of the so-called “conspiracy theories” that have attached themselves to the Earhart phenomena. The opinions expressed in the following essay are not necessarily those of this blog’s owner, but they do make sense. 

Bill Prymak, a veteran pilot with more than 6,500 hours in private aircraft since 1960, studied the messages for years before presenting his conclusions in his December 1993 Amelia Earhart Society Newsletter analysis, titled Radio Logs - Earhart/ITASCA."

The late Bill Prymak, founder of the Amelia Earhart Society, was a veteran pilot with more than 6,500 hours in private aircraft since 1960.

“A DISSECTION OF EARHART SPY THEORIES”
By Bill Prymak

I wish to put to rest the following spy theories that have been circulating around for so many years, to wit:

  • Was she on a spy mission?
  • What did the government want her to do?
  • Was there a second Electra involved in her around-the-world flight?
  • Was the engine changed at Bandoeng?

(To save space, I will hereafter call U.S. government intelligence “GI.”)

The Spy Mission

Did GI put surveillance cameras on board, in violation of her granted permission to fly over 14 countries if she possessed no cameras other than a hand-held?

If GI did install cameras, where? There are only six inches between the floorboards and the belly skin. No surveillance cameras circa 1937 existed to fit those dimensions. Besides, a camera-control panel would of necessity be in the cockpit or on Fred’s table — pretty obvious to customs or mechanics working the aircraft.

So what could she photograph on her 1,800-mile-flight Hawaii to Howland??  The nearest Japanese Mandated island, Mili Atoll, was 2,250 miles direct Hawaii to Mili, then another 800 miles back to Howland for her necessary landing there.  Mili Atoll in 1937 had no military fortifications to photograph, and, in that time period, only Jaluit Atoll, some 100 more miles farther away, had something for the camera– the seaplane base at Emidj. 

Kwajalein, 250 even miles farther, could not be considered in range for her aircraft. I have hydrographic maps of Mili and Majuro entitled SKETCH SURVEY FROM THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT CHART of 1928 — plenty of details, non-military of course, and certainly available to GI. This was much more detailed than what any aerial photos would show. 

Another popular theory making the rounds: GI orders her to “get lost so U.S. planes can scour the area, including the Japanese Mandates, for much-needed intelligence information.”  But everybody believing this loses sight of the fact that this order is a virtual death warrant! In the vast Pacific Ocean, there is very rarely a Captain Sully-Hudson River dead-calm water landing available, and no beaches, no flat, open land areas anywhere in range.  Pacific open waters are nearly always rough, too rough for a safe airplane landing.

This section of the "Sketch Survey" of Mili Atoll taken from U.S. and Japanese charts focuses on the northwest quadrant of Mili Atoll, where Barre Island is clearly noted. Witnesses saw the Electra come down off Barre, and Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan were seen embarking the Electra and seeking shelter in the tiny Endriken Islands just off Barre, where the current search in ongoing.

This section of the “Sketch Survey” of Mili Atoll taken from U.S. and Japanese charts focuses on the northwest quadrant of Mili Atoll, where Barre Island is clearly noted. Witnesses saw the Electra come down off Barre, and Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan were seen disembarking the Electra and seeking shelter in the tiny Endriken Islands just off Barre, where the current search in ongoing.

(Editor’s note: Chesley BurnettSullySullenberger III, 63, is a retired airline captain and aviation safety consultant. He was hailed as a national hero in the United States when he successfully executed an emergency water landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River off Manhattan, N.Y., after the aircraft was disabled by striking a flock of Canadian Geese during its initial climb out of LaGuardia Airport on January 15, 2009. All 155 passengers and crew aboard the aircraft survived.)

Would Fred Noonan, Harry Manning and Amelia approve of such a PLAN? Would [her husband] George [Putnam] and Mother [Amy Otis] Earhart approve?

We can’t compare Capt. Sully to Amelia. He was fresh, beginning a new day, highly skilled while Amelia was some 18-plus hours  in the air and dog tired — not a good candidate for a much-needed precision water landing, if they could find some flat water. I personally have compelling evidence of where she did land, but that issue is not within the province of this report.

And if the GI plan was to get her “lost” and scour the area with U.S. search planes, why wasn’t the USS Lexington deployed earlier to Hawaii instead of laying in shore leave mode on the west coast?

Outside of the usual request to international pilots to LRR — LOOK, RECORD, REPORT — not considered spying,  I see no merit or need for AE being on a spy mission, and I will prove it in the next segment.

The Hawaii Crash 

This event has engendered more hype, speculation and fantasy tales than any other aviation mystery.  Let’s for the moment assume that she really was on a spy mission, totally planned and controlled by GI. First scenario: She gets to the airport on March 20, ready to go, when she receives a phone call from GI: ABORT, RENDER AIRCRAFT INOPERABLE.  She is furious and shouts over the phone, “This is crazy!! We’ve planned this trip for months, have cached thousands of gallons fuel all over the world with spare parts, and now you tell me not to go?”

Amelia Earhart's Electra 10E, March 20, 1037, following her near disastrous ground loop that sent the plane back to the Lockheed plant in Burbank for months of costly repairs,

Amelia Earhart’s Electra 10E on March 20, 1037, following her near disastrous ground loop that sent the plane back to the Lockheed plant in Burbank for months of costly repairs.

Bottom line: Obey orders, tell the press that the flight crew is unfit or the aircraft un-airworthy. She certainly would not have fired up the engines.

Second scenario: She fires up the engines, and while taxiing for takeoff, receives the same order to abort.  So she ground loops the aircraft, rendering it un-airworthy.  So much easier (and safer!) to run a wingtip into a truck, run a wheel into a ditch, or a dozen safe ways to inop [sic] the aircraft. 

The above scenarios never happened. What proves this is the fact that both Amelia and George, after the crash, scratched, clawed, begged and borrowed the $30,000 to pay the repair bill. These efforts are well chronicled in various research books (see Elgen Long’s book, Amelia Earhart: The Mystery Solved, for details of their efforts.)

If this was a spy mission, George Putnam, ever the astute businessman, would have written to GI, stating, “It was your order to abort, causing the crash. Bill from Lockheed herewith attached. Please take care of it.”

What really happened is what Harry Manning stated: ”SHE SIMPLY JOCKEYED THE THROTTLES AND LOST IT.” A bad day like this happens to every good pilot once or twice in his/her lifetime.  Happened to me once. Amelia Earhart was destined to have two bad days.

In conclusion I must add my personal experiences with Art Kennedy. I spent a week with him in Portugal, in 1992, he telling stories about his experiences in the aviation world.  Art showed me test cell papers proving that AE had more than six hours reserve when she called near Howland — six hours plus if the engines were flown properly.

Amelia Earhart with Harry Manning (center) and Fred Noonan, in Hawaii just before the Luke Field crash that sent Manning back to England and left Noonan as the sole navigator for the world flight.

Amelia Earhart with Harry Manning (center) and Fred Noonan, in Hawaii just before the Luke Field crash that sent Manning back to England and left Noonan as the sole navigator for the world flight.

Art was a lonely man, and privately admitted that his manuscript, given to JoAnn Ridley (a sweet lady who died last year [2010], and who knew nothing about aviation) was rife with bursts of imaginative stories, all to be included in their book [High Times: Keeping ’em Flying, 1992] to boost his recognition and sell copy. Some of his imaginative tidbits that ran wild:

1. Amelia suggested to him that she was on a spy mission

2. He helped Amelia adjust the broken landing gear before the CAA inspector arrived.

3. He stated that Lockheed engine installers Firman Grey & Carl Leipelt and a crew went to Bandoeng to install fresh engines. (See below.)

A Second Airplane Involved in the RTW Flight?

I can only state no such airplane ever existed, and I have absolute irrefutable photographic proof that ONLY ONE AIRCRAFT, NR 16020, was used for the entire flight.  Discussion on this issue ends right here.

The Infamous Engine Changes (How Silly Can You Get?)

First, AE arrived at Bandoeng with less than 120 hours on engines that were overhauled to new factory specs rather than service limits (Art told me this) — engines barely broken in and good for some 500 hours. Did some brain trust at GI feel these engines were inadequate for the Lae takeoff? Did they claim that [Pratt 7 Whitney] S1H1 engines with 12:1 blowers [an aircraft engine compression ratio] instead of the typical 10:1 blowers would reduce the risk, thus sending out the order to change engines?

A chronology of this entire circus act blows the claim apart, to wit:

1. AE was on American soil until June 1. It is quite apparent that GI would have wanted these engines installed on U.S. soil by American technicians. So decision date on new engines had to have been made after June 1.

2. Art stated that bigger blowers alone (for more horsepower) would be very difficult to install in the field because of the complex internal changes on the engines. Further, bigger blowers meant bigger cowlings.

3. Everything and everybody had to be in Bandoeng by the third week of June, her estimated time of arrival. Those big engine crates could not fit and be carried in any known air carrier of the day, so they had  to be shipped by tramp steamer. Pratt & Whitney engines from Hartford factory to Boston, catch a freighter to Lisbon, then through the Suez Canal, on to Singapore, then by mule or truck to Bandoeng. Run a time frame on the above and you see it is impossible to meet the schedule. And when and how did the new cowlings from Lockheed (West Coast) arrive at Bandoeng?

Art Kennedy, Alverca, Portugal, circa 1991. According to Bill Prymak, who knew him well, Kennedy fabricated stories about what Amelia Earhart told him after she crashed the Electra on takeoff from Luke Field in March 1937. These tales from Kennedy have been cited by some as strong evidence that Amelia was ordered to ground loop her plane, change directions of her world flight and even embark on a spy mission.

Art Kennedy, Alverca, Portugal, circa 1991. According to Bill Prymak, who knew him fairly well, Kennedy fabricated stories about conversations he had with Amelia Earhart after she crashed the Electra on takeoff from Luke Field in March 1937.  Kennedy’s statements have been cited by some as strong evidence that Amelia was ordered to ground loop her plane, change directions of her world flight and even embark on a spy mission for the U.S. government.

4. To clinch the fantasy, my very good friend Dave Kenyon, now living in Eugene Oregon, worked on her repair  at the Lockheed factory, and ultimately rose to rank of vice-president of engineering. We spent many pleasant evening discussing Earhart and her final voyage, and every time the engine-change story came up, he made the same statement: “[Carl] Leipelt and Firman [Gray] could never have left for such a lengthy time as they were the only ones at Lockheed who installed, fine tuned and signed off on the engines coming off the production line. I believe they were the only ones with CAA certification to do this.”  Ed Cooper and Art Kennedy certainly would have been called in to fill the gap.  They never mentioned this issue. Art Kennedy’s imagination just out-finessed himself on this one.

Conclusions

To all the pundits out there who claim AE was on a spy mission, I ask the questions: What were her orders from GI? What were the GI agency’s mission objectives?  I haven’t the slightest clue towards answering any of the above.

Let’s try, “Get lost, dump into the ocean, and a sub or surface vessel will pick you up.” Impossible. The precise navigation (GPS) tools required for such a rendezvous did not exist in 1937.

The GI (knowing how the government works) must have comprised a sizable group of men dedicated to successfully completing her “spy mission.” And yet there has never been a single peep out of anybody claiming to be part of this unique group. Amazing, when you consider the tabloid value (millions, in today’s dollars) that one could reap if he were part of this group, revealing a crucial part of America’s greatest aviation mystery. (End of Prymak analysis.)

The possible Truk Lagoon scenario

One possible Earhart-as-spy scenario not mentioned by Prymak has been suggested by some: Earhart overflying Truk Lagoon to observe “the number of airfields and extent of Japan’s fleet-servicing facilities in the Truk complex,” as Fred Goerner wrote in the closing pages of The Search for Amelia Earhart.

Before and during World War II, Truk Lagoon, now known as Chuuk Lagoon, part of Chuuk State within the Federated States of Micronesia,  was the Japan’s main base in the South Pacific theatre, a heavily fortified base for Japanese operations against Allied forces in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, serving as the forward anchorage for the Japanese Imperial Fleet. 

In 1937, U.S. intelligence would have been extremely interested in the status of this naval base, once known to Allied forces as Japan’s “Gibraltar of the Pacific,” and Amelia might have been asked to observe and possibly even take some photos with her small, hand-held Kodak camera. The Electra would have arrived over Truk at about 7 p.m. local time, with plenty of daylight left.  Of course, we have no proof that Amelia attempted to perform such a mission, but her actions during the final flight suggest something very strange was afoot, and she had two meetings with top U.S. officials during April 1937, according to Margot DeCarie, her personal secretary. (See Truth at Last for more.)

Stewart Map

As seen in the above map, found on the Mystery of Amelia Earhart webpage, created by William H. Stewart, a career military-historical cartographer and foreign-service officer in the U.S. State Department and former senior economist for the Northern Marianas, the distance from Lae to Truk is 1,022 statute miles, from Truk to Jaluit 1,223 statute miles, and from Jaluit to Howland (via Great Circle), 1,010 miles.  While shorter, this route would require Earhart to be in Japanese airspace and over several populated islands in the Marshalls for a longer period of time, which would give the Japanese more time for interception should the flight be discovered.  The total distance is 3,255 statute miles as compared to 2,556 miles when flying direct to Howland from Lae, and indeed pushes the range limits of the Electra, said to be 4,000 miles in the absence of headwinds.

“The only serious problem with such a supposition,” Stewart, the author of the 1993 book, Saipan in Flames: Operation Forager: The Turning Point in the Pacific War, wrote, “is that a position report received from Earhart while in flight occurred at 5:18 p. m. (Lae time) and indicated her position as “4.33 SOUTH 159.7 EAST HEIGHT 8000 FEET OVER CUMULUS CLOUDS WIND 23 KNOTS,” which would place the aircraft in the vicinity of Nukumanu Island, northeast of Bougainville and in the area where it should have been assuming the original flight plan was being followed. This fix would place the aircraft on a track from Lae to Howland Island some 742 nautical miles [854 statute miles] or about one-third the distance between the two points which are separated by 2,227 nautical miles [2,563 statute miles].

“This radioed position is far to the southeast of Truk and almost due south of Ponape (Senyavin Island, now Pohnpei) and north of Guadalcanal,” Stewart continued. “That the transmission was picked up in Lae is strange indeed, since the Electra’s radio range was said to be (although not confirmed by this researcher) not much more than 400 miles. If this was in fact true, how is it that the signal was picked up from almost twice the distance? Was it a hoax? Was it a deceptive position directed to confuse any Japanese radioman at Truk who might have been monitoring the much publicized flight path (presumed to be from Lae to Howland) and the radio frequency of 6210 KHz? If so, the report was received at Truk only a short time before the aircraft could have roared over the encircling reef at Truk to carry out its assignment of aerial espionage before turning east to fly toward Jaluit and thence southeast to Howland.”

Was Amelia Earhart  on some kind of intelligence mission that went wrong? Goerner later changed his mind about the mission to Truk he proposed in Search, instead adopting the idea that Amelia had been asked to simply collect what was known as “white intelligence,” meaning that “she simply observed things during the course of her flight,” according to Goerner, who could hardly have been less specific.  Goerner also changed his mind about the Mili Atoll landing scenario he proposed in Search, and made other serious misjudgments as well, so despite his great contributions to the Earhart saga, Goerner’s work is no longer the ultimate source for answers in this and other areas.

Like many things about the Earhart disappearance, the answers are buried deep within top secret, eyes-only federal archives, where only a scant few even know of their existence. Until the contents of these files are revealed to the public, the question of whether Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan were lost while engaged in an intelligence mission for FDR will continue to be discussed and argued about by those who seek the truth.

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26 responses

  1. Great piece Mike!
    Many of us are certain, FDR asked her to have a LOOK around, while crossing over this area in the Pacific. See what the Japanese Navel & Air strength was like? We know FDR asked Lindbergh to do the same in ’38 over Europe. What I find ironic is where Amelia & Fred are suppose to land on*Holland but instead the Marshall Islands.

    We learned after this happened, FDR was angry. This can only lead, many of us to believe, Amelia & Fred took matters into their own hands. The Marshall islands are on direct course with Hawaii, where they are to eventually land. It seems more prevalent to me, that Amelia didn’t want to listen or take heed in, don’t land in that area. It may simply be, that running low on fuel & physical exhaustion caused her to land where she did. We can also see that with the U.S. embargo against Japan, it was tit for tat, you aren’t going to help us? We aren’t going to help you’s and why the Japanese punished & imprisoned Amelia Earhart. No mystery to that.

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  2. I have also analysed the flight planning aspects of the “spy theory.” Here is the part about the proposed route over Truk:

    Next let’s consider a route directly to Truk and then overflying Ponape and Jaluit on the way to Howland. See image 8 and image 9. (We will assume the same 25 mph east wind.) She would have arrived over Truk at 0719 Z which is 46 minutes prior to sunset. She would then overfly Ponape at 1050 Z which is 2 hours and 50 minutes after the sun went down at Ponape. She would arrive over Jaluit at 1704 Z 1 hour and 31 minutes prior to sunrise at Jaluit. She would get to Howland at 0109 Z July 3rd.

    There are also problems with this route. First, she would arrive 5 hours and 57 minutes after the time she reported being near Howland and the plane would still have been about 750 SM away from Howland. Second, this route would cover 3,772 statute air miles and take a total of 25 hours and 9 minutes. Although various calculations show that she might have been able to fly this far and stay aloft for this period of time, a route this long would have left little or no reserve and it is unlikely that she would have embarked on such a risky route. Third, if she were willing to fly with no reserve it would have made much more sense for her to take off two and a half hours earlier so that she could have photographed both Truk and Ponape during daylight hours. She did not seem to be in a hurry to depart Lae and she had planned to leave even later in the day according to her earlier radiograms. Why would she miss the opportunity to photograph two Japanese bases when all she had to do was get out of bed just a few hours earlier?

    See complete analysis of spy theories on my website at:

    https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/flight-planning-aspects-relating-to-a-possible-earhart-s-spy-flight

    https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/was-earhart-a-spy

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  3. Let me begin by saying I haven’t read Gary’s links yet, but I will. First I will stipulate, as I always do, that they weren’t lost. Second, they were up to something besides flying Lae to Howland and they got “lost.” Whatever Roosevelt and Morgenthau were angry about, I haven’t figured out. The queer things about the second attempt were for me, they were flying wrong direction and as others have noticed, her radio communications were such that she couldn’t be traced on direction finders of those days. So she hoped.

    I believe she did fly to Truk, and that solves a very big question in my mind, why did she use Lae instead of Rabaul? The answer is roughly, Rabaul is an 800 km shortcut to Howland, but only a 300 km shortcut to Truk. So it hardly matters, distance-wise. There were probably other advantages to Lae, maybe more Americans there. So she overflies Truk and takes pictures with her Brownie camera or maybe she quietly sneaked in a nice Leica. I’ll accept Bill Prymak’s assertion she couldn’t have concealed a big aerial photo camera. She gets away with it, maybe the Japs didn’t even notice her over Truk or didn’t initially figure it out.

    Somehow, she is forced down on Mili Atoll. Maybe she is running low on gas, now thinks she can’t make Howland. Anyway, she crashes on beach and hurriedly gets out and buries the metal box. It contains the nicer camera with the films of Truk. They both know that if the Japs see the films their goose is cooked. Initially the Japs have a great rescue story, and they put the news out in the Tokyo newspaper. But then they get smart. They know a few Marshall Islanders witnessed the landing. And they question them closely. The metal box is mentioned, the Japs find it. It’s curtains for AE and Fred and the witnesses, too. Maybe Joro is the Jap’s witness, but he doesn’t mention his questioning to Bill Prymak. Nevertheless, my theory fits all the conditions, I think. Don’t need engine switches or plane switches. I believe the reverse direction flight had something to do with getting the plane over Truk at the right time of day or something like that.

    I wonder if Art Kennedy really cooked up wild stories or perhaps his stories didn’t fit with Prymak’s beliefs. Prymak never seems to admit the slightest doubts about his own theories. I don’t get the part about Putnam’s “scraping up” the $30,000 for repairs. Let’s say today that is $300,000, probably a little more. How could a moderately wealthy man today not be able to afford that, or even $500,000 in order to make a big financial score? Or was Putnam not wealthy at all?

    OK, now I will read Gary’s links and get prepared for my theory to be crashed and sank.

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  4. David –
    I think it’s most obvious why FDR was angry. The Japanese WARNED the U.S. to stay out of this area. It’s impossible to help Amelia, now that she’s in this predicament, the U.S. Navy can’t stroll in there and pick her up. To add insult to injury, we just cut off fuel to Japan for invading China. The Japanese are LOVING this incident and can withhold Amelia from the U.S. It’s TIT for TAT.

    This put FDR in a very tight spot with no easy answer. And people wonder why he ordered the Electra destroyed, when it was discovered on Saipan in ’44. FDR is furious about all of this and wants it forgotten.

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    1. Doug-

      I agree completely with your answer. What I don’t understand is, if she took this audacious trip upon herself to fly to Truk, what possible reward could there be for her equal to the extreme danger she faced? That this was her idea was certainly the best fit for the facts as we know them. For FDR to actually send her on this mission would seem stupid on the face of it, and he wasn’t stupid at all. She certainly couldn’t publicize it herself after she completed her trip. That she had proof positive in her snapshots of an illegal Japanese military buildup in the Mandates. I have never related the oil embargo date to her flight. As most of us know, that was part of FDR’s plan for provoking the Japanese into war. Maybe if the secret AE records were widely publicized that would draw attention to FDR’s warmongering manipulations.

      I can understand Morgenthau saying if her plot became public knowledge her reputation would be ruined. Even today, to reveal publicly her bizarre behavior would only embarrass everyone including the Japanese who went along with the cover-up.

      I find it curious that the FBI’s Hitler files were released and made into a TV show. In this case, the knowledge that Hitler escaped was swept under the rug in the interests of the cold war with Russia proponents. I’m sure deals were made, Werner von Braun would work for us, but in exchange his Nazi pals were given a free pass to fly away to Argentina. I have turned very cynical in my maturity, that most of this patriotic legend we are told is propaganda. Hitler knew how to manipulate with his big lie techniques and the USA learned a lot from him. Maybe Hitler served as a cold war advisor to the US. I’m sure his secrets would have been very useful to us. In fact, that could be why he was left free, his secrets were just too valuable.

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      1. David,
        Your statement, “That this was her idea was certainly the best fit for the facts as we know them,” certainly does NOT fit any known facts about Earhart. She was well-known as an avowed pacifist and one of first true feminists in our history. If she overflew Truk or diverted to any other areas that weren’t part of the original flight plan, you can be sure that it was not her idea, but that she was operating at the behest of the U.S. government, which means FDR. That much about the possible spy scenario is basically inarguable. I must hand it to you for your originality, however, as you are the first, to my knowledge, to suggest that it was Amelia herself who came up with the spy idea. No cigar, David.

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  5. I wonder if anybody else ever suggested the reason for not using Rabaul to take off for Howland I. was that she had no intention of flying there anyway, at least not directly. I believe it was almost 500 miles closer. A no-brainer. Did Bill Prymak ever comment on this issue? Also, did anyone ever offer a plausible explanation of why she flew west to east instead of the more favorable east to west?

    Why should FDR be angry at HER when his very own plan failed? Was he just putting on an act for the benefit of us proles 80 years later? Or was it for the benefit of the Japs at the time? What I meant was, if FDR was genuinely angry at her, in what manner had she screwed up? Was she supposed to view Truk and then return to Lae under the excuse of excessive fuel consumption, pretending to have flown in the direction of Howland? If FDR was genuinely angry at her because she didn’t follow the Howland plan, who else could have led her to fly to Truk? That’s what I mean by saying the facts lead one to the conclusion that the best fit is that she took it upon herself. For what reason I have no idea, none that would benefit her can I think of. Obviously out of character for her.

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    1. David,
      You have Bill’s most significant comments in my post, so no, he didn’t mention why he might have thought that Rabaul didn’t figure in all this. Who said FDR was “angry,” anyway?

      Like almost everything else in the Earhart-as-spy scenario, it’s hypothetical and not known whether she went to Truk. If she did, I can assure you, again, it wasn’t her idea. And I don’t buy the common interpretation of Morgenthau’s recorded statement that if “this became known, it would ruin AE’s reputation” to mean what it sounds like. I think Morgenthau was concerned with only one thing, FDR’s reputation and political well-being. He told Malvina Scheider what he did because he was, like his boss, a habitual liar and prevaricator who commonly twisted the truth to suit his own purposes.

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  6. To David –

    I don’t think Amelia & Fred took it upon themselves to – LOOK & SEE – what was happening around Truk. As Mike stated, if this was the case, it was FDR/Intelligence that wanted this done.

    As for FDR being angry, I said this myself and believe he was angry. For why would FDR order the plane’s destruction? We have the White House intern who overheard the President remark, “They found the b#tch’s plane.”

    Fred Goerner wrote that “a confession in the deaths of Earhart and Noonan by Japan would involve far more than an ambiguous liability for the murders of two Americans who had trespassed on forbidden territory in 1937. Such an admission would undermine Japan’s dubious claims about it’s prewar activities in the Mandates, as well as seriously complicate it’s delicate postwar relationship with the United States.”

    Emile Gauvreau wrote – “This is a powder keg and any public discussion of it will furnish the torch for the explosion. I firmly believe that Miss Earhart, in trying to reach Holland Island, a speck on the map, lost her directions perhaps by a sudden shift in the wind and was brought down over territory she was not suppose to see. We are aware that something is going on there. I am not the only one in this department who feels that she saw activities which she could not have described later and remained alive. That is the only explanation I can reach for the blotting out of her plane and every solitary piece of her equipment. Otherwise something would have remained. . . To speculate about this publicly probably would sever our diplomatic relations with Japan and lead to something worse.”

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  7. Blog Respondents: The late Bill Prymak told me that he interpreted the Morgenthau Statement as: Earhart was ordered to NOT approach the Marshall Islands. As for FDR’s anger, David Finlayson said he overheard FDR say, “They found the bitches’ airplane.”

    This sounds extremely angry, as Amelia was a close friend of both his and Eleanor Roosevelt. Sincerely, Rob Ellos

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    1. I seem to be the only layman who would like to know more about Amelia’s meeting with Bernard Baruch. Did he ever make any comments about her? Using Murphey’s law am I entitled to assume the worst about this meeting?

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      1. Jerry,
        You’re not alone in wondering, but I didn’t hold anything out of my book. I certainly believe he met with AE as Margot DeCarie told Joe Gervais, but that’s all I have. Another researcher has looked into it more deeply, but I don’t think he found anything.

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  8. Whatever Bill Prymak thinks about anyone’s chances of landing safely on an atoll in the Pacific, AE managed to do it with apparently only minor damage to her plane. And don’t forget also that if she managed to land in the water her plane would float for quite a while, allowing her and Fred to save themselves. Bill seems so wrapped up in his assertion that the plane would obviously sink nose first that he doesn’t comprehend that is only an educated guess based on no science at all. I believe, (based on no science at all) that she knew what she was doing, knew where she was and was prepared for a crash landing in case she was forced down near Mili. Considering what a warlike act the oil embargo was, I think AE’s spy mission was relatively minor in the grand scheme of things.

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  9. David –
    The two huge factors that led to the demise of Amelia Earhart; was the U.S.’s fuel embargo upon Japan & our intrusion into their territory. No different than a neighbor needing water and not allowing him any of yours and then snooping around in his backyard. The Japanese wanted to punish Amelia Earhart for the U.S.’s actions against them. FDR could have negotiated for her & Fred, admitted he asked them to have a look, when they passing over this area. Apologized to the Japanese for intruding. Instead FDR suppressed information, used the crash & sank alibi, withheld official reports and kept a lid over the *TRUTH.

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  10. Prymak says:
    “To clinch the fantasy, my very good friend Dave Kenyon, now living in Eugene Oregon, worked on her repair at the Lockheed factory, and ultimately rose to rank of vice-president of engineering. We spent many pleasant evening discussing Earhart and her final voyage, and every time the engine-change story came up, he made the same statement: “[Carl] Leipelt and Firman [Gray] could never have left for such a lengthy time as they were the only ones at Lockheed who installed, fine tuned and signed off on the engines coming off the production line. I believe they were the only ones with CAA certification to do this.” Ed Cooper and Art Kennedy certainly would have been called in to fill the gap. They never mentioned this issue. Art Kennedy’s imagination just out-finessed himself on this one.”

    I have mentioned several times in the past, that Prymak had an opportunity to possibly solve the Earhart riddle but his impatience, ego, and lack of sourcing did him in.

    Dave Kenyon did not work on Earhart’s repair. At the time of the Lockheed refit in the spring of 1937, Kenyon was a very young janitor at the Lockheed factory sweeping floors. He never could get close to Earhart, but was perceptive enough to dig out a discarded piece of her tail assembly from a trash bin and kept it..

    Much later, Kenyon did rise to the rank of VP of Navy Sales. Kenyon never held the position of VP of Lockheed Engineering. In other words, Kenyon was never in position to offer any defining words of wisdom concerning Earhart’s last flight. Considering Kenyon had a huge ego, its easy to understand his embellishment of Earhart lore.

    Mike states, that Margo Decarie told Gervais, Earhart met with Bernard Baruch.
    Mentioning Gervais is enough to make one cringe when it comes to Earhart research but Decarie did tell two other interested parties that Earhart had met with Baruch and that she (Decarie) chauffeured Baruch around while Baruch visited Earhart. And yes indeed, Baruch was in Los Angles during this critical time. So, the Baruch-Earhart meet-up probably did occur.

    I agree with LaPook, Earhart would have had limited opportunity to see any of the important Mandate Islands during daylight hours. But then again, in the summer of 1937, the Navy had no idea which were the important Mandate Islands. Based upon radio traffic, the Navy would surely have surmised Jaluit and Saipan were the most strategically important locations.

    I am not sure Earhart was asked by FDR to perform a “grey” intelligence mission but it’s possible. It seems the Japanese thought Earhart was spying. But what evidence to that effect did they discover?

    Earhart told an official she was going to be approaching Howland from the Northwest and would not be answering the radio. Makes one wonder doesn’t it?

    Like

    1. Les,
      I had never heard of Dave Kenyon before Bill Prymak mentioned him in the letter to the AES that I cite in my post, nor is he named in Art Kennedy’s book, High Times: Keeping ’em Flying, at least not in Kennedy’s “Amelia” chapter, and not in the book’s index. You might have a detailed knowledge of Kenyon’s Lockheed career, and your statement that Kenyon didn’t work on the Earhart engine repair might be totally accurate. Prymak may also have embellished Kenyon’s resume a bit, for a variety of possible reasons. But when you say, “Kenyon was never in position to offer any defining words of wisdom concerning Earhart’s last flight,” you leave the area of factual reportage and enter that of pure speculation. Kenyon could well have learned everything Prymak attributed to him during his later years with Lockheed. If Prymak said he knew Kenyon well, that’s enough for me to at least give him the benefit of the doubt.

      I asked a man that Kennedy named prominently in his book, a well-known former friend who has stated his support for Kennedy’s claims about the alleged engine change and Amelia’s willfully aborted takeoff at Luke Field, to share his knowledge about this controversial issue on this blog. I told him he had carte blanche to write whatever he wanted in support of Kennedy’s claims and I would publish it unedited. This man, who I will not name because he obviously no longer wants to be associated with this story, did not have the decency to even reply negatively to my message; he simply ignored me, as if he couldn’t be bothered.

      Moreover, when you write, “I have mentioned several times in the past, that Prymak had an opportunity to possibly solve the Earhart riddle but his impatience, ego, and lack of sourcing did him in,” you’re simply expressing your own personal opinion of Prymak and his work. This of course is your right, but when you cast Prymak’s work in such a negative light, you should at least include a few examples to back up such a sweeping, negative assessment of Prymak’s work, and as a professional, you should label your statement as opinion, for those who have problems discerning what they read.

      As a longtime, personal friend of Bill Prymak’s, I found his ego to be significantly less inflated than those of many other researchers I’ve known, including my first major influence, Thomas E. Devine. Of course I have my own personal bias toward Bill Prymak, but mine runs in the opposite direction as yours, and I make sure readers understand that. Sure, Bill was not a trained journalist, and his interview techniques left much to be desired. But in this he shared similar shortcomings with many others, including Vincent V. Loomis and the “professional journalist” Fred Goerner, who also failed on several important fronts in his Earhart work. In this observer’s opinion, next to Goerner’s 1966 bestseller and his great body of work that includes 900-plus files at the Nimitz Museum, Prymak’s two-volumes of Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters, compiled from 1989 to 2000, are the most valuable single resource ever created in Earhart research. It’s a shame so few even know of the existence of these newsletters.

      Like

      1. Mike,
        Regarding Kenyon’s knowledge of events, Kenyon was in no position to know what happened to Earhart in 1937 or in 1944 for that matter. I guess it’s like someone whose claim to fame was being a buck private at Schofield Barracks in Honolulu on December 7, 1941, later commenting that FDR knew in advance the Japanese were planning to attack Pearl Harbor.

        Kenyon was 19 in 1937. He never met Earhart and wasn’t allowed close to her when Earhart was in the factory. He was a name dropper. He fancied himself as a David Niven look alike. Unless it was related to Navy sales, anything he later said has to be labeled as speculation. Simply because Kenyon impressed Prymak is not good enough. Prymak must have known how old Kenyon was in 1937. If not he should have asked. Take what Kenyon said with a grain of salt. By the way, what I have just remarked has been substantiated by two people who knew Kenyon intimately.

        Any Kenyon discussions about Earhart later in his career at Lockheed are meaningless. His comments to Prymak were ego related. That has always been the problem with the early Earhart researchers – they never asked enough good questions to ferret out the BS and get the full story.

        Regarding Prymak, his heart was in the right place. That’s all I can say. He took what – three trips at a golden time to the Marshall Islands but was more interested in diving and fishing. I know you hold him on a pedestal but the Joro interview is the only original discovery he made and a damn good one – and he still managed to screw it up royally.

        With that said, you wrote a damn good piece and I’m not arguing your thesis.

        Like

      2. Les,

        You haven’t indicated how you know so much about Kenyon, and you refuse to budge from your own speculation that Kenyon could not have known what Prymak says he told him — that “[Carl] Leipelt and Firman [Gray] could never have left for such a lengthy time as they were the only ones at Lockheed who installed, fine tuned and signed off on the engines coming off the production line. I believe they were the only ones with CAA certification to do this.” This statement did not require Kenyon to be close to Earhart in any way, and has nothing to do with her alleged mission. It reflects knowledge anyone at Lockheed could have had if they worked there for many years.

        I hold no one on a pedestal, and Joro was not the only “original discovery” Bill made. He interviewed many witnesses for the first time, though none were potentially as important as Joro. He admitted to his grave his mistake in not following the Enajet elders guidance not to dive on the wreck, which precluded his interview with the real eyewitnesses that were still living in 1989. He was also quite close to Gervais and released first-hand information that put the lie to the Bolam myth, although admittedly he was tardy in doing this, due to his own loyalty to Gervais, misplaced though it was. And he didn’t have to find the Holy Grail to provide a lasting and important service to current and future researchers in his newsletters. I have no problem giving credit where it’s due, and Prymak did many good things in his productive life.

        Thanks for your compliment on the post, but we’ll have to agree to disagree on the other issues.

        Like

  11. I have heard it all and known some of the people involved and it was a series of FU’s that brought her down into the briny sea forever.

    Like

    1. Roland,
      This isn’t your first inane comment on this blog, but once again you are determined to display yourself as a member of that backward slice of humanity that prides itself on its complete ignorance and inability to learn. If I had believed that everyone was as impenetrable as you, I could not have written Truth at Last, or even With Our Own Eyes. What would have been the point?

      Like

  12. I enjoyed reading this article and all the associated comments. MC calls it right, as far as I am concerned. The truth is known and is buried deep. The question I keep coming back to (as others have said) is why, some 80 years on, we are still denied the truth? My pet theory is that in the process of revealing what AE was up to they might reveal other things that were known at the time which could set off a chain reaction of unintended consequences which might have resonance even today. Therefore, safer to keep it buried deep. Pure speculation on my part, of course.

    I tend to look at the spy question by asking the following questions:

    What did GI (Government Intelligence) hope to gain from financing AE’s flight?

    Why were Government launches laid on and a runway specially created on Howland?

    In addition to (alleged) testimony from a Lockheed technician that they cut two 16-18″ diameter holes in the belly of her plane and someone (allegedly) seeing the ‘secret’ file in which was contained the spy spec, I found myself asking why the subject of a a plane swap (Paul Rafford) should ever arise if AE’s mission was purely civilian.

    My thinking is that whilst I might be able to demonstrate a scenario under which a ‘spy plane switch’ was conducted, I am completely stumped by the nature of the mission. Yet I keep coming back to the anecdotal evidence that the Japanese captured her and executed her as a spy. What would have made them so ready to execute her and why did they not accept the flying off course excuse? Why (allegedly) did they keep her plane? Could it have had something incriminating on board?

    Before addressing the mechanics of how a spy plane might have been rigged, I think it is important to emphasise a peculiarity of the case which, when I say it, makes it easier for us to believe that there was no spy plane. And it is this ‘peculiarity’ which I think may lie behind Chester Nimitz’s statement (and I paraphrase) ‘it will blow your mind’. What is it?

    If the military is creating a spy plane, they have carte blanche to do what they want. In the case of AE’s plane, they have to face the additional problem of how to get a spy plane concealed as a civilian plane around the world without anyone discovering what it really is until the point of use, i.e. Lae – Howland. Therefore, a control panel, or some such, would arouse suspicion, wouldn’t it? Solution? Don’t use one! In WWII recon Spitfires were fitted with a camera shooting film through a plexiglass window in the side of the fuselage. Pilots had to dodge enemy fire to get their pics. Fast in, fast out was the order of the day, banking the plane to get the evidence. There was no time for using a control panel! I believe the same would have applied to AE’s plane – two plexiglass discs in the belly of the plane behind which would have sat two big movie-style cameras operated by one or two innocent-looking switches in the cockpit or on Noonan’s desk.

    “Well, that’s going to be a little bit obvious!”, I hear you say. Yes indeed, which is why the timing of the subterfuge was critical. Paul Mantz (allegedly) stated that they fitted cameras to the wings of her plane. If they did, they would have had to have had them retractable. It’s not impossible if one of the mods was extended wings as alleged..

    I prefer the belly-of-the-plane option as (allegedly) stated by a Lockheed engineer for the simple reason that the fuel tanks which, at first sight, appear to preclude camera installation, could provide excellent cover too.

    To summarise what I have said in other postings:

    AE’s plane was switched @ Miami with the spy plane which was an exact replica except for the tell-tale panel which had been installed to accommodate the extra fuel tank (a la Daily Express configuration – I think AE’S original plane didn’t have, it was an innovation fitted to the Daily Express, and subsequently fitted to the spy plane for extra range) – and the missing Bendix which had to be installed.

    Off she goes in the part-fitted out spy plane sans cameras. I have previously mentioned camera mountings without suggesting how this could be done. Remember the pic of Amelia smiling as she leans against the fuel tanks at the back of her plane? This pic gave me the idea. There is plenty of room between the tank(s) she is leaning against and forward towards the cockpit. That set me thinking… If some of those leading tanks had been installed on a track, they could be locked into place during the RTW flight, covering the apertures through which the cameras were to look. Once in Lae, they would be drawn back, to reveal the apertures and mounting points for the cameras and camera cradles. So far so good. But AE could hardly fly around the world with two gaping holes in the belly of her plane, could she? She could if the plan had been to cut two big apertures and rivet back the plates so that they would not arouse suspicion and such that they could easily be removed later. Once removed (in Lae), the cameras, cradles etc. which would have been brought in on another Electra (possibly the original Lady Lindy which subsequently may have crashed in PNG whilst leaving the scene…) could be put in position, the two switches and pre-installed cable would be attached to each camera and now be live. Finally, remember that Spitfire? Plexiglass discs could have been screwed in place of the metal ones. I am guessing here (again!) but the unusual features I have just described would get harder and harder to detect the further and further way the plane taxied from spectators.

    In Lae, they only have about two full days to play with and it is probably not the kind of place to do anything other than routine maintenance. Therefore, whatever they did would have had to have been fairly rudimentary and anything complicated would have had to have been done during the design/build stage. I did contemplate some kind of electro-hydraulic arrangement (like used for landing gear or bomb bay doors) but decided that whilst theoretically possible, the greater the complexity, the more likely the chance of teething problems which could only be exacerbated by a shortness of time. Then there was the weight issue to consider.

    Talking of weight, if you ‘buy my spy plane thesis’, you won’t mind two more anecdotes which I think may be suggestive:

    AE knows she has to fly the last leg with these two solid-state big cameras on board which will affect the plane’s handling. She needs to lighten the load as much as possible. I believe this has already been reinforced when she may have had a test flight with them on board during those missing 6 hrs in Miami. If so, it may have been playing on her mind … At some point we find her ditching parachutes, a wheel etc. I can’t remember where in her trip it happens but I know it does happen. No one has an explanation for it, but this might be a possible one.

    Secondly, contemporary reports suggest that when she takes off from Lae, her plane dips down out of sight almost to wave-top level before slowly climbing up to the heavens. Most commentators attribute this simply to the weight of all that extra fuel she has on board for this longest of legs. Undoubtedly, this is true. However, rightly or wrongly, it struck me as anomalous. Why? Well, I am conjecturing that she has been flying in her spy plane equipped with the extra fuel tank since Miami. At some point before Lae, she crosses a large stretch of the Atlantic, I believe, for which she must have taken on a lot of fuel. From which one would speculate that she was well used to trimming her plane for take off with varying loads of fuel. Therefore, we find ourselves questioning what could so dramatically affect the trim of her plane other than fuel. Which items might now be aboard which previously didn’t have to be reckoned with? Two big solid-state cameras, cradles, motors etc.!

    Food for thought, eh?

    Phil

    Like

    1. Phil,
      I can see that you’ve spend plenty of time cogitating on this, to use one of Bill Prymak’s favorite verbs. I prefer to start with the things that are simple to understand and most plausible. First: the most likely mission was to overfly Truk and take some snapshots of the facility there, as the Japanese were in the process of building the “Gibraltar of the Pacific” and we needed more intelligence on their progress. This is also speculation, but informed speculation. Next, the Japanese repaired and kept her plane as a trophy that they could display to the world after they won the war. This is a no-brainer.

      Bill Prymak never believed that the Electra was fitted for special cameras, and he rejected claims to the contrary. I tend to believe Prymak, but it’s all speculation at this point.

      We are still denied the truth because it would completely ruin the reputation of FDR, as well as everyone else who has protected it for 80 years. This is also a no-brainer. No other reason is remotely possible. History has been set and recorded, and it will NOT include FDR’s cowardly betrayal of American’s beloved First Lady of Flight on Saipan in 1937. Don’t tell me it’s been too long. The Sacred Cow will be protected indefinitely, at least for our own lifetimes. Bet on it.

      MC

      Like

      1. Hi Mike,

        I appreciate your no-nonsense response. It’s what I like about this blog.

        I confess that I missed the trophy-side of retaining AE’s plane – it’s a good point.

        Truk seems a viable mission objective to me too. After that, as you say, all we can do with the current info. is speculate – in my case, perhaps, wildly! And the more wildly one speculates, the more one has to ask, is what I am suggesting likely to be true?

        Certainly, I can accept that given the amount of ‘imagination’ one has to exercise to try to make the case for a spy plane being used, it makes one suspicious of the validity of that assertion.

        Snaps taken from an overfly is more plausible and easier to support. Maybe the quality would have been good enough from altitude? Maybe AE was even given a better hand-held for the purpose. We can but speculate…

        The Sacred Cow reputation of FDR? It may sound far-fetched, but with all that appears to have gone on in this matter, seems on the money to me.

        Look forward to reading others’ comments.

        Phil

        Like

  13. To be self-critical for a moment, I have to admit that this conjecture of mine starts off well enough in Miami with some suggestion of something (based on the hard work of dedicated researchers) but has nothing to support it at the Lae end. I mean, if you were going to the trouble of installing spy cameras, wouldn’t you wish to do it in secret?

    Yet, I don’t recall reading of anything unusual happening when AE and FN reached there. The sort of thing I would be looking for would be someone’s testimony that, upon landing, the plane was taken off to a hangar for a while before being returned to the usual servicing area.

    Yes, I could say that ‘folks were paid off to look the other way’ or I could say that no one has checked this out (though I feel sure they would have).

    Fact is, no evidence is no evidence and the absence of it cannot be used to prove anything!

    It’s little more than a hunch and will remain so unless we can get information that will raise it from speculation to informed speculation!

    Phil

    Like

    1. Quite right, Phil. Paul Rafford’s story about the Electra’s arrival in Miami, and the involvement of John Ray and Bob Thibert with the Electra, “The Case for the Earhart Miami Plane Change” https://earharttruth.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/the-case-for-the-earhart-miami-plane-change-another-unique-rafford-gift-to-earhart-saga still puzzles beyond words. Something was going on there, but it just doesn’t seem to emerge clearly, at least to me. The more you dig into the Earhart story, the more little mysteries you find.
      MC

      Like

  14. Hi Mike,

    I have settled down to post this many times and find it no easier this time than before. However, I know you to be fair-minded as evidenced by your hosting of the paranormal discussion where AE is shown to be both a sensitive and sensitive (double entendre intended).

    I came across the following article written by Rob Goyanes completely by accident – I was looking Miami-related articles, photos at the time:

    https://miamirail.org/spring-2016/amelia-earharts-hialeah-layover/

    Regardless of whether you subscribe to the spy theory or not, I found it very touching and one part of it caught me by complete surprise (if it is to be believed – anecdote alert!):

    “Before arriving in Miami, Earhart and Putnam stopped in New Orleans. Edna Gardner, a fellow female aviation pioneer and friend, said that Earhart looked “very tired and pale,” and that she “lower[ed] her head and stare[d] at her plate.” She said that Putnam responded to this by saying, “Stop your sniveling.” Gardner said that Earhart’s husband, in that moment “was just as cruel as he could be, right in front of all of us.”

    (Gardner was reported to not like Putnam, and at best this is hearsay, but maybe it’s a point of insight into a marriage built on business. We also don’t how Earhart might have responded later that night, being a woman who described her marriage to Putnam as one of “dual controls.” )

    They arrived at Miami Municipal Airport the next day, an airfield originally opened by Glenn Curtiss, which is now the site of a Hialeah police department and UPS sorting facility. Carl Allen of the Herald Tribune, a friend who was covering the attempt, came from Oakland. On May 29, Earhart announced her plans to leave Miami, and confirmed that she had gotten rid of several pieces of equipment to lighten the load. (Some have said she made a critical error by leaving certain radio equipment behind.) “I have a feeling there is just one more flight in my system,” she told Allen, “and this trip is it.” Fred Noonan, her navigator, convinced Earhart to go fishing for pompano to calm her nerves.”

    The writer of this piece is understandably cautious about what can be deduced from this (alleged) account of a public spat. I am not so ready to conclude that Amelia and George shared a loveless marriage, but one thing did strike me as peculiar.

    I had seen pictures of AE in Burbank smiling for the cameras as she surveys the progress of the repairs on her plan. I expected her to be eagerly looking forward to the upcoming Big Adventure in Miami with a few nerves, of course. So, what on earth could there be to ‘snivel’ about from the kind of woman whose public persona did not strike you as one to ‘snivel’?

    The answer could be anything and we have to accept that. If it was a family-related issue, they must have argued about it countless times and would it really have affected her so deeply as this spat appears to have done? No – don’t think so. But one thing might offer sufficient reason …

    Unlike modern celebs, AE was a sensitive soul and liked to keep her private life just that. By inclination, she is a pacifist, yet we know that she has pragmatically enlisted the help of Uncle Sam to get this ‘last stunt’ off the ground. She knew that she had ‘made a deal with the Devil, a Faustian pact’ and as the time drew closer to honour her side of the deal, she argued passionately with George to see if she could get out of it. They both knew it was far too late for that but it still wouldn’t have made it any easier. I could imagine George saying words like ‘too late to have a conscience now!’.

    Remember, this all (allegedly) happened in New Orleans – next stop Miami and the (alleged) start of the spy mission in whatever form you choose. Maybe it was a coincidence – they do happen – but I remember reading that she had a heavy landing in Miami. The landing was so heavy that when later examined, part of the landing gear was found to have been damaged. I paid it no heed at the time of reading. Simply pilot error or intentional?

    I think we can dismiss the intentional element. There are many who say she was a lousy pilot and point to the calamity in March. It’s all subjective and open to interpretation.

    I may be making a connection where there was none, but what occurred to me was that this (alleged) spat was still playing on her mind when she came in to land in Miami – I don’t even know which landing it was supposed to have happened at, the municipal airport or the main one. I am merely offering the possibility that she gets the wrong airport and has a hard landing at one of them because she was not fully focused on what she was doing. In much the same way as could happen when one is going down the freeway or travelling a familiar route thinking about other things. Something happens and one’s reaction may be that bit slower.

    I guess it is a bit like looking at one of those grainy pixelated satellite photos of a supposed plane wreck beneath the waves – some people will claim to see all kinds of things and others will question what the fuss is all about.

    But either way, hope you enjoyed the ride and liked the link.

    Phil

    Like

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