New Britain theory presents incredible possibilities

Like the recent Earhart timeline, this is another piece that’s long overdue. David Billings, a retired Australian aviation engineer, has worked intensely for over two decades on a project that, if successful, will turn nearly everything we assume about Amelia Earhart’s final flight on its head. I’ve known Billings casually through countless emails since about 2004, a year or so before his membership in the Amelia Earhart Society online discussion forum was revoked on a technicality by a hostile forum moderator.

Despite our vastly different beliefs about the Earhart disappearance, we’ve maintained a cordial communication. To me, Billings exemplifies the best in what some might consider the old-school Australian male, in that he’s forthright, with a sharp, wry sense of humor, unafraid to speak his mind, and dependably honest – a trait becoming increasingly rare in this day and age. His work is admirable and worthy of our attention.

Chris Billings (David's son), Claire Bowers and David Billings in the jungles of East New Britain, circa

Chris Billings (David’s son), Claire Bowers (his step-daughter) and David Billings in the jungles of East New Britain, circa 2002.

The evidence that motivates Billings, 76, who works in relative obscurity out of his home in Nambour, Australia, where he often flies gliders to relax, is real and compelling. Unlike our better known, internationally acclaimed “Earhart experts,” whose transparently bogus claims are becoming increasingly indigestible as our duplicitous media continues to force-feed us their garbage, David is a serious researcher whose questions demand answers. His experience with our media is much like my own; with rare exceptions, his work has been ignored by our esteemed gatekeepers precisely because it’s based on real evidence that, if confirmed, would cause a great deal of discomfort to our Fourth Estate, or more accurately, our Fifth Column.

Rather than waste needless effort trying to describe Billings’ New Britain Theory in my own words, we will now turn to the home page of his comprehensive website, which provides a thorough introduction. The site, titled Earhart Lockheed Electra Search Project and subtitled “Earhart’s Disappearance Leads to New Britain: Second World War Australian Patrol Finds Tangible Evidence presents a wealth of information in nine separate sections, is presented in a reader-friendly, professional style and is must reading for the serious Earhart student.  We begin at the beginning; the following inset material is direct from the home page of the Earhart Lockheed Electra Search Project:

Of all the various theories and searches regarding the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, Fred Noonan, and their Lockheed Electra, only one endeavor has the tangible documentary evidence and eyewitness accounts to buttress the conclusion to their final resting place – the jungle floor in Papua New Guinea. In 1945, an Australian infantry unit discovered an unpainted all-metal twin-engine aircraft wreck in the jungle of East New Britain Island, in what was then called New Guinea.

The Australian infantry patrol was unsure of their actual position in the jungle and were on site for only a few minutes. Before they left the site they retrieved a metal tag hanging by wire on an engine mount. The Australians reported their find and turned in the tag upon return to base. The tag has yet to be recovered from the maze of Australian and American archives, but the letters and numbers etched upon it were transcribed to a wartime map. The map, used by the same Australian unit, was rediscovered in the early 1990’s and revealed a notation “C/N 1055” and two other distinctive identifiers of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra Model 10E.

This map illustrates the Lae-to-Howland leg (green) that Electra flew in almost 20 hours. A postulated return route (dotted red) to New Britain Island would have consumed the last bit of fuel and 12 hours.

This map illustrates the Lae-to-Howland Island leg (green) that the Electra flew for about 20 hours. David Billings’ postulated return route (dotted red) to New Britain Island would have consumed the last bit of fuel and 12 more hours.  Could this radical turn-around by Earhart have actually occurred, or is there another explanation for the existence of her Electra on New Britain Island? (Courtesy David Billings.)

On July 2, 1937, while en route to Howland Island from Lae, New Guinea, pilot Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared shortly before they were to arrive at Howland Island – up to 2,600 miles and 20 hours after take-off. They were flying a modified Electra aircraft built specifically for the around-the-world journey. Had they arrived at Howland Island, their next stop would have been Hawaii, and finally California. A flight around the world would have been the first by a woman pilot. They undoubtedly encountered headwinds on the flight. The widely accepted last radio voice message from her was “. . . we are running on line north and south . . . manually recorded 20 hours and 14 minutes after take-off by a United States Coast Guard ship at Howland.

This project theory holds that Earhart and Noonan, after flying some 19 hours should have “arrived” close to Howland, but after an hour of fruitless searching for the island, Amelia invoked the Contingency Plan she had made and turned back for the Gilbert Islands. While there were no known usable runways between Lae and Howland except for Rabaul, there was at least the opportunity to ditch the aircraft near to or crash-land on the numerous inhabited islands in the Gilberts along the way if needed, and there was more than sufficient range to reach Ocean or Nauru Islands. Earhart carefully husbanded the engines to extract the maximum range from the remaining fuel.

The aircraft had an advertised range of some 4,000 miles in calm air; there should have been plenty of fuel to retreat to the Gilberts at a minimum. Among the myriad of alleged radio calls from Earhart after her last confirmed message were four radio calls heard by the radio operator on Nauru Island…one call was heard just under two hours from her “final” transmission, and some 10 hours later, three more final calls on the pre-selected frequency were heard by the Nauru radioman. The Nauru radio operator was one of only a few radio operators who had reliably monitored Earhart on her outbound leg to Howland – he knew the sound of her voice over the radio. In any event, her aircraft has been projected to have run out of fuel some 50 miles south of Rabaul, New Britain Island, and then crash into the jungle.

 The stunning evidence that suggests Amelia Earhart's Electra was found in the Papua New Guinea jungle is in the area in yellow, above, which is the lower section of the tactical map maintained by "D" Company, 11th Australian Infantry Battalion in 1945. The Map was in possession of the unit's administrative clerk from 1945 until 1993. (Courtesy David Billings.)

The stunning evidence that suggests Amelia Earhart’s Electra was found in the Papua New Guinea jungle is in the area in yellow, above, which is the lower section of the tactical map maintained by “D” Company, 11th Australian Infantry Battalion in 1945. The Map was in possession of the unit’s administrative clerk from 1945 until 1993. (Courtesy David Billings.)

David Billings [sic], a now retired aircraft engineering professional, has been analyzing the flight and searching for Earhart’s Electra for more than 20 years in the jungle of East New Britain. Dense jungle, harsh terrain, poor maps, imprecise archival information, personal resource limitations, and possible natural or manmade burial of the wreckage, have thwarted success. He has led many expeditions into the search area, and has refined his analysis to the likely wreck site using terrain mobility studies, geospatial analysis of aerial and satellite images, custom-built maps, and re-analyzed archival maps and documents. As an example, the Australian-held wartime map is authentic, and the handwriting reflects unmistakable discreet data points and little known references of military operations in 1945 East New Britain.

The longtime map holder, the Second World War Infantry Unit clerk, Len Willoughby, retrieved the map from a map case on a pile of discarded equipment in 1945, and kept the map until he mailed it to former-Corporal Don Angwin in 1993 (and who revealed it to Mr. Billings in 1994). Neither of these former infantrymen had the motive nor “insider” expertise to create or introduce details concerning the Electra’s obscure component identification or situational nuances. The string of numbers and letters, “600 H/P. S3H/1 C/N1055,” remains the most significant historical notation found to date in the search for Earhart’s aircraft. This alpha-numeric sequence almost certainly mirrors the details on the metal tag recovered from the engine mount by one of the Australian soldiers on 17 April 1945. This three-group sequence translates to 600 Horsepower, Pratt & Whitney R-1340-S3H1, airframe Construction Number 1055. This airframe construction number IS Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed 10E Electra aircraft, and the engine type exactly matches as well. The eyewitness visual descriptions from three of the Australian veterans at the scene also strongly support this supposition. The date on the map, 24 May 1945, refers to the return answer to the Australians from the American Army, who did not believe it was “one of theirs.”

The foregoing should give you a fairly good snapshot of Billings’ New Britain Theory. Much more can be found in the pages of the Earhart Lockheed Electra Search Project.

In Fred Goerner’s 1966 bestseller, The Search for Amelia Earhart, the author recalled his first meeting with the famed Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, an interview arranged by Cmdr. John Pillsbury, public information officer for the 12th Naval District, in connection with Goerner’s work on a 1962 radio documentary The Silent Thunder.

A look at the East New Britain Island Mountains. (Courtesy David Billings.)

 A look at the East New Britain Island Mountains, where David Billings’ search for the possible wreckage of the Earhart Electra has been focused. (Courtesy David Billings.)

The meeting was the beginning of a friendship Goerner treasured, but it wasn’t until about a year later that Nimitz shared some of his inside knowledge about the Earhart case with Goerner. At Pillsbury’s retirement party at the Fort Mason Officers Club in San Francisco, he passed an incredible message to the KCBS newsman. “I’m officially retired now,” Pillsbury told Goerner, “so I’m going to tell you a couple of things. You’re on the right track with your Amelia Earhart investigation. Admiral Nimitz wants you to continue, and he says you’re onto something that will stagger your imagination. I’ll tell you this, too. You have the respect of a lot of people for the way you’ve stuck at this thing. Keep plugging. You’ll get the answers.” (Italics mine.)

Nimitz’s statement to Goerner through Pillsbury was a stunner, and it immediately found a permanent place in my memory when I read it for the first time so many years ago. Just what could the great Navy warrior have meant when he said, “You’re onto something that will stagger your imagination”? The answer has been elusive, but if Billings can locate the wreck, and it proves to be Earhart’s Electra, we’ll have a strong clue and a new place to start looking for that special something that Pillsbury hinted so strongly about.

In closing “Chapter II: The Final Flight” in Truth at Last, I cite some of the many questions that remain unanswered about those final hours: “What was Noonan, Pan Am’s best navigator, doing as their hopes of securing a safe landfall were evaporating before his eyes? Why the forty-minute void between Earhart’s 8:04 and 8:44 a.m. transmissions? Why couldn’t she hear Itasca on 3105 kc? Why did she ask for 7500 kc for bearings, when her direction finder could not home in on that frequency, instead of asking for 500 kc? Earhart never stayed on the air more than seven or eight seconds at a time, preventing the Itasca radiomen from taking bearings. Why? If the Electra was running out of fuel or experiencing another emergency, why didn’t she send a Mayday message?

“Did her transmitter break down after her last broadcast, as Prymak suggested?” I continued. “Was she really trying to reach Howland, or was her peculiar behavior simply part of a deception to make it appear she was lost?” But one question never occurred to me: “Why was Amelia Earhart in a different Electra than the one she flew from Oakland, Calif., when she set off on her second world flight attempt on June 2, 1937?” 

billings-four-men

What would it mean if Billings finds the original Earhart Electra, NR 16020? First of all, the discovery should be, at minimum, the biggest story of the week worldwide, with virtually all media organizations in the West giving it top billing (no pun intended). If past is prologue, however, any news that reflects the truth in this longstanding cover-up will be universally ignored, though a few exceptions might occur with a story of this magnitude. Billings needs to find the wreck and identify it in a way that’s forensically conclusive.

Remember, the metal tag recovered from the engine mount has vanished, likely joining the Earhart briefcase discovered by Robert E. Wallack in a Japanese safe on 1944 Saipan, the photos of the fliers in Japanese custody that several GIs claimed they found but lost on Saipan, and whatever else might be squirreled away in top-secret hidey-holes. Assuming Billings is finally able to locate the wreck, how will he determine beyond doubt whether this is the long-lost Electra, and not just another World War II casualty?

“I have always been good at ‘aircraft recognition,’ seeing an aircraft and immediately recognizing the type of aircraft it is, particularly WWII military types,” Billings told me in an email. “After being with the Electra 10E for 20 years and looking at the pictures and three-view drawings, it would be easy to recognize from certain aspects; for instances: the look of the six window panels surrounding the cockpit and the twin tails, the cabin door, the fuel filler panels, the step in the setting of the horizontal stabilizer are all recognition features. We are, however, speaking here of a damaged Electra, from the sighting in 1945, said to be with the cockpit smashed back to the heavy main spar, so the cockpit with the DF loop on top is effectively ‘not there’ and no description of the twin tails was given suggesting the empennage [tail assembly] is not there either.”

Billings says information he’s gleaned since 2011 indicates that the plane was purposely buried, though not too deeply, by someone using a bulldozer, so the use of metal detectors will be critical to a successful search. “When we get a strike with a metal detector then we follow the continuing strikes to map out the extent of what we have in the ground following the metal detector beeps,” Billings continued. “We mark a rough plan on the ground.   From that, firstly I would then be looking away from the ground plan for a distance, for the left hand Engine Serial No. 6150, said to be 30 meters away from the airframe and it will be a lump on the ground, if the bulldozer driver missed seeing it.  If we find that engine, then it will have a Pratt and Whitney Data Plate on the back of the blower housing with “6150” stamped on it.  At the airframe, if we have a rough ground plan we can dig where the right hand engine is as it too will have a Data plate showing “6149.”  One of these would be proof positive.”

A look at the East New Britain Island Mountains. (U.S. Geological Service map.)

An overview map of East New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Note location of Lae to the far left, bottom third. (U.S. Geological Survey map.)

Though I admire Billings’ work, we certainly don’t agree on everything. The idea that Earhart turned around and landed in the jungle of Papua New Guinea after nearly reaching Howland Island is unacceptable to me — and every other Earhart researcher I know.  But the existence of the original Electra at East New Britain and the Marshalls-Saipan truth are not mutually exclusive, as would appear at first glance. Both can be true, and assuming Billings’ evidence isn’t some kind of bizarre hoax or misunderstanding, both must be true.

How can two scenarios that appear so radically different be part of a coherent series of events in the summer of 1937? One possible answer immediately suggests itself: Amelia Earhart changed planes somewhere along the line of her world flight route, and we already have some evidence to support the idea. Please see my earlier post, “The Case for the Earhart Miami Plane Change”: Another unique Rafford gift to Earhart saga for the entire confusing discussion. It’s not conclusive, of course, and it raises many more questions than it answers.

The successful location and identification of the original Earhart Electra in East New Britain would be earth-shaking news, but it would also create a new Earhart “mystery,” a real one in this case, not the fabricated myth the establishment wants us to buy. If it’s ever discovered, the truth that explains the Electra’s presence in East New Britain could indeed “stagger our imagination.” In any event, a plane change and eventual crash of the original Electra in the East New Britain jungle under other circumstances makes far more sense to this observer than the dramatic turn-around Billings proposes.  The Mili Atoll and Saipan evidence are just too overwhelming to support the entirety of Billings’ theory, in my view.

An example of the dense jungle that covers the area where David Billings' search for the Electra is focuses on Papua New Guinea. (Courtesy David Billings.)

An example of the dense jungle that covers the area where David Billings’ search for the Electra is focuses on Papua New Guinea. (Courtesy David Billings.)

Billings has made 16 trips to the Papua New Guinea jungle since 1994, and plans his final foray into East New Britain sometime in the spring of 2017, the 80th anniversary of Earhart’s disappearance. Funding is always a problem, but he says a recently completed road will allow vehicle access and eliminate the exorbitant helicopter costs previously incurred. Billings has always borne the heaviest part of the money burden, but if you’d like to help his cause, here’s a page with donation information.

In a recent email, I told Billings that I wanted to do a post about him and his work, writing, “We both want the truth, and if the original Electra is in the PNG jungle, so be it. IF and when you can prove it, we can then worry about how and why it got there!”

“Exactly!” he replied. “My same thoughts all along.”

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36 responses

  1. Amelia Earhart’s point of no return.

    Boy, that term “Point Of No Return” makes shivers run down my spine and has been used in many movies to heighten tension. “We can’t turn back, we must go forward, no matter what!”

    In reality, it’s not that dramatic.

    The “point of no return” is just another example of the more general “radius of action” calculation. This was known in 1937 since it was published by Noonan’s friend Weems in Air Navigation, 1931 ed., and in Navigation and Nautical Astronomy, Dutton, 1934 ed., and in other navigation manuals of the time.

    The formula is quite simple and there are various ways to write it depending on how you want the result. The inputs are the endurance (based on the fuel on board divided by fuel flow) the head (or tail) wind component for the approximate first half of the flight and the true airspeed of the plane. The true airspeed and the wind component are combined to determine the ground speed out (on course towards the destination) and the ground speed for the return leg.

    So:

    Time (to PNR) = (Endurance X GS return)/(GS return + GS out)

    Since the wind component causes an equal but opposite effect on the ground speed for the GS out and the GS return the divisor is simply 2 X TAS so the formula can be rewritten:

    Time PNR = (Endurance X GS return)/(2 X TAS)

    We know for sure that the plane had an endurance of at least 20:13. Using the TAS of 130 knots (150 mph) and the wind component of 23 knots as determined in flight, and reported by Noonan, we can substitute into the formula:

    GS out = 107 K
    GS return = 153 K
    2 X TAS = 2 X 130 = 260 K

    T = (20:13 X 153)/260

    T = 11:54
    If we multiply this time by the GS out we find the distance to the PNR.

    Dist PNR = 107 K X 11:54 = 1273 NM

    Alternatively, if you just want the distance to the PNR you can use the formula:

    Dist PNR = (Endurance X GS out X GS return)/(2 X TAS)

    D = (20:13 X 107 X 153)/ 260

    D = 1273 NM

    To confirm that his is a correct result we can divide the distance by the GS return:

    1273 NM / 153 K = 8:19

    8:19 + 11:54 = 20:13, the endurance.

    So we can be sure that had they turned around prior to 11:54 Z they could have made it back to Lae. If, in fact, the endurance was only 20:13 then we also know that if they turned around any time after 11:54 Z that they could not make it back to Lae, they would have been past the “point of no return.”

    —————————————————————

    Using a 15 knot wind component from the July 1st forecast you get:

    11:16 and 1297 NM

    Using the 25 knot wind component from the July 2nd forecast you get:

    12:03 and 1265 NM

    ———————————————————–

    If Noonan thought he had a 24 hour endurance using the 23 knot wind component then he would have calculated the PNR as 14:07 at 1511 NM. Using a 15 knot wind component then he would have gotten 13:23 at 1539 NM and with a 25 knot wind he would have gotten 14:18 and 1502 NM, just past Nauru, so the decision had to be made more than 100 NM west of the Gilberts at about the time that Itasca first heard from the plane at 1415 Z.

    See excerpts of navigation manuals relating to this topic here.

    We have now looked at one simple example of the “point of no return” so this would be a good point to do some more computations. There is also a theory that Earhart made it back to the island of New Britain and a point of no return calculation may help in an analysis of this theory.

    The PNR is a simple case of the “radius of action” calculation. These calculations determine how far away you can fly and still make it back within the endurance of the aircraft. If you go beyond the PNR or the “radius of action” then you can’t make it back to the departure airport, that’s why
    it is called the “point of no return.”

    Navy pilots flying off of aircraft carriers have to do a more complicated radius of action calculation because if they just make it back to the point where they took off from, there won’t be an airport there, the carrier has moved on. It should be obvious that if the carrier is steaming in
    the opposite direction from the plane’s outbound course that the plane will have to turn around sooner to go back and chase after the carrier.

    The way this “radius of action from a moving base” calculation is done is by drawing a vector diagram including the normal wind vector and then adding a vector to represent the speed and course of the carrier. Then the radius of action (PNR) calculation is done with the combined
    effect of these two vectors. Conceptually, the calculation is done based on the wind that would have been measured by the moving carrier.

    We can use the “radius of action from a moving base” computation to look at the case of the plane departing from Lae and returning to New Britain. We do this by using a “fictitious aircraft carrier.” The east end of New Britain is 344 NM east of Lae on the course line to Howland. If a
    fictitious carrier departed Lae at the same time as Earhart, steaming towards Howland, it would have arrived at the east end of New Britain at the end of 20:13 (the proven endurance of the plane) by steaming at 17 knots. Fortunately, the required vector diagram is as simple as it could
    be since the plane and the ship were heading directly into the 23 knot headwind measured by Noonan. So the fictitious carrier would have measured a direct headwind of 40 knots. We use this 40 knot value instead of the true wind of 23 knots to do the calculation for the PNR for a return to New Britain.

    Doing the calculation:

    TAS = 130 K (2 x TAS = 260 K)

    Speed of relative movement out = 90 knots.

    (The plane is moving away from the fictitious carrier at only 90 knots because the carrier is
    chasing after the plane.)

    Speed of relative movement return = 170 knots (130 K + 40 K)

    PNR time = (20:13 x 170 K)/260

    PNR time = 13:13

    Multiplied by the speed of relative movement out of 90 K places the plane 1190 NM from the fictitious carrier. But since the real ground speed was 107 K it would be 1414 NM from Lae. This is 141 NM further and 1:19 later than in our first computation of PNR for a return to Lae.
    To check our math we can subtract this 13:13 from the endurance of 20:13 giving us 7:00 hours to return to New Britain. Seven hours multiplied by the actual return ground speed of 153 knots means the plane will travel 1071 NM back towards Lae. Since it would be starting 1414 NM from Lae it will end up 344 NM east of Lae at the eastern end of New Britain, just as we expected.

    Doing the same computation using an endurance of 24 hours we use a slightly slower speed for the fictitious carrier since it now has 24 hours to travel the 344 NM resulting in a fictitious speed of 14.3 K and a relative wind of 37.3 K. The PNR for New Britain then occurs at 15:26 Z, 1653
    NM from Lae. This is 1:19 later and 142 NM further from Lae than the similar calculation for the return to Lae. So even using a 24 hour endurance and a planned return to New Britain, the decision to turn around would have had to have been made prior to passing the Gilberts. Since
    we know the plane went past this PNR and proceeded for at least 4:47 further, to the vicinity of Howland, it would not have been possible for the plane to make it back to New Britain even with
    a 24 hour endurance.

    O.K., cutting to the chase. We know that prior to passing the PNR they had the ability to return safely and try again another day. We know that they did not turn around prior to the PNR because they continued on to the vicinity of Howland which is well past the PNR. We know that on the planned flight from Hawaii to Howland they considered the possibility of turning around and, after Noonan had computed a PNR for that leg, had taken on additional fuel to allow for a return to Hawaii against the existing wind which makes it logical that they would have done the same if they had encountered a problem on the last flight. The entire “around the world flight” was planned around the need for celestial navigation on the leg to Howland and just two days before takeoff Earhart had sent a radiogram from Lae saying “FN MUST HAVE STAR SIGHTS.”

    Putting all this together we can conclude that they were satisfied with the navigation (FN was getting star sights) until at least passing the PNR which rules out the idea that they were just dead reckoning.

    The second thing we can determine from these calculations is that they also could not return to New Britain from the vicinity of Howland thus making that theory very unlikely.

    https://sites.google.com/site/fredienoonan/discussions/amelia-earhart-s-point-of-no-return

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    1. That’s all very well, Mr LaPook, but where is your proof that she crashed and sank? Most other theories have either physical evidence or eye-witness testimony of her presence or artefacts of her presence, you and your ilk have nothing but the interpretations of rushed records of garbled and short radio communications -virtually none of which were two-way.

      The majority of people have assumed crash-and-sank to be the solution since the disappearance, and have looked for nearly eight decades with that solution in mind, in fact, no other Earhartian theory has had more time, money and resource expended on it, including one of the biggest search and rescue missions in history…and have found nothing to support the belief, the devotion is almost cult-like…it is a religion to you people, just as the lack of evidence for a God does not dissuade people from believing in a God, the lack of crash-and-sank evidence doesn’t dissuade its believers.

      The cult of crash-and-sank and its high-priests, such as you, can’t wait to shout down anything that counters YOUR belief, it is embarrassing to see so-called adults sticking their fingers in their ears shouting ‘Na na na na nah, ‘you’re wrong, we’re right’, and not be willing to accept even the possibility that maybe they are wrong…even when after eighty years there is NO evidence for a watery grave for Earhart. However dodgy TIGHAR’s evidence may be, it has more evidence than crash-and-sank.

      I swear to God that you’d still hang on to crash-and-sank even if they drained the Pacific and still found no plane.

      All other hypothesis are newer and have had less time and effort spent on them, if the same amount of effort were spent on them as has been spent on crash-and-sink perhaps one of the other theories would have found the plane by now, for sure crash-and-sank has failed.

      If you were looking for unicorns for 80 years and found no evidence for them, maybe it is time to accept that unicorns don’t exist.

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  2. David Billings will get to the bottom of this wreck, but for me, it’s more probable to be a WW2 casualty as Mike stated. I thought FDR planned some long range bombing raid, on the Japanese, shortly after Pearl Harbor.

    I don’t see Amelia & Fred doing an about face. They had an ocean to cross and knew how to do it. We have the JaPaNeSe to thank for ScReWiNg EvErYtHiNg uP!

    The Japanese should have helped Amelia & Fred, repair the Electra and sent them back on their way. Thus a *grateful FDR would have lessened or lifted the oil embargo, we halted against Japan. Don’t we really have three errors in judgement? Japanese invade China, FDR halts shipments of oil to Japan and Amelia Earhart lands the Electra in Japanese territory. This I would call the Bermuda triangle of ERRORS or the Marshall Islands triangle of ERRORS.

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    1. Many people believe that cavemen had to fight off dinosaurs. Cavemen lived a long time ago, dinosaurs lived a long time ago. A long time ago = a long time ago, so to many people they lived in the same place, the same time period. BUT…
      Dinosaurs died out 60 million years ago and cavemen did exist until one million years ago so they missed having problems with dinosaurs by 59,000,000 years.
      Earhart disappeared a long time ago, the second world war was a long time ago, same deal.

      People are always making this error when looking at the Earhart story. Earhart disappeared on July 2, 1937 but Roosevelt didn’t embargo oil until August 2, 1941, FOUR YEARS LATER, after freezing Japanese assets one week earlier. This followed embargoing scrap metal about one year earlier in October 1940, more than THREE YEARS after Earhart. These actions were taken in responses to Japanese actions in Asia, none of which had taken place by the time of the Earhart flight.
      On July 2, 1937 we were still friends with Japan, had normal diplomatic and economic relations with Japan. In fact, Earhart’s original plan included landing in Tokyo!
      All the “spy” stories and “Japanese capture” theories stem from this lack of knowledge of history.

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      1. Thanks for your mostly informed comments, Gary. However, I can’t let you get away with your statement, “All the ‘spy’ stories and ‘Japanese capture’ theories stem from this lack of knowledge of history.” I know you’re a vehement crash-and-sanker, which simply doesn’t compute based on your obvious intelligence and accomplishments. Nevertheless, we have hundreds of eyewitness, witness and other evidence that all points directly to the Marshalls and Saipan. This overwhelming mountain of evidence has nothing at all to do with anyone’s “historical ignorance.” The other major “theories” upon scrutiny, don’t even qualify as legitimate theories at all, because there’s zero real evidence to support them. Billings’ theory is quite different, which is why I wrote this post to support it.

        Mike C.

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      2. @earharttruth, that’s my thinking, nearly 80 years of crash-and-sank thinking and operations, including a huge sea search within days of her loss, and not one shred of evidence for crash-and-sank, they manipulate what little data there is, making assumptions along the way, and when it doesn’t pan out, they start it all voer again. The crash-and-sank were sure of the location when the likes of the Waitt Foundation investigation started, then changed the location when it failed to find the plane.

        I personally am sure that Waitt’s search alone proves she is not there, how does it prove it? Waitt was interested in finding the plane, is a very rich man, so why didn’t he extend the search? I believe because he was suckered into crash-and-sank, but had the acumen to recognise ‘mission creep’ “Oh, she’s not there?…OK, boss, let’s extend the search to…’ by operators who were making bucks from the mission…like the crash-and-sank Hucksters of today.

        One thing I will say about David Billings, he puts HIS money where his mouth is, he has almost mortgaged his future on his belief in East New Britain, the crash-and-sank folks seem to be forever trying to gain sucker money. One of the more prominent current crash-and-sank groups has among its members successful professional people, some retired with a nice nest egg, how many of their members have invested their own money in the mystery’s solution as has David Billings?

        Nothing gives donors more confidence in a project than the project advocates and high-priests putting in their own money, one criticism of TIGHAR’s leadership; if the crash-and-sank believers can’t put in their own money, why should anyone else?

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      3. Well said, Ray. Your point about David Billings’ willingness to put his own hard-earned money on the line says everything one needs to know about the principals in the current Earhart search. Only one person we know has ever made so much money and had so little to show for it. We all know who that is, no need to spell it out again here. Its my belief that the establishment selected this character to carry their disinformation water when the crash-and-sank lies wouldn’t wash anymore back in the late 1980s, despite the fact that the Nikumaroro theory had already been debunked and dismissed by much smarter people than he. Fred Hooven and Fred Goerner looked into it very thoroughly, and didn’t need to go there 11 times and charge increasingly exorbitant amounts of cash in the process. I’ll leave it at that for now.

        Mike

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      4. @earharttruth, thanks.

        I do find it amusing and hypocritical of the crash-and-sankers criticising Nikumaroro’s leading protagonist for making a buck from a busted hypothesis, when they are guilty of the same, nearly eight decades of investigation into crash-and-sank, and not one piece of evidence aside from THEIR evaluation of data available to everyone.

        The crash-and-sank and the Nikumaroro advocates have more in common than they think, both have no real evidence, both are continually asking for the dollar to prove their fantasy, the only difference I can see is that Nikumaroro is more successful in playing exactly the same game. It is no surprise that either entity can’t see each is the mirror of themselves…that’s cults for you!

        As I see it, if Nikumaroro was not on the table, the cash and resource donated to it over the last few decades would have been gone elsewhere, probably on the crash-and-sank, as it seems the next popular hypothesis, if they had a publicity machine like the current ‘frontrunner’ has; interesting to think that the difference between crash-and-sank is Mr TIGHAR, and that if he had sided with crash-and-sank he’d be championed by them as the millions of sucker-money dollars went their way.

        Whatever the truth of the Earhartian mystery, someone who puts their own money and own future on the line on their hypothesis deserves respect, unlike the grasping ‘gimme gimme gimme’ of the failed crash-and-sank.

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  3. Since I first read “The Truth at Last” 3 or 4 years ago, I became aware in case after case of brazen misinformation and cover-ups promulgated by the US government, and I’m sure by our allies and enemies, too. The Earhart story as Mike presents it and Fred Goerner too, is surprising enough to begin with. But I have always liked to go “One step beyond” even their presentation. I believe there was much more to the AE story, if it was simply even a publicity stunt that went wrong and those evil Japanese meanly treated her as a spy, we probably would have heard that story by now. I don’t know what went on between her and Eleanor and Franklin but sometimes I wonder if Amelia “knew too much” and was threatening to go public with some policies she strongly disagreed with. Just a thought.

    We have seen James V. Forrestal eliminated for presumably his views, just one example. Maybe Earhart and Putnam started out doing what they said they were doing, a money making stunt. But when she crashed her plane in Hawaii, they had a dilemma. Putnam may not have been as wealthy as he seemed. To begin with, I think we can assume that the Purdue gift story was not true. Somebody was funding the whole project to begin with. So, after the crash the Navy stepped in (as if they hadn’t already) and no longer kept it a secret at least to intelligent observers. First, it was clear they weren’t going to patch up her plane and send it off again on a flight that called for an extremely dependable plane where mechanical problems were not an option. So they had Lockheed build a whole new plane for her with all the latest features but with some cosmetic type parts from the old one so that the new plane would look just like her old one. Maybe with the exception of the holes cut for the old radio equipment which nobody would possibly notice. In any case they sent her off with special modification for camera equipment and the latest DF and antennas. They told Art Kennedy at Lockheed that Lockheed was going to make good money on this project, all Art and the employees had to do was keep their mouths shut, this is “National Security” and they were serious.

    So the project told a bare-faced lie that climatic conditions had changed so they were going to fly west to east. The conditions had not changed and they were facing headwinds all the way for what purpose I can’t imagine, but there was a reason. I won’t go into all the subterfuge and deception of her alleged radio messages, but I don’t believe she intended to land at Howland and probably did not even come very close. So I will stipulate that she landed at Mili Atoll and the story continues as presented in “The Truth at Last.” Even that leaves many questions unanswered to say the least.
    Since I have become aware of David Billing’s story in the past week, my first impulse was to disprove it. I have looked at David’s website and corresponded with him, trying to poke holes in his theory, but I can’t.

    If the report of the Australian Army Patrol is accurate and it seems to be, in that it contains details that an Army patrol could not have made up, then the plane clearly is Amelia’s original plane. I checked extensively as best I could if it could have been a similar plane with the same characteristics and C/N. My conclusion is it could not. There was a Beechcraft Model 18 in those days that had the same C/N but it was not like her plane. It’s possible that the engine could have come from her original plane and been put in a different L10 Electra, but the plane they found was obviously a Lockheed model and most likely was C/N. 1055 as the tag said. So if it wasn’t Amelia flying the plane, who was it? Why would anyone take her old plane and fly to Rabaul area and the have it crash? One idea is that after they gave her the new plane, they patched up the old one and sold it to someone who used it in New Guinea. But wouldn’t Lockheed have records of selling an L10 to someone who took it there? They should, but I don’t know how to access them. Maybe David Billings has already looked into that.

    Could somebody have parachuted out of the plane and left it to fly into the jungle? Sounds extremely farfetched and way too dangerous. If David finds the plane and sees from IDs on the fuselage that it was her original plane, then I am totally stumped. It indeed must be a story “That Staggers the Imagination.” I know my imagination is staggering right now. I have gone from regarding the New Britain story as ridiculous to a grudging acceptance. I just don’t see why anybody would put in so much unrewarded effort on this seach if it were a hoax.

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  4. I tried my best to find the flaw in David Billing’s story. I could not do it. I had to reread his story on the website more than once and each time the story seemed more true. I would say, no, it can’t be a WW2 plane, when they found it, it had been there too long, was corroded very heavily. He gives examples of the corrosion on WW2 wrecks. The plane had the old style protruding rivets which were not used on most WW2 planes, I don’t think. Gary says she didn’t have the range to make it back to Rabaul from Howland. Billing’s doesn’t think she got that close to Howland. I don’t think she got anywhere near Howland, she was not intending to go there anyway but that’s my conspiracy theory.

    If she got close to Howland, and decided to turn around, why didn’t she say that over her radio? It does not make any sense she would not announce that so she could be rescued, unless she was suicidal or as I maintain, she was already in the vicinity of the Marshalls. Nauru radio heard her supposedly, but I don’t think any message was understood. She could have been anywhere when she was supposedly heard because the Nauru operator “Knew her voice” Yes, the patrol could have written the wrong numbers. But they didn’t because the numbers were stamped on a metal tag. And what manufacturer made that 3 piece cowl that had come apart except Lockheed? Could this be a colossal hoax? Anything is possible, but why would Billings spend so much time and money (his own) for no profit whatsoever?

    Another theory of mine is she just flew to Truk and spent some time in the air and then returned to Rabaul where she unfortunately crashed for whatever reason. Or suppose that the whole Marshalls/Saipan story is a ruse promoted by the US government. Eyewitnesses prompted to tell Fred Goerner nonsense. After all, there is no physical evidence whatsoever. If Billing’s finds the plane then everybody has to return to Square One.

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    1. It is an intriguing story, I’d love for it to be right even if it were just to peeve the more arrogant crash-and-sank dogma.

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  5. One problem I have with the New Britain story…. the yellow paint said to be found inside the engine nacelle(s).

    As far as I know, yellow chromate was NOT used on Earhart’s engine cowls…
    But it was often seen on WWII aircraft.

    “….The W.O. said that there was yellow paint inside the nacelle on the interior surfaces of the sheetmetal. This would be Yellow Chromate anti-corrosion finish. It is said that both yellow and green chromate finishes were applied to certain places on Electras. Art Kennedy could not recall which colour was used on C/N1055.”

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    1. Zinc Chromate has been used since the 1920’s, and yellow is the natural colour of the compound, that is, yellow was the first used colour variant. Because of its anticorrosion properties, and given that NR16020 was going to do a lot of travel over salty water, it seems natural to coat ‘hidden’ and hard to access and clean areas with the paint.

      I have no idea what the plane is that Mr Billings is looking for, but I don’t see the type of paint reported negating his idea of what he believes it is, it is not impossible that the patrol was in error in the paint type, anyway, we’ll never know until and if the plane is found in ENB.

      Personally, I find it intriguing, and IF the plane is found and is not NR16020, I think there are still interesting aspects to solve, if contemporary for the time, and we have no evidence it isn’t, what was the writing on the map for? Why were the US officers so interested in speaking to the patrol? Last, but not least, the metal tag allegedly found with the engine…what was that all about?

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      1. This photo shows un-painted cowlings, inside and out.
        https://mobile.twitter.com/PacificAviation/status/531829077775515648

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      2. Thank you, David Billings for that post. That was the question I was going to ask you next, that is, were all L10s accounted for and what happened to them? You just answered. My only petty complaint is concerning the “Daily Express.” You don’t say when that plane supposedly crashed, and if it was used to reverse engineer a Soviet version, would they really just scrap it? Isn’t it at least in the realm of possibility that the plane in the jungle could have been that plane? The Daily Express? Although if it was in Russian hands, why would they take it to New Britain pre-war? But if an Australian owned it and they gave it back to him, isn’t it possible the Australian was flying it back home and unfortunately crashed it in New Britain? That is the possibility that comes to my mind.

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      3. @Dave T. if your eyes can positively distinguish that there is no chromate on those cowlings, then you missed your calling in the intelligence corps.

        Besides, even IF there were no chromate at Luke Field, that doesn’t testify that it wasn’t put on in the rebuild…

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      4. Ray,
        This is from Tighar…..

        “Lockheed painted the interior surfaces of all Electras with aluminum paint as a corrosion inhibitor. WWII aircraft were painted with yellow-green zinc chromate….”

        If you can find concrete evidence the interior surfaces of Earhart’s engine cowlings, or ANY other parts of the plane, were painted with yellow zinc chromate, please post it here.

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      5. @Dave T., you site a TIGHAR source as an authority?

        Good grief…

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  6. If what Billings says is true then what we can surmise is the engine belonged to Earhart’s original L10. It may have been installed on a different plane and the tag inadvertently left on. David Billings says this could happen. But the plane had old style rivets and if the 3 piece cowl was a Lockheed standard, then the engine had to be mounted on a 1930s Lockheed plane and be the right hp for a Lockheed plane of that era and the only plane that fits that description is an L10. I ask if anyone can determine if another L10 was sold to or transported to a company in New Guinea. If one was, and the information exists which I would think it does, then we could say, no, it was a different plane being flown by maybe the gold company and it disappeared so that would not be Amelia. If nobody checks, that theory will remain up in the air.

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  7. Mike, you say the two truths must exist simultaneously. They can and do, and I will explain how. Yes, Amelia landed on Mili Atoll and the plane in the New Britain jungle IS her plane, there is not even any need to physically find it, but it would be proof positive of course. It always stuck in my mind they took off from Lae when Rabaul would have made more sense. Yes, there was volcano trouble there, but it did not close the airfield. I kept thinking there has to be a good reason for this. And there is.

    Now, in those days Lae was a big operation for the times. The Wau-Bulolo goldfield and all it’s equipment was airlifted from Lae. There were heavy transports (for that time) there. Much traffic. American personnel who could be trusted. This is where the plane switch took place. Let me draw your attention to the film clip of the take-off. Do you notice a discolored left rudder? No you don’t because it’s a new plane and the rudder is not discolored. Her old plane is pushed aside. Off they go with their 500 kc DF. Why is that? Because they want to find the AM radio station on Jaluit because that’s what Fred intends to do from the very start. Do they need a 3150 kc or 6200 kc DF? Of course not. They have no intention of taking bearings on the Itasca. Much better to look stupid and unprepared. Who’s that guy in the radio booth on Howland? Cipriani? Black? Maybe he is transmitting those bogus recorded messages. They are in the know, you can be sure of that. It is also easy to make their detour to Truk. They land on Mili Atoll and after those purported radio messages from her may be bogus or they may not. Doesn’t really matter much.

    Meanwhile back at Lae, by and by, they have to get rid of her plane lest some nosy person notice it. You might think it would be easy to just ditch it in ocean. Well, no, because the damn plane floats. It would not do to have Amelia’s plane spotted by some Aussies floating off New Britain. So the plan is to crash it in the jungle. It will be corroded aluminum confetti before anybody finds it. So they fly it toward Rabaul, the pilot parachutes out near the ocean but before he does he shuts off the fuel. Of course they don’t foresee WW2 at the Gazelle peninsula. Those snoopy Aussies find the plane. The Army intelligence hears about it. Must go to their HQ and ask around. Yes, the Aussies have the tag, but they have no idea what it is. The Army guys can see that.

    Suppose they did realize it was Amelia’s plane, what would the Army do about it? They don’t even know where it is exactly. But the Aussies don’t know. The Army guys are relieved. They can leave, why ask any more questions? The tag is forwarded to the proper authorities, they know what to do. Disappear the tag. Case closed. The NR 16020 on Saipan is not Amelia’s original plane. They can’t put it on exhibit for the troops or anyone. Somebody might notice it’s the wrong plane. So they remove every tag or plate they can and burn it. It has nothing to do with Japanese-US relations. Forrestal knows the story, though.

    So there you have it in a nutshell. The Grand Unified Theory.

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    1. Not bad, not bad at all. I’ve seen the clip of the takeoff that you cite, and the dark signature on the lower-left tail rudder isn’t easy to see due to the quality of the film. I’m not sure if it’s there or not.

      Also, you don’t say WHY this plane switch was made. What was the distinct advantage of trading one L10 for another? And if Electras float, they don’t float long. I recall someone writing about an Electra that went down off the New England coast that sank within 10 minutes. It’s in the AES newsletters, which you have.

      I know you’re exited that you’ve now developed “The Grand Unified Theory” in the Earhart case, and I hope you’re right. But how do we prove that, so that you can really get the proper credit that you deserve, and the world can come and pay tribute to your genius? First, David Billings has to find that wreck in East New Britain and nail down the first big piece of the puzzle. Good luck to David Billings!

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      1. I have said this to Ric and several others. The plane off Scituate was a conventional L10 with only wing tanks. I don’t know if they were full or empty, probably full but that makes no difference. It had no flotation and would sink like a silver dollar. It was the empty 1200 fuel tank gallons of space that provides the flotation it’s called Archimedes principle and it is how the empty tanks have way more flotation, about 11000 Lbs worth where the plane weighs about 7,000 lbs. empty. I have read that some Lockheed engineers designed the plane to float, that the breathers on the air intakes were sealed so that no water could get into the wing tanks if it crashed in the ocean. Amelia knew this, I believe. But on the face of it it sounds counterintuitive.

        Ric scoffed at me when I suggested it on his forum, but then it became part of his yarn that the plane floated off the reef and sank in deep water. No credit to me , of course. I think a big part of the reason the planes were switched was because you wouldn’t want press and dignitaries crawling around the old plane’s interior full of cameras and spy equipment. The less eyes that see anything like this the better. So I suspect the Daily Express plane was modified and fitted out with all the necessary equipment and flown about the same time to Lae. I think maybe the long delay at Bandoeng or wherever it was could have been to allow the other plane to catch up. Of course everybody that was invited to have a look see in her plane could see there was no spy equipment. Fooled everyone, I guess.

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  8. Gary LaPook – Unless I’m wrong, but I read the U.S. cut off petroleum & other fuels to Japan much earlier than 1941. I read in 1937, after the Japanese invaded China, we started to halt shipments.
    2nd – There was no normal relations between U.S. & Japan in 1937 – the TeNsIoNs were SO BAD between the two countries. I don’t know where you are reading your information, but it doesn’t line up with mine – sorry.

    3rd – Both Japan & U.S. didn’t trust one another for a second. This FRIENDLY/NORMAL relationship was nonexistent.

    If this FRIENDLY & WARM relationship existed, the Japanese would not have LIED to US and told US they had already picked up Amelia & her plane.

    Gary your wasting your time, looking for the Electra in the ocean, IT’S NOT THERE!

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  9. David –
    I would lean more towards a WW2 plane that went down or as you suggested a plane flown by the *GOLD company that disappeared. I’m more apt to believe David Billings is after the *GOLD, than he is concerned, whether it’s the Electra or not? (lol)
    Mike will keep us posted, if we never hear back from David and he’s CASHED IN!

    Doug

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  10. I have been in frequent email contact with David Billings since Mike’s Post appeared. With infinite tolerance and patience he has answered my questions as I attempt to find a hole in his theory and shoot it down. So far I haven’t.

    Bill Prymak says the gold field plane was an L10E. David says it was not, that it was a 10A. I defer to him. I think Prymak had a tendency to declare he knew some facts that may have seemed obvious to him when he did not know or had no proof. Anyway, David said it was accounted for. It turns out that David has done his research, since spending lots of $$$ without research would be idiotic as he has pointed out to me.

    As for the plane switch, my initial enthusiasm for that line has faded, at least for Lae. In those days Lae was a jumping place, not some rustic backwater in the 3rd world, so the chances of two L10s appearing on the field at the same time would cause quite a stir, at least so David says. And anyway, what would a plane switch accomplish? Her original plane had the capacity to do what she claimed she was doing so why another plane? Maybe with advanced spy equipment and greater range to do an overflight of Truk before heading to the Marshalls? Trying to differentiate planes on the basis of appearance in photos is murky. There were so many different productions of aluminum, different hardness, alloys, anodized treatments that as you will observe in a certain light these planes looked like patchwork quilts and reflected light in different ways depending on sunny, cloudy, sun overhead, shadows, etc.

    As David pointed out to me nowadays planes are painted so you don’t see that. So it is far from conclusive that a different appearance means a different plane. But as Mike says, and so do I, the approach to Howland, then a retreat all the way back to Rabaul only to stupidly crash in the jungle seems so implausible that I can’t countenance that theory. In those days planes were shipped in crates and assembled at appropriate Australian airfields. The idea that a 2nd L10E would actually fly from USA to PNG by way of AEs route or any other similar overland route seems impossible.

    I’m not totally sure all the L10Es ever produced are all accounted for, but of course Lockheed could build any number of secret planes never recorded if they wished. I suppose if AE was on a spy mission as I believe, she might very well have used an unregistered L10E or a modified L12 even. So if she took a different plane in Miami and left her original there, how does her original get to New Britain? I suppose it’s possible that her original was sold to somebody who had it transported, not likely flown to PNG or somewhere like that. If the buyer or recipient did not keep records and crashed it, the records might not show that. Evidently there is no record of a prewar plane almost certainly an L10E having crashed in New Britain. But if AEs plane was on a secret spy mission it would not be reported of course.

    I think it likely that the US Army investigators sent to look into the finding of the wreck knew exactly whose plane it was and saw to it that the metal tag wound up safely disposed of as Mike concludes. Sorry, today I have no magical unified theory.

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    1. Perhaps not, David, but you do have a well-researched set of findings from your conversations with David Billings that shows you know how to think about such a difficult problem as how to explain the metal tag C/N 1055, Earhart’s plane construction number, wound up on an engine found in the East New Britain jungle. This is truly among the most vexing of the real Earhart mysteries, in tandem as it seems to be with the near certainty of the fliers and some plane that had crash-landed in the Mili Atoll lagoon near Barre Island. The mystery indeed deepens the more it’s examined.

      Mike

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  11. Evidently it’s not impossible that AEs engine could be installed in a different plane and that the rest of the wreck could be some other plane altogether. I asked David if an S3H1 engine could be used in, say, an L10A, and he said it could but it would change the planes balance and would have to be compensated by additional weight in the rear of plane. So it sounds like you would be in effect modifying the plane into an L10E. I doubt that the mechanical crews at Lae or Rabaul in those days would be up to that radical kind of an modification. Could it have been not a Lockheed? Not completely out of the question, I suppose, but the wreck as described fits the configuration (cowling, etc.) of an L10. Nobody investigated the wreck to see if there were additional gas tanks in the cabin, at least the account Biillings supplies does not say that. I would think if he finds the plane that would be a dead giveaway it’s hers.

    On another tangent, I read on Internet a commentary by somebody about the flight, that went like this. {Her flight could have been made east to west and then she would have a 1650 mile distance Hawaii to Howland which would give her much more latitude to find Howland, take more time and safely go to a Plan B if they never could locate it. Then 2200 miles to Lae where they would be aiming for a land mass on their longest leg and at least could give them a shot at doing something better than landing in the middle of the ocean} To me it seems inexplicable that they wouldn’t have flown this way, they could have landed at Rabaul if their gas was low, the concept of flying west to east is inexplicable.

    It is obvious to me that the climatic conditions did not change and never do. So I ran this by David and to me and I assume he is reading this) his reaction was to avoid discussion of these questions and understandably so. It is not pertinent to his search. But of course it is important to me and Mike, too, I think. It indicates that something sinister was going on to put Amelia to such unnecessary additional risk in the already difficult flight, to say nothing of possible instructions for her to land at Mili. Since this would have been a very delicate maneuver diplomatically, I think this could have been a major logistics effort on the part of the Navy with dummy radio transmissions, other planes and subs involved to accomplish some kind of secret project. Which would stagger our imaginations.

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  12. Hello Mike and “Earhart Truth” readers,

    Since Mike posted a precis about the Search for Earhart and Noonan in New Britain, I have received a few questions from your readers…

    “One of the questions was concerning the aircraft made by Lockheed used in the Australian Region. How many and where were they used and were any of them the Model 10E..?”

    There were Model 10 A and Model 10B Electra’s in Australia and New Zealand had two Model 10A’s.

    The first thing to mention in answer to eliminate the Model 10A and Model 10B from “our” search on New Britain, is to say that we are only looking for an aircraft powered by the Pratt & Whitney R-1340 “S3H1” designation engine. Readers will constantly find that this engine is rated at 550 H.P. in books. In Earhart’s use it was rated at 600 H.P for take-off due to the use of 100 Octane gasoline. Lockheed Report 487, concerns the Model 10E and gives the engine the rating of 600 H.P..

    As an adjunct to this first statement the “S3H1” designation for the R-1340 eliminates it as being used in a military sense, since the R-1340 S3H1 was a “Civilian” engine as distinct for the R-1340 “AN-1” engine, widely used by the U.S. Military, a military who have a penchant for always using their own designations for everything no matter what the original manufacturer calls them.

    So what were the Lockheed Electra’s in the Australian region ? They were all either Model 10A’s or Model 10B’s. There were no Model 10E’s delivered to Australia at all.

    The only Model 10E that came anywhere in Australia was Earhart’s 10E passing through Darwin on the way to LAE. It has been mentioned that Bill Prymak thought the Guinea Airways Lockheed at LAE was a Model 10E… this is not so, it was a Model 10A. I never heard Bill say that and if he had, I would have corrected him.

    The Model 10A was fitted with the P & W R-985 engine of 450 H.P.

    The Model 10B was fitted with the Wright R-987 engine of 44o H.P.

    I am only interested in S3H1 powered aircraft… During Earhart’s passage through New Guinea, Guinea Airways owned two Model 10 A’s amd only one of those was based at LAE. This one at LAE was used to ferry Miners and Equipment up and down from Australia. The second 10A was based in Australia but may have visited New Guinea.

    All of these Model 10A and 10B Electras have been accounted for and eliminated from the New Britain search for the reasons of present location knowledge and those aircraft being struck off the register in Australia and New Zealand. One crashed and burnt out in the Northern Territory of Australia, for instance.

    Logically, the S3H1 engine found by the Australian Patrol in 1945, had to come from a Civilian aircraft as it is a civilian designation for the Wasp engine. All military Wasps were AN-1’s or any other designation used by the USAAF, USN, USMC, USCG (confusing !). If the engine had been a P&W AN-1 we would know that it was a Military wreck…..and that would be a real surprise…so near to Rabaul with all those Japanese fighter aircraft there….

    Logically again, a twin-engined Pratt and Whitney S3H1 aircraft has to be an Electra 10E as that type of aircraft is the only twin-engine aircraft that was anywhere near New Guinea using S3H1 engines prior to WWII or even during WWII. All the aircraft that would go anywhere near to the Japanese fortress of Rabaul would be fighting machines, not low powered aircraft of the Transport or Training category.

    The US Military did impress Electra 10E’s in WWII but all stayed Stateside.

    David Menard at the Wright Patterson AFB Museum checked on all S3H1 powered aircraft in U.S. Military service for me and all he could come up with were early biplane types in the 1930’s that were prototypes being evaluated for military service…. even when they were accepted for Military service, they used AN-1 engines or the designation applied by the Military arm of U.S. Services. David was a F-100 Crew Chief (an E8) in the USAF and well respected as a researcher. He died about two years ago.

    All Model 10E’s produced by Lockheed have been accounted for except for Earhart’s Model 10E. A few years ago the only other question remaining was of C/N 1065 “The Daily Express” which was sold to Russia for use by the Australian explorer (Sir) Hubert Wilkins when asked to search for some missing Soviet Polar flyers. Later years revealed that this 10E had two endings… either crashed and abandoned on the Russian Steppe or used in an attempt to reverse engineer Soviet “Elektras” at a research institute in Moscow.

    If any of your readers can arrive at a reasonable conclusion as to any twin-engined aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1340 S3H1 engines that could by any chance have visited New Guinea before the 17th of April 1945 and just simply disappeared, I would be very interested to know of their conclusion.

    Regards,

    David Billings
    http://www.earhartsearchpng.com

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    1. Thank you, David, for sharing the benefits of your extensive research with us. All of this makes it even more imperative that you succeed in your upcoming search for the wreck reported in 1945. I’ve never doubted your honesty, but when it comes to the Earhart search, only solid evidence will ever be recognized by the skeptics, unless your name is Gillespie.

      I wish you only the best of luck in your next search, and I’m sure most of our readers do as well. The truth is all that matters.

      Mike

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  13. David –

    I don’t think there was a plane switch in Lae, New Guinea; nor do I think she turned back. I do feel her & Fred went further up into the Marshall’s for a better look; but something went wrong and caused them to land on Barre Island. All this silence during some of the radio transmissions; who’s to say, some parts were erased, so we wouldn’t know? The longer I study this information, the more secrecy is involved & GUARDED by the government/news media. There is no question in my mind, of those who continue the crash & sink charades – Smithsonian/TIGHAR/major networks/publications/etc.
    As Mike has educated so many of us, in this DiSiNfOrMaTiOn CAMPAIGN; we can clearly see, their reasons for keeping everyone in the dark.

    Doug

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  14. To elaborate on my last post, it has crossed my mind previously and I think others have had the same thought, what if Earhart “borrrowed” the Daily Express plane or used that one because it was in better shape than her rebuilt plane and also had 50 gallons more gas capacity. One answer I got, if I remember right, was that is was “owned by Hearst” which didn’t exactly explain very much. I let it go at that. Perhaps David Billings can explain why this could not be the case. Then, Earhart’s original plane would be sold to Russia and I don’t know if the Russians would know or care much that it was C/N 1055. Then, in a remarkable turn of events the Russian-owned C/N 1055 would have to be flown to New Britain where it crashes. I know this farfetched, but Amelia’s plane being found in New Britain jungle is also far fetched.

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  15. The Russian four-engined aircraft was lost with 6 POB in August 1937. Sir Hubert Wilkins and the Russian Leader of the Search, “Kroupnik”, used the Lockheed 10E “The Daily Express” C/N1065 in March 1938 fitted with skis and de-icing boots. If I recall correctly it flew for quite some long hours, maybe sixteen hours on some flights despite the drag of the skis and the leading edge de-icing boots.

    The wreck on New Britain cannot be the L10E C/N1065, there is no record of it being returned out of Russia.

    Sorry, you’ll have to find me another aircraft with R-1340 S3H1’s fitted. Time for deep thinking…..

    Regards,

    David Billings
    http://www.earhartsearchpng.com

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    1. OK. I agree with you. I concede, the wreck on New Britain very definitely is Earhart’s plane. In my fevered searches for the records of the Daily Express, I found TIGHAR had done the research, or that is, somebody with some authority had done it for them. There were two conclusions either the plane was wrecked in Siberia or it had been examined by their engineers for the purpose of aiding in the development of their version of the L10. In which case it had been used for parts which were then sent off to the Tupolev factory. So I came to a dead end. Next, searching for the records of ALL L10s produced by Lockheed, I came upon another TIGHAR Forum entry which gave the fate of all 149 L10s. Some of the ultimate fates were unknown, it is true, but there is no way any of the unknowns could have ended up in New Britain as L10E C/N 1055. I don’t know whether their account was supplied by you, or you used their info or both. We would agree it is about as accurate as anything is going to be at this late date.

      I come back to a point we seem to agree on, that is the plane seen by Thomas Devine at Aslito Field in 1944. There are times that I have trouble accepting that story as completely accurate, in that he never examined it closely enough to find the C/N, but I’ll agree he saw SOME plane resembling hers, maybe even numbered NR 16020. So we can’t take his account as PROOF that it was her plane sitting there. What actually happened is very easy to explain. When AE ditched her plane at Mili Atoll, it was left in pretty good shape except perhaps for a bent wing. It was picked up by the Koshu, yes, and most likely brought to Aslito Field on Saipan which had been built in 1934. It was of some interest to the Japs, but not for any high tech equipment, the Japs had better at the time. Anyway the Japs already had an L10 which they had bought. So the Japs rebuilt AEs plane maybe using good parts from their L10, maybe not. But it was a very serviceable plane which the Japs could use. After all, why not keep a good plane that already had the range to fly to Marshalls, fly to Truk, it could go anywhere in the mandates, could very easily fly to New Britain. Why keep it as a “trophy?” Didn’t a few Japanese planes come to Rabaul in the 30s? I bet they did, The Australians had no reason to stop them from doing that, did they? So they flew AEs plane to Rabaul, repainted with Japanese insignia, markings, why would it enter the mind of any personnel at Rabaul it was her plane? So, sometime between 1937 and probably up to 1942 when the Japs took possession of New Britain 1055 appeared occasionally in New Britain, maybe even in Lae until one day it had problems and crashed in the jungle. That’s what happened. Right?

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      1. I doubt it, David, though once again you demonstrate your considerable creative abilities. If the Electra crashed in the jungle, what plane was discovered by our forces in June 1944? You write as though Thomas E. Devine was the only person to claim knowledge of it, but that’s not so at all. Marine code clerk Earskin Nabers decoded the top-secret messages that announced its discovery and plans to fly and later burn it, and he watched with two other Marines as it was strafed by a P-38 and burned after being doused with fuel, as first described in the 2002 book I wrote with Devine, With Our Own Eyes. Others saw or were told about the plane, some named in Own Eyes, as well as others we’ll never know about.

        Mike

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      2. If David Billings does find C/N 1055, then AE must have used a different plane to get to Mili. Assuming the one they destroyed on Saipan was the one she used. But then who crashed 1055 in New Britain? If the wreck is found and it is 1055, then the public will believe she crashed there because she was inexplicably totally lost and bewildered and the whole Marshall/Saipan story will go down the drain. Maybe Gillespie will dispute the New Britain story, he will have to come up with something. What will be the title of your next book if Billings finds her plane? I guess we will just have to wait till he searches again.

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      3. As far as the Earhart case goes, the vast majority of the public couldn’t care less and believes whatever the media tells them to believe. How else can you explain TIGHAR’s endless success in the face of such abject failure and BS to support their so-called “hypothesis”? Let’s take it one step at a time, OK? If David Billings finds the original Electra in the New Britain jungle, it certainly would put a dent in TIGHAR’s propaganda efforts, though I’m not sure it would put Gillespie out of business. But rather than solve the Earhart puzzle, the Electra in the jungle would only deepen it. NOTHING, however, is going to flush the Marshalls-Saipan truth down the toilet. Don’t ever underestimate the power of the truth, even in these dishonest times, when perception is reality. The truth will endure despite the best efforts of our corrupt media.

        Mike

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