Almon Gray: “Earhart landed in the Marshalls”

Almon A. Gray was a pioneer in aeronautical communications, a Navy Reserve captain, flew with Fred Noonan in the 1930s and was an important figure in the development of the Marshall Islands landing scenario.  

Upon expiration of his Navy enlistment he signed on with Pan American Airways, in 1935 Gray helped build the bases to support the first trans-Pacific air service, and was first officer-in-charge of the PAA radio station on Wake Island.  After the San Francisco-Hong Kong air route was opened in late 1935, he was a radio officer in the China Clipper and her sister flying boats.  Later he was assistant superintendent of communications for PAA’s Pacific Division.  

The following letter, to confirmed crashed-and-sank researcher Cameron A. Warren, appeared in the February 1999 edition of the Amelia Earhart Society NewslettersIt was written on Sept. 1, 1994, just over three weeks before Gray’s death at 84 on Sept. 26, 1994 at his home in Blue Hill, Maine.  Boldface emphasis mine throughout.

Almon Gray at his Blue Harbor, Maine, home shortly before his death in late September 1994.  Gray, a Navy Reserve captain and Pan American Airways China Clipper flight officer, flew with Fred Noonan in the 1930s and was an important figure in the development of the Marshall Islands landing scenario.  Bill Prymak, Amelia Earhart Society founder and president, called Gray’s analysis of Earhart’s radio problems during her last flight “one of the finest pieces of work ever presented on this subject.”

[Editor’s comment] From a man who flew with Fred Noonan and who was considered to be one of the top radio men in his day.

HC 64 Box 270-207
Parker Ridge
Blue Hill, ME 04514

Sept. 1, 1994

Cameron A. Warren
P.O. Box 10588
Reno, NV 59510

Dear Mr. Warren,

I greatly appreciate your letter of Aug. 20th and certainly agree that in naming Keats Reef as the theoretical point of Earhart’s touch down I made a poor selection.  As I mentioned in the article, I was unable to obtain any significant information about the reef.  I believe however that the basic theory is sound.  Briefly, I envisage that Earhart was homing with the DF in a general westerly direction on the signals from the broadcast radio station at Jaluit.  Her gas tanks were virtually empty.  She sighted land close to her track and made an emergency landing on it.  Beyond reasonable doubt the land was in the Marshall Islands.

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 Endriken Islands, which are so small that they’re not named on the map. 

The landing was made about mid-afternoon of July 2, 1937, Howland date.  The Radio equipment in the aircraft was started up later in the afternoon and was used intermittently for at least three days without molestation.  Many radio listeners at numerous sites reported hearing distress signals from the plane but were not taken seriously.  (In retrospect I believe that most of them were genuine.)  The quality of the transmissions was very poor and virtually no useful information was passed in all that time.  However the peculiar characteristics which made the transmitted voice signals unintelligible, were unique and served to identify the signals as coming from the Earhart plane whenever they were heard.

With what I have here plus what I consider as very good bearings from the PAA Adcock RDFs at Wake and Midway, I feel quite comfortable in believing that Earhart landed in the Marshalls.  The homing track to the Jaluit Radio Station makes me believe that the most likely locale would be the very northern part of Mili Atoll.

I had hoped that during my lifetime we would know precisely what happened to the Earhart flight and where.  I now would be delighted to merely get general acceptance of the notion that Amelia and Fred were alive and reasonably well in the Marshalls as late as a week after they disappeared.

Again, thanks for your letter!

Sincerely,

Almon A. Gray

copy: Bill Prymak

For a comprehensive review of all that’s been presented on this blog about Almon Gray, please click here.

31 responses

  1. I also agree with this theory & matches up with the picture of Amelia & Fred on a dock with the Electra on the boom of a Jap ship in the background.

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    1. It’s not quite as simple as you suggest, as we part ways when it comes to the ONI photo of the Jaluit dock and the claim that two of the people on it are our heroes. This brings us back to the July 2017 kerfuffle with the History Channel and their major disinformation operation. Please refresh yourself or read for the first time my review of that infamous Morningstar production:

      “History’s ‘Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence’: Underhanded attack on the Marshalls-Saipan truth”
      https://earharttruth.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/historys-amelia-earhart-the-lost-evidence-underhanded-attack-on-the-marshalls-saipan-truth/

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      1. Well, Mike, if you recall, I sent you a rebuttal regarding the Jaluit Dock Photo and you danced around the issue like a shortstop fielding a hot grounder. As you would say, please enlighten us with the misinformation you speak of. But I request you be specific.

        Les Kinney

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      2. Les,

        We’re still waiting for your reply to William Trail and my question about a specific source for your contention that Paul Rafford was wrong when he claimed, per PAA’s Charlie Winter, that Earhart refused PAA’s offer to track her during her final flight, as Rafford wrote on page 41 of his book, Amelia Earhart’s Radio:

        “As Charlie told me, Earhart immediately rejected his suggestion with the comment: ‘I don’t need that! I’ve got a navigator to tell me where I am!’ Actually, he wasn’t suggesting that Pan Am send the D/F bearings back to her, merely that they could be used to keep track of her whereabouts.”

        Your claim that I “danced around the issue like a shortstop fielding a hot grounder,” (copying a Goerner quote) is fanciful but not quite accurate. Your claim that no other white people except Earhart and Noonan could have been in the Marshalls in 1937 was far fetched enough, but when the photo’s provenance was brought into serious question by the Marshalls government as well as that so-called “Japanese blogger,” who said it was taken in 1935, it faded into the wallpaper.

        I stand by all I wrote in July 2017 and have no reason to do anything more than direct readers again to my review of that travesty of a History Channel program, “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence.”

        “History’s ‘Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence’: Underhanded attack on the Marshalls-Saipan truth”
        https://earharttruth.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/historys-amelia-earhart-the-lost-evidence-underhanded-attack-on-the-marshalls-saipan-truth/

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      3. Leslie G Kinney

        “We’re still waiting for your reply to William Trail and my question.”
        Answer: I have responded privately to William.

        As I suspected, you still haven’t rationalized your response to the Jaluit Dock Photo and never have.

        As to the “hot grounder” quote, it’s been around long before Goerner used it.

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      4. I saw your reply to William Trail, and he was far from satisfied that you had answered the question, but like me, saw that you had clearly avoided it. If you had a satisfactory answer, you would have shared it with all of us.

        As for me “rationalizing” my response to the Jaluit dock photo, here you are projecting your own serious mistake and futility attempting to place blame elsewhere. Obviously you still don’t understand that you were played for a willing pawn by Morningstar and the History Channel in promoting a photo that they knew would soon be debunked and rejected by the deceitful establishment they serve. You fail, as usual, to see the media for the corrupt liars that they are when it comes to the Earhart case.

        MIke

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      5. Leslie G Kinney

        I have no reason at this time to share all my research with this group nor do I conduct research by “Google.”

        Les Kinney

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  2. Mike- has it not been reported elsewhere that in fact she did have fuel left in a tank that was specially installed for this flight? I could be mistaken(often am), but I thought that was the case, but maybe something Gray was not aware of.

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  3. I find Captain Almon Gray’s analysis of Amelia’s radio problems to be a very likely scenario and one which is technically understandable. His analysis of radio antenna problems is valid regardless of whether or not there was any kind of espionage mission, and regardless of the final outcome of the flight.

    Obviously there was something wrong with her ability to receive signals from Itasca, and the fact that she was heard by various ground stations (although with much difficulty to understand her voice transmissions) indicates that perhaps there was a problem with the transmit/receive regulator or switching.

    He also addresses her limited experience/ability as a radio communicator. This was also a large part of the problem. Things that she did NOT do often:

    – Did not stay on the air for long periods when transmitting to allow for stations to get bearings on her.
    – Did not state her call sign with each transmission.
    – Did not report her position, time, heading, and estimated time of arrival at her next stated waypoint.
    – Did not use Morse Code for important position or emergency transmissions. Even without a key set, she could have done this with her Microphone switch.
    – There is no indication that she transmitted any emergency messages over 500 KHZ, a normal emergency frequency.

    Of significance in supporting an Island landing scenario is that he addresses “post-flight” transmissions believed to have been received by various separate ground stations in hours and days after she could not have still been airborne. His analysis of Amelia’s transmission problems is repeated in discussing those possible post flight signals.

    The photo of Amelia on the wing of her Electra at Lae (see part two of this story) shows the direction finding loop antenna just behind her, and the antenna mast for the long wire transmit/receive antenna just in front of her.

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  4. I had never heard that Almon Gray put her landing at Mili in mid-afternoon. Based on what? I thought she landed at Mili mid-to-late morning, That would make some sense. I made up these figures on the back of an envelope. I appreciate any input from somebody that disputes them. Google says her cruising speed was 190 mph so I will go with that. Sounds too fast for me, but what do I know? Her fuel use per hour was about 50 gallons, with 1000 usable gallons, 20-21 hours. 21 hours from Lae is 7 AM which is 9 AM Howland time. At 0843 she was running on fumes for sure and would have crashed in the ocean if she was near Howland.

    So the idea she would make a run for the Gilberts is ridiculous at that point if she were lost. Never mind heading for Mili Atoll. The distance from Lae to Howland is 2581 miles, at 190 mph is 13.58 hours. She should have arrived at Howland at 2 AM. Searching for Howland at 0843 in the morning is way too late to be just arriving there. Even if she was flying 150 mph that would be 17 hours, equals 5 AM. Where was she all those missing hours? At 3 PM Mili Atoll time assuming she landed there mid afternoon, she would have been aloft 28 hours. This was impossible. If she landed there at 9 AM she would have been aloft 22 hours, would certainly have been out of fuel at that point and would have had to land, but not impossible. Whatever, there is a lot of missing time, in other words she could have been doing many hours of spying. She must have been doing something she wasn’t supposed to do to take up all those extra hours Maybe Morganthau was right. Or maybe I’m talking through my hat. Somebody ought to check up on my estimates.
    Sincerely,
    David

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    1. Offhand, Dave, I recall most experts put her fuel time at 24-26 hours, not 21. She had time to get to the Marshalls if she was near Howland. 2,556 is the mileage from Lae to Howland. Where did you get 190 mph?

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    2. Amelia throttled down to 120 mph on her flight from Oakland to Honolulu in March 1937, so as not to arrive early. As the plane lightened, she wrote that she was burning less than 20 gallons of gas at 10,000 feet. That seems a stretch, so I asked a pilot who owned an Electra similar to Earhart’s. He said it was possible The same would hold true if she passed close to Howland Island and didn’t want to arrive before sunrise. These are all things we don’t know. Amelia had repeated trouble on the world flight with her fuel flow meters. She might not have known how much fuel she had left.

      Lastly, know one knows whether she ever faced a headwind. Even Ric Gillespie agrees with me on that issue. Prevailing winds in that part of the Pacific swing from east to southeast to almost southerly as summer approaches. That is according to U.S. Navy meteorological studies completed at the beginning of the war.

      Under optimal conditions, she might have had enough fuel to fly 27 hours.

      I agree completely with Almon Gray’s assessment.

      Les Kinney

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      1. Les, Thanks for correcting me. Evidently, as Mike maintains, Google was just WRONG, and it follows, so was I, about the fuel consumption. So she could very well have flown 28 hours to arrive at Mili at 3 PM. But don’t you think that her arrival time at Howland meant she was going very slow, or else took a detour somewhere like flew by way of Truk? Or am I reading something into her flight time that just isn’t there? Of course she may not have been at Howland vicinity at all, it could have been faked. I am sure somebody before me must have pondered this, using superior knowledge.
        Dave

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  5. Mike, I got all those figures from a cursory Google search. Yes, she had plenty of time to get to the Marshalls from Howland, but not if she was at Howland at 0843 which was her last transmission right? I am assuming she would have still been near Howland at that time, maybe she wasn’t. At around 843/900 Howland time she had already been in the air 21 hours. Right? Then it takes 4-5 hours to Mili, 750 miles away. OK, so 21+4+25 so she has an hour of fuel left (maybe), so not impossible if she has 24-26 hours total elapsed time.

    Maybe Google is just wrong that she had 20-21 hours, but I don’t think so. Why would she make a desperate flight to Mili knowing she might not have enough fuel to do it? Why not just fly to the Gilberts which was much more possible? Somewhere there should be a table showing gallons/hour at her cruising speed whatever that was, 190 mph or 150 mph, I believe that would be ground speed. Google said 50 gal/hour. What would be impossible is that she lands at Mili at 3 PM Mili time, that’s 28 hours. So I wonder where Gray came up with that time. I didn’t read the link. It would be interesting to know when her first distress message was, but she could have been on Mili for many hours before she sent it. I should look up what time she indicated she was nearing or “on” Howland, as I said she should have been there at the latest at 500 AM and I think she was not announcing she was in the vicinity that early. The trouble with my conjectures above is that they show possible discrepancies, but they don’t begin to solve the overall mystery, as usual. So, trying to locate the exact figures for her plane’s distances, etc. gets me nowhere in the grand scheme of things.
    David

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    1. Dave,

      You can’t trust anything Google says about the Earhart matter, you really should know that. The following is from my April 14, 2015 post, “How much flight time did Earhart really have?”

      https://earharttruth.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/how-much-flight-time-did-amelia-earhart-really-have/

      The truth is that Earhart, maintaining a true air speed of 150 MPH and using the power settings provided her by Lockheed, had over 24 hours of flying time ahead of her. When she called in at 1912 GCT, she had flown approximately 2556 miles . . . at an average ground speed of 133 MPH.

      “Maintaining a true air speed of 150 MPH would mean that she had encountered an average head wind of 17 MPH,” Reineck continued. “At 2014 [GMT, or 8:44 a.m. Howland Time], Earhart, in her last message said we are running north and south. At that time it can be reasonably assumed that she departed the Howland Island area and headed for the Marshall Islands. She would have had approximately four hours of fuel remaining. Using maximum range true airspeed of 150 MPH (130 knots) and a tail wind of 17 miles per hour, she would have been able to travel some 680 miles. Would it be enough to get her to the Marshall Islands? Yes, she did make it to Mili Atoll, the closest atoll in the Marshalls to Howland.”

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  6. That should read 21+4=25 for time to Mili by way of Howland. That leaves NO margin of error.
    Dave

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  7. I looked on Google again to see they say Howland to Mili is 1420 km or 852 miles. In BEST case she was going 167 mph (with the tail wind) so 5.101 hours plus the 21 she already flew up until 900 AM Howland time I get 26 hours. Declaring Google is always wrong is all well and good, you’re entitled to your opinion, but it would seem she gets to Mili by the skin of her teeth. Another little detail, if she flew directly to Mili, she would first encounter Knox I. In 1937, I have read Knox was unihabited. The Google link says the Japanese fortified Mili with 2000+ men, but it doesn’t say when. Presumably much later than 1937, but this is not clear. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mili_Atoll. This article says they had no reason to come there and I can’t think of any. If they were desperate, why not land on Knox which they would almost certainly have encountered first?

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    1. This is why the real mystery in the Earhart disappearance is how and why she landed at Mili. I’ve said it countless times.

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      1. I’ll begin with the link, https://hermoments.com/s/amelia-earhart-final-words-husband?as=6dap23848527672590580&utm_source=fb&utm_campaign=6dap23848527672590580&utm_medium=a020109&fbclid=IwAR0hDU4JR9JTK5eFQNtwHIFPs7Gz7G6yEXecLzVVBXE6NXWcN_Se-p_6vLo&bdk=a020109_611d6c221d772a0008ee0166

        Mike, you are now mentioned as an equal to Mr. Gillespie instead of being relegated to the risible conspiracy theorist category. The article never gets around to Amelia’s final words, but like every other job these days, it’s hard to hire competent writers. Maybe the truth will come out in itty bitty pieces like the Roswell UFO landing story. I am sure there is a cadre of people in our government that know exactly the details of the AE story and who amuse themselves leaking tantalizing clues as part of their calibrated psyop.

        To Les Kinney, I would say this: I know absolutely nothing about the hazards of landing on a coral reef, but my reading tells me it’s hazardous, for sure. But didn’t the eyewitnesses make it sound as if they landed in the water and they stepped out into their yellow raft? Isn’t there a sandy beach somewhere on Barre Island? If it were me, I think I would take my chances on a water landing in a lagoon, knowing it’s softer than coral and the plane would most likely float, and then step out into my inflatable raft. Maybe there is no lagoon, or no practical water areas between little islands to land in, I haven’t been there like you have. Also, I am mystified that Almon Gray thinks they sat there for a week, while others think the Japanese were on them within hours. Which is it? The Tokyo newspaper article would show the latest they were picked up what was that date?

        To Richard, I would comment that I think I understand LOP navigation in general. In the open ocean in those days there was no other way to find an island. It’s possible they were using the intentional error method, flew the wrong way, and ended up far to the north of Howland. Then, realizing they were lost, flew due west hoping to hit the Gilberts but instead wound up on Mili Atoll. However there is the major discrepancy that they never communicated this plan on her radio. I have read that in some USN manual it states that this LOP, intentional error method works in about 90% of cases, even with experienced pilots/navigators. Sounds about right, to me. After all, even Eddie Rickenbacker got totally lost heading to Canton Island.

        There is also the possibility that I consider, which is, they were headed east after flying over Truk, were flying over the Marshall Islands when the plane or planes from the AC Kaga caught up to them over Mili and forced or shot them down before they even got to Knox Atoll. This would probably require recordings of Amelia to be played in the vicinity of Howland I. but I have never seen anything that would completely rule out this possibility. I hope this clears everything up.

        Sincerely,
        David

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      2. Dave,

        I would probably never have seen this article if you hadn’t sent it. The slant is pure establishment and pro-Gillespie/TIGHAR, with the writer throwing Truth at Last a bone, much like the Smithsonian did. The reason for this is TAL’s high position on Amazon among all Earhart books, kindles and audiobooks, far higher and with many more reviews than Gillespie’s book. Those who can discern the truth have found TAL without the help of our complicit, corrupt media.

        But I am by no means considered anywhere near “equal” to the “great Earhart researcher” Gillespie by these media vermin, who value deceit and misdirection far more than the truth, which they most assiduously despise. I’ve never claimed to a great researcher anyway, but simply a writer who recognizes the truth and mainly presents the work of honest researchers in an easy-to-read and understanding way.

        Mike

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    2. David, it isn’t Knox Island but Knox Atoll that you speak of. And yes, she would have come very close to Knox Atoll which is a small “baby” atoll at the most southeast corner of Mili Atoll. For fun, take a look at it close up on Google Earth. Amelia would have passed close by. Again, with the same pilot friend that owned an Electra, (who by the way flew the plane from New Zealand to the U.S.) I asked him where he would have landed at Mili Atoll in an emergency.

      Its a complicated question and has lots to do with wind direction, altitude, and of course the best location to make a wheels down landing; that is if you decided to make a wheels down landing. So, you are Amelia Earhart and Fred is sitting to your right. You reached Knox Atoll and you can breathe a sigh of relief because now at least you can glide into any number of beaches and can survive a crash landing.

      So, you keep flying north then swing west over the northern portion of Mili Atoll looking for a good spot to set down and save your plane. There are many small islands less than a mile apart. Keep that in mind when you make the decision to land. You also must consider the tide. I’ve been there twice. At low tide, the coral reef is dry. At high tide, there is four to five feet of water. At low tide, even at five hundred feet, its difficult to see the six inch to eighteen inch coral boulders inside the reef until you have committed to landing. it looks like a great landing area until its too late. That is where the Electra’s Goodyear Airwheels (large balloon tires) saved them from disaster.

      Knox Atoll plays prominently in this mystery for a variety of reasons.

      Les Kinney

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    3. At 0742 local Howland time, Amelia was heard to say: “We must be on you, but cannot see you — but gas is running low. Have been unable to reach you by radio. We are flying at 1,000 feet.”

      Her final inflight radio message occurred an hour later, at 08:43 (local Howland): “We are on the line 157 337. We will repeat this message. We will repeat this on 6210 kilocycles. Wait.”

      From those transmissions, it is clear that Amelia THOUGHT she was close to Itasca and Howland Island, but Itasca and Howland personnel did not see her. The reference to a “line 157/337” probably means that she thought that she had been able to get a direction finding antenna cut to Itasca, meaning that she would have either been 157 degrees or its reciprocal of 337 degrees in direction from Itasca.

      Her direction finding antenna could not determine which bearing. This is like taking an old AM radio with a loop antenna inside and turning the set to pick up the strongest signal from a distant station. You get the same strength when either the front or back of the set is pointed at the station.

      The “Gardner Island Landing Scenario” group points out that such a line (157 degrees) passes through their area of interest. But they conveniently ignore that the other bearing (337 degrees) puts her possibly Northwest of Howland Island that morning.

      It should also be mentioned that the accuracy of her bearing reading could be in question. Even if properly taken on a very strong signal, an instrument error of 15 degrees either side of that line is normal and has to be considered.

      Navigation terminology, like the radio frequency terminology discussed by Captain Gray, can be confusing. In long range air navigation it is proper to refer to Nautical Miles (not statute miles or kilometers) and to air speed in Knots (Nautical miles per hour). Fuel and fuel flow is measured in pounds today, rather than in some form of gallons. You have Indicated Air Speed, corrected for True Air Speed (your speed through the air mass) and Ground speed (your speed over the ground with the wind factored in). Compass Heading (read in the aircraft) is corrected to Magnetic Heading, which is in turn corrected to True Heading. Your Course is what is intended, while your Track is the actual line of travel over the ground.

      Various types of air speed can also be confusing. Maximum airspeed would be the fastest the aircraft could go – and that burns fuel quickly. Maximum Cruise power is the most efficient setting to get the aircraft to its furthest range. Maximum Endurance (Max Endurance) is a setting to remain airborne for the longest time, and involves the most efficient burning of fuel. Each has its reasons for use.

      As to Amelia’s choices of fuel settings, she would probably have been using Max Cruise between Lae and Howland, perhaps setting to Max Endurance while searching for Howland.

      Altitude has an effect on fuel usage. The lower in altitude, the more quickly the fuel is burned. At 1,000 feet, Amelia would have been burning more fuel than at say, 5,000 feet. The higher she flew, the more time she would have to set up for a ditching or landing, but the lower she flew, the more chance she might have of seeing a small island or ship.

      At take off, the aircraft is heavy with fuel. As the flight progresses, the fuel is used up and the aircraft becomes lighter, thus requiring less fuel to remain airborne. The engines not only propel the aircraft through the air toward its destination, but also keep it up by causing lift (along with the wings). As a result, fuel flow charts graph out as a curve, rather than as a straight line.

      When trying to analyze Amelia’s last flight, one has to consider the aircraft characteristics, the type of navigation equipment and available celestial sightings that evening, and also many different possibilities and unknown factors.

      One cannot state positively that Amelia was on top of Howland and then flew to another destination. She really did not know where she was in relation to Howland Island. She could have been north or south of it. So the distance from Howland to the Marshalls or the Gilberts is not a solid factor.

      It could be a factor, however, in Amelia’s decision to seek an alternate landing area. For example, Amelia THOUGHT she was close to Howland, but not finding it may have decided to turn back West to seek an alternate landing area in the Gilberts. BUT, if she was significantly NORTH of Howland, turning West would have brought her to the Marshall Islands.

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  8. Be nice if some retired Japanese person from the ship that picked-up her plane in Mili would come forward and confirm she was there. May be too much to ask though.

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    1. The youngest crew member would be over 100 years old today. Some kind of evidence might one day be found in ship’s logs, or in intercepted radio message traffic transcriptions.

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  9. Japanese have been shown to live past 100, so it’s still possible someone from the ship is still around. You never know.

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  10. Has anyone done a study of the tide states during a time window when Amelia would have had to put the plane down on the reef?

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    1. Yes, the tide info is available from that period for Mili Atoll and has been documented.

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  11. It was the right thing to do to get rid of the China Clipper and Air boats. Open Ocean is not a good place to take off and land. due to wave action.

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  12. Regarding Amelia Earhart’s last official voice message to the Itasca:,
    “KHAQQ TO ITASCA. WE ARE ON THE LINE 157 337, WE WILL REPEAT MESSAGE. WE WILL REPEAT THIS ON 6210 KILOCYCLES. WAIT. WE ARE RUNNING ON LINE NORTH AND SOUTH.”

    That one word “WAIT” within the context of the message have always made me wonder. What did she mean by “wait”? Is she instructing the Itasca to wait for her next message (that never came)?
    Or did she spot something and said “wait” before continuing her next sentence?
    What could she have possibly spotted?

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  13. It is only conjecture on my part, but I think that the word “wait” in the context of the message was that she meant to change her frequency from the night time one of 3105 khz to the day time one of 6210 khz, and that there would be a brief time before that switch would take place. She never came up on 6210 khz, and never returned to 3105 khz.

    Her final statement, “We are running on line north and south”, seems like an after thought before changing frequencies to refer to the line 157 – 337, which is actually a compass line that would run northwest and southeast on the chart (map). This indicates to me that the line she refers to would be a line of position that she believed she had gotten on Itasca/Howland. Because she did not know if she was northwest OR southeast of the Itasca, she was flying up and down that line of position looking for Itasca or Howland, and fruitlessly trying to establish two-way communications.

    IF Almon Gray’s analysis of antenna problems is correct, it would indicate that while Amelia’s wire antenna was not working due to a faulty transmit/receive switch or relay, the direction finding loop antenna would still be working to receive signals and obtain a line of position.

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    1. Richard,
      Last night I was in my basement searching for my copy of Joe Klaas’ book when I came across a book I had forgotten about. “Amelia Earhart (WRHAH)” by G. Carrington. My date of purchase, 12/18/2016. I don’t recall if this book was the one disparaged here by Mike and William in previous posts, but it probably was. If you want to know about Amelia’s radio issues, this is the one to read. Capt. George Carson Carrington goes into great non-technical detail about her radio problems, noting, for example, that transmitting on 500 kc as opposed to 3105 kc would take far more power than the 50 watt transmitter could handle and would simply blow the fuse on her radio.

      A tidbit (if I got it right) that I would not technically understand. She had two radios, evidently, one that was manually tunable and the other crystal controlled so that that one only could be switched to a certain few frequencies and if she needed to get a better signal she could use the manually tuned one to zero in on it. Maybe this had something to do with the “Wait” word you puzzle about.

      In the opening pages, he gives credit to, among others, The Lockheed Corp. so I assume he got technical info from them. To my satisfaction, he gives the fuel consumption as 52 gph and the cruising speed as the 190 mph same as Google said and which I relied on. His speculation is that she overflew Truk and Kwajalein and then headed to Howland from the NW. He says she used flares at night, and sent code word messages back to somebody to indicate fortifications. He says that without radar the Japanese would not be able to catch her, and the fastest Japanese float plane fighter in those days could not quite match her top speed. Implying, I guess, that her overflight would be safe for her. Which, apparently, it was. He doesn’t actually make the remark, as I did, that her time to Howland was suspiciously slow, and she must have been doing something else to take up her time such as flying over The Mandates. So I feel somewhat vindicated. If he, with his outstanding qualifications, thinks this isrealistic, I will take his word for it.

      I admit, that last night, I only skimmed over the pertinent pages, I need to reread the whole book. What I got from it, is that she legitimately could not find Howland for various reasons. Especially the fact that the Howland DF was not operating because of dead batteries and that the Howland station under the control of Miller was wired so that it could use the 3105 and 6210 khz for direction finding, while the Itasca only had 500 khz direction finding capabilities. Whether the IJN could use higher frequencies for DF he doesn’t get into. Maybe they couldn’t. So he says the CG and Miller screwed up and they tailored their version of events to shift blame away from themselves.

      His take, on these events, is that AE, being lost, possibly flew to the Marshalls, where they possibly were detained by Japanese. So he thinks that she was ceratinly capable of flying that far, and she probably was, but he doesn’t speculate on why she flew to Mili instead of somewhere in the Gilberts. I just read that Makin Atoll, northernmost of the Gilberts, is 464 km from the most southern island of the Marshalls. That is quite an error to make by Fred if he miscalculated their position. And why Makin, anyway? So we are left with the question of why she flew to Mili? We have some full circle, only now I concede she could have done this by way of Howland I. vicinity.

      Sincerely,
      David

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