Please forgive the delayed news, but I’ve only recently learned that Elgen M. Long, the famed aviator best known as the public face of the false “crashed-and-sank” theory in the Amelia Earhart disappearance, died in Reno, Nevada, on Jan. 26, 2022, at age 94.
For more than 50 years, Long’s alleged “research” into the last leg of Earhart’s flight produced countless unsuccessful attempts to determine where her Lockheed Electra crashed, and he became the poster boy for the 1937 Navy-Coast Guard verdict that the Earhart plane “crashed on the sea about 120 miles northwest of Howland Island.”
Long’s 1999 book, Amelia Earhart: The Mystery Solved, co-authored with his wife, Marie K. Long, is quite possibly the most misnamed tome in American history, rivaled only by Amelia Earhart Lives, by Joe Klaas, the infamous 1970 fish wrapper that introduced New Jersey housewife Irene Bolam as Amelia Earhart and forever tainted legitimate Earhart researchers with the dreaded “conspiracy theorist” label.
Long gained worldwide acclaim in 1971 when he flew solo around the world over both the North and South Poles setting 15 world records and firsts, becoming the first to cross Antarctica alone via the South Pole. He was awarded the Federation Aeronautique International Gold Air Medal as the world’s outstanding sports pilot, the Institute of Navigation Superior Achievement Award for outstanding performance as a practicing navigator, and the Airline Pilots Association Award for Outstanding Airmanship.
Not content with these legitimate laurels, Long gained his greatest notoriety as the chief apologist for the U.S. government-media complex’s incessant propaganda efforts in the so-called “Earhart mystery,” directing the uninformed, gullible public away from the truth of her tragic death on Saipan. Whether he actually believed the nonsense he spouted is unknown to this writer, but in practice it made no difference. Through his powerful public podium and slavish media allies, Long spearheaded the feds’ efforts to convince millions to believe their lies in the Earhart case.
Soon after The Mystery Solved was published, Earhart researcher Rollin Reineck issued a scathing critique of its major claims, which are all aimed at putting the Electra in the Pacific before it could reach Howland Island. Long opened his case with Earhart’s first intelligible message to Lae, at 2:18 p.m. local time, when she reported, “HEIGHT 7000 FEET SPEED 140 KNOTS,” which Long says meant that “they were already experiencing stronger headwinds than anticipated. The increased winds had made them recalculate their optimum speed.”
Reineck described Long’s interpretation of the message as “totally wrong,” a mistake that is “the foundation of the Long theory. . . . Long knows, as all pilots know, that when you give a position, you report the speed you are making over the ground, or GROUND SPEED, not TRUE AIR SPEED. . . . It is more than obvious,” Reineck wrote, “that Earhart is talking about GROUND SPEED when she says 140 KNOTS, not TRUE AIR SPEED as Long would like you to believe. . . . Long, by changing certain facts, using poor information and bad assumptions would have the reader believe that Earhart ran out of gas some 20 hours and 32 minutes after she left Lae, New Guinea.”
Worse than Long’s inability to accurately calculate fuel consumption and mileage capabilities for the Electra in The Mystery Solved, however, was his abject failure to acknowledge the gigantic elephant in the room that defined and dominated true Earhart research long before The Mystery Solved was published — the mountain of eyewitness accounts and other evidence that placed the doomed fliers in the Marshall Islands and Saipan, where they died miserable, lonely deaths, ignored and slandered by the feckless Franklin D. Roosevelt and his minions.
Not a single sentence mentioning this overwhelming evidence can be found in The Mystery Solved. By completely ignoring the definitive work of Paul Briand Jr., Fred Goerner, Thomas E. Devine, Vincent V. Loomis, Donald Kothera and others, Long loudly and irrevocably proclaimed himself as an enemy of the truth in the Earhart case, as well as the primary mouthpiece in the Deep State’s ongoing Earhart disinformation program. His success in committing such literary malpractice was ensured by a mainstream media devoted to perpetuating all manner of lies and deceptions as it protected and nurtured the Sacred Cow that is the truth in the Earhart disappearance.
If Long had wanted to leave behind a respectable, untainted legacy, he should have avoided Earhart altogether. Besides his aviation feats, he had other worthwhile entries on his résumé. From Wikipedia, we learn:
While working as a commercial-flight navigator for Alaska Airlines in January 1949, Long received a telegram from company headquarters issuing instructions to make for a British Royal Air Force base in Aden, a port city in Yemen. There, his crew took part in a daring rescue mission Operation Magic Carpet that would come to be known as On Eagle’s Wings’ — a reference to Exodus 19:4 — that airlifted tens of thousands of Yemenite Jews facing persecution and death out of Yemen and into Israel.
Using one aircraft with seats removed to maximize space, Long and his crew completed seven days of non-stop transport from Aden to Tel Aviv. They rested for one day, and then they made five more runs, clocking 12 trips in total. “On Eagle’s Wings,” also known as “Operation Magic Carpet,” saved 49,000 Yemenite Jews.
As it is, for those with any knowledge of legitimate Earhart research, Elgen Long’s name became synonymous with “sellout” decades ago. Not only was Long a sellout of the first magnitude, he was almost certainly a government agent of disinformation — if he wasn’t, he performed that function free of charge.
Long can no longer recant his treachery in the Earhart matter. Those of a similar odious ilk — people like Ric Gillespie, Robert Ballard, David Jourdan, Susan Butler and all the rest who hate the truth in the Earhart disappearance — still have time to renounce their errors and get on the right side of history. But does anyone expect that to happen?