Calvin Pitts strongly agrees: Elgen Long sold out

Regular readers of this blog are familiar with the erudite writings and analysis of Calvin Pitts, now 88, a remarkable gentleman, probably the last of the “Old School” aviators and this blog’s best friend and advocate.   We’re always honored when he gifts us with his formidable knowledge and experience. 

Best known for his 1981 world flight, when he and two co-pilots commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the Wiley Post-Harold Gatty World Flight in 1931, Calvin’s brilliant, five-part analysis of Earhart’s last flight,CLUES: Amelia Earhart’s Disappearing Footprints in the Sky,” first published on Aug. 10, 2018, is among the finest pieces of work to grace this blog since its inception in 2012.

Like most of us, Calvin hadn’t known about Elgen Long’s death in late January of this year, but once he saw my last post, he realized he had plenty to say, especially about Long’s long-running circus act, in which he presumed to be America’s semi-official mouthpiece and self-proclaimed expert on the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. 

Here’s Calvin’s educational and entertaining essay on the passing of Elgen Long.     


The latest posting of yours sent me back to Elgen Long’s dust-covered book, “The
LONGest Yarn,” err, I mean, The Mystery Solved, giving us the Long-awaited
questions to the answers our government wanted us to believe.

Diversion is a masterful tool when evidence points toward uncomfortable, but meaningful truth.

I made this trip back to The Mystery Solved to remind me of the reasons why I had
rejected LONG’s Faux Final Solution about Amelia in the first place.

Undated photo of Elgen Long standing by a memorial to himself, featuring a quote by Alaskan aviation legend Capt. Warren. C. Metzger: “Navigation was either by dead reckoning or just by our eyeballs.”

Now that I remember, I’ve got to get this off my chest so I can close my notebook
on Amelia’s Mystery Moguls who are more mysterious and vacuous than even her

Capt. Long, the Master of Minutia . . .  but not of Truth, called it a “mystery.”  But the real mystery is: How could he swim in an ocean of minutia and miss the truth?

For example: (1) On p.15, instead of using a generalized “less than 10 seconds,” he
must nail down gear retraction to exactly “7 seconds.”  Fine.  That came directly
from the Lockheed Electra Handbook, a specific detail.  Accepted.

OK, that now becomes our standard.  No inaccuracy where such important details as
raising the gear is concerned.  Fine.  But if we are going to be that nit-picking here,
then picking is as picking does.  You’ll see.  Details are of equal importance, as author LONG was painfully unable to prove.

So, let’s pick our own Blackberries from his thorn bush of sticky inaccuracies.

(2). After takeoff, while still barely above the water of Huon Gulf, AE turned to
exactly “073 degrees direct to Howland,” he said, Long now had her headed directly for jungle and trees while barely above the water.  Really?  But his factoid was
considerably in error for their new flight plan which had been changed.

“In error?” First is that little detail of a strong crosswind, both forecast and experienced.  With a “strong crosswind,” an exact heading of 073 degrees might have taken them directly to the Marshall Islands instead of Howland.  But just a small detail.

In fact, the wind which LONG labeled headwind was actually a crosswind.  But
not to worry.  A mere detail of little consequence.

Since AE and Fred had determined to circumnavigate a massive area of T’storms in
a low-pressure system of very bad weather sitting on their originally planned course,
they elected to fly south directly toward the Solomon Islands, Choiseul to be exact (an important detail), where rested a large volcano, Mount Maetambe (an interesting detail), to still be exact, but not according to Long’s flawed research concerning the new weather. report (a very significant detail).

By contrast, Fred’s new heading toward Choiseul would keep them over water during
those precarious first moments while they were trying to keep a heavy plane in the
air which was perhaps 35 percent over-gross weight (Long guessed 50 percent).  Mere detail.

Having been there, some of us know the stress of that first hour of a minimum rate of climb while carrying a maximum load of fuel.  A sobering detail.

This was the official Earhart flight plan, 2,556 statute miles from Lae to Howland. The 337-157 line of position, or sun line passed through the Phoenix Islands, near Gardner, now known as Nikumaroro, and the popular theory long espoused by TIGHAR, though completely false, is in part attributable to this phenomenon.

(3). Long next gives us a groundspeed, not airspeed, of 120.7 kts (i.e., “142 mph
ground speed”).  Being low over nothing but water, how did AE determine the
Electra’s ground “speed” without “ground” reference?  What wave-tops did she use
for fixes?  But his is a “specific” detail, and specific is important, even when inaccurate.

(4).  On this first leg of the flight, LONG made much to do about “stronger headwinds
than anticipated (p.17).  With nothing but crosswinds forecast for them, and later
reported, he needs to calculate for AE the headwind component.

How did he do that?  From Lae to Choiseul, according to the latest weather reports,
it was not a “direct” crosswind with a “partial” headwind.

However, from the Solomons to Nukumanu Island, it was almost a direct crosswind (he supposed), forecast to be about 25 kts.  That would make it 28.75 mph.  Long tells us it was 26.5 mph (p.18), which would make it 22.53 kts.  Important details (sic), but not verifiable, of course.

Since we derive those numbers from LONG’s calculations, we will assume he is correct, although he has no way of determining this without input from Fred.  And since when did forecast winds remain steady and consistent so that they will remain steady at those half-mile or half-knot increments?

However, it’s easy to overlook one small detail in this search for accuracy.  LONG refers to this as a headwind, albeit the weather reports do not show this.  Instead, the reports provide the position of the low-pressure areas with arrows indicating forecast winds and speeds.

Since the winds from a low-pressure system flow counterclockwise, and since that reported low was west of the Electra, the winds for that leg flying south to north could have been partial tail-winds instead.  Not likely, but possible.  What information did Fred give AE about their ground-speed?  LONG could have told us.

Further, for his calculations did he change the headwind component for this two-hour leg which included a change of heading at Choiseul from East to NE?  Not according to his record, he didn’t.

In a photo he titles, “Top off before Takeoff,” Calvin Pitts performs all the vital, last minute checks before leaving his home base of Stead Aviation in Manchester, N.H., on his round-the-world trip on June 23, 1981. 

(5). There’s another prickly detail which is very interesting, relating to Long’s charge that Fred made a1-hour mistake in reporting their position at Nukumanu Island.  The details border on humorous, but the error was not Fred’s.  We’ll leave that for later.  It concerns the famous 0718 GMT report, 7-plus hours into the flight.

(6). But enough of picky.  Here’s the BIG ONE which really catches our attention. Long
quotes AE giving their position as: “150.7 E. Longitude” (p. 17).  OR DID SHE?

Without any adequate explanation, in fact, omit adequate, without an explanation of such a significant error, Long merely says: . . . this was not their position at 0519 GCT” (3:19 pm local).  How did he know, and by what means did he determine this? 

OK, for the devil-of-details, this is major detail inaccuracy.  What really is the explanation?  What is it?  Long offered none, although inconveniently there is one. 

What was reported was not “150.7. . . BUT rather, “157.”  How do we know? Balfour, a Lae weatherman, recorded “150.7” in the log.  Long, without analysis, accepted the detail of that report without question.  As a professional navigator, why didn’t he correct such a massive mistake of details?

Actually, what was reported from Noonan to Earhart, and what was reported from Earhart to Balfour was NOT “150.7 East,” but rather “157 East.” How do we know?

Because, diverting for the massive T’storms sitting on their original routing, they were flying south of the storms heading directly toward Choiseul, Solomon Islands, and its highly visible smoking volcano, Mt. Maetambe.

That smoking mountain, ironically, sat right on the 157.0 East line of longitude.  Does the light begin to come on?  That was what they saw, and the position adjacent to it which they reported was the very reason they had to climb to 10,000, a detail about which Long was critical.

Fred was concerned about their position, and their altitude in relationship to the mountain, whereas Long was concerned about the detail of the effect of that higher altitude on their engine performance.  No small detail, he must have reasoned.

Furthermore, if 150.7 East longitude had been correct, then by looking at a map or chart, which a researcher should have done, one would see that the 150.7 East longitude is only about 255 statute miles from Lae . . . (get this) after 5 hours and 19 minutes (0519 GCT) of flight time.  Now that is s.l.o.w.  Consider:

According to LONG’s “stronger than planned headwind,” they were now flying at only 48.1 mph, using excessive fuel.  Yes, that’s a significantly “stronger” headwind than planned, and yes, that would make them quite late in getting to Howland.

Returning to his hometown, Calvin Pitts and the Lexington, Kentucky Ninety-Nines toast to Amelia Earhart’s memory as they share a drink from Amelia’s Thermos during Calvin’s speaking tour following his return in from his round-the-world trip in August 1981. 

Minutia details trumped material details. 

According to the Google Earth map, there is about a 430 statute mile difference between the two lines of Longitude. That’s more than 3 hours of flight time for the Electra.  Another small detail!

So how did Noonan make such a navigational error?  HE DIDN’T.  What he relayed to AE was “157.”  What she reported to Balfour was “15—7.”  What Balfour heard was “150.7.” 

Try saying those numbers to yourself:One-Fifty—-Seven, with a breath-pause.
Balfour misread the significance of the slight pause betweenfifty and seven.

No problem, except for the fact that, when the devil is in the details, the detail-man failed to explain such a critical misunderstanding.  How could he let this go while making certain he records “speeds” down to a mere half-mile, as in 142.5 rather than 142 or 143?

Imagine: You catch the “7 seconds” for gear retraction, but you miss the “157
longitude” of a smoking volcano, a 400-plus mile error.  Again, just a detail.

It’s no wonder that later, when Long’s agenda-driven government-goal is to place the
Electra in the ocean where no proof is available, that he enables the government to
bury the mystery in a watery grave without evidence, all while “missing” the real
eye-witness evidence which gets buried in denials and mystery.

Unconscionable, but understandable when one is driven by official agendas.  The
officials and the government had too much to lose if the Electra was ever found.

Morgenthau and Roosevelt would have had the stain of blood on their reputations if
the Electra was ever found, so, they poisoned the Well of History with expressed
concern over Amelia’s reputation if it was ever discovered that she “disobeyed
government orders.”  Another minor detail.

We digress, but out of a desire for honesty and truth in records of history. So,
back to Long and his obsession with goals, awards, truth, details . . . and agendas.

His account of the Earhart Story is more about “pre-supposition” (put the Electra
and its crew in the water under the veil of mystery) . . . rather than about the truth
of a multitude of witnesses who testified to the accident on Mili Atoll and imprisonment in a jail in Saipan, with many local witnesses and at least one Admiral
and three Generals.

Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. (left) and President Franklin D, Roosevelt, circa 1934.  Both were key players in the cover-up of the truth in the Earhart disappearance.  Morgenthau was an underling and enabler in the Earhart cover-up, but FDR’s shameful role in Amelia’s tragic death continued to be ignored by the mainstream media, and his legacy protected.

Details seem to be important when the concern is about gear-retraction, headings,
groundspeeds, and the distinction between numbers like 161 rather than 160.

Priorities, my dear Watson, priorities and agenda, but to hades with details when
they contradict a pre-known crash and sinking in the sea.

No amount of evidence and detail can spoil a previously known narrative if the
government’s agenda is ocean water and glorious mystery.  Put that expendable
woman and man in the ocean, and let the evidence sink with them.

Unfortunately, the evidence remained with the witnesses, many of whom were actually interviewed, with unwanted details which were then published.

We could fill a book with Long’s other faux factoids, but the government would not
be pleased, and the Awards and Grants might not then be forthcoming.

Elgen Long was a professional pilot with impressive achievements.  His solo RTW
navigation over the poles is stunning.  Any round-the-world pilot could bow at his feet
over such accomplishments as his.  It would be an honor.

But there are men in history, good men like Jacob’s son, Esau, who will sell their
inheritance for a mess of pottage.  No one knows what they will do when approval,
acceptance, and awards by the mainstream power-brokers make it clear what is
desired for an end result.  Awards, acclaim, and public acceptance are sometimes
more powerful than money.

Look, for example, at a current dynamic, where a former President of the United States will align himself with a Leftist power-structure which he once strongly opposed, just to defeat another ex-President in an election.  Or consider Benedict Arnold during the Revolutionary War, or Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and Atomic secrets to the Communists in the 1950’s.

Perhaps the last photo taken before the flyers’ July 2 takeoff from Lae, New Guinea. Mr. F.C. Jacobs of the New Guinea Gold Mining Company stands between Amelia and Fred. Note that Fred looks chipper and ready to go, not hung over from a night of drinking, as has been alleged.

Small or large, it is shameful, if not for us, at least for the historical record.

And regarding the Life of Amelia Earhart, why, pray tell, will the very hometown of her life, Atchison, Kansas, drink the same Kool-Aid?  The AE Museum will not even communicate about the details of historical evidence related to her.  We know.  We tried.  Their silence in the face of monumental evidence is an even greater lie than Long’s conclusions about Amelia’s death-at-sea.

Perhaps that mountain of evidence will prevail in the end.  Here’s to the Truth.  This
is but a small sampling of a much larger issue in this Book of Solutions.

Thanks for your posting, and the delusion it illustrates.  (End of Calvin Pitts’ commentary.)

We extend our deepest thanks and appreciation to Calvin for his thoughtful essay on Elgen Long, an aviation icon for whom record-setting feats and public adulation weren’t enough, and who, for his own selfish reasons, sold his legacy and reputation to the Deep State so that the American public, and thus the world, could be better kept clueless about the sad fates of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.  

Some might not appreciate the two pieces Calvin and I have written about Elgen Long, who’s no longer around to defend himself.  But if he were, his response would doubtless be no different than it always was — to completely ignore those who present the truth.  Regardless, it would be worse if we didn’t acknowledge the event of Long’s passing.  His influence was too far reaching, and it would not reflect well on us if we didn’t acknowledge his death.

Someone needs to do this, to get it right for future generations who might actually want to know the long-lost Earhart truth, so despised by today’s establishment historians.  If not us, then who?  As I wrote to Calvin, Some might think we’re ‘ganging up’ on Long, but did he ever care about the poor fliers and their unfairly tattered legacies?  Not a chance.  He was an egomaniac who played the American public for suckers half his life.  We’ll do our due diligence in this Long matter, you and I, and then shake the dust off our feet and move on.”

For much more of Calvin’s generous and important contributions to this blog, and to our knowledge and appreciation of our aviation heritage, please click here.

21 responses

  1. Wow! I guess that takes care of that..completely dissects Elgen Long’s theories! As I remarked last time, I witnessed personally a lot of people were taken in by him and his wife at that lecture near the Oakland, California airport years ago. Probably not surprising considering his credentials..too bad Calvin could not have been there..sparks would have flown!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My take on “Mystery Solved” was the same; his conclusions are all based on “facts/details” which are actually assumptions….I kept thinking “how does he KNOW that?”. When you start with erroneous data everything that follows is out the window.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with Calvin that the correct longitude was 157 degrees east not 150.7. But he needs to look at his basic meteorology textbook. He states that the low pressure was to the west causing winds to flow counterclockwise around it. Look at any textbook and you will find that while winds do go around low pressure areas in the NORTHERN hemisphere they go the opposite way in the southern hemisphere. But an even more look into meteorology will show that the this effect is non-existent right on the equator and very weak until 20 degrees, either north or south, of the equator.


  4. Since Calvin quoted part of my website,, might I suggest that reader read all the reference works available there. And, I suggest reading:


    1. For Gary LaPook:

      GARY, you stated above, and I QUOTE: “Calvin quoted part of my website,”

      My understanding of the meaning of “quoted” implies that one has repeated what another has said,” or has “copied what another has written.” REPEATED or COPIED” would be the operative words here.

      I don’t recall ever having heard of this website until I just listened to the one pasted above. Have never heard you utter a word. Regarding what you have written in the past, at 88, it is possible I have read something you wrote, but if so, I have forgotten it.

      As a courtesy, would you be so kind as to remind me what I have “quoted” from you or your website? My curiosity has been piqued, because I have forgotten what I quoted. Can hardly wait to see what I said. If I have forgotten, then it will help me realize that age comes with a price as well as a blessing. Did I actually quote you, or was it a response to something you wrote? If it was about the Electra’s “deep dive” into the ocean, then I won’t be surprised that I said something.

      If I have “quoted” you without acknowledgment, or have improperly used something you wrote, I will be happy to offer a public apology. As a personal policy, I am generally careful whom I quote. But I am certain you can refresh my memory and enlighten me.

      Thanks for your comment,


  5. William H. Trail | Reply

    Greetings to All:

    Meteorology textbooks and weather theory about which way the winds move around High and Low pressure systems at or near the equator is all very fine and well. Good classroom stuff. However, textbooks and theory do not trump “the [weather] reports provide the position of the low-pressure areas with arrows indicating forecast winds and speeds.” Captain Pitts knows of what he speaks.

    All best,



  6. David Atchason | Reply

    Now that Gary and Calvin are on the blog, I have a question that needs to be answered by experts. If Amelia arrived at Howland vicinity around 0843 wouldn’t that mean she had been aloft almost 21 hours? If her ground speed (cruising speed) was 150 MPH according to TIGHAR then she should have arrived at Howland in 17 hours. Never mind the conjecture by some that her plane had been equipped with more advanced, faster engines, in the rebuild. So how come it takes her almost 4 hours too long? I have raised this point before and got no answer. Maybe I have made a dumb miscalculation, if so, I would like to know where.


    1. We don’t know her route, first of all, and we don’t even know if she was near Howland at 0843 or any other time. Radio signals don’t mean she was there. Everything else is based on assumptions, which make you and me an ass.


      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi David Atchason,

      I’m just home from another operation, and normally would be preoccupied with pain, not answers. But the pain level now is so low that it doesn’t block out a reasonable response.

      By narrowing your request down to “an answer from experts,” you leave the room empty. Mike is the only one alive whom I know who could fit into this category, but even he would reject that title. Speaking for myself, I am merely a student of aviation history who happens to have 25,000 hours in the air. I can fly a plane. I can’t answer mysteries.

      But I can, as can you, examine “evidence.”

      And the greatest mystery to me is how other students of the Earhart Story can pontificate about the ‘water-grave’ of the Electra, for which there is NO evidence (the government’s position – What’s new?), yet ignore the Mili/Saipan Story for which there is a mountain
      of evidence. Again, what’s new? That’s the mystery no one can explain, which was my beef with Egen Long’s conclusion of “crashed & sank.”

      I appreciate your questions, so here is my response, but not an answer. There are so many assumptions which must be made, based upon both evidence-by-proof as well as evidence-by-circumstances, that an honest response must leave a place for question marks.

      With the indispensable help of Google-Earth, which allows one to get the visual impact of times and places, I have spent many wonderful hours creating and recreating Amelia’s last flight compiling the facts-known with the events-assumed.

      These are my thoughts, with many insights borrowed from giants like Bill Prymak, Thomas Devine, Mike Campbell, and a host of others. And if I choose to quote someone, I’ll put it in quotation-marks.

      My first response, however, is actually one of the few ANSWERS I can offer. Because of previous work done by Mike and his companions, we know at least 2 things with reasonable certainty, namely, where this last flight originated and where it ended. Those 2 pillars, the beginning and the ending, provide the framework for those 2 answers. START: Lae, New Guinea …… THE END of the Electra: Saipan. The remaining facts, evidence, and legitimate assumptions fall within those parameters.

      That is said for a reason: To disregard either of those pillars-of-fact is to dismiss the validity of any assumption which follows.

      The assumption that the Electra took a deep-dive into the ocean disregards and even ignores Fact #2, “known evidence.” Therefore, FINIS. No comment.

      Your assumptions, on the other hand, are reasonable to consider, but do not have, in my opinion, facts nor reasonable evidence to support them.

      You stated: “Amelia arrived at Howland vicinity around 0843…”

      After many hours of creating and re-creating scenarios with differing groundspeeds, the time of 8:43 am local / 2013 gmt was the last time the Itasca heard from AE (but not the last time she was heard), as the Electra “departed” from the Howland environs.

      This would mean, according to my calculations, they “arrived” at some point ~ about 2 hours before that.

      That fix is identified in my notes as the 1815 gmt / 6:45 am radio call (“About 100 miles out”). There’s a point of confusion in the report (worth about :30), which is not relevant here.

      For this discussion, that radio report could be labeled “within Howland environs.” This is about a 2-hour difference between “arriving” (6:45 am) and “leaving” (8:43 am). The question I would raise is: What is the source which stated that the Electra “arrived” at 8:43 am / 2013 gmt? Who provided this misinformation? That source is significant.

      Another question is: You stated they had been “aloft almost 21 hours? “ i.e. 2013 gmt is 20+13 hrs, which is “about” 20 hours, not 21.

      Once you add 2 hours to your calculations, is there another question which needs to be raised? Let me know. Personally, I put little stock in Gillespie, whom you referenced, as a source which is reliable.

      He had time to create fantasies which made someone money, but no time to examine legitimate evidence and record his objections. That, in my opinion, is something less than professional. Is that your source for coming up with “… almost 4 hours too long”?

      You referenced “17 hours” for the flight, using Gillespie’s numbers. In my calculations, I used 2600-2650 sm rather than 2556 since the Electra didn’t fly a straight line. I also used an average groundspeed of 143-148 mph which is an average collated from various
      sources. That computes to about 18 hours, not 17.

      You can find at least 4 errors in your assumptions, (1) 0843 as an “arrival” time rather than a departing time; (2) almost “21 hours” rather than about 20; (3) “17 hours” rather than about 18, and; (4) “4 hours too long.” With four incorrect assumptions in one question, it is likely that the answer will be incorrect.

      Hope to hear from you again.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. David Atchason


        Thanks for taking the time to critique my theories and speculations. I plead guilty to using questionable assumptions, ballpark figures and sloppy reasoning. The worst is using a figure for airspeed taken from TIGHAR in the interest of saving time. To think that Gillespie would buy my reasoning, no, he would be the last to do that and would threaten me with expulsion from his forum. I don’t derive anyting from his thinking.

        I also see you use a different mileage figure for Lae-Howland, because she MAY HAVE flown a longer route. . So are you saying for several debatable reasons her flight time was just right? Assuming she got to Howland I. vicinity some time before her 0843 message? I don’t think you have proven me wrong and I can’t say you’re not right. I still believe she possibly did have the time to overfly Truk or some portion of the Japanese mandates. If she was minding her own business, I don’t think the Japanese would classify her as a “spy lady.”

        To go off on another tangent, let’s go back to the purported message she sent at 1030 AM picked up by Nauru who were apparently not an accomplice to what may have been some logbook fudging by the Itasca. If she was leaving Howland I. vicinity at 0843 and 1:47 later she announces “Land in sight ahead.” Where could she be? Not Mili Atoll.

        If she flew to the Gilberts that time would be about right. I was just thinking tonight, how would the Japanese pick her up/capture her there? Why, a Japanese fishing boat could very easily have been nearby. Didn’t the Tokyo newspaper say she had been picked up by a “fishing boat?” No need for a Japanese warship to grab her and I doubt the British were overly concerned about Japanese fishing boats activities near the Gilberts in 1937. he fishing boat would have had to take her to the Marshalls, that was their closest territory. That is my thinking.



      2. David,

        From your posting, your words are here placed in quotes:

        “…my theories and speculations . . . Not Mili Atoll.” — Here’s another example of resting a case on the sand of Theories & Speculations rather than on solid eyewitness Evidence. IGNORING published evidence of Mili & Saipan gets us nowhere but in the fairy land of confusion. When you ignore such Evidence, we are no longer communicating, we are merely debating. I would rather communicate.

        “I don’t derive anyting from his (Gillespie’s) thinking.” — Then why use it?

        “…using questionable assumptions, ballpark figures & sloppy reasoning.” If that statement is honest and true, and I believe it is, then why support your “theories” with the same?

        “…time to overfly Truk.” — That speculation, coupled with the EVIDENCE of Mili & Saipan, is so far out of the ballpark that it has no place in a reasonable discussion about the disappearance of the Electra. I wrote about it in my notes, but it was not worth the space to publish it.

        “…he (Ric) would threaten me with expulsion from his forum.” — No comment.

        “ …she MAY HAVE flown a longer route.” — May have? (1) They circumnavigated the serious thunderstorms along their intended route. That took longer. (2) She saw the lights of either the Ontario ship or the New Zealand Myrtlebank ship which later published a statement that at about 10:30 pm they “heard” a plane flying nearby somewhere near their position and Naurau Island. Being then north of their intended route took longer. May-haps?

        “…you are saying her flight time was just right?” — I didn’t say that. You misquote me. I stated that the radio call at 1815 gmt / 6:45 am (ABOUT 100 MILES OUT) was close enough to be labeled ‘within Howland environs.’ There still remained about 1 hour to reach Howland if Fred initiated his previously-used technique of a celestial-landfall approach. The call was at 1912 gmt / 7:42 am (WE MUST BE ON YOU BUT CAN’T SEE YOU).

        Furthermore, there was still an hour until they reached the 2013 gmt / 8:43 am time when she said, “…on the line 157/337…” which you described as her “arrival” time at Howland, but which was actually her “departure” from the Howland environs. This was the last call heard by Itasca.

        You misquote me by 2 hours (less :02), which is a longer time than “just right.” I agree, that is “sloppy” and does not result in communication.

        “I don’t think you have proven me wrong…” — At least I tried.


        P.S. David, have you studied the evidence of Mike’s book, TRUTH AT LAST? If not, I don’t have anything else to add. If yes, do you not accept its validity? Hope you will answer this question.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. David Atchason

        I have been advancing my position on this blog for a couple weeks now. I will say Mike is gracious enough to post my comments and let me have “my day in court.” I’m afraid Mr. Gillespie would not be that kind. He has financial motives to not take me seriously, although his hypothesis seems to be petering out, I don’t hear much from him lately on the AE story front. I think he made a comfortable living off it for a while, and more power to him. I admire that he monetized it rather well, I don’t have his talents.

        I discovered TIGHAR about 12 years ago and became an avid believer in their position for a year or two. Then I begain to have doubts. I expressed them on Ric’s forum, but he doesn’t allow much of that. I did raise the point that her plane would float and after some ridicule, I believe he saw I was right, sort of. I think he then adopted that legitimate point to concoct his speculation that she landed on a reef, sent out distress calls, and then her plane “drifted off” and sank. 9,000 ft. down over the reef.

        By and by, I decided his Nikumaroro theory was wrong, so I wondered where she did wind up. After my own investigation, which was more paranormal than conventional, I decided she landed on Nonouti. Then I got on Google Earth, took a look, and lo and behold there was her plane off the SW coast, sunk under water. I mentioned it on Ric’s forum and one or rwo participants agreed there was a plane wreck there. They thought it was an Air Kiribati wreck. I of course thought that if it was her plane somebody would have noticed long ago. Ric ignored me, but at the time I went to NZ on a trip and was making plans to get to Nonouti, in fact I took the scuba diving course.

        When I got back from NZ I read TAL and found it very satisfying and bought the story lock, stock and barrel. I put the wreck out of my mind, didn’t go to Nonouti, “Case Closed,” Until a recent development renewed my interest in Nonouti. Since then, I have read some facts which are consistent with a Nonouti landing. Do I still take TAL as the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Not to the extent I once did. I am more open minded now.

        I will concede you win the debate about the technicalities of the flight, I’m out of my element. I did read today, that when Amelia flew from Hawaii to Oakland in 1934 in her Vega, she took TWO radios and an inflatable raft. Why wouldn’t she do the same in 1937? I think she could and did send one or more distress calls from Nonouti or werever she landed. I would think if she had 2 radios, one would be for emergency.

        So there I have answered your question as to whether I still believe implicitly every detail of TAL. Not every detail, I admit. I think there is more to the AE story than what’s in TAL, and Mike has given me some tantalizing clues in his frequent new details posts.



  7. An Interesting word choice “Long’s long running circus act” in para. 3.


    1. No pun intended, Ken. It just came out like that.


      Liked by 1 person

  8. David Billings | Reply

    For David Atchason:

    Q1: Now that Gary and Calvin are on the blog, I have a question that needs to be answered by experts. If Amelia arrived at Howland vicinity around 0843 wouldn’t that mean she had been aloft almost 21 hours?

    A1. Assuming you mean the 0843 as ITASCA Time, it would mean 20 Hours and 13 minutes.

    Q2: If her ground speed (cruising speed) was 150 MPH according to TIGHAR then she should have arrived at Howland in 17 hours.

    A2: The 17 Hours you quote is a “Nil Wind” time. Dividing the original planned distance of 2556 Statute miles by 150 results in 17 hours and 01 minute for the great circle track. That time then had to be adjusted due to the forecast wind which for the first part of the flight to the ONTARIO was forecasted as 12-15 mph, Earhart said “about 18 hours”. If you take 12 off the 150 for the headwind and divide 2556 by 138 you get a result of 18.5 hours. Take 15 off for the headwind and divide by 135 and you get 18.9 hours.

    Going via CHOISEUL and doing a dog-leg to avoid the forecasted LOW adds another 37 miles (I recall) so ‘en-route Noonan would have worked several new ETA’s as the flight progressed. By my own workings “On you” should not have been called until around 2043GMT.

    During any long-distance flight the “Flight Plan” time has to be revised due to headwind or tailwind values found as the flight progresses and a new ETA realised.

    The 150mph you mention as a Cruising speed is actually 150 mph “True Air Speed” (TAS).

    There are three (3) speeds involved in any flight;
    1, Indicated Airspeed – IAS. What you see on the instrument,
    2, True Airspeed – TAS. What figure is on the Airspeed Indicator plus a correction for altitude, TAS is always greater than IAS.
    3. Groundspeed – G/S. G/S = TAS plus or minus the wind: a tailwind (+) or headwind (-)

    The all important G/S is what Fred desperately needed to know for the sector ONTARIO-HOWLAND.


    Liked by 1 person

  9. David Atchason | Reply


    In my reply to you I mentioned TIGHAR has a very good table of all her known radio messages with the times also using GMT to make it easy to calculate. I think it gave like 20.75 hours and Ric said he was giving 150 mph as “ground speed.” I just happened to calculate it gives her enough time (barely) to overfly TRuk. That’s what I was getting at all along. Yes, she should have had a headwind, but I don’t think there is any concrete documentation of that and how strong.

    Of course, I’m not a pilot, that’s why I ask here actual aviators. Then there is the 1030 AM message, “Land ahead” (From TAL) which would indicate, if she was close to Howland at 0843, that she kept on going somewhere else. Ric does not mention the 1030 message, possibly because it doesn’t fit well with the Nikumaroro hypothesis. Then I saw in TIGHAR that she had two 12 volt batteries, not just one 6 volt. I believe this would give her hours of radio time (2-3 hours?) if the batteries and wiring was intact after landing on a reef or in shallow water. I’ll leave it at that for now.



  10. The real truth is that Amelia flew non-stop to West Africa that terrible day where she was engaged to marry a native headhunter. Alas, he accidentally gave her the MONKEYPOX and it is now spreading all around the world! Best Regards from JOE TRUTH


    1. Editor’s note: This irreverent comment was made by David C. Henly, not David Atchason, with whom our readers would normally associate someone signing himself “Dave.” Everyone gets a little rope on this blog. Note the operative word “little.” I would have expected better from this particular Dave, but will let it go at that for now.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you, Mr. Pitts, for this very insightful and most accurate analysis of AE’s correct communications. I, for one of many, greatly appreciate your details in this blog post. Be well, Sir.


    1. Thank you, Mr. Auld, for your kind words. They are much appreciated, and very encouraging. After a long absence due to physical issues, it is good to be back in the saddle again. And thank Mike, also, because he is so professional, talented, and easy to work with. This BLOG is indeed fortunate, as is the legacy of Amelia Earhart. Thank you, sir.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Captain Calvin Pitts:

        I am so thrilled to see your comment above on my original one. As a long-time admirer of yours here, I am honored and humbled that you have taken the time to respond to my comment. I was blessed several months ago when you also took the time then to respond to me and it flatters me that one such as you would take your valuable time to do so here again. Be well, Captain Pitts, and take good care of yourself. You are a national treasure to so many of us.

        BTW, Mike Campbell and I have been good friends for more than 40 years. We served as Navy Journalists together while on active duty. Later, in our civilian lives, we worked together closely again for the Navy Recruiting Command in Arlington, VA, as co-writers and editors there in the same shop. I have followed Mike’s hard work for decades as he has sought to bring Amelia Earhart’s truth to the public and railed against a biased government as they strived to cover up her and Fred Noonan’s deaths. Mike and I continue to be great friends in real life, as well as here, and I value his (and now your) friendships.

        HB (Sonny) Auld, Jr.
        US Navy, Retired


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