Rollin Reineck’s ’93 Air Classics piece asks question: Was Earhart flight a government conspiracy?

The late Rollin C. Reineck is another figure who readers of this blog know well. Reineck was a genuine World War II hero, amassing an outstanding record as a navigator with B-24s in the 8th Air Force over Europe, and later in B-29s on Saipan, flying missions against mainland Japan.  Reineck’s awards included the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters and the Bronze Star.

He was also an original, longtime member of the Amelia Earhart Society, and his passion for Earhart research often produced interesting, informative results.  At other times, his unrestrained enthusiasm for the spectacular and bizarre led him into areas populated only by Fred Goerner’s lunatic fringe, and these ill-conceived forays tainted his reputation among top Earhart researchers.

Reineck was one of Amelia Earhart Society’s more precocious writers, and he penned several articles for Air Classics magazine, which began publishing in 1963 and is still active today.

Thanks to William Trail, a longtime contributor to this blog who sent the perfectly reproduced pages of this story, I present the first of two parts of Rollin Reineck’s, “Inside the Earhart Flight: Government Conspiracy?” which appeared in the October 1993 issue of Air Classics To bring more realism to the article, we present the original pages as sent by Mr. Trail.  Some may be hard to read, but if you left click on each page, it will enlarge and you can easily read it. 

End of Part I.

6 responses

  1. There are two 157-337 LOP which one was she referring to? There are two 67 degrees and BOTH are located north of Howland. Which 67 is the 157-337 LOP based on? If they knew the distance traveled and they used celestial navigation to calculate their latitude wouldn’t this put an X on their approximate location? If 2556 miles gives us a 78.33 (78) degree true course (68.5 degree magnetic near Howland), why does 2221 nautical miles (2556 miles) give us a 76.54 degree true course or a 67.05 degree magnetic near Howland? Formula: sin(inverse)(517÷distance)

    Did you catch the math error?


    1. A Line of Position (LOP) is not an absolute place on a map or chart like a line of latitude or longitude. It is a line on a chart drawn by a navigator in pencil.

      A Line of Position is relative to various navigational methods and techniques which include bearing cuts from or to radio stations, celestial shots, dead reckoning estimates, etc. Of course, the navigator’s assumed or calculated position on the chart plays into it as well.

      In the context of Amelia’s transmission, she was at the time attempting to locate Howland Island and the Coast Gusrd Cutter Itasca. Her reported bearing/reciprocal bearing of 157/337 was where SHE believed she was in relation to Howland/Itasca.

      After several attempts to get a radio direction finder cut to or from Itasca, Amelia suddenly announces (broadcasting in the blind) that she is on the 157/337 LOP and flying along that bearing north and south searching for the cutter or Howland.

      Although she did not explicitly state, The overall context and situation would indicate that Amelia felt she had finally managed to get an unresolved direction finding (DF) cut with her loop antenna to/from Itasca.

      Another, less likely possibilty could be that the 157/337 line was simply perpendicular to their original course and ETA dead reconing position. But the theory of her getting a DF cut is more likely.

      It should be mentioned that a DF cut could be 15 degrees either side of that line. The farther away the aircraft is from the radio station, the weaker the signal and the less precise the bearing cut would be.


  2. Thanks Mike- a great history lesson on the political climate in this country and around the world in 1937, and the implications concerning the Earhart flight. True or not, it certainly would seem to make sense for a militarily unprepared and isolationist country to use a public figure to do some spying for them. What better ploy than to disguise a “publicity stunt” as a means of checking up on what the Japanese intentions were in the Pacific? What seems to be unknown, is Earhart’s cooperation in all this..i.e., would she risk her life and the success of her dream to be a spy for the US government? Could she dare turn down the President of the United States, despite her fame? Looking forward to the rest of the story..better than any fictional mystery


  3. Mike, a re-read of Reineck’s “INSIDE” account is more insightful than the first reading. Thanks for publishing this. It is timely for me in my recovery from operations which side-tracked my efforts greatly from the first Draft of MY EARHART SCENARIO. You’re a good mind reader. This account is worth re-reading. Thanks for your incredible efforts to keep us informed.


  4. We are so spoiled these days with all our instant ability to find data on the web. What a different world it was in 1937.


  5. Janet Phillips | Reply

    TIGHAR actually appeared in late 1963. It was called the Warren Commission…..😆


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