The PAA Post-Flight Radio Intercepts (Follow-Up)

The lengthy “The PAA Post-Flight Radio Intercepts” (What they really tell us and what was the U.S. Government trying to cover up??  Why did they want all copies destroyed?” that appeared in the November 1997 issue of Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters is too dense for normal reading and not suitable for this blog. 

The important aspects of its bulky contents are covered extensively in the April 30, 2014,Earhart’s “post-loss” messages:  Real or fake?” May 13, 2014,Experts weigh in on Earhart’s post-loss messages, and May 27, 2014,Amelia Earhart’s alleged “Land in sight” message remains a curiosity, if not a mystery.”

Today we present Bill Prymak’s “Follow-Up on the PAA Post-Flight Radio Intercepts,” which includes his and other researchers’ analyses; it appeared in the March 1998 edition of the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters.  For enhanced realism, I’ve presented this article in its original AES Newsletter format.  To read larger version, please left click on the image.

July 5, 11:17 p.m. Howland Standard Time: Information available to the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard Hawaii Section showing the probable location of Earhart’s plane that put all radio intercepts from Wake, Midway and Mokapu Point crossing just east of Mili Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

For further discussion, see Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, Chapter III, “The Search and the Radio Signals,” pages 40-59. 

 

11 responses

  1. A very interesting discussion regarding the “Post Crash” radio transmissions reported by a number of different stations.

    Note that various radio operators describe hearing her VOICE and recognizing it, along with other characteristics peculiar to her radio and her operating technique. This would tend to eliminate any sort of separate HF survival radio, since those would have only been used to transmit Morse Code signals.

    I tend to agree that transmission by Amelia from a floating Electra would have been out of the question for the various reasons stated. She simply would have needed to be at least partially on land in order to operate an engine or even for batteries to work her radio. Could that have been the case? Quite possibly.

    The Japanese were very likely trying to follow her flight using their radio listening stations on various Pacific islands along her route. Had they received post crash radio signals, they certainly would have homed in on them, which may explain them eventually locating and capturing Amelia, Fred, and the Electra. It would have taken the Japanese at least a few days to dispatch a ship to her location.

    If the Japanese did indeed locate and capture them, they certainly would have made every attempt to retrieve any parts or debris from the plane – if not immediately, then later.

    Something to keep in mind in considering the map showing intersecting lines of intercepted radio waves is that these would not have been a “pin point” fix. You have to consider vector accuracy and allow for variation. A usual rule is to consider that the transmitting station could be somewhere 15 degrees on either side of the receiving station’s cut. When plotted out on a map, the result is an area of probability within those variation lines – rather than a pin point fix.

    An effort to “track” the drift of Amelia’s plane in the water based on shifting radio cuts would be an exercise in futility. The apparent movement of her radio over three days could easily be a result of atmospherics altering the receiving station’s cut reading. Adding 15 degrees either side of those cuts would probably show no movement at all.

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  2. I don’t place much credence to govt post crash intercepts. Since the govt was covering this up from the start, intercepts from them are just a wild goose chase to divert attention. I think hearing what private individuals were getting on their home radio sets is a better lead to follow. Someone from somewhere was transmitting something.

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  3. I had forgotten from previous blogs that TIGHAR got their idea of a Phoenix Island landing from post-flight intercepts, thus Nikumaroro..they never let go of that premise from day one, bilking a lot of people out of their money to accompany them on their expeditions.. have they finally given up on this? have not heard from them in a long while..An intriguing speculation by Paul Rafford concerning pre-recorded messages of Earhart..after reading Mike’s book and following this blog, it does seem clear that the government was involved in this flight in some way..secretly financing the plane, very secretive meetings with Earhart prior to the flight where no one else was allowed to participate..cryptic statements by high government officials..that statement that if the public ever knew the truth, it would tarnish her reputation..or would it tarnish their reputation instead? Everyone seems ot have an opinion on her ability to send distress signals after the landing, so we may never know for sure..if the Japanese were monitoring the whole flight, not much chance they would allow them to send out signals 3-4 days, but would grab them right away..were they not picked up initially by a Japanese fishing boat, possibly directed to pick them up toute suite! They always suspected this whole venture was a government backed ploy to spy in the Mandated Islands…as Ken has stated, the home intercepts seem more valid, but then, there still seems to be the question of the 3-4 days on the island..they must have had contact with someone closer-no?

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  4. William H. Trail | Reply

    Greetings to All:

    I see nothing inconsistent in any of this with an, albeit rough, wheels-down landing on Barre Island, Mili Atoll. And the subsequent heavy-handed actions of U.S. Naval Intelligence — to include the unlawful confiscation of the PAA post-loss radio intercept material, the discrediting of amateur radio operators who reported possible post-loss AE radio messages (Pierson), and the suppression of the FCC investigation, placing it beyond the Freedom of Information Act law (Goerner) — only seems to confirm it. Then, there’s the stunning 13 May 1938 admission of the Morgenthau Transcript, “… and I know how Amelia Earhart absolutely disregarded all orders…” A reasonable, rational, thinking individual studying all of this should only conclude that the violated orders Secretary Morgenthau was referring to must have surly have stressed, “Don’t fly into Japanese territory.” It looks like AE and FN not only flew into Japanese territory, but landed and made radio calls that were traceable via DF from Japanese territory as well.

    All best,

    William

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  5. I’m reading abill Prymak’s take on the plane’s flotation and while I’m no engineer I just don’t get his reasoning. The empty big auxiliary tanks would float the plane by themselves according to my calculations. He doesn’t explain how water would get into them, and the wing tanks have vents that are inverted ‘U”s which would not admit water, so his conclusion that the all the tanks would somehow take on water makes no sense, or that the plane would sink “in one hour.” Is he in on the cover-up? Like Popular Mechanics told us “two planes” would cause the Twin Towers to collapse in a controlled demolition? Kelly Johnson said the plane would float indefinitely, and I believe him.

    Of course in those days, the government could say anything, true or not, and nobody had Youtube or bitchute to write refutations, so everything the govt said was regarded as the official truth. Also, Prymak’s description of the major error in the headings of Mokapu Point being corrected because of hills getting in their way sounds nonsensical. If Ken can ask if Goerner was prompted by agencies to write a certain story, I ask, could Prymak have also been prompted? Could the AES have been prompted to conclude Amelia was not at the Wehsien, China detention camp? When I read these accounts of radio signals from Amelia being picked up I don’t know what to think. There is mention of civilians hearing her, yet no customary disparagement of Betty Klenck. Bill prymak almost ridicules the idea of her transmitting when in the water, but is this overkill? He almost ridicules the concept that the plane would float but Mr. Trail has considered this as a strong possibility. I do, too.

    My son didn’t rule out the possibility the radio would transmit while the plane was in the water. It would depend on how insulated the wiring was, whether the dynamotor was in a waterproof enclosure, etc. Those dynamotors were very noisy, so one would think it would have a substantial enclosure.

    Sincerely,
    David

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    1. Kelly Johnson would have been much more likely to be in on any cover-up than Prymak. He worked closely with all manner of government types for Lockheed. When you suggest that Prymak might have been a liar and government plant, you betray your total ignorance of the man. You might as well label me a traitor as well. Much of what I’ve done has been due to Bill, one of the best friends I’ve ever had. As usual, you throw trash at the wall and hope some will stick.

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      1. Mike,
        That’s why I phrased my comment like I did. Ken is allowed to question the motive (rhetorically) of Fred Goerner who “wrote the book” on Amelia. But I’m not allowed to question Prymak’s opinion (rhetorically) even though I think he’s wrong in his conclusion the plane would sink in an hour. OK, I get it. Goerner OK to question, Johnson OK also. Prymak, not. My bad. It’s your blog and you make the rules. I will abide by them henceforth.
        David

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      2. Ken’s comment about whether Goerner was following a “government script” was too insipid to merit a response. All who know of Goerner’s work understand that he was not a Deep State asset. Few know about Prymak except through this blog. No one is sacrosanct, but everything has degrees.

        Mike

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  6. William H. Trail | Reply

    Greetings to All:

    Putting a land-aircraft down on water, even under the most optimal conditions is a dodgy proposition at best. It is an act fraught with no small element of danger and uncertainty. Yes, it can be done, no question about that, but it requires consummate skill and a deft touch on the controls. As an example, one need look no further than Captain Chesney Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffery Skiles who pulled off the “Miracle on the Hudson” by successfully landing an Airbus A-320 on the Hudson River.

    One of the uncertainties of a water-landing, is will the aircraft float, and if so, for how long? There are a host of factors involved, and there are no guarantees. Some aircraft fill immediately and sink like a stone before anyone can get out, while some others have had to be sunk by naval gunfire because they floated long enough to actually become hazards to navigation.

    As regards the question of whether AE’s Lockheed 10E Special would have floated and for how long I’m inclined to concur with Bill Prymak’s assessment. He was an engineer and a pilot who knew and understood aircraft systems, to include how the Electra’s fuel tanks were vented, and he used relevant technical data obtained from Lockheed to arrive at his conclusion. It’s evident from all I’ve read in this blog, and in the AES newsletters that Prymak was not only a gentleman with a wealth of technical knowledge, but one of integrity and principle who sought only the truth. 

    Of course, all this discussion about AE ditching at sea and how long NR16020 would float is a moot point. We know that AE landed on Barre Island, Mili Atoll in the Japanese Mandated Marshall Islands — not in the ocean 50 miles northwest of Howland, nor at Gardner, nor anywhere else but Mili. And, there is enough evidence to believe that in the relatively brief period between landing and the arrival of Japanese authorities to take her and FN into custody, AE made radio transmissions from there. Why else would U.S. Naval Intelligence have resorted to heavy-handed act of confiscating PAA Pacific Division’s Direction Finding (DF) data? Why would they admonish PAA employees to keep their mouths shut about it? Why else did the Navy, according to Carl Pierson, seem to discredit the civilian amateur radio operators who reported possible post-loss radio calls from AE? See pg. 41 TTAL, 2nd Ed. Given all of this, it could be said that the Navy practically makes the case for us.

    All best,

    William

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    1. Well said, William. We also know that the Electra did not sink, but was seen at Aslito Field in summer 1944 by several GIs who went on the record, including Thomas E. Devine, author of Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident, and Earskin J. Nabers, both of whom saw the plane in flames soon thereafter, destroyed by order of FDR.

      MIke

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  7. William H. Trail | Reply

    Greetings to All:

    Maybe just slightly off topic, but I think worth mentioning: 88 years ago today on 11 January 1935, Amelia Earhart departed Wheeler Field near Honolulu, Hawaii in her Lockheed Vega (NR965Y) and landed 18 hours later in Oakland, California to become the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland.

    All best,

    William

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