More Amelia Earhart Nonsense

Update (May 7, 2014) – After many years of TIGHAR pseudohistory domineering the Amelia Earhart legacy, someone is finally looking in the right place for her plane. Take a look at this project “Expedition Amelia”.

As I went into great detail in my Skeptoid episode about the fate of Amelia Earhart, she and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared in 1937 off Howland Island in the south Pacific when they ran out of fuel in the immediate vicinity of their destination. However, in today’s news, it is being widely reported that an expedition is underway to pursue new evidence via expensive underwater searches, that Earhart ended up instead as a castaway on distant Nikumaroro Island (then called Gardner Island). Money is indeed being spent on this expedition, apparently by the Discovery Channel, but that is where the fact ends. This alternate explanation for Earhart’s fate is almost certainly completely false, and exists only for the purpose of sensationalism at the expense of public intellect.

This Amelia Earhart fancy is the product of Ric Gillespie, principal of TIGHAR (The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery), a man with whom I am pained to disagree, as I am a fellow aviation enthusiast and a nut for historic aircraft. Gillespie is most notable for being promoted on a series of television documentaries that present his alternate theory of Amelia Earhart’s fate as if it is new evidence, which it is not.

Here are my two basic points supporting this assertion, and this is what all responsible historians agree upon, and what is supported by all existing evidence (in other words, it’s not my personal notion):

1. Amelia Earhart certainly went to Howland, not Nikumaroro.

This was 1937, hardly the stone age of aviation. American aircraft carriers had been sailing the Pacific for more than a decade. American fighter pilots were already consulting in China. Military transport planes commonly flew throughout the South Pacific. Pan-Am Clipper flying boats were only two years away from regular trans-Pacific service. Air navigation in the South Pacific was not new, and Fred Noonan was considered one of the foremost experts.

Gillespie suggests that Earhart and Noonan made their entire flight at an outrageous 10 degrees off course, which is the direct line that their fuel supply would have required to make it to Nikumaroro. Not only did they have a radio direction finding beam to follow from the Coast Guard ship Itasca stationed at Howland, they had the latest navigational equipment, knew very well how to deal with windage, and were both quite able to read a compass. Nikumaroro is a full five degrees of latitude further south than Howland, a massive error, trivial to catch with even the most basic of the equipment they had. Furthermore, just before they crashed, they reported they were in the correct location.

Moreover, the radio transmissions sent and received by the Itasca, including their own direction finders, make it virtually impossible (for all practical purposes) that Earhart and Noonan were 650 kilometers away from the Itasca’s immediate vicinity. Beyond any reasonable doubt, this alone disproves Gillespie’s theory.

2. There are perfectly rational explanations for all of Gillespie’s “evidence” at Nikumaroru.

Gillespie’s case hangs on two basic things: a number of pieces of debris found on Nikumaroru, and an old photograph that he believes shows wreckage of the Lockheed Electra. The artifacts are only to be expected: Hundreds of people had lived on Nikumaroro, on and off, for a century; including women, children, British colonists, and many others. It would more surprising if Gillespie had not found the items he has; Amelia Earhart is perhaps the least likely source for any of them.

His photograph that he believes shows the Electra’s wreckage is terrible. Judge for yourself, it’s right here. The suggestion that Amelia Earhart’s airplane is the most likely explanation for this unidentifiable blob right next to a shipwreck is an insult to the intelligence. (There are other such photographs that Gillespie points to, but they are even worse than this one.)

In my opinion, Ric Gillespie is practicing pathological science. He has become so invested (emotionally, psychologically, and financially) in his desired conclusion that he sees only things that agree with it, and is unable to rationally assess anything that doesn’t.

It has been argued that Discovery Channel, and other news agencies, should report Gillespie’s theory the way they are; in the interest of balance, considering all angles to a story, competing theories, and so on. I don’t agree; not by a long shot. That’s fine to do when a new theory has validity or there are indeed questions worth exploring, or when a theory is presented properly in its context as a fringe suggestion. It is not appropriate to trumpet headlines about new evidence, new discoveries, etc., that are both false and fringe, while making only a mute footnoted reference to the fact that an evidence-based consensus exists which remains unshaken. This pandering to sensationalism erodes the public knowledge, and encourages the curious to lend more credence to fancy than to fact.

It is being reported that Bob Ballard, the famous deep sea explorer, is on board with Gillespie’s theory. I am puzzled why Ballard, successful in his own right, would join this project in any capacity. Ballard is an expert at deep sea exploration, not in any of the sciences which Gillespie claims support his theory. Ballard is a big name with a big reputation, but his agreement with Gillespie puts him at odds with all relevant experts (except for a few cranks) in this particular question.

If Earhart and Noonan’s plane is ever found, I’m betting all my chips that it will be a lot closer to Howland than to Nikumaroro. And you can quote me on that.

For further reading, see this special CNN article by author Susan Butler, whose research into Earhart is based on science and history.

About Brian Dunning

Science writer Brian Dunning is the host and producer of Skeptoid.
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1,432 Responses to More Amelia Earhart Nonsense

  1. Henk v..without a need for his prescription spectacles..yet! says:

    He’s has made a grave error in that photo.. I am sure that it’s Lasseter’s wonder we can’t find it in Oz.

    Mr Ballard has made boo boos in the past. Sorry to have to point that out 12 years after his Noah’s ark – black sea debacle..

  2. Geoff Offermann says:

    As far as I recall, he made some observations that the Back sea experience cataclysmic flooding several thousand years ago and postulated that this was the source of some of the Middle eastern myths. Is that wrong?

  3. Ludd says:

    Clearly that’s a photograph of Bigfoot sunning himself on the beach! There’s about as much evidence for that being Bigfoot as there is Amelia Earhart.

  4. Tomson says:

    Ballard simply drank the koolaid after a call from Hillary. Democrats seem to have a history of getting sucked into projects(Solendra) and cxandidastes(BHO) by smooth talking empty suits

    • atropos says:

      If I try really hard for a long time, then someday I might be able to say something almost half as stupid as what you just said.

      I eagerly await your alternate conspiracy theory that involves Earhart covertly flying to Hawaii and participating in a satanic ritual to spiritually prep Obama’s mother to deliver the future Antichrist before being silenced by the Bilderbergs with a bullet dipped in a cup of melted snow from Mt. Ararat fired from a gun created from the melted-down remnants of the Holy Grail. I would expect nothing less from a lunatic who feels the need to bring crackpot political ramblings into something wholly apolitical. Get lost, troll.

  5. Henk v..without a need for his prescription spectacles..yet! says:

    I would assume Ballard is embarrassed enough over the questioning he received at the time. Maybe you should relive his documentary and look at what was at the documentarists disposal.. and the evidence that was used.

  6. Philip Jacobs says:

    Brian, I’m a little confused now… The picture that is posted here is quite different to the one posted on all the other news sites relating to this story – see;;; etc. This one has been flipped (mirrored), and it also indicates a different ‘anomaly’ to what everyone else is pointing at. In the photo that the other news feeds have provided, the shipwreck is on the right-hand side of the frame, and the ‘anomaly’ is a small spec on the far left – not the linear structure right by the wreck. In this pic, the spec is on the far right. Why the difference?

    • You are correct, I was linking to the wrong picture. Thanks, it’s been corrected.

      • Sheng Long says:

        Hi Brian! Without too much brown-nosing, we need more critical thinkers like you on and off the web. today reports that Gillespie is now seaching a new “debris field” at Nikumaroro. As soon as that headline appeared I thought to myself “here we go….sensationalism”. So here I am at debunker central to let you know about this- perhaps you can email the people at it’s one of the biggest news outlets for all Australians. You may want to check the spelling of Nikumaroro as well up there, you have two different spellings! (I’m sure that I’ve got a typo or two in my own reply too….just saying! 🙂

        • Thanks I will check the spelling… Not exactly a word the spell checker knows!

          Check my blog post over at on Thursday for a discussion of this new blobsquatch photo that Gillespie has released.

          • Aaron says:

            I hope your discussion is going to provide something more insightful than simply disregarding the evidence as a “blobsquatch photo,” as that is all you’ve been able to offer so far.

          • No, that’s basically it. I’m afraid there’s nothing more to that photo than Gillespie’s imagination, which sadly appears to be getting more and more disconnected from reality. You might want to reconsider whether that’s really the train to which you want to hook your wagon.

  7. Anthony Roach says:

    While I’m glad to see you corrected the photo mistake, your article contains many more inaccuracies.

    First of all, you start with the broad heading that Earhart made it to Howland Island. She never made it to Howland Island. Wherever she went, she is not on Howland Island.

    Second, you misstate TIGHAR and Gillespie’s hypothesis. They do not claim that Earhart flew off course 10 degrees from Lae directly to Nikumaroro (Gardner). They agree that Earhart made it to the vicinity of Howland Island, and then claim she flew on to Nikumaroro. Whether or not this is possible depends on speculation over her air speed, and the range of the Electra.

    After you falsely state TIGHAR’S hypothesis, you then shoot holes in it with historical inaccuracies that are a non-sequitur. The American Volunteer Group – better known as the Flying Tigers- was not flying in China until 1941. Although their leader, Claire Chennault was in China in 1937, I fail to see what that proves regarding the navigation abilities of Noonan or Earhart. Pan Am was not two years away from regularly flying routes in the Pacific. Pan Am began extending their airline route into the Pacific two years before, in 1935.

    Most glaring of all is your assertion that Earhart’s radio direction finders made it impossible to get lost. The historical facts are clear from the radio logs of the USCG Itasca that neither the Itasca nor Earhart were able to get a bearing on each other.

    TIGHAR may be involved in what you call “psuedo-science” but you are engaged in “psuedo-history.”

    • These are HARDLY non-sequiturs. They show that aviation in the South Pacific was not new and its problems not unexplored.

      TIGHAR’s hypothesis DOES require that they flew in a direct line. You may relish in calling this pseudo-history, but I stand my assertion that the TIGHAR claim is absolute hogwash, and is an obsession by people dedicated to proving a preferred hypothesis and NOT to discovering the facts. I stand by my prediction at the end of the post, and I will gladly accept that I was wrong if it turns out that’s the case.

      • h.a.c.van asten says:

        You won´t be wrong , the TIGHAR foxiness is great , but not endless .

        • Arent you glad you didnt give them a million bucks to waste? I wouldnt give them 10 cents. I dont think the plane landed there.They seem to be changing their story to fit the fund raising.

      • h.a.c.van asten says:

        TIGHAR´s one great failure is that their findings are by them continuously entitled as acquired “scientifically´ . In the entire history of TIGHAR and especially in their Earhart research , there is not one subject even connected with knowledge , let go science , where it concerns finding back crew and-or aircraft . To any criticism their members react like evangelists : the more resistance they meet , the stronger they believe in their own speculations . Evidently their truth is so precious that it must be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies .

      • h.a.c.van asten says:

        Supposition is right : the flight length Lae-Gardner via Choiseul-Nukumanu is 2,725 SM , the Nukumanu-Gardner track by great circle 1,792 M . A/c´s maximum range depending on weight , fuel & weather was 2,820 mls , leaving 95 SM to go . From the Howland region a maximum 264 SM to go remained . Gardner @ 400 SM off Howland could only be reached by a direct flight from Lae .

      • h.a.c.van asten says:

        “New artifact” found by TIGHAR and published by DiscoveryNews May 31st : Freckle jar “of Amelia” . Apart from a Loran station US crew , crowds of people have visited , if not lived for long time on Gardner after 1937 . Evidently DiscoveryNews plays the ´believer´ for the Gardner nonsense hypothesis .

      • freddysez says:

        Hello Brian – this is a rehash of an exchange we’ve had elsewhere on your site, but participants in this thread deserve to see it.

        TIGHAR’s hypothesis would depend upon a grossly mistaken trip from Lae straight to Gardner only if the plane didn’t have enough fuel for the dogleg from Lae to the Howland vicinity and then to Gardner.

        If the plane did have enough range to follow that crooked path, then the TIGHAR hypothesis remains internally sound.

        The fulcrum of the disagreement is fuel consumption and range. And that topic has been debated deeply, at length, without a slam-dunk answer for either side. It involves questions we cannot answer: the plane’s exact path, whether it burned extra fuel to gain altitude over mountains or weather, etc.

        You continue to address this issue as if there WERE a slam dunk. As if it were documented and widely agreed that the plane absolutely did not have the range TIGHAR’s theory requires. And that is manifestly not the case.

        Because this is not the case, you are… I pause here to choose among several terms.

        “Mistaken” is one option.

        “Trying to mislead people” is a very freighted choice.

        Let’s go with “wrong.”

    • h.a.c.van asten says:

      Mr.Noonan was the navigator on the first PanAm Clipper flight(s) over the pacific .

  8. Anthony Roach says:

    No. TIGHAR’S hypothesis is clearly stated. “Having failed to find Howland Island, Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan continued on the navigational line Amelia said they were following.”

    That is the 157 337 line given in Earhart’s last message. TIGHAR’S hypothesis depends on somewhat accurate navigation to the vicinity of Howland, with an assumption that they had sufficient fuel to turn south and follow that line all the way to Nikumaroro.

    If you criticized their hypothesis based on fuel calculations and range of the Electra, then I’d agree with you. You assume that the only way the Electra could have made it to Nikumaroro was to fly their directly from Lae. That assumption is based on a limited range. TIGHAR assumes they flew to the vicinity of Howland, could not find it, and then flew south to Nikumaroro. That assumption is based on a longer range. Personally, I trust the fuel and range specifications set forth by Kelly Johnson.

    I’ve read the primary source material attached to Ric Gillespie’s “Finding Amelia” published in 2006. It is clear that while Earhart was supposed to use radio direction finding at the end of her leg to find Howland, that this did not work. The book glosses over some things that I thought were significant clues, but it never makes the claim that they flew directly to Nikumaroro.

    • h.a.c.van asten says:

      @ ´technical articles´ you find 3 articles in European Journal of Navigation on the Earhart-Noonan 1937 incident . The third one shows unconditionally that with the avialable , remaining fuel stores it was impossible to reach any other land point than Howland , or nearby Baker , in the Pacific .

    • h.a.c.van asten says:

      If the Johnson record had been right for the aircraft in continuous head winds , it would not have been necessary that Earhart declared the fuel (to reach destination) to be sufficient for 1/2 hr after 1912 GMT when she expected to be over Howland . Among other statements , the one concerning enough fuel to reach Gardner from the Howland vicinity is false . If a navigator is convinced to fly a definite longitude line along , without knowing his exact latitude , he must stay on that line to not in advance disturb future rescue operations ; and that is what Noonan did : fly north & south and if you have for 1 hour gasoline , divide your tracks in 3 20-minutes legs . If you first go south , turn and go north , the fuel run-out will occur on the northgoing track if your destination fails to show up .

    • h.a.c.van asten says:

      There was no ´navigational line´ delivering the ability to follow it and reach a far away target . The 157-337 line was acquired @ sunrise and plotted eastwards over Howland´s assumed position . after sunrise the line did not exist and secondly , such line is a circle passing far northwards of Gardner , when flown along by celnav observations , Noonan of course knowing this . A posteriori nothing went wrong with RDF navigation , since it did not work . What went wrong was something connected with DR /Celnav navigation . It is true that , would against reality , Gardner have been reached , it could only have happened by a direct flight since the fuel load was insufficient for any detour .

    • h.a.c.van asten says:

      The Nikumaroro hypothesis has no adjacent ” significant clues” , all artifacts found showed false when afterwards checked , and because of the number of artifacts found in the mean time (nearly a full kitchen outfit) , every next one has contributed to speculation in lieu of to certainty . The hazard , btw , for not finding Gardner after a direct flight or not , with unserviceable RDF equipment (no ground , or ship station) equalled the hazard of not finding Howland .

  9. Grace McGuire says:

    I own a 1935 Lockheed Electra L-10E..It is the only survivor of 14 built and identical to Amelia’s. I solved the Earhart mystery in 1983 but didn’t share with the media till Dec 1986..see UPI story. Amelia and Fred did not ditch near Nikororumo..A dear little Island in the south Pacific has been cratered like the surface of the moon for nothing. I found part of of Amelia’s plane in mid 1980s and am planning an expedition to bring it back.

    Grace McGuire

    Aircraft serial #:1042
    Aircraft N#:N1602D

    Brian, thank you for the great article

    Aircraft N#

    • h.a.c.van asten says:

      Could you please communicate the physical features of the part found , and from what place do you have it ?

    • h.a.c.van asten says:

      I in the mean time understand that you found an artifact of NR-16020 , originating from before the July 2 , 1937 flight and belonging to the landing gear of A/c .

    • aliceinanthem says:

      Grace, can you be more specific with links about your findings. The only thing I can find on you by doing a search is you’ve been planning to recreate Amelia’s trip for about 30 years. As far as I can find this has yet to materialize.

      • h.a.c.van asten says:

        The artifact is part of NR 16020 landing gear strut fairing , originating from the after ground loop repairs between March & June , 1937 . A site exists where the part is shown @ its location , by mrs. McGuire .

    • Shelley malcolm says:

      Godspeed grace! Truth is greater than fiction

  10. h.a.c.van asten says:

    Any aeronautical engineer can easily compute that it was with the remaining fuel stores impossible to reach Nikumaroro from the Howland region . The Nikumaroro story is based on a hypothesis upon a hypothesis of a hypothesis . A very safe prediction is that the ´landing gear`will show to be anything at random , but no part of NR-16020 , although there is a very small possibility that it drifted to the island from the place where the aircraft was alighted at sea , by the air in its tire . That it however , survived 75 years of corrosion is a second very small possibility . The ´digitalized´ picture possessed by TIGHAR is ´not available to the public´ : very suspect to say the least . In my opinion the Nikumaroro story is held up by a row of concoctions , for commerciel reasons : go and search where the aircraft & crew will not be found , and your donations will continue .

  11. Paula Douglas says:


    Your rebuttal of TIGHAR’s reverse-engineered theory is interesting and convincing, but I couldn’t find a reference to their most recent offering that radio transmissions suggest that Earhart at least survived the crash. Here’s an excerpt from an article at Fox News describing their investigation into the transmissions. Meanwhile, I have to agree that for her to say that she was low on fuel and still have enough to go another 300-plus miles (what is that in time for an Electra at 1000′? An hour? Hour and a half?) seems implausible. Also, I was surprised to read that she reported their altitude as just 1000′. You can’t see very far from that height. Anyway, here’s the excerpt:

    “According to Gillespie, at least four radio signals are of particular interest, as they were simultaneously heard by more than one station.
    The first signal, made when the pilot had been officially missing for just 5 hours, was received by the Itasca, and two other ships, the HMS Achilles, and the SS New Zealand Star.
    The Itasca logged “We hear her on 3105 now – very weak and unreadable/ fone” and asked Earhart to send Morse code dashes.
    The Achilles did not hear “very weak and unreadable” voice, but heard Itasca’s request and heard dashes in response. The SS New Zealand only heard the response dashes.
    In other cases, credible sources in widely separated locations in the U.S., Canada, and the central Pacific, reported hearing a woman requesting help. She spoke English, and in some cases said she was Amelia Earhart.
    In one case, on July 5, the U.S. Navy Radio at Wailupe, Honolulu heard a garbled Moorse code: “281 north Howland – call KHAQQ – beyond north — won’t hold with us much longer — above water — shut off.”
    At the same time, an amateur radio operator in Melbourne, Australia, reported having heard a “strange” code which included KHAQQ, Amelia’s call sign.
    According to Gillespie, the re-analysis of the credible post loss signals supports the hypothesis that they were sent by Earhart’s Electra from a point on the reef at Nikumaroro, about ¼ mile north of the shipwreck of the British freighter SS Norwich City.”

    Read more:

    • h.a.c.van asten says:

      1 . Fuel when NR 16020 was considered to be over Howland was 45 USG , 20 87-avgas & 25 100-avgas for 1h06m time , distance 165 SM @ BE (best econmy) 150 SMH . Gardner is 400 SM , 2h40m off the Howland region .
      2 . A/c was flown @ 1,000 ft to allow checking sunrise UL by using the sea horizon as reference , just before commencing landfall operation .
      3 . All press publications follow TIGHAR publicity ; journalists should be more critical on their stories and “findings” that have afterwards shown to have not any connection to the incident . The “Nikumaroro Hypothesis ” is a nonsense theory .
      4 . Post-loss radio signals do not exist , there were hoaxes and misunderstandings by interfering traffic . The person behind the so-called “Betty´s notebook” has never been positively identified , and has never in person shown up , although TIGHAR executive(s) maintain that she is still alive and that they have contacted her recently .

      • Parker says:

        Interesting. I’m curious though, how could anyone know NR16020 was over Howland at that point? Neither party could get a radio fix, with daylight Noonan wouldn’t be able to get a decent cnav fix, all you could say for sure it they were on a north south line within a few hundred miles of Howland.

        Personally, if I was in the same position, short on fuel and I might be north or south of my destination, I would do was TIGHAR has suggested and turn south. Why? Well if I’m north of Howland and keep heading north, there’s a lot of empty ocean. If I’m south but turn south, there’s a number of islands where I might be able to ditch and where I’m sure everyone will be looking for me. Or not.

        • h.a.c.van asten says:

          And what if you have for 1/2 hour fuel to finish the trip (Earhart´s own words) , plus 1/2 hour to go on some reserve ? One option left : fly up and down the position line as long as possible to not disturb the coming rescue operations .

        • h.a.c.van asten says:

          NR16020 was supposedly over Howland´s immediate region according to the pilot´s radio communication . It is true that no proof exists about the exactness of the time-distance-position record o/b of aircraft .

      • HD says:

        Here is a NPR radio story from 2007- covering Betty Klenck Brown’s “Earhart Distress Call” story. Link to audio is found at the bottom of the web page.

        Her story is HIGHLY suspect IMHO.

        More on Ms. Brown here-

        • h.a.c.van asten says:

          Post-loss signals do not exist , “Betty´s Notebook” with so-called distress signals is used to support a “hypothesis” stating that the Earhart-Noonan aircraft landed on the reef of Gardner island . The hypothesis has not any connection to reality to say the least ; it must be considered a hoax , used to match a row of speculations , not to say concoctions to lead the public up the garden path . Intelligible information from a radio transmission 6,000 miles away @ a carrier´s 4th harmonic in amplitude modulation mode is physically impossible . Klenck-Brown´s radio set would have been tuned to 24,840 kHz , a part of the spectrum which was not in use for broadcasting in the era , so what would a teenager looking out for popular songs search there ? Believers in the note book entry announce that a special long-range aerial of 60 ft length was installed . Special long-range aerials do also not exist : a radio signal front reaches an aerial and is detected , or it does not reach the aerial and you hear nothing . Lengths etcetera of reception antennas play a secondary role in this theatre of physics , the primary role is for the extension of the electro-magnetic field around the transmitting aerial .

    • h.a.c.van asten says:

      Yes , the “reverse-engineered theory is interesting as well as convincing” . Only : it is not true .

  12. Paula Douglas says:

    Sorry, didn’t mean to include that link with my post above. I don’t know whether your blog has a rule about links, but its inclusion was inadvertent. –Paula

  13. CrustyTheClown says:


    Your original article cites Frank Coffee and Roy Miner’s books as evidence of pearl divers visiting the island. Neither one of those books has any reference to Nikumaroro. Where did you extrapolate pearl divers visiting the island?

  14. h.a.c.van asten says:

    Mr.Dunning has not yet replied to this question , but statements about pearl divers yes or no having visited the specific island do not play a role in eventually finding signs of the Earhart crew . As mentioned in above comments , the aircraft could not reach Gardner from Howland , intentionally or by accident , and the for this statement necessary computation can be made on the back side of a greater size match box .

  15. David says:

    Think your comments about TIGHAR are fair and to the point. This current situation using the Bevington photo to build the interest and possible funding goes beyond reality. We have studied this photo and the report by their photo expert at the recent get together brings us many laughs. As far as we can tell the photo expert does not know the accurate size of the object. The most bothersome aspect of the current situation is who authorized the use of government expert personnel to work on this private project. H. Clinton seems to enjoy the bright lights as well. The use of these government experts gave the TIGHAR folks the image of being on the right track. Soon they will be onto Gardner Island and as some have asked, when they don’t find the plane, what will be the next theory be, of what happen after the Lockheed Electra 10E landed, to keep the money rolling in.

  16. h.a.c.van asten says:

    We can with reasonable certainty predict that , after having found nill again , the TIGHAR guys will advertise themselves as the ones who accomplished delivering “unconditional scientific proof” for having the Earhart crew NOT been on Gardner . It is remarkable indeed that mrs.Clinton and mr.Ballard go in for a gallery of hoax & concoction .

  17. Aaron says:

    Congratulations, Mr. Dunning. I’ve read a number of articles on TIGHAR’s search for Amelia Earhart’s plane over the past couple months, and this was by far the most factually flawed.

    I’m not sure where you got your information on TIGHAR’s hypothesis, but you have managed to misstate just about every point. Anthony Roach did a nice job of calling you out, and you did an equally nice job of responding without really responding. You certainly didn’t do your homework before tackling this topic and criticizing an organization that has done nothing but move closer to proving their hypothesis with each expedition.

    My favorite quote from your blog entry is the following:

    “It would more surprising if Gillespie had not found the items he has; Amelia Earhart is perhaps the least likely source for any of them.”

    You’re right, it’s much more plausible that it was the primitive natives on Nikumaroro that used Dr.‭ ‬C.‭ ‬H Berry’s Freckle Ointment, manufactured in the 1930’s in Chicago.

    Perhaps you should stick with what you’re best at – investigating the Loch Ness Monster and UFO’s, and leave the real mysteries up to professionals.

  18. h.a.c.van asten says:

    Mr.Aaron , if you had done your homework you should have known that many people , even a complete US Loran Navigation party , not primitive natives , currently visited Nikumaroro , before and after the Earhart incident . you can in other comments above read that it was for the crew definitely impossible to bring the aircraft to Gardner . Like all other artifacts “found” on Nikumaroro , the “Freckle Ointment” only is the up to now last speculation , apart from “a landing gear and wheel” yet to be found , to support a nonsense “hypothesis” which has grown out like the pseudo-religions of which we know that there are always gurus in the background collecting the revenues brought in by credulous people . The F.O. bottle found , btw , differs from the ones produced in Chicago in the 1930´s .

    • Aaron says:

      Again, it’s very misleading to state that “many” people have visited Nikumaroro. Compared to almost every other place on the planet, very very few people have visited this extremely remote atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

      Most of those visits were rather brief and it’s very unlikely that any Americans (even more rare) that visited the island would have made it a point to pack their anti-freckle cream. As much as it pains all of you theory conspiracists, Amelia Earhart is the BEST explanation for the anti-wrinkle cream. Add all of the “little” evidence together, and you come away with one big clue.

      I don’t know what your comment on religion refers to. Apparently there’s a personal issue there that you’re trying to work out.

  19. h.a.c.van asten says:

    1 . Shortly after the Earhart incident Nikumaroro was visited , researched and used for longer time dwelling , by hundred-plus colonists , military and civilians : many people for a tiny island .
    2 . The anti-freckle container “found” is of a glass type not used by Berry´s of Chicago .
    3 . Taking all “little evidences” together for delivering proof leads to a mistake of thought : one with the Earhart incident identified object would be sufficient for unconditional proof . A non identified random number of artifacts is proof zero and one big clue : nil connection Earhart to Nikumaroro .
    4 . Pseudo-religion was commented , not religion , no issue necessary .

    • Dave says:

      Not sure it makes any sense to explain the facts those with the Jim Jones group. When the Electra is not found, the drink of choice may be kool aid
      Unless – the Electra went over the edge and later the ship parts fell all over and covered the Electra up. The ship parts would need to be brought up, to make sure the Electra is really not there under the wreck.

      This could really keep on going

      • h.a.c. van asten says:

        This is an example of hypothesis upon hypothesis upon hypothesis by which the Nikumaroro “searchers” try to lead the public up the garden path : aircraft landed but not seen ? Went over the edge ; Earhart announced 1/2 hour fuel left , yes but she was wrong ; every single “clue” debunked , yes but all single clues togeher form a major clue ; Earhart hated freckles , everyone hates freckles , THUS the found jar was hers . Nonsense over nonsense .

  20. Dave says:

    The story is now the Electra may have floated away and then sank. Good one. How about the landing gear in the photo, that the state department without any information declared it was a Electra landing gear (total BS). Did that sink too ? Maybe thay should bring it up before they leave empty handed. It must be there, it didn’t float away too did it ?

  21. It was not there , and they knew it .

    • Anonymous says:

      They searched a sliver of the ledge that surrounds the island, so that means the plane “was not there?” Brilliant conclusion.

      • The plane was not there , not since a small part only of the coast line reef was investigated , but because it could not reach the island from the Howland region : the fuel reserves were insufficient and accordingly the range & endurance were limted to 2,820 SM and 20+ hours .

  22. Amelia’s Lockheed Electra was within 75 miles of her target Howland Island when her radio cut out. Chief Radioman Leo Bellarts 30, said: “Her voice was loud and clear; sounded frantic on her last transmission. Then it cut off.”

    Nikumaroro is 350 miles south-east of Howland and at a right angle to her flight path — and she didn’t have charts for those islands.

    Airman Richard Beckham 22, from the USS Colorado, flew over Nikumaroro (Gardner) seven days later and said: “We altered course to Gardner Island … we always went low over the islands at 100 feet … we couldn’t see anyone, and we always scanned the beaches.”

    The US sent nine ships, 66 aircraft, and well over 3,000 sailors and airmen who covered well over 250,000 sq. miles of open sea and every island within a 650 mile radius of Howland.

    Cleveland S. Edwards 19, was a Fireman 3rd Class on the USS Lexington. He said: “Our squadrons now are continually looking from dawn to dusk, flying three to four hour shifts.”

    Amelia Earhart’s Radio had been modified in Miami during the flight. This reduced her transmission range from 2,000 miles to only 200. She could not have been heard outside that range.

    Paul Rafford, Jr, Flight Radio Officer at Pan Am in 1940 said: “Using the Electra’s fixed antenna on 3105 khz. (her day frequency), greatly reduced its effectiveness. It was like covering a 50 watt light bulb with a lamp shade so that it emits no more light than a small flashlight bulb.”

    All of the radio messages received over the next five days, attributed to Earhart, weren’t from her.

    Don Fowble who build Earhart’s Electra said: “The battery cage was up in the belly of the plane. It wasn’t waterproof, so would short out everything if the plane went into the water – especially the sea. That radio drew a lot of current, and without the generator running, the batteries wouldn’t last more than 10 to 15 minutes.”

    Taken from, The Hunt For Amelia Earhart
    Douglas Westfall, historic publisher,

  23. All researchers and especially the “researchers” about the Nikumaroro case have neglected the ´omitted variables bias´ which is the aircraft´s fuel load , having been sufficient for 2,820 SM and slightly over 20 hours endurance Even after a straight line flight to Howland , 2,556 SM off New Guinea, 264 SM remained to go before the fuel run out point which hence , would have been at 146 SM from Gardner , if course was ever set to this island . All discussion about radio range , surviving on island(s) , returning to New Britain , other speculation and concoction like ´post loss´ radio messages plus “landing gear on reef” is useless : a given amount of energy , with given amount of hourly expenditure by converting it to movement will grant you a given ferry range (2,820 SM) and not one yard more with your engines running .

  24. Anonymous says:

    I love how all the skeptics think they’re right simply because they didn’t find evidence of the plane in the SMALL amount of video footage they reviewed over a SMALL amount of ledge in one spot along the reef.

    There is a lot of evidence that both the plane, AE and FN were all on Niku. It’s just a matter of finding a smoking gun to appease all you conspiracy theorists that still believe she was captured by the Japanese, came back to the States under a hidden identity, or whatever other ridiculous story you want to believe.

    Wake up. Look at the scientific evidence. She landed and survived (briefly) on Niku.

    • That is a false dichotomy, that either your fringe theory is correct or else we must all be conspiracy theorists believing all the truly crazy stuff. Those are the two least likely theories. What’s likely is what was planned, expertly executed, followed along, and observed on that day, ending with a ditch in the waters just out of sight of Howland. If I had anything to bet with, I would just about anything that the Electra will be found within 50 miles of Howland.

    • Scientific evidence ? I have seen neither science , nor evidence by the Nikumaroro adventurers . According to your last above sentence you must be a “believer” , i.e. someone who is inaccessible for rational thinking against the one or other guru who succeeds to lead astray people into his fallacy .

    • Dave says:

      Scientific evidence ?

  25. Aaron says:

    Where’s YOUR evidence that she ran out of fuel? No one knows exactly how much fuel she had in the tanks for that 18 hour flight and no one knows exactly how much head wind she faced or how far off course she may have veered. Your hypothesis is all SPECULATION. Not scientific.

    • Go select technical articles . Third article + addendum shows fuel supplies and management , Maximum ferry range was 2,820 SM for endurance 20´hours . Computation shows unconditionally that @ 1912 GMT fuel used was 1,055 USG and 1/2 hour remained for finishing the trip , like Earhart said in the same communication . Another 1/2 hr remained by burning the special avgas store , initially to be used for the from Howland take off . The fuel load ex Nw Guinea was 1,100 USG , everywhere accepted as true , and re-computed in article no.1 , same site . No “speculation” ..

      • Dave says:

        This is why there is no Electra at Gardner Island. The facts don’t seem to effect those that just make things up, and use the catch all phrase “consistent with” with each and every unsupported claim. The only way an Electra will be found at Gardner Island is to fly one there.

  26. HD says:

    Aaron- AE’s last confirmed radio contacts with the IItasca make it obvious she was low on fuel, but somewhat near Howland Island.

    “….Nearly an hour had passed since the last communication from Earhart when, at 7:42, her voice fairly exploded over the radio room loudspeaker. Galten logged the transmission as, “We must be on you but cannot see you … but gas is running low.” O’Hare heard it somewhat differently and his version portrayed a more desperate situation. “Only ½ hour gas left sez she.” He had the time as 7:40. If O’Hare was right, Earhart expected to run out of fuel at about 8:10….”

    • In the above mentioned article series you can see that the re-computed from 1912 GMT fuel reserves exactly covered Earhart´s 1912 GMT expectation on the subject of remaining endurance : she was right and so were Galten – O´Hare .

  27. tom Maxwell says:

    Use Google Earth to examine the image at S 4º 29′ 55″ W 172º 09′ 27″. Use the “measure” function from the application toolbar to measure the dimensions of the object. The Orona hypothesis is a I look forward to your comments.

  28. Aaron says:


    “A review of high-definition underwater video footage taken during the recently-completed Niku VII expedition has revealed a scattering of man-made objects on the reef slope off the west end of Nikumaroro. The newly discovered debris field is in deep water offshore the location where an object thought to be Lockheed Electra landing gear appears in a photo taken three months after Amelia Earhart disappeared. Items in the debris field appear to be consistent with the object in the 1937 photo.”

    What do all you moron skeptics think now? Thought so.

    • I think that your calling us morons is about the strongest argument you’ve come up with yet. It’s at least as good as that blobsquatch photo.

      Truly, the crankery is getting past the point of pity, and if this new press release doesn’t prove it, I can’t imagine what will. Is there ever going to be a point where the reporters question this?

    • Chris says:

      You are joking right? Have you seen the photo they are pushing? Do you realize they have a Discovery show to advertise? Recover some of the “man-made” objects, verify that it was from an Electra, and then we can start to talk about something interesting being discovered. Until then this fits more with the debunking than with TIGHAR dreams.

    • Dave says:

      They are keeping the game going. Now they have graphic data consistent with the object in the 1937 photo. Of course it’s consistent with the photo which has no basis relating to an aircraft. Doesn’t matter cause we really have something going here. The Bevington boat was tied off near the ship. They we out walking on the the island at low and high tide everyday. At low tide this so called object would be laying out in the open as if on a table. If this object was really the basically intact Electra landing gear laying there, it would be unbelievable that Bevington and the crew would not have seen it.

  29. Aaron says:

    If they unearthed the Electra itself, you would come up with an argument as to why it wasn’t Earhart’s. Some people will never admit they were wrong.

    (Especially the type of people that spend their time researching aliens and the like.)

  30. Anonymous says:

    Keep in mind that the guy hired by Tighar to do “photo analysis” also said the “Patterson” Bigfoot movie was the real deal. What a laugh!!!

  31. Aaron says:

    I think the underwater image speaks for itself. Many media outlets are claiming this “solves” the mystery. Personally, I would like to a little more concrete evidence. However, as Ric Gillespie says, the severe underwater environment at Nikumaroro would have torn the airplane to pieces 75 years ago. So all you’re going to find left is debris. And we’ve found the debris!

    • It absolutely speaks for itself. It says the only reasons to cling to Gillespie’s quest are delusional. I think I see Bigfoot in that picture…

      • Colin says:

        I work in the subsea business (oil & gas) and have spent a lot of time looking at multi-beam sonar imagery. The resolution at that range is very poor and really not suitable for any kind of identification. Sonar images always contain shadows that often make the brain interpret them wrongly – ridges that look like wrecks, rocks that look like cars etc

        If you spend enough time looking at low res sonar you can find pretty much anything in there.

  32. Aaron says:

    Who wants to go to Chicago with me to meet Ric Gillespie? Tickets are only $100 if we order now. Otherwise, they will be $125 each. Let me know if you’re in.

  33. Robert says:

    Why is there no mention of Thomas Devine’s personal observation of Earhart’s Electra on Saipan during WWII? Not to mention the destruction and cover up, (according to his testimony) as outlined in his book, Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident (1987). Just asking, I have no dog in this hunt just trying to make sense of it all.

    • There are so many crank theories of what happened to Amelia Earhart that it’s not practical to address them all. This post is specifically about TIGHAR’s conjecture.

  34. dave says:

    Aaron, yes there is underwater debris. It’s called the Norwich city which wrecked in 1929. It is only 400 meters from TIGHARS supposedly new “debris field”. Use your brain. This same organization claimed in 1991 to 100% proof positive found the Earhart plane.(based on some airplane skin. It too 7 years for them to admit that lockheed positively disagreed. It was not from Amelias plane. Take the freckle cream jar. It was all over the front pages. Too bad Tighar didn’t research the glass. Hazel Atlas stopped making that jar in clear in 1917, 20 years before the Earhart flight. Was she carrying 20 year old freckle cream? Ummmmm. no. I have the same jar, and in Amelias day it would have been milk glass. Look, they have done this for 25 plus years, release a new “WE FOUND IT!” to the press. So the donations roll in.

  35. Barros says:

    Why can’t these people see what is really going on? I wish I could come up with a scam like it.

    Find a bit of a historic mystery that folks will find interesting, invent a hypothesis that seems acceptable to the gullible, then seek funding and have an easy life funded by buffoons who have no critical thinking skills -who let emotion override their cognitive functionality.

    With this business model the very least you will get is a paid holiday a year ‘researching’ and ‘proving’ your hypothesis.

    Everything logical, sensible, scientific and engineering wise probable that I have read on this tale of tragedy, says that that plane could NOT get to Nikumaroro after trying to get to Howland. As a fictional Scotty allegedly says “You canne change the laws of physics”.

    That plane took to the skies with enough energy to get to either Howland OR Nikumaroro – it could not do both. Do any of these morons drive? What mileage do they get from their cars?

    So far not one piece of conclusive evidence that could be considered uniquely Amelia’s exists. All the ‘artefacts’ could turn up at other locations all through the world, does that mean that the Electra landed there too? Does every find of a 1930s freckle cream bottle worldwide make it a potential site for Amelia’s last days?

    I think that morons are willing to pay $125 to meet someone who is already making a good living out of them, says a lot about the folks who believe the ‘hypothesis’. It’s kind of the David Icke factor, invent a bull story, get morons to believe it and fleece them of their wealth with books and lecture tours. Got to admire the business model lol

  36. Steve says:

    To my mind the photo looks like someone paddling a dugout / outrigger type canoe towards the person taking the photograph.

    I must admit I find the Dave Billings / New Britain story quite compelling although it does require some stretching of the known facts about the aircraft’s fuel consumption although he does explain that Amelia was an expert at getting the maximum range out of her aircraft.

    His argument that if you can’t find somewhere you try to return to your start point rather than wander off into another unknown direction is a better fit for me than for them to turn south from an unknown position to find another small spot in the vast ocean.

  37. Ric Gardy says:

    @ Steve: Mr Billings’ idea is interesting, I can see what he is saying but what about the Electra’s endurance? Maybe she could coax more out of the craft and maybe, just maybe, she wasn’t as near to Howland as most think, we only have the flight time and the radio coms to go on, and we know that radio is bouncing all over the place. However, AE did mention that her gas was low when she believed she was at Howland and it seems unlikely that she could have covered a distance just short of 19 hours endurance with just 4 hours endurance fuel remaining, regardless of a strong tailwind – unless the tailwind was 100 miles per hour or so !!! lol

    WRT to the alleged photo of the Electra: If that is the full photo I would like to know what the photographer was supposed to be filming? Not much of interest in the centre where you would expect the main focus of the picture to be, so what the frig was the point of the picture? I can understand just filming the ship but the fact that the picture also includes the other ‘object’ leaves me to believe that the photographer saw the object there and framed the shot as a juxtaposition of the small and the large – and that both were ‘boats’ !!!

    I can see no other reason to take the photo otherwise.

    I believe, like Steve above, someone else was out there in a small boat/canoe and the photographer thought the contrast would make a great picture.

    Also for me, the TIGHAR hypothesis seems to require that the radio gear was still operative after a landing. Surely if it had ‘landed’ in water the radio gear would be affected or at least the engines – and with no starboard engine, there was no power and surely the batteries couldn’t have transmitted for several hours/days after?

    I also have problems with the alleged post crash received transmissions from AE.If AE was having problems communicating in the air how come she could TX over hundreds of miles of ocean from the ground? I know that radio bounce can do some weird stuff but surely if in 19 hours flight the only received signals from EA were when relatively near receiving stations, then how come the same piece of kit could magically TX to the US mainland?

    It is a mystery and I do wish I had the money to fund some of my own personal curiosities about it. The more I read about the lady and the times that she lived in, the more inspirational she seems. Not perfect but certainly an inspiration. She, and Fred, deserve being brought home, although I doubt that will ever be happening, whether the Electra is in a New Britain forest or the bottom of the Pacific..

  38. Alfie says:

    Here’s what I don’t understand. If Amelia had to make a ditch near Howland, and she had no reason to assume Itasca couldn’t hear her (as evidenced by her transmissions), why didn’t she SOS or mayday? What pilot, in an emergency situation, wouldn’t radio to ATC in a desperate attempt to make them aware of the situation? If she was so close to Howland, and was about to crash, wouldn’t she have made another transmission to that effect? And if she didn’t have time to make a transmission because of a “sudden crash,” why was no debris ever found?

    It just doesn’t add up.

    Truth is, nobody has any way of knowing how much fuel she had or didn’t have. But common sense says that if she was close enough to Howland and was about to crash, some mayday would’ve been heard, and, barring this, some debris would’ve been found.

    It’s therefore plausible that she was never really in trouble, she was just insanely lost, and by the time she realized how lost she was, she was out of range of the Itasca.

  39. Skyclad says:

    @ Alfie

    The more stuff I read the more it seems intriguing.

    Regards coms, Howland was sending out a lot of traffic at various times and it is not entirely improbable that at least some of her TX were lost during those TX. I also understand that radio range was pretty limited and was pretty variable due to atmospherics and the like. The strongest signal need not have actually been TX when she was actually nearest Howland.

    AE had worked out a radio schedule, she listened using headphones so she would arrange times for receiving TX rather than have the cans on for all the flight, but Howland didn’t keep to it – mostly due to not using GMT as requested by AE, although AE also didn’t seem to stick to schedule.

    There seems to be some disagreement about whether AE and FN had parachutes with them on the fatal leg, they were certainly available in Australia, but it seems that even if the Electra ditched AE and FN seemed determined not to go with it. They understood that the Electra was a handful to ditch even under power and without power it would virtually be a dive into the ocean. The advice seems to have been to bail out near an island rather than risk a ditch – which by estimations could have caused them great injury. It is entirely possible that when they find the plane that AE and FN had ‘jumped’. Who knows?

    As for maydays. I think that when she said she was low on gas she meant that she was entering the last of the amount allowed for Howland – not that she was running out. I believe that she was not in distress and used the alleged 30 minutes plus to fly the line and look for Howland. It could be that she was in a dead radio zone when she was out of gas – finally (although the arguments will go on for years as to how much she actually had and how much was actually left).

    As for a ‘sudden crash’ and wreckage, well there wasn’t much of the plane that would float if it went down pretty much intact. It seems that the life raft and possibly even the life-jackets were left behind in and effort to reduce weight. The Pacific is a big ocean and the larger part of the search didn’t happen until a few days after the ‘downing’, and we do not know what the searching ‘units’ were detailed to look for. Remember the fly guys overflew Gardner and said they saw signs of habitation but never looked any further. Not that I believe she was on Gardener but if they didn’t check out a possible habitation site – even if it were fishermen – what else did they miss? Maybe they were looking out for active sings, like a woman running down the beach waving her hands or something. Could just be that they were expecting to see the Electra – some folks actually thought it may float with its empty extra fuel tanks !!

    I have major respect for Fred Noonan, the guy was a legend and probably the best ocean navigator – air or sea – in the world at the time but does that mean he was infallible? Something that interested me recently was that FN wasn’t sitting in the cockpit with AE, FN had a navigators position BEHIND the fuel tanks and they communicated by means of handing written notes to each other on a bamboo pole – I find this incredible if true, because that leads to a situation where, in a cold unheated cabin at altitude, errors could have occurred in writing or reading the navigation information. Imagine if Fred said to correct course by say 3 degrees and with ‘translation’ errors AE perceives it as 5 degrees. Then half hour later FN sees the correction has still made the flight 2 degrees off course the other way – couldn’t he think that maybe the wind-speed and direction are different to how he originally calculated and then make an erroneous projection? Does he trust his instruments?

    The thing is FN was only meant to get then to the vicinity of Howland and the direction finder was going to get them there but things didn’t work out.

    Recently I was reading talk that the pilot’s pitot tube was damaged at Lae take-off – incorrect airspeed indication wouldn’t have helped things either.

    There is so much about this historic tragedy that I find interesting, I hope I live long enough for someone to finally figure it all out !!!

  40. Craig says:


    Read your articles and although I agree with some of your critics regarding your incorrect statement of the TIGHAR theory, (AE and FN flew directly to Gardner Island vs. trying to fly direct to Howland and then diverting to Gardner), I do agree with your overall conclusions. In my opinion, after reading everything there is to read on the subject, the TIGHAR efforts are in vain.

    There is one simple fact that is missed in all of the TIGHAR research on the subject that actually proves there is no mystery here; It is an undisputed fact by all “experts” on the subject that AE made both scheduled and unscheduled radio transmissions throughout the flight. TIGHAR relies heavily on the radio logs detailing the final hours of the flight in forming their theory that when AE and FN could not locate Howland they did what any sensible pilot and navigator of the day flying over open ocean with a dwindling fuel supply would do, they turned south towards certain landfall.

    Ok, as a pilot who has made open ocean flights I buy that. But what I cannot buy is that AE, after making numerous radio calls and giving position and flight condition reports did not make one radio call announcing her intentions at the end. She also did not make the radio call that she had found an island, (Gardner), and was making her approach. In 1937, in the middle of the South Pacific, landing on the dry reef bed of a tiny, remote island that clearly was not the right island, 400 miles from the nearest known human help, that would have been the most important radio call of her life.

    Forget about all the debate over endurance, headwinds, wind correction, line of position, etc. The only fact that is undisputable is that AE did not make that radio call. And why not? What happened? Well, AE was flying at 1000 feet above the waves, frantically searching for Howland. In a commerial airliner, 20 seconds before you touch down is about 1000 feet above the surface. Not very high. In the Electra 10E, both engines would not quit at the same time from fuel starvation. The right engine would quit first. When that happened the aircraft would be a handful to keep level due to the pulling of the good, still running left engine. Certainly not impossible but challenging to say the least given her circumstances and limited altitude to work with. (There is a saying in twin engine flying that when you lose an engine the other one will get you to the scene of the accident).

    In AE’s plane she had to hold and key a microphone to transmit. Much different then today’s push to talk headphones. With the right side gone there was much to do just to maintain level flight. Hard left rudder, feather the dead engine, left hand on the yoke, right hand on the engine controls. From 1000 feet not much time to do anything but try to maintain control. Certainly no time to announce intentions. At that point she was just trying to keep the wings level for the ditching. And there is the answer to the mystery. Shortly after she made her last radio transmission the right engine started to cough. Pilots are trained that you are much more likely to suvive a forced, off airport landing if you can maintain the aircraft under control. Her efforts went very quickly from searching for the island and talking on the radio to simply maintaining control and surviving a ditching. No distess call, no mystery, no romantic ending, no books to write about a remote island forced landing and no Discovery Channel special. (At least until the Electra is really found). Just a tragic ending to a remarkable attempt by two people.

    • Ray D says:

      Hi Craig,

      You say the RIGHT engine would stop first? Why is that, fuel feed layout?

      The problem I see with that is that, as far as I can gather, the 10E got its power from the right engine, so after it stopped all they would have had was the batteries to power the control services – I understand the electra was servo controlled – and radio. According to what I have read the radio itself had a limited transmission time due to constraints of the battery recharge cycle, something like the engine needed power for 13 minutes for each minute of transmission.

      Anyhow, whichever engine stopped first, it was the beginning of the end, with an unfeathered prop with all that drag etc it would have been hell to fly at any altitude!!

      End result the same, methinks.

  41. Dave says:

    FYI – the props on this aircraft were not able to be feathered

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for the clarification. That would make her immediate situation even more difficult. I think there is a better chance of finding Bigfoot on that island then an Electra 10E.

  42. daryl says:

    the ‘suitcase’ issue needs to be looked into. can anybody ‘beat up’ the betty notebook? ric says she reported it to local authorities. can it be verified? somebody needs to prove she wrote down this stuff after the public knew there was a suitcase(items) to burn.
    call it a fraud done a few days after she went down——what compelled betty know to write down the suitcase info and ‘NY city’? a really lucky guess???
    did the public know about this suitcase thing in 1937?
    if there is proof she turned in a report then its hard to overcome her comments on the suitcase and new york city(Norwich city).
    as a ham i have heard radio do amazing things.

    • Jack says:

      Amelia: “Hmmn, I am stranded on a desert island. Limited time left to operate radio. What should I say?…Oh, I know, how about ‘Get the suitcase out of my closet’. Yeah, that’s the ticket–that’ll get ’em coming to Gardner.”

      Fred: “Amelia, stop yakking on that damn radio–it’s no good, we busted the antenna back in Lae…the Mer-people are back! Quick, lock the top hatch before it’s too late…”

      Amelia: “This is Amelia Earharghhhhhhhhhh….”

      • Jack says:

        Fred: “Let me out of here…oompff…”

        (dead silence…then the sound of a mutton can being slowly being hacked open with a P-38 can opener…)

        • Jack says:

          SCENE 2: Inside the Electra cockpit. Two mermen conversing in Mermese in the front of plane; AE and FN slumped over pilot/copilot seat. Several mer-people in back, feasting on mutton.


          Merman #1: “What do we do with the humans?”

          Merman #2 : “Ever eat one?”

          Merman #1: (makes face) “It was awful. Recommend we stick with the mutton. Lets make it look like a suicide. We’ll put cellophane bags over their heads and let the next high tide wash the plane over the reef edge. Anyone finds the plane, which ain’t gonna happen in out lifetimes, it’ll look like a suicide.”

          Merman #2: “OK, I can speak a little English, I’ll keep sendimng out those ‘water getting high’ messages the female was making till we’re all done eating.

          (END OF SCENE)

  43. Robert says:

    According to a story i read the “white woman” at saipan has been traced to a passenger from charter civilian plane that was hijacked by Japanese Intelligence agents. Among the passengers were two envoys from the nationalist Chinese Govt who had been raising money in the US to help fight Japan. The Japanese could not allow them to get through but they could not officially stop the plan and take the passengers without endangering international relations. Sounded plausable to me.

  44. Robert says:

    The whole idea of looking for Amelia on Garder Island reminds me of the joke about the drunk searching for his car keys under a street light after a night of drinking. A passerby asks him where he dropped the keys and the drunk pointed across the street and said “over by my car.” Perplexed the Passerby asked him why he was looking under the street light. The drunk said that the light is better. Conclusion, it is easier, and cheaper, to search an island than it is scour the depths around howland Island.

    • Alfie says:

      Um didn’t the Waitt institute spend millions scouring the waters around Howland in a giant undertaking a few years ago? What did they find? Nothing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Tighar wants to show old junk bottles and shoes, what’s a better place to look than an old WWII coast guard station? Genius marketer that Ric Gillespie. Find an old bottle every few years, call a press conference and rake in the dough. Like Ric said ” I can turn off her(amelia’s) fame like a water faucet with a simple press conference”. True quote.
      Not sure why anyone donates a dime to these scammers.

    • Aaron says:

      Cheap? Easy? TIGHAR has been making trips to Nikumaroro since 1988, all through private funding which they’ve raised themselves, the last campaign having cost over $2 million dollars. Apparently economics is not your strong suit.

      If there were just two reasons for TIGHAR to NOT choose Nikumaroro it would be because it’s ANYTHING BUT cheap and easy.

      Nice try. Probably the most ridiculous statement made yet on this board. I’m thankful that we’re not relying on you to solve the mystery.

      • daryl says:

        i find most skeptic arguments weak. just because of their attitude i hope ric finds the smoking gun and shoots em with it. gardner is most likely unless you guys can pull something from the abyss.
        some skeptic needs to prove betty was a hoax. you have a girl who wrote down things only a few knew about. take some feathers off this duck.

  45. Alfie says:

    Amen to Daryl. Here’s the fact of the matter: Nobody knows what happened exactly. But what we do know is that eyewitness accounts, log books, radio transmissions that were *officially* documented all have holes. h. a. c. van asten wants to go the route of elgen long and others who say we can pinpoint where the plane must be based on fuel calculations. We all know that this is utter nonsense, since unless we had flight data recorders, we have no way of knowing what other confounders there were to these calculations. Equally disturbing are those like Douglas Westfall who troll boards and news articles claiming, “Eyewitness X heard her loud and clear and she sounded frantic, therefore, she must’ve been near Howland and in dire straits.” How many times has it been proven in psychology that eyewitness testimony is wrong as much as it is right, and is altogether unreliable?

    What I find most inane is that The “Crash and Sink” supporters latch onto this theory as if it were gospel. I don’t quite understand why there is seeming personal involvement, as if that theory turns out to be wrong, they will take it as a personal affront.

    As I referenced above, Ted Waitt spent a lot of money doing an expansive high-tech search near Howland a few years ago. You can see the results on the Waitt Institute website, where they have concluded the plane is not in the huge area they searched. Does it mean it’s not near Howland? No. It just means there’s less of a chance it’s there than was previously thought.

    Ric Gillespie and TIGHAR get money from provate donations, and are painstakingly trying to advance their own theory. To date, while no smoking gun has been found, they have collected mountains of circumstantial evidence supporting their arguments. Again, does this prove the plane landed on Gardner? No. But to outlandishly claim that it would have been impossible makes every individual who does so sound like an imbecile. The theory they are advancing isn’t outlandish; they’re not looking for proof that Earhart was abducted by aliens! To cite their theory/work as “utter crap” is to reveal yourself as unable to look at a complex mystery objectively.

    Moral: Unless you snuck onto Amelia’s Lockheed, survived whatever tragedy befell her and Noonan, somehow made it out unscathed and undetected, and happen to be alive and well today, 75 years later, you have no way of knowing what actually happened, and your goal should be to follow different people’s analysis and come to your own conclusion, while admitting that there is a possibility you could be wrong, and that if you are, it doesn’t matter.

  46. gari says:

    From what I have read at the TIGHAR site they have formed a conclusion and are cherry picking the evidence that supports it.

    Take the alleged post-loss messages, we know some people were hoaxing at the time and Betty’s book is also suspect imo. Yet they only see the dozen or so messages that supports Gardner as credible and ignore the over 100 other messages.

    Each of the artefacts are in no way proven to belong to FN or AE, there are over a hundred people that visited that island and also any one of them could have come from any part of the world in any combination of man-made and natural transportation means.

    They took an old pathology report and completely reversed its findings, without a single piece of physical evidence in front of them.

    If it were a court of law, the case would be laughed off.

    Also the forum there has an adversarial atmosphere for anyone who dares to doubt the Gardner Cult. I often see mods there telling people that ‘could’ve, should’ve, would’ve’ isn’t acceptable – unless AE could’ve, should’ve’ would’ve gone to Gardner. I see posters there treating as fact that the Electra landed on Gardner and that – according to Betty and post loss coms – FN sustained a head injury and was impaired in their final days, NO ONE in the admin there ever challenges that totally unproven belief.

    I will say that one good thing about TIGHAR is that it has put much of the data available out there for any one to examine, and the fact that there are so many differing opinions as to what happened – including the various locations for crash and sink – says to me that none of the evidence can conclusively be used to locate the plane, it’s going to be luck. That said, the whole Gardner cult is crazy, the LOP is NOT a straight line from Howland over the distance travelled, it is a curve. If FN thought he could hit Howland and they had fuel to spare then logic says head back where you came from, where you KNOW there is landfall, not carry on down 337/157 and hope to hit a speck in a vast ocean.

    As for TIGHAR itself, isn’t it supposed to be about the recovery of historic aircraft? In twenty plus years they have recovered as many historic aircraft as I have – NONE!!! My achievement wasn’t funded by gullible fools with dollars to spend, though.

    Be well!!

  47. Jeff Martin says:

    Brian, Thanks for the article. I agree with comments above that if you go on the TIGHAR site and attempt to discuss the matter in a balanced way that contradicts their theory, your are attacked by minions. Seems a couple of them found their way here. There is exculpatory information of the TIGHAR theory on their own site. They ignore it instead of addressing, and clarifying it. I do believe that by utilizing their resources the site has become an excellent repository of public record information that may help lead to the eventual resolution of the matter. They also help keep the discussion alive. If you throw out the more outlandish theories, you are left with the “Crash and Sank”, and “Gardner Island” theories. The truth may be somewhere in between.

    • Aaron says:

      @Jeff: Thanks for the conclusory statements. Since this is an intellectual discussion, do you care to support anything at all that you’ve stated?

      “There is exculpatory information of the TIGHAR theory on their own site. They ignore it instead of addressing, and clarifying it.” What is this mystery exculpatory information that you speak of?

      “[Y]ou are left with the “Crash and Sank”, and “Gardner Island” theories. The truth may be somewhere in between.” It seems you’ve come up with your own theory. Please, do tell.

      • Anonymous says:

        Aaron, It’s an intellectual discussion?

        “What do all you moron skeptics think now? Thought so.” That certainly is a very intellectual remark.

        I don’t intend to outline every piece of information for you, but I will talk about a couple of them. One of the pillars of the TIGHAR theory is the “recent habitation” quote from Lambrecht’s report of his fly over at Gardner. Friedell left this information off of his report quite obviously because he did not agree that the information was relevant. Lambrecht was later interviewed and said the signs of habitation he was referring to were markers. There were British/ Australian surveys conducted on Gardner in August of 1935 and February of 1937, both prior to Earhart’s flight. TIGHAR is aware Friedell left the “recent habitation” comment off of his offical report, they know what Lambrecht said, and they know about the surveys. They do not address them. They just don’t talk about them. They use the “recent habitation” quote because it is provocative. That is exculpatory information.

        The thing I like least about TIGHAR’s theory, not to be confused with the original theory of a Gardner landing, is that is relies upon a synical view of incompetence of virtually everyone involved in the matter. From the point of last contact, to the search, to the examination of the bones they claim were Earharts.

        The radiomen on Howland said Earhart was right on them. They could tell because of her modulation and strength of signal. TIGHAR says she was not, she was 80 – 100 miles away.

        The official report of the Colorado search determined there was no one on Gardener. TIGHAR claims they just didn’t see Earhart or Noonan who were on the island. Nevermind that the pilots and observers who were with them didn’t see the 33 foot long airplane with a 55 foot wing span, It must have just been pulled of the reef without leaving a trace of debris that would have been readily visible to the pilots/ observers. Also nevermind that in the event the plane was pulled off the reef, there would have been a large oil slick and a floating debris field from the planes contents. There would also have been debris from the plane wreckage in the surf around the island at the time it occurred, not in a mysterious photograph that surfaced 75 years after the fact. Of course, the pilots and observers were not competent enough to have simply done their jobs and reported their findings as Friedell did. They were wrong just as the radiomen.

        The bones found on Gardner, first the skull by the islanders, and then the other bones found by Gallagher were examined by a doctor and determined to be those of a man. Again, the doctor who actually examined them was wrong. Another doctor, who did not examine the bones, but measurements of the bones said they could have belonged to a woman. The fact that 11 crewman from the Norwich City died there and four of them were not recovered could not be the expanation.

        To your last remark about my having a theory. I said the truth is probably somewhere in between. In other words, there are probably elements of both theories that are correct. Crash and Sank theorists do not believe radio transmissions were possible. I think there is considerable evidence that there were radio signals. Gardner theorist believe the plane landed and then later sank. It may have landed and transmitted from somewhere, and then sank. I don’t have a theory that starts at the end and then attempts to locate information that only supports that ending. That is not a valid approach to an investigation.

      • Jeff Martin says:

        Aaron, I don’t intend to outline every piece of information for you, but I will talk about a couple of them. One of the pillars of the TIGHAR theory is the “recent habitation” quote from Lambrecht’s report of his fly over at Gardner. Friedell left this information off of his report quite obviously because he did not agree that the information was relevant. Lambrecht was later interviewed and said the signs of habitation he was referring to were markers. There were British/ Australian surveys conducted on Gardner in August of 1935 and February of 1937, both prior to Earhart’s flight. TIGHAR is aware Friedell left the “recent habitation” comment off of his offical report, they know what Lambrecht said, and they know about the surveys. They do not address them. They just don’t talk about them. They use the “recent habitation” quote because it is provocative. That is exculpatory information.

        The thing I like least about TIGHAR’s theory, not to be confused with the original theory of a Gardner landing, is that is relies upon a cynical view of incompetence of virtually everyone involved in the matter. From the point of last contact, to the search, to the examination of the bones they claim were Earharts.

        The radiomen on Howland said Earhart was right on them. They could tell because of her modulation and strength of signal. TIGHAR says they were wrong, she was not, she was 80 – 100 miles away.

        The official report of the Colorado search determined there was no one on Gardener. TIGHAR claims they just didn’t see Earhart or Noonan who were on the island. Nevermind that the pilots and observers who were with them didn’t see the 33 foot long airplane with a 55 foot wing span, It must have just been pulled off the reef without leaving a trace of debris that would have been readily visible to the pilots/ observers. Also nevermind that in the event the plane was pulled off the reef, there would have been a large oil slick and a floating debris field from the planes contents. There would also have been debris from the plane wreckage in the surf around the island at the time it occurred, not in a mysterious photograph that surfaced 75 years after the fact. Of course, the pilots and observers were not competent enough to have simply done their jobs and reported their findings as Friedell did. They were wrong just as the radiomen.

        The bones found on Gardner, first the skull by the islanders, and then the other bones found by Gallagher were examined by a doctor and determined to be those of a man. Again, the doctor who actually examined them was wrong. Another doctor, who did not examine the bones, but measurements of the bones said they could have belonged to a woman. The fact that 11 crewman from the Norwich City died there and four of them were not recovered could not be the expanation. I could go on…

        To your last remark about my having a theory. I said the truth is probably somewhere in between. In other words, there are probably elements of both theories that are correct. Crash and Sank theorists do not believe radio transmissions were possible, and the one’s heard were hoaxes. I think there is considerable evidence that there were credible radio signals. Gardner theorists believe the plane landed and then later sank. It may have landed and transmitted from somewhere, and then sank. TIGHAR does a disservice to their own theory by repeatedly saying there were no other radios that could have transmitted from the area. There were, not only the amatuer radios on Howland and Baker, but also on Hull.

        In any event, I don’t have a theory that starts at the end and then attempts to locate information that only supports that ending (more commonly known as a result oriented investigation). TIGHAR is too invested in their own theory to accept anything else.

  48. Jim T says:

    This is not an accurate report. Amelia Earhart’s last transmission stated that she was on line 157-337. That does not necessarily mean she was near Howland. Secondly, the United States Government photo analysis dept., stated that the photo that you refer to is indeed a landing gear for a 10 e Electra, which is the very aircraft Amelia was flying. A third point is that there was villager accounts in the late 1930’s of airplane wreckage on the flat reef surrounding Nikumaroro. I invite you to find another missing plane in the south Pacific during the 1930’s There is none. Keep in mind.Nikumaroro is indeed along the line 157 -337. Howland is as well. There were post loss radio signals that originated from Nikumaroro’s location. Not to mention that similar aircraft have successfully landed on flat coral atoll’s. It is documented and a fact. Did you Mr. Dunning, even realize that a huge area of sea floor around Howland has been explored, to no avail? Do you know the name of the organization who did so. Have you read there reports? Would you believe the professional photo analyst in Washington? Have you had any luck finding another missing Aircraft in the South Pacific, previous to Earhart’s disappearance?

    Keep in mind…. Nikumaroro was uninhabited until October 1939. Amelia went missing on July 2nd 1937. Nikumaroro is considered to be one of the harshest environments on Earth. No fresh water at all, poisonous sea life, Dangerous surf, scorching heat, coconut crabs the size of a bowling ball, and it is just south of the equator.. The Navy did not search for her on Nikumaroro until 6 days after her disappearance. The pilot flew at about 1000 feet and said he saw signs of “recent habitation”. Nikumaroro had been uninhabited since the late 1800’s. Watch the you tube video of the Nikumaroro aerial tour. Notice how difficult it is to see someone on the beach, even from 500 feet. Any luck finding that other lost aircraft in the south Pacific yet? It would have to be prior to 1937….

    • Dave says:

      Drink the coolaid
      You just repeat the same OL
      The photo of the so called Landing gear is just total pure BS
      and Hillary’s or the State Departments part in this deception has not be determined yet
      Drink, Drink

    • Jeff Martin says:

      Jim, See my response above. You are forgetting the crew of the Norwich City who lived on the island for a month before being rescued, 11 died there, four were not recovered. There were also surveys conducted on the island in August 1935 and February 1937. The markers that they left were the recent “signs of habitation” Lambrecht was referring to.

      • dave says:

        1. The state dept did not endorse or confirm there was a picture of landing rear. That is a myth promoted by the master of ceremonies himself, Ric Gillespie. Ric claims he showed the photo to some “friends” who said it looked like landing gear to them. Problem is there is no report of that. There never will be a report, and it was all supposedly off the record. Look, believe this nonsense of Tighar if you want, but question everything they say and double check it twice. It’s all spin and lies to keep a business alive. Namely paying for Gillespie’s house and lifestyle. It’s almost a cult.

        If you question why there were no clothing and plane contents found in 1940 when,when Gallagher was searching the island, you get banned from their site. Yet they allow a deluded billionaire named Tim Mellon to claim he has found Amelias bones, clothes,, housekeys, belt, bra, everything on the plane underwater where it has been for 75 years. Nevermind the total illogic that any clothing would be gone after that long underwater. Mellon gives tighar millions of dollars so anything he says goes. Look at his lunatic ramblings today on Tighar where he is spotting control boxes, seats, all kind of BS, and everything he shows is coral.
        An old senile man Tighar is fleecing out of millions.
        Gillespie knows these are rocks Mellon is looking at, but he allows it because it means Tighar gets another check.
        I could make a book of lies and total fabrications by Tighar.

        It is a Scam charity organization.who spin every item and fact into a lie to entice newbies to the cult. All in the hope of getting another fish to donate to them.

        • Jim T says:

          Hello Dave, This is another example of skeptic opinion. Can you show how TIGHAR ( a non profit organization) is a fraud. I am curious. How much money has been spent on the 7 trips to Niku. Is Tim really a Billionaire? Really? I did not no that. Figured he had money, but a Billionaire?? From what I see TIGHAR welcomes skeptics to there web sight and forum. Constructive criticism is a healthy part of debate. They do not kick folks out for questioning there ideas. That’s total BS.. There’s lots of skeptics that participate in sound discussions. You Dave, should go on the forum yourself. Ric himself may even reply to your accusations you left above. You have obviously been there already. READ the EVIDENCE!!! This is not brain surgery…

          • Dave says:

            We don’t even vist the site any more as there is no free exchange and anyone who voices an opinion that is not in agreement is removed or blocked (put under supervision
            Many have tried to help those on the site understand the faulty information on the site, to be removed
            Don’t question the wizard or OZ will show you to the door

          • dave says:

            yes tim Mellon is a billionaire. If you cannot even google the man and his family, then why pretend you know much of anything? He is the direct grandson of the family patriarch and his father was friends with the kennedys.was a billionaire. Now how much Tim Mellon has squandered is unknown. But his trusts are extensive includinging rail roads, ect.

            As far as welcoming critics? LOL.
            Myself, Heath smith, Malcolm Mckay, and a long list has been banned, and it was not for being rude, it was for being a skeptic of basic evidence. Read how many locked threads Ric Gillespie closed in the last 6 months, Read the leaders own words when things got too close to the truth. He loves to speculate, he will speculate AE used clam shells to collect water in, but if you bring up the fact there was a Norwich lifeboat she could have used as a water cistern, he doesn’t want to hear that. When some questioned his tidal charts, and realized there was no way the plane was washed away, he said “well we have revised where the plane was parked”. I am not kidding. Then promised ANOTHER report that has yet to come out. In the early 90’s he speculated the plane washed into the lagoon,well they searched the lagoon and found zilch. So then they changed it to washing over the ledge, where once again they have found zilch. In 1995 he had AE camping on the East side of the Island, now it’s the West side of the Island. It changes every few years when it becomes apparent they are looking at old coast guard and village debris. Look, don’t take my word for it, read their archives, where they find something new and exciting every few years. In 1994 they held press conferences around the world proclaiming aircraft skin was found from the electra.
            Their own newspaper had bold print-
            WE DID IT!!!

            . In 2000, that was quietly dropped. The shoe evidence was loudly pronounced as evidence as a European woman, and now even Tighar admits it’s likely not even a man’s. Read the behind the scenes reports from Joe Cerniglia, their PR and glass guy where he has a fragment of a bottle and then decides that this bottle needs to be “feminine” for quote “visual persuasion and donations”. It’s all in their records. READ!!!

            It’s been going on two decades with no results and its amazing they still sucker people.
            Actually Gillespie at the current time is betting all his cards on Tim Mellon. Mellon financed the last trip almost exclusively. The $25 donations are not there to make a trip, nor are corporations falling for this crap any longer.
            So Tighar at the current really rests on how long they can get this senile Tim Mellon to continue to pay Ric Gillespie’s bills.

      • Jim T says:

        Hello Jeff, I have read your previous reply. You seem very knowledgeable on the subject. The Norwich City wreck occurred in November of 1929. There were indeed 11 dead crew members, which gives us an idea of how violent the environment is on Niku. Especially when there turbulent weather. The survivors of the Norwich city were only on the atoll for 5 days. The SS Trongate rescued them, with the help of 6 native islanders and there whale boat. As a matter of fact they would not have been able to land a skiff on the beach for rescue, without the expertise of the natives. You can read the journals of the marooned men online.

        On Feb 15th 1937 the HMS Leith came to Nikumaroro to place a flagpole, proclaiming it the property of his Majesty the King. In October of 37 Bevington, Maude and 19 Gilbertese islanders explored the island. On to November of 1938, A New Zealand Pacific Aviation survey crew of 15 men came ashore. In December of 1938 settlers were brought to the atoll by Maude and Gallagher. That leaves a 3 month window from the time of AE’s disappearance and Maude and Bevington’s visit.

        I am not saying that it an absolute fact that AE and FN were castaways on Niku. However there is alot of evidence that makes it plausible. It seems all the skeptics are the same, there facts or what they think is fact is not.. For instance you say the Norwich crew was there for a month.. That’s just false.. Read the documentation. You say that TIGHAR claims the bones found are Amelia’s. Once again your wrong, TIGHAR has just said these bone measurements conclude that it was a European female. There is no other missing white European women that went missing in the South Pacific. And then Jeff you write that TIGHAR does not mention all the visits to the atoll in 1930’s. That is completely untrue, Just plain false!!!!! I recommend that you read and search on the TIGHAR web sight and or Forum. There is nothing hidden Jeff, All of the information is supplied for us there.. So much I bet you cannot read it all in a month.. Get the facts right.. TIGHAR will welcome your skepticism to the forum. It’s intelligent folks such as yourself, that help create sound discussions and arguments on the issue of AE.

        And finally, Jeff do you realize that Lambrecht flew over Niku 7 days after AE’s disappearance. Can you imagine the things that can happen in 7 days on a flat herd coral reef fringing a atoll? You do realize that at low tide the reef is dry, at high tide it is submerged.. One of AE’s engines would have been used to charge the batteries for radio transmitting, at low tide. Go look at the tide chart and the work that TIGHAR has put into that. Coordinate that information with the post loss radio signals. Are you absolutely sure that there would be oil slicks present 7 days later? from a small aircraft?? Really?? You do realize that any plane wreckage would not have been visible during high tide? The villagers stated it was visible at low tide. Did you know Jeff, that Niku is obviously very close to the equator.. HOT as hell!!!! the local fauna changes the landscape constantly. The signs of “recent Habitation” that Lambrecht mentions is more than likely not months old. The hole “marker ” comment is false.. Lambrecht later mentions that he was confused with another atoll. Jeff, read the evidence.. I assure you it is ALL!!!!! on TIGHAR’S web sight. They are not hiding behind anything. It is ALL there.

        • Dave says:

          To your comment
          “You do realize that any plane wreckage would not have been visible during high tide?”

          The tide is approximately 3 feet. So at low tide the shelf is exposed, and at high tide it is covered. Therefore it would be logical even if a plane were in the worst location it would be in around three feet of water which just cover the tires. Now if the plane was landed it would make sense to get as close to shore as possible and even taxi onto dry beach.
          The plane would be visible at all times

        • Jeff Martin says:

          Jim, When TIGHAR talks about Gardner, they do just what you did. You first said it was uninhabitted since the 1800’s. Then, when I gave you specific facts which demonstrate it was, you argue about the length of time, and downplay the specific evidence regarding the markers. My statement was not completely false. You are no longer arguing that it was uninhabited. The false statement was that it was uninhabited since the 1800’s. In fact, you knew of the 3 parties I mentioned when you said it was uninhabited. The Norwich City offers a plausable answer for the bones that were found. My immediate recollection was that it took a month to get the survivors off of the island. If it was 5 days as you said, that’s fine, eleven still died there and four bodies were never recovered. All were male. To suggest that TIGHAR is not saying the bones were Earharts is rediculous. Your statement regarding no other females being reported missing is wrong. It is also irrelevant. The bones were examined at the time, and determmined to be male. The bones have never been examined by a doctor retained by TIGHAR.

          The information I provided regarding the placement of the markers and Lambrecht’s statement that the “recent habitation” referred to the markers is true. The pilots had the ability to land at Gardner had there been signs someone was currently there, just as they did at Hull. Please quote the statement or link where Lambrecht changed his story as you said.

          The plane debris would have been visible in the surf regardless of the tidal condition; debris floats, and moves with the surf. Yes, there would have been substantially more oil associated with the engines on her plane as they used a large quantity of oil. Your statement that an oil slick would not be present 7 days later contridicts your position that Earhart broadcast from the reef for several days at low tide. The plane was not pulled off the reef and therefore the oil not in the water until the broadcasts stopped. So the oil slick did not have to be present for 7 days now did it? You can’t have it both ways.

          All of the other remarks you made about it being a hot, harsh environment, local fauna, etc have no bearing on the tangible factual aspects of this matter. There has not been one tangible piece of evidence associated with Earhart, Noonan or the Lockheed found on Gardner.

          • Yoda says:

            Not even so much as a match stick has been found at Niku that ties back to Earhart. You have one tiny blotch on an old grainy photo declared to be landing gear of an Electra and that is all you have. If you were looking for Sasquatch on Niku that blotch would have been his corpse that no one happened to see despite being there for days. Wake up and smell the java, you have been had.

          • Jim T says:

            Hello Jeff, I really do thank you for sharing your info with me. It was my mistake to say that Lambrecht had made a mistake signifying markers being on Gardner. At first he said there was stone walls, he then later corrected himself and said that it was “markers” that he saw. Here is the link for info.. I stand corrected. Thank you for making me realize my mistake. The markers were possibly from the visit from the HMS Leith. You also make a good point about the oil slick and the post loss radio signals. Keep in mind, the post loss radio signals lasted for 4 days. IF!! the Electra was broke apart 4 days after it landed on Gardner That would have given AE 4 days of low tide conditions, to possibly run her engine to charge her batteries to transmit distress calls. IF the plane was broke up, then Lambrecht MAY have not seen any aircraft debris, at high tide. He searched Gardner 7 days after the disappearance.. Would there be a oil slick 3 or 4 days after break up? I don’t know..

            TIGHAR has indeed had a Forensic Anthropologist, .. re examine Dr. Hoodless’ report. Dr. Hoddless’ report is the only surviving evidence of the bones left, as of now, As far as I know. Check this link out It will clarify her findings. In her opinion the Dr. Hoodless’ measurements signified the remains of a European female. Why would a surviving member of the Norwich be at the opposite end of the island then the survivor camp was? The bones were found well over a mile from the Norwich survivor camp. Here is a link Jeff to the documented facts after the Norwich City wreck. … Actually you will find several accounts of the wreck.. You said that my comment was false of no other female being missing in the area. Where is that info? can you please supply it. There also was no other missing aircraft in the area, other than AE at the time.. But Villagers reported seeing aircraft wreckage on the reef. ??

            As for the habitation point you made, I absolutely do understand what you are saying. When I previously mentioned “Habitation” I meant People actually living on the Atoll Jeff. The visits to Gardner were brief, as far as I know. Show me other wise.. My point of the Fauna and environment on Niku is that it probably does not take alot of time for the fauna to reclaim obvious habitation signs. The kind of markers Lambrecht saw were not specified. Perhaps they were survey markers. That seems most logical. who knows. You know Lambrecht flew at about 400 feet. watch the Niku aerial tour on you tube. Check it out.. I am not in anyway stating that AE sor surely died on Niku. I am just stating that I have read alot of evidence that points to it being very plausible. As I mentioned in a earlier comment.

          • Jim T says:

            @ Dave. I apologize, I did not google Tims name, didn’t feel it to be nessacary. I do understand, and realize that many in this thread have been on and read tighars sight a lot!! I’m just a curious person researching AE. What do you think happened. Or shall I say what is the most logical outcome, in your opinion.

          • Jim T says:

            I really wish my other comment in moderation was posted. Jeff, another missing female in the area is rellevant my friend. And YES!!!! TIGHAR has had a Forensic Anthropologist examine the bone measurements, (the only surviving evidence of the bones) Her name was Dr. Karen Burns. Phd. look it up.. Dr. Hoodless in FIJI was the first to examine the bones. he concluded they were from an islander, Dr Burns concluded the bones were from a European female. Don’t know what your opinion is, but medical knowledge has advanced since 1940, which is when the bones were first found and examined by Dr. Hoodless. Not to mention the advent of the computer, to put the numbers into. A prime example of false info.. You say in a previous post “The bones have never been examined by a doctor retained by TIGHAR.” Just not true..

          • Jeff Martin says:

            Jim, The link you posted recounts a letter from Fred Goerner to Tom King in October of 1991. Lambrecht had long since died and did not make those statements. Goerner, who was very old himself, confused the two islands. He later corrected himself.

    • Dave says:

      Please publish the report you have referenced

      “Secondly, the United States Government photo analysis dept., stated that the photo that you refer to is indeed a landing gear for a 10 e Electra, which is the very aircraft Amelia was flying. ”

      Sorry have looked at this photo in detail and do not believe anyone at the state department positively identified the so called object as landing gear.

      Do believe a clever game was played going to England and taking two weeks to get a new camera shot of the photo to keep the story going, as well as everything else that was done

      • Jim T says:

        Dave there is no report from the State Dept., Mr. Gillespie has said TIGHAR was told by the State Dept. that in there opinion, after analyzing the photo they believed it to be a landing gear from an Electra. I have asked skeptics on this forum for proof of another missing plane in the South Pacific that coordinates with the timeline. I have seen nothing. Nor have I heard any other evidence that discredits TIGHAR’S theory. I don’t know about you Dave, but i am inclined to believe the State Departments remarks. Even if they are coming from a second party.. (Mr. Gillespie) Are you telling me that Mr. Gillespie is down right lying about what the State Dept stated about the picture? Really? could he even do that? Really? No Dave, I don’t see that my friend. How is that possible? How could the State Dept allow such false information in such a public domain??? C’mon Man!!!!

        When you speak of a clever game, I don’t know dave. Go on the TIGHAR channel on you tube and check out Mr. Gillespie, and Mr. Glickmen getting a copy of the Bevington photo that you speak of. It blatantly shows them respectfully getting and capturing the photo in the archives. Clever game? see for yourself….

        I tried to post a comment with links for people on here. It is still in moderation. I may have made a mistake while attaching something on the Norwich wreck. If so then I apologize to the moderator of this thread. I made a mistake in one of my last posts, I stated that Lambrecht changed his position on seeing markers on Niku, I was wrong!! I had to reread some information that I had read months ago. At first Lambrecht stated that he saw “stone walls” on Niku, he then later changed his statement to “markers”. That was my mistake and i apologize.

        Dave, you know i recently read a thread on TIGHARS forum. There was a fella questioning the State Department’s analysis. Mr, Gillespie himself responds to it. Check it out.. I guess if you had a photo, and the state dept. offered to analyze it for you, there analysis would be bogus. You can argue, Well why the hell would they not document it for Mr. Gillespie? And to be honest, hell if i know!!! But if i was Mr. Gillespie, I would take them at there word. You wouldn’t? Once again I must ask, How could Mr. Gillespie lie about that, without the State dept. getting involved? I personally believe that Mr. Gillespie is sincere, I mean damn, how much time, effort and money has TIGHAR contributed the the Amelia Earhart mystery??? Hello!! look at there web sight. You can learn more about Amelia Earhart there than anywhere else on the planet!! Hey fellas… where is that skeptic evidence?? I have tried to post links for folks on here.. been in moderation for 2 days.. Sorry.. Who is the other missing female in the South Pacific? Any other missing planes?? C’mon now.. Teach me.. I respect all of your opinions, and feel it is good to have constructive, and respectful debates.. Anyone got the smoking gun to debunk TIGHAR’S theory….. Oh…. OK..

        • Jim T says:

          And Dave, who cares if they were in England for two weeks.. Are you kidding me?? That’s a joke, and none of our business.. They could have family or friends there. Geez…..

      • Aaron says:

        Jim T – It’s no surprise to me that these people do not even believe the US State Department. These are the same conspiracy theorists that believe September 11th was an inside job, the government caused Hurricane Katrina, and they’re hiding UFO’s at Area 51. The United States must be in on the scam with Ric Gillespie. Right, Dave?

        • Yoda says:

          Does the supposed photograph that claims to show not only a landing gear, but a “1937 Electra landing gear” (as declared at the State Department conference) really rise to the level that it deserves the attention of the State Department of the U.S.? Isn’t it more appropriate to compare it to the investigation of the Loch Ness Monster (or Nessie) as the blotch on a photograph was referred to for several years? Another example might be the investigation in to Big Foot, you know, like the one that the photo analyst contracted by TIGHAR published on his own? Even the photo analyst will only go so far as to state that it is “consistent with” a landing gear from a 1937 Electra. There are lots of declarations out there and nil proof of anything of substance.

        • Dave says:

          No problem believing the State Department. Your references to other events and 911 are over the top.
          Please reference or post any report from the State Department on this photo.
          Have heard reports of what the State Department said, but have not seen such a report.

          • Jim T says:

            Jeff this should be your “final response” Because you are not understanding.. Look at my above link on Lambrecht. It was finally moderated and posted. You are down right full of it my friend I am sorry. Lambrecht did indeed say he saw stone walls, then later changed his statement to markers. Look at it.. Supplied it for you.
            As for the bones. I thought that we both understood that the cast away bones were lost!!! I was referring to the documented bone measurements that Dr. Hoodless in Fiji made. Perhaps I worded it wrong, I mean c’mon man, I said earlier that the measurements were the only surviving evidence of the bones, And it is just that Jeff, EVIDENCE!!!! not proof.

            My point about the Villagers accounts, of aircraft wreckage being on the reef. Is simple.. I have asked you… What other plane was lost in the south Pacific in the 30’s??

            Jeff please read my above comment that was moderated, The links are there. I have not stated one time that Niku is surely AE’s final resting place. I am just staing the obvious, and that is TIGHAR does have circumstantial evidence that it is plausible. July 2nd 1937 is when AE went missing. October of 1937 is when visitors came to the island. That’s 90 days or there abouts of being on a waterless atoll. AE probably would not have lasted long IF she was there. Poisonous fish, Dehydration, and sunburn are just a few things that could have done her in..

            I was unaware that Mr. Glickmen endorsed a known hoaxed bigfoot photo or video.. Ha.. I look forward to researching that. And your right Jeff, there is no documentation from the state dept. on the Bevington photo. My point is this as well, How could the State Dept. allow TIGHAR to claim they analyzed the photo? Really?? Hey guys….. Wheres that other plane?? Oh Ok……

  49. Aaron says:

    Jim T – You have done a nice job of summarizing some of the key facts and evidence that clearly point to TIGHAR’s castaway theory on Niku. As you’ve seen, this page has sadly become somewhat of a hang out for TIGHAR forum castaways (no pun intended).

    They spew a lot of hate for TIGHAR (more appropriately Ric Gillespie) without offering any convincing or substantiated evidence to the contrary.

    I especially like the recent criticism of Tim Mellon. They label him a moron because he supports TIGHAR and the Niku theory. Never mind the fact that Mellon graduated from Yale. Never mind the fact that Mellon is the chairman of Pan Am Systems. Perhaps Mellon supports TIGHAR and Gillespie because of the overwhelming amount of evidence that supports their theory? Billionaires don’t become billionaires by blowing money on unfounded claims and bad investments. There’s a reason he’s eager to fund TIGHAR’s research projects. How many of you have donated your own money to the “crash and sink” theory? I thought so.

    The bottom line is most of these people hate Ric Gillespie because he has been on the forefront of the Earhart investigation for over two decades, has become the world’s leading expert on the mystery, has authored the most popular book on the subject, and founded and operates an organization that has been extremely successful in piecing this mystery together. When the media wants to talk about the Earhart mystery, they call one man – Ric Gillespie.

    How many of you have been to Niku? How many of you have been to the South Pacific? Don’t be jealous that Gillespie is DOING what you sit on the internet dreaming about. You weren’t banned from TIGHAR’s forums for exploring alternate theories. You were banned for criticizing without offering anything productive of your own. Earhart trolls.

    Every day TIGHAR and Gillespie move one step closer to definitively solving this mystery. While you are googling Gillespie’s funding stream, he is preparing for his next trip to Niku.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is up to Tighar to submit claims of evidence. Not the skeptics of Ric’s Carnival. The reality is after two decades, multiple underwater expeditions, and last summers hi definition underwater cameras, there has not be ONE EXAMPLE from either the plane nor its contents.
      If someone wishes to support Mr.Gillespie and his fantasies for the next 20 years feel free. However do no play loose with the facts. There has been no evidence found the plane was ever on the island. Now you would think an entire plane that was landed, and perhaps off loaded of gear during the week Tighar said it was parked, would have left a trace. It has not. Nor has the underwater searches found a single Airplane bolt. So much like Nauticos, Tighar has an unsupported hypothesis. Hate to burst some bubbles, but do your research and realize the hard truth, Tighar has no evidence of Earhart on Gardner.

      • gari says:

        It’s up to TIGHAR to provide evidence to prove their hypothesis.

        All they have is anecdote, and we have more anecdotes for AE and FN being in Japanese hands than on Gardner, I mean, all they have is some locals saying they may have sawn plane wreckage, whereas the Japanese captives hypothesis has the plane, intact AND visual sightings of AE and FN!!!

        TBH Dave Billings and his New England hypothesis has more evidence, in that he seems to have a WWII map relevant to the area he believes the plane came down in, with Electra details written on the map, and witnesses that claimed to have seen a plane that may have been the Electra, but it is still not good enough for me.

        I do find it amusing that the least ‘evidenced’ hypothesis, Gardner, is the one getting all the publicity and funding.

  50. Jim T says:

    Well said Aaron, I agree. I have not googled Mr. Gillespies funding stream, nor have I googled Tim. I feel it is none of my business. There will always be skeptics, and as you mentioned previously none of them have evidence backing there claims. They say TIGHAR is stealing from folks, I just can’t buy that BS. How much money has TIGHAR spent going to Niku? Lord know’s, I imagine LOTS!!!!!! I personally support TIGHAR because it is my prerogative, and I believe they are sincere. I can see why one would be booted off of the form for not supplying proof for there accusations. I have personally read many of post on the forum from skeptics, and to be honest I have noticed that alot of times Mr. Gillespie himself will respond to them to clarify his points. I respect that!!!

    • Jeff Martin says:

      Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, there are only one set of facts. I said in my first post that I thought the TIGHAR website has become an excellent repository for public record information, and credited them with helping to keep the discussion going. There are others involved as well. TIGHAR has never stolen anything form me, and I do not participate in their discussions, so I have never been booted from their site. I can look at the information objectively and form my own conclusions. There is much information TIGHAR has not gathered or has disregarded because their only interest is proving Earhart ended up on Gardner. If you have any desire at all to be objective, then you have to investigate the facts independently.

      Both the Gardner and Milli theories rely on anecdotal evidence. What it comes down to is they were just the closest islands Earhart could have come down on without being seen, and there the mystery continues. There is no more evidence that it was Gardner as opposed to Milli, and there is no tangible evidence that she landed on either one. No airplane, no Earhart and no Noonan. That is saying a lot when you consider the size of the aircraft, loaded with equipment, 2 large engines, the 12 fuel tanks, etc. You would think a some of it, even a single piece would have been discovered. This may lead one to believe that it sits somewhere in one peice or in a small debris field.

      • Jim T says:

        Jeff, you say- ………”There is much information TIGHAR has not gathered or has disregarded because their only interest is proving Earhart ended up on Gardner. “……….. Where is it Jeff? I am curious about the info you speak of. I mean seriously man, 95% of what you said in your last post is addressed on the TIGHAR forum, and the other 5% is probably on there. I just haven’t read it yet. What information regarding Amelia Earhart, has TIGHAR disregarded?? I want to read it. You make an excellent point of saying ” You would think a some of it, even a single piece would have been discovered.” Maybe so, but that is just speculation too.. I know two things The State Dept. and Mr. Glickmen, (who’s credentials are impressive) concluded that the Bevington photo was an Electra landing gear. For two, there are villager accounts of aircraft debris on the reef. Speculation as well? maybe.. but sure does make TIGHARS Niku theory plausible to me.. Not even to mention the seven sight..

        • Jeff says:

          FInal Response.:
          “At first Lambrecht stated that he saw “stone walls” on Niku, he then later changed his statement to “markers”. That was my mistake and i apologize.”

          Lambrect never said there were stone walls on Gardner. The stone walls were on McKean. What you are misinterpreting is a statement made by Goerner about Lanbrecht.

          “The bones have never been examined by a doctor retained by TIGHAR.” Just not true..

          Surely you understand the difference between examining the bones, and reviewing measurements. The bones have never been examined by anyone associated with TIGHAR. That is a fact. They can therefore not be classified in any regard.

          “95% of what you said in your last post is addressed on the TIGHAR forum, and the other 5% is probably on there.”

          Information on the forum is not posted in the press releases or on the Discovery show. Balance of information is what this article is about. It is what this discussion is supposed to be about.

          “there are villager accounts of aircraft debris on the reef. Speculation as well?”

          There are “villager” accounts in Saipan which involve eyewitnesses to Earhart, Noonan, and the airplane being there. There are US servicemen accounts of the airplane and Earhart’s personal documents there as well. There are also eyewitness accounts of Earhart’s execution. What is your point?

          Anecdotal accounts are not evidence.

          Bone measurements are not evidence.

          “Recent habitation” was identified as markers, and there was a prior survey in which markers were left.

          The island was inhabited prior to the Earhart disappearance and 11 people died there (those are the known ones).

          The island was inhabited for 25 years by an islander colony and a US servicemen base before TIGHAR ever set foot there.

          There has never been one piece of tangible evidence located on Gardner associated with Earhart.

          The only information about Gardner consistent with anything in the Earhart Mystery is that it was on the line 157. There was insufficient fuel to fly there. If they did attempt to fly there, there was radio silence the entire flight. She never attempted to tell them she was there either before landing or after.

          This list could go on to address every piece of metal or shard of glass found there.

          Presumably, they will go there again in 2013. They will find nothing and I predict it will be their final trip. The Earhart plane will be found; however, not on Nikuromoro.

          • gari says:

            Jeff, I think you pretty much slaughtered them with that post, but, as with all cults, logic has no influence on their thinking.

            I would like to add that the 157 LOP isn’t actually a neat line that runs from Howland to Gardner. Gary LaPook, pretty much as close to a master celestial navigator today as we can get, has said on his website and in TIGHAR’s forum, concerning AE and FN, that the LOP is actually not a straight line over the distance concerned, but actually a curved line forming part of a large circle. It actually passes a long way north and east of Gardner, so following the LOP would take them away from Gardner, even IF they had fuel to get there.

            You are spot on regarding anecdotal evidence, in fact with the larger number of people reporting AE and FN in Japanese hands and even possibly being executed, this majority anecdotal evidence makes the Saipan etc prisoner scenario the winner!!

            As said, not one piece of evidence links to AE, FN or the Electra being on Gardner. Experts can be wrong both the original bone examiner or the reader of runes that examined the file data, could be in error, no one at TIGHAR has mentioned this, the fact that the original examination may have been wrong too. We need the bones, without them talk of what the report means is irrelevant.

            Any of the artefacts are not unique to the Electra or the crew, and any of them could have gotten there from visitors or action of the ocean. TBH, even if they found AE or FN on the beach, it could just as well had been washed there by the ocean.

            Finding that beautiful piece of metal, the Electra, is, for me, the only way we can possibly know its fate, and maybe, possibly, that of the crew too.

            As said elsewhere, TIGHAR is yet to actually recover a single aircraft in over two decades of looking, one should wonder why with many candidates out there.

          • Jeff Martin says:

            Gari, I’d be interested in reading the information from Gary LaPook regarding the LOP. Do you have a link? Thanks.

          • Aaron says:

            Gari says: “[N]ot one piece of evidence links to AE, FN or the Electra being on Gardner.”

            Hey Gari, you’re obviously not very knowledgeable on the subject, so I would suggest you start reading here:


            I would list all of the material evidence that directly links Earhart and Noonan to Niku, but I don’t have a spare five hours to sit at my computer and spoon feed it all to you. The evidence is there.

            Unless of course there was another American female pilot with freckles that made a brief impromptu pit stop on Niku in the late 1930’s without anyone knowing about it. That makes perfect sense, right?


            Do a little homework, will ya?

          • Aaron, it may behoove you to read a little bit of the thread, and the full Skeptoid article that preceded it, before posting Gillespie’s delusional “evidence”.

          • Aaron says:

            Gari: “[T]he LOP is actually not a straight line over the distance concerned, but actually a curved line forming part of a large circle. It actually passes a long way north and east of Gardner.”

            Wrong. Completely wrong. Please stop spewing made up fictions to try to prove your own theories.

          • gari says:

            @ Jeff Martin; my apologies for not getting back sooner.

            Gary LaPook has written a lot about the LOP to Garner fairy-tale, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind links to his site concerning the subject, and hopefully Mr Dunning is OK with links to a factual and knowledgeable source on the topic.

            First link:

            “Why it was not possible to follow 157° LOP to Nikumororo”


            Second link:

            “The myth of the “sunrise” LOP”


            Mr LaPook has a lot of interesting information on that site, hours of reading, much of it he has also posted on TIGHAR’s forums, but the Niku cultists there aren’t exactly accepting it, probably because it is counter to the alleged freckle cream jar and revisionist forensic report on a now ‘vanished’ skeleton.


            @ Aaron;

            I have read the TIGHAR information and keep returning to the site for new ‘evidence’, one thing I will say, is that TIGHAR has a good centralized a repository for much of the AE/FN event evidence.

            What I have said above is NOT my theory or hypothesis, better minds than mine take credit for that.

            You guys are pretty much like a medieval a cult, where ‘apostates’ should be stoned for being unbelievers. I have read the Gardner hypothesis, and, for me, NONE of the ‘evidence’ can be tied exclusively to NR 16020 or its crew, and that is IF any of the evidence actually IS what you folks say it is. The alleged freckle cream jar has no consensus that it is such a receptacle, and even if it was, it is NOT linked to AE.

            You don’t need to spoon-feed me anything, I have been able to eat solids for a very long time, why do you people always assume that detractors of your fairy-tale haven’t read the information TIGHAR has on it? Many people have read it, and have a different opinion as to the conclusion it points to, especially with so much contradictory evidence.

            Why can’t you people see that the LOP is NOT a straight line over the distance to Gardner? Read the links I put above in this post, see if you can ‘get it’.

            Enjoy your delusion, for me there is as much chance of Gardner being correct as is Dave Billings ‘New Britain’. More sucker money will be thrown at Gardner, and I predict more ‘evidence’ will emerge, something like ‘These old coconut shell halves are consistent with Amelia’s bra size, and were used as a bra…” perhaps, or maybe “The ash in the fire near the Norwich City, is consistent with the ash from Mr Noonans’ favourite brand of cigarettes.”.

            I think the cult is so ingrained in you good folks, that when/if someone finds NR16020 on the bottom of the Pacific in the future, you’ll be saying they landed at Gardner, made repairs and took off again.

          • Jeff Martin says:

            Gari, Thanks for the link. A very good explaination of the LOP debate. It makes it clear that in order for them to have found Gardner, the Sun Line would have had to originate with Gardner, not Howland. Of course TIGHAR’s postion is they drew a line and just followed it Gardner which makes no sense as they could not have known it was there. Their objective was to find Howland, and they believed they were in the vacinity when AE said “we must be on you”. I liked Gary’s example of how people use the LOP in everday life finding a Starbucks or whatever they are looking for. I would take it one step farther.

            I have, as I am sure most have, been driving and looked down at my gas gauge and realized the low fuel warning light was on. I am in an unfamiliar area, and need to find gas before I run out and become stranded, so I start looking for a gas station. I stay on a main road in the city, and as I pass each intersection, I look both ways to see if there is a gas station visible, and if I see one, I turn and go there. I keep this search up until I find a station. If I come to the edge of town, and can see nothing ahead, I turn back, and find another main road and continue my search. I do not go down a country road where no civilizations is visible, and I am certain to run out of fuel if I travel in that direction.

            The same would be true of a search pattern that a pilot might execute if he/ she were lost and without GPS. The idea that they would head toward an island 350 miles away that they did not know was there simply unrealistic. As Brian Dunning has pointed out, the Gardner theory could only be true if they flew directly there from Lae. They could not have found it otherwise.

          • gari says:

            @ Jeff,
            No problem, just sorry I took so long to get back to you.

            Yes, Mr LaPook certainly has very good analogies to try and explain what he means, this is why, for the life of me, I can’t understand why people can’t follow it.

            I have been in a similar situation to you regarding gas, and solved things pretty much the same way, and it was certainly not a district I would have stopped to ask lol

            For me FN was aiming for a spot on the map, like he always did, maybe he didn’t get good celestial fixes, for sure they asked Itasca for fixes and were trying to do the reverse, so maybe they thought they should have been at Howland, and found that they weren’t.

            I can’t see why FN would have just carried on for a few hours in a direction where he didn’t know land existed, even if he had the fuel. Even if he knew there was land on the alleged 157, he couldn’t find Howland, so he was lost, if your lost you can’t make your way to a known point. So for me, he wouldn’t have continued on 157 whether he knew land was there or not, that is a huge piece of water!!

            I still believe in splash and sink, I see Dave Billings has posted here about New Britain too, I find that idea more interesting than Gardner, if what I read is correct, then there is a bit of a mystery there, whether it was NR16020 or not that those ‘diggers’ found in WWII.

            The whole NR16020 tale fascinates me even more as time goes on, even if we find the airframe, in any condition, maybe it will always be a mystery why it happened.

        • Anonymous says:

          get the facts s stright.
          Gillespie has produced NO STATE DEPT REPORT. THERE IS NOT STATE DEPARTMENT REPORT. THE STATE DEPARTMENT has not formally endorsed the bevington photo as a landing gear.
          There is a huge difference in Ric Gillespie getting some off the record comments(from unknown people), and getting a formal endorsement. All the state dept did was look at Mr.Glickmans “enhanced” photo and said it could be a landing gear. However, others such as Bill Roe, decorated fighter pilot with CIA contacts, and state department contacts said this whole sorry episode was a clinton PR deal, that no real photo analysts agreed with Gillespie.
          BTW Tighar’s photo analyst is the same guy who certified a known fake bigfoot was real and weight 2 tons. THe hoaxer has since confessed.
          BTW, Tighar’s photo analyst lists on his resume “forensic examiner”, but is listed on no forensic groups website, nor has ever attented a school for forensics. He is a computer programmer who has built a flair for publicity and bigfoots into a small business of photo interpretation.

          Regardless, find the plane Tighar. They have had 23 years. No a part has been found. If suckers wants t send Ric Gillespie money until he dies, like PT Barnum said, “there is a sucker born every minute”
          Give your money to Tighar.
          It’s a scam.

          • Yoda says:

            The question surrounding what was supposedly said by the State Department can best be captured by a statement from Bob Ballard. On Youtube, search for “Dr. Ballard endorses TIGHAR”. Skip forward to 3:43 in the video. The statement from Ballard was that analysts at the State Department were handed the Bevington Photo, the original one obtained from the library captured at 600DPI, not the one later captured with a high end digital camera, and “without knowing what they were looking at, determined it to be a landing gear from a 1937 Electra”. Now if this were the case, why would the State Department not stand behind that with a formal statement? Why is it that TIGHAR’s own photo analyst will not go further than saying “It is consistent with landing gear”. Personally, I think it is all fiction and that is why you cannot find anyone to stand behind the statement uttered by Ballard.

  51. A number of commenters have said that the island had been largely uninhabited. Not true, about 100 people had actually lived on the island in various settlements and stations, and it had been a camp for pearl divers who would stay there for weeks at a time for about 150 years. I went into more detail about these in the full episode on the subject:

    • Dave says:

      On the topic of the photo
      There is the strange detail that is not being taked about by anyone

      The original photo is very small approx 1 1/2 – 2″ square
      It would be impossible to see anything of the so called object at 600 dpi. There was much conversation about the state department looking at the 600 dpi photo, go review all of the conversations and statements, it was stated over and over.
      We have a very high resolution scan of this photo and our resolution of the object is better is as good as anything published
      So the question is, what is the truth and objective of the players repeating the 600 dpi figure which is simply impossible
      The lying and deception about this photo
      Is large.

  52. Yoda says:

    “Breaking News…

    On April 26 Jeff Glickman and I will be at Rhodes House, University of Oxford to get a much better copy of the Bevington photo than we’ve had to work with to date. Back in 1992, Pat took copy-photos of Bevington’s collection when we visited him at his retirement home in the south of England. After Eric died, his papers and photos went to the Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Oxford. In 2010, we asked the library to scan the image for us to get better resolution. The best they could do was 600 dpi but that was a big improvement over the copy-photo. Now we’ve made arrangements for Jeff to get the best image possible with the best available technology. Our hope is that, with a better image, we can show the public what the experts have been seeing. It’s one thing to ask people to “take our word for it” that the blob in the photo is the wreckage of an Electra land gear. It’s another to be able to show them the tire, the mud flap, the strut, the worm gear, etc. Of course, a better image may show the object to be an abandoned cement mixer, but that’s a risk we’ll take.

    Whatever we’re able to get from the high-resolution image will be revealed for the first time at Jeff’s forensic imaging presentation at Earhart Search 75.”

    • Dave says:

      See what we mean,
      The whole trip to the university in the UK was to get a photo to, improve on the existing 600 pdi photo was total BS

      Go read all of the comunications around this trip and it’s relation to the state department so called findings

      We received a very high resolution file of the photo from the same university with leaving home for a $50 fee
      Not traveling to England to two weeks, etc

      There is real story behInd this 600 dpi photo crap

      Let the truth be known

      • gari says:

        Dave, it’s a cult, ever been to their forum? SMDH

        They find an object and immediately try and link it to AE or FN, it reminds me of the religious types over the years who find an old bit of wood, that becomes a bit of Christ’s cross, or a bit of old linen with an image on it, that must be the image of Christ.

        They immediately speculate and assume, I would love to know how they sell their evidence to their ‘experts’. Do they just walk up to them and say “Hey, what do you make of this?” or do they say “Hey, do you think these bones could be Amelia Earhart” or “Do you think this could be a photo of an Electra’s landing gear?” Do they ‘prime’ the expert?

        No neutral, rational observer can look at any of the evidence and say it has any relevance to the Electra’s disappearance.

        I do wonder what they will come up with next “This crab shell has marks that are consistent with a European woman gnawing on it.” or “This piece of old wood, is the remains of a dug out canoe Fred Noonan cunningly fashioned using pieces of the Electra as tools.”

        I would truly, really, love for the Gardner hypothesis to be true, I want this mystery solved, it’s bugged me for years, I want the Electra found, wherever it is, BUT, I see no evidence for it on Gardner or anywhere else.

  53. Anonymous says:

    To all interested parties:

    I have posted my theory here on the outcome of the AE/FN World Flight back on September 10, 2012. I am a simple couldn’t find Howland, ditched and sank person. As a pilot flying open water routes, I’m quite comfortable with that belief as all of the information pulled from actual historical reports of the time support it.

    I guess because I have an interest in all things aviation I find it impossible to not occasionally sift through the various AE sites, including this one, to see if there is any new light to be shed on the mystery as to where the plane rests, which I happen to believe is about 20,000 feet down on the bottom of the Pacific. On this site I am always amazed at what some people take for “factual information.” Accepted as fact – bones were found that came from a woman of Europeon decent. This was concluded by a researcher looking only at the medical examiner’s report, not at the actual bones and reaching a totally different conclusion. Accepted as fact – the island had been uninhabited prior to the World Flight. Not true. Read historical record of Gardner Island habitation available on the web. Humans, both men and women have been all over that island before and after the flight. Accepted as fact – radio calls were heard all over the world hours after the aircraft had to be down. Truth is that most of the radio traffic at the time was buzzing with AE news and her name was mentioned frequently. The majority of reports were officially found to be hoaxes or mistakes. Accepted as fact – aircraft had adequate fuel reserves to make Gardner Island. Not true according to Kelly Johnson, the Lockheed engineer and designer of the plane itself. This is the same Kelly Johnson who designed the U-2 and SR 71 spy planes. If I was going to accept anyone’s fuel calculations, they would be Mr. Johnson’s.

    My advice to anyone interested in seriously researching this subject is to read in this order; Elgen Long’s book, Ric Gillispie’s books and then visit the TIGHAR site and read and distill all of the evidence that they have collected. Then read the offical Navy and Coast Guard reports. Then lastly, read Amelia Earhart’s Shoes. This book was written by TIGHAR members and is an eye opening read for anyone interested in the body of evidence that TIGHAR has assembled.

    Take note; When looking at new evidence that is uncovered by anyone, “Consistent with” is not a statement of fact.

    If you look at everything that is available with a truly open mind, and if you can identify and see through hidden agendas of funding and ego, I think you’ll come to the same conclusion that I have. There really isn’t any mystery here other than finding the plane, which in itself is enough to keep me interested. The bottom line; An aircraft takes off for a tiny island in the middle of the South Pacific. The crew navigates close to the intended destination by C. navigation and deadreckoning but misses the tiny little island due to any number of simple reasons. (Small navigation error compounded by long distance covered with no end of flight ground fixes to confirm or tighten position, headwinds, low visbility, slight compass deviation, etc.). With malfunctioning or inoperative radio direction finding equipment and no two way radio communication, the crew has to resort to visually locating the island on their own. The aircraft had insufficient fuel reserves to make it to a suitable alternate and the pilot had to put it in. No mystery, no romance. Just a tragic ending for two fliers that almost got there.

    Rest in peace Amelia and Fred. We salute you for your attempt and we will find you one of these days.

  54. Ik says:

    Just checked the photo, omg. I thought it was a periscope (albeit in three foot of water)
    I found this amusing:

    • Dave says:

      FYI – The three feet of water would be at the edge of the shelf, toward the end of the large ship in the photo. So at low tide (approx. three feet total tide) the shelf is totally out of the water. You can use a CAD program (with high res scan) and determine the distance and therefore the depth of water where the object is in the water and its approximate size, With the best resolution of this tiny photo you can not determine what the object is, and with the 600 PDI used for the State Department and Ballard production show and tell, it is a complete joke

  55. Anonymous says:

    I just watched the 2009 movie for the first time, what a sad ending.
    Just a small note here, but the most intriguing thing AE broadcast before disappearing was her reported last word – “…wait.” Perhaps something important? Maybe what she said after that wasn’t particularly important, but if it was, I think I’d rather hear that then see them drag her plane parts out of the water. Alas the latter is still possible, the former, not.

  56. Since I have been mentioned in comments on this blog, I will make a few comments myself.

    I run the “New Britain Project” which seeks to find and aircraft wreck in the Jungle on New Britain Island seen in 1945 by an Australian WWII Patrol.

    Documentary evidence, written on a former Patrol Map used by the Army Unit found in 1994 (the writing was found in 1994) reads as “Ref: 600 H/P S3H1 C/N1055”. This cryptic string of letters and numbers identify the Earhart Electra 10E. The visual evidence of the wreck from the former Patrol members as described to me also fits with the wreck being the Electra.

    Astounding as that might seem, we now have a big problem to solve, for, if this is indeed the Electra how did it manage to fly back to New Guinea and crash on New Britain Island and what could have been the intent ?

    Earhart did have a Contingency Plan that she had spoken of with Gene Vidal, one of her business partners. The Plan, if she could not find Howland Island, was to turn onto her reciprocal (a “reverse course”) and head for The Gilberts, the 500 mile long chain of islands across her out bound track which would also be across her return track. They would be somewhat hard to miss.

    There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Earhart did reach Howland or anywhere lateral to the island. Descriptions of weather being “cloudy and overcast” did not bode well for the Navigation of the flight, which depended on Astro Navigation. After reading about Noonan and his previous navigation exploits, it seems to me to be very likely that if he had of obtained Astro, he would have found Howland. The HFDF she had was supposed to take a bearing on Itasca, not the other way around and maybe they were too far away from Itasca to receive a strong enough siganel to be able to do that. So, Navigation failed and so did DF.

    You can only search for so long on the available fuel. There has to be a cut-off point. With Earhart having a Contingency Plan, there would be a time where she said, “Enough, we head for the Gilberts.” I take the fuel running low statement to mean that the fuel was getting down towards her Contingency Plan level but had not yet been reached.

    The Line of Position, 157-337, could have been anywhere on the trackline between The Gilberts and Howland. My working of the wiond values is that overhead the Ontario of the half-way point, the wind at 10,000 feet was 35mph Easterly. July winds over the central Pacific are Easterly and are known as “The July Trades”. For TIGHARS hypothesis to work the degrees are in TRUE degrees and match the Sunline degrees for the right angl bearings from the sunrise azimuth of 067 degrees. But, aviators do not work in TRUE degrees they work in Magnetic degrees. If Noonan had told her to fly 067 dgrees M, on the way into Howland instead of the 068 degrees M of the course, then right angles to 067, also gives 157-337 but Magnetic, not True degrees.

    The wind was obviously stronger than the forcasted wind and they were late at the Ontarion and from the wind reports from Nauru and Ocean Islands and also from Funafuti, the wind was certainly stronger that day than the forecast they had received. Earhart said the flightb would take about 18 hours and we have them at 19:12 sayifn “We must be on you”, after two previous calls where mileage distance was given “approximately”. The “must” in the radio transmission, gives the game away, they were “lost”. They were late also before they reached anywhere near Howland.

    To completely ignore a previously laid down Contingency Plan and fly for hundreds of miles to the Phoenix Group does not make sense. Not knowwing exactly where they were makes it impossible to navigate to the Phioenix Group and to fly hundreds of miles down a single line would be insane. The best bet was The Gilberts, they lay across a return track and would be hard to miss.

    If she was closer to the Gilberts than she tought she was, she would not need “all” the Contingency Fuel. Whatsay she decided to fly on, knowing that Ocean Island, Nauru and Nukumanu were all within reach ? Fred Goerner reported that Nauru heard a call on 6210Kcs which was not heard by Itasca. The call was “Land in sight ahead”, made at 2200GMT 2nd July.

    For those interested in Fuel…..

    Page 37 of “Last Flight mentions that Earhart flew the Electra at 10,000 feet at 120 mph and was using “less than 20 USG per hour. This is in the text and in her own handwriting.

    Lockheed Report 487 confrims the above statement in a few places within the report.

    Report 487 also confirms that the SFC on the Electra could be run down as low as 0.42 but usually would be 0.44 to 0.46. Pratt & Whitney say that the normal SFC’s were 0.45 to 0.52.

    Commaqnder Williams made a Flight Plan for Earhart from ADEN to DAKAR across Africa, the distance being 4307 Statute miles anf the flight time 28 Hours and 40 minutes. The Electra could carry 1151 USG. On the Lockheed figures for a Long Range Flight, the numbers means that Earhart would have to carry 1267 USG and would also need a 10mph Tailwind. If Williams made a Flight Plan (which was for NIL wind) for this flight, did Earhart and Williams know somethign we don;t know ? Sounds like it doesn’t it.

    “Land in sight ahead” at 2200GMT…. If this was the Gilberts and Earhart had 220 USG left from her Contingency Fuel and a Tailwind of 25 mph, she can make New Britain. The tailwind was there…..

    Those that doubt the fuel figures, read Lockheed Report 487.


    David Billings

  57. Anonymous says:

    Sorry about the spelling mistakes, I was in a bit of a hurry

  58. gari says:

    @ vinedodgerDavid Billings lol

    Hi Dave, I’ve seen some of your photos, vine dodger is very apt lol

    I am a splash and sink guy, but I have read your hypothesis many times, and it does intrigue me.

    I think I got the veterans recollection straight in my head, and TBH if New Britain was nearer to Howland I would be very enthusiastic about it. A reverse course does seem a logical thing to do if you can’t find your target, and can’t stop to ask for directions, certainly beats travelling down an alleged LOP and hoping to find land, in a huge expanse of water.

    Of course the fuel endurance question is pretty much key to the discussion, and there seems some anecdotal evidence that NR16020 may have been able to fly a little further than had been said by Mr Johnson. I know you have worked in the aircraft industry, so you know that safety is pretty much paramount, OK, in 1937 it was still in its infancy, but I ask myself, if I were Kelly Johnson, would I put a safety margin of such things as fuel endurance? If I said it could fly for say 2,000NM and my figures were off a few percent, such that more fuel was burned, and the plane fell from the sky at 1,900 NM, I wouldn’t be selling many more of those planes. Plus, as far as I can make out, no one actually flew that plane fully loaded, no stops, in an economic mode, so really the only figures we have relating to actual endurance are by AE herself. That said, it is heck of a long way back to New Britain, but there are more expert folks than I that have discussed the fuel figures, and they can’t agree!!

    The writing on the map is very interesting, but I guess it is the context of it appearing. As I understand it, no one really knows who wrote it down or when? I can see a situation where someone gets a call, and writes down the figures, but why the map? For me if the map was relative wouldn’t it have the assumed position marked upon it – I know the map isn’t 100% accurate, but I can only see someone writing those details down on a map, if they had marked the position, for, say, any other patrol that ventured that way. If that writing did appear in WWII, it is most interesting, even if it was just that some US officer knew the Electra was missing and just threw those numbers out there, just in case.

    Same for the veteran’s tale. I keep visualizing the event, as they move forward, it is a shame more guys in the patrol didn’t see it, for more observation evidence, but of course their priority was not to get shot by the Japanese!! The Lieutenant describing the cockpit area etc, and the WO describing the “Ugly looking rivets..”. The tag is also interesting, I have read your explanation for it being there, seems feasible, it is just a pity that we don’t have that tag anymore, for me that tag would be an awesome piece of evidence, I think that I read one of the supplemental reports was still missing, has that turned up yet? I haven’t visited your site for a while.

    Something that would puzzle me, if it were the Electra on NB, is why it crashed there, my understanding is that there was an airstrip at Rabaul at the time, why not land there? True Lae is kind of next on the list, so maybe they had fuel to get there, hence crashing after Rabaul, but why? Mechanical failure? Did the oil finally give out? If I remember the veteran’s reports, the propeller of the examined engine showed the plane crashed without power on at least that engine, and I believe the Electra was known to be difficult to fly on one engine, and virtually impossible if the failed engine was unfeathered, and NR16020’s props were not feathering types.

    If what the veteran’s say is true, and it was not a wind up – and I can’t see why it would be – it is a mystery in itself worthy of investigation, true I am a splash and sink guy, but if I had the cash I’d be throwing some in the direction of New Britain, just to try and solve that mystery; the map, the tag, the engine, the airframe, heck of a lot of work just for a hoax!!

  59. Response to Gari….

    I’ve tried posting this three times now….

    “Hi Dave, I’ve seen some of your photos, vine dodger is very apt lol
    I am a splash and sink guy, but I have read your hypothesis many times, and it does intrigue me.
    I think I got the veterans recollection straight in my head, and TBH if New Britain was nearer to Howland I would be very enthusiastic about it. A reverse course does seem a logical thing to do if you can’t find your target, and can’t stop to ask for directions, certainly beats travelling down an alleged LOP and hoping to find land, in a huge expanse of water.”
    The subsequent radio calls to the supposed last call at 2014GMT 2nd July might help in understanding where we are at when it comes to a return carried out by Earhart. Fred Goerner who did some searching in the late sixties and who wrote the book “The Search of Amelia Earhart”, wrote in his First Edition that he saw a signal in a U.S. Navy file that recorded Nauru Radio hearing “Land in sight ahead” on 6210Kcs. No one else heard this call. Goerner records the timing of the call as “one and three quarters of an hour after the last call heard by ITASCA”. This then would make the time of the call as 2200GMT 2nd July. On Nauru, it would around 9:30am, 3rd July. Now, “Land” in “Land in sight ahead” makes it a different phrase to “Ship or Lights ahead” issued from the Electra at 1030GMT on the 2nd July and the two GMT times are different. The Local time on the ITASCA was 1030 am according to what Goerner saw in the USN Signal and there may have been confusion into thinking this was the same call as the 1030GMT call but the times are different. It’s on Page 167 (?) of Goerner’s book (I recall). Also if Earhart and Noonan were in the vicinity of Howland they would not be calling “Land Ho !”, after one and three-quarters of an hour after turning back if it was Nikumaroro they were seeing, they would have another hour or so to go….. unless they really messed up and were way-way South of Howland.
    There seems to be some agreement that simply following a 157 line for a few hundred miles in the knowledge of “not knowing” exactly where they started from, is not a plan for sane people. I would call it “insane” to do that. It negates the very purpose of establishing a Contingency Plan and having an alternate to go to on not finding Howland. The simple: “Wadda-we-do if we can’t find Howland” question would have been asked many times before they even started out and Earhart and Noonan were no fools, they would have discussed this possibility….. it is not being “negative” to do that, to decide on an alternate. Airline Captains do it every flight.
    The Gilberts made more sense than the Phoenix Islands in any case as they were mainly uninhabited as against a friendly Government on The Gilberts and friendly people. The Phoenix Islands do not appear on their strip map and the 1936 NatGeo map they carried has them as “dots” with no inset larger maps showing Lat/Longs. So why go there ?
    If, on turning back for The Gilberts, with Earhart using her “Contingency fuel” and she had Cruise- climbed back up to 10,000 feet, then she would use about 60 USG in that 1 3/4 hours. It is now a situation where fuel counts, turning around and flying at low level would use too much fuel as they would need to look around when they did see land to find somewhere to put it down, to attempt to get it down with the least damage to both the aircraft and themselves. To end a flight in a crumpled aircraft trapped by the legs in the cockpit with no Medical assistance possible on a remote island is not anyone’s favourite scenario.
    Earhart would not expect to see The Gilberts for at least 3 1/2 to 4 hours depending on where she was in respect to the original Track line. In a swath of islands, Nikunau and Beru Island were the closest, south of track, Tabituea was on the trackline and Nonouti Atoll was to the north of track. With “Land in sight” being one of those, there would be a dilemna to answer: “We have used 60 USG of our fuel and we have 240 USG left (assuming that Contingency fuel was 300 USG)…..What do we do now ?”
    I have spoken to many pilots about “what they would do” in a similar situation. To a man they all say they would continue on to the next available landfall that had some civilisation if it was in range.
    In my last effort on this blog I wrote about the fact that the Electra could fly at 120 mph at 10,000 feet and only use 20 USG per Hour. Earhart said this herself when she had slowed down the Electra because she did not want to arrive at Wheeler Field on Hawaii, in the dark. It’s in the book “Last Flight” Page 37. However, despite this, experts who should know better, have said that the “20 USG per Hour is for each engine”, i.e; 40 USG per hour. The No. 1 TIGHAR says this also and he is billed as “the expert”. How can 40 USG per hour usage slow an aircraft down when the normal Cruise power setting at 10,000 feet is 38 USGPH which delivers 150 mph in still air ? It would in fact (40 USGPH) speed up the Electra when she wanted to slow it down.
    Lockheed Report 487 carries all the information needed to discover that at an AUW of 9500 lbs, the Electra requires a total of 253 Horsepower to fly at 120 mph “Velocity”. They say velocity because they mean True Air Speed. The SFC (pounds-per-hour-per-horsepower) that can be used of 0.44 indicates that for the 253 H.P., 111 pounds of fuel are required and for AVGAS weighing 6 pounds per USG, that equates to 18.5 USG per hour. So, Earhart was correct, Lockheed Report 487 confirms this. It also confirms that the “Horsepower Required” to fly at a certain Velocity, is for both engines (which makes sense), because the graphs in the report call for 620 H.P if you want to fly at 190 mph at 10,000 feet at an AUW of 12,900 lbs. You do not still get 600 H.P. sea level power from the same engine at 10,000 feet. The graphs are for “Horsepower Required from “both” engines. In that Report, the graphs and tabulations are there; for anyone to see for themselves. What I see in this failure to believe what the Electra could do, is that some people cannot read Performance Graphs and Tabulations and some Americans do not believe their own technology from the 1930’s.
    Based on what I have explained above and if the “Contingency Fuel was 300 USG and we say that 20 USG was unusable fuel, it means that the Electra can fly for 11 Hours at 120 TAS using 220 USG of fuel. 11 x 120 = 1320 miles in NIL wind conditions. It means that Ocean Island and Nauru were in range from Nikunau “NIL Wind”. From Tabituea or Nonouti, Ocean Is., Nauru and Nukumanu Atoll were within range, “NIL Wind”.
    What if the wind at 10,000 feet was a Tailwind (which we know that it would be in the month of July) and had a value of say 25 mph (which it had been the day before), because that would give the Electra a Groundspeed of 145 mph
    Nukumanu would easily be in range, then the Mortlock Islands, Carteret reef, Nissan Island and Rabaul, but they would arrive at Rabaul at night if they started at 2200GMT. Add on the 11 Hours and you get the limit of endurance at 0900GMT 3rd July. They had never been there and Rabaul’s location was not marked on their stripmap. Also Rabaul was still subject to volcanic activity and previous activity had devastated the town. 0900GMT is 7:00pm at Rabaul.
    Nukumanu is easily within reach, Bougainville, Buka, New Ireland are all within reach and so is Rabaul with its’ two main airfields, Lakunai and Vunakanau.
    “Of course the fuel endurance question is pretty much key to the discussion, and there seems some anecdotal evidence that NR16020 may have been able to fly a little further than had been said by Mr Johnson. I know you have worked in the aircraft industry, so you know that safety is pretty much paramount, OK, in 1937 it was still in its infancy, but I ask myself, if I were Kelly Johnson, would I put a safety margin of such things as fuel endurance? If I said it could fly for say 2,000NM and my figures were off a few percent, such that more fuel was burned, and the plane fell from the sky at 1,900 NM, I wouldn’t be selling many more of those planes. Plus, as far as I can make out, no one actually flew that plane fully loaded, no stops, in an economic mode, so really the only figures we have relating to actual endurance are by AE herself. That said, it is heck of a long way back to New Britain, but there are more expert folks than I that have discussed the fuel figures, and they can’t agree!!”
    Fuel and Weather were critical to the flight at the outset and remained so. There is recorded (but I have forgotten where) that Johnson’s brief when flying into a stronger headwind that was forecast was to “lean off into a strong headwind”. I have the Flight Manual for the Electra 10A and there is a page added in “Courier” font, which could only have been added post-WWII because Courier font did not exist before that. The page tells Pilots to speed up into a headwind. Lockheed Report 487 also advises adding 4 mph into an adverse headwind. Did she follow that, or did she follow Kelly Johnson ? They were late at the USCG Ontario and late getting “closer” to Howland. The speeds that we can deduce were not exceptional.
    From the SFO to Wheeler Field flight in March 1937, we can gauge that there were differences in the way that Earhart operated the Electra as against the Lockheed fuel consumption figures. I personally doubt the fuel figure of 100 USG burnt in the first hour. Earhart said she had “four hours of fuel remaining”, on arrival in HI but in examining that flight and what we do know about it, I came to the conclusion that she bettered the Lockheed figures by 10% in her operation of the aircraft.
    There was also the report by the Lae refueller that he: “Topped off all tanks before they left”. So she may have had full tanks of 1151USG.
    “The writing on the map is very interesting, but I guess it is the context of it appearing. As I understand it, no one really knows who wrote it down or when? I can see a situation where someone gets a call, and writes down the figures, but why the map? ”
    Correct we do not know “wh” wrote it, but it would have been someone in the same Army Company as the Company that carried out Patrol A1. As to the map being used, it was something to write on, I guess and a bare map edge makes a place to put notes. Done it myself on the edge of tactical maps in Borneo. On the 24 May 1945 (the date on the map) they were in the Brigade HQ area, waiting for a barge to transport them further up the coast. That’s when they were read the reply from “the Americans” about the engine. The Senior NCO, Keith Nurse had already said in his mind at the crash site, that “the string of letters and numbers” on the metal tag didn’t mean anything to him when he found the metal tag on the engine mount….. so that predated any suggestion that the American Army supplied the string of letters and numbers. Think logically… Would a U.S. Army Unit, on active service have details of Earhart’s Electra in the Intelligence Section ?
    “For me if the map was relative wouldn’t it have the assumed position marked upon it – I know the map isn’t 100% accurate, but I can only see someone writing those details down on a map, if they had marked the position, for, say, any other patrol that ventured that way.”
    Well, they could have put a position on the map but they didn’t know where they were themselves, not until the broke out onto a river and then they only knew it as a river that they had crossed the day before, but they still didn’t know exactly where they were until their guide found a track that he knew and pointed them in the right direction. When they then reached the coastal track they knew that the Unit’s base lay ahead but there was still a long way to go.
    “If that writing did appear in WWII, it is most interesting, even if it was just that some US officer knew the Electra was missing and just threw those numbers out there, just in case.”
    I think I have dealt with that, Keith Nurse saw the writing on the Metal Tag “when” he found it and saw it as a “string of letters and numbers” and as such determined that the Tag should be handed in with the Patrol report. What we have on the map is a “Reference” given in the U.S. Army reply, a “Ref:” to a “string of letters and numbers”, as in “Ref: 600 H/P S3H1 C/N1055” Logically, the string of letters and numbers is the same string of letters and numbers that Keith saw. Couple that with the visual description given by Don Angwin and Keith Nurse concerning the engine they saw, plus Ken Backhouse’s description of the wreck that he saw, including that the wreck was “unpainted and with no nationality markings”. Put two and two together…. I get 4. If you get 3 or 5, I can’t help you.
    “Same for the veteran’s tale. I keep visualizing the event, as they move forward, it is a shame more guys in the patrol didn’t see it, for more observation evidence, but of course their priority was not to get shot by the Japanese!! The Lieutenant describing the cockpit area etc, and the WO describing the “Ugly looking rivets..”. The tag is also interesting, I have read your explanation for it being there, seems feasible, it is just a pity that we don’t have that tag anymore, for me that tag would be an awesome piece of evidence, I think that I read one of the supplemental reports was still missing, has that turned up yet? I haven’t visited your site for a while.”
    They all saw the engine. It was only Backhouse who saw the airframe as he wandered off up the hill a bit as he could see a “largish” vine-covered mound. Neither the Tag or the SITREP 63A have turned up. Backhouse believes the Metal Tag was sent to the U.S. Army. It may be in a depository somewhere in the U.S. which holds records from SWPA. I agree it would be the clincher find I do not have the means to go looking for that as my pockets are sort of empty….. even if I knew where to look.
    “Something that would puzzle me, if it were the Electra on NB, is why it crashed there, my understanding is that there was an airstrip at Rabaul at the time, why not land there? True Lae is kind of next on the list, so maybe they had fuel to get there, hence crashing after Rabaul, but why? Mechanical failure? Did the oil finally give out?”
    As I say, their stripmap did not include Rabaul but they may have been shown Rabaul’s location while in Lae, as Pilots do, it may have been shown as an alternate if they had mechanical trouble or the way really blocked by weather on the way out. There were two large airstrips there (Lakunai and Vunakanau) and another rough field at Rapopo. The Project point is that they were most probably trying to get to Rabaul but by the time they passed between Buka and New Ireland it would be dark. Rabaul then, was only a small place and due to the Volcanic activity which had covered the town a lot of public facilities would not have been working, including lights.
    That brings me to the next Radio calls heard by Nauru…. At 0831GMT, 0843GMT and 0854GMT on 3rd July (6:31pm to 6:54pm Rabaul Local time), Nauru heard unintelligible calls on 6210KCs. Now, who would be airborne over the South Pacific at that time of night ? Who would be transmitting on 6210Kcs, an aircraft frquency ? The spacing of the calls reminds me of when I flew as a Flight Engineer and there were times then, where we as a crew would hear evenly spaced calls where one station was trying to raise another station. We would “relay” their message for them if we were closer or we would attempt to raise the receiving station and tell them that XXX was calling them. That’s what those three calls sound like to me. Maybe Earhart was trying to raise Mr. Twycross at Bitapaka Radio but by that time he would have shut down and gone home.
    Another two reasons why it matches the Electra returning in an attempt to reach Rabaul.
    Firstly: A few years back, I was introduced to a Mortlock Islander and I didn’t know why my friend was insisting that I speak to him The Mortlock asked my friend what did he want to know and my friend said, “Tell David what you told me the other night”. The Mortlock said, “What about ?” “Your Grandfather and what he told you he saw…” “Oh you mean the time that my Grandfather was the first person on the island to see an aircraft ?” That was what this was about.
    The Mortlock Islander’s Grandfather had seen an aircraft overhead the Mortlock Islands. There was no direction spoken of, just that the Grandfather was the first person on the Mortlocks to see an aircraft. I asked when was this ? The Mortlock said that his Grandfather saw the aircraft “well before” the time of the “Big Fight”. The “Big Fight” in Papua New Guinea parlance is WWII.
    Rabaul was the assembly point for aircraft being shipped up from Australia before the outbreak of WWII in January 1942. In the thirties aircraft were assembled there and then flown to Lae for the mining operations. It is highly unlikely that an aircraft would fly a round trip of 600 miles to the Mortlocks from Rabaul. No airstrip on the Mortlocks to this day.
    Secondly: A straight line drawn from Nukumanu Atoll, through the Mortlock Atoll, through Carteret Reef and continued on waestwards, passes fairly close to where we think the aircraft wreck lies.
    “If I remember the veteran’s reports, the propeller of the examined engine showed the plane crashed without power on at least that engine, and I believe the Electra was known to be difficult to fly on one engine, and virtually impossible if the failed engine was unfeathered, and NR16020′s props were not feathering types.”
    That is correct. It would be a nightmare to hold it together if both engines were out. The props would hunt between fine and coarse and also would go out of synchronisation, so the best thing would be to shove the Pitch Levers into Fine Pitch and leave them there. This would result in enormous drag and the Electra would have to be pitched down to maintain airspeed. Result would be a dive. From the size of the described hole, the wreck would have gone in steep but would have been delayed from hitting the ground somewhat by the branches breaking off as it went down through the trees.
    “If what the veteran’s say is true, and it was not a wind up – and I can’t see why it would be – it is a mystery in itself worthy of investigation, true I am a splash and sink guy, but if I had the cash I’d be throwing some in the direction of New Britain, just to try and solve that mystery; the map, the tag, the engine, the airframe, heck of a lot of work just for a hoax!!”
    In a response about cash, I always say the same “Every little bit helps”…. We are doing our bit and have spent our own money in the main but now, I will not go again without adequate funding, I can’t afford to put my own money in now. I am 73 and still working “in aviation”, it is about time that I retired and therefore, I will not have the dough to spend on this.

    • Yoda says:

      Waitt Institute Fuel Remaining:

      1) Computer flight profile modeling of data largely from Kelly Johnson and L487 data, also indicate the total fuel remaining would have been 160 gallons at 1912 GMT, or 4 hours endurance.

      2) Swenson and Culick’s analysis concluded that AE had enough fuel for 20 hours 38 minutes total mission time. Subtracting the known mission time of 19 hours 12 minutes, results in approximately 1 hour 26 minutes remaining endurance. This represents 57.3 gallons remaining at 1912 GMT.

      3) Our research, using a specific flight profile segment analysis technique, results in a total mission fuel burn of 957 gallons. Under the best circumstances AE should have arrived at time 1912 GMT with 123 gallons, enough for 3 hours 04 minutes endurance.

      I have also created a flight simulation and minute by minute database of fuel consumption. The result was no more than 125 gallons of fuel remaining. This would put Niku in range only at the most Southern range of possible error and it would have landed on fumes. Since the claim is that the radio was used for days, requiring the starboard engine to be running, the TIGHAR Niku theory is not even a possibility. This would also be about 436NM under an idea scenario to the Gilberts.

      This New Britain theory based on evidence that cannot be produced is much like the TIGHAR hunt on Niku. There are lots of stories from islanders, even from modern times where evidence was purported to exist yet it vanished.

      The simplest explanation is that they execute an improvised search pattern and either ran out of fuel in the process. They might also have had an accidental fuel starvation event as Earhart switched between the fuel remaining in the main wing tanks while desperately trying to spot Howland. At 1000ft, restarting the engines would leave very little time. This might explain why there was an abrupt end in radio communications.

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So far, I am seeing none.

      • Dave says:

        Am a pilot of 40 years and you thoughts make sense to me

      • Jeff Martin says:

        Agreed. There could be many more specific arguments raised as to why the New Britain theory was implausible, but what would be the point?

      • Yoda’s fuel figures are based on an average usage over the 19 hours and 12 minutes of 50.88 USGPH which is too high. That 50.88 average is even higher than the Lockheed figures. For 19:12, Lockheed figures give 47.3 USGPH. Other people say an average of 42.5 USGPH on a long distance flight.

        I don’t think Earhart and Noonan got within 200 miles of Howland due to wind and through the night with “cloudy and overcast” conditions, Fred fell back on deduced reckoning and this resulted in them being lost. “Approximately 200 miles out” and “100 miles out” half an hour later would have them travelling at 200 mph Groundspeed which is not likely and then the “must be on you” shows us that it was a hopeful guess.

        What we have is documentary evidence on a WWII map used by the Patrol and we have the visual description evidence from three trustworthy veterans from the patrol. Of the four I interviewed, one didn’t see anything and said so. The description of the engine cowling and the wreck itself should set minds working.

        Don’t ever associate me with Tighar, I am insulted.

        Well, I’m not going to argue the toss…… I’m fed up of putting the wreckage point across

        Take it or leave it.

        I don’t really know why I got hooked up into this thing anyway, I have plenty to do without worrying about two lost Americans.

        • Yoda says:

          The fuel consumption models were based on the Lockheed document, taking in to account the gross weight of the aircraft, altitude, and headwinds.

          If you read the 200 and 100 mile out statements very carefully, she said “will make noise at 100 miles out”. The Itasca assumed that this meant she was 100 miles out which was a mistake.

          I never associated you with TIGHAR, I merely stated that claims of evidence have been made, evidence that is now lost. This theory suffers from the same problems as TIHGARs Niku theory.

          You should not be offended when others do not accept a theory based on non-existent evidence.

    • gari says:

      @ “Vinedodger”.

      Thanks for that Mr Billings, the post kind of mixed it up didn’t it !!! LOL

      As I said, I am intrigued by what the ‘diggers’ found and the map, if true that is a mystery in itself, I find ‘lost’ aircraft an interesting study, I was reading recently about some American guy that spends his time looking for lost WWII airframes in Asia, from the days of them fighting the Japanese there, brings some form of closure for families. Then there was that P40 found in the Sahara last year, each loss is a tragedy, but only tales like NR16020 seem to get much attention, although that P40 made the headlines for a while.

      I guess I am as bad a many with the AE story, even when young I wondered about it, her and the Amy Johnson loss. Of course as I got older I ‘found out’ that AE was accompanied by FN on that final flight, and I have always thought it kind of unfair she got all the attention, they both died after all.

      I sometimes think about writing a book just about the NR16020 phenomena itself, some crazy folks out there to comment on, some guy claims he ‘channels’ Earhart’s spirit and that she told him where she crashed, but she doesn’t want the world to know where, she loves the notoriety, apparently Earhart was a bit of a ‘spiritualist’ herself!!

      So you’re 73 now? Wish my father had your drive, and hope I have it when I get to 73 too!! I can understand your interest in New Britain, as I said earlier, I find the ‘diggers’ story and the map intriguing, whatever the reality of their provenance, as usual though everything is about time and money!!!

      Enjoy your retirement!!

    • Tim Mellon says:

      The trouble with all of these theories about range and fuel exhaustion is that no-one knows what altitude profile was used on the flight, nor could anyone, even the pilot, have an accurate knowledge of the winds aloft (direction or strength) on that particular flight.

      It’s easy for us to arm-chair guess now. I’ve flown around the world twice with dual GPS and never been off more than 0.2 NM. All she had was ADF, with apparently insufficient training in its use, and perhaps lacked the proper antenna to make it functional.

  60. Well, I guess Yoda knows all then, no more to say….

    • Yoda says:

      Yoda has probably invested more time in to this study than most. If you are offended but the facts that is not my problem.

  61. Aaron says:

    I love how everyone on here thinks they’re an aviation crash expert. All you are is a Google expert.

    Now, leave it to the experts – TIGHAR is the only professional organization that has made any significant progress in the search for Earhart’s plane. They’re solving the mystery while the rest of you are all still arguing about fuel.

    By the way, TIGHAR just launched the Niku VIII Search Reference Kit for $100. You can order the Niku map and follow their developments as they plan and conduct their next on-location search.

    • So, by “solving the mystery” you mean “selling promotional crap.” In other words, doing the same thing as the Bigfoot and Nessie industries.

      • dave says:

        What has Tighar done in 23 years? found an old jar date in the ‘teens that isn’t remotely connected to Earhart? An old shoe sole that even tighar says isn’t Earharts? They have found exactly zero evidence.
        Tighar is a way to pay it’s founders house payment.

      • dave says:

        Anyone that wants to tell me what so called evidence Tighar has after two decades, I would be highly interested. The freckle cream jar has been discredited. It’s too old. The campana jar, No proof Amelia ever had or used Campana and it could have been and likely was from the coast guard station. Bird bones? The villagers ate birds at the seven site and the coasties shot birds there for target practice. Hence all the M1 cartridges laying around. I have followed that group closely. It’s a fund raising non profit that profits it’s founder who gives talks and tries to convince the gullible he is found the truth. Like some religious evangelist. The problem is they have no evidence, zero, zilch, nada, that Earhart was ever there.
        What you have is a Cult of Believers who support it’s founder, and once every couple of years they search an old coast guard station and bring back junk.
        It’s been going on for 20 years, this scam. It’s time it stopped or at least the media stop giving
        free publicity every time Gillespie calls.
        However the media isn’t interested in the truth, they want a fairy tale, and Tighar will give anyone a fairy tale for a dollar.

    • Yoda says:

      The last time I looked, the experts were watching a contributing billionaire see a pair of shoes in the sand and taping their mouths shut so that they could collect more money from the guy.

      • dave says:

        The last time I looked the experts were watching a billionaire see ROLLS OF TOILET PAPER, and a BANJO on the ocean floor. Also, Amelia and Freds Skeletons, Freds belt, Earhart’s sunglasses, Freds pants, on and on, laying exposed on the ocean floor for 75 years. Toilet paper and a Banjo from the Electra. I am not making this up. Did these experts tell the billionaire he was senile? Not hardly!!!
        Gillespie and paid experts, taped their mouths shut, and asked for more money from the guy.
        Yesterday, Tighar banned everyone who ever expressed any dissention. They said they were all trolls that were banned, which is BS. I know several people banned who were not trolls, they only expressed doubts about this so called “evidence”

        . It’s not a scientific organization folks. I wish people could realize it is like pro wrestling, it’s just entertainment and the leader and his wife who started Tighar need more money to pay their bills.
        Gillespie’s entire source of income is donations and speaking fees where he shows slides to believers at Applebees and hotels.

        Do your research on Ric Gillespie and Tighar. They have never found one part of the plane, or it’s contents, or any known items that belonged to it’s occupants. Period, end of story. They constantly claim that this item or that item “might” belong to Earhart, but have no proof.
        For instance on the freckle cream jar, they called up every news outlet in the world and said it was freckle cream, and Earhart had freckles, and no other European woman was there, so it had to be Earharts. Until you research it, and find the jar wasn’t made after 1920 in Clear color, they have no idea what was in the jar, and have no idea who dropped it.

        Remember this island has had constant people on it for 100 years. The Royal Navy was there a lot putting markers on trees, the New zealanders were there in the years before and after Earhart, there was a village of polynesians, and of course a coast guard station during WWII.
        It is quite easy to find junk there.

        It’s just a scam at this point, I doubt anyone but the looney and gullible believe this scamster or they should have their head examined.

    • Jeff says:

      I laughed out loud when I read this. I’m certain the moderator allowed this promotional post for the same reason. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery – TIGHAR has been in business for over 20 years. They have never recovered one single aircraft, and they are the experts?

      Aaron, please site one aircraft that the aircraft recovery experts have EVER recovered in their 20+ years in business.

      They have never recovered even one piece of tangible evidence associated with the Earhart plane or the aviavtors. All they HAVE recovered is money from uninformed, and gullible people who bought their sales pitch. They make their living promoting the Earhart search. It is contrary to their interest that the plane be found.

      Well, at least you have a sense of humor. Thanks for the laugh.

      • Aaron says:

        Oh, you laughed out loud? TIGHAR is a joke to you, right? And how much evidence have you collected? How many books have you published on the search? How many times has the national media called to take your interview? How many times has the White House invited you to Washington, D.C.? How many millions of dollars has been entrusted to you to lead your search? How many television networks have asked to follow you around with a camera crew? How many times have you been to the South Pacific?

        You all sound like the guy who sits on his couch with a beer watching a football game and says, “I could have thrown that! I could have caught that pass! I could’ve made that catch!”

        Just stop, you sound ridiculous. Go back to blogging about what you’re going to make for dinner.

        • Dave says:

          So because gillespie is a marketing scam artist with a slick presentation that has fooled investors and film crews that makes him credible?
          Try again.
          Bernie Madoff was just as good, met with politicians, got the confidence of thousands and fleeced millions on a dream.
          Gillespie and Madoff are the same guy basically.
          Both are scamsters.Both have nothing to show for the millions of dollars investors
          Trusted them with.
          Gillespie is good, he is not in jail.
          But looking at his shrinking members and shrinking speaking engagements maybe some of his followers are waking up after 23 years of no results.

          • Aaron says:

            “Gillespie and Madoff are the same guy basically.”

            “Gillespie is good, he is not in jail”

            Are you listening to yourself? You’re starting to sound a little loony.

        • Jeff says:

          Aaron, Your original post I said, “love how everyone on here thinks they’re an aviation crash expert. All you are is a Google expert.”

          You then said, “TIGHAR just launched the Niku VIII Search Reference Kit for $100. You can order the Niku map and follow their developments as they plan and conduct their next on-location search.”

          I laughed at your sales approach.

          However, you did not respond to my question. “Aaron, please site one aircraft that the aircraft recovery experts have EVER recovered in their 20+ years in business.”

          • Aaron says:

            I don’t know the answer to that question. On their website, they list two Douglas TBD-1 Devastators that have been located near the Marshall Islands. But I don’t know if they found them or are just working to preserve them. The same is true for a Lockheed P-38 Lightning in Wales.

            But I do know they are a small operation and nearly all of their time and resources are spent on the Earhart project. Until this project is complete, I don’t believe they would undertake the search and recovery of any other missing planes.

            I’m a lawyer and I have colleagues that have spent the past ten years on just a few complex litigation cases. Your question would be the same as assuming those lawyers haven’t accomplished anything because they only have a few cases to list on their resume.

          • Jeff Martin says:

            Aaron, Somehow, I think the point of this discussion is lost on you. You have said more than once, that someone should “prove Ric wrong”. As an attorney, I am certain you must understand that exactly the opposite is true. It is surprising that your knowledge as an attorney would lead you to refer so loosely to the “evidence” TIGHAR has compiled.

            The example you cited of your colleagues working cases in litigation for years is absolutely not the same thing as the investigation/ research of a Gardner landing. In litigation there is a process that is followed, and while cases can drag on, you don’t work exclusively on one case for years. You may do so initially, but not exclusively for years. As someone who has been involved in complex investigations for many years, I can tell you what TIGHAR is doing does not resemble an investigation. In an investigation, you must follow leads that move the investigation forward. Your process and methodology changes based upon your findings. If you interview someone during the investigation, you treat them as if you will never see them again. You obtain all of the information they possess while they are in front of you.

            If you search an area, you search it like you will never be there again. You do not return to the same area over and over again, and recover the same type of evidence. You take the time to recover what is there on the first search. There are issues, like spoliation of evidence, that existed on Gardner for 50 years before TIGHAR ever set foot there. People lived there, they dropped stuff, they lost stuff, the local fauna moved or carried things away. People died there. That aside, every time they leave, and then return to do the same all over again, their search is less credible for the same reason. I think in the beginning they legitimately believed a Gardner landing could have occurred. However, they found no direct evidence of it. What they are doing is similar to going to a landfill to look for the bodies of a missing man and woman, and bringing back objects that are known to be associated with a man or woman.

            I think most people would agree that the Earhart disappearance is a cold case. There has been no new evidence or breaks in the case for years. Not that all unsolved cases are cold cases. Cases are investigated based upon solvability. The greater the amount of credible leads and evidence, the more effort you put into it. Sometimes the information you have needs a fresh perspective, a different approach, different investigators to provide their impression of the evidence/ information, and where it should go. The information in this case does not point to Gardner. In fact, it points elsewhere.

            In this case, TIGHAR made the determination that Gardner was the location of the landing before they did the investigation. They repeat the same investigation methodology, even though what they have done in the past has been unsuccessful. Ahead of making each trip to the island, they hold up an item they contend is “consistent with” evidence as justification for another search, and they ask for money.

            I read the ad for the link you posted about the next trip. They are going to do it all over again. Divers; there have been divers all over the reefs around that island for years. I read a diary of one them who dove there in I think it was 2002. He said they (he and the group of divers he was with) were aware of the Earhart theory and they kept a keen eye out for anything as they conducted their study of the reef and below. They saw nothing. Many groups have been there over the years, and have found nothing. You can read about them, and watch their videos if you have an interest. TIGHAR has already used divers there multiple times as well. They have found nothing.

            They will dig and explore the island again. No doubt they will find more items consistent with people having colonized the island. After all, people did colonize the island. They will take manned or unmanned submersibles to search underwater; a true extravaganza. They used submersibles on the last trip, but there are more rocks to look at. As another post said, it looks like a scavenger hunt. I have my doubts it will happen this time.

            I don’t support one theory over another. In fact, I don’t support any of them. I believe there are elements of credible evidence in more than one, including TIGHAR’s, but nothing related to Gardner. In order for the ultimate resolution of this mystery to occur, there needs to be continued open discussion, analysis, and investigation. TIGHAR’s position, that the road in this investigation only leads to Gardner, is invalid. It is a result oriented investigation/ theory that began with the end. The information compiled that supports the theory is retained. Information that does not support the theory, regardless of its credibility, is discarded or discredited. I have never posted on the TIGHAR website, but I have reviewed thousands of posts through my own investigation. As an observer, I believe my characterization is accurate.

            TIGHAR has created a great website, a very nice repository of public record information, and an excellent catalogue of the radio signals(except for the credibility analysis). There are positive contributions they have made to the investigation. In my opinion, one thing TIGHAR has successfully done through their efforts is exclude Gardner as Earhart’s final resting place. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and welcome to discuss it.

  62. Aaron says:

    For all you hacks that want to know what TIGHAR has done over the past 20 years, go on Amazon and buy one of the books that have been published about their searches:

    Or continue to read and comment on unsubstantiated blogs like this one. While you’re measuring fuel consumption with your calculators, Ric Gillespie is ordering state-of-the-art search equipment and making arrangements for his eighth trip to the South Pacific.

    But no, you’re right. Maybe Ric should save himself a few million dollars and read your blog instead to find all the answers. Nice work, everyone.

    • Aaron, we understand that you are a big fan of Gillespie. Perhaps a supporter or colleague, I don’t know. But many people on this site, myself included, are professional scientists, historians, and researchers. We have a standard of evidence. Gillespie has failed to convince any significant number of aviation historians that his theory has merit, and the reason is that it simply lacks historical merit. Nobody denies that books and TV shows have been sold to promote him.

      Books, TV shows, and donations characterize bad science at least as much as they characterize good science. If pop-culture publicity was a significant factor in determining legitimacy, science would have been forced to accept the Loch Ness Monster and alien abductions decades ago.

      I am just trying to explain to you why continuing to promote his sales materials is unlikely to gain your position a lot of support in this particular forum.

      • Aaron says:

        I’m not merely promoting “his” sales materials. I’m citing the wide support Gillespie has in the scientific community, as well as the media and even the State Department.

        I’m well aware that this blog has become a hangout for cast-aways (no pun intended) and TIGHAR forum rejects to hash out their bitter complaints against Gillespie. But while you’re all talking about solving the mystery, he’s the one that’ actually doing it. It’s pretty easy to sit back and criticize his every move and try to disprove everything he produces. If he pulled up the Electra’s wing, you would all have a different explanation as to why it isn’t.

        As much as everyone wants to pick apart the long list of evidence he’s collected, he has presented a much more convincing explanation than the crash-and-sink theorists, which have provided… wait for it… absolutely nothing.

    • gari says:

      Aaron, in 20 plus years TIGHAR and its ‘experts’ have recovered exactly the same number of aircraft as I have, none, my effort, however, just required me living my normal life. I achieved exactly the same outcome without the need for selling books, lecture tours, donations, expedition member donations and ‘investigator’ courses paid by the gullible.

      I’d say my operation was more efficient, wouldn’t you?

      None of the ‘evidence’ can be linked exclusively to AE, FN or NR16020. TIGHAR have spent small fortunes and a lot of man-hours on a few beaches on Nikumaroro, if the same amount of effort were spent on other Pacific island beaches, I’m pretty sure similar artefacts would be found. Would that make them candidates for NR16020’s possible landing?

      Book sales and lecture tours don’t make the story any more true, Erich von Daniken, the late Charles Berlitz and David Icke, have all individually sold more books, written more than one title, and have had worldwide lecture tours, so I guess all their tales of ancient aliens and the like are all true, despite contradicting each other in many areas?

      If you folks could bring up an Electra airframe artefact with constructor’s number 1055 on it, or a R1340 S3H1 engine with either serial 6149 or 6150, then I’m pretty sure scepticism would fade away, but all the time you present ambiguous bits of flotsam and jetsam, a grainy photo or reinterpreted bone data as ‘evidence’, the scepticism, and perhaps derision, will continue.

      • Aaron says:


        Thanks for your thoughtful response. It’s very cute. I’d like to respond to two points.

        “I’d say my operation was more efficient, wouldn’t you?”

        No, I wouldn’t. Here’s a list of selected artifacts Ric’s team has recovered: Now let’s see yours to compare.

        “[I]f the same amount of effort were spent on other Pacific island beaches, I’m pretty sure similar artefacts would be found.”

        Oh, you’re “pretty sure.” I almost forgot that you all are “professional scientists, historians, and researchers” with “a standard of evidence,” as Brian Dunning put it. If you’re so sure, why don’t you go out and find these artifacts on those “other” islands and prove Ric wrong?

        • dave says:

          There is no way you are an attorney. What you said makes no sense at all. Go out and find these “things” and prove Ric wrong” That is stupid.

          This is not a scavenger hunt where the one who brings the most 1920 cream jars to a press conference is the winner.
          The hunt is for a pretty large Electra AIRPLANE.
          Ric has found none.

          Gillespie has no respect in the science fields. His “digs” are laughed at by one known researcher who posted there the last few years.
          Even Dr.King who Gillespie pays to write nice articles has serious problems with Tighar, and that is the BEST it gets.

          I give Ric credit for one thing, the genius to find an old coast guard station a few hundred miles from where Earhart splashed, and to search it every few years. He brings back junk, like the shoes he claimed were Earharts, he calls the media outlets, and they print word for word what he says. Then he quietly retracts his claims a few years later. ( like with the shoes, and the aluminum riveted skin, and the metal bookcase.. all items that Tighar called a press conference and told the world he found the plane, please send more money to help him bring back the rest)

          That must have been a shocker to even Gillespie.. Journalists now do not check leads, they repeat the same crap over and over, and if it’s a juicy “whodunit”, all the better.

          For instance I read on a history channel blog by a professional writer, that Gillespie had found a brand of Freckle cream that Amelia preferred.
          That this new evidence was exciting and was on the verge of solving this puzzle?
          What the write did not tell the readers was the following-
          1. Nobody knows if a freckle cream jar was even found
          2. The substance that was in the unmarked jar is unknown
          3. Tighar has yet to identify what decade the glass was made. It is probably around 1917.
          Earhart disappeared in 1937.

          I can do that for every single piece of evidence Tighar has.
          They have no evidence.
          But quite early Gillespie realized he could make a phone call and get a story printed. A story equals money in Ric’s wallet.
          The papers, and blogs, and websites don’t care if it’s an accurate story, what they care about is having something to fill space that gets readers.
          It is all very scummy, but that is the reality of media today, and Tighar is the master of it.
          How else to explain a guy who has lived quite well and not worked a regular job in almost 25 years, and has never recovery Earharts plane, nor a piece of her plane, nor for that matter ANY plane at all!!

          Yet Aaron thinks because he goes on a two week pacific hike once every couple of years and loads up a trash bag full of junk, that he has the respect of the scientific community and is doing a good thing?
          If Ric Gillespie simply was trying, but failing, and had an obsession, you could say well at least he is doing what he believes.
          I am telling you that he doesn’t believe it. He has told so many bold faced lies, and been caught in them on his own site, he cannot keep track of them all.
          He has promised documents he said he has and never produced them. He has said tests were done that were never done, he has made outlandish claims of Earhart camping all over the island.
          Serious researchers, like Lapook, archaeologists like Mckay, are banned until they “behave” or totally banned from Tighars site so only Gillespies view is shown, and if solid hypothesis proves him wrong, he will shut that person off in a second. (Just like his infamous quote about his power to shut off Amelia’s popularity like a water faucet, with a simple press conference)

          It is Gillespie;s perogative to have only his heavily slanted marketing view on his own site.
          But don’t act like this is an open discussion at Tighar. Far from it.

          It’s a business pure and simple and after 23 years they know they are not finding the plane on that tiny island or around it. It’s all been searched and double searched.
          But you probably know that since your last name is probably Gillespie or are one of his paid

          • gari says:

            @ Dave,

            Thing is, journalism has changed, many journalists today wear many hats, you can get a fashion correspondent also coving a science and a sport story in the same day, fields that used to be specialized, but today’s journalists are pumping out up to three times the copy as they used to a few decades ago.

            Years ago a hack would follow a story and check sources, and often a press conference was a chance for someone with knowledge of the topic, to ask questions. These days a press conference is often a printed publicity document, and a read out statement, and if there are questions allowed, the ‘chair’ often asks non-critical faces in the room to ask them.

            I see most press conferences these days as merely publicity events or a means of politicking and keeping yourself in the public eye, the holders of the press conference know the hacks are looking for copy inches, so provide the service. I doubt very much real investigative reporting goes on anymore.

            Even TV is in on it, a channel has to get bums-on-seats in order to gain advertising revenue, and don’t really care what they show, provided there is an audience, so we get documentaries about Nazi UFOs and ancient aliens.

            I haven’t visited TIGHAR for a while and had no idea that the likes of Mr Lapook had been banned, absolutely crazy, but totally expected. I never joined there, I thought about it, just to ask questions but I noted how people capable of independent thought were treated there or removed. I was always amused by one of the admin there telling people that ‘could’ve, would’ve and should’ve’ weren’t acceptable in any contrary hypothesis, yet were obviously terms used for their own hypothesis…’She could’ve made Gardner, would’ve carried on south and should’ve landed near the Norwich City’.

            I think things at TIGHAR have become almost cult-like and even if NR16020 were found anywhere but Nikumaroro, they would find ‘evidence’ that NR16020 had first landed there.

            I still can’t understand how any rational person can view their ‘evidence’ and still believe they are on the right track.

        • gari says:

          @ Aaron, alleged attorney,

          Yes, I would say that as my operation cost much less in time and finance, and also having achieved the same outcome, id est, I have not found NR16020, AE or FN, any accountant would say my operation was more efficient.

          As an ‘attorney’ I would have thought that you had some level or reading and comprehension skills and would have gleaned from my posts here that I am fully aware of the TIGHAR website and ‘artefacts’, although I stopped visiting in recent times because I got fed up shaking my head and face-palming at the lunacy that is allowed to be engaged in there, as long as it supports Nikumaroro, of course.

          Whether a scientist or a hobo on the street, the standard of evidence to PROVE that NR16020 landed on Gardner is the same, a piece of airframe with C/N1055 on it, or a R1340 S3H1 with either 6149 or 6150, pretty big pieces, should be easier to find than a freckle-cream jar don’t you think?

          Those TIGHAR artefacts could have belonged to any of over one hundred people that have lived or visited that island, in just the one hundred years prior to TIGHAR’s discoveries, ‘consistent with’ means nothing.

          What do you mean “…prove Ric wrong?” ?? I had no idea he had been proved right, my understanding is that all he has is a hypothesis, one that he needs to prove right, and so far he can’t do so, and I’m not holding my breath waiting, even a cetacean can’t hold its breath that long.

          Of course, the beauty with the Nikumaroro hypothesis, for its proponents, is that the likely location of NR16020 being somewhere deep in the Pacific, maybe in thousands of pieces, and so deep down, that it may never be discovered, recovered or even identified, means that anything artificial found on Nikumaroro can be claimed “consistent with….” for the faithful to have their faith reconfirmed, and the dollars to keep rolling in.

          I understand that recently the forum at TIGHAR has banned or removed dissenters to the ‘official’ line. Tell me, does that not sound like a cult or religion where non-believers are ostracised? Any valid organization should allow and encourage questioning inquisitive minds within it, for without them you have an unquestioned unchallenged hierarchy and dogma, where freedom of thought is suppressed, as in Catholicism and Islam.

          Here’s the thing for me, you come here and criticize sceptical posters for having a different view from yours, exercising a freedom that Mr Dunning and this site allows, a freedom that now apparently doesn’t exist at TIGHAR. If you can’t see the difference, then you must be on your way to being ordained a High-Priest of the temple of TIGHAR.

        • Roland says:


          Some of the items on your list (e.g. the first one, the navigator’s bookcase, are not Earhart-related; Tighar itself admits this. The provenance or even the identity of most/many other items on the list are unclear (as Tighar itself admits). Many ‘artifacts’ found by Tighar have turned out to be colonist or coast guard related. At least, you should pare down your list to the items that seem more plausibly linked to Earhart, who at this point we don’t know was ever on the island, than the colonists or US service people who we do know for sure were on the island.

          I see this as a key problem with Tighar–so much of the evidence they cite at best is linked to Earhart with considerable uncertainty, or can be linked to known occupants of the island with equal or greater certainty. When someone points out on the Tighar forum that the origin of particular artifact can be linked to these other, known island occupants, with at least as much cettainty as to Earhart, the typical Tigharian response is to argue that Tighar has found a whole assemblage of ambiguously Earhartean objects and so the exitance of this ambiguous assemblage argues for the particular object in question as being Earhart-related, This argument is then applied when the provenance of any other object in the assemblage is questioned. Circular reasoning at its best, or worst, depending on your viewpoint.

          • Roland says:


            I know you are having a rough day, but I am wondering if you are going to tell us which items on that artifact list you linked to in your response to Gari ( are ones you think are Earhartean. As I noted, the first item on your list has been disavowed by Tighar, and many others are, as far as I know, of unknown identity/provenance, according to Tighar.

            In your reply to Gari you held up this list as proof that Tighar was making progress proving the Niku hypothesis. Can you please tell us which items on this haven’t been discounted by Tighar, and which ‘artifacts’ are more than debris of unknown origine.

          • Aaron says:

            This is not my list, it’s TIGHAR’s. I cannot prove or disprove any of the items on it. I am not an archaeologist, I haven’t been to Niku, and I have not personally analyzed any of these artifacts. You would have to ask TIGHAR.

          • Roland says:

            Aaron, You hold up this artifact list to Gari as proof of Tighar’s accomplishments in one place, and yet to me you say that you have no opinion whether anything on the list is more than unknown debris, or non-Earhtean (according to Tighar itself).
            Do you see a problem, Aaron? I do.

          • Aaron says:

            I do think it shows TIGHAR’s accomplishments. I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. I’m not sure YOU know what point you’re trying to make. You’re really stretching here, aren’t you Roland.

          • Roland says:

            You continue to say the artifact list shows Tighar’s accomplishments yet you’re unwilling say which items on the list are more than unidentified debris, or have been dismissed by Tighar.
            This is the kind of argument that makes people skeptical of Tighar and its forum-ites.
            I think we’re done, Aaron.

  63. dave says:

    @gari, you are point on correct on all counts.

    It is up to Ric Gillespie to show proof, and not on the skeptics to prove anything.
    Also, I too have been struck by the religious aspect of Tighar. How it very closely resembles a cult.
    They have one leader who monitors all communication. He will cut off anyone from the group that expresses individual thought.
    The holy site is Niku, the Holy of the Holy’s is the seven site. only a select few priests have seen
    this holy land, and can comment on it’s features.
    Tighar has it’s own relics, and has pages of dissection about jars, old shoes, bottles, pieces of glass, bits of metal.

    More importantly they have the holy scripture. That is the Tighar Achives. Indeed it is an impressive historical library. There are diaries from occupants who lived on Niku, telegrams from almost every “major” figure in the Mythology. Transcripts of interviews with Navy Personnel, Islanders. Inventories and diagrams of the plane, and detailed analysis of every single sentence
    written by the characters involved in this mythological drama.

    This archive is the heart of the Tighar cult. The religious scripture is there in massive quantity, with clues to be found, and secretive wording that each reader can examine and solve.
    To seal the deal, the chief of the cult,is the only one really allowed to have the final opinion on what all this literature means, what leads it contains, and what insight can be gleamed from it’s pages.

    So while there is absolutely zero evidence Earhart was ever on Niku, That doesn’t matter to the believers.. There are the relics, the holy land, the scripture, and the priests (moderators), to keep the Naive and gullible on track and with open checkbook.

    It is a Cult. Right on.

    • Yoda says:

      Maybe TIGHAR could follow in the footsteps of success. I am thinking maybe a reality show set on Niku. The plot is that Fred and Amelia didn’t die, they found the fountain of youth and do not want to be found, they are indeed hiding on Niku in the bush. They could the have say four people walk around with infrared cameras and howl and scream for Fred and Amelia to give themselves up.

      • gari says:


        lol @ hiding in the bush, I had visions of AE and FN with that active camouflage the alien wears in the Predator films, strutting around laughing at the contestants, and throwing the occasional stone or slapping a branch or crab into someone’s face lol

        Could call it: “Amelia and Fred – alive not dead”

        We shouldn’t joke, there’s possibly a producer out there looking for a new program lol

    • gari says:


      I liked the parallels with mainstream belief systems lol

      As anyone emotional detached from the hypothesis can see, and as almost everyone here has said, there is no evidence that links NR16020, AE or FN to Nikumaroro. I have been to TIGHAR’s site and some of the people there seem to be pretty intelligent, with good careers, that I would have thought relied on critical thinking, it genuinely puzzles me why such weak evidence convinces them, but as we know, belief is heck of a thing to disprove.

      The Gardner folks seem to think we are just a bunch of petty naysayers, they do not seem to realize that we would like the mystery solved too, I would love for them to drag up NR16020 or associated engine and PROVE the plane is there, then we can debate the mystery as to why and how it got there, because fuel figures and common sense seem to indicate that it shouldn’t be. They seem to think that Gardner sceptics would even deny such airframe evidence, when in fact it is the ONLY evidence we will accept as evidence of the plane being anywhere, be it Pacific deeps, New Britain, Nikumaroro or Mons Olympus on Mars!!!

      • dave says:

        No doubt some of the remaining members of tighars are right out of the cult of purple capes and Nikes. Moderator Moleski, who is Rics’ chief enforcer and allows no information that is negative to the Niku hypothesis has publicly stated, that he is quote “tied to Ric in a metaphysical way”. You cannot argue with that, or state facts to someone like that. Moleski is a professor, I suppose intelligent, but cults have a way of totally brainwashing people over years.

        Ric and Tighars problem is there is not enough members left. They count everyone that has left as being members, but really it’s down to 3 or 4 old timers, especially after this last purge which wiped out anyone that even remotely questioned the validity of some of this so called evidence.
        Quite frankly, I believe they are broke, and unless Mellon or some other deep pocket investor steps forward we have seen the last of the Expeditions to Niku. Thank God.

  64. H.A.C.van Asten says:

    As soon as (2011) TIGHAR was informed about a series of articles in a European journal on navigation , the author was banned “not to expire” from the TIGHAR forum by a by them invented fallacy . The TIGHAR inner circle gurus know very well that the Earhart crew and airplane have never been at Nikumaroro : the maximum ferry range ex New Guinea was 2,740 statute miles for 20hrs14min endurance , After reaching the Howland vicinity via the shortest 2,556 SM path , 184 SM remained to go until fuel zero . The Howland to Nikumaroro (Gardner) distance is 410 SM .

  65. Tim Mellon says:

    My name Is Tim. I was a contributor to TIGHAR’s 2012 expedition to Nikumaroro, and went on the expedition as well. While the expedition produced no immediate tangible results, I believe my review of High Definition Videos of both the 2010 and 2012 expeditions in the months following my return leads me to believe that Mr. Gillespie’s theory is correct: NR16020 landed on the reef North of the Norwich City, sent radio signals for several days that were, in fact, heard by at least six unrelated individuals in the US and Canada, and then was swept off the reef with both crew members aboard, coming to rest directly West of the object noted in the 1937 photograph at a depth of approximately 985 feet. The airplane was not visible to Lambrecht, the Navy search pilot, who made several passes over the island on 9 July 1937, only a week after the Earhart landing.

    The very first dive of the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) in 2012 actually passed over and photographed the same debris field that was seen in 2010 and dismissed as simply being “Wire & Rope” from a passing ship. I cannot speculate as to why more careful examination and analysis of this debris field subsequent to the 2010 expedition did not lead to more careful planning and choice of equipment for the 2012 expedition. No mention of this debris was given before the 2012 expedition, save for the hype generated by the on-shore 1937 photograph and the press conference at the Department of State in Washington.

    I have posted many pictures of what I believe are aircraft components on various threads of the TIGHAR Forum, all of which may be reviewed by any “Guest”. The thread entitled “Summary of 2010 Debris Field” has a complete list of the components identified, including the two main landing gears and the tailwheel. As of 12 January 2013, Mr. Gillespie has chosen to curtail discussion of these pictures until such time as his forensic expert, Jeff Glickman, opines that one or more of them may show actual aircraft parts worthy of further investigation. Mr. Glickman has not been heard from for quite some time. I will not speculate here what motivates Mr. Gillespie to downplay the significance of potential evidence that might prove his theory correct.

    • Anonymous says:

      Tim, I am a member of TIGHAR, and the TIGHAR Forum and quite familiar with it’s postings. Take it from me this thread is mostly full of folks who claim to be scientist, and have a hate for TIGHAR. Trust me my friend read above.. They actually mention you in several post. They adamantly accuse TIGHAR of stealing folks money. They say that Mr. Gillespie is a scam artist, It’s a joke. They obviously don’t realize that Ric is probably the most knowledgeable person in the world, when it comes down to AE and FN. This thread may even piss you off sir.. It has me.. I tried arguing valid points on here on behalf of TIGHAR, it’s pointless. Tread lightly in these waters… Hence the name…. Skeptoid!!! This is where all the folks that have been banned from the forum come to bash Ric and all of TIGHAR.. It’s actually pretty comical sometimes, there are so many remarks on this thread that are just plain BS!!!! Just watch, one will come out saying how ridiculous and naive we are for supporting TIGHAR.. I give it just a few hours.. Perhaps you can explain the Niku theory better.. Heads UP, look out!!!

    • Jeff Martin says:

      Tim, Your observations of the objects depicted in the video are at the very least as legitimate as anything TIGHAR has ever claimed to have found there. Moreover, the documentation you have presented in support of your findings is consistent with TIGHAR’s methodolgy. I don’t see why some members would have a problem with this.

    • Yoda says:

      I am not one of those people that enjoy casting aspersions on others. In fact, I never get any enjoyment whatsoever out of hurting anyone’s feelings about their personal beliefs. I might make sarcastic remarks now never with the intent to harm anyone. What I cannot tolerate is dishonesty. When I see dishonesty I feel it is a moral duty to point out the deception where I see it.

      In my personal view is that TIGHAR suffers from what is called Intellectual Dishonesty be it intentional or otherwise. Rather than give an explanation of the term myself here is a pretty articulate description of the problem.

      As the document points out the motivations for Intellectual Dishonesty are as varied as the human condition itself. Sometimes it is about religious beliefs, sometimes it is about failure to achieve the promised results, and yes, many times it is about the greed of human beings. I leave that up to you judge for yourself as to whether TIGHAR suffers from this condition and why.

      To prove my claim I will point to published works of TIGHAR leadership. There are several highly educated folks including Dr. Thomas F. King, that is the TIGHAR’s Senior Archaeologist. While he might seem to be a decent honest guy I feel that he suffers from this condition like the many other followers of the Niku Hypothesis.

      For example, I submit this Internet article is hot off the press, published on March 1st, 2013.

      The gist of the article as I would understand it is that eye witness testimony is weak based on many different factors, some intentional and others completely innocent. The human mind is not perfect and I think all of us above the age of 12 have witnessed plenty of wrongful convictions in here in the U.S. and throughout the world based on flawed eye witness testimony. I think that most reasonable people would agree with that point of argument. So this argument is then used to dismantle the believability of the Saipan Theory where somehow AE and FN were captured by the Japanese by one method or another and ended up in a Saipan prison and later either executed or moved to mainland Japan. I am fine with that analysis. What I am not satisfied with is how TIGHAR treats similar eye witness and ear witness testimony that they present as plausible fact.

      Now here is where the Intellectual Dishonesty of TIGHAR is on full display. Ask yourself, why was the location North of the Norwich City wreck chosen as the most likely location of the landing of the Electra? While the reef is flat in that area, the entire reef shelf around the entire island could be suitable as well.

      It was when TIGHAR discovered that there was stories of the islanders that told of a wrecked aircraft in that vicinity that they decided that this was the most probably landing area. Keep in mind, this decision was made prior to the discovery of the “Nessie” object in the Bevington photograph. They had even tracked down a now very elderly woman who was a teen at the time and drew and X on the map exactly where she thought this wreckage existed. They also repeated villager stories that the plane was full of bones and that this wreck should never be approached.

      They have resurrected long forgotten stories from the islanders that told of a man and a woman living on the island, lending credence to their story of the Niku Hypothesis. Again, they push along island folklore as plausible fact while dismissing any contrary folklore or eye witness testimony.

      One of their most prominent supposed pieces of evidence cane from a teen in 1937 named “Betty” living in St. Petersburg, Florida in the summer of 1937 who was listening to her father’s radio. She jotted notes about someone claiming to be Earhart with an injured co-pilot named Fred. Gillespie has gone so far as to say that this transcript resembled a modern 911 call. While very dramatic, there is nothing in that transcript that can be identified as proof that it was anything other than a local hoax.

      TIGHAR has repeated the stories about the finding of the skeleton where a villager told Gallagher that he buried the skull found due to his mystic beliefs. This is a best 3rd hand information.

      The list of promoted TIGHAR witnesses that comply with the Niku theory are promoted while any contrary testimony is dismissed which is really the very definition of Intellectual Dishonesty. The dismissals even include even include recollections of Radio Chief Bellarts that was at Howland managing the radio traffic from the Itasca who made statements decades after the event. They also dismissed folks at Lae where the trip across the Pacific began. They have really dismissed any and all contrary testimony while embracing their own witnesses as truth tellers.

      As to the bones discovered, if you listen carefully to the words of Dr. Karen Burns who was part of one of the original documentaries about the Niku Hypothesis, she never claimed that the bones were clearly from a 5’7” Northern European, she said that they were ‘consistent with’ the bones of a 5’7” European female. In fact, if you look over her shoulder during the documentary you can see the display of the distributions and see that there is a convergence amongst different groups, males, females, Europeans, and islander. It is in that convergence that we discover the origin of ‘consistent with’, meaning it cannot be ruled in or ruled out. In fact, it is just as likely that the original analysis was correct that the bones were of a Polynesian male. And if you read further in to the original analysis and communications you will find that their opinion was that the bones were quite weathered and could be up to a decade old, again this is cast aside by the TIGHAR researchers that espouse that their analysis was flawed and they did not understand the harshness of the island environments despite the fact that Dr. Hood who performed the original analysis was quite aware of the environment in which he lived.

      As others have pointed out, the entire collection of artifacts presented to the media is heavily biased and borderline deceptive. For example, researchers have found many different products that were packaged in the same jar that TIGHAR presents as supposed freckle cream. They point out that it is logical that this could belong to AE since she disliked her freckles. When you investigate the mercury laced freckle cream you find that this product was banned by a fledgling FDA because of the mercury content some 10 years prior to the around the world attempt. So now this is a stretch of the imagination that AE somehow acquired 10 year old freckle cream to laced with high levels of mercury to combat freckles, and idea that continues to be spoon fed to media outlets.

      We could go on and on with this list of supposed evidence that is highlighted by TIGHAR while all other opinion, testimony, and evidence to the contrary is shoved aside.

      The undeniable fact remains, not a single shard of evidence can be presented with any authority that ties this evidence back to AE, FN, or the Electra itself. This is just as true when Ric first when on television back in the 1990s with his indisputable evidence that the mystery was solved. When more reasoned minds entered the public debate the so called evidence was discredited one after the other until there was no evidence whatsoever to substantiate the Niku Hypothesis. That had to be a truly embarrassing moment for Ric so I will try not to pour any salt in that wound despite is outward contempt for others with contrary opinions to his own.

      As to the recent underwater video that purports to capture aircraft wreckage and human artifacts, I have looked over many 10s of photos, if not hundreds to give them a fair shake. I examined as many as I could before coming to the inescapable conclusion that no matter how hard I tried, I cannot find any real justification for the conclusions reached by the presenters. I personally believe those that are pouring over these pictures and videos are not attempting to deceive anyone however I do believe they have managed to deceive themselves.

      One example that always pops in to my head was a still frame that purportedly captured the dashboard of the Electra, complete with gauges. Looking closely at the large photo you can see that it was highly magnified sitting right next to a modern nylon black rope, probably about 3/8s in diameter as the fibers are visible to some extent. So as to not offend anyone I like many others remained silent.

      Again, I do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings about this, or dismiss the amount of effort that has been put in to the attempted analysis of the images, but I have to tell you that you are starring in to the tea leaves seeing what you want to see and disregarding all hints of scale in the images. I really do hope that those involved step back and really do a bit of self-reflection about this issue. I wish I could support your findings but I would be dishonest to not tell you how I really see the facts.

      After seeing the analysis of the “Nessie” object now referred to as the Bevington object presented in D.C. I have to say that I cannot support any conjecture from Mr. Jeff Glickman or his coach and employer Ric Gillespie. Mr. Glickman has been paid handsomely to review photographs of Gardner and Nessie let alone the free vacations to the U.K.

      I have also independently purchased the highest resolution photograph available from the library and have spent a significant amount of time analyzing it myself. I can find no merit whatsoever in the speculation presented by either Glickman or Gillespie that purports that this is indeed the tire and landing gear of the Electra propped up like a lollypop in a crevice and yet this was not noticed by the explores during their several day visit to the island where they swam ashore during the exploration in the immediate vicinity of this supposed proof of the Electra wreckage.

      I have previously posted on this thread that they had in their possession a 600dpi image and made the claim that they were going to show you the mud flap, worm gear, and tire, all which would have been absolutely impossible to determine based on the original 600 dpi photograph that was the default resolution of the scans provided by the library. They went so far as to say it might be a cement mixer at the time but they will show you what they will present before they even obtained the higher quality images. I waited for several months for Glickman to present his analysis of the Bevington Photo and have no looked in many months. I think that this would be a very interesting read if and when it is ever shared.

      To wrap up this very long post, I only would hope that those who are true believers in the TIGHAR Niku theory take a moment of your day and consider what others have been saying for a long time. We understand that you have invested heavily in the Niku theory perhaps even traveling to Niku as well as contributing to the expeditions. Stop and think about the many people here who have no motivation to embarrass you or to hurt you in any way shape or form. We just look at all of this evidence in its entirety without blinders and see something that cannot be supported by the facts that exist. We have no motivation other than an interest one of the most interesting disappearances of the 20th century and that is all we have in common as skeptics.

      • Tim Mellon says:

        Actually, Mr. Yoda, I agree with much of what you have just posted.

        Where we differ is in the interpretation of the underwater videos. Unless you can show me otherwise, I don’t think you have seen any underwater video, let alone snapshots, in the full resolution they were originally produced (1920×1080). I had to purchase a special high-resolution laptop to view these, and so far as I am aware, only Jeff Glickman has comparable equipment allowing one to essentially advance these videos frame by frame. And as we all know, Jeff Glickman is MIA. Mr. Gillespie stated that he didn’t need to examine this level of definition in order to make up his mind what was there or not.

        Furthermore, I know of no-one, including Mr. Glickman, that has viewed the full sixteen minutes of the full high resolution video of the first dive of the 2012 expedition, in which the same area that was photographed in 2010 was shown again from a different compass point of view (looking toward the South instead of toward the North). As I only received this video since Mr. Gillespie curtailed discussion of underwater objects, I have been unable to post any pictures or analysis. Please believe me when I say that I have found very interesting new materials, including corroborations of objects seen in the 2010 videos. One way or another, some of these will become public in the months to come.

        • Yoda says:


          Since I have no evidence that I can analyze I can only say that I look forward to your findings. I am guessing that this is copyrighted material that cannot be shared so I will have to wait until you work out whatever agreements that must be made with TIGHAR before this can be made public. If you have the consent and the ability share this data with the public I am sure that there are more than a few people that would like to examine this data.

          While I will reserve any judgement about your new findings I have to admit that I am skeptical about the Electra ever reaching Niku. I base that on many months of studying the Lockheed documents, the Waitt Institute documents, and other documents that have investigated the fuel analysis issue in great detail. We can also throw in to that mix TIGHAR’s own Bob Brandenburg’s analysis of the radio data that suggests that the Electra was within 90 NMI an hour after the arrival in the vicinity of Howland 2013 GMT.

          Do you have any data other than the underwater video that is not already public information? If you have anything along those lines I would be more than happy to look over this as well.

          I have invested perhaps thousands of hours studying the information that TIGHAR has accumulated over the years. I have no profit motivation, no book to write, and only follow this has as a hobbyist with a heavy investment of personal time in to this mystery.

          • Dave says:

            Pictures uploaded by Mr.Mellon of the HD video from The 2010 expedition can be found at
            Go to the “join the search” subsection of the forum. Look for a thread Mr.Mellon started named summary of 2010 expedition or similar words.

            Tighars founder Ric Gillespie let that nonsense run 31 pages of Mellon”seeing” nearly the entire plane in the photos he posted.

            Also the aforementioned rolls of toilet paper, banjos, a flyswatter,keys, you get the picture.

            Neither tighar nor its photo interpretor has ever stated that Mr..Mellons HD photo stills are anything but rocks. View them yourself and decide.

          • Jeff Martin says:

            I’ve reviewed the photos, and find them to be consistent with TIGHAR’s other evidence of the Earhart plane landing at Gardner. Using the musical instruments as an example, there is first a photo of what appears to be a banjo shaped formation apparently covered with silt/ sand. Below that picture, there is an article, an excerpt from Earhart’s Wikipedia profile about the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic. In that article, it says Earhart passed the time by learning to play the banjo.

            There is a banjo shaped formation (and a banjo case nearby), Earthart learned to play the banjo, therefore the banjo is Earhart’s, and it is evidence that Earhart was there. Is there any argument that this is TIGHAR’s methodolgy?

            There was a glass jar found on the island. That glass jar could have contained freckle cream. Earhart had freckles. Therefore the jar of freckle cream is Earhart’s and it is evidence that Earhart was there. The jar was not established to be a freckle cream container anymore than the pictured formation was established to be a banjo.

            There is one critical difference between the jar, and the banjo. Tim Mellon said that formation is a banjo. Had Ric Gillespie said it was a banjo, it would be a banjo in the minds of his follwers. They would argue that she played the banjo, just as they have argued in this discussion that she had freckles.

            A piece of a small mirror, and small cakes of makeup were found on the island. Earhart was a woman. Not only was Earhart a woman, but she had to be prepared to receive the media, be photographed or filmed at a moments notice. I think the quote was “always ready for the camera!” Therefore the makeup was Earhart’s, and it is evidence that she was there.

            This could go on.

          • Tim Mellon says:

            Mr. Yoda, I have nothing further to offer at this time. I respect the efforts you have made in these endeavors, and wish only to point out that my own investigations and interests were triggered by John Balderston’s presentation of the “2” on the wing. I have immersed myself in these videos only because no-one else (especially folks at TIGHAR) seem to be willing to make the effort.

            I may not have correctly identified every single object, but I do make an effort to update my posts with corrections once I discover a mistake. For instance, what at first appeared to me to be a can of Ballentine Ale, upon further viewing of higher definition video now looks more like a stack of cups. Of course, since January 12, it has been impossible to modify or edit any locked prior posts.

            Finally, as to the impossibility of the aircraft ever to reach Nikumaroro, please refer to my reply far above that discusses range and fuel exhaustion. The proof, one way or the other, I feel is near at hand. Stay tuned.

          • Yoda says:

            While it is indeed true that we cannot know with certainty the altitude of the flight, or even the positions at various points in time, we can discuss what is known and then speculate on what is and what is not knowable.

            At 0418 GMT AE reports that they are at 7,000 ft speed, 140 knots.

            At 0519 GMT AE reports that they are at 10,000ft, position 150.7E, 7.3S.

            At 0718 GMT AE reports that they are at 8,000ft over cumulus clouds, position 4.33S 159.7E, 150 knots with winds of 23 knots.

            At 1030 GMT AE is heard by Nauru radio operators stating “Ship in sight”

            At 1732 GMT AE states they are at 200 Miles Out.

            At 1912 GMT AE states “We must be on you”

            So that is what we can know with certainty. Let’s now parse these statements.

            At 0519 GMT we have the first position report. The Chater report stated the position at 150.7E, 7.3S. Gary LaPook at experienced navigator and AE historian (IMHO) pointed out the obvious flaw in the report and that is that pilots do not give decimal degrees when stating position. More than likely the position was 157°E, 7°3’S.

            The next report was at 0718 GMT with a position of 159.7E, 4.33S. This again was probably misinterpreted and was really 159°7’E, 4°33’S. There is near universal agreement that the times given, 0519 and 0718 and the stated position both cannot be correct as this would require a distance of 642 SM to be covered in 2 hours requiring a ground speed achieved of around 321 MPH.

            If we accept these proposed interpretations as presented by Gary LaPook, this would infer that the report at 0519 GMT was probably actually reported at 0219 GMT at the position 157°E, 7°3’S, 687 SM miles from Lae, a with an achieved ground speed of 134 MPH.

            If we accept that the next position was at 0718, position 159°7’E, 4°33’S, the distance covered since the previous report would be 290 SM over a 2 hour period with an average ground speed of 145 MPH. It is interesting to note that AE also stated that the wind speed was 23 knots (more on that later).

            The next report is where things become a bit murkier, at 1030 GMT when AE reports ship in site. There has been much speculation and confusion over this report including the belief at the time that the Myrtle Bank estimated to have been at the position 167°10’E, 2°2’S was the sighted ship. The Ontario had drifted slightly away from the her commanded position but was no more than 12 SM from either the great circle flight line or the true course flight line whichever you choose.

            If the assumption is that it was indeed the Ontario sighted, this would be a distance of 421 SM covered in approximately over a period of 3 hours and 4 minutes requiring that the ground speed was approximately 131 MPH, very closely matching the estimated speed prior to the first reported position.

            If you say that it was the Myrtle Bank seen, this would be a distance of 578 SM covered since the last report over a 3 hour period, achieving a ground speed of 193 SM in to an estimated 26 MPH (23 Knot) headwind requiring a measured airspeed of 219 MPH that would be beyond the performance of the Electra.

            The simplest explanation would be that indeed, it was the Ontario that was spotted, at a predictable point in time right. AE and FN were acutely aware of the presence of the Ontario and would have been scanning for it when they expected to see it. This is really where Ockham’s razor comes in, make the fewest assumptions to achieve a plausible explanation. Of course all of the above is given with a +/- 20 to 40 mile estimate as the Electra was probably not on top of the ship sighted before seeing it.

            The next time that we have any data to support even an approximate location is when AE announced that they were approximately 200 miles out. I believe that the general acceptance is that she was referring to Nautical Miles during her reports. The distance from the position of the Ontario was approximately 1080 SM to approximately 200 NM out from Howland, with a ground speed achieved of about 150 MPH (130 Knots).

            So let’s address the question of headwinds. As mentioned previously AE stated that they were facing a 23 Knot headwind. The evidence that we have for any sort of forecast was given in to separate communications, here are the excerpts from TIGAR:

            “At 1905 GMT, the Fleet Air Base in Pearl Harbor released this forecast, but it was received at Lae just as the plane was taking off: Accurate forecast difficult account lack of reports your vicinity. Conditions appear generally average over route no major storm apparently partly cloudy with dangerous local rain squalls about 300 miles east of Lae and scattered heavy showers remainder of route. Winds east south east about twenty-five knots to Ontario then east to east north east about 20 knots to Howland. Fleet Air Base Pearl Harbor.”

            (This forecast was later officially characterized as “based on opinion, as insufficient data was unavailable for an accurate prediction.”13) At the same approximate time, this message arrived from Rabaul:

            “Baro. 29.898 Themo. Wind easterly 3 cloudy but fine clouds ci ci str cu cumi moving from easterly direction sea smooth. Nauru 8 a.m. upper air observation 2000 feet ninety degrees 14 mph 4000 feet ninety degrees 12 mph 7500 feet ninety degrees 24 mph. This represented actual observations at Nauru.”

            In any case, this is splitting hairs when it comes to the fuel analysis. If we believe AE and FN, there estimate of 23 Knots matches closely to the other estimates given at the time. TIGHAR’s own Monte Carlo Simulation pegged this headwind at 26 Knots. So we can be relatively sure that the head wind was anywhere between 20 and 26 Knots, the outcome of the fuel analysis is minor no matter which figure you choose.

            As to the recommended true air speed recommended by Lockheed, I am pretty sure that the figure of 130 knots (150 MPH) is universally accepted as the recommended true airspeed. Rather that reiterate all of the recommendations myself, I point you to the below webpage:


            “Earhart’s instructions from Lockheed Aircraft, Burbank, were to maintain a true air speed of 130 knots. Because the flight was over open water everything is computed in nautical miles. A nautical mile is 15% greater than a stature mile. There is proof available in the mathematical computations of the Earhart flight that tell a story based on their own strength. In specifying 130 knots true air speed (indicated airspeed corrected for pressure altitude and outside air temperature) the specifications that were given Earhart did not include an allowance for winds aloft. The nearest aviation weather station on the Earhart flight was the Naval Air Station Pearl Harbor, over 4,000 miles from Lae, New Guinea, and at best nothing more than an educated guess at what the actual weather conditions would be en route.”

            Kelly Johnson had also recommended in a telegram that AE would fly at 10,000ft after 9 hours for the remainder of a journey from California during her first world attempt. It would be reasonable to assume that this would have been followed by Earhart during the second half of her trip from Lae to Howland.

            If we assume that the amount of fuel loaded on to the plane at Lae was 1,100 gallons, and given all of the above information, and all of the other fuel analysis reports that have been generated, this would suggest that by 2013 GMT the Electra had as little as 57 gallons or as much as 160 gallons depending on which report you use. The Waitt report estimated 123 gallons of fuel remaining after 2013 GMT.

            If we assume an ideal scenario of traveling 135 MPH achieving an optimal nearly off the Lockheed chart fuel efficiency of 35 gallons per hour while flying at 1,000ft (their last known altitude), that would allow for approximately 3 hours, 30 minutes before fuel exhaustion at 2013 GMT.

            Howland Island is approximately 406 SM from Niku. With Bob Brandenburg’s estimate that they were within 90 NM from Howland at 2013 GMT, this would under only the most ideal scenario, that requires placing them directly South of Howland 103SM, which is about 52 SM South of Baker, with 303SM left to go to Niku. This would require a straight line travel down to Niku requiring 2 hours, 15 minutes of travel. The remaining fuel would be at most 44 gallons if they touched down immediately upon arrival.

            This theory also mandates that a conscience decision was made by AE and FN to abandon the search for Howland and continue on to Gardner island without breaking her regularly scheduled and agree upon transmissions at 15 minutes after the hour and 15 minutes before the hour despite knowing that the range of the radio would be diminished over time. Given the lack of coordination on the radios, it is in theory possible that she might have been walked over on the radio but this is only pure speculation.

            There is also a bit of a contradiction here in that they would not venture to another remote island, several hundred miles away unless they had a pretty good idea about where they were located at the time that the decision was made to abandon the search for Howland Island (and Baker Island).

            Even with TIGHAR’s estimate of 6 GPH, this would allow for 7 hours 24 minutes to operate the starboard engine at idle required to run the radio:


            “The generator was an Eclipse type E-5, rated to provide 15 volts DC, mounted on the starboard (right) engine. A crucial question for our analysis was whether the E-5 would deliver 15 volts when the engine was idling at 900 RPM. Paul Mantz, Earhart’s technical advisor, said in 1937 that the Pratt & Whitney Wasp S3H1 engine–the type used on the Electra–burned 6 gallons per hour at 900 RPM. TIGHAR verified the engine and generator performance in 2009, in an experiment using an S3H1 engine and an E-5 generator. This result established that 900 RPM was the lowest speed Earhart could use for battery charging, and that she would burn 6 gph while doing so.”

            So during this time, TIGHAR has concluded that Earhart was supposedly able to generate 57 credible radio messages out of a total of 120 message.


            So out of the 444 minutes (7 hours and 24 minutes) of fuel remaining, burning 6 GPH on the starboard engine to run the radio that would require a credible report being generated every 8 minutes from the Electra. Even with this level of radio traffic the only one who seems to have been able to have heard about their landing on a reef, and the injuries to Fred, was a teenager in St. Petersburg Florida.

            Add to this the amazing coincidence that the Electra was precariously perched on the edge of the reef and disappeared within one week when Lambrecht’s team scanned the island and you can see why many people are skeptical of the entire Niku Hypothesis.

            Like any other investigation, when you realize that your hypothesis requires one amazing coincidence after another after another you are really forced to reflect that perhaps you have stretched yourself thin when it comes to a credible argument. TIGHAR has gone out too far on too many limbs and the entire hypothesis should be questioned by reasonable people. So far, I have seen no effort whatsoever on the part of TIGHAR leadership to abandon the Niku theory. The theory is dramatic in nature and it makes for great media. When it comes to parsing facts, I am afraid that they have abandoned the pursuit of facts a long time ago.

        • Jay says:

          Mr. Mellon, you can’t be serious. First prove that the underwater cameras were capable of 1980 X 1080 resolution. Second, for a number of years, most computer monitors and graphic cards are capable of 1980 x 1080 resolution. Jeff Glickman is blowing smoke up your pant leg if you believe that he has any more special equipment than many of us do. Advancing those videos frame by frame is not rocket science.

          The new TIGHAR tracks claim that Glickman used a 600 DPI scanner for the pictures. 300 and 600 DPI was a standard more years ago than I care to remember. A Cannon 9000F is capable of scanning film at 9600 DPI and comes in at a meager $230.00. Why borrow a Nikon D800 to do a job that an inexpensive scanner would do and better at that.

          Now it is common knowledge that film has a better resolution than digital. Taking a picture of of a film photograph with a Nikon D800 digital camera is only going to give you a larger image of the same image with no better resolution than the original picture itself.

          Now you say that Jeff Glickman is MIA. Does he even work for Photek after this debacle with the Bevington object and your underwater camels in the clouds?

          • Tim Mellon says:

            Jay, the high definition is 1920×1080, not 1980×1080. As to proof, the underwater videos I received required over one GB storage per minute of viewing. You are invited to compare that with anything comparable you may have downloaded. Some monitors may have these capabilities, but CPU speed is also necessary for real time viewing. What you see on Youtube is generally 480×270.

            As to Glickman’s chasing the Bevington Object, I pointed out to him that objects I and others have found on the bottom are what might give this object some credibility, but not the other way around.

          • Yoda says:

            Since the Bevington Object is a complete scam, I would have to agree that anything you are finding is by default more compelling.

    • gari says:

      @ Tim, I know the thread concerned and just can’t see anything significant in any of the pictures, I do believe that pareidolia would explain any apparent similarities, it’s like people seeing the face of Christ or Mohammed in a piece of toasted bread or tortilla, our eyes and brain can be fooled.

      If there were an aircraft at Nikumaroro, for sure it would be covered in 75 years of detritus and its familiarity of form would also be altered by chemical interaction with seawater and distorted by the forces of tidal motion. But, the number one concern I have with analysing such photos is the lack of SCALE!! We have no idea how far away or how large the targets are, I can remember looking at the Waitt’s Institute Search for Amelia results a while back, and being struck by the metal drum photo, taken about 3 miles down. With a bit more time and crud obscuring it more, couldn’t someone, with no idea of scale, believe it a beer can?

      For me photographic evidence will never be proof positive of anything, we live in a time of some amazing hoaxers, in fact on that thread I believe a few TIGHAR members thought that you were just messing around during a quiet ‘no news’ period.

      I will be one of the first to cheer when and if the Electra is ever found, wherever that may be, but I seriously doubt that it will be Nikumaroro.

    • Mr. Anonymous says:

      Mr. Tim,

      Do you still believe that six independent people in the U.S. heard Earhart on their radios? A skeptic was in the process of debunking this part of Gillespie’s line of ‘evidence’, but as usual he was silence by Gillespie. You should read those posts; they clearly show how Gillespie makes a good story out of nothing. The statements made by several of those ‘independent listeners’ are clearly cases of people who misunderstood what they heard, or perhaps even fibbed because they wanted to be part of the story. Some problems with their stories include: they reported hearing things that were not true, or they reported hearing wording that matches wording of FALSE messages reported in newspapers at the time. Several of the witnesses only came forward with their stories in the 90s, after hearing about Tighar’s story, so what they report seems to match what Tighar was publicizing. Gillespie claims three of the ‘witnesses’ reported the same pattern of injuries: a badly injured Fred and a slightly injured Amelia, but in fact that is not true. Gillespie comes up with this matching pattern of injury reports by adding the needed details to the actual stories they reported, i.e.,the matching injuries story is Gillespie’s story, not theirs.

      Here is what Gillepsie said about one of these ‘credible witnesses’ , Mabel Larremore, in his book ‘Finding Amelia’ (p.119 of the paperback):
      ‘Some elements of Mabels story do not track with the historical record’


      ‘Elements of Mable’s story may have been colored by subsequent events. mabel came forward with her story in response to press accounts about researchers who were investigating precisely the scenario she recollected’.

      Ric ignored the problems with Mabels story and those of the others and wove the story with which he persuaded you do donate a substantial sum of money towards the expedition that found NO evidence of the Electra.

      • Webster Dictionary’s definition of “ignore” is “to refuse to take notice of.”

        Why do you say Ric ignored the problems with her story when he specifically states there are problems with her story in his book?

        • Anonymous says:


          In his book he acknowledged the problems with Mable’s story, but only a few weeks ago on the Forum, in the thread titled ‘AE or FN injured?’ Ric ignored the reasons to doubt Mabel’s story. Read the thread.

  66. dave says:

    Well if this is THE real Tim Mellon, I would suggest you have been suckered into investing a million dollars into Ric’s fantasy. If you are the real Tim Mellon, that is probably not a lot of money so you are entitled to do with it whatever you wish. Your thoughts on tighar are well known, the tread of your review of the 2010 underwater video is there for anyone to see. What just about everyone saw was a lot of rocks. NOBODY agreed with seeing toilet paper rolls from the electra airplane., Nobody agreed with your findings of seeing the bodies of Earhart and Noonan. Nobody agreed with your finding of a banjo on the ocean floor. Most thought you a little soft in the head sad to say.

    Nobody including Tighar believes your nonsense. Gillespie himself disagreed with the ridiculous claims you made when reviewing pictures of rocks. He said he disagreed with you, and could see nothing. Yet he walked a fine line because he did not want to piss you off. I assure you, from being there, if you did not have millions, you would have been banned within a week with your rambling views.

    Most observers of the thread where you spent months reviewing video of rocks simply think you are delusional. I am sorry to say, and I mean no disrespect, but that is the consensus.
    It’s up to each person to see if Mr.Mellon is slightly bizarre. Go to Go to the thread Mr.Gillespie locked because it had turned into a joke where Mr.Mellon saw Banjos on the ocean floor.Don’t take my word for it. Go see what Tighar’s rich major sponsor supposedly :”sees”
    I think you will agree he is a bit off.

    Tim, if this is the real Tim, you saved Gillespie from Financial Ruin. His organization and Cult was done until you arrived. So he “allowed” you to ramble on about nonsense items you found. He allowed you to downplay all his jars and bottles and shoes, since you take the opposite position of Tighar, and do not believe Earhart was a castaway at all, The real Mellon believes Earhart landed on Niku, but went down with her plane after making lots of radio distress calls. The real Tim Mellon believes she landed, sat in the plane for several days, and then simply went over the edge rather than building a camp. Which frankly is crazier than the Tighar theory.

    Tim if you want to give money away, please get a real charitiable donation instead of Ri Gillespie, he has played you (like a fiddle.Pun intended),, and after speaking to several moderators Gillespie believes you a fool with old money that he desperately needs to pay his light bill and living expenses.
    Wake up Tim, Tighar is a cult and a scam, and your analysis of coral and rocks, are just coral and rocks my friend. There is no plane in them, no toilet paper, no Banjo.

    Send your cash to me if you are so old and delusional, haha.
    I could use a few thousand.
    To continue to invest in Gillespie’s 23 year old fantasy, when there is not a trace of evidence Earhart ever landed on Niku,is pathetic.
    He locked your thread because it had become a joke. His so called Photo interpreter, Mr.Glickman that you think has disappeared, is still around, he just doesn’t want to tell you that you are seeing rocks, not an airplane. Ric still needs your cash.
    That is why you are not banned.
    They are laughing at you Tim, so please have some self respect and don’t encourage it any longer.

  67. Tim Mellon says:

    In reply to Mr. Yoda’s excellent analysis of the fuel remaining, I would only like to point out several minor points:

    (1) 44 gallons is still 44 gallons: at least they might have landed with some fuel;

    (2) I am not sure that the engine would have to be running while the radio was being utilized: naturally she would have to be careful not to run down the battery beyond the point where she would no longer be able to restart the right engine (remember: Betty reported that AE berated FN for not keeping close attention to the battery voltage – if the engine were running, the voltage would have been constant);

    (3) If any of the 100 octane fuel remained upon landing, presumably its use would permit running the engine at a lower fuel consumption to maintain the minimum necessary RPM;

    (4) I have no idea what “plus-or-minus” might be attributable to the 90-mile South estimate provided by Brandenburg;

    (5) No one knows whether the winds aloft between the “90 mile” position and Gardner Island would have been a headwind or actually turned into a tailwind; and

    (6) We have no way of knowing whether she remained at 1000 feet or climbed back to a more efficient altitude for the bulk of the leg to the Phoenix Islands.

    Lots of unknowns, in my opinion, and therefore there is still no way to assert with any certainty that the aircraft could not have reached Nikumaroro.

    • Yoda says:

      1) The estimate of 125 gallons remaining was based on the Waitt Institute findings. While this is probably a decent estimate it cannot be considered an absolute. They might have encountered headwinds greater than expected after the Ontario further reducing the fuel remaining.

      2) The transmitter drew 68 amps during transmission. With the engine running this required about 13 minutes of charging time to restore charge for each minute of transmission time, if the starting battery SOC was near the top of the exponential charging curve. The radio drew about 7 amps in standby. According to TIGHAR there were two batteries for a combined 170 AH capacity (@85 AH each).

      3) According to experts that I have spoken with, the 100 octane served no benefit on that type of engine. If true, running time would not be extended due to the fuel octane.

      4) From Brandenburg’s radio analysis “3) Note that the question mark in the 2013 GMT log entry indicates uncertainty about what was said in the parenthetical phrase, suggesting that the SNR was below the 100% intelligibility level, and thus somewhat below that implied by the “S5” estimate of signal strength. This suggests that the signal was sent from a distance consistent with an SNR of at least 16 dB.” Increments are given in 10NMI.

      5) AE reported a wind speed of 23 Knots, very close to the forecasts. I am not convinced that the Honolulu report was merely an opinion and there were other stations that they might have communicated with in order to create the forecast that may have been accurate.Some telegrams do exist given weather reports during that time. There are also the ship logs to look over. I have found no evidence of any reports that indicate a possible Westerly wind to provide a tail wind at any elevation. More research is needed in this area.

      6) Any climb to a higher altitude would also cost fuel to achieve the elevation. The data from the Lockheed report (page 33, @9300#s) suggest that the savings at most of 5.7% after the penalty to climb to 10,000 was paid by increasing power. Even with a lower gross weight of 8,400# the effect would be minimal. Over the distance considered, at the outer limit with no penalty paid that would be about 4.5 gallons of savings at 10,000ft.

      While there may be some unknowns there is quite a bit that is known. This really about making a judgment that is a preponderance of the evidence. I see no evidence whatsoever that AE and FN landed at Niku.

      Let’s consider the supposed evidence for a landing at Niku:

      a. You have unreliable evidence of stories told by islanders.

      b. You also have Betty the teenager who received reports from AE despite the largest peacetime recovery operation with a tremendous number of deployed assets that were actively listening to radios to hear even the faintest indication of life from AE or FN.

      c. No evidence of the Electra itself.

      d. Cross contamination from explorers, islanders, and the Coast Guard that can explain all archaeological evidence collected to date.

      e. The bones site
      i. The bones found are according to Dr. Hood that they were weathered and old. Other estimates said that they could have been in sheltered conditions for 20 years.
      ii. Only a few teeth remained even though 3 years, 2 months, 21 days had elapsed between the day AE was missing to the telegram sent by Gallagher indicating that islanders had discovered the bones.
      iii. There is no evidence whatsoever to say the bones were female, only that they are consistent with a female and consistent with a male Polynesian islander or really any male with a slight build.
      iv. The sexton box lost to time that cannot be tied to FN. Box had number 3,500 stenciled on it and also bore the number 1,542. If anything these numbers fit well with WW I surplus. This is not something FN would have brought with him as a professional navigator in the era.
      v. Also found were corks on chains belonging to a flask or flasks. There is no evidence such a flask was on the Electra.
      vi. Only part of sole remained. It was guessed that it belonged to a ‘stoutish’ walking shoe or heavy sandal but we have no other evidence as it was lost.
      vii. There is no evidence whatsoever that the Seven Site is the location where Gallagher found the above artifacts.
      f. The freckle jar evidence has been thoroughly discredited as having contained any number of products from the 1920s onward.
      g. The Bevington object will not pass any form of scrutiny despite the announcement at the State Department that it was positively identified as a 1937 Electra landing gear in a blind study. No one seems to want to stand behind those statements from Ballard. I do not believe there is another of any credibility willing to stand behind the statements presented as fact at the State Department.

      So what does it take to make the Niku Hypothesis work?

      a. AE and FN knew where they were and that the magnetic course would lead them to Niku (Gardner Island). If they knew where they were they could have found either Howland or Baker despite large overlaps in the 25NM visual range at 1,000ft they would have had under clear skies South and East of Howland. There were no shadows of clouds South of Howland as has been postulated previously.

      b. A conscience decision was made by AE and FN and they either did not inform the Itasca or the radio must have malfunctioned. They would not have been out of radio range for at least another hour and likely more if they did head to Niku. If their radio did malfunction this infers that they were able to repair it after landing for any of the labeled credible reports to be true.

      c. While searching for Howland they had to approximate the existing fuel reserves and know that they could reach Niku with less than 50 gallons as outlined previously. The fuel gauges on the Electra would not allow for this level of accurate calculation to be made in advance, especially since the remaining fuel was spread over the main tanks in the wings.

      d. Combining the fuel analysis and Bob Brandenburg’s radio analysis the Electra would have had to have been far South of Howland (approximately 90NM, 103SM) at 20:13 GMT when they gave the last radio report in order to be within range of Niku to be at signal strength 5 yet have enough fuel to make it to Niku under optimal fuel usage scenarios.

      e. FN would have actively been performing navigation to verify position on their way to Niku as AE could not have held a magnetic course with sufficient accuracy to fly that distance by compass alone and expect to find Niku. If they had made an accurate position calculation less than 1/2 way to Niku the reasonable action would be to turn around and go back to Howland but this did not happen.

      f. The Electra landed at Gardner and AE was able to run her starboard engine to charge batteries. Despite many people listen at various locations, no credible report has ever surfaced that indicated that the Electra had landed on an island or reef other than from a teenager in St Petersburg Florida over a 3 hour period. Professional radio operators in Hawaii and California heard nothing. The investigation by the Navy ruled that none of the reports were credible.

      g. When landing AE did not taxi the aircraft to the shore contrary to the opinions of professional pilots that state that this would have been an obvious maneuver to perform upon landing on a atoll like Niku.

      h. The Electra ended up precariously close to the reef edge, one of its landing gear torn off and propped up, tire up, to be photographed a year later. The landing gear was not noticed for days despite the explorers making several trips to shore carrying equipment with them.

      i. Within one week, the Electra was swept off of the reef when multiple aircraft with spotters arrived to search Gardner. Despite many efforts to date, not one shred of evidence can be found of the Electra at Niku.

      j. When the aircraft arrived, either AE and FN were deep in to the bush and did not make it out in time or they sat waving to three aircraft with three spotters in the rear seats made multiple rounds around the island and were not able to spot AE and FN waving on the beach.

      k. That AE and FN lived for a considerable period at the Seven Site shedding artifacts like the freckle cream jar, pocket knives, and other paraphernalia, none of which can be tied to either AE or FN. Fresh water supplies must have been accessible otherwise they would have perished in a couple of days on Niku. Collecting fresh water on Niku was previously proven to be extremely difficult by the crew of the Norwich City that wrecked there even after rains storms.

      l. The skeletal remains of AE were found by Gallagher despite any positive identification. The bones are lost. The only conclusion is that the skeleton could have been female, a native islander, or a man with a slight build. The skeletal remains of FN were not found by Gallagher or the multitude of visitors after Gallagher.

      When you add up all of the coincidences required the story does just not pass the test of reasonableness.

      Money could be far better spent in the deep water search activities around Howland where they probably did go down.

      • Dave says:

        Nic summary of the main weaknesses of the Niku hypothesis. One very important issue is not addressed however, and it is one Tighar does not like to mention. Not only has no trace been found from the electra, no trace of any of the contents of the electra were found. despite the pilots having a supposed week to offload fuel containers, toolbox, first aid kit, food containers, thermos,leather jackets,clothing, spare parts,flares,kite, on and on, Gallagher found not a trace when searching the island only 3 years later. One sole?
        The rest of the contents of the plane vanished as well.

        Plane,pilots,contents, not seen on niku in 1937 a week after the disappearance, not seen during detailed searching in 1940, not a trace of plane or contents found in 23 years of Tighar searches

        The plane Tighar tries to explain away by going over the reef.
        There is no explanation for the entire plane contents including fuel cans, leather clothes and steel tools evaporating in 3 years.

        It is a nonsense hypothesis with huge holes, and has been thoroughly investigated beyond the attention warranted. Today Tighar exists not to find the plane and contents, but to benefit Tighar itself. Plane and contents were never near Niku, as the chief priests of Tighar no doubt know.

        • Jeff says:

          The lack of visibility of the contents of the plane whether on land or in the water during the Navy’s flyover of Gardner is a stark contradiction of the theory. The idea that Earhart and Noonan were not intelligent enough to use the contents for survival implements or signaling for help is absurd. What better way to help yourself than to unload things you need from the plane, especially if it is being pulled off the reef. If they were there for several nights, why not at least unload the empty fuel tanks in the rear compartment, so you have more room inside the plane to take turns sleeping/ resting? Why not use the tanks to fill with brush to set on fire to signal passing ships or aircraft?

    • Roland says:

      Tim, Since you believe that the videos you’ve examined show parts of the Electra, remains of the crew, etc., should the case be closed or is it worth going back?

      If it is worth going back, what should be the goal of the return trip?

      The story seems to be that Tighar has a big unpaid debt, so they may not be around much longer to mount another expedition. Would you return to Niku with Tighar, or some other organization should Tighar go under, as many are expecting?

      • Tim Mellon says:

        Yes, closed (after admission of underwater artifacts).

        No, let explorers rest in peace.

        No, “enough is enough.”

        • Yoda says:


          Are you saying that you are done with the Niku theory or that you are done with the search for the Electra period?

          I think it would be great to see you continue the hunt for the Electra. I honestly do believe that with the right equipment the Electra can be found. I believe that the key to that is creating autonomous underwater vehicles that would not require a support vessel and crew that drive up the costs.

          Even Nauticos with it’s advances AUVs suffer from the high overhead. This forces them to constantly be seeking resources for the search rather than concentrating on the search and advancing the deep underwater search technology.

          There have been some very interesting advances in the past few years. Even if the search turned up nothing, these vehicles could also be used for other searches just like the Waitt Institute does but at a much lower cost.

          The mystery is worth solving and I do hope you are part of the solution.

          • Tim Mellon says:

            Mr. Yoda, perhaps you were speed-reading my earlier comments. Allow me to respectfully repeat my belief that the Electra HAS been found, twice (in 2010 then again in the same place in 2012), whether Ric Gillespie is willing to admit so or not. I am confident that forensic analysis will verify that landing gears (at least two of the three) are located in the debris field at a depth of approximately 985 feet just West of the “Nessie” Object on the Nikumaroro shore.

            I have no problem with people not yet believing me or believing pictures that I have annotated. I have no problem defending the “Nikumaroro Hypothesis” based upon the preponderance of data that is available. I have no problem discussing these matters in a civilized and polite manner, as you have exemplified.

            I think it is difficult, in any case, for anyone to prove a Negative. To do so in the style of “dave” is not worthy of further comment.

          • Jeff says:

            Tim, What is the negative you are referring to proving? What is the objective data or tangible evidence associated with the “Nikumaroro Hypothesis”.

          • Tim Mellon says:

            Jeff, the Negative is trying to prove that NR16020 did NOT in fact land at Nikumaroro. Which means, inversely, proving the aircraft IS somewhere else.

            “Where’s the beef?”

          • Jeff says:

            Tim, I thought that is what you meant. I did not want to put words in your mouth. The absence of evidence that the plane landed on Gardner does prove it didn’t land there. The absence of evidence that it landed somewhere else does not prove it landed at Gardner. The only thing that proves it landed anywhere is the plane itself.

            If a forensic “expert” endorses your interpretation of the underwater video, it does not prove the plane is there. No doubt, if you search, you will find an “expert” to say what you want. If it is there, get it. Afterall, if you know exactly where it is, and have verification that it sat in the same place from 2010 to 2012, you can recover it.

            People have presented pictures and video of Big Foot, and Nessie. This is not legend, and there is no dispute of the existence of the plane. There is a higher standard of evidence.

            The only “beef” that exists is the plane.

          • Tim Mellon says:

            No, TIGHAR has the exclusive right granted by Kiribati to recover anything related to the incident. So Ric is the only person that can decide to attempt a recovery. And he will not try unless he gets the OK from Glickman. Whether another expert’s opinion might change his mind is questionable.

            And I respectfully disagree with your assertion that lack of evidence of the aircraft proves that it did NOT land at Gardner.

          • Jeff says:

            Kiribati’s 2010 -2014 PIPA Management Plan (see page 66) states that TIGHAR has a PIPA research permit issued by the government. Anyone can apply for one. TIGHAR claims they have the exclusive right to recover anything related to Earhart anywhere in Kiribati. Difficult to believe that given TIGHAR has no more legal right to the aircraft than anyone else who might find it. Why would Kiribati give TIGHAR “exclusive rights” to recover something they do not own?

            I don’t want to get into the legal argument of who the owners/ successors might be, but my point is TIGHAR does not own the plane. They could make a claim if they found it. So could anyone else. Presumably there will be numerous claims. However, TIGHAR’s assertion that only they can recover it aims to discourage people from looking. Tim, you have the abillity to research this, and go recover it yourself. Time is wasting.

          • Aaron says:

            Are any of you smart enough to read between the lines? Apparently not, so let me spell it out for you.

            Everyone is arguing that TIGHAR and Mellon will not act on the “debris field” and therefore have nothing. Gillespie will not discuss it, Mellon will not pursue recovering it, and Glickman is supposedly “MIA.” Does this all sound a little fishy to you?

            Yes, of course it does! But not because they don’t have something – it’s because they DO have something. This is the mysterious discovery that people are buzzing about.

            Gillespie didn’t close the thread about the debris field because he thinks Mellon’s observations are ridiculous. He closed the thread because he doesn’t want him to reveal the discovery before it’s been verified for two reasons.

            First, remember the shoe debacle?Gillespie jumped the gun, announced he had the smoking gun, King even published a book titled Amelia Earhart’s Shoes, and Gillespie lost some credibility with the scientific community. He’s not going to make that mistake twice. This time he is going to do all his homework first and have it verified before announcing the discovery.

            Second, Gillespie is not going to waste this discovery on the forums. He is going to use the publicity of the discovery to his advantage. Many of you criticize him for such practices, but this is fairly standard. He has a very expensive expedition to fund to recover the wreckage and he’s not going to get that money from hacks like you that sit on forums and blogs all day.

            While you all sit back and blindly criticize these guys when they keep saying “just wait, it’s coming,” you’ve completely missed what’s going on here.

          • Jeff says:

            So Aaron, Tim agrees with your assessment: “Aaron, you couldn’t have said it any better.” That Tim’s observations are “rediculous,” and that Ric,”closed the thread because he doesn’t want him(Tim) to reveal the discovery before it’s been verified…”

            From Tim Mellon:

            ” Allow me, Jack:


            So glad you could clear that up for those of us that aren’t as “smart” as you are. It is apparent you have difficulty dealing with factual information. You have a need for conspiracy or mystery, the story between the lines that no one else can see. You are perfect for TIGHAR’s base of followers.

          • Tim Mellon says:

            Aaron, you couldn’t have said it any better.

          • gari says:

            @ Aaron,

            Most of us remember the shoe debacle, along with the freckle cream debacle, the piece of Electra aluminium skin debacle, we’ve been here time and again.

            What you say about TIGHAR awaiting confirmation about a ‘discovery’ before making another ‘We did it!’ declaration has equal weighting both for Niku and against it, or is your indoctrination too deep to perceive that fact?

            Seems logical that IF there is such a ‘discovery’ then TIGHAR’s reticence in announcing it with a fanfare is possibly because the old idiom ‘Once bitten, twice shy’ has finally struck home, although I suggest ‘Thrice bitten, thrice shy, perhaps.

            Your second point about Mr Mellon’s thread being closed to prevent him revealing the ‘discovery’ is just crazy talk, the gentleman could post such a discovery anywhere on the Internet, such a statement as yours is fallacious.

            Aaron, I would love for TIGHAR to bring up a piece of incontrovertible Electra evidence, to actually PROVE the plane got there, then, OK, there can be the debate as to how it did get there, but no one could then sensibly argue that it didn’t.

            For me, I’d just be happy that it had been found, a mystery that bugged me since my early years, solved.

            I can still remember the interest I had when I first heard about Niku years ago, I thought it was wonderful news. Then over the years I started to look at the ‘evidence’ and had that sinking feeling, sucking my teeth, rolling my eyes and shaking my head, as I read practically the same thought processes and ‘reasoning’ as I saw on all those UFO and conspiracy websites.

            I then felt disappointed and somewhat let down, still do.

          • Tim Mellon says:

            Gari, I am sure that both you and Aaron would agree with me that presenting evidence elsewhere on the Internet might be fraught with intellectual property implications, as the high definition videos were provided to me strictly for research purposes. TIGHAR owns the videos, so I must respect their (current) wish to avoid further discussion about their contents.

          • gari says:

            @ Tim,

            Agreed, there could be intellectual property implications but if I thought as you do that what you see are NR16020 artefacts, then giving your resources, nothing would be stopping me from proving my thinking to the world, even if it meant ‘buying’ TIGHAR and all associated rights.

            True, belief and faith needs no proof, or else there would be no religion in the world, if you’re happy with just belief, then fine, over one billion Christians and one billion Muslims are perfectly happy to believe in something that there is no evidence of.

            I’m not like that, I know the mind can be fooled, I have seen and heard things in life that many woo-woo people have said ‘prove’ ghosts, ghouls and the soul, that I’m pretty sure are some kind of brain farts or misunderstood psychology.

            The brain is easily fooled, I have had a hobby of stereo-photography for some years, two photos can fool the brain into believing it is seeing a three dimensional world. Much of what we perceive can be culturally biased too, an Amazonian Indian having never seen NR16020 could never see anything more than irregular natural formations in a photo I would suspect, if they got over the culture shock of seeing a photo in the first place of course!

            One of my favourite restaurants has a photo of a tree lined road, which, they tell me, says in Arabic something like ‘Allah is great’, to me it is just a nice photo.

            We all have biases, Mr Mellon, and the way we perceive the world is influenced by them, and that makes things like pareidolia very much part of our world.

        • Roland says:

          So, Tim,

          The Tighar site is full of talk about a bigger, better-than-ever expedition to Niku next year, with land and sea phases. You believe the Electra and its crew has been found and that Tighar is ignoring it’s own video evidence. Then, what do you think will be the aim of the sea phase of this next Tighar expedition?

          • Tim Mellon says:

            Roland, I don’t speak for TIGHAR. You’ll have to ask Ric Gillespie.

          • Roland says:

            I asked you because I don’t really understand what they think they’re going to achieve and I’m more likely to get a straight answer from you than from Ric Gillespie because he is in permanent fundraising mode and thus isn’t a reliable source.

            But your reticence to comment on Tighar is quite understandable, so never mind!…

        • Yoda says:


          Yes, I clearly had interpreted your statement that enough was enough as in you were not going to invest any more time in another Niku search. I thought I had read three questions and then your three responses to those questions. Perhaps you can expound on those answers that you did give?

          In any case, I am all for a rational debate. Perhaps we can discuss for a moment about the supposed landing site and the location of “Nessie” (aka the “Bevington Object”) that is purported to be the landing gear.

          Before we discuss the object in question perhaps we can discuss why this area was selected in the first place? Based on my understanding this area was selected based on the statements from islanders living on the island back in 1940.

          From TIGHAR’s website:

          “HYPOTHESIS The aircraft is landed successfully on the reef-flat at Gardner Island at or near low tide on the smooth stretch of coral just north of the S.S. Norwich City, the ship that ran aground there in 1929.”

          “SUPPORTING EVIDENCE Early settlers on Gardner Island (Nikumaroro) tell of an airplane wreck seen in 1940, long before any possibility of WWII activity. The wreckage is said to have been located on the reef near “where the waves break” and just north of the shipwreck. (Interviews with former residents Emily Sikuli and Otiria O’Brian in Fiji in July 1999.)”

          Can we agree that this location north of the Norwich City wreck was selected prior to the discovery of the anomaly in the Bevington Photo? If so, as pointed out by Dr. King, wouldn’t this “evidence” be highly suspect? This is rather significant because the entire Niku theory is really revolving around islander stories. This is where TIGHAR planted the flag as to the resting spot of the Electra prior to the Bevington Photo’s “Nessie”. Is that not true?

          The Bevington Photo acquired by TIGHAR was taken in 1991 and was a photograph of a very tiny photograph. Sometime in 2010, Glickman noticed an anomaly that was speculated to be part of the aircraft. A 600 DPI image was requested from the Oxford library and this was posted on the TIGHAR forum in regard to that image:

          “On April 26 Jeff Glickman and I will be at Rhodes House, University of Oxford to get a much better copy of the Bevington photo than we’ve had to work with to date. Back in 1992, Pat took copy-photos of Bevington’s collection when we visited him at his retirement home in the south of England. After Eric died, his papers and photos went to the Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Oxford. In 2010, we asked the library to scan the image for us to get better resolution. The best they could do was 600 dpi but that was a big improvement over the copy-photo. Now we’ve made arrangements for Jeff to get the best image possible with the best available technology. Our hope is that, with a better image, we can show the public what the experts have been seeing. It’s one thing to ask people to “take our word for it” that the blob in the photo is the wreckage of an Electra land gear. It’s another to be able to show them the tire, the mud flap, the strut, the worm gear, etc. Of course, a better image may show the object to be an abandoned cement mixer, but that’s a risk we’ll take.”

          So this implies that the photograph of the photograph was of a lesser resolution and the 600 DPI was ordered to increase the resolution.

          The 600 DPI photograph can be viewed here:

          As you can see there is very little definition to the object but Ric has already made the above claim that it could be a cement mixer or it could be a tire, a mud flap, a strut, a worm gear, etc. Not to disappoint, this is exactly the presentation that was given at the D.C. symposium making all of the claims that they told you they were going to with a 600 DPI image.

          Before Ric and Jeff had even taken the new photograph, I paid $50 USD and received a 4800 dpi scan of the photograph from Oxford. Rather than spending two weeks in hotels and touring around Oxford I was able to obtain a high quality image that exceeded what was shown at the symposium.

          I can say without a shadow of a doubt that there is nothing in the photograph that even remotely resembles any of the claims by Ric or Glickman. It is utter hogwash. That is not just my opinion that is the opinion of everyone who has ever looked at the high resolution image outside of TIGHAR.

          But that did not stop Glickman from receiving some national press over the photo:

          Given the attention he has received from a gullible press and an unquestioning public I am sure Mr. Glickman thinks that he has pulled a fast one on the public. The problem with this notion is that there are many eyes in the world to look at them and you do not need to be an expert to have a look.

          Going back to the D.C. announcement at the State Department, Ballard made the claim that government imaging specialists at the State Department were part of a “blind study” and identified the “Bevington Object” to be a landing gear from a 1937 Electra. Knowing what I do know, I think that this is an outrageous claim as no one will stand behind that statement. We have no statements from the State Department and even Glickman will not stand behind that claim.

          As stated previously, the entire notion that this landing gear would be ripped off and standing with the tire in the air is just simply unreasonable. Bevington and the other spent several days in the area and surely would have noticed this object in the water.

          So at the end of the day, what has led you to this location where you see parts of a radio, vacuum tubes, and all of the other debris? You have stories from islanders and a blotch on a very tiny photograph taken back in 1937 that does not contain anything resembling the outrageous claims made to the public by Ric and Glickman.

          I am not sure what else you need to see Tim. This is really just a matter of common sense. When you talk to anyone not personally invested in TIGHAR and their theories, any reasonable person, especially an engineer will tell you that you have been taken for a ride and an expensive taxi ride at that.

          • Jack says:

            I would have to say that I think Dave’s explanation for Gillespie’s closure of the threads that Tim was posting on is closer to the truth than yours is. I just don’t see plane parts in any of the photos Tim posted–sorry Tim–nor do I see a banjo or Amelia or Fred. Aaron, if you disagree then I respectfully ask you to provide the irks of two or three of Tim’s most convincing posts. If you can’t do that then I have no reason to believe what you suggest about why those threads were locked.

          • Jack says:

            Typo there–please reply urls for a few of Tim’s most convincing posts.

          • Yoda says:

            I think that you posted on the wrong thread Jack.

          • Tim Mellon says:

            Allow me, Jack:


            Please remember, these pictures are only half the resolution of the 1920×1080 provided me later.

          • Roland says:

            Tim, thank you for providing a link to that photo. Now, Aaron: do you find Tim’s intepretation of those photos to be credible? Do you think they are correct?…

            Yoda, sorry I didn’t mean to post here on your thread. If a moderator can move this thread that would be great.

          • Tim Mellon says:

            Mr. Yoda, I doubt you will ever find me defending the theory of the Bevington Object, the claims of islanders, the supposed tokens found on land, or whatever.

            What I do defend is what I have seen and interpreted with my own eyes and brain over many months from videos of precision and definition not viewed by many others. As I have said earlier, this effort was catalyzed by John Balderston’s post of the “2” of the N-number on the wing of the Electra from the 2010 video.

            If you don’t believe me, that is fine. Just please don’t insist that NR16020 could not be there when there is a POSSIBILITY that you may be mistaken. And please remember that you have to be right about EVERY single thing that I have MIS-identified; I only have to be right about ONE single thing that I have properly identified.

          • Tim Mellon says:

            Jack, here is another:


            This picture has actually been online since January 2012.

          • Jack says:


            Thank you for those posts, though my questions are meant for Aaron. Tim, I just don’t see what you see. If Gillespie ever unlocks those threads, I suggest you post a larger image than the ones you’ve posted so far. If you have a tech-savvy nephew or niece (any 12 year old is way more competent than you or me), enlist them in the task of making the best possible case for the rest of us. Except possibly Aaron, who perhaps is already in agreement with you–Aaron, whot say you?…

          • Yoda says:


            I think that honesty is the best policy. I will tell you my honest opinion just like I would a family member or a lifelong friend. I cannot sugar coat my opinions if they are contrary to yours. That is how I lead my life and sleep at night.

            Having viewed the photographs I cannot support your identification of parts in the images. There is a lack of scale and without it you cannot begin to estimate the size of objects no matter how unusual something may seem. Take for instance your wire and rope image. I can see in the background the rope. The tire on the Electra was estimated to be nearly 3ft in diameter. Comparing the two in the photo, you can be certain that this round object, albeit round and unusual, is not the tire from the Electra.

            Nature is full of bizarre formations that cannot easily be explained. The best example that I can recall is the “Badland Guardian” that someone found while browsing Google Maps. To see imgage Google the phrase “Badland Guardian”. Pick the Wiki link that should be the first result. Go to the external links and click “Satellite image”.

            If we look at this image we can see what appears to be the face of a human, not only that, it appears to be an artistic rendering of an Indian complete with a headdress made of feathers. You can see eye brows, eyes, nose, lips, chin, neck, all in perfect proportions and I do not think that anyone would disagree that this is indeed an amazing coincidence. Not being a very artistic person myself, I think that it is a better rendering that I could achieve with paper and pencil. Given the size of this object I think that everyone can also agree that this is a completely natural formation. No matter how unlikely and impossible it seems, this is just a random formation in nature.

            While there is no direct comparison to what you are seeing in the 2010 footage, it is an important lesson. Things can and do exist in nature that are completely unexpected and difficult to explain. Mother Nature does not often handle straight lines and right angles very well and usually this indicates the handy work of man.

            Every now and then some things found in nature are truly amazing. Search in Google for “Columnar Basalts”. These are large natural formations that are almost perfect hexagons that form in to large columns. They are found all over the globe. There many other interesting phenomena out there in the world that is very surprising.

            So when it comes to evidence in video and photographs, finding something that is universally agreed upon as being man made is not a trivial task to do. One of these first steps that must be taken is to determine scale. Without scale, you could be looking in to fractal images that reach in to the infinite no matter how far you zoom in. If you zoom in to a fractal far enough and long enough you would probably find an image of the Electra with Earhart standing in front of it waving to you.

            I will continue to have faith that one day you will come to realize that this is really like chasing a mirage in the desert. What looks like an oasis on first pale just becomes more empty desert stretching out as far as the eye can see as you get closer to it.

            If you are truly interested in the disappearance I do hope that you can come to the realization that this adventure to Niku really is just a mirage. It lacks credibility on so many levels that entire books could be written on this subject. I have pointed out many of the flaws with the Bevington Photo and the islander stories just to name a couple. There are many other flaws that I could go on about at length. TIGHAR has in my opinion produced not a single piece of credible evidence to date despite spending nearly three decades at this, spending certainly millions in that process.

            The way I see it is that there are two possible outcomes here. One is that you continue to be a believer until you die, perhaps handing over your fortunes to Ric to continue on with this misadventure or you will realize that this has been a tremendous investment of time with zero returns.

            As I mentioned before there are some very interesting new technologies out there that, I believe, could allow you to turn this entire hunt for the Electra on its head and reveal the actual location of the Electra. I would really like to see that in my lifetime and I do believe that you have the resources to make that happen. You might be the only one in the world with the resources to make that happen that has a real interest in seeing the mystery solved once and for all.

            If you insist on pursuing your perceptions of objects in these photographs then I agree with the others that have suggested that you take it upon yourself to finance a proper underwater exploration to prove to yourself whether or not this is an illusion. The more I am reading and observing, the more I am convinced that this is the only way that you will end the hunt at Niku.

            I can only hope, as I am sure others do, that after the next trip to Niku you finally call it quits. This game can go on forever as long as you choose to give it life.

            There are far more intelligent people than you and I have that have chased their beliefs until the end of their time here on Earth. My only question is are you going to be one of those people that get added to the very long list in the history books?

  68. LindaLou says:

    You of all people should know that a climb to a more efficient altitude with known low fuel would consume critical fuel for a search of the Island. And if the dog hadn’t chased his tail, he would have caught the rabbit.

    • Tim Mellon says:

      I respectfully disagree, LindaLou.

      It all depends upon the distance you want to fly. Also, don’t forget that the range of vision increases with altitude, giving one a better chance to see land masses and lagoons.

      • Jay says:

        So if you were down to a couple hundred pounds of fuel in your Citation, you would climb from 1000′ to 10,000′? I suppose it comes down to, hmmmm, better range of vision, or conserving critical fuel resources. I think I would opt for a cruise climb to maybe 2 or 3000′ and that’s it.

        • Tim Mellon says:

          Yes, Jay, that would take less than 2 minutes and less than 70 pounds. Better efficiency, better viewing, and certainly better glide distance after fuel exhaustion (about 20 miles at Vref).

          • Jay says:

            2 minutes Tim? At what rate of climb and at what power setting. Even then you would have about 1 hours fuel left at cruise. Not quite enough to get to Niku if you were in the vicinity of Howland Island. And if you did happen to make it to Niku, I’d hate to dead stick a Citation on a coral reef or ditch short of.

          • Tim Mellon says:

            Jay, we’ve run out of indentations here.

            So, 5000 fpm climb at full power at that weight. Cruise 600 pph at 220 knots starting 90 nm South of Howland, plus 20 nm free-stick.

            But AE had more hours of fuel than you have offered me, so your scenario is not quite comparable.

            Provide me an email address and I will forward you a typical climb profile for my aircraft.

  69. dave says:

    Ric Gillespie head of Tighar makes it clear he disagrees with Tim Mellons photo Analysis of the rocks around Niku(I can see why, haha.). Mr.Gillespie also makes it quite clear that his organization and his alone has the government permission to search Niku.
    Since Mr.Gillespie and Tighar are broke and in debt, and since Mr.Mellon is obsessed with Tighar underwater photos that he thinks show the crew, the plane, toilet paper rolls, Musical instruments, flare guns, Fred’s belt, ect., just laying on the ocean bottom, then perhaps Mr.Mellon can buy Tighar.
    Problem solved, and Tim Mellon can go park a recovery ship and ROV on Niku for months given his resources.
    (Tim you could also run the forum and start thread after thread that show pictures of Rocks and tell everyone what you “see”)
    No more Ric Gillespie telling you that you can’t talk about Fred’s Banjo you spotted!

    Since the only way Tighar is going back to Niku for the 10th time(?) is with Mr.Mellon’s money if I was Tim Mellon I would make Mr.Gillespie an offer he couldn’t refuse, where Mellon runs the Non Profit Tighar Org. Perhaps Ric Gillespie is tired of searching for 23 years and giving speeches at Applebees and hotels to raise money.
    Mellon gets to see faces in the rock photos, Gillespie gets to retire. Win/Win.

    Personally I wish Mr.Mellon’s would form his own deep sea search crew to search the ocean in greater detail around Howland. Or simply work with Nauticos instead of Tighar. It is well and good that a deep pocket investor is interested in this search, I sincerely wish Mellon would abandon this Niku fantasy and the cult of Tighar.

    • Jack says:

      I see a post today on the Tighar forum by Ric Gillespie in which he suggests that Fred Noonan ‘went down with the ship’. It sounds to me like Gillespie is offering a rapprochement to you, Tim Mellon. He is now half agreeing with you that the crew of the Electra are at rest a short distance off Niku’s sparkling shoreline.

  70. dave says:

    If Gillespie is making concessions to Tim Mellon, despite Mellon’s bashing of Gillespie’s seven site “evidence”, it surely means RicGillespie is in dire straits financially.

    The selling of teddy bears with Tighar shirts and membership classes for “Students” to examine known plane wrecks supposedly for the purpose to study “archaeology”, must not be enough to pay the electric bill.
    I can surmise not many are signing up for the thousand dollar classes.
    Tighar needs its money man back.
    What kind of charity non profit organization is this?
    I will say it’s not a non profit, it’s a for profit, The leaders profit, and the only charity is to
    the founders wallet.

    Unfortunately for Ric Gillespie, he is caught between a rock and hard place. Specifically “Mellons Rocks” as the underwater photos show. Ric’s money sponsor does not come with no strings attached. Mellon has his own ideas.
    So there is a tug of war, with Ric Gillespie holding his sharp tongue and allowing Mr.Mellon much rope to go on spouting nonsensical views of rocks holding Banjos and Toilet paper.
    What other choice does Tighar have?

    I doubt the discovery channel is doing another Geraldo Rivera special where Tighar AGAIN shows debris from the wrecked freighter Norwich city. That was a bigger disaster than Al Capone’s vault.

    So Mr.Mellon is all Ric Gillespie has left. ( which should in itself disprove any Niku Hypothesis)
    I do find it heartening that Mr.Mellon states now he does not want to provide the funding for another useless trip to Niku. KUDOS TO Mr.MELLON! Bravo! I hope he stands his ground.

    However, Mellon’s stance will permit him even greater leeway in his rock photos on the Tighar site, I feel he will cave to the attention and once again finance Tighar.

    Tighar has to hope that by encouraging( or at least not discouraging) some of Mellon’s outlandish and ridiculous claims, the money man will come again to the fold of the Tighar church.
    With checkbook open.

    Now it is a Total and complete confidence scam. They not only will make concessions to Mellon, I think Gillespie would do anything at this point for another pay check. Perhaps a seat on the Tighar board of directors will be offered?.
    In any event., expect Tighar to allow Mellon free reign, which will further degrade scientific views of the tighar endeavour. The last time Mellon was given free reign to postulate on his rock photos nonstop, two of the old time Tighar moderators quit in disgust.
    However, Tighar needs Mellon more than members and Moderators, Tighar needs Mellon for survival.

    Tighar will play to Mellon’s ego and vanity and allow even more ridiculous underwater rock analysis.
    Book it. Wait and see..

    As far as Mr.Mellon’s claim that his rock photos are enough, Please. Do not show me a picture of a rock and tell me it’s a cockpit or a banjo. The underwater videos show rocks and a rope or cable, Perhaps some dead starfish. No plane is shown.for anyone not under serious medication.

    No, that is unacceptable and will not fly in the world view.
    Whether Mellon goes back to the cult fold or not. and whether Mellon expands or contracts his role, Tighar has to bring up a piece of Earhart’s plane or belongings to claim success.
    The underwater rock videos are not going to sway anyone except the brainwashed and brain dead.

  71. H.A.C.van Asten says:

    Many words up to now , for the back side of a greater match box upon which the calculation for range and endurance for NR 16020 can be easiy made , showing that Gardner or any other land point than Howland/Baker could definitely not be reached with the remaining weight of aircraft and the fuel reserves available , after leaving the Howland region .

  72. Jay says:

    Oh, trust me Tim, I know the profile of your Blue Citation and many other Citations much newer than yours. No need to send me the details. And granted, I gave you less fuel on board than I should have in my scenario. My bad. How about 300 lbs that would be equivilent to what Amelia had in gallons according to what I have read.

  73. Aaron says:

    How is the Bevington photo a “scam?” Are you using that word because you don’t believe that it is what TIGHAR purports it to be? Or do you have some evidence that it’s a scam, intended to deceive people into believing something that is known not to be true?

    Please explain.

    • Yoda says:

      When Ballard made the claim that the State Department photo-analysts had, in a blind study, identified the blotch called “Nessie” aka the “Bevington Object” as belonging to a 1937 Electra, that is a scam of the highest order. There is no evidence whatsoever that this is true. This is a lie fed to the American public on our tax dollar.

      No one in the government will stand by those words. Not even Glickman who gave the show and tell presentation in D.C. where he pasted images containing parts of landing gear over a blotch in the Bevington photo will say that the image represents a 1937 Electra landing gear. It is only ‘consistent with’ the supposed configuration that he presented.

      This is the classic TIGHAR phrase repeated over and over ad nauseum. It is also ‘consistent with’ a saliva droplet from someone holding the original photo, perhaps Bevington himself. It is also ‘consistent with’ a small droplet in the camera lens. It can be ‘consistent with’ anything you want it to be. This is just an non-committal phrase that one uses when they have no evidence to substantiate a claim.

      I have already presented clear evidence that this is exactly the rose pedal path that Ric had intended to lead everyone down when they only had the 600 DPI image in their possession. Glickman is like a pig in mud when it comes to being asked to analyze these photographs so do not expect any honesty from him. That will catch up with him one day when he is held to account for his statements, jeopardizing his future income potential catching kids stealing candy bars at the local 7-11.

      Both the presentation at the State Department and the continue shucking and jiving by Ric that the photo represents what Ballard claimed it represented continue to this day. The scam goes on.

      Ballard will also have his reputation stained on this one, especially since he brought in a graduate student to look at this and claim that he grilled Ric on this photograph.

      If you cannot see through this veil that is more transparent than cellophane then I suggest you find a deprogramming specialist in your area. If you cannot afford the specialist maybe you can check with your county health department, maybe times they offer free services. If none of the above work out, set up a Paypal account and I am sure there are people here that can chip in a few bucks for their fellow man.

  74. dave says:

    Are we trying to find an airplane here or hold a discussion of philosophy or religion or logic?
    Mellon claims he knows the “truth”. It’s in his special photos. ( much like priests used to hold the answer themselves. Only he can “see it” with his special monitor)

    So Will Tim Mellon pay and sponsor Tighar to go get what is in the photos? Mellon refuses.Mellon claims he knows the truth but cannot act upon it. Or is let them “rest in peace” Mr.Mellon?
    Your nonsense changes daily.

    First, Mellon claims that Ric Gillespie won’t act on debris retrieval until Jeff Glickman authorizes a debris field worth retrieving.. Wait a minute!!!!, Glickman identified a debris field months ago and Tighar with Glickman said they would be giving us details. This is what was told to those who follow Tighar’s never ending line of BS.
    Now Glickman is missing supposedly and Tighar hasn’t heard from their own photo expert in quite some time. Barf! The Crap just got deeper. Aaron to your question on the Bevington photo being a scam just follow that through.

    See how this whole scam gets passed around? Mellon cannot act because Tighar will not act. because Glickman will not act.
    On and on it goes, these nonsensical word games and pass the buck.
    If Tim Mellon is really worth 250 million as some suggest, and really believes the evidence of Earhart’s plane is there in his rock photos to solve the greatest aviation mystery in history, he is negligent for not paying a round the clock submersible on Niku.
    Can Gillespie and Tighar object to a free submersible and retrieval team?
    I think not.
    Now I do not suggest being a gazillionaire makes Mellon responsible for every human problem, however when he spouts daily nonsense of Banjos he sees solving this mystery he does indeed step into the arena he helped sustain.

    Is Mellon really trying to put out the argument the missing Bigfoot photo analyst is gumming the works? Pure complete Nonsense.
    Retrieve the damn plan Mr.Mellon if you or Tighar want to be taken seriously..(or one identifiable piece)
    Instead,Mellon would rather say “here look at this rock, it’s the cockpit”, or “here look at this rock, it’s really a banjo of Fred Noonans”, and then step back and claim to want to let Earhart rest in peace. At the same time insinuating Tighar will not let him lease a retrieval team.

    Everyone on the skirts of the cult, wants to discuss the religious aspect, and gets into long debates including Absence of evidence is not evidence of Absence. Hello? Back to reality folks despite Tighar and Mellon’s end around.

    This is not the resurrection, even though Tighar has done it’s best to make this cult a religion.

    It is very simple.
    Just bring back the proof, We have an airplane that disappeared a few decades ago. An airplane, that a special group and their special sponsor claim to have found.( but just In Photos.that look suspiciously just like rocks)
    That is the beef Mr.Mellon and all your special monitors and logic arguments are but a haze to obscure the truth. The truth being you will not act. Tighar will not act.
    Because the reality is you have nothing to act upon.
    Mellon has nothing. As Tighar has nothing,

  75. dave says:

    Aaron your theory on why Gillespie closed Mellon’s underwater thread is simply not true. I know the person that begged Gillespie to close the thread, because it was embarrassing to Tighar, Two moderators I spoke with constantly said they quit because the forum was overrun with people such as yourself who see non existent items on the ocean floor.
    It was becoming a new age stopping ground of people who signed up to state what this rock, or this coral resembled.
    This despite Gillespie and others warning there was no scale, that what Mellon was selling was bogus. Tighar never bought Mellon’s ideas and delusions, however how does Tighar tell it’s biggest donator he is off his rocker? They don’t.
    They next day, Mellon’s threads were closed,( which Mellon has loudly denounced multiple times.),and recently Mellon Publicly begging Gillespie to allow these underwater Camel in the sky viewings to continue. When again it was denied, Mellon claims that his findings are getting no play and castigates Gillespie for Tighar’s insistence nothing definitive has been found.
    I have seen a lot of people banned from the cult for much less, but again this is their major investor. They cannot exactly call him nuts.

    What Gillespie and Tighar really did is simple. His 2012 expedition was a flop. He admitted as much. however back stateside he had to make some lemonaid from Lemons, and proclaimed “well perhaps there is something we missed, let’s review tape”. Low and behold, a couple months later, with Tighar reeling from their embarrassment. hired gun Jeff Glickman, tighar’s bigfoot photo expert says he spots a debris field and there would be future papers detailing the items found.
    Tighar was just about, down and out, and was trying to bounce back. Lamely, but dont count out a confidence man. Gillespie if anything is a survivor who could sell ice to eskimos.

    We are still waiting on that Debris field photos analysis showing proof positive airplane debris.

    Now you are stating that Tighar announced a big finding, but never followed up with one photo of a plane part as all part of a plan, That somehow you know they have golden evidence, final proof, but want to hush hush it? Seriously? Lay down the kool aid.

    There was no new discoveries of anything in this so called new debris field. That. rather than some secretive plan is the reason we have been shown no evidence.

    Gillespie plainly said Mellon’s threads were not to be spoken about anymore, because not one item Mellon identified was anything Tighar or Glickman agreed with. Period, END OF STORY. His fantasic claims of Banjos and bodies and Toilet paper were more than even Gillespie could sell to future donators.
    No conspiracy theory, and it’s amazing you have invented this wild scheme that somehow Tighar is keeping this debris field “secret”.until further photo analysis.

    They posted the exact depth and location of the so called debris field, As has Tim Mellon.
    So how exactly is Tighar keeping this some huge secret that must be investigated because it shows positive airplane debris? Either it shows airplane debris or it doesn’t and if it does how does hiding that benefit Tighar fund raising efforts?

    You are making zero sense. Tighar needs money, needs fund raising, so in your view it’s best to keep the proof of airplane parts a secret? Yeah ok.

    Tighar has never kept anything a secret in two decades, in fact the opposite is true. They have called numerous press conferences to announce success, not just with the shoes, but with the airplane skin, and with the Bookcase that Tighar said belonged to the electra. None of that was true of course, but Tighar has always published the smallest, most obscure findings and THEN went on fund raising based on those findings.

    However now, according to Aaron, the exact opposite is true. Tighar wisened up. They no longer wish to be embarrassed. Tighar knows they have struck gold, and want it quiet. (yet they allowed 31 pages of Mellon rambling on about it), but really they want to keep it hush hush until more solid photo analysis is done. Please. The excrement gets deeper and deeper.
    If anything all this shows is how brainwashed and bizarre fans of Tighar have become when it comes to Tighar. Nevermind the pages of detailed information in their own archives detailing how to make an old jar more appealing for donations, Which is clearly fraudulent manipulation of evidence. Nevermind the switching of evidence between 3 laboratories, in effect expert shopping until they get favorable results. Nevermind the 23 years of false pronouncements which then followed book sales, and more fund raising.

    This time Tighar is doing it right. Is that it? By not showing one shred of plane evidence on the ocean floor, and by claiming the man doing their analysis is missing and everything hinges on him. Can I sell you a bridge?
    ( I suppose they are hiding Mr. Glickman in a safe house until the videos show are finally revealed showing an airplane engine? Do you listen to yourself?

    Maybe instead of castigating others who have had enough tighar nonsense as Internet junkies and skeptics and not helping the cause, you can look in the mirror. You seem to be one of the few on this exhausting thread that believes the garbage Tighar is saying. YOU are no helping expose this fraudulent Org. Other scientists do not believe this crap, the Smithsonian Curator laughs at Tighar, and after 23 years of playing people. maybe you too can realize the devious scam you have fallen for.
    Then again I know Gillespie posts, and has friends post for him for publicity.
    So either you are incredibly blind to two decades of fraud, or are a shill.
    Take your pick.

    • Yoda says:

      Speaking of the Smithsonian Curator, here is an interesting presentation by them.

      The disappearance of Amelia Earhart during her around-the-world flight attempt in July 1937 provides a “teachable moment” about critical thinking and the historical method. Despite an exhaustive search, no signs of Earhart were found. The comprehensiveness of the search should have put the matter to rest. Instead, its inconclusiveness created a longstanding mystery accompanied by outlandish speculation.

      Mythologizing about Earhart’s disappearance began in earnest with the appearance of Flight for Freedom (1943) a popular film that starred Rosalind Russell. Its heroine, a famous woman pilot, sacrifices herself on a trans-Pacific spying mission for the U.S. government. Later, books like Paul Briand’s Daughter of the Sky (1960) and Fred Goerner’s, The Search for Amelia Earhart (1966) contributed to the idea that the government had conspired to deceive the public about Earhart’s disappearance. Since then suggestions of a conspiracy have spread to the Internet.

      Curators Tom Crouch and Dorothy Cochrane discuss the circumstances of Earhart’s disappearance and the use of critical thinking and the historical method. Students learn how historians work and learn to distinguish between historical fact and historical fancy.

      Lead-in page here:


      Thinking Critically About Amelia Earhart’s Disappearance

      Note: An interesting discussion of TIGHAR begins at around 38:30 in the presentation. Use the scroll bar on the player to fast forward to this section of the presentation.

    • Aaron says:


      Thank you for that long and confused rant. You seem to know more than anyone – even Gillespie and Mellon themselves, the ones who were actually on the expedition to Niku. I’d like to comment upon several of the brilliant insights you shared with us from your rambling post:

      “I know the person that begged Gillespie to close the thread.”

      I always love the “believe me, I know the person” argument. Especially when you don’t name the person. I’m an attorney and in a court of law this is referred to as “hearsay,” which is then dismissed.

      “It was becoming a new age stopping ground.”

      What exactly is a stopping ground? Were you trying to say stomping ground?

      “Tighar never bought Mellon’s ideas and delusions.”

      And how do you know this? Let me guess, you have “inside connections” at TIGHAR, the organization you spend all of your time bashing on blogs such as this one.

      “[H]owever back stateside he had to make some lemonaid from Lemons, and proclaimed ‘well perhaps there is something we missed, let’s review tape.’”

      Wrong. Reviewing video upon returning from the expedition had always been part of the plan. Did you think they were going to waste valuable time on location, with expensive state-of-the-art equipment idly sitting by, while they carefully reviewed hours of video footage? This statement is both false and absurd.

      “That somehow you know they have golden evidence, final proof, but want to hush hush it?”

      I never said anything about “golden evidence” or “final proof.” Go back and read my post. You’re as confused as your repetitive arguments.

      “There was no new discoveries of anything in this so called new debris field.”

      Oh really, thanks for clearing that up. I guess there’s no need to continue expensive forensic analysis by experts since you (who have no qualifications AND have not even seen the high-res video) have declared to be “no new discoveries.” Thanks for your well-founded expert opinion. You just saved TIGHAR a lot of money.

      “They posted the exact depth and location of the so called debris field.”

      Okay, so what does that prove? You think they’re afraid of you (or anyone else) going out to a remote atoll in the South Pacific with the equipment needed to look at it? Go right ahead.

      “Either it shows airplane debris or it doesn’t and if it does how does hiding that benefit Tighar fund raising efforts?”

      Does this really need explaining? Isn’t this what you guys criticize Gillespie for doing? He’s going to release the information about his discovery to the media so they can report on it. Then you’ll be able to read about it in every newspaper across the country, as well as every news website, which will create more interest in the research project, and will (hopefully) provide the necessary funding to continue the project with their next expedition to Niku.

      “Other scientists do not believe this crap.”

      Really? What about Robert Ballard? The most famous and well respected maritime archaeologist? Wrong again, Dave.

      Let’s be clear. You don’t have to believe TIGHAR’s Niku theory or Mr. Mellon’s interpretation of the debris field. But you know nothing about the expedition, their findings, the video footage, the analysis that’s taking place on the debris field and all other recorded data, or TIGHAR’s plans, beliefs, or intentions. Believe it or not, there are some things that are not shared with the general public (i.e., you).

  76. Tim Mellon says:

    Aaron, perhaps you could remind “dave” (with whom I will probably never be on speaking terms) that the “debris field” touted by TIGHAR after the 2012 expedition is nowhere near the debris field photographed in the 2010 high definition video, nor the same field re-photographed from another angle in the 2012 high definition video. Glickman’s field is blessed with natural light; the other, at 985 feet down, is illuminated only by ROV lights.

    • dave says:

      Oh please Tim, don’t act like you are above me. I am well aware there are TWO SUPPOSED DEBRIS FIELDS being discussed here. The 2012 one is the one Glickman and Tighar was supposedly going to publish on. The 2010 expedition “debris field” is purely YOUR invention. I get it. You and your reviews of 2010 tapes are getting infamous for comic value. Toilet paper? Seriously?

      The facts for anyone still awake are thus, the 2012 Niku Tighar expedition was a flop, Tighar comes back and invents a “debris field” and says their man Glickman will further study it, details later. Now I am not sure what exactly the missing Mr.Glickman is studying. He announced a man made debris field not consistent with the Norwich city. Therefore, with logic, there is something to retrieve. Oddly, Tighar is very very reluctant to go back and retrieve, or even publish photos of, this 2012 debris field. One more time Tighar has made bogus announcements with no backing.

      While all this was occurring, Tim Mellon comes along and says “Oh no Tighar, you have it wrong..the 2012 debris field is not where the plane is located… because I alone have found the REAL debris field in old 2010 tapes..”

      Everyone catch that? Mellon discovered his own debris field much to Tighar’s embarrassment.
      Next thing Gillespie knows, his money man is not following the company line and is going on huge rants about this new(old) 2010 field he discovered with his magic computer. The hand me down computer monitor his friend gave him. He states he now has a laptop and this new magic laptop can also see toilet paper rolls from the doomed electra.

      Aaron.apparently thinking Tighar was locking down mellon for secrecy is way off base. They locked down Mellon because he found his own debris field in old video footage, and even Tighar vehemently disagreed with Mellon on this 2010 debris field. Gently they tried to pacify Mr.Mellon, but Mellon’s absurdity was too much for even Tighar.
      That is the reality of the delusional mind of Mr.Mellon.
      He is so bizarre even the scam group Tighar doesn’t really want to be associated with his wild ramblings. You think Ric Gillespie wants to be associated with a guy claiming a 75 year old banjo was “seen” in rock videos? I don’t think so.
      They would like Mr.Mellon’s money however.

      So I know your story sport, it still don’t fly. You can show stills of the 2010 expedition till the cows come home, its only rocks as you have been told a thousand times. If you want to make claims you have found the plane, you have to bring back some plane.
      Tighar is not going to refuse your cash for an immediate expedition direct to the supposed 2010 debris field.
      Put your money where your mouth is, it’s pocket change for you, go retrieve the plane parts you have loudly pronounced you have “seen”. ( You are not related to the Mormon Joseph Smith are you?)
      The truth is as nutty as you no doubt are, if you really believed you solved the mystery of the Earhart Disappearance, you would be jumping on a flight and leasing some subs.
      But I don’t see that happening, which leads to the conclusion you are either not serious or lack conviction in your own mind.
      In any event you haven’t solved the disappearance of Earhart without physical evidence.
      Neither has Tighar.
      End of Story.

      • Aaron says:

        Dave, I think you need to shut down your computer for the night. You’re no longer making points, just rambling on, saying the same things over and over, personally attacking Ric Gillespie and Tim Mellon. In the end, we all want the same thing – to find NR16020. Personal attacks are not necessary and contribute nothing towards that goal.

    • Aaron says:

      Tim, I’m afraid you’re getting too technical for Dave. He doesn’t understand the difference between the two debris fields, nor does he care to. And that’s the problem with him. He’s more interested in bashing you and TIGHAR than actually hearing about the evidence.

      • dave says:

        Aaron, I just summarized the two debris fields. I know the story quite well thank you, probably much better than you. There is no evidence. There are videos of freaking rocks as everyone can attest to that views Mellons stills of the 2010 expedition. For that matter, the 2012 expedition as well.
        Not one person here has looked at those pictures and said “hey Tim you are right, that is an airplane part” NOT ONE.
        Just you and Tim Mellon.
        Father and son perhaps?
        Or just dumb and dumber.

      • Jack says:

        Hey Aaron,
        Scroll up a little and please answer the question I posed you about the objects Tim sees in the Tighar ROV videos. Tim has helpfully provided links to video still he thinks make his case, if you think there are better ones, please provide the urls to them.

        • Aaron says:

          Jack, I re-read your post and I don’t understand what you are asking me. You want me to explain Tim’s findings? I think Tim has done an excellent job of that – much better than I can do. I’m not sure why you want to hear it from me.

          • Jack says:

            You said that “Gillespie didn’t close the thread about the debris field because he thinks Mellon’s observations are ridiculous. He closed the thread because he doesn’t want him to reveal the discovery before it’s been verified for two reasons.”

            Above, Tim has provided links to video still he thinks indicate the presence of Electra debris in the sea off of Nikumaroro. I am asking you whether you agree with Tim’s interpretations of these photos. It’s a simple question, you should be able to answer it.

          • Aaron says:

            Jack, at this point I wouldn’t say I agree or disagree with Tim’s findings. In fact, I wouldn’t say I agree or disagree with TIGHAR’s Niku hypothesis. I think they’ve done great work and it is currently the most probable explanation for AE’s disappearance.

            I think Tim’s findings are very interesting and also very probable. I’d love to be able to view the high-res images next to the purported objects. Unfortunately, I’m not able to perform that type of analysis. Tim is in a much better position to do this type of analysis, so I don’t know how anyone can sit back and tell him there’s no way he’s right. I respect Tim’s findings and wouldn’t be surprised at all if they turn out to be the evidence we’ve all been waiting for.

          • Jack says:

            I may not be “smart enough to read between the lines” as you put it, but I am smart enough to understand that you’re unwilling to answer the question. You said that Gillespie locked the threads because the pictures Tim was posting were too revealing, but now you’re not willing to agree that the pictures show what Tim says they do. I’m afraid I have to agree with Dave’s explanation of why Gillespie stopped Tim from posting ROV videos.

            By the way, for someone who expresses concern about other people making personal attacks (which indeed they do, and should not), you sure make a lot of them yourself. Physician, heal thyself!

          • Jeff says:

            Clearly, there are two people posting on Aaron’s screen name. The one who opens with an insult and the more coherent one. No problem with Aaron’s son posting too. Perhaps his name is Aaron also.

          • Aaron says:

            Jack, I don’t really care if you believe me or Dave. I’m simply stating my opinion.

            Unlike others on this thread, I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything. I’m simply saying don’t discredit someone else’s hypothesis if you cannot prove it wrong. I don’t bash crash-and-sink theorists. I listen to what they have to say. Who am I to tell them they’re wrong? And who are you to tell Tim that he’s not seeing an object he says he sees when he’s analyzing high-res images you haven’t seen, on equipment you don’t have. He’s spent countless hours studying this data. You look at a thumbnail for ten seconds and conclude he’s wrong.

            As for personal attacks, I confess that I make jokes here and there when making a point. Dave is no longer making points, just attacking.

          • Aaron says:

            Well, my son’s middle name is Aaron. But I can assure you he’s not posting on here since he’s only two-years-old. (Now watch, someone will say they don’t believe I have a son and/or they don’t believe he’s two.)

  77. Jack says:

    Aaron you continue to dodge the question.
    You’re not trying to convince anyone of anything? Anyone reading your many posts can see that is untrue.
    No point in beating a dead horse, your unwillingness to say you agree with Tim speaks volumes.

    • Aaron says:

      I’m not dodging any question. Unlike most of you, I cannot say definitively one theory is right and the other is wrong. That’s the main point I’ve been trying to make. There is no smoking gun (yet). You make that point to disprove TIGHAR’s Niku theory. I make that point to say that you cannot prove the crash-and-sank theory (or any other theory) – and therefore, cannot disprove TIGHAR’s Niku theory.

      While I’m not ready to say that I agree with Tim’s interpretations of the 2010 Balderston debris field, I certainly don’t disagree with them. I find them very interesting and I’m waiting patiently (or at least trying) to find out more. I think the debris field is in the right location and many of the objects he has identified are consistent with Earhart and Noonan. While I’m as surprised as most of you about the volume of objects he has seen and the clarity in which he sees them, I don’t understand how any of you can sit back and tell him definitively that nothing is there.

      And the same goes for the 2012 Glickman debris field. The best image I have seen of this debris field is 640×360. That image is simply too small and devoid of details to even begin a proper analysis. Also, I’m not a forensic image analyst, so I cannot render any professional opinion. I’m not like others on here that are quick to render opinions when they have no business doing so.

      My point is simply that you cannot rule out either of the debris fields if you cannot disprove them.

      • Jeff says:

        Aaron, I happen to agree with you that there is no tangible evidence that supports any of the theories. I have also said I think there are elements of evidence or potential evidence in more than one including TIGHAR’s. However, when you speak of what “Tim Mellon” is saying, I completely disagree. He is identifiying objects that cannot exist. He says he sees letters scattered in the debris field. Very simply, the decomposition rate of paper in salt water is months, not 75 years. He says he can’t quite read the license issued to Earhart that is posted on the bulkhead of the plane. He doesn’t just see something that looks like it could be a part of the plane. He sees the bulkhead just behind the pilot’s seat with the license affixed to it. Again, that would be a paper license. Toilet paper, which is designed to decompose quickly. This is just to use the most basic of examples.

        As an attorney, you are aware of issues related to credibility when one part or several parts of a witnesses testimony is known to be false. You are entitled to your opinion, but there is no need to coddle this guy when you know what he is saying isn’t true. To make an assumption that he could be right about something, anything, is inconsistent with any logical approach to witness credibility that I have ever heard of. “Tim Mellon” is not a credible witness.

        • Tim Mellon says:

          Jeff, you continue to concentrate on the fly doodoo.

          I have identified two main landing gears.
          I have identified the tail wheel and gear.
          I have identified the elevator with its lifting center section.
          I have identified the cockpit from three different angles.
          I have identified various instrument panels including specific instruments and radios and fuel selectors.
          I have identified navigation instruments, such as the octant and pelorus.
          I have identified photographic equipment, including the Kodak Six-20 camera and a Weston light meter.
          John Balderston has identified (and I corroborate) the right wing with the two digits “0” and “2” visible.
          John Balderston has identified an engine mount. He presumably can be considered an expert because he is in charge of selling F-35s to the Japanese.
          I believe I have identified two human bodies.
          I have identified sacks of mail: commemorative letters known to have been carried aboard the aircraft, with stamps that are apparent to me.
          I have identified many ancillary small objects, such as bottles (at least 30), cans, jewelry, etc. etc. etc.
          Oh yes, the banjo, the guitar, and the fiddle which together must weigh all of 25 pounds.

          No-one is saying that any of this proves anything. But your jury has not even seen any of this evidence. The judge won’t let the High Definition Video be seen by anyone else and has moved the trial into Chambers. The expert witness has escaped to Southeast Asia. The judge is either asleep or trying to prolong the case for the purpose of job security.

          And if you are an expert on paper decomposition in saltwater at depths of 985 feet, please present your credentials. I am not myself, but I report just exactly what I see. Many paper items are encased in cellophane bags. Cellophane is known to resist both air and water (and thus bacterial) penetration.

          So, Jeff, when and IF you ever get to examine the evidence in the manner in which I have been able to, then I will be attentive to your arguments as to why all of the things do not add up to a Lockheed Electra Model 10E. Maybe the Judge will come back into the courtroom, show us all a shiny trinket, and dismiss the case, but I am not holding my breath.

          • Jeff says:

            Tim, You are the one putting the fly dodo out there for examination. It is as if you are attempting to sabotage you own credibility. I said in my prior post that I was providing the most basic example when talking about the paper products. I could site more, like how the ocean current seems to know to categorize things for you, like the musical instruments. The guitar, banjo, and fiddle. You found them arranged like an underwater hoedown. Are AE and FN square dancing in that frame?

            I know you have reviewed the video. Ric Gillespie stated that what you are reviewing has no greater definition than what everyone else has seen. He said the files are simply larger, but you cannot see anymore detail. He did not want to post them in that form due their size. He said he gave them to you in that form because you asked for it that way.

            What is happening here is constant distraction from what people really want to do. You are making no point by saying, “I know what I see and it is the Electra and the bodies of AE and FN, but you have to take my word for it.” Why say that at all? Is it because you want to be recognized as the person who saw it? Is it because you helped sponsor the trip and you want what you paid for?

            You said you have reviewed the debris from different angles in video from 2010, and 2012. You have confirmed it is the same stuff. Earhart found, no need for any further investigation. That’s it, everyone can go home. How does what you are saying differ from the wreck in New Britain that no one has seen? What about the plane burned on Saipan. The picture in Brink’s book? You know where the plane is, and after all this time and effort, you want to leave it there? If your response is, “just wait, you’ ll see.” How is that different from what TIGHAR has said for 25 years?

            Tim, I am responding to claims you have made, they are not mine. I understand you want to distance yourself from your own remarks at this point, but your statements have to be considered as a whole. Since you have come down this road, perhaps it would help if you gave more information about your methodology in determining what you have seen. Is it a free association exercise? Whatever it is, several people here have said it is not helping you to continue making announcements of your findings. That is your decision.

      • gari says:

        @ Aaron,

        Proving a negative is practically impossible isn’t it? Could it be proven that the Electra didn’t land in Madrid Spain that day? Sure we’d have ‘experts’ stating the endurance and passage of time would make such a thing impossible, but can we prove it didn’t land there?

        We can’t prove that pixies, gnomes and unicorns exist either, are you seriously suggesting that we go through life believing that they could do on the off-chance they do, but that we can’t prove it yet?

        Sceptics of Niku are saying that the evidence doesn’t exclusively prove that hypothesis correct, this is what we’d expect in science and a court of law isn’t it, for the evidence to prove the hypothesis? Someone comes up with an idea to explain an occurrence, seeks and provides evidence for that occurrence to other people, they test the validity of that evidence using personal skills, experience and applied knowledge, including maybe common sense.

        You mock people who are not ‘experts’ and you say that you are an attorney. Tell me, in a jury trial, do they select potential jurors from all backgrounds or do they only select people with degree in law or criminology? As I see it, what is occurring on this site, and most places beyond TIGHAR, is that the jury, the folks reading the evidence, are deliberating that evidence, the Internet is our jury room. Ever been in a jury, Aaron? This is what happens, we all see and hear the same evidence, we sit in our little room and discuss the case, as non-experts in law.

        As for ‘experts’ they are not infallible, for example, they could believe/think/hope a hoaxed bigfoot photo was the real thing. Also, in a court of law, do you not get ‘experts’ from both sides debating the veracity of the same piece of evidence?

        Maybe I am just lowly ill-educated trailer-trash and not a highly-educated highfalutin successful attorney like you, but as an analogy, suppose a prosecution ‘expert’ produces a report about a piece of glass found at a possible homicide scene, the accused’s home, that in his opinion was ‘consistent with’ or was a freckle cream jar of the type the missing, believed murdered, victim was known to use, and so ‘proves’ the missing victim had been at the alleged crime scene. Then the defence brings in an expert who says that in his opinion the glass could belong to any of the many product lines the manufacturer produced, and not just freckle cream, and that the jar was manufactured in the thousands annually for a period of decades and shipped to people all over the world. Would not the jury then be sitting down and debating whether or not that piece of glass is unique enough to prove the victim was at the scene, and not just accept the prosecution or defence evidence without debate? That’s what is happening here, sceptics are questioning the evidence.

        Of course the jury weigh up all the evidence, and IF that evidence, on balance, is enough to sway enough of the jury, they give a verdict accordingly. Not forgetting though, that even a proven case has been occasionally reversed, and even ‘unique’ DNA evidence has been shown flawed a few times worldwide, when a different ‘expert’ researches further.

        Maybe the only valid way to actually prove that NR16020 didn’t make Gardner is to find it elsewhere, but should it be the task of the non-Niku folks to find something that Niku-ites so adamantly say landed at Gardner? Which is the easier to prove? The Gardner hypothesis or ALL of the other competing hypotheses?

        Aaron, you say that you are not swayed one way or another, yet on this page you have suggested that TIGHAR are to produce a coup de gras to end all doubt of Hypothesis Niku, implying, by special pleading, that you and/or TIGHAR are privy to unannounced evidence. Firstly, to me, the content of that post did seem to have a bias towards Niku, and secondly, we, the jury, can only debate the evidence produced, even IF TIGHAR had found and recovered NR16020 and the crew remains, and then for some reason secreted it all away in a remote secluded hanger back in the US, we should not be blamed or mocked for only debating the ‘evidence’ that is actually out there for us to debate.

        Science is pretty robust because anyone on the planet can test it to try and prove it wrong, if a hypothesis still stands despite critics and tests, then we know that we are on pretty solid ground with it. Sure, some egos don’t like their pet project attacked, even in science, but they should welcome the ‘attacks’. If their hypothesis is valid and the only ‘answer’ to the observations, why should they fear someone testing it? After all, they can’t be wrong can they, their hypothesis is the only one that fits the data. But no, people don’t like their pet hypothesis being questioned, they see it as an affront, when in reality, IF their hypothesis were the only solution, any criticism will be proving its validity.

        The only time an advocate of any hypothesis should be concerned by any questioning of it, is when that hypothesis is shaky and only has ambiguous evidence.

        I have said before, I read about Gardner a long time ago and thought the AE/FN case could be closed. I can still remember thinking about what it would have been like to be AE and FN abandoned on that little island, in my head the poignancy of an alleged zipper telling the tale of their demise. Then I started looking at the ‘evidence’, and wanted to know how Niku-ites knew that any artefact actually belonged to AE or FN, especially when I found out that the ‘uninhabited desert island’, had had many occupants over the decades since and before the alleged landing there.

        That’s where I am today, I would love for TIGHAR to bring up an engine from NR16020, and prove my thinking completely wrong. For me it is the fact that even now, with getting close to three decades of attempting to prove the hypothesis, the ‘evidence’ is as ambiguous now as it ever has been.

        This juror finds the Niku hypothesis not proven.

  78. Jay says:


    Are you a member of the TIGHAR forum or a paid member of TIGHAR?

    The only attorney I am aware of that posts on that forum is Gary LaPook who has been mentioned on this forum. I can assure you that Dave knows exactly who petitioned Ric to Lock not only the subject thread and the following morning Ric locked two others. Confidentiality prevents me from revealing the name and since this is no “court of law” I am not compelled to disclose that to you. And, as an attorney (if you truly are) you should know that there are exceptions to the hearsay rule though it is not appropriate here.

    Ric says,

    “When Tim refers to XHDV he means full-resolution HD video. The video we’ve put up on YouTube is half-resolution because the full-resolution files are enormous and [b]don’t really look any different than the half-resolution images.[/b]”

    “Back on January 12, I think I made it clear that this forum is not going to discuss shapes seen in the underwater videos unless and until Jeff Glickman sees something worth discussing. So far, Jeff has nothing to report beyond what he’s already said, so I’m locking this topic.”

    Apparently Mr. Glickman, MIA, seems to have distanced himself from TIGHAR since his return from Niku VII.,571.1710.html#lastPost

    With due respect, Tim Mellon is way behind the curve in computer technology as evidenced by the grainy, cloudy and ridiculously poor quality in the hundreds of renderings that he posted on the TIGHAR forum. A lot of the comments about those are still on the forum by those who see nothing in those videos, and screenshots, what are affectionately called “Camels in the Clouds” by many.

    Aaron, I think you should take some time off here and peruse those video threads at TIGHAR as well as many others. You just may come to a different conclusion as to their veracity and stop being the “Head Cheerleader” for Mr. Gillespie.

    As far as Dr. Ballard is concerned, I am betting he wants nothing to do with Gillespie after he stuck it to the good Dr. by signing the “Antiquities Management Agreement that grants TIGHAR an exclusive license and right to search for, study, recover and preserve objects, including plane parts or wreckage, relating to or which tend to suggest the presence of Amelia Earhart and/or Fred Noonan within the territorial boundaries of the Republic of Kiribati.” Very shortly after that Photo Op in DC. Why would Dr. Ballard spend his money in an association with Gillespie when all credit would be given to the one who has never accomplished one thing in his 27 plus years of looking for the Electra or any other a/c for that matter. Dr. Ballard has the money and the equipment, why would he need Gillespie?

    Last but not least, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery/The Institute For Aviation History “Preserve, Explore, Inspire” in it’s history has never recovered or preserved one aircraft. The TBD-1s and the P-38 are a non issue as they only know where they are and weren’t the ones who found them and couldn’t afford to recover or preserve them if they wanted to.

    • Aaron says:

      Jay, If Gary LaPook is the only attorney you’re aware of, then I must not be an attorney, right? Congrats on typing the stupidest thing I’ve read on this thread yet. I am now convinced that if I posted the sky is blue, I would be accused of lying.

      Why would I lie about my profession, especially when it has nothing to do with the subject of this thread? If I were going to lie, I would say I was an aviation crash expert, archaeologist, forensic scientist, etc. Click on my picture. See the little “esq” after my screen name? Google that and find out what it means.

      And thank you for telling me there are hearsay exceptions. That’s like telling your doctor there are antibiotics.

      • Jay says:


        Once again you go on the attack and fail to address the post and instead attack the poster. You are the one who mentioned that it would have been hearsay not I. I can only prove that it wasn’t, so your silly little comparison is moot.

        As far as I am concerned, you are just a troll posting here without a clue as to what you are talking about. And I know exactly what Esquire means behind a real attorney’s name. Just because you put it there doesn’t mean you earned it. Either vet yourself as an attorney with credentials or shut up about it. You aren’t the only Aaron Schmidt Esq. in this country. Which one are you?

        Now, are you going to address the posts many of us have made or are you going to keep making your cute little girly comments and fan your pom poms all day Cheerleading for your main man Ric. Yes, I think you are female because you write like one. And if you are an attorney, you sure as hell don’t articulate like one. Maybe Brian Dunning should vet those who claim their professional credentials here.

        And this doesn’t prove squat:

        • dave says:

          Jay, you are 100% correct of Aaron’s posts. He doesn’t really say anything, but attacks others for rambling so Maybe he is an attorney.after all. haha.
          However if really an attorney he should know better than ask a question he doesn’t know the answer to.
          Or for that matter state his misinformed opinions as fact.

          Prime example he begins by defending Tim Mellon’s Photo’s. Aaron jumps right in claiming Mellon’s Analysis was locked from Tighar because Tighar was still investigation the photos.Aaron stated Tighar wanted to do it right and not make the same mistake as in the past.

          Well as demonstrated, that is absolutely 100% not true. In case of fact, it show Aaron knew little of the two supposed debris fields, That being Tighar’s 2012 debris field, and Mellon’s 2010 debris field. I should say SUPPOSED DEBRIS FIELDS.
          Anyone reading Aarons remarks can tell that until Mellon feeds him the information, Aaron has no clue what he is talking about, and Aaron has combined the two debris fields into one that according to him is under secret study.
          Anyone reading Aarons posts can clearly see he thinks and believes Tighar is studying and investigating Mellon’s pictures and videos, and lumps that in with Tighar’s supposed studying of it’s 2012 video.

          Aaron was wrong and misinformed. Tighar has done everything it can to distance itself from Mellon’s self announced study of the older 2010 footage.
          That was the reason for the thread locks on Tighar. Not secrecy and prudence while studying Mellon’s Banjo’s.
          The reality is Nobody is studying Mellon’s Banjos. Not even the MIA Jeff Glickman. Mr.Glickman gave Mr.Mellon a courtesy visit, but endorsed none of Mellon’s ideas. Tighar is vague as usual, but says in effect that all talk about underwater videos will be locked until Jeff Glickman sees something of interest to talk about.
          However as noted previously, Tighar announced on their site that Glickman was studying only the 2012 video, not Mr.Mellons personal fascination with another location on the reef.
          To make sure there is no confusion about what videos tapes Tighar is referring to, Mr.Glickman goes into some detail stating he feels he is 100% sure there are new man made items found in the 2012 videos he is studying. Not one sentence has come from the mouth of Tighar’s MIA photo guy Jeff Glickman stating his still studying Mellon’s 2010 misadventures in Rock reading.

          So Aaron was clearly wrong in defending Mr.Mellon’s ideas as being under study. NO THEY ARE NOT!
          Sorry Aaron, you blew it. You did not know what you were talking about.

          What Aaron probably realizes by now is this thread is populated indeed with many people he would call “castaways” ( yet he chastises me for name calling. Double standard much?)
          We are sick of Gillespie and Tighar’s lies, his perpetual fund raising with no results, the falsification of evidence, and the North Korean attitude at Tigar that only one opinion matters, the great father, Ric Gillespie. I would suppose without polling the new research kit Aaron mentions Tighar is selling sickens more than a few as well.

          So while I will apolgize to Mr.Mellon(whether he feels I am un-worthy to speak to) and to Aaron for my brusk manner, it is an attitude formed and hardened from Tighar itself and the abuse myself and my friends have suffered there while trying to shine some honesty on this search and honesty in the investigation.
          This Blog does allow many to say things never allowed by the cult of Tighar.
          Do not come here misinformed, spouting half baked Tighar Propaganda and expect a welcome mat. Prepare your case well counselor, There is no Tighar moderator to save you here.
          If you talk nonsense you will be told it’s nonsense.
          If you say the sky is blue, you will get complete agreement.
          There is more fair play here, and open minds, than in decades of purges at the Tighar cult.
          I can assure you that much.

          • Tim Mellon says:

            Dave, I accept your apology; I want to express my sympathy for the way you may have been treated elsewhere. I have survived elsewhere, I think, by remaining as civil as possible while not surrendering on matters of principle or integrity. I do not believe that intimidation, physical or verbal, helps anyone who seeks the truth. Censorship doesn’t help either.

            Your views may be more congruent with mine than you realize, though I suspect here and now is not the right place to explore the similarities and differences.

            Let us discuss these matters intelligently, without hyperbole or histrionics, knowing that TIGHAR does not own the truth nor has it the right to hoodwink people primarily for the purpose of extending the “game”.

          • Yoda says:

            I have a place for you two to have a discussion if you are interested. I run a forum dedicated to the crash and sank theory but you two would be welcomed to join. You can email me at if interested.

          • Yoda says:

            That goes for gari, jay, and others…

        • Aaron says:

          Jay wrote, “I think you are female because you write like one.”

          Along with a slew of other inappropriate and off color comments, you’ve managed to add a discriminatory remark against women. Very classy. Are you more proud of being a skeptic or sexist?

      • Jim says:

        Wow!! I must say Dave, your attitude is really what’s wrong with the world. Your thoughts are horrible and down right degrading. Most of you folks are amusing.. You all seem to disagree with TIGHAR, and yet still visit there web domains for information. What a hoot!!! Let me ask Dave, Jeff, Yoda, Roland and all the other TIGHAR bashers…. Where is AE and FN? Has there not been an extensive search off of Howland for her? I can swear I read Wiatt’s or Nauticos spectacular ocean bottom Electra search report. Bless there hearts they haven’t found nothing either. Kudos to them for putting in the effort and displaying there work on the web. You all have seemed so knowledgeable on the AE disappearance. Where is she? Where did the credible radio transmissions come from? What would an Electra that has been submerged on a reef slope in the pacific look like 75 years later? Who on the earth is the most knowledgeable historian on the AE disappearance? What did AE have in the cabin of the Electra on July 2nd 1937? Have you seen the final takeoff footage? Do you think the plane was weighed down? Did Fred Noonan have vast experience crossing the Pacific ocean? Did Fred help plan out clipper routes across the Pacific for Pan Am? Did Fred know of the Phoenix Island group? Did Fred know how far the closest bodies of land were, north and south of Howland? Was Fred known for carrying a maritime Sextant, due to his experience as a quarter master in WW1? Did Fred ever step foot on Kanton Atoll? What is in the Bevington photo? If you say what it is not, then what is it? What business is it of yours what Tim Mellon donates? Hey now… He’s not spending your money.. Why do you visit the TIGHAR forum when you honestly believe TIGHAR is a scam, or a cult?

        So let’s go back.. Where is AE? Does anyone on this thread have any Idea what was in the Cabin of that Electra on July 2nd 1937? Please I am dying to know.. Help me out.. I will guarantee that I nor anyone else knows what was in that cabin at final take off. No one on earth can say what extra fuel AE had period, P unto!! Of course they could have made it to Niku, Really?? That plane wasn’t sending transmissions floating. Have any of you studied the Perdue on line AE records? Have any of you read the the Coast Guard telegrams? I mean Lambrecht was like 400 feet in the air when he circled and zoomed over Niku right? 7 days later right? The first known human to step foot on Niku was 90 days after AE’s disappearance right? Do any of you Surf? Ever felt a rip current? ever been on a reef? … Please folks instead of disagreeing with Tim Mellon over and over again, and Bashing TIGHAR Put YOUR MONEY where YOUR mouth is. I am waiting in excitement for you guys to tell us where AE is? Haven’t the most likely places already been searched off of Howland? Go ahead and visit the TIGHAR forum again today.. visit your so called scam…

        • Yoda says:

          No one is arguing that TIGHAR has not amassed a great deal of information especially where the physical aircraft is concerned. The debate about TIGHAR is their Niku Hypothesis that is the only vision of the organization. All bets have been placed and doubled down on that one theory. I have pointed out many of the leaps of faith and the compounded coincidences required to make the theory work.

          The term “knowledgeable” is very subjective. Take Dr. Tom King, TIGHAR Senior Archaeologist, for example. He likes to raise doubts about any competing theory to the Niku Hypothesis and wrote about this recently. He unabashedly states, and rightfully so that eye witness testimony is often unreliable for a number of reasons. What he fails to mention very conveniently is that the supposed location of the landing site on Niku was derived initially because of islander stories of wreckage at the reef edge. It was not until 2010 that Glickman’s Globule became Nessie and later the Bevington object that “confirmed” the islander stories. The truth is that the Niku islander stories are originated from native islanders with probably less than an 8th grade education while the competing stories come from American servicemen. I have already given all of the evidence needed to judge whether or not the entire Bevington Object was a valid investigation or not. Everyone can form their own opinion.

          As to the most honest individual that has looked at the evidence at great length and has spent many hours investigating the disappearance, I would vote for LaPook. Not only an experienced navigator himself but also an AE amateur historian. But that is just my personal opinion. One thing is for certain is that if you confront Gary with contradictory evidence to his own he will not let it go until proven right or wrong.

          Gary’s behavior is in contrast to the TIGHAR approach that is to ban and or dismiss anyone (including Tim Mellon) with contrary opinion to the Niku theory and it’s many obvious flaws and giant leaps of faith. I think that this has become self-evident since the last failed TIGHAR expedition to Niku last year.

          Nauticos and the Waitt Institute have indeed searched around Howland using side scanning sonar. They have covered only a small area to the East and North. If you are not familiar with exactly what was searched then there is not much point in discussing it is there? Do you even know? Because the searches have not found the Electra that does not mean that the Electra is not close to island. In fact, I would estimate that the vast majority of scientists and engineers reject the Niku Hypothesis in it’s entirety and would indeed put the label on it of being absurd especially considering the shaky so called evidence fed in the media whenever a fund drive is underway. I believe Gillespie was quoted by one journalist as being able to turn on and off the media attention like a faucet whenever he chose to. Interesting.

          AE stated in telegrams that she had never traveled so light and mentioned that all of her personal belonging and even a tooth brush and clothing were stuff in to a single brief case and that FN had a mostly empty aluminum brief case. So she basically documented this in her own telegrams from Lae. Is she too a liar? What else do you need to see?

          As to your statement ‘credible radio transmissions’ this is highly subjective. Only TIGHAR is claiming credibility to these messages, including those received by a teenager in Florida that Gillespie equates with a modern 911 call (but they are highly suspect of eye witness testimony right? I guess that does not apply to ear witness testimony by islanders and teens).

          The Navy declared that NONE of the post loss radio messages were credible. Zip, zero, nada. So was this a conspiracy in the highest ranks of the Navy because they missed AE and FN waving on the beaches of Niku? I leave it to others to decide what is the plain and obvious truth and which is a fabrication based solely on speculation and a need to drive a good story forward.

        • Jeff says:

          Jim, Virtually every question you asked(though rhetorically) has already been answered. You are really not interested in the answers. I believe the evidence that TIGHAR has claimed related to Earhart is not supported by the facts. I have stated why in prior posts. I have also stated at least half a dozen times that TIGHAR has done some good things. I’m not going to repeat myself. It is up to you to read the posts

          This blog and discussion is about THIGAR, and their claims. That is why we are posting about it. If you want to talk about something else, go to the appropriate blog. If you want to talk about facts around any other theory, go to that discussion. Yoda posted you go to his “Crash and Sank” blog if you want to. If you want a general discussion about where others believe Earhart came down, go to that discussion. This discussion is about claims made by TIGHAR on a blog called Skeptoid. This blog is about a skeptical view of the claims made by TIGHAR. No one here is singling out TIGHAR, that is what the discussion is about. If this discussion were about about Saipan, then we would be posting about that. I hope this helps you understand what is taking place here.

          • Yoda says:


            I am not sure where you get off attempting to lay down the discussion rules of a blog you do not own. You must be a moderator over at TIGHAR and think that your religious ethics will fly over here? I do not think so. We can and are free to discuss whatever we choose to and that will not be decided by you or any other cult members. I hope that is clear?

            You are the one that brought Nauticos in to the conversation, not me. We were moving right along with the absurd claims and schisms about the Niku claims.

            You are the only that brought up the “credible” radio claims. What I am not hearing from you are any TIGHAR cult follower is anything but the same ole story re-rolled over and over while at the same time attempting to hide behind credentials.

            When I point out the hypocritical nature of TIGHAR and its representatives to twist reality for their own benefit, I was not demonstrating this in support of the Saipan theory, I was pointing out the obvious hypocritical nature of their most esteemed “experts” who dismiss all evidence that not of their own. This should be obvious when Glickman is making declarations of man made object in video while dismissing Mellon’s observations.

          • Jeff says:

            Yoda, My response was to Jim who claimed and asked for a response that myself and others are bashing TIGHAR. I said this is a skeptical blog about TIGHAR’s theory, and that is why he is finding skepticism of TIGHAR here. I did not address any issues to you. I mentioned as an example you have a blog about “Crash ans Sank”. ALL of my responses have said TIGHAR has no evidence of a Gardner landing. How you could figure I am a TIGHAR moderator is beyond me.

          • Yoda says:

            Well it should not be beyond you really. You are attempting to sculpt the conversation here. Brian, the owner of the blog has placed no such directive as far as I know. If you do not want to discuss the supposed “credible” evidence that TIGHAR has to offer regarding the Niku Hypothesis then I suggest that you not bring those topics up to the rest of us. You cannot ask for an opinion then reprimand people that attempt to answer your questions. That is probably why I assumed you were a moderator at TIGHAR as that is their modus operandi that they have tuned to an art form.

          • Jeff says:

            I think this is a misunderstanding of what I attempted to say. I probably did not say it well.

          • Aaron says:

            “You cannot ask for an opinion then reprimand people that attempt to answer your questions.”


        • dave says:

          Wow Jim I did not realize I am what is wrong with this world.
          Yoda briefly answered your questions, it cannot all be covered in a few paragraphs, Tighar has 20 years of discussions on these matters.
          Where is AE and FN? I imagine their physical bodies are quite dead and even bones long since degraded in the ocean somewhere. That is what the US NAVY believes and most researchers as well.

          Who is the most credible researcher? Up for debate.

          Credible radio transmissions?. Up for debate. I do not believe one transmission came after her 8:43 “wait” transmission.
          Tighar insists all sorts of transmissions are possibly hers. The facts are they have changed that list over the years. Some that used to be rated “credible” are now rated by Tighar “not credible”, and vice versa.
          This research area is so large some specialists devote themselves almost full time to this area, so it cannot be summed up neatly here.
          I will say that I have not heard of one transmission that cannot be chatter or a Carrier wave/cross talk from Japan or a mainland hoax.
          If you really want to get into this area I suggest reading every single transmission and see why Tighar rated it the way they did. I disagree, as do others on their findings, and that does not make me evil.

          Technical information on what she had in her cabin? Nobody knows exactly. She shed a lot of weight but nobody knows what exactly was on the plane. We do know from her testimony and letters she was carrying the bare minimum to carry as much fuel as possible. She mentioned carrying a comb. I have never seen any reference in her letters to transporting a guitar and Banjo around the world.

          Have I seen the takeoff footage, yes, Was Fred on Kanton in his life, I have no idea… I also have no idea where you are going with this except perhaps you feel if you ask a zillion questions that somehow makes the hypothesis valid.

          I could ask you a million questions on every battle in the civil war, and they would be unanswerable in a small post. Sorry it cannot be done. That does mean the hypothesis is valid and Earhart was on Niku. It only means nobody really has the time and space to inform you of answers you should look up yourself.
          None your questions leads serious minded critics to consider Niku the answer, that I will say.

          If you are waiting in “excitement” for someone to tell you where AE is at, you will have a long wait. It is frankly a ludicrous proposition you make Jim.
          In essence, your whole long rambling post is a juvenile attempt to propose the idea that if someone cannot tell you where AE is, then they have no business stating that a picture of a rock, looks like a rock.
          That I have no business stating a jar analysis is invalid. That I have no business questioning the Pope of Tighar.
          Sorry, I don’t know where AE is, neither does anyone else in this world. Yet I can see a rock and state it looks like a rock.
          It’s a talent I obtained as a child.
          If you want detailed information on a specific item in the Earhart flight, then research it yourself.
          I assure you there are people here that know just as much about Earhart’s flight as anyone at Tighar.
          If you feel your own knowledge is lacking, do some reading.

          For some of us that have read long and deep, for many years, we do not believe one item presented by Tighar is material evidence.
          I feel quite comfortable saying that not one peer reviewed part of the Plane, not one identifiable object seen being loaded on the plane,and not one known personal item of Earhart or Noonans as seen in photographs, has been laid upon a desk and presented as proof Earhart was ever near Niku.
          In fact I would feel comfortable saying Tighar itself agrees with me. No proof positive smoking gun has been found as Tighar admits.
          So conceding that major point, I would say neither Tighar, me, Yoda, Nauticos, has a proof positive location where her plane was lost.
          That is why it is irritating for Mr.Gillespie to hold speak and greets where his own propaganda states, “Join us to talk about Niku.. the final resting place of Amelia Earhart”
          Yes he said that. I did not state that. Nauticos did not state that.. Well they do not know, which makes it a fraud to ask for money based on irresponsible propaganda.
          Mr.Mellon can confirm Mr.Gillespie said the above, there are advertisement for fund raising that confirm Gillespie said the above, and frankly is it not true or at least proven to peer review or reasonable man standards.

          If calling Tighar out on their inaccuracies makes me “what is wrong with the world”, it seems you are an extremist, and one who does not care what Tighar states for its fundraising or how accurate those statements really are.
          I do care for my fellow citizens being scammed, and do care for historical accuracy.

          • Aaron says:

            I don’t want to put words in Jim’s mouth, but I don’t think he was expecting you to actually answer each of his questions – I think he was making a point. And a very good point at that.

            All of you TIGHAR bashers “think” you have all the answers because you pick apart each of TIGHAR’s discoveries to explain why they’re wrong. But when it comes down to the ultimate question – where is AE and FN – you can’t offer any more evidence than TIGHAR.

          • Yoda says:


            There is one big difference between say Elgen Long, the Wait Institute, Nauticos, and other competing theories is that those are based on facts and attempts to recreate scenarios using engineering skills.

            TIGHAR relies on islander stories, teenagers on radios, globules on photographs, oyster shells with pry marks, freckle cream jars, and soles of shoes.

            There are big differences and you are right in that since no one has found anything, and I do mean anything, that no solution can be proven to be correct.

          • Jim says:

            Dave, I of course did not mean to disrespect you… Shall I say your attitude is what is wrong with the world today.. Just a simple observation from reading your many posts within this thread. I think expressing your opinion that Tim Mellon is senile, and TIGHAR is a scam once, is enough. For example, I am going to copy and paste a paragraph that you posted on Dec. 24th 2012. …..
            Dave speaking:

            “If you question why there were no clothing and plane contents found in 1940 when,when Gallagher was searching the island, you get banned from their site. Yet they allow a deluded billionaire named Tim Mellon to claim he has found Amelias bones, clothes,, housekeys, belt, bra, everything on the plane underwater where it has been for 75 years. Nevermind the total illogic that any clothing would be gone after that long underwater. Mellon gives tighar millions of dollars so anything he says goes. Look at his lunatic ramblings today on Tighar where he is spotting control boxes, seats, all kind of BS, and everything he shows is coral.
            An old senile man Tighar is fleecing out of millions.
            Gillespie knows these are rocks Mellon is looking at, but he allows it because it means Tighar gets another check.
            I could make a book of lies and total fabrications by Tighar.”

            …. I mean….. I think we get it.. And I’m an extremist? As you stated.. Mr. Dave, I am not saying in any way what you can and cannot post, nor am I trying to tell you what is and is not your business. I am simply stating that your thinking is negative! It is vastly beyond being respectfully critical.. Period!! Now you apologize, you shred a person in half verbally, and repeatedly, then apologize. Good for you.. Kudos..

            I simply asked the questions in my post to hear some answers. It seemed that there was a lot of knowledgeable folks posting within this thread. I personally believe that once they hit there line, and couldn’t locate Howland they made the conscious decision to fly south. The main reason I believe that is because of Fred’s knowledge of land masses in the Pacific. I mean Baker island is the closest land mass to Howland. It is to the south east. South east of Baker is the Phoenix chain. Niku is almost due south of Baker. North of Howland is nothing.. Something tells me they said to themselves while contemplating north or south, to hell with north we are going south. With Fred’s resume, it is hard for me to believe that he knew nothing of the phoenix chain.

            Myself, nor anyone can say what was on the Electra, or how much fuel was aboard on July 2nd 1937. I feel that many of the theory’s on AE’s disappearance are plausible. I certainly would not do any bashing on any of them. I disagree with all the spy theory’s, not buying it. And also there is coast guard letters and documents stating that it was assumed AE was on dry land. I have read them myself Dave. I will post a link if need be. However I suggest that you go to the Purdue e archives online and read every single document, examine every single picture. I myself have only gotten through 1/3 of the information. I am just trying to learn and research like all within this thread. You are not evil, by any means Dave. I just wanted to remind you of constructive criticism. And for the record.. I am not defending any person or persons. Simply stating my observations. And that is, within this thread most disagree with the Niku theory, yet they still visit TIGHARS web sights.. It’s peculiar and interesting.. By the way does anyone know who has spent the most money searching for AE? Just curious.. .. @ Aaron, you expressed my point well, thank you..

        • Jeff says:

          Reply to Jim:

          After reviewing my hasty prior response, I want to make certain i get it right this time. I am not speaking for the other “TIGHAR bashers”, just myself. I am posting information that is skeptical of the Gardner landing because that is what the blog is about. It should be no surprise to find opinions, and strong ones, that disagree with TIGHAR’s theory on this bog. To come on here and basically say, it is none of my business if Tim Mellon spends his money looking for the plane is not a valid point in my view. That is what this discussion is about, and those are the comments you should expect to find.

          I have said in prior posts that I think there is credible information in more than one theory, including TIGHAR’s. One’s mindset does not have to conform to one theory or another. The information is what it is. Much of it is public record, some of it is not. If you only find information on TIGHAR’s website, you may be influenced to believe TIGHAR’s theory. I have already stated I am not a member of TIGHAR, I do not post on their site, I have never been banned from their site. I have posted on this blog under my own name, and haven’t hidden who I am. I think it is funny that someone would think I am a TIGHAR moderator.

          Having said that, I have reviewed TIGHAR’s information and have previously said they have a great website, an excellent repository of public information and great catalogue of the radio signals. That stuff was a tremendous amount of work, and they deserve credit for it. I have reviewed just about everything on their site.

          While they have a great site, I disagree with their conclusions of the information they have gathered. I disagree with the physical evidence they claim supports the AE landing. I have provided examples in prior posts. To go back through all of that now is pointless.

          Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I haven’t come on here and called people names. I have been a little rough in my responses sometimes, and I will try not to hurt anyone’s feelings.

          As to your question: “Where is Amelia Earhart?” My response is, I tend to believe she and Fred Noonan will never be found. There are a lot of possible scenarios in which they could have abandoned the plane both on land or in the water. At that point, they are part of ecology. I do believe the plane or it’s wreckage will be found. I believe it will be found in the near future. There have been advances in technology and investigation techniques that make this goal more attainable. I believe it will not be found at Gardner.

          • Yoda says:

            Jeff, I do apologize. I am guilty of being a skimmer / wanna be speed reader at time. You were correct that I had misinterpreted your thoughts.

    • Jeff says:

      Jay, I’m interested in finding more information on the “antiquities agreement”. I know TIGHAR announced they have the exclusive right, etc.. Have they posted the agreement? I am a little dubious that it is what it is claimed to be.

      • Tim Mellon says:

        Even if it is, Ric Gillespie has admitted that it is unenforceable.

        Last time I counted the Kiribati Navy was down to zero aircraft carriers, zero battleships, zero cruisers and zero submarines. Maybe North Korea will come to their aid. Oh, and after Global Warming has finished, Kiribati probably won’t have any ship docks, or even land.

        • Jeff says:

          Tim, I posted previously that Kiribati’s PIPA Management Plan through 2014 indicates TIGHAR operates under a research permit issued by the RoK. TIGHAR says in it’s press release that it has an Antiquities Management Agreement which grants it

          “exclusive license and right to search for, study, recover and preserve objects, including plane parts or wreckage, relating to or which tend to suggest the presence of Amelia Earhart and/or Fred Noonan within the territorial boundaries of the Republic of Kiribati.”

          My question is has anyone seen the agreement? Does it pertain to the last trip or for a specific time period? Any effort in Kiribati requires a research permit, so they don’t need an aircraft carrier to deny a permit. I just want to understand what if anything TIGHAR is claiming is accurate. It seems to be grandstanding to me. They have been searching one island for 25 years. How does that relate to the entire Nation? That covers a territory of 1.3 million square miles, and almost anywhere Earhart could have come down. That is the thing I am having difficulty believing.

          • Tim Mellon says:

            Jeff, I have never seen the Agreement, so I don’t know the answers to your questions. I imagine though there is something in it like “$1 and other valuable considerations….”

        • Jack says:

          Tim, do you believe in global warming?

          • Tim Mellon says:

            Yes, Jack! (softball question!)

            BUT: I think very little of it has to do with mankind.

            Before Wyoming, I have lived in Connecticut for many years, along the beautiful Connecticut River. I have had difficult encounters with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection over the years, concerning the cutting of trees for the protection of pilots landing at my airport in East Haddam, CT (Goodspeed Airport, 42B).

            Once visiting DEP offices in Hartford, I happened upon one of their pamphlets describing the history of the Connecticut River Valley. A synopsis of what I learned:

            20,000 years ago, the sea level at the mouth of the Connecticut River was 450 feet below today’s level; the glacier was over one mile thick, and its weight had depressed the level of the land by over 150 feet. As the glacier melted (due to GW), the ice melted, the sea level rose, and the land level slowly returned to its previous level.

            If one calculates the amount of sea level increase by dividing 450 feet by 20000 years, one gets an answer of 0.0225 feet, or 0.27 inches per year. ODDLY ENOUGH (!) this is approximately the same rate that the sea level is still rising! In the 50 years that I lived in CT, this would amount to 13.5 inches, just over a foot. This amount is just about what I observe empirically, as my property was right on the CT River.

            So, my advice re: Global Warming is: Deal with it! Encourage people to move out of areas at sea level and don’t encourage them to rebuild at sea level after disasters like hurricanes. (Kiribati, take note). I’ll bet you even Al Gore is smart enough to figure this out.

          • Jack says:

            A discussion of sea level variations over time is off topic so I’ll keep it short here. The natural variations in global ice volume and sea level are well documented and indeed quite large. The rise in sea level after the last glacial maximum occurred was actually faster than your estimate because the rise wasn’t linear with time. If you find this an interesting topic, please learn more about it. I believe if you google glacial sea level variations or variants of that you’ll find descriptions of the excellent scientific research that has nailed down past sea level changes. But what scientists are worried about is that by enhancing the greenhouse effect with emissions of fossil fuel carbon dioxide, methane, etc, we are going to push the climate system into another mode of operation. And besides sea level, there are matters like changes in temperature and rainfall patterns which could for instance devastate the vast American grain belt.
            In my opinion, the true conservative approach to this quite plausible possibility isn’t to hope it doesn’t happen but to take measures to prevent it from happening.
            Ok, off my soapbox and back to the Earhart mystery.

          • Tim Mellon says:

            Jack, perhaps you might want to move to Canada to take advantage of the greater fertility there, before the great land rush.

          • Yoda says:

            We have lots of land for sale here in Michigan, surrounded by water on 3 sides. I am at a 940ft elevation. You could survive here for years before the Greenland ice sheets melt.

          • Anonymous says:

            OK Tim, dare I ask?…where do you stand on Darwin’s theory of evolution?

          • Tim Mellon says:

            Why do you ask anonymously, Anonymous?

            I agree with Darwin, of course. But I think he and his stage were ultimately both created by higher power(s).

          • Anonymous says:

            OK TIm,
            So here’s the scorecard:
            Believes Electra wreckage can be seen in the ROV videos:
            You- Yes, Me- No;
            Believes in anthropogenic climate change:
            You- No, Me- Yes;
            Believes evolution is God’s handiwork:
            You -Yes, ME-No;

            Someone’s 0-3. But who?…

            Take care Tim, be talking to you.

  79. Tim Mellon says:

    “And now for something completely different…” (to quote Monty Python):

    Banjos are not totally dissimilar to violins.

    May we continue to be civil in our discourse.

    • Jay says:

      Tim, I have never seen anyone play a Banjo with a bow and I have not seen anyone pick a violin with three fingered picks ala Earl Scruggs. So how are they similar save for the fact they both have strings and a Banjo doesn’t have a bridge.

    • gari says:

      @ Tim

      The Titanic violin wasn’t recovered from the seabed years after the sinking, it was recovered from an attic in Bridlington, UK a few years ago. Apparently it belonged to the band leader and was found in his valise, along with other personal effects, attached to his body when it was recovered 10 days after the sinking. It was given to his fiancée as it had an engraving dedicated to her on it. It plays awfully apparently!

  80. David L. says:

    Banjo comment related to linked article
    Don’t think the conditions of the Atlantic at the Titanic depth compare to the waters off of the shelf at the island. If a Banjo really has survived off of the shelf, then it very well may have been from the ship or other source. This ship was large, it must compare in volume and items to a small town being dumped over the edge, kitchen sinks, radio tubes, generator parts, personal items, etc..
    No sure if having found a Banjo means anything

  81. Jay says:


    “Have they posted the agreement? I am a little dubious that it is what it is claimed to be.”

    Sure did Jeff, Right here and you just had to make me look at that picture of HC again. My eyes are aching now. Thanks Jeff. 😉

    After the State Department meeting that same Monday:

    “State Department officials held a hastily arranged briefing Monday night to describe the photo. After “very intense photo analysis” by government and outside experts, according to one senior official, “the judgment is that it’s worth exploring.”

    The official added that “a very healthy dose of skepticism has to be in play.”

    But some scholars and aviation experts challenge the historic group’s assertion that the crew managed to land on Nikumaroro and survive on the uninhabited atoll for some time.

    On Monday, State Department officials didn’t endorse a particular theory. “It’s a hotly contested area,” a department official said at the briefing. “We’re not making any bets.”

    Along with representatives of the search team, renowned undersea explorer Robert Ballard is expected to express his support for the new effort.”

    The above is obviously not the “Great Endorsement” as it was reported to be by TIGHAR. But then my reading comprehension according to “Aaron” might be lacking. LOL

    As we now know Dr. Ballard distanced himself from TIGHAR and was not aboard his ship or the KOK on Niku VII. The agreement between the Kiribati’s and Gillespie nixed any participation by Dr Ballard.

  82. Jay says:

    Brian, I have a comment in moderation likely because I used too many links. I’ll post it again without the last two links and if you approve the first one, delete this one. Thanks.


    “Have they posted the agreement? I am a little dubious that it is what it is claimed to be.”

    Sure did Jeff, Right here and you just had to make me look at that picture of HC again. My eyes are aching now. Thanks Jeff.

    After the State Department meeting that same Monday:

    “State Department officials held a hastily arranged briefing Monday night to describe the photo. After “very intense photo analysis” by government and outside experts, according to one senior official, “the judgment is that it’s worth exploring.”

    The official added that “a very healthy dose of skepticism has to be in play.”

    But some scholars and aviation experts challenge the historic group’s assertion that the crew managed to land on Nikumaroro and survive on the uninhabited atoll for some time.

    On Monday, State Department officials didn’t endorse a particular theory. “It’s a hotly contested area,” a department official said at the briefing. “We’re not making any bets.”

    Along with representatives of the search team, renowned undersea explorer Robert Ballard is expected to express his support for the new effort.”

    The above is obviously not the “Great Endorsement” as it was reported to be by TIGHAR. But then my reading comprehension according to “Aaron” might be lacking. LOL

    As we now know Dr. Ballard distanced himself from TIGHAR and was not aboard his ship or the KOK on Niku VII. The agreement between the Kiribati’s and Gillespie nixed any participation by Dr Ballard.

    • Yoda says:

      I have a hard time believing that Ballard himself came up with this notion of the blind study and positive identification of the 1937 Electra gear. So who was it that whispered this to him?

  83. Yoda says:

    After viewing Ric display an image that Glickman put a few arrows on, I will definitely say that they are wrong to criticize Tim Mellon for his observations.

    Granted, I believe they are both wrong but come on, you cannot say that Glickman’s observation is more valid that Tim’s.


    • Jeff says:

      Agreed. I made the same point about the banjo vs. the freckle cream jar. The difference here is that Ric is saying this is a debris field. One thing that is certainly consistent is you really can’t tell what the objects are even while you are on the scene.

      You may recall on the Discovery show, one of the people reviewing the video on the ship said he saw a man made object in the video. It was a large object, maybe an engine. He was so sure, he said if it wasn’t a man made object, he would eat it. They move up close to it with the ROV, that English guy at the controls, and he says “It’s a RACK!” I thought his reaction was comical (so much so that I watched it about 10 times).

      I think it makes the point that the difference between an “expert” and you or I, (or Tim) is negligible. The technology is simply not that advanced and who is really an expert? The use of this equipment in an environment where you have a flat ocean floor, as with Waitt is a much easier proposition due to the natural contrast.

      Also, I think you have verified Aaron’s comment that they are keeping this information secret and off the forums by only showing it on TV News shows at 5:00 AM. (J/K)

      • Yoda says:

        That “RACK!” thing is funny. That guy seemed like quite a character. Did you happen to catch his name? I do recall that he saved that AUV on several occasions with his little ROV.

        I agree with you that there is a constant drone over at TIGHAR that unless chief Gillespie and witch doctor Glickman declare something to be valid it is discarded as phony, fake, and absurd. It is obvious to me that with Glickman’s blessing of the Bevington object that he has lost all credibility.

        They can shake all of the holly water they want at supposed freckle cream jars or soles of shoes and this does not change the fact that there is a vast majority of scientists and engineers reject the evidence in it’s entirety.

  84. Jay says:


    With all due respect to Tim, there were some, that may have been more critical of what he believes he sees in the debris fields than I. Many of us looked at that supposed fender ad-nauseum and begged for a frame of reference from Ric as to scale in the debris field for months without an answer. The apparent size and shape of that image just didn’t fit with a two piece fender of an Electra. The consensus was that Mr. Glickman gave something to Ric that he wanted to hear for another media spin. Tim Mellon has probably forgotten more that Jeff Glickman ever knew about aircraft parts and their identification. That is if Glickman even knows the difference between a radial and an opposed engine. That video interview was just another puff piece to draw donations. Sorry Tim, I still don’t see the banjo down there.

  85. Tim Mellon says:

    To aid us in this discussion, I propose here that we differentiate between the 2012 debris field with the 5 yellow arrows analyzed by Jeff Glickman (the “Glickman Debris Field”) and the 2010 debris field that I and others have analyzed since August 2012 (the “Balderston Debris Field” in honor of John Balderston, who discovered the “2” on the alleged Electra wing).

    When I met with Jeff Glickman at his office in Seattle, I asked him to point out exactly what he thought he could discern in the 2012 Glickman DF. He pointed to a little box just below the fender, asserting that is was some sort of instrument, and to the backside of the fender itself. I expressed my doubts, and I must say he did not press his case with much vigor. We have heard nothing about the GDF in some months now. I will not say there is NOTHING there, but I am not exactly holding my breath.

    What has given me the most confidence about the alternate BDF is the discovery from the 2012 High Definition video from the first dive that the area surveyed was the SAME as that seen in the 2010 High Definition video. I determined this from a mere snippet released by Ric, seeing a piece of the cable that was draped over a cylindrical object. The more I compared the videos from both years, the more I was able to match in terms of landscape and (to me) identifiable objects, even though the 2012 video viewed the scene from the North while the 2010 video viewed the scene more from the South.

    Banjos and toilet paper are really not the point. These are items that I have incidentally come across, and obviously they are subject to dispute and derision. You haven’t even seen yet the sacks upon sacks of stamped commemorative letters, and loose letters, strewn across the scene. You have been spared, so far, the gruesome details about the demise of the two crew members. You have so far not been privy to the shot of the cockpit from the front wherein the Letter Agreement (i.e. license) from the Commerce Department is posted on the bulkhead behind the pilot’s seat (unfortunately too out of focus to read). Yesterday I think I found the spare tailwheel (complete with tire). Today I found what I believe to be a light meter associated (and in near proximity to) the Kodak Six-20 camera listed in the Luke Field Inventory.

    So, my plea is “Save your powder!” This quest is far from over. Criticize if you must, but know that I will take it with a grain of salt because I DO understand the frustrations of dealing with an organization like TIGHAR.

    There will be life after TIGHAR.

    • Jeff says:

      I’m calling BS on this. It is funny, but I think an IP trace is order.

      • dave says:

        @Jeff, Do you think this is not really Tim Mellon posting? I assure you it is indeed Tim Mellon or his clone. The posting style is the same.

        This is the exact same findings presented at Tighar. Stamped Envelopes, toilet paper, bodies, guitars, Banjos, clothing, all matter of perishable items Mr.Mellon has supposedly seen in his debris field.found on the ocean floor from a plane lost in 1937.

        Yes, it is all Nonsense.. Glickman’s photo analysis of the Bevington photo is BS, the Mellon Debris Field is BS, Tighar’s land based physical evidence is BS.
        I cannot differentiate between different sets of nonsense.

        I have tried to rationalize Tim’s postings. I cannot. I think many at Tighar tried to rationalize Mr.Mellon’s postings. As the items “found” increased daily, eventually it became an embarrassment to Tighar, and Gillespie ended posting this nonsense. Which must have been a hard call from Gillespie as this was his major sponsor.

        So For Tim, sorry, I call BS where I see and hear it. No need to keep my powder dry, I have loads of powder. It’s nothing personal, you simply have presented no evidence a stable and rational mind would endorse.
        Tighar is full of crap, and your analysis of rocks is of similar kind.
        I do not understand how a rational mind can post such drivel and on the other hand ask that such drivel be ignored, that somehow we are all missing the point.
        Perhaps you are just a man who likes pulling wings off flys to watch the idiots dance. I do not know. Nor do I care to know what is your motive, either unstable mind, or unknown agenda. ( if it’s to discredit Tighar, then job well done, it has certainly helped)

        I can only say Tighar’s evidence is ridiculous, Mr.Mellon’s supporting evidence is also ridiculous.
        Neither show Earhart’s plane was ever on Niku.

        • Jeff says:

          Dave, Yes, I believe the post is a hoax. I have seen the posts on TIGHAR’s forum. This guy appeared here after others brought him up.

          “Letter Agreement (i.e. license) from the Commerce Department is posted on the bulkhead behind the pilot’s seat (unfortunately too out of focus to read).

          So, if the shot was better focused, you could read the letter posted on the bulkhead? Not just that you can make out it may be part of the plane, not that you can make out it is the bulkhead of the plane, but it is so clear that you can almost read the paper license posted there.

          Anyway, moving forward.

    • Yoda says:

      I think the Banjos, TP rolls, and fly swatters are the point Tim. Based on what I am seeing the reason that you are being criticized versus Glickman not being criticized is the shear volume of things you are seeing and the ordinary nature of these items. While they declare fenders and engines you have a laundry list of everyday household items that could potentially weigh hundreds of pounds in totality.

      Recall the AE was a bit compulsive. There is evidence that while she was in Lae she unloaded and reloaded the entire contents of the plane three times as she obsessed over the gross weight of the aircraft. Their personal possessions were minimal and she even makes note of that in a telegram. She had a briefcase with clothes and tooth brushes and Fred had some lightweight aluminum brief case that rattled when it was moved indicating that it was mostly empty.

      So consider that when you are generating these long lists of household products that you are seeing in the video. We know the volume of personal effects was minimal.

      I would tell you to concentrate on the larger items that you are seeing and aircraft parts but I for one and not going to encourage it. I am going to tell you to be reasonable. I am going to tell you to abandon this endeavor as it is pointless.

      Along the lines of artifacts in the area here is one minor detail that seems to escape everyone’s attention, the Norwich City. The Norwich City was 1333 ft or so, about 1/4 mile from where you guys are looking for the Electra over the reef edge. The ship and its entire contents have been obliterated and scattered over the entire area. The ship was 492 ft in length. It was massive and the volume of its contents was enormous.

      Looking at the photographs back in the 30s and 40s, it is clear to me that the ship was smashed on the starboard side as the entire side is caved in. This impact would have strewn debris to the North, toward the holy site. All of the on deck items would have been swept off in the massive storms over the decades. Eventually as time passed, the entire ship was smashed in to small pieces and spread over the entire area. Nothing really remains of the Norwich City other than her skeleton and a couple of the larger items that weight many tons.

      I recall that before the last trip Ric was very confrontational about the suggestion that any of the debris were shed to the North and he held firm on that position until the 2012 trip when the volume of pieces they were finding to the North could not be denied any longer. He did this for an obvious reason and that is if you accept that the debris were flowing to the North this jeopardizes the entire notion of the islander stories and the Bevington object that must be protected from contamination as they are the holy relics of the Niku Hypothesis.

      This shedding of debris from the Norwich city could fully explain what the islanders were seeing back in 1940. Being an islander and probably having very little contact with the civilized world any shape that resembled a wing would probably be interpreted as an aircraft. The Norwich city had many large awnings and rigging that could easily be misinterpreted has belonging to an aircraft. We really need to discuss those islanders at some point that is indeed the linchpin of the entire Niku Hypothesis.

      I am not sure where we can go from here as you are convinced of one thing and the other 95% of us are telling you that you are seeing things that are not really there. Does that not even concern you a bit that you might be chasing an illusion and spending millions in that process?

      Have you considered the potential fall out of going back, searching with a fine tooth comb and finding nothing? What then? Will you be like Ric and suggest that the Electra is there, just a few tens of yards down further in to the abyss or perhaps a bit further North? When exactly do have have enough information to declare the hypothesis dead? Can there ever be enough? Certainly for Ric this has become an income stream and I am sure he is dependent on keeping that dream alive but what about you?

      It seems to me and I may be wrong that you are a major contributor to this project and without your money these adventures to Niku would not be possible. As someone else had pointed out it is clear that this revenue ($2 million on the last trip?) is not coming from TIGHAR membership and baseball caps sold at the website. So at what point will you call it quits? Will that time ever come? Will you commit to ending the search permanent after the next failure expedition to Niku? I like to have goals in life and one of mine is going to be to convince you that you are chasing an illusion. I just need you to commit to a statement that we can refer to down the line, in the next year or two when the next trip is deemed to be yet another failure to produce tangible evidence of the Niku theory.

      • dave says:

        great post! My sentiments exactly. With regards to the last paragraph I do believe Mr.Mellon has already said let them “rest in peace”. Which to me indicates he is done searching or supporting Tighar searches.

        • Yoda says:

          I asked Tim to please explain his statements as that was my interpretation as well. Tim said that I must have skimmed it to quickly as that was not what he meant. I would also like Tim to clarify those statements.

        • Yoda says:

          Tim, I did not search back through the thousands of lines for the exact statement that was made but I feel that we are playing in semantics now. Your answers were vague and your clarification about “enough is enough” would be appreciated.

        • Yoda says:

          dave, will you join my forum? I would like to have you there as well as any other critical thinkers that are interested in the Earhart story. Thanks.

      • Tim Mellon says:

        Mr. Yoda, I respectfully take this opportunity to address the two substantive issues presented in your 6:38 am post on 16 March 2013:

        (1) The issue of extra weight: what I have determined to be normal ship’s stores such as the approximately 30 bottles and several rolls of toilet paper I am sure were carefully included in the crew’s normal weight and balance calculations. As to the 3 musical instruments (guitar, banjo and fiddle), I would estimate 25 pounds at most, and the jewelry perhaps another 5 pounds. Thirty pounds of extra personal property, total weight equaling five gallons of gas, would be considered deminimus, even by the FAA. Possibly even less weight than the belly antenna they lost upon takeoff from Lae.

        (2) The Norwich City debris: having personally witnessed all dives around the area of the Norwich City debris, I can attest that the vast majority of the debris, heavy steel, ended up in a relatively small area directly below the shipwreck about 1000 feet down. The positions of unique identifiable are mapped in one of TIGHAR’s bulletins. It didn’t float down softly, like say an airplane with latent buoyancy in fuel tanks, but crashed abruptly into a tangled mess. Some small pieces are scattered North and South of the main pile, but nothing that could in itself be considered a debris field. These “loners” may have sunk earlier from different spots along the reef edge having been earlier dispersed along the reef by tides and surf. The aircraft debris field, some 400 yards further North, is a very small area (I have previously likened it to the size of a basketball court) at between 980 and 1010 feet deep (by ROV instrumentation in 2012). The metal is light colored, quite dissimilar to the dark rusty steel of the Norwich City debris. Quite like Apples and Oranges, if you will. You might recall that it was I who first believed a wing was evident in the midst of the Norwich City debris field. Of course, it was only a ribbed steel panel, either from the ship’s bulkhead or hatch cover (mea culpa).

        • Yoda says:


          If you want to establish evidence of say the guitar, banjo, or other items that could have theoretically been on the Electra you have to establish evidence based on either photographic evidence, news articles, or even writing by someone at the time or even decades later than can provide some sort of link with the Electra. All I am saying about the supposed contents of the plane at Lae was that she reloaded the plane 3 times obsessing over weight. She even gave the radio operator there either a flare gun or a hand gun to reduce the weight. Establish some type of link with something and I am all ears. The fact that she played the banjo at one time is not enough compelling evidence.

          All that is really a moot point if you do indeed have some video / photographic evidence to show. Keep in mind if you did find a banjo or some other instrument, the Norwich City and its sailors could be the source of it to. I have no idea if what you are seeing exists because I have not seen what you are. Only time will tell. I would image that they would have had several musical instruments to pass the time on long voyages across the Pacific.

          As to the Norwich City debris, we only need to witness the 2012 documentary about the last adventure to Niku where Ric spotted what he thought was the wing of the Electra. Perhaps that is what you are referring to? When they examined it closely with the ROV they realized that this was heavy gauge steel and probably came from the Norwich City. You are not suggesting that what Ric thought was a wing was directly under the Norwich City are you in the debris pile? If that is the case, why in the world would search be in that area that is 1/4 of a mile from the supposed location of the Bevington Object? Perhaps you can clarify that. This seems wholly unreasonable and a waste of time that ultimately ran out on the search effort.

          I have not see your debris field to the North, hopefully that can be shared with the public over the next weeks or months. It is hard to listen to all of these things being described but not being able to see them with your own eyes. I would be interested in high definition images and not low resolution jpeg images that are highly compressed. I warned about using compression a long time ago. If you are using images in a compressed format, video or stills, then you can be looking at ‘artifacts’ that are not indeed part of an image but rather resulting from the compression algorithms themselves. It is wise to understand all of the formats and to be able to mitigate the effects of compression as much as is possible. You also need to understand that by zooming in to these images you are maximizing the visual effect of artifacts and perhaps seeing things that are not there. Without being able to see the images, that is speculation on my part but I have seen that sort of misinterpretation before and yes, especially over at TIGHAR.

          • Tim Mellon says:

            Mr. Yoda, where is “dave”?

            When you can get him onto your Forum, I will show you both as much as I can.

          • Yoda says:

            Brian, would it be possible to turn on the Tree view for this blog? I am not even sure how many lines of text are on this page but it would seem to be growing and growing. Thanks.

          • dave says:

            Tim I am here. I am also on Yoda’s forum.
            Yoda brings up an excellent point, and one I myself noticed when Tighar was presenting their “snail tracks” showing the ROV route during the 2012 expedition. From those graphics, it appears Tighar spent almost half their available underwater ROV time in and around the Norwich city. Yoda asks why would they be wasting valuable time 1/4 miles from the Nessie area. I second that question.
            Think about that for a moment.

            My own theory is they wanted and needed debris to show the producers and viewers of the discovery channel special. A hour of rocks and featureless bottom was not what gets viewers(and advertising dollars)
            That is why they went down and found a steel section of the Norwich that looked like a wing, that is why the promos heavily sprinkled video that looked like a wing, and that is why almost half their last expedition was not spent searching the ocean directly out from their “bevington object”, instead it was spent searching the Norwich city itself.

            Tighar simply had to show something physical on tape.. This is not a surprising tactic from that group. It has been their tactic since day one. For a self promoter of the gullible it is far better to bring back a broken bottle found among a coast guard trash dump, than return empty handed.
            Likewise it was far better promotion for Gillespie to spend days searching around the Norwich, and filming Norwich debris, than the area they claim to hold the plane’s remains.
            A picture of junk on the ocean bottom can excite the donators the same as a picture of junk from a coast guard station can excite and create buzz and donations.
            Same philosophy Tighar has always held, same tactics, and one that exposes that they do not really believe their own thesis.
            Otherwise, why waste so much precious Underwater video time in the wrong area?

  86. Anonymous says:

    You should review the information about the navigation of the flight available on my wersite.

  87. Gary LaPook says:

    You should review the information I posted on my website about the navigation of the flight.

    • Jeff says:

      Gary, I reviewed your website. Excellent information, and example of everyday use of the LOP. It is clear Gardner was not on the line from Howland based on the scenario in TIGHAR’s theory. Thanks for the information/ education

    • Jeff says:

      Has anyone read Amelia Earhart – Take Off to Oblivion? I just heard about it, an alternative theory of a water crash landing off of Gardner Island. Seems the book is not as easy to find as others. I’m wondering if it is worth the effort.

  88. Tim Mellon says:

    Maybe Jesus could restore your vision, Mr. Yoda, but I sure can’t.

    If your goal is to dissuade me, then you will have a very frustrating end game. You might as well put another three crosses up on the hill.

    (By the way, what happened to your generous offer to moderate on your own site? I did email you, as you requested…)

    • Yoda says:

      I accept the challenge even it requires me to bear the cross through the streets being whipped and beaten to plant my own cross on the hill. We will see if you have met your match when it comes to unyielding determination and will power. I apologize for not answering the email. I had set up automatic forwarding that apparently failed. I will respond in a few moments. Thanks.

  89. Response to Jim who posted on March 17, 7:18am:

    Jim asks a few questions, mainly “where is the Electra”…. Jim, it is on a hillside on the island of New Britain where it was seen by a WWII Australian Army Patrol on 17th April 1945. Problems are that nobody here believes eye-witnesses and nobody accepts pencilled writing on their patrol map identifying the wreck and nobody believes Earhart had a contingency plan plus another problem is that people cannot read Lockheed Report 487. Nobody knows “exactly” what was on the aircraft fuel wise or cargo wise and nobody knows exactly to the nearest mile, how far they got and how close they were to Howland or what SFC she was running at or whether she sped up into a headwind or used and even weaker mixture…. but we do know that the headwind was stronger than forecast and we do know that there was “overcast”……. Two of the worst factors that could have been presented to the flight. Oh, and there two people on board.

    Maybe you should have directed the questions to “Mr. Yoda” whoever he is, who says he has probably studied the saga more then anyone else and who probably knows more than anyone….he comes across as saying he is very knowledgeable. Ask him. We only know that he lives in Michigan, I think.

    Response to Tim Mellon who posted on March 17, 12:16pm:

    Tim, there is absolutely no proof that the lower aerial was lost on take-off from Lae. That first appeared, as I recall, in a Tighar Manifesto that Gillespie put out around about 1992. It was a quite thick (maybe 40 pages) blurb, and included in it was a statement: “A U.S. Serviceman who was stationed at Lae in WWII said that ‘old-timers’ who had been at LAE in 1937, told him that a piece of aerial wire was found on the grass runway ‘after’ the departure of Earhart and Noonan”. In the Manifesto, a few pages later, this ‘old-timers in Lae’ remark is then turned into fact. The trait apparent in a remark becoming a fact can also be seen by students of the Tighar site if they look closely. The fact is that LAE was quite a busy airfield in the 30’s….. busier than most U.S. fields in fact. I would suggest that if aerial wire had been found then, this event (if it happened) would have caused a fleet check to be done and if none of the aircraft at LAE had missing aerial wire then the eternal question of “whose” aerial wire it could possibly have been would have been asked at that time, not by Gillespie in a Manifesto circa 1992.

    Due to the previous problem with her Rx at Darwin where a fuse was replaced and she was handed extra fuses, it is more likely that her receiver went on the Fritz…..and could not be recovered.

    • Yoda says:


      I know you are upset with me because I have pointed out that the Electra would be running on fumes to get to the Gilbert Islands. It appears that you have a completely different view of the Lockheed document that is contrary to the vast majority of people that study this issue including the folks at TIGHAR.

      Can you point me to one fuel analysis on the Internet that confirms your belief that the Electra could have made it back to New Guinea? I would be happy to have a look at it and if I found it convincing I would say so.

    • Yoda says:

      Here is an interesting video for you to watch David. This is one of those crazy people that are looking off the coast of Howland for the Electra. Are you saying that all of the eyes that have looked at the data from the following institutions are all unable to read the Lockheed 487 report but you are the only one that can?

      Four of the seven groups are:

      Rockwell Collins
      John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab

    • Aaron says:

      David, I remember reading about your hypothesis some time ago. I find the map with the penciled notes VERY interesting. The two things I’m not clear on are why you believe she would have turned in that direction and what happened to/where is the plane now?

      To those that refute David’s hypothesis – What do you make of the map and the notes?

      • gari says:

        @ Aaron,

        I gave some of my thoughts to Mr Billings in a post above – somewhere lol

        I believe I said that I found the map and the writing interesting, an intriguing mystery in itself, whatever the provenance.

        IF events were as the diggers have said, then it is a puzzle how in the heat of war some digger managed to write information they could not have known on that map. I find that deliciously intriguing.

        But it is all mostly anecdote, like the other hypotheses.

        For me, the real downer in the whole event is the loss of the metal repair tag. If it really did exist and wasn’t a false memory, that could be the only tangible proof of the Electra’s whereabouts on Earth, and I think, regardless of fuel and endurance discussions. would certainly merit an investigation of the tag, and with sufficient verification perhaps even warrant a properly funded project in the location. Annoying to think that IF it exists, the tag could be in some file drawer somewhere, its significance not known.

        I ask myself this, what is stopping me from having some support for New Britain? For me it is almost exclusively the aircraft endurance. If Lae were much much closer to Howland, then I am pretty sure that in not finding Howland, the logical thing would be to reverse course back to Lae, and so, with fuel low why not set down in Rabaul? Although, looking at a map, maybe they had enough fuel for Lae but had a mechanical failure and crashed, I think Mr Billings said that the propeller of the examined engine indicated that the engine had stopped before impact.

        Of course, the thing there, for me, is that IF they were lost enough not to find Howland, how did they plot a reverse course? Just follow a compass bearing until a good Celestial fix was available?

        I like the New Britain hypothesis, in part it is the fascination in my youth of tales of old explorers disappearing into jungles, like Percy Fawcett, but also so much of the anecdotal evidence – which is after all what all the hypotheses are based on – seems much more convincing, the Warrant Officer talking about the engine being ‘bloody old’, with ‘ugly looking rivets’, flat cowling, narrow chord propeller, and the Lieutenant’s description of an unpainted metal aircraft, with no military markings, with a cockpit at belt-height, destroyed back as far as the main wing truss.

        True, all anecdote, but their descriptions seem better than tales of bits of metal on Niku.

        So, that’s my take on it.

        I do think, however, that without endurance and range concerns more people would be more positive about New Britain.

        Like all these hypotheses only finding the aircraft can prove which one is right.

        • David Billings says:


          It was not until 5 weeks had passed that the Patrol members and the rest of the Company (about 100 men) found out that “the Americans” were not interested in what Patrol A1 had found. The map bears a “Ref:” to a “string of letters and numbers” and Keith Nurse, who unwound the wire that held the tag said then when he looked at the tag in the jungle it had a “string of letters and numbers on it” which did not mean anything to him so he pocketted the tag intending to hand it in with the Patrol report. The Officer who read out the signal had the paper in his hand and said to the men that “they say it is a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine, it could be from a Lockheed and is most probably a Civilian aircraft”. S3H1 was a Civilian designation, AN-1 was the Military designation. Logic says the “Ref:” is the same “string” sent to the US Army in the shape of a Metal Tag (as the ex-Lieutenant says).

          The loss of the Tag ! You guys have it, somewhere ???

          I have a notarised letter which says that engines coming into the Plant at Burbank were identified as to their Designation type (because of the Model 10 variants) and to which “C/N” they were going to be fitted to. That could explain an “Ident. tag” as well as a “Repair tag”

          Personally, I would think that the tag was a Repair Tag put onto the mount when it went for repair.

          Incidentally, Gillespie contacted me in 1995, concerning this. I told him I could not confirm or deny that we had “600HP, S3H1, C/N1055” on a WWII map. I think this must have upset him a bit. He did not release the news to his flock that someone had this information. Then later, the story broke in “USA Today” in August 2001. He then had to admit that he knew about it.

          • gari says:

            @ David Billings,

            Hi Mr Billings, over the years I have read all that I could find on the web about New Britain, including a radio interview!!

            For me, all the hypotheses regarding the disappearance rely on anecdote and ambiguous evidence, experts will argue about fuel endurance, which radio traffic was relevant, the weather, so many variables that I think that all hypotheses require cherry-picking to support them. That for me is a problem, there is not enough evidence to point to one ‘stand-out’ scenario, even ‘crash and sank’ is open to where in all that water it went down.

            My main problem with New Britain, as I have said, is fuel endurance. None of us were on that flight and so can’t know if there were a contingency plan or if there was, what it was. We have some anecdote by Vidal about a reverse course, and for me, with all that water around, it seems logical, but anyone who says they KNOW what AE and FN done that day, are delusional. So, as far as I can see, we can’t prove they didn’t turn back, whatever the end result.

            I can remember looking at Report 487 long ago and wondering how accurate the figures were, I jotted a few things down and today I had another look at the report after rereading your previous post above.

            So now @ David Billings and @ everyone else.

            After rereading David Billings’ previous post above I looked into what he has been saying about the fuel consumption. What now follows is my ‘investigation’ in Mr Billings’ claim.

            Report 487:
            Page 1:
            Does state the performance was computed ‘conservatively’.

            Page 6:
            “It is possible to fly a Lockheed Electra Model 10E non–stop for a distance between 4100 and 4500 miles starting out with 1200 gallons of gasoline and the proper amount of oil.”

            Page 20:
            “Complete data on the fuel consumption of the engine was not available so generalized data on aircooled engines was used.”

            OK, so the Electra may not have had 1,200 gallons @ Lae, the exact amount will forever be in dispute I fear, but 1,100 gallons would be somewhere near many folks belief and that equates to maybe 3,800 to 4,125 miles endurance, which according to the reports introduction is a conservative estimate, and that at least some data on fuel consumption was from a ‘generalized’ source, so some Electra fuel consumption data is unknown.

            I looked at the the example you gave regarding 253 HP total @ 120mph ‘velocity’. Sure it can be found on the graph but in a table for Sea Level:

            Page 30:
            120 Vmph – 253HP

            This must be the TOTAL HP and not each engines HP, because on the same table for a weight of 16,000 pounds at Sea Level we get:

            200Vmph – 896HP

            A 600HP engine can’t produce 896HP, the table MUST refer to TOTAL HP !!

            Page 5:
            Mentions a best achievable SFC of 0.42 – also shown graphically on page 13.

            Now, Page 30’s table tells us that with a weight of 9,300 at 120 mph we need 253HP; Page 5 gives us an SFC of 0.42, giving:

            253 x 0.42 = 106.26 pounds.

            Given that avgas is about 6 pounds/USG, we get:

            106.26 / 6 = 17.71 USG per hour.

            From the same table on page 30 I also worked out that at the same 120mph speed @ heavier weight of 12,900, requires total of 350HP equating to 24.5 USG per hour!!

            Using your 300USG contingency fuel figure minus 20USG unusable we get 280USG, therefore:

            Sea Level @ weight 9,300 @ 120mph:
            280USG / 17.71USG per hour = 15.81 hours endurance

            15.81 x 120 = 1,897 miles range.

            Sea Level @ weight 12,900 @ 120mph:
            280USG / 24.5USG per hour = 11.43 hours endurance

            11.43 x 120 = 1,371 miles range

            We have no idea how close NR16020 got to Howland, ergo, we do not know how close it was to New Britain!!

            Using Report 487 I have shown, maybe erroneously { lol }, that the Electra was capable of fuel consumption much LOWER than 40USG per hour figure that gets that bandied about.

            I have used one airspeed of 120mph, and no one knows how fast they were travelling over the trip, there are many contributing factors that must be guesses wind, fuel consumption, speed, altitude, heck even fatigue, that people, much better at this stuff than poorly educated trailer-trash like me, can debate and cogitate.

            I’d like someone to show me where I have gone wrong, if I have(?), I have no ego to bruise, but I’d really like to know if I have this thing worked out anywhere near right!!

            It seems to me that IF I have this thing right, that many assumptions about the Electra’s endurance and range may be off.

            Mr Billings, I would be interested in what you think and whether this is kind of what you have been saying?

          • Yoda says:


            Now compare your calculation with page 33, 9300#,, 200 BHP/ENG = 200, Altitude = 0, Speed = 135mph, and the consumption her hour of 34.3 Gallons Per Hour, Miles Per Gallon 3.93.

          • gari says:

            @ Yoda,

            Hi, yes I have seen it, that is based on a different SFC and not the one that 487 said can be achieved.

            I guess my point really was to demonstrate that the same document that everyone says PROVES that the Electra could not drop below a total of 40 USG/pH, also demonstrates that it could.

            The document does say that optimized for that SFC and with the Cambridge analyser calibrated etc that with 1,200 USG the Electra was capable of up to 4,500 airspeed miles endurance, it’s in clear enough print.

            I can’t understand why, when the document itself, the Bible for all the fuel ‘experts’, says that the 10E was designed to fly up to 4,500 miles that people say it couldn’t? Either the ‘Bible’ is right or it is wrong, maybe both lol

            Is it really critical and unbiased thinking for people to cherry pick which data in that report is relevant? I am a crash and sink chap, even if the Electra’s endurance was greater than most suppose, it just means that it may have hit a piece of ocean further away. Of course it could also, maybe, have had enough fuel for New Britain, The Marshall’s or even Nikumaroro.

            Clarence Williams’, who helped with the planning, made a strip map for the Electra to go from Dakar to Aden, non-stop, and that was about 4,300 miles, and he planned it to be about 28 hours duration, and he was pretty meticulous with his calculations as you know, remember his Howland – Lae strip map that gave a time of 17 hours and ONE minute lol So he knew/believed/thought that NR16020 could flay 4,300 miles.

            I just threw that post out there to see if I had got things right, and learn from more knowledgeable folks where I went wrong.

          • Yoda says:


            Yes, I am also troubled with the summary on page 34. and the charts pages 11 and 14. I wonder as others do whether or not this was just pie in the sky thinking pulled out of some sales literature turned in to a chart or if there was some basis for this.

            There is certainly contradictory data as far as I am concerned.

            As someone else mentioned, my mess around with Howland if you could fly all the way to Hawaii? That would be 4284 miles to the big island. According to the charts, you would only need to add a few more gallons to do it.

            I do believe the data on page 33 is based on actual test flights. Personally, I based my estimates from the data on that page.

            A graphical summary of that data is on page 10 where the 3 curves are shown based on that data. While the page is dedicated to head and tail wind calculations, the small graphic there gives you a nice summary of the weight, airspeed, and the consequences of those expressed in gallons per hour. This data is easily converted to polynomials for easy processing of data. The source of those data points is on page 33.

          • gari says:

            @ Yoda,

            The thing is though, Mr Yoda, if we have conflicting data, then how do we know which is correct? Selecting data that supports a supposition/hypothesis while disregarding that which does not, is a kind of file-drawer effect, wouldn’t you agree?

            It is the kind of thing that TIGHAR do all the time, look at the, what is it, 120 ‘post-loss’ messages’ and the selection of those that support Nikumaroro.

            Besides, conflicting data or not, do you think that Mr Johnson would have his name attached to a range study with ‘dodgy’ data, and state, in 487, page 6, in black and white:

            1) It is possible to fly a Lockheed Electra Model 10E non–stop for a distance between 4100 and 4500 miles starting out with 1200 gallons of gasoline and the proper amount of oil.


            I can’t see it, the report also states ‘computed conservatively’ which seems he worked on the side of caution.

            Also, Clarence Williams did author a plan for a 4,300 mile Dakar.Aden flight, and he seemed quite meticulous in his work, remember his Howland/Lae strip map for the first attempt, giving the time as 17 hours and one minute, what a guy lol

            Why Howland and not Hawaii? Contingency fuel I’d say. In the planned African long distance flight they were over land and so had occasional areas to land, the second attempt required landing at several airstrips, common sense says they could have followed the same or similar flight path in the non-stop flight, and if they had issues land at an airstrip or maybe even find some flat land without lions lol Worst case scenario, they bail out.

            Straight to Hawaii means a long long way, with little contingency fuel, if the commonly accepted scenario is used, we know she had perhaps an hours fuel to locate Howland, although of course, Hawaii is bigger, and she had mentioned before about the need to have reserve fuel, and although many paint her as an airhead, I can’t see someone who took advice from Lindberg about leaning off, with experience of long sea crossings, not having fuel to spare.

            Also, that journey would have been all over water with almost nowhere to set down. IF New Britain were correct, then, for me at least, it seems to make sense to have a contingency plan, I personally think that if she were that concerned about range she would have taken off a little nearer, maybe New Britain, every mile counts lol

            WRT New Britain, I think that folks are getting riled up thinking that it was her contingency plan, it probably wasn’t. As I see it, they knew that a reverse course would take them back towards land, islands at least, and ‘landing’ on one of those was a better bet than the water, heck even bailing out would have been a better option over land.

            Once I throw away my prejudice for ‘crash and sank’ and look at NB, I can kind of see things like this:

            They can’t find Howland, they turn back, maybe unsure where they are heading except for a compass due to possible cloud cover. Given that they thought they should be over Howland (maybe) and were not seen or heard by anyone watching out for them. they obviously were nowhere near Howland, is it impossible that they encountered stronger headwinds than expected, so were further west than they believed? They plot a course for, say, the Gilberts. they miss them due to getting the timing wrong WRT how far they are away, at some point Fred gets a a few fixes they aim for maybe Lae, seeing that the fuel will get them there, as they fly over NB fuel exhausts, oil runs out, whatever, and the Electra is next seen by some ‘Diggers’ in WWII.

            I think that is basically Mr Billings take on it.

            What puzzles me is that the report does specifically say that with 1,200USG a 10E can do up to 4,500 miles, yet everyone, mostly, says it cannot. even the Nikumaroro guys say it ain’t so, yet if it could be proven, it actually HELPS their hypothesis, because many critics say that NR16020 didn’t have the range to get to Niku!!

            Heck more range even helps ‘crash and sank’ folks, who are putting up with Niku folks telling us that Waitte didn’t find anything near Howland – heck, she could be 2,000 miles away from there lol

          • Yoda says:


            I think that there is nearly universal agreement that the 4,000+ range was overly optimistic.

            The actual flight data is not so optimistic. There many been many studies about this topic.

            Also consider the number of people that have look at this including graduate students at MIT and Caltech.

          • gari says:

            @ Yoda,

            I typed out a long reply but the connection dropped lol
            As I see it, there were only two Electra 10E specials that could do the job, and “Daily Express’ could be filled internally, so how much real data do we regarding an Electra 10E over long distance?

            After all those weeks I should imagine that AE could squeeze every last bit of efficiency from that bird, ad IF 487 is correct and the figures conservative, I can’t see why it couldn’t do 4,000 miles plus.

            As for ‘experts’ studying the data or computing it, well, like the Gardner castaway, none of them have the physical presence that the data originated from, all they have are computer models, and theory, the same stuff they use to design brand new aircraft like the Dreamliner and A-380, that get grounded within months of being delivered due to battery fire and engine fire issues.

            The same type of computers, software and geeks also design things like the London Millennium Bridge, designed for pedestrians, and closed within a day of people walking over I, because people walking on it made it unsafe – you can’t make this stuff up lol

            With so few examples of the Electra 10E specials ever existing, and so little real-life data to go on, who knows what NR16020 was capable of?

            Despite folks with doctorates, or with fifty years in the business or even folks just googling, I believe the only people to have ever known, and whom ever will know, what NR16020 was capable of, are now nutrients for or part of some other living thing, wherever the Electra ended its days.

          • Yoda says:

            Yes, and those Pratt and Whitney engines ran on pixie dust too.

            The fantasy of a retreat to Niku, or the Gilbert Islands, or all the way back to New Guinea requires magical thinking and a failed radio.

            The Niku theory has them repairing the radio and transmitting for days then the Electra vanishes within 7 days. Sure it did.

            The simplest explanation is that they ran out of fuel. End of story.

            No magical thinking is required. It is called science.

      • David Billings says:

        March 23rd….


        Sorry for not responding earlier.

        1. The Contingency Plan, found on a tape in the Uni of Wisconsin with recorded words by Gene Vidal, tells us that she did plan to return to ‘The Gilberts’ if she could not find Howland.

        I you are “lost” then you seek to either find out where you are by asking someone, (which didn’t work); or, you return to where you have been before.

        It has never entered my head that a retrun to “New Guinea” was “feasible”, until I started to read Lockheed Report 487, given to me by Mr. Oscar Boswell.

        All we had as evidence were the words of the Veterans from Patrol A1 and the Map and I do not doubt them for an instant. What we had to do was to connect the dots between the “sighting” and the “aircraft”

        Could the aircraft have done such a fantastic range ? In my opinion, “yes”.

        2. Where is the plane now ?

        We have searched where the Veterans advised us to search i.a.w. wiith what was on the map. Albeit, they didn’t know where they were themsleves

        We do know now, that the Electra is buried. It is buried by the side of a bulldozer track in a Forestry Lease…. but we do not know exactly “Where”.


    • Tim Mellon says:

      Mr. Billings, I don’t presume know whether or not the antenna was actually destroyed in the takeoff from Lea. I am only trying to make the point that the weight concern was trivial: banjos can retain high sentimental value, I suppose.

      • David Billings says:

        Mr. Mellon, Tim,

        The point is that the more people repeat the myth of the lower antenna being ripped off and by connotation, this was why Earhart was unable to receive Tx, the more people will believe it When Radio Guru’s say that the Vee aerial was for both Rx (open all the time) and when Tx is keyed a relay changes the aerial to TX, this is or was exactly the same on the aircraft I crewed on. HF was keyed, the dynamotor wound up and you delayed speech for about three seconds, if you did not the intro of your Tx would not go out.

        This myth is along the same lines that Earhart was close to Howland because of Bellarts saying she was “S5”. Tighar’s own Radio Gurus have tried in vain to play that down for years as they know that she could have been hundreds of miles away and still be S5. That’s normal with HF.

        • Jay says:

          It doesn’t make a difference because she didn’t have the relay on the Electra. Her system was manual and she could have switched from the belly antenna to the loop but didn’t. There is no mistake that Amelia was Radio Challenged.

          The thing that would have saved her bacon was the ADF system she had removed from the a/c because she didn’t like it and wanted to save weight.

      • Yoda says:

        The video from Lae is compelling in that it shows three puffs of smoke that seem unusual could suggest the belly antenna did fall off. Having viewed the grainy video, I do not think that evidence for this can be established although Glickman suggests that the antenna mast is missing. One piece of evidence does contradict the belly antenna theory and that came from AE herself when she said that she could “not get a minimum on you”. If she had no receiver at all it would be logical to think that she would say “cannot hear you”.

  90. Has anyone published a comprehensive and skeptical history on the Amelia Earhart mystery?

    • Anonymous says:

      A skeptical history of Tighar, if that’s what you are asking would be voluminous. Who would want to take on the job? Go to the Forum on any randomly selected day and read the last ten posts and see how many of them advance Niku hypothesis in a reasonable way. Today (March 20) on the ‘Stoutish Walking Shoe or Sandal’ thread Ric is working hard to turn the slim information we have from the Gallagher era into another piece of evidence that can really only be explained if the shoe pieces found by Gallagher were Amelia’s.
      If you’re not familiar with Gillespie’s methods, this is a textbook case of how he operates. Check it out.

  91. Au contraire, “Mr. Yoda”, I have more worries to think about without getting concerned with you and your font of all knowledge. While you continue to use a screen name and remain unidentified your supposedly superior knowledge is no better then mine.

    If you are one who does not have mud on his boots, salt water between his toes and a depleted wallet like those of us that do search for Earhart and Noonan using evidence that we have, then you are of no concern. You can nitpick all you like.

    Waitt, Nauticos, Gillespie…. me, all identified. My name is known, your name is not.

    • Yoda says:

      I see so you want to turn the conversations to my identity rather than your unsupportable view? The evidence is overwhelming to the contrary of your position. I think we can end our brief relationship right there. Enjoy your quest.

    • dave says:

      David, it appeared Yoda asked a legitimate question. Do you have a link to a fuel analysis that supports your theory? It’s no small point, in fact my personal wish and one others have expressed is just show us the fuel data, everyone would love to read your own backing numbers. Perhaps you have posted them elsewhere before, but you are here now. If I missed your data, then please redirect me.

      Telling Yoda that because he has not led a search party for Earhart, “you are of no concern…” Is the arrogance I expect from Tighar.
      You are financed by people like Yoda. A person is not a peon, unworthy to speak to you, just because they have put no boots on the ground in a remote location.
      If you really believe that ivory tower view, then stop talking to the unwashed masses.
      When they talk back, you sneer down and say they are beneath you.!!
      Why bother with this blog if you are just too darn good for any of us to “consider”?

      • David Billings says:

        Dave B—-ll:

        Basis for Fuel Analysis:
        Try Oscar Boswell in the Tighar Archives back in 2000 and June 2001. Oscar did a lot of work on it and I corresponded with him.That’s a basis for fuel analysis.

        My non-concern over Mr, Yoda is not out of arrogance. It is because he comes over as being pompous and know-all. His fuel average of 50.88 USGPH is over the top. If he knows so much he should be able to pinpoint where AE went down if he believes in C & S.

  92. Jay says:

    When she said she could “not get a minimum on you”, what she was saying is, she could hear them on the loop, but could not determine what the minimum was, so she couldn’t tell what the azimuth was to their station. Either the signal was too strong or she didn’t know how to operate the radio and or loop antenna properly to determine where the minimum was.

    • Yoda says:

      This is true. My only point would be that if they could not hear voice that would be even more disturbing and she never stated that she could not hear them on voice. Here is a statement from chief radio operator Bellarts about this issue:

      “The people stating that the Earhart radio was not functioning properly make such statements on pure guess work. Amelia never stated that our signals were too weak for a minimum but “We received your signals but unable to get minimum please take a bearing on us” etc. No mention was made of weak signals or the reason she could not obtain a bearing. There are several reasons why she was unable to obtain a radio bearing. Too great signal, too weak a signal, fading, night effect (which there were none), and other causes. As far as we knew on the ITASCA, Earhart encountered no equipment failure–at least she reported none. Actually, in this case, I believe that our signals were too strong.”,27.0.html

  93. For Gari,

    YES, Gari…. You are reading it correctly… but you made one tiny mistake in what you said. I’ll point that out later….

    Before we go any further, in Lockheed Report 487, Page 28, the graph depicted has an erroneous Gross Weight shown. It should be 9,500 pound, NOT 19,5000 pounds.

    You say:

    A 600HP engine can’t produce 896HP, the table MUST refer to TOTAL HP !!

    I say:

    “Yes it does refer to BOTH engines” (the graphs refer to “both” engines)… even El Stripo cannot figure that out as he believes Page 37 of “Last Flight” (where Earhart wrote of 120 mph at 10,000 feet on less than 20 USGPH”) referred to 20 USGPH, per engine… i.e: 40 USGPH….and he is supposed to be the expert on Earhart and the Electra. 40 USGPH will not slow an aircraft down from a Lockheed cruise figure of 150 mph when Earhart reported that she was flu=ying at 120 mph……

    You say:

    Page 5:
    Mentions a best achievable SFC of 0.42 – also shown graphically on page 13.

    Now, Page 30′s table tells us that with a weight of 9,300 at 120 mph we need 253HP; Page 5 gives us an SFC of 0.42, giving:

    253 x 0.42 = 106.26 pounds.

    Given that avgas is about 6 pounds/USG, we get:

    106.26 / 6 = 17.71 USG per hour.

    I say:


    You say:

    From the same table on page 30 I also worked out that at the same 120mph speed @ heavier weight of 12,900, requires total of 350HP equating to 24.5 USG per hour!!

    I say:

    “Yes, because the Electra flew tail down at a heavier weight and the profile drag of the aircraft comes into the picture. In the old days, flying bpats used to be spoken of as “getting onto the step” as the power and increased airspeed made the drag of the water lesser. There is a book by a WWII Pilot which explains it better than I can in the few words avaiolable but simply, once the Electra was “up on the step” the total drag decreased. Howver as here, we are talking about a “lower” speed used for range, the “drag” of the tota; aircraft comes back into the picture.”

    You say:

    Using your 300USG contingency fuel figure minus 20USG unusable we get 280USG, therefore:

    Sea Level @ weight 9,300 @ 120mph:
    280USG / 17.71USG per hour = 15.81 hours endurance

    15.81 x 120 = 1,897 miles range.

    I say:

    “If you look at the Graph on Page 28 for 9,500 pounds AUW and decreasing down to the APS (Aircraft Prepared for Service) weight of the aircraft (which is what needs to be considered) and look where all the Height lines cross down at the bottom of the graph you will see that the lines cross at roughly the same value of ‘Velocity’ – 120 mph. This then must be Vmd – Velocity Minimum Drag – the speed at which the Electra 10E was most efficient.

    The aircraft I used to fly on flew at 1.1 x Vmd, because the curve of Lift against Drag was a shallow curve and the increased spped at 1.1 Vmd did not result in too much of a fuel penalty for the increase in speed.

    What you are looking at in the three Graphs in Report 487, Pages 26, 27 and 28, where the altitude lines cross, is where the “most efficient speed” as against “the weight” can be found “requiring a certain value” in Horsepower.

    Now, some computerr expert could, now, effortlessly, produce interpolations of these three graphs and give us a ‘step by step’ value of H.P required for all the weights by hundreds of pounds (not thousands) and by 1000’s of feet and by multiples of 10 in Velocity, to give us a complete picture of the H.P required. We could then using “Minimal” and “Maximal” SFC’s come out with a WIDE band of fuel usage per hour and even down to the minute.

    It is Page 28, which gives us a “down low AUW figure of what the Electra could do in a situation where “Range” is important and where “Fuel Conservation” is critical.

    Gari’s figures continue:

    Sea Level @ weight 12,900 @ 120mph:
    280USG / 24.5USG per hour = 11.43 hours endurance

    11.43 x 120 = 1,371 miles range

    However, it is also more efficient to fly a Piston engine at altitude because in the rarer air, the fuel to air ratio, which is governed by weight and maintained at a nominal 15:1 Air to Fuel, at altitude uses less fuel.

    Ergo the message recorded by Harry Balfour at 0800GMT 2nd July after Earhart had been down low for several hours…. He recorded that Earhart said at that time, “On course for Howkand at 12,000 feet”. Was this an attempt to claw back the fuel expended at 7000 feet ?

    So, to sum up Gari…. I find that you are doing pretty good considering that as you say:

    “………..that people, much better at this stuff than poorly educated trailer-trash like me, can debate and cogitate”.

    Well, you seem to have hit the mother-lode Gari because that’s exactly the line I have taken for some fifteen years and I’d say you are doing PFG. Oh, hang-on, I’m not supposed to speak to people like you according to a message I got this morning…. I’m supposed to be, si “above you” or “below you”… maybe DB can explain further.

    Keep it it Gari.

    To DB: Water off a Duck’s back….

    Yoda says:

    “March 19, 2013 at 2:51 am


    Now compare your calculation with page 33, 9300#,, 200 BHP/ENG = 200, Altitude = 0, Speed = 135mph, and the consumption her hour of 34.3 Gallons Per Hour, Miles Per Gallon 3.93.”

    Mr. Yoda: 200BHP/Eng = 400 BHP (200BHP “per” ENG)…. which would result in 34 odd USGPH…… Enjoy your reading.


    • Yoda says:

      Yes, 400 HP combined output to propel the aircraft at 135 MPH with a gross weight of 9300lbs at sea level requires 34.3 Gallons Per Hour. That is not a controversial statement is it?

    • dave says:

      Sorry David, this just is not logical.
      Earhart says, “200 miles out, 100 miles out, eventually stating she believes she is very close to howland, states clearly we “must be on you” but she cannot spot Howland, says she is running low on fuel, then comes back an hour later stating she is still looking for Howland at the 20 hour mark running on a LOP indicating still looking for Howland, and sounds completely frantic to every witness hearing her, Yet you would have us believe all that wrong. In reality she should have been very calm, relaxed and had a drink, because according to your strange ideas,, she still has nearly a third of her gas left in contingency? enough gas on allow her to return 2000 miles sipping gas, to completely fly back from where she came from almost.!

      2000 Freaking Miles left on contingency reserve? C’mon man.

      I can believe Tighar before this Billings theory. Complete Hogwash, sorry you have spent a small fortune on this quest, and I respect your zeal and passion, but I will put myself in the long list of people who say this is a ludicrous theory about one step above Earhart being snatched by aliens.
      Water off a ducks back for me as well, this theory deserves no more comment except this,

      Both Theories, Tighar and Billings, are plain wrong in my opinion.

    • gari says:

      @ David Billings,

      Yes, I have noticed a few errors in the the 487 report here and there, but in those days they didn’t have desktop publishing and spelling and grammar checkers lol I’d like to know who proofread it lol

      I can see the logic of what you are saying about the Earhart quote about the 20USGPH, I still can’t get my head around the fact that everyone is looking at the same information, Report 486 does say it is a range study and that the Electra is capable of up to 4,500 air miles range, it tells the plane operator what they need to do to gain maximum range, SFC, calibrate the Cambridge analyser, lean off mixture, WATCH MIXTURE etc

      We also have Clarence Williams’ strip map of a planned flight from Dakar to Aden, about 4,300 miles, and that guy seemed to be quite meticulous, something gave him belief/knowledge that such a flight was possible, else, why plan it?

      The other thing that I keep thinking is that AE had weeks of flying that baby, she had plenty of time to learn all about it, had she survived her input would have been quite important to even Kelly Johnson I should imagine, especially the long distance work.

      So, as an ignorant peon, I am quite surprised by the resistance to the Electra’s abilities, as seem clearly stated in Report 487.

      I can understand “getting onto the step”, makes sense, I believe that some large aircraft and ships have had the ability to pump fuel from tank to tank to trim things up, seems to a simpleton like I, that all that fuel burning off has to change the drag profile of the aircraft.

      The tables on 26, 27 and 28 demonstrating “most efficient speed”, do show between them that aircraft efficiency requires a faster speed the heavier it is, this is also demonstrated in Report 487 on page 7, “RECOMMENDED FLIGHT PROCEDURE”.

      The computer interpolations seem a great idea, I guess with minimal and maximal SFC’s you could get some way to knowing a little if the flight profile AE used? Am I right in assuming that IIF she followed the advice in the manual, like say obtain the 0.42 SFC and calibrate the Cambridge, then throwing in the burn rate etc, then we could have some idea of the true range? Then we only have the wind to worry about lol

      Mr Billings, I am well aware that flying higher is more efficient, I was merely using the table in as easy a manner as I could, we illiterate lettuce pickers are not very good at mathematics lol

      So, as I see it now, we have:

      1) Report 487 indicating that a 4,500 mile range is possible, and that the report is ‘computed conservatively’.

      2) Clarence Williams – world flight planner – believed the Electra could fly at least 4,300 miles.

      3) A pilot who had weeks of fine tuning and on-the-job-experience learning the best way to fly the Electra, who already knew that flying at height reduced fuel consumption.

      It would be nice if a renown expert, acceptable to all, got to work on the figures, but it seems to me they have made up their minds already, which is a shame. That said, I have had experience of ‘experts’ in a field arguing with one another about who is correct, and in the end a superior had to intervene, as if a parent between two children, quite shocking and heated that debate.

      It is kind of weird to me, when I first read about New Britain, it was as if I were there with the ‘diggers’, as I read it, I could see the engine and the airframe, overgrown in the jungle, the rearguard wondering what the hold up was and nervously waiting for something to kick-off. I have always had a good visual imagination lol I am still mostly a ‘crash and sank’, the fuel figures could just mean she disappeared anywhere in a larger area, but who knows, perhaps she did get to New Britain, if she did, how cruel a fate would that have been? A crazily long flight, the probable dejection of failing to find Howland, only to have their efforts finally pointless as, for whatever, the Electra hit that hill.

      I think something that this webpage has shown me, is that people who consider themselves sceptics can be as blinkered and as ornery as the folks they disagree with. indeed, I must count myself amongst them.

      The whole Amelia and Fred tale is quite interesting, not just their story but the phenomena that is the various people trying to solve the mystery. I think that I said above – somewhere lol – that there is so much about the psychology, personality, mindset and belief of NR16020 ‘followers’, that I could write a book on the subject lol

      If only that repair tag could be found, eh Mr Billings?

    • gari says:

      @ Dave,

      Forgive me Dave but you seem a bit emotional?

      IF the Electra had the range for Hawaii, that would have meant NO contingency fuel, yes?

      For me the fuel question is relevant to all the hypotheses, even ‘crash and sank’, as I believe.

      Critics of ‘crash and sank’ often say things like “Waitte looked all around and never found the plane”, well, if she had more endurance than people suppose, then she may be nowhere near Howland!!

      You choose reality?

      Have you read Report 487 in its entirety or have you just accepted all the ‘experts’ opinions?

      Reality 1)
      Report 487 was initiated as a range study, the report says that an Electra modified for the job, with 1,200USG and careful management could achieve distances up to 4,500 miles. It also states that it is ‘computed conservatively’, meaning that better endurance is possible. People pull out all these ‘facts’ about 487 but miss the point, it was a RANGE study the whole point of the report was to demonstrate the maximum range of the Electra. Why do people read a RANGE study and ignore the fact that it says, in several places that flights up to 4,500 miles are possible?

      Reality 2)
      Clarence Williams, world flight planner, strip-mapped and planned a non-stop flight of over 4,300 miles Dakar/Aden. Why would he plan a flight of 4,300 miles if the Electra couldn’t do it? He was no fool.

      I hope that is enough reality for you 🙂

      • dave says:

        Not really and you misunderstood my post. Reality means what happened on that day, on that flight. Theory is report 487 which has confused more people and led many to disbelieve what we were told by the pilots themselves and the humans involved. Report 487 states the plane could possibly fly 4500 miles but never mentions variables in a real flight like wind. So I do not care what some report states in theory. If it doesn’t mention flight variables then it has no credibility and is certainly no bible of the truth.
        General motors states my car will get 18mpg, and I really get 13mpg. I am sure there is an engineer somewhere that coasted my Truck in perfect conditions to get 18mpg.

        Once again Earhart could have saved herself a lot of trouble by Merely flying out of Port Moresby PNG instead of Lae, and flying direct to Honolulu if this plane will really do 4500 SM.
        From Port Moresby, complete with Airfieild completed in 1933, to Hawaii is 4289SM.
        Report 487 states the Electra could do 4500 miles.
        Plenty of Room to make it nonstop.
        Except a company report is not reality, and everybody knew it including the pilot and crew of that plane.

        If they were lost at Howland, it is another 1850Sm to Honolulu. If they had enough gas to get all the way back to New Britain, they could have just shot for Hawaii. But they did not.
        Neither are feasible because they did not come in with hundreds of gallons in reserve.

        We know that because AE reported she was low on fuel. People want to argue what low on fuel means. Estimates run from 50 gallons to 160 gallons that I have seen, up to apparently extreme examples in the case of the New Britain crowd of believers.
        Let’s look at what the participants state-
        Commander Thomson of the Itasca said she quote ” apparently came in low on fuel”.
        Logbooks state she said 1/2 hour left but that throws a big wrench in the business of finding Earhart so some discredit that. Fine. Lets say she had an Hour left or a low amount. It was enough to scare Earhart badly. Cmdr Thompson said by her last transmission she was “talking so fast she was nearly incoherent”. Richard Black states in listening to her voice he could hear the anxiety and stress rising. Radioman Bellarts stated she was quote “nearly hysterical”.at the time of her last transmission.
        That is Reality. Nearly hysterical. I recommend reading his account.

        She was not flying the plane another 2000 miles to New Britain, and I could not care less if some Lockheed report states it was possible or Mr.Johnson himself was piloting it.
        Not on that day. Now Mr.Billings makes up all sorts of scenarios where AE is facing strong winds that push her far from Howland. But reality from the radiomen there, the experienced Navy Personnel there, state she was close by, within 100 miles maximum. Many thought she had actually overshot Howland and was even further from PNG, not closer to it. Reports were made that she was circling Howland and are in the Navy summary and some don’t like it, but it’s there.

        None of these theorists want the electra anywhere near Howland Island. It sort of messes up their theories/business.
        Yet, the pilot states she should be near Howland, She thought she was, Noonan thought he was. The Navy thought she was near Howland as well. Who to believe?

        Amazing that Everyone has the same reports of a nearly hysterical pilot circling the area she thought was Howland, running low of fuel and the Commander of the Itasca reporting by 0915 Local he believed she had went down.
        Yet people like Mr.Billings and Mr.Gillespie do not believe the Navy and the official Navy reports. Wonder why. Anybody buy a book recently?

        Since I don’t have a monetary stake in the game, I will go with the Navy’s version of the day.

  94. David Billings says:


    Yes it is.

    Depends on what SFC you are supposedly using and that page says 0.515 and 1700 RPM.. But there is another factor: the P & W Chart for the S3H1…..

    LR487, (for the aircraft) Page 28 says circa 305 H.P required at Sea Level at that weight (albeit of 9,500lbs as against 9,300lbs of your statement) which would require at a P & W Max Continuous (not range flying) SFC of 0.48…. 305 x 0.48 = 146.4 lbs of Gas = 24.4 USG per Hour. At an SFC of 0.44; 22.7 USGPH required.

    So, if it was a Long Range flying SFC of 0.44 or even 0.46, work the sum and you get less. Certainly nowhere near 34.3 USGPH.

    However, what you are saying controversially is that at 200 H.P. per engine you can operate the engine using 1700 RPM on the prop at S.L. which would mean a coarse pitch which would also mean the CHT’s would possibly be running higher than normal and the M.P. would be as it says 24.5″. That is what Page 34 is saying.

    I don’t think that in any way shape or form, it was intended that the aircraft would “be” operated that way as a passenger aircraft. The figures are from “Tests” in that regard. That configuration seems to be an “approach to landing” config, before the prop pitch is increased to fine and full rich applied for landing.

    The P & W Chart (for the engine and prop) that I have says you can’t do that at S.L., you can only do that at Altitude, 10K plus and then only in the M.P.’s in the low 20’s.. Why ? You would be in danger of throwing a pot, the M.P. required would be too high.. The Wasp has always been known as being a noisy engine & prop combination, the prop travelling at the speed of sound at high RPM, ie; “in fine pitch”, fine pitch/high RPM will keep the M.P. lowest.

    Look at 12,900 AUW on Page 27 for 135 mph, then you do need 400 H.P.. Working backwards from your figure of 34.3 USGPH you would be working that at an SFC of 0.4645, which is within the SFC range band for LR flying, according to Page 13.

    Anyway, I am not supposed to talk to people on this blog, someone on this blog said that there were “peons” here (whatever they are) and they were beneath me. ……Ah, the penny drops, there are Mexican low-lying field harvesting attendants here…..?


    The discussion should centre around what was possible at altitude, not at S.L. Whether it is a transit from A to B being Howland to Nikumaroro or from an unknown position to taking up a reciprocal course… it would not be “fuel wise” to transit at low level.

    Desperate people do desperate things. It is a fact that a reciprocal (a “Piston-Recip”) gasoline powered engine will do well at medium altitudes up to say, 15,000 feet. Then Turbines came along and they will do well up to say 30,000 feet. A friend of mine flying a Cessna 150, years ago, told me that while he was ferrying the aircraft from Rabaul down to Honiara in the Solomon Group, he flew as high as he could and was limited in his altitude because he could not get the mixture control to go any lower and to climb higher would have choked the engine. In other words to climb or avoid the weather around Mount Balbi on the way to Honiara, he ran out of air to be able to get any higher. The ceiling for a C150, is I believe 7000 feet, he went to “over” 10,000 feet.

    So, the scenario presents itself that we have a fully serviceable aircraft in the L10E with two people on board who want to get “the hell out of there”. They cannot find the island, there is a Contingency Plan for The Gilberts, there is still fuel. Make a decision. Talk about ending up over, let us say, Nonouti Atoll with 240 USG still in tanks. What would you do ?

    Mosty of you would have Google Earth. Walk through the scenario. There are no immediate airfields.

    I cannot stay up all night… I am in Singapore looking after a sick aircraft by day but if you want to do it I’ll be interested in your comments next morning or future mornings. If not, who cares ?


    • dave says:

      Billings per your theory Earhart could have just continued on to Hawaii if they could not spot Howland Island. That is basically how much fuel you are stating she had in contingency.Per your theory, they had enough fuel, and the plane had the capability to make it Non stop from Lae to Hawaii.

      So why then stop at Howland at all for Christs sake?
      Did they decide to stop at Howland for some crabs and a snack?

      Despite churning out every unknown fuel consumption variable in your favor, clearly they never intended to fly from Lae to Hawaii non stop. Why do you think that is?
      Gee… Let me think about that.

      Why, if this aircraft had such a fantastic range of 4500 miles did she plan to go to Howland at all?

      For that matter, Earhart could have just went to Port Moresby,PNG, filled up, and headed direct for Honolulu if this plane was capable of the flying nonstop the distances you are proposing.
      That is only 3727 NM. You are stating the aircraft could fly at least that long.
      So why did they go through all the trouble of trying to find tiny little Howland island, shipping in fuel there, preparing a runway there?

      There is a reason they were trying to stop at Howland island Mr.Billings.
      It is called fuel and real world fuel consumption.
      The aircraft could not fly these great distances non stop you theoretically state on paper..
      It could fly a Helluva long way. It could not fly from Lae to Hawaii non stop, or even from Port Moresby PNG, to Hawaii which is only 3700 miles.

      There is theory, and then sometimes something intrudes called reality.
      Reality was a planned stop at Howland for fuel, Reality is Earhart stated she was low on fuel while near Howland, and reality is she really wanted to stop there for fuel, not just a sandwich. If she had enough fuel for another 2000 miles she could have skipped Howland altogether and said “Fred, lets blow off this little island and head to Honolulu”

      There is theory, and there is reality.
      I will choose reality.

  95. David Billings says:

    Mr. B…..

    Q. Why ?

    A. It’s called “winds” Mr. B….

    But then again, why did Commander Clarence Williams give AE a Flight Plan from ADEN to DAKAR, 4307 Statute miles in 28 Hours and 40 Minutes NIL Wind ? It is there on paper, 4307 SM, 28:40……G/S 150 Smph.

  96. Jeff says:

    Rather than speak about each of the individual theories, I would rather focus on the key information that basically separates Crash and Sank, and all others, the radio signals. If you do not believe the radio signals, then you are left with only the Crash and Sank theory. I understand there may be a radio malfunction component to the New Britain Theory as described by Mr. Billings.

    As I grew up, I learned about AE like everyone else; in school. I learned that it was thought that she landed on another island, and that there were radio signals, but they were too faint to understand, and the Navy could not find her. Perhaps, that is why I always believed there were post loss signals, and still do.

    Personally, I believe it is a cop out to say the radio signals were all a hoax without offering evidence. I don’t believe the government’s past position that the signals were not credible is evidence. I certainly would not accept this if the aviators were my family members. I would investigate it to the end of the earth if it were my wife or daughter. Certainly, Putnam did this to the best of his ability at the time. The military did say they thought some of the signals were credible, and they attempted to investigate them at the time.

    There have been comments made here that people posting information contrary to TIGHAR’s theory are TIGHAR rejects, and Google experts. People who don’t have information of their own, just bashing TIGHAR while they hang out on their site or post on boards all day. As someone who is involved in an active investigation, I want to post some unique information derived from my investigation and not found on TIGHAR, Wikipedia or Wings Over Kansas, etc. I will do this once because it is time intensive. If anyone is interested in more, I will post more as time allows.

    As stated, I am focusing on the radio signals as well as certain other information that is critical to locating the aircraft. In researching the radio signals, I have accessed TIGHAR’s radio signal catalogue, in addition to newspaper archives, government archives, and government reports. I have also located witnesses and their descendents.

    The first signal report I will use as an example is the public report of Nina Paxton of Ashland, KY, who claimed to have first heard Earhart on July 3, 1937 at about 2:00PM. Below is TIGHAR’s assessment of the report:

    “Mrs. Paxton claimed to have heard Earhart say “down in ocean,” then “on or near little island at a point near …,” then something about “directly northeast,” and “our plane about out of gas. Water all around. Very dark.” Then something about a storm and that the wind was blowing, “will have to get out of here,” “we can’t stay here long.”

    Paxton made repeated attempts to get someone to pay attention to her story and, in later years, greatly embellished it with details that are not credible – but her original account as reported in July 1937 is credible. Reception was possible on 24,840 kHz. Earhart could not transmit if she was “down in ocean” but Paxton says she also heard “on or near little island,” so she could be referring to the reef at Gardner which is in the ocean and could be described as being “on or near” the island. The phrase “very dark” could refer to an approaching squall.

    Credibility: Credible
    (end of assessment)

    You don’t have to be very analytical to recognize that certain portions of Paxton’s report are being discarded while those that fit a Gardner scenario are being assessed as credible. The part that could fit Gardner is credible, the rest is not credible.

    I was interested in the embellishment referred to at the time, but was moving forward with other things. During this time I was also reading books, and of course being influenced by each one for a moment. I was getting all the Gardner stuff from TIGHAR, and wanted to read the other theories.

    I was reading a TIGHAR press release and someone named Randall Brink was posting that the theory was wrong, and that AE had landed at Mili Atoll, etc. I quickly learned he had written a Saipan oriented, Earhart was a government spy, book called Lost Star. So I read it, and found it entertaining, but not believable. Brink based a lot of what he was writing on information he had obtained from secret government files without really describing it fully. He said it took him years to access the information and that no one else had ever seen it.

    I forgot about Brinks book, and then read Elgin Longs book. No two books could be more diametrically opposed than those. I read them back to back. Of course, I found Long’s book made sense, but it did not sway me on the radio signals.

    Doing additional investigation of the radio signals, I reviewed Earhart’s public FBI file. There was no official FBI investigation of the matter. The file simply contained copies of letters, telegrams, and other writings related to AE, the aviator, that had been kept at the FBI. It also contained some test results of items submitted by TIGHAR. This file should not be confused with Earhart’s personal FBI file. I came across a letter dated September 22, 1943 addressed to Walter Winchell, who was a well known gossip columnist and radio host of the time.

    The name on the letter was sanitized, but the City was clearly visible, Ashland, KY. The letter starts off “on July 3, 1937 at 2:20PM.” I am thinking great, I have something directly from Nina Paxton. She goes on to describe excerpts of the 300 – 400 words she heard clearly, with no static interference, on that first day. Funny, I thought, I recognize what she is saying. This letter went on to recount radio signal descriptions which I realized I had read in Randall Brink’s book, Lost Star written 44 years later.

    The letter went on to say she listened to the radio transmissions from Earhart until August 10, 1937 (39 days). She described where they were, what they could see, etc. She named Mili, Musgrave, Knox and the Marshall Islands; nothing about Gardner.

    My point is both TIGHAR and Brink used the same person as a source of credible information to support the Gardner and Mili “theories.” Given the information I reviewed, a reasonable person would conclude Mrs. Paxton was not a credible witness at all.

    There were other letters in the file that provided information related to the aviators capture by the Japanese, the ships involved, witnesses names etc. That information is also found in Brink’s book. Clearly, I had reviewed the secret government documents that were the source of Brink’s information. The letters were from random people, they were not investigated, yet they a

    At first, I was a bit bothered by the fact that I had read Brink’s book, and had learned that it was based in part on these random letters, not top secret cloak and dagger stuff. However, I did not believe his story to begin with. What bothered me more was it was clear TIGHAR knew about this, and referred to it simply as an embellishment. No mention of what she said. She could have named Gardner just as easily as Mili, but did not. They withheld what she said in the evaluation of her credibility. This is a key aspect of the investigation.

    One final point on this reported radio signal. It was 2:00 PM in Ashland, KY at the time of the reception. It was 8:00 AM at Gardner Island. The entire signal path was in daylight. TIGHAR repeatedly discredits other radio signals with information not consistent with their theory for this very reason. Yet, it is not mentioned here in a signal they have evaluated as credible.

    I did additional research by reading relevant sections of Finding Amelia PP 126 – 127. Nina Paxton is addressed, but more consistently with the way I found her to be, not the radio catalogue. In the book, Gillespie says of Paxton’s statements “there is nothing that argues for her credibility” The information she reported had already been reported in the media for days. He specifically points out the radio propagation path was in complete daylight and the chances she heard anything was less than 1 in ten million.

    In the book, Gillespie mentions the letter to Winchell without providing details of where he found it. Later, he mentions the Mili Atoll/ Marshall Island part of the story as having been a revelation of the 1960’s. That information was in the letter to Winchell in 1943. In short, his characterization of Paxton in the book contradicts what is posted in the radio signal log.

    • Jeff says:

      (this posted mid-sentence right when the site went down, insert above the FBI link)
      *are quoted in the book.

  97. dave says:

    Not really and you misunderstood my post. Reality means what happened on that day, on that flight. Theory is report 487 which has confused more people and led many to disbelieve what we were told by the pilots themselves and the humans involved. Report 487 states the plane could possibly fly 4500 miles but never mentions variables in a real flight like wind. So I do not care what some report states in theory. If it doesn’t mention flight variables then it has no credibility and is certainly no bible of the truth.
    General motors states my car will get 18mpg, and I really get 13mpg. I am sure there is an engineer somewhere that coasted my Truck in perfect conditions to get 18mpg.

    Once again Earhart could have saved herself a lot of trouble by Merely flying out of Port Moresby PNG instead of Lae, and flying direct to Honolulu if this plane will really do 4500 SM.
    From Port Moresby, complete with Airfieild completed in 1933, to Hawaii is 4289SM.
    Report 487 states the Electra could do 4500 miles.
    Plenty of Room to make it nonstop.
    Except a company report is not reality, and everybody knew it including the pilot and crew of that plane.

    If they were lost at Howland, it is another 1850Sm to Honolulu. If they had enough gas to get all the way back to New Britain, they could have just shot for Hawaii. But they did not.
    Neither are feasible because they did not come in with hundreds of gallons in reserve.

    We know that because AE reported she was low on fuel. People want to argue what low on fuel means. Estimates run from 50 gallons to 160 gallons that I have seen, up to apparently extreme examples in the case of the New Britain crowd of believers.
    Let’s look at what the participants state-
    Commander Thomson of the Itasca said she quote ” apparently came in low on fuel”.
    Logbooks state she said 1/2 hour left but that throws a big wrench in the business of finding Earhart so some discredit that. Fine. Lets say she had an Hour left or a low amount. It was enough to scare Earhart badly. Cmdr Thompson said by her last transmission she was “talking so fast she was nearly incoherent”. Richard Black states in listening to her voice he could hear the anxiety and stress rising. Radioman Bellarts stated she was quote “nearly hysterical”.at the time of her last transmission.
    That is Reality. Nearly hysterical. I recommend reading his account.

    She was not flying the plane another 2000 miles to New Britain, and I could not care less if some Lockheed report states it was possible or Mr.Johnson himself was piloting it.
    Not on that day. Now Mr.Billings makes up all sorts of scenarios where AE is facing strong winds that push her far from Howland. But reality from the radiomen there, the experienced Navy Personnel there, state she was close by, within 100 miles maximum. Many thought she had actually overshot Howland and was even further from PNG, not closer to it. Reports were made that she was circling Howland and are in the Navy summary and some don’t like it, but it’s there.

    None of these theorists want the electra anywhere near Howland Island. It sort of messes up their theories/business.
    Yet, the pilot states she should be near Howland, She thought she was, Noonan thought he was. The Navy thought she was near Howland as well. Who to believe?

    Amazing that Everyone has the same reports of a nearly hysterical pilot circling the area she thought was Howland, running low of fuel and the Commander of the Itasca reporting by 0915 Local he believed she had went down.
    Yet people like Mr.Billings and Mr.Gillespie do not believe the Navy and the official Navy reports. Wonder why. Anybody buy a book recently?

    Since I don’t have a monetary stake in the game, I will go with the Navy’s version of the day.

    • gari says:

      @ Dave,

      You have specific absolute knowledge of what happened on the day to the Electra, please write me an account!!

      What you are saying is NOT reality, the evidence, ALL of it, is ambiguous, if it were in a novel you’d throw the book away because it makes no sense.

      I have read much of the alleged communications and what they are ‘meant’ to say. I have also read people saying that the folks taking down the messages were adding information AFTER the event. The ‘reality’ of the communications is that you have poor protocol, an inexperienced – perhaps incompetent – user, a radio room where a guy types down HIS interpretation of what was said. Have you noticed that at Howland many communication do not agree with each other, each is recording what they THOUGHT they heard and what they THOUGHT she said.

      Also don’t be forgetting the endless debates about EACH received transmission, from ‘Land’ or ‘ship’ ‘in sight ahead’ – if she actually said either of those!! The so-called position reports are laughable, one has her making about 40Kts if I remember, so people adjust it or ignore it, and this is the thing with the whole sorry tale. EVERYONE is cherry-picking data to fit a conclusion, even the US Navy were doing all the way back then, and for sure people are doing the same thing today. In there somewhere in all the data may be real clues, but I doubt we’ll ever separate wheat from chaff, but I think anyone just analysing just one area of data is on a mission to failure.

      The low on fuel statement has been debated by ‘experts’ and there is no real agreement, like all of this event. Even IF she sounded frantic and emotional, how would you feel IF you had travelled for most of the day, only to find that if you don’t set down in half an hour, you have to turn back? Your point about continuing to Hawaii is disingenuous, even IF David Billings is right about New Britain, New Britain was probably NOT the intended destination, he has said that it entirely possible, having not found Howland, that rather than fly round till they ditch, that they would reverse course to say the Gilberts. Think about that, Fred Noonan says “Gee, I can’t figure it, it should be right under us…circle for a while” As time goes by they have a choice, do they continually circle where they THINK Howland is until their fuel runs out, or do they run a reciprocal course KNOWING they past an island chain en-route to Howland? I’d be frantic too, even if I had fuel to fly for another 24 fours, I’d be exhausted, probably used up all my tomato juice and could do with a spell in the sack.

      It’s funny how people will argue that 487 is correct when it doesn’t allow for consumption BELOW 40USGPH. Cars are tested to a benchmark so you can compare one make and model with another, and fuel accuracy is not as important is it? I mean run out of fuel over the Pacific is worse news than fuel exhaustion a free-way, isn’t it? Also, I had a vehicle a few years back, in which that I BETTERED the manufacturers mileage. When I had it serviced the mechanics wouldn’t believe me, but I found my own way of using it, this is what I apply to NR16020. Fact is, the only person to do a significant number of long distance flights in a 10E was AE, do you really think that she couldn’t improve on the ‘theoretical’ figures that Kelly came up with?

      The reality is that all of the information is ambiguous, if it wasn’t then we’d have known where she set down, land or sea.

      Quote by Dave:

      “She was not flying the plane another 2000 miles to New Britain…”

      Although a bit of an absolute statement requiring evidence, I think I would agree somewhat with it, even if she did crash at New Britain. If she had the fuel and did reverse course, I do not think she was heading for New Britain. I do not think even Mr Billings is saying that.

      IF she had more fuel endurance than people mostly believe, she could have also long overshot – north or south – of Howland.

      I like reality too, Dave, and the reality is Report 487 took many months of experimentation and calculations, and even then it does have errors. Whereas, the communication reports are snapshot seconds, noted down with much subjectivity and possibly the result of hurried, concerned and flustered guys in that hot radio room. Communications by a pilot who wasn’t coming through clearly, most times, who may have been emotional, flustered and concerned. I’d take the information in a reasonably well researched report over radio communications any way, but as i said, I think that ALL evidence from range projections to radio messages may have some part to play.

      We do however have too little certain information to go on.

      You don’t believe that the designer of the aircraft knew what he was talking about, fine. I’ll just say that if he was renown for contributing to the U-2, the SR-71, the F-117 and many others, and he was also the first team-leader at Skunk Works, It’s surprising that such an incompetent engineer was allowed to work for Lockheed for fifty years, and have Kelly Johnson Research and Development Center named after him. I guess aviation’s standards are lower than yours, huh?

      Yeah I know it’s a logical fallacy, but it indicates that his superiors certainly didn’t think he was someone who didn’t know his job.

      I have no monetary stake involved either, it’s just that I am not close-minded.

      • Yoda says:

        Johnson was only 27 at the time when the report was written in 1937. He graduated from U of M in 1933. I would not base his career on something he wrote 4 years out of college at the rip old age of 27.

        The rest of the story…

        He left college in 1933 with a master’s of science degree, a used car, and plans to return to Lockheed and the promised job in California. Lockheed executive Cyril Chappellet and Chief Engineer Hall Hibbard hired the young Johnson as an $83 a month tool designer until there was an opening in engineering.

        What did Johnson think of the upcoming new Lockheed Electra, the aircraft the newly reorganized company was banking its future on? Although he was a young engineer with a fresh degree and just starting his first aircraft company job, the outspoken Johnson didn’t hesitate to voice a strong opinion. “Practically the first thing I told Chappellet and Hibbard was that their plane was unstable and that I did not agree with the university’s wind-tunnel report,” Johnson recalled in his autobiography.

        Hibbard sent Johnson back to the University of Michigan wind tunnel with the Electra model “and see if you can do better with the airplane.” Johnson did just that. It took seventy-two tunnel runs before he found the answer to the stability problem. He came up with the idea of putting controllable plates on the horizontal tail to increase its effectiveness and get more directional stability. He then added a twin vertical tail and removed the main center tail. The solution worked fine.

        When he returned to Burbank, Johnson was a full-fledged member of Lockheed engineering, the sixth in the department. Assigned to the Model 10 Electra, Johnson also flew as a flight test engineer on the aircraft. It was the first of many Lockheed planes on which Johnson served as a flight test engineer–finally accumulating 2,300 hours in this job.

        • gari says:

          @ Yoda,

          You don’t think the fact that he IMPROVED an aircraft at such a young age wasn’t indicative of his ability??

          That said, I don’t think ability at a young age is much of a gauge, Einstein wrote most of his best work in his mid twenties, then spent most of the the rest of his life wasting time on his universal theory.

          I think the longevity of Johnson’s career is some indication that he knew what he was doing, from the time he played with the Electra. I just don’t understand people disrespecting him, there he was mostly responsible for practically the first ‘modern’ aircraft, wll ahead of his time, and yet people think when it came to fuel figures he was a bozo? Makes no sense. Sounds like some kind of special pleading to me.

          That he undertook time as a flight engineer in the Electra is how he came by much of his data, but the real world is different to any test conditions, even if he sat in the seat and sat the whole flight with his slide rule.

          I went through a couple of tables in 487 today, and found errors, now were they errors from the printer typing out handwritten notes? Or were they poorly recorded data by Johnson? We’ll never know.

          I am amused by the resistance of people to 487 when it indicates that mileages beyond the usually accepted norm were possible, yet it seems perfectly good when it supports a ‘crash and sank’ nearer Howland. Why can’t folks see this? If the data is in contradiction can we ever know which data is correct? If all data were correct, but recorded at different times or with different variables unrecorded, then we still do not know which to believe.

          For me the clincher was Williams’ Dakar/Aden proposed flight, he seemed pretty meticulous – anyone planning a 2,556 mile journey to the last minute must be lol – so I can’t see him just accepting Johnson’s ‘theoretical’ figures and prepare to take the lives of the aviatrix and her navigator lol

          I also think Mr Billings had a point when he said that you don’t slow an aircraft down to 120 by increasing fuel to 40USGPH, as it seems AE stated in her book.

          For me, with a sceptical head on, I think that it would be wrong to totally discount the possible fuel figures indicating up to 4.500 miles endurance. All we seem to get is experts saying the figures are wrong, and dismissing them, when in reality, we all know that in the real world, computer models and computations, as useful as they are, can’t beat having the object in front of you and testing it.

          As I see it, if all these doctorates, graduates, software writers etc were 100% correct in what they say and do, would we even need to have test flights or drives for new planes and cars? The fact we DO test new designs says that we can’t just trust design and prediction, this is why Johnson went up in his aircraft, he wasn’t like a lot of the guys today, just theorists lol

          • dave says:

            WE KNOW SHE WAS LOW ON FUEL. THE PILOT SAID AS MUCH AT 1912 GMT. I am not sure why this is hard to grasp or acknowledge. It is not as if there were no communications at all. Earhart said the gas was low. An hour later Radioman Bellarts reported her “nearly hysterical”.
            Yet we do not trust the words of the pilot. Simply amazing.

            The problem is not if she was low on fuel, the problem is WHY she was low on fuel. Excessive winds, perhaps to an extent, perhaps her malfunctioning CFA which seemed to go on the blink periodically.
            From Lockheed 487, the supposed bible-

            “Fuel consumption data is obtained through in flight tests using CAREFUL MIXTURE CONTROL. To get a range of 4500 miles it will be necessary to calibrate the Cambridge analyzer so that the fuel consumption curve shown on page 13 can be obtained”

            So a malfunctioning fuel analyzer, which she had problems with before, has her near Howland with less than 100 gallons of fuel at 1912GMT, probably closer to 70, which would allow 90 minutes of flight approximately. She circles for an hour, comes back on frantic at 2013GMT, still no sight of land, now down to a few gallons and the engines quick soon after.

            Not really a huge mystery. The Mystery is where exactly, southeast 30 miles, southwest 30 miles, northwest 60 miles…..but somewhere around Howland there will be the Electra.

          • Yoda says:

            It is interesting that you mention “theorists”. The data captured during the actual flight tests is documented in the report. You do not want to look at that data, you want to look at the speculative data about the theoretical range given on a couple of charts in the book that we never tested in reality and make that the basis for a conspiracy theory.

            The fact is we know where the plane was at 7:18GMT and when they thought they had arrived at Howland at 19:12GMT. That would require a ground speed achieved of 144MPH. with a 26.5MPH headwind (reported by AE @7:18GMT). You do the math on the rest.

            Show us how that fits in to your less that 40GPH fuel consumption. That is absurd.

            This is not rocket science we are talking about here. This is the basic ability to look at data and perform a d=r*t calculation.

            You can go on and on all day about those couple of charts that were obviously based on speculation and chase your Holy Grail where ever it leads you.

            The truth is plain to see for anyone that does not have a quest and a story to sell (yes sell not tell).

          • gari says:

            The fuel question is usually responded to with the usual dogma.

            Bellarts said afterwards she was hysterical, is that a subjective analysis? even if she were hysterical, who wouldn’t be after a long flight and failing to reach Howland, even if she had another 20 hours endurance.

            I say again, 487 does indicate that a range of 4,100 plus is possible, for sure the lady would have known more about the practical application of the aircraft, than Lockheed’s project to ascertain its range.

            The fuel figures that most people accept as ‘gospel’ are based on AE doing EXACTLY what Kelly suggests her do, but we know she DIDN’T!!

            She was supposed to take off with 30 degree flaps but didn’t, needing every inch of the 3,000 ft airstrip, to the extent that witnesses say that the aircraft dropped off towards the sea until back into ground effect,

            She was also meant to gradually climb to burn her fuel, yet we know she usually just went straight to 10,000 ft ASAP.

            Does ANYONE REALLY believe that she followed Kelly’s guidelines to the letter? She wouldn’t be the first pilot to use an aircraft and report back to the manufacturers a better more efficient performance of the aircraft would she?

            For whatever reason, poor fixes, strong winds or fuel economy, she was not over Howland for dawn, like she was at Hawaii earlier in the year.

            The radio logs are ambiguous, we don’t know what was actually said or even if it was recorded correctly, look at the ‘100 miles’ entry, some say it was her transmission, others that it was a guestimate by the radio operator.

            In truth, I believe that there is actually very little real evidence to go on, we will never know what she did for that flight, it seems obvious that she didn’t follow instructions to the letter, look at her flight to Dakar and ignoring Fred’s input. Personally, I think there is maybe a bit more to her than we know, I have a ‘feeling’ that she used intuition and instinct a lot, I have read elsewhere that she considered herself ‘psychic’, is that why she ignored Fred at Dakar? Did she ‘feel’ which was the right way to go?

            I remember reading somewhere, Collopy I think, that FN was a little scared by AE, and I often wondered why, was it because when it suited her she would just ignore his input and go on instinct?

            @ Yoda, I have looked at the data, you do not know that I don’t want to look at it. The speculative data that you speak of is called graphical interpolation, Kelly couldn’t fill a 10E up to capacity and fly several ops to get real data, he would have to extrapolate and calculate like all good engineers do. You want to ignore such extrapolations, fine, no one is forcing you to accept them.

            Fact is, NO ONE, whether a humble lettuce picker like me or a self-confessed expert on the Electra 10E like yourself knows what that aircraft was capable of on that flight, and for sure no one else in Earth’s history other than AE knows what she was up to on that day. You know for sure what her speed, heading and fuel consumption were? You must be psychic.

            I still think she crashed and sunk, I find what Mr Billings has revealed to be an interesting story in itself. For me, Waitte didn’t find any trace of that plane where most folks said it would be, and they found objects the size of a 55 gallon drum miles down, the Electra is not there. Maybe it is further away, maybe she did have a Gilbert contingency, I don’t know and nor do you.

          • gari says:

            @ Yoda,

            I think the whole point about the journey end is where was their Howland?

            You can’t make calculations regarding speed over endurance if you don’t know how far they had travelled can you? Even if we had the meteorological data.

            We don’t know what fixes Freddie obtained, we don’t know where ‘their’ Howland was, we know that no one heard or saw NR16020 from Howland or Baker, they were lost. If they didn’t know where they were, how the hell can you know?

            Were they north, south, east or west of Howland when they splashed? Were they 50, 100 or even 500 hundred miles away when they went down? No one knows, all we have is speculation, and cherry-picking data to fit our personal bias.

            Every simulation and hypothesis requires ignoring some of the data, how do we know which data to ignore? How do we know that the ignored data isn’t the correct data?

            Maybe it isn’t rocket science but whatever calculations you perform, if you put noisy or erroneous data in, guess what you get out?

            Your speculation is as valid, or as invalid, as anyone else’s.

            As I said before, the only people who know the flight profile are long dead, and even they weren’t privy to all the data variables, or else they would have landed on Howland.

  98. David Billings says:

    I am well aware, that this is “Skeptoid” and the blog certainly allows a large flavour of scepticism but that should not prevent rational thought and “sane as I am” or “insane as you think I am”, I am seeing a lot of irrational behaviour here.

    Of the latest efforts, what Gari mentioned “40 USGPH”, but his mention of it has seemingly been taken as something perverse….it was not so intended to my rational thought….

    In that 40 USGPH was mentioned by Gari, the response to that has the circumstance wrong. He is not saying what Mr. Yoda thinks he is saying…which I believe that Mr. Yoda is saying Gari means an average of 40 USGPH for the entire flight. Correct me if I am reading this incorrectly.

    Gari was referring to the March 1937 flight “SFO-HI”; namely to Wheeler Field, in the circumstance that Earhart did not want to arrive in the dark and so she slowed the Electra down for the last two hours at 10,000 feet to 120mph, insomuch and correspondingly to this, the “velocity” shown on Page 28 of LP487 does show the USGPH figure she wrote as “less than 20 gallons per hour” when you work the possibilities of the SFC, viz a viz the H.P. required…..

    It is El Stripo who cannot grasp that this refers to the total fuel flow for both engines as he, the guru, has stated on a few occasions that it really means that Earhart slowed the Electra down by using 40 USGPH which as we all know is above the Lockheed figure for CRUISE at 10,000 feet of 38 USGPH which is supposed to deliver 150mph G/S (still air). So El Stripo is wrong and has never corrected his error even though it has been pointed out to him on a few occasions.

    That is what Gari meant, if I am correct.

    I now turn to what you wrote, Mr Yoda:

    “The fact is we know where the plane was at 7:18GMT and when they thought they had arrived at Howland at 19:12GMT. That would require a ground speed achieved of 144MPH. with a 26.5MPH headwind (reported by AE @7:18GMT). You do the math on the rest.”

    I am particularly pleased and gratified that you have said, “….they thought thay had arrived at Howland at 19:12 GMT”…

    I make 19:12 x 144 = 2765 Statute miles…….. Did you mean “G/S 134” ?

    Well, what you say about the PR at 0718 GMT, says that you are not quite correct. We do know that the Electra was at LAE and we have a few “inklings” as to where it was during the flight but we are not quite certain as to the “times” when it was at the PR’s Earhart gave. We also do not know that the wind stayed constant at “26.5mph” either. There was “freak” weather about during this period in July 1937 as evidenced by the Catalina flight which had to turn back for HI.

    The 0518 GMT PR of 7.3S and 150.7 E is obviously reported incorrect as to Longitude. The factor of the reported “LOW” to the SE of New Britain emerges as a contender to show us where this longitude most probaby was, in respect to the possible G/S of the Electra at overload for the first hours of the flight. In that, I mean in “avoiding” the LOW….. Latitude 7.3 S after 5 hours, if the Electra achieved anywhere near 150 mh G/S would lead us to look at some 750 miles out to the East of LAE. Harry Balfour wrote the Longitude down and it was never questioned by those familiar with the South West Pacific but there is “nothing there” at 150.7 East, so as a PR “it wasn’t” unless it was an Astro fix and a paltry G/S of 49 Smph in five or so hours is nonsensical. Say “150.7” over and over to yourself and it will be realised, due to the time of seven hours or so, that the Longitude should be 157 East.

    This puts the Electra over Mt. Maetambe on CHOISEUL Island.

    We now come to the interesting bit about the “LOW”. A LOW in the Southern Hemisphere has winds which turn clockwise. If you now open your Google Earth and go to the South West Pacific and imagine a series of concentric corcles emanating from a point to the SE of the eastern part of New Britain Island you will see that those clockwise wind circles would have interfered with the Electra on the outbound sector from LAE to CHOISEUL (plus).

    “IF” the Electra was overhead Mt. Maetambe at 0518GMT then it means that the average G/S for the sector was 129 mph with a possible G/S at Maetambe of 140 mph or thereabouts.

    Now comes a further interesting bit.

    The distance from Mt. Maetambe to NUKUMANU Atoll is (circa) 230 Sm. Now does it not strike you strange that if the Electra was at Maetambe at 0518GMT and was at NUKUMANU at 0718, then the G/S over the sector has only been an average of 115 mph and yet AE reported at 0700GMT, “Making 150″…… Is that strange at all ?

    The TRUE track from Maetambe to NUKUMANU is 040 so they were going NE and “again” would have been affected by the LOW, the circular winds, turning CW. They are now entering the “Pacific” proper, where In July thewinds are from the East and diverge when they (the winds) hit the SW Pacific lands and flow to the south-west over the Solomons and to the north-west over New Guinea.

    How would they know that the wind at 0700 was 26 mph ? Were they referring to the wind on the sector CHOISEUL to NUKUMANU or were they referring to the wind on the TRUE track of 078, once they had established the FIX at Nukumanu and climbed ? The early part of the flight tells us quite clearly that the Electra was affected by more severe winds than the HI forecast

    The dogleg, LAE-NUKUMANU, through Choiseul Island is 910 Sm and if they were there at Nukumanu at 0718GMT the Av. G/S LAE-NUK is 124 Smph.

    I will say here that the nearest that we have to a positive FIX would be the 1030GMT call which must (in my thinking) have been the USCG ONTARIO. It was slightly out of position according to what we read but if you take it to be “half-way” at 1278 Sm and if it took the Electra, say, six minutes after the sighting of “ship ahead” to be “overhead” then the G/S average is only 120 Smph for that distance. If the Electra starts at 120 mph and averages 120 mph then the end speed i also 120 mph (Law of Averages). By that time the Electra should certainly have been making “150”. Something was wrong.

    Groundspeed is True Airspeed plus or minus the wind value. The “120 average” tells us that the Electra was entering a flight which had an increasing headwind and that is exactly what we are seeing.

    I did an extensive look at this LAE-ONTARIO part of the flight some years ago and used MS Excel in a small programme of “Time and Distance” and I could not get the Electra overhead the Ontario at 1036GMT unless I increased the wind at 10,000 feet up to 35 mph as a headwind.

    So as to knowing exactly “where” the Electra was at 0518 or at 0718 GMT are both moot points.

    … and now, I expect that someone will say that the ship that was seen at 1030GMT was the SS Myrtlebank…. Rational thought, please …….

    …..and I’m not selling anything by the way…. not to you anyway…..

    • gari says:

      @ Mr Billings,

      Yes, the comment about the 20 gallons consumption is correct, as I see it, but as it is in 487 and doesn’t support the sink near Howland folks, it will be ignored lol

      For the life of me I can’t understand how people accept the radio log data as incontrovertible evidence, it is not, as I have said elsewhere sure some of it may be real clues, but what? People cherry pick the element that support their pet theory. I see little scepticism, just blind acceptance of dogma.

      When you look at the tragedy, we have a pilot who certainly wasn’t perfect, who didn’t take instruction and advice, who played her cards very close to her chest, flying an aircraft to its limits, to a plan that no one knows, under conditions no one knows.

      About the only thing we do know, is that they were visually nowhere near Howland or Baker at any point in the flight. They could have overshot, could have circled till fuel exhaustion where they thought Howland should be or maybe could have turned back, no one knows.

      It is amusing how heated some of the posters here are getting over something that NO ONE here can prove lol

  99. Yoda says:


    There was been some speculation as to the locations at 5:18 and 7:18 as they both cannot be right obviously. For anyone who has look at this it becomes obvious as soon as you compute the air speed on the 2nd leg outside of Lae.

    Firstly, it was common at the time to separate degrees and minutes in the form of degree.minute. So the locations are not lat/lon expressed as decimal values. There are plenty of telegrams of the era that validate that this was the standard notation in the day.

    Gary Lapook brought up the most probable error in the lat/lon for the 5:18GMT location and that was that 150.7 was probably 157 but misinterpreted on the radio. It makes sense when you make these assumptions and look at the airspeed.

    I am not seeking a debate on this stuff as everyone needs to find their own solutions. For me, the simplest solution is probably the correct solution.

  100. David Billings says:


    Did you mean:

    A. “….as soon as you compute Airspeed on the 2nd leg outside of LAE.” ?


    B. “….as soon as you compute Groundspeed on the 2nd leg outside of LAE.” ?

    • Yoda says:

      I meant ground speed but it becomes obvious that when you are in the 321+ MPH range it does not really much matter which (airspeed=ground+headwind) . Run the numbers using Gary’s assumption and tell me if that is realistic.Keep computing to the Ontario (assuming that was the ship in sight).

  101. Jack says:

    Another reason has emerged to believe that Betty’s notebook, a favorite selling point for the Niku hypothesis, is a false lead: Tighar’s latest analysis of tide variations on Nikumaroro right after the loss of the Electra indicates that the reef was DRY at the location where the Electra was parked. Yet Betty’s notebook records the Electra crew saying ‘knee deep water’, or variants thereof, three times. Betty’s notebook also records the crew talking about ‘bailing out’. While the plane was sitting on a dry reef, according to the Tighar tide reconstruction. That seems strange, no?

    Perhaps even more significant, Tighar’s tide reconstruction suggests that unless the sea had a nearly mirror-like calm during several consecutive high tides, most of the supposedly credible post-loss radio receptions could not have happened, because even small waves (6-10 inches) would have lapped at the bottom of the Electra at high tide and PERMANENTLY shorted out its radio before most of the ‘credible’ radio receptions could have been received.

    • gari says:

      @ Jack,

      Yes the notebook lol Sure there are the vagaries of radio wave propagation, but it is amusing how folks believe someone thousands of miles away using a domestic receiver picked up whole transcripts, when people mere hundreds of miles away didn’t.

      I keep looking in at TIGHAR and I still can’t understand how people can still believe Nikumaroro, if AE and Freddie were lost, why the heck would they continue down a line, that they must have suspected was maybe incorrect, to an unknown destination?

      What occurs to me is that if Freddie took a Sun line, it would have been, depending on the distance from Howland, something like 10 plus minutes after Howland dawn, yet they had been aloft for two hours – possibly circling their supposed Howland location for three quarters of an hour – when they were following the 157/337 line, a lot of margin of error.

      Nikumaroro just seems to incredible for me, no reason to follow the line that far, then the plane is supposed to have landed reasonably safely on a reef, but they were not able to taxi it to the beach, it then disappeared from view when the search aircrews flew over.

      Then during this period on the beach they managed to land the aircraft in such a way that the radio didn’t short out at high tide, yet the crew had to abandon transmissions, amazing coincidence. Then the transmissions themselves, this is a crew that failed to transmit at altitude after 20:13Z with Itasca, yet magically hours and days later were able to transmit over 300 miles from land.

      I truly really would like TIGHAR to drag one of the engines from the sea or some other positively identifiable artefact, and prove their critics wrong, I would really love this mystery solved, but I can’t see it happening.

  102. jack says:

    More trouble for Ric Gillespie on the Betty’s Notebook front.

    It was recently pointed out that Tighar’s own tide reconstruction shows the reef was dry when Betty has Amelia saying the water was ‘high’ and/or ‘knee deep’. Further discussion on the thread since then has restated a couple of things that Gary LaPook had previously pointed out.

    -First, on the odds were very low (generally in the 1 in 800 to 1 in 300,000 or worse) that Betty could have received a transmission from Amelia on July 5, 1937(this is according to Tighar’s own analysis;

    -Second, no one actually knows what day Betty was listening, it could have been on July 6, 7,8, for instance. But on those other days, TIghar’s own analysis shows the odds were more like 1 in a million against Betty. Tighar’s rationale for assuming Betty was listening on July 5? Why, because it was the most favorable day for her to have heard anything. Circular reasoning at its best.

    And now, something else odd has been pointed out:

    For years Tighar has been saying that Betty heard Amelia from about 3 PM to 6 PM Florida time. But someone noticed that Tighar has been reporting Betty’s radio reception probabilities only for the 4:30 to 6 PM period. What were the odds for the 3PM to 4:30PM period–were they even worse than 1 in a million?

    We don’t know, and it doesn’t look like Ric Gillespie is going to tell us. When this time period discrepancy was pointed out, Gillespie’s response was to say that his previous report having Betty listening betweeen 3 PM to 6 PM was wrong, and that Tighar had since learned that Betty was listening from 4:30 to 6 PM. Gillespie hasn’t explained how he knows this, and he never seems to have bothered to tell anybody about this important change in thinking about this highly visible Tighar document.

    • gari says:

      @ Jack;

      I was reading that yesterday, Mr Gillespie said that he never changed the original information when they discovered it may be incorrect, because he considers the documentation in itself historic, a record of the evolving process as the story grows I guess.

      That no one can say when Betty allegedly heard the calls kind of negates their usefulness, as I see it, if you can’t tell when the calls were made, how the hell can you verify them with tides, let alone try and work out the schedule. No, there are too many uncertainties and variables, someone happened to be listening to a radio, at a time when freak conditions allowed the radio waves to propagate for an unbelievable few hours, while assets with equipment designed to pick up the signals, couldn’t hear them from maybe even a few hundred miles away.

      TIGHAR has done a great job at providing a resource for all the inquisitive minds, without a fee lol, but I think that when you really look at all the documentation, especially the contemporaneous data – the ambiguous radio logs especially, we have far more chaff than wheat…and certainly not enough wheat to grow a definitive solution to the riddle. If we had, then there would be no mystery anymore and parts of NR16020 would be at the Smithsonian or somewhere lol

    • Yoda says:

      gary, jack, can you guys email me at earhartforum at gmail dot com? Thanks.

    • Jack says:

      A reply hath come down from Mt. Gillespie. The 3 hour estimate he provided in the very scientific-sounding “Tighar Research Document #17, Betty’s Notebook”? Gillespie says he got that piece of information from Betty’s neighbor! Ric says ‘I hadn’t worked out the time for myself yet’. Ok Ric, sure.

      I will, until shown otherwise, assume that Tighar calculated an impossibly poor transmission probability for the time period prior to 4:30.

    • Nigel Bennet says:

      Wilson, I can’t see the Nips being involved, she would have been a propaganda coo if they got hold of her, certainly a bargaining chip in they had nefarious intent.

      What gets me is why is it after all these years that all these soldiers are suddenly remembering?

      So far we have had several guys saying that ‘this is where the plane is at’ and ‘this is where they were buried’, people looked and no one found anything.

      Like all these stories, they grow with time, if we went just by anecdote, Amelia and Fred are kind of like Schroedinger’s cat, both alive and dead, but also in more locations than even Quantum locality would allow, for they are at Gardner, New Britain, the US, the Pacific, Saipan etc all at the same time.

      A poorly planned mission ended in failure, when fuel ran out.

  103. WILSON says:

    Starting New Organization: “People’s Great American Lost Airplanes Club”. Know exact location of AE and FN graves. Need money to travel, exhume bones, publish whereabouts, expedition staff, filming for HC, and Late Night Talk Show appearances.
    M’Haffa el Wadi
    Box: 2013
    Hotel Amin Suite # 1
    Lagos, Nigeria

  104. WILSON says:

    Joyous News !!! With Mrs. Clinton now out of work, she will join the next expedition to Niko’, in a display of solidarity. Although not scientifically trained, she will conduct basic tasks such as shark cage construction, tent erection, generator operation maintenance, cooking, wash, radio communication / operation and highlighting of all relevant AE written documentation from 1937 to present day.

    Tax Day !! People’s Great American Lost Airplane’s Club ( Haven’t found one yet-forget the Jaluit TBD Devastators. The Navy knew about them since ’42 . Can’t take credit for that…) must declare many millions in losses due to yacht rentals, failed expeditions, entertainment of locals and VIP’s, and sagging press releases. Need Stimulus Money Application.

    Members feel that funds could be utilized to re-commission Glomar Explorer, and recreate flight from Lae to “Eternity” to see what happens. Looking for volunteer pilot and navigator for same.

    ” The Saipan Spin ” will resurface as a viable alternative, with new discoveries in late 2013. This I know to be true.

    Failure will be passively acknowledged by the Club with the inability to clearly identify and lock down last true bearings, wind speed, cloud cover, altitude, and other purported information.

    Inability to see ITASCA’s “Black Smoke” for location, biggest factoid that AE really off course, or above cloud cover to see Howland, ITASCA, smoke signal, or home in on signals.

    Sad ending to great ambition !!

  105. WILSON says:

    If Ric wanted to display some serious research on an unsolved mystery related to aircraft, he should have started with Glenn Miller’s disappearance in late 1944. Lost over the English Channel, where at it’s deepest, is approximately 600 feet. A relatively known “to / from” limited distance flight plan, and an aircraft that is known to have crashed into the sea. Slightly smaller than the Electra,

    Another disappearance with many theories, plots, etc. One that mirrors the “denial” factor that it was simply a crash. AE’s was fuel exhaustion and erroneous navigation (for whatever eternal unknown reason), GM’s: Who knows? Vertigo? Mechanical failure? Icing ? TIGHAR would be smart to shift gears, with a slightly higher probability of success.

    TIGHAR is a rich man’s club. More of an expensive hobby than scientific research. Investigative techniques , at best, are marginal. Looking for a box of lost bones from 70 plus years ago is insane. A/C components? Niko’ debris is just that – debris – flotsam / jetsam / garbage from human presence on an island that was known to have extended human habitation before and after AE’s disappearance.The only real hope is to discover the remains of an engine, the largest, heaviest, and most substantial piece of wreckage capable of surviving salt water immersion. Then, identifying it’s serial number components. That’s it !! Old radio logs / transmissions / ship’s logs of the search, etc. are forever closed to absolute accuracy. Within 2 months of AE’s disappearance they were obsolete. Japanese ship(s) recovering the “floating” Lockheed cannot be verified based on limited post war IJN records ( remember-the Japanese did a very effective job of destroying detailed records of atrocities, covert actions, etc. They had approximately 3 weeks from the second Atomic Bomb detonation to the actual surrender. It was not the same as Nazi Germany being overrun.

    A simple personal theory of mine is that the Japanese, aware of AE’s record attempt, tracked the progress from the Lae takeoff, eastward toward the Japanese Mandates. Now, you do not need the entire IJN Navy to do so. Rather, a submarine “intelligence gathering” picket line. In fact, the US Navy could have done just that, with surfaced submarines in International waters, surfaced during daylight hours, openly transmitting so that the Lockheed could home in on each successive signal. “An electronic road” to follow to Howland. American imagination was at it’s leanest in the 1930’s. The Japanese, however were not. As early as 1941 they used submarines for homing in their attacks on Wake Island. This was incorporated into their war plans of 1938. Where did the idea originate? AE’s world flight ? Perhaps, but no extant records support facts, so it’s just speculation. So, even this supposition is an absolute dead end, as IJN ship’s logs no longer exist. Just goes to show that any mystery can be spun to death with theories and no scientific analysis that can be absolutely verified as accurate.

    Now, Saipan: “If” the Japanese rescued AE and FN and ultimately took them to Saipan, there is a remote possibility that they died / were executed there, and “might” be buried there, The living witnesses are few, in their upper 80’s and mid-90’s, and pitifully few. “If” they are buried there, many holes will be dug in the search. The accounts of American servicemen regarding a similar aircraft in a hanger, armed guards, valises with papers showing no sign of water immersion, etc., should not be discounted. Further research is necessary. Until something absolute and factual surfaces, the Saipan theory falls into the myth category.

    In conclusion, TIGHAR’s Research documents are virtually worthless. Self-stimulants. Attempts to procure more donations. “Breaking (yawn) News !!!

  106. WILSON says:

    No one ,not TIGHAR, the news channels, serious investigators, amateur sleuths etc. ever mentions or considers AE’s physical condition at Lae, prior to the longest leg to Howland. She was sidelined for several days at Lae with Dysentery. Without going into details ( you can “Wiki” the disease /illness ) there is virtually no record of her treatment, severity ( it is almost always severe…and lingers ) and a Physician certifying her fit for flight.

    I cannot help but feel that she was not in top form on the Lae to Howland leg: weakened by illness, fatigued, looking at this next hop as the most challenging yet, without a “guardian angel” next to her (Paul Mantz) as with the Hawaii flight, And, the next stop on the trip is the smallest target, with the least amount of navigational support structure. Add to these handicaps the possibility of headwinds, possible navigational errors by FN, low cloud cover, cloud shadows on the ocean’s surface and low altitude, and ir becme goulash for disaster.

    TIGHAR has never addressed this to the best of my knowledge. They will never find remains. They are not JPAC searching for missing in action / bodies not recovered. They are scientifically educated and average amateur scavengers digging in an empty graveyard ( Nikomaruru ). With empty hands for a result, they switch to the sea. Far more expensive. So, expeditions will be every third year or so until Comrade Rick hands the Presidency over to Kim Il Gillespe, to retain the family business. TIGHAR does a very effective job of remaining a Contact Pip on the Radar Screen of entertainment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wilson, Glad to know that you made it back Okay. Not to correct you, but AE’s battle with dysentery is well documented.. In fact, Tim Mellon has reported finding not only rolls of toilet paper in a debris field off Niku, but also stained undergarments. He has been unable to determine if the undergarments were stained before or after they sank, but will update everyone once his video has been enhanced.

      • WILSON says:

        Yep…I float- not all objects do. Named after the President. Senior Citizen from a different era/generation.

        A debris field off Niku would imply ” offshore ” ( wet toilet paper ? ) Stained undergarments under water for 76 years….as Ned Pepper said in True Grit : ” Too thin Rooster…too thin …”

        Dysentery in the pre-antibiotic era was totally debilitating. I am uninformed about AE’s. What type did she have? Any extant records of treatment? Condition prior to treatment? My reason for asking is that I have never seen detailed narratives/documentation of her illness on the world flight. I have witnessed Dysentery patients in the Orient. The disease really takes the victim out.
        Not to be a skeptic, but an enhanced video certainly won’t provide detailed information on garment stains. Only a laboratory can….maybe.
        Now, cloth fragments/garments, etc. discovered on terra firma-that’s another story. Anyone know what the water table is on Niku?? Rats on Niku? Crabs and rats will make a body disappear in 72 hours in the Pacific Ocean areas. I know that to be a personally observed fact. Not bragging-just stating……. the crabs give you a “send off” in a thousand different directions.

        When it comes to money expenditures, I’m pragmatic- not cheap- pragmatic. I do not believe in multiple expeditions to Niku. Millions throughout the world would like an absolute solution to the Earhart / Noonan saga. I believe any surface evidence is long gone, That leaves only three options:

        1. Underwater discovery of objects that can be directly and absolutely linked, at this point, to the Lockheed- discovered, retrieved, analyzed, and conclusively proven to be from that aircraft. Either at Niku, or Howland.

        2. Saipan, as there is more than just “slim” evidence that the IJN KAMOI ( Seaplane Tender ) and the KOSHO MARU ( small freighter ) were in International Waters, and conducted a cursory search for AE and FN. There is a faint but consistently growing trail that begins in the Marshall Islands ending up at Saipan. Yes- it’s thin and mostly supposition, recollections, and war stories from 1944. But, if they were fished from the water during a period of international tensions in the 1930’s, I do not feel the Imperial Japanese of that era would know what to do except to secret the two aviators away and say nothing. And they would definitely want to save and retain that aircraft . The KAMOI was a small vessel with a crane. Coincidental. I believe it had not yet been converted to a small seaplane tender. Not sure.

        3. A further opening / release of additional classified documents from that era by our great country. Documents with information, facts, statements that were heretofore unknown in the public domain.Documents that state there was debris, bodies were recovered, the search was expensive but shoddy and unsuccessful, photos, physical evidence…… know.

        Have a great day everyone !!!

  107. Jack says:

    If you go over to the Tighar Web Site you can watch in real time Ric give birth to a new artifact that can ‘only’ be explained as Earhartean in origin. What is the object? A tin can found at the Seven Site. The Seven Site, if you’ve forgotten, is the place where practically every island visitor or resident seems to have spent some time loitering and discarding junk. We have Coast Guardsmen, we have the Island Colonists, maybe the crew of the USS Bushnell, maybe the New Zealand Sailors who surveyed the island in ’38. Who knows, maybe even Arundel workers, or even a (non-Earhartean) castaway.

    Yes, a tin can was found at the during a Tighar dig at the Seven Site . So were some vertebrae, said to be from a sheep or goat. How do we know the vertebrae came from the can? Ric determined it through his usual reasoning process: a company in New Zealand sold stewed mutton that marches the ‘unique’ dimensions of the partial, rusted can found by Tighar? What are the can’s dimensions? I don’t think Ric will make the mistake of telling us because then he risks having us tell him that the can wasn’t so unique after all and it could’ve been all sorts of things besides mutton.

    But clearly Ric has big plans for this can. It will be a can of mutton, of a vintage that rules out anyone having left it there besides Amelia. Maybe Ric’ll even find a quote in a book in which someone once recalled dining on mutton with Amelia…

    • Nigel Bennet says:

      Jack, the vertebrate are consistent with Earhartean sheep.

      Post July 2nd 1937 sheep didn’t have vertebrate, an evolutionary change that zoologists have tried to cover up since.

      Also, what little of the can that exists, has marks on it that are consistent with Frederick Noonan’s pocketknife opening it, as do marks on the vertebrate indicate Mr Noonan’s knife.

      Apparently, TIGHAR also believes that the Sun that shines on Nikumaroro today, is consistent with the Sun that shone there on July 2nd 1937, they are hoping to have an expedition to the Sun in the near future, in order to interview it and see what it can divulge.

      As I write this, I am working on a hush-hush project to send a faster-than-light spacecraft into the cosmos to intercept the radio signals sent in 1937, hopefully I can clear up any transcription misunderstandings. Anyone willing to donate please mail me at <>

    • Matt says:

      Just this morning Ric shifted from thinking about cans of roast mutton to Amelia’s “…’2 cans ripe banana’ listed in the Luke Field inventory.”

      I wonder what took him so long. 🙂

      A quick look into the USCG side of the equation turned up the following–

      “The party [on Gardner Island] experienced all the hardships of life in the South Pacific. Without any refrigeration, fresh food could not be taken along, so the party ate canned food…” [page 91]

      Richard Evans, stationed on Gardner in 1945-6, also remembered the canned meat from long ago. His interesting write-up can be read here;

      • Jack says:

        How appropriate–virtually everything Gillespie says these days is bananas, isn’t it…

      • Joe C. says:

        Of course its a can of Bananas. The can was found at the Seven site. You have to consider the Whole Assemblage of Artifacts Found. Who else would have had a freckle cream jar and was worried about freckles, had a bottle of that contained residues consistent with lotion? The castaway smashed her knife to pieces to use for spearfishing (did you expect her merely to sharpen some sticks?) smashed the freckle cream jar to use as a knife (because she no longer had a knife), smashed the 2 ounce ointment bottle which she used to transfer rainwater from leaves to her Benedictine bottle (of course they brought booze with them, Amelia was a teetotaler but Fred drank and its not like there are bars anywhere outside of the USA). So she brought the can of bananas from the plane with her. But not her suitcase, or anything else useful to survival. Oh, maybe a beer bottle to somehow boil/distill water with. And she put them all in a little sextant box, not her or Fred’s suitcase. Much more handy, Gallagher missed all this stuff in 1940 when he found the castaway camp site though the site was not dense scrub at that time. And the Seven site must be where Galllagher found the skeleton, because Tighar found a hole in the ground and clamshells and birdbones and all those bottles, which it can’t be Coast Guard debris (like the bullets, plates, radio tubes, etc, that Tighar knows are from the Coast Guard, or from the Gardner Colonists, who Tighar knows worked there and ate birds there, etc. Slam dunk. Just consider the big picture, guys.

        Politely offered,

        Joe C.

    • Anonymous says:

      Things are not working out well with the effort to make the rusty Mutton (?) can into the new freckle cream jar. It turns out the colonists had canned meat in their co-op store. The Seven site where the rusty can was found was a colonist work site. Tom King’s blog tells us the colonists caught and ate birds there, accounting for the bird bones Tighar found; the rusty can looks like more colonist junk.

  108. WILSON says:

    You are absolutely correct about this can and Rick’s plans for a possible Interpretative Display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. I believe an interactive mannequin of Hillary will activate Ric’s recorded narrative. Press or squeeze any of Hillary’s body parts and it begins.

    Or……. perhaps this can can begin a National Tour for donations for Ric. A day at a pharmacy here, a day at a supermarket there, etc.

    I cannot believe AE had selected radio components, life raft, etc, removed and would have stocked up on canned mutton.for the longest leg. Corned Beef Hash-yes, SPAM- maybe, Canned Mutton- Not likely.

    I think a National Support Organization for TIGHAR’s efforts should be developed. You find a piece of chewed gum, you bag it as a possible artifact and mail it to them. An old soda bottle- mail it. An unidentified object in Grandpa’s attic or garage-send it on it’s way. Think for a moment. It will provide Ric with thousands of objects worthy of study by his scientific associates, perhaps millions of artifacts. And, it keeps Saturday mail delivery alive and well.

    Being retired and an actual senior citizen, I can safely state the following and accept scathing criticism with no regrets:

    1. If AE and FN “made it to Gardner”, they certainly didn’t know how to assist in their own rescue by starting a very large fire and keeping it continuously burning, for openers.

    2. No natural water sources on Gardner.. No food except from the sea. Didn’t take long to die.

    3. The Crabs, Frigate Birds, Gulls, and Barbary Pirates ultimately got them. Period..

    4. How many Pacific storms have washed over Gardner since 1937 ??? Bet the Atoll has been thoroughly scoured with scrubbin’ bubbles of sea water.

    5. How much stuff would you strip from an downed aircraft with no real survival training? Would you, in 1937, even think to do it? ( I’d really like people to comment on this one, but in the context of 1937, not today’s reality TV shows ).

    I welcome comments. I really believe the Sons of Nippon had a hand in AE’s rescue and ultimate demise. Every now and then a 90 plus year old Japanese war veteran steps forward to acknowledge this or request forgiveness for that. I believe TIGHAR may have better odds if they opened a field office in TOKYO, and await a white haired, stoop shouldered, guilt ridden old man on a walker to enter and drop Fred Noonan’s wallet and wrist watch on the Receptionist’s desk.

    Anyone see the Lockheed Electra altimeter, salt water damaged with frozen needle stuck at 50 feet on EBAY last month???


    • Aaron says:

      WILSON said:

      “I really believe the Sons of Nippon had a hand in AE’s rescue and ultimate demise. Every now and then a 90 plus year old Japanese war veteran steps forward to acknowledge this or request forgiveness for that. I believe TIGHAR may have better odds if they opened a field office in TOKYO, and await a white haired, stoop shouldered, guilt ridden old man on a walker to enter and drop Fred Noonan’s wallet and wrist watch on the Receptionist’s desk.”

      Are you being serious? I honestly can’t tell if you’re serious or trying to be funny (again).

  109. WILSON says:

    There is an interesting Blog entitled “The Firecloud Report, rather dated ( October, 2007 ) on the web citing Parallax as a possible cause for missing Howland. Had tidbits I was not aware of, along with the usual opinions….and TIGHAR ( hold you nose ) is cited. :
    1. I discount the spy mission theory as well.
    2, Cannot help but feel that FN made some navigational errors on the last leg.
    3. The Lockheed Belly Antenna being torn off is mentioned,
    4. Amelia’s “newness/ possible inexperience/lack of proficiency” with her RDF equipment.
    5. A greater focus on Fred-too some extent- but not in depth.
    6. It cites a book photo of an emaciated Earhart look/near look alike.( I haven’t seen that one as yet ) TIGHAR should get their 45 member Photo Analysis Division on that one…

    Anyone know how many hours AE had prior to the final flight?
    Fred’s Logbook as a Pilot ( not Navigator)?

    Finally, ever notice that the only photos of FN are with/ near AE, the Electra, both, always in the same shirt and tie. There are no posted /archived photos of his seafaring or Pan American Airways days. It appears his photo image did not exist prior to agreeing to the round the world flight.

  110. WILSON says:

    Humor….nothing more. Live long enough and you will witness TIGHAR shifting to the “Capture /Execution” hypothesis. I strongly feel they are running out of options. Ric’s got to take his theories somewhere, and he’s certainly running out of original ones. It gets wearisome every time they have some “new” discovery, which is always conjectural. Agree?

    • Nigel Bennet says:

      @Wilson, the thing is, some of the hypotheses are so crazy that it is hard to tell who the jokers are!!!

      I can remember on the TIGHAR forum when Tim was posting all his ‘evidence’ from the video, all those artifacts under the water, from toilet rolls to a camera, it caused confusion – as it did here – as to whether he was being serious or not.

      I was hopeful that the mystery may have been over, when I first read about Garner years ago, but now, looking at all the evidence and the conflicting expert testimony, I now feel pretty certain that we will only ever know what happened by some bit of luck.

      I seriously do not think this will be solved in my lifetime, and I don’t think it ever will be.

  111. daryl says:

    i lean to gardner but skeptics blow off the amelia type artifacts. ie—where is proof a ‘ton’ of people who hate freckles and need makeup nearby have visited gardner–havent run across it yet. and the pilot flyover says recent habitation when nobody was there for about 50 years far as i know. if she was on gardner shes was likely dead dehydrated by then.
    as a ham i have seen radio do crazy things in good conditions. skeptics must be willing to call betty a hoaxer since very few knew about the ‘suitcase’.
    i read that hooven says she died because she removed his hooven compass. and he thought she landed there and then japanese got her— a combination theory!
    even ric admits the only way you guys will shut up is pull electra parts off gardner, but from comments seen here even that might not work.
    shut ric up by pulling the plane up from howland area— supposedly a search was planned but whats the update?

    • Nigel Bennet says:

      @daryl, nothing TIGHAR has come up with can be shown to be exclusively associated with the Electra or its crew, it is as simple as that.

      Sure radio can do some strange things but it seems to me, that because there is no unique and ambiguous evidence, TIGHAR are selecting the bits of ‘evidence’ that suits that idea, and excluding that which does not fit. They are pattern matching, it’s like people who look to religious scripture or even Nostradamus to support any crazy idea they have, take the Bible, it can be used to both condemn and condone slavery.

      Almost every Earhartean theory has some kind of ‘evidence’ to support it, and they all discard that which does not, so, for me, the quality of evidence is about the same, so it comes down to probabilities, and for me, Gardner is amongst the least probable imo.

      Evidence like the ‘freckle cream jar’ has problems larger than you imply. IF it were found a week or so after the disappearance, then maybe it would be relevant but with so many years past, who knows when it was deposited and by who or indeed what?

      I’ve been reading TIGHAR lately and been amused with the tin of mutton, it is a perfect example of keeping the story going, even IF the product was available at the time and place required, it still can’t be exclusively linked to the Electra, but any discussion keeps the story on Google’s front page, doesn’t it?

      As for proving ‘crash and sunk’, no one can know how far she as away from Howland nor in which direction, meaning that there is a lot of ocean to search. Whereas TIGHAR says it knows almost precisely where she landed and their search area is much smaller being only the area immediately in and around a near 4 by 1 mile island.

      All most skeptics are asking of TIGHAR is the same level of evidence we need to prove any of the theories from Saipan to New Britain or from ‘crash and sunk’ to Gardner, namely an unambiguous engine or airframe component or, doubtful now, some FN or AE DNA.

      For sure some people will still doubt she landed or crashed wherever the wreckage may ever be found, some will still believe she was captured by aliens or something, but surely TIGHAR wants more than just belief? Doesn’t it really want to know? No more ‘Is consistent with’ but “This is engine is a Pratt & Whitney Model S3H1 serial No. 6150 and was on NR16020 when it disappeared in 1937.” —a ‘smoking gun’ artifact, as some would say.

      We don’t have to ‘shut Ric up’ by doing anything, it is TIGHAR that claims the Electra landed pretty close to the ‘Norwich City’, it is for them to prove it did, changing the burden of proof shows how weak the Gardner hypothesis really is.

      • Anonymous says:

        i havent been to tighar in a while and know nothing of this mutton can.
        yes, im quite sure many women with freckles and compacts have made it to the isolated paradise of gardner island. ok, not a smoking gun but very interesting. maybe i need more research, but i dont see many white women in that time frame, unless pacific islander women like rogue and freckle cream. maybe washed up but whats the odds.
        i wish there would be a deep sea search for elgin and the crash and sink folks. even they narrowed down the area with subjection s meter reports, but still a large area, maybe too deep.

        • Jack says:

          At least one European women is known to have lived on Nikumaroro. Right after WWII a British colonial official lived on the island with his wife. You can find a phot of her on the Tighar web site. To its credit, The older, more objective Tighar discovered that this woman lived on the island, but the current, less objective Tighar seems to have forgotten about her.

          BTW, we don’t know that the jar you referred to was really a freckle cream jar (go read the relevant threads to understand why).

          • Because, you know, freckle cream was the only thing jars were ever used for.

          • Matt says:

            LOL…. Follow the link to see an old shoe polish jar- with a shape very similar to Tighar’s fabled freckle cream “ointment pot.”


            And the Owens-Illinois bottle? The science sleuths at Tighar report that residue found on the glass shows traces of lanolin and either gum arabic or gum tragacanth,- key ingredients they say, of skin lotion. From there they insist the evidence points in ONLY one direction- they have found a bottle of skin lotion that could only have belonged to Amelia.

            Well, as it turns out, lanolin and gum arabic are also key ingredients of….

            …shoe polish and leather cream!

            Search Ebay for item # 261173097841. It’s a bottle of “Venetian Shoe Cream” packaged in what appears to be an identical container.

          • dave says:

            Look all you doubters. There is no way for these bottles and jars to have come from anyone but Earhart. Who else was there to leave them? The village co-op with jars and jars of commercial products? Well yeah I admit there were hundreds of jars left behind documented on Tighar’s first trip. I also admit the village hospital with crates of jars with items for sunburn, infections, and various ointments. Also I cannot say for certain these Mutton cans are not.Simply trash washed up, like the flip flops and debris found now on Niku’s beaches. Still in my opinion, these jars with no labels and no way to tell the contents, just had to be Earharts, They all have a 50/50 chance of being used by a woman, and maybe by a European Woman, and most probably someone from Kansas, so who does that lead us to?….. the answer is obvious, Earhart is the most likely source.

            Its the total weight of the evidence, that is what Tighar is trying to say. Nobody listens. There is a lot of weight behind all these items. In a trash bag, I would say at least 10-15 pounds of cans and bottles and old shoes have been discovered from this former village and coast guard station.
            What if just one item is Earhart’s? Nobody can prove otherwise now can you?
            And if that is not enough,I am sure Tighar will retrieve more garbage bags full of tin cans and broken mirrors and ointment bottles dated around the 1930’s to 1940’s from around the old 1940’s coast guard station. Hopefully that will shut the skeptics up.

            I know people wonder why nothing from the actual plane has been found, like a propeller or an engine, or even a gas can, or the medical kit, or the spare parts, or the tools that would have been off loaded, or any pieces of shiny aluminum from a rare Electra, but in my opinion, a bag full of cans and jars is proof enough Earhart was there. As good as we are going to get.
            This stuff weighs a lot, it’s all in Mr.Gillespie’s den and garage, physical evidence someone was there, living around this old defunct coast guard station/polynesian village.

            24 years Gillespie has brought stuff back, and to prove all you doubters wrong, and he will bring back even more stuff in the coming years that Earhart dropped while walking this island. Let’s be frank, she littered.
            How many more trash bags full of stuff will convince you people someone was once at this coast guard station, and that person was no doubt Amelia Earhart?
            I know it’s not an actual airplane Tighar has found, but these are really old jars and things Earhart might have used. I am sold.

    • Jack says:

      Daryl, your argument seems to be if the skeptics can’t prove certain pieces of evidence aren’t what Tighar speculates they are then the Tighar hypothesis must be correct. I beg to differ. It is up to Tighar to prove its hypothesis is correct, not for others to prove it is incorrect. It’s Tighar’s HYPOTHESIS.

      Betty heard ‘water is high’, ‘water is knee deep’, ‘knee deep’, and ‘can’t bail out’ at a time when the reef was DRY. So much for Betty’s story–she wasn’t hoaxing, she was merely predisposed to believe the garbled signals she in fact did hear were from Earhart when in fat they were not, she simply misheard transmissions about Earhart,

      The pilot flyover saw signs of recent habitation, but what did that mean? We don’t really know, but the pilot, Lambrecht, didn’t recommend that the island be further searched, did he? What does that tell you?

      As for your remark “even ric admits the only way you guys will shut up is pull electra parts off gardner”: Yes, I’d accept the Niku hypothesis if Electra parts were found. I’d also accept the Niku hypothesis if a convincing case could be built on other evidence. But Tighar has so far failed to provide anything but ambiguous, equivocal evidence.

      Tighar has an appealing story. Maybe it is true. but wishing it to be true doesn’t make it so, Daryl.

      • daryl says:

        like i said before i lean to gardner unless a part is pulled up somewhere else.
        lambrecht was looking for a plane- more easily seen than a person at 400ft or 1000 ft in that jungle. didnt see it so either didnt land there or fell off the steep edge. (i wonder how survivorman would do on gardner.)
        ric claims at that time it was midpoint of incoming tide. knee deep in the plane or knee deep outside? would the questionable time frame allow for changing tide?
        the other option is either betty is a great hoaxer or somebody broadcasted with excellent acting (terrified voice like bellarts heard) and was smart enough to mention a suitcase and something like norwich city.

        • Jack says:


          You are getting various elements of the story mixed up.

          Tighar’s own tide study showed the reef was DRY, DRY, DRY at the time Betty was listening (regardless of which day she was listening at that time, which we don’t actually know).

          Doubters of the notebook have REPEATEDLY stated that they think it wasn’t a hoax, that Betty merely misunderstood what she heard. As did many other misguided radio listeners–Tighar itself has discounted other ‘helpful witnesses’. A lot of what Betty recorded makes no sense in terms of Earhart, and a good deal of what sounds like it might be Earhartean is publicly known information that other helpful witnesses, and even psychics, were also reporting at the time.

          Lambrecht flew over Hull Island where a coconut plantation existed and he spotted the ‘natives’ when they came running out onto the beach.

  112. WILSON says:

    Underwater photography= Underwater dump on/off Gardner/Niku. Example: Google Earth: Wake Island. Been there….. Off Peacock Point on Wake Islet proper, you will see a brownish blob roughly pointing NE. That’s the Dump before the EPA stepped in. Anything metallic, wooden, chemical or plastic was dumped, piled up, and bulldozed off the beach and towards the reef. You can actually walk on it, if you’re brave ( or foolhardy)….. Tim’s video: has it ever been verified as Gardner/Niku ?? If civilization made it there, there’s a good chance they dumped their garbage on and off shore.

    Trivia/Speculation: It is stated but not authenticated in writing that the Captain of the Itasca felt AE/FN flew NE on their LOP. Cited here and there sporadically, but enough times to “perhaps” have occurred. By not authenticated, I mean that it was not entered as a supposition in the ship’s Log. He felt she would have surely seen Baker Island if she went SW, and then turned around.Again, not in the ship’s Log.

    I feel underwater technology will advance in the next decade to the extent that, someone, some deep pockets organization, may find Electra remnants that can be identified, and by that, I mean a radial engine….the only aircraft component capable of withstanding nearly 80 years of salt water immersion.

    Nothing / Nada that TIGHAR has discovered is newsworthy, yet alone relevant. Each “find” simply generates another future expedition. The inverted landing gear will be the next one…..

    Nigel: I agree with your posts completely, and truly hope you live to see actual DISCOVERY.


    If you believe the broken freckle cream jar is Amelia’s, scraps of aluminum are from the Electra, broken ladies compacts, etc were brought ashore ,then it must be so-if you truly believe it. Then, she died on Gardner/Niku and became a part of the tropical food chain. I, personally, do not believe they Lop’d to Gardner.She should have talked their ears off with more info than they could copy, as respects radio. Based on the weather, cloud cover, and her altitude, Itasca should have had a visual up to 20 miles out easy- if she was headed toward Itasca. The entire Howland/Itasca/Electra scenario appears to have been a “wing it” in my view. Think for a moment-send one ship to Howland as a temporary Station Ship- ? Why not 3, 4, or 10 for that matter, positioned like a football defense- in line and in depth. After all, it was Lady Lindy. Wonder if there was Sequestration in 1937? The massive air/sea search after the fact was a knee jerk-planned on the fly. Why not a Seaplane Tender and two or three Amphibs instead of the Itasca as the Howland Station Ship ??? ( And I was career Army to think of that one !)

    In closing I always keep in mind that two brave individuals died in the attempt. They may have been killed on impact, drowned, died of exposure or illness on shore if they made it to shore. They had Grit !!

    And, Canned Mutton and a recent bout of Dysentery. Please Rick………

  113. WILSON says:


    ” Amelia Earhart and the Profession of Air Navigation” 2/12/13 on line: Air and Space Museum article. Very interesting take on her proficiency level.

    Also, the Aussies and the theory that AE and FN went down in/on New Britain. Actually looks like they did a great deal of research on that possibility, although I do not personally subscribe to it. Very much like a poor man’s TIGHAR organization. Not even sure if they’re making headway on funding.””

    • Yoda says:

      Yes, this is Mr. Billings page who posts here.

      I will give him credit for putting his money where his mouth is.

      “Why sponsorship?

      I started searching for the wreckage in 1994. At first my team comprised four people. Two others have joined making six in total. Between the six of us we have spent in the region of $125,000.00 Australian (US$90,000.00). We cannot afford to spend any more. I have made nine trips into the area and the ten years of the Project have cost me $45,000 Australian (US$34,000.00). I cannot afford to spend any more.”

  114. WILSO.N says:

    I fear that, in order for you to successfully fund future expeditions, you need to adopt TIGHAR tactics and aggressively pursue Corporate Sponsors. Some examples off the top of my head:
    – A Public Relations Firm (see below)
    – Rupert Murdoch
    – Quantas
    – Australian Defense Forces as a Joint Training Exercise (think of those assets !!)
    – A sizable Bounty to the Locals if the aircraft in question is found and successfully identified.

    If you think you require US $100,000, you probably need five or ten times that amount in order to initially protect (guard) a discovery, excavate, disassemble, and correctly prepare it for transport. And, if human remains are aboard ( telling evidence of your theory ) then the process stops for that segment of recovering remains.

    My guess is to start with an attempt at publicity with a local TV channel, newspaper (syndicated, for maximum exposure ), or radio media outlet, and an attempt to acquire a Public Relations Firm to provide guidance and direct help, gratis. A Free PR Agency, will know how to sell the exposure aspects, and may even know of contacts who are willing to donate, or at least of potential donors. They will know how to sell your story for donations.

    I do not know how well Amelia, as a story, sells in Australia. It’s impossible to predict. However, years ago I raised close to US $50,000 for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund by utilizing personal mailings, ringing doorbells, continual phone calls, utilizing Scouting and Veterans Organizations, all within a matter of 5 or 6 weeks, and all were relatively small donations. It all started with a very small, local newspaper article and long hours.

    I find people are reluctant to forward Internet donations. It’s a great vehicle for tracking progress, widespread communication, and general interest only. Unfortunately, the Nigerian scam artists leave a bitter taste in web users mouths and the average person is far more reluctant.

    I wish you the very best of luck. If you feel your theory of AE reaching New Britain is sound, you must translate the faith in that theory into an aggressive and successful Donation Program.

  115. WILSON says:

    ( Yes, I’ll call it that in deference to AE and FN ). Common sense arguments against this location.

    1. On her LOP, AE would have known she was flying AWAY from any likely source of rescue ( The ITASCA at Howland ). She would have known her bearing, true air speed, and remaining fuel. Why fly in that direction??
    2. Once AE and FN thought they were within, say 20 miles of Howland, would FN not have taken another Fix, to confirm their present location??

    3. If they even remotely thought they were over Howland, would they not look to drop below 1000 feet and commence a wide orbit, looking for ITASKA smoke? Below a thousand feet, cloud shadow on the ocean’s surface could be distinguished from land mass, black smoke from ITASKA could “probably” be distinguished/identified against the horizon, and they would still be sending/receiving a stronger transmission signal from aircraft to ship.

    4. Inasmuch as Gardner did not come into play as a possible ditching site until the Navy Search began, I am of the opinion that the artifacts, relics, evidence and junk that TIGHAR has collected in seven expeditions is simply flotsam, jetsam, and discards from the short-lived colony and the Coast Guard presence. Perhaps Gallagher, had a fondness for canned mutton, shined his shoes often, and was self conscious of his freckles as well. This hypothesis is just as valid as any of TIGHAR’s, although I state it tongue in cheek…………

    5. I, personally am extremely skeptical of post-crash radio transmissions. It seems logical to presume the ITASKA would have heard those transmissions with a far stronger signal.

    6. No one- I mean no one “lands” on a reef . At best you belly in, wheels up, and proceed to to carve up the underside of the fuselage, tear off your engines ( water and coral resistance) , and DEFINITELY destroy both propellers. Hence, an inability to transmit off the engine with the generator. I find the thought of a transmission about “on a reef” and “knee deep water” ridiculous. And what would you tell your would be rescuers “if” you could transmit?


    If FN was still alive, could not he have relayed a position fix for AE to transmit as well ????

    7. I cannot help they went in, perhaps floated for a bit and then took to the sea and were lost OR they went in, straight to Davy Jones Locker…… all East of Howland.

    • Nigel Bennet says:

      @ Wilson:
      For the life of me I can’t see why Amelia and Fred would have gone to Gardner, whatever the fuel situation, it seems they had no definite knowledge of where it was, and the myth seems to be that they were heading on a sunline, that wouldn’t have passed Gardner anyway.

      As you have said, if they did that, they were moving away from potential rescue, when she said she couldn’t get a minimum, surely she wouldn’t have thought “Ah, they can hear me and I can hear them, so I’ll move further away from where Fred said Howland is…” Makes no sense.

      Also, the myth would have it that a radio that wasn’t working for several hours, for whatever reason, suddenly becomes serviceable? Did Amelia forget then again remembered how to turn it on and off? Did a component fail and they repaired? Doubtful.

      You mention the problems of a reef landing wouldn’t even a very hard landing on any surface risk damage to the radio? That thing was valves, most IC/transistor stuff these days you can drop from a height and stand a good chance of it still working, not so valves, valves can just go in normal service, bumping it on the ground could damage its delicate innards or maybe even shake it loose or crack the tube.

      I agree about the message, didn’t TIGHAR have a transmission that gave the location as ‘281 north Howland’ or something? I always thought that was crud, if FN were on an island with transmission capabilities, I’m sure he would have sent a more precise message, rather than the cryptic one TIGHAR says was a possibility – seems more like a riddle from ‘The Riddler’ in the 60s show “Batman”!!

      From what I can make out the Moon and Sun were available for some sort of fixes, so I’m pretty sure Fred could have given a better message.

      As for Betty’s notebook, or any alleged post-loss transmissions, were they just hoaxes or were they misheard real transmissions? Or even pareidolia, thousands of people around the world listen to white noise and think they can here ghosts and spirits talking to them, after all.

      If they did crash and sink, given the size of the Pacific, I can understand nothing being found of them at the time or even now.

      As for Gardner itself, none of the artifacts can be shown to be exclusively Amelia or Fred’s, if you found them on another beach anywhere in the world, you would think nothing remarkable about them.

      However, if you found the appropriately numbered wasp engines anywhere in the world, that would be considered pretty much case proved as to where the plane ended up. Although, if we found them atop somewhere unlikely like Mount Everest, then we’d have an even bigger mystery!! he he he

  116. Ric says:

    The fact that Earhart had no children is consistent with her being a man. Therefore, we have concluded the bones found on the island were hers, uh, his.

  117. WILSON says:


    Hypothesis #1: Fabled story of bones and Sextant box on 800 mile row boat trip to Colonial Headquarters with loyal natives and “Boss Man”. All this one is lacking is a sea serpent…… Oh, and skull found but misplaced, not discarded like bones…..

    Hypothesis #2: Bits of plexiglass, aluminum, a Dado, a heel, jar fragments all alluding to the fact that people, civilian and military, were once on the Island and were not environmental friendly…

    Hypothesis #3: THE REEF / THE DEEP ” ( starring Brooke Shield and Ed Harris ) a 20 minute “short”.


    1. A corroded pen from the first half of the 20th Century.
    2. A buried tin with aerial maps from the 1930’s.
    3. A Pan American Airways cigarette lighter, with the letter “F” and the second letter undecipherable.
    4. A piece of rubber which will undergo $ 50,000 worth of analysis
    only to discover that is not rubber from a Lockheed Electra tire or tail wheel.
    5. A fully armed Japanese “Long Lance” torpedo from WWII.

  118. WILSON says:

    The Lockheed 10A : FYA to all: An identified piece of aircraft aluminum (original) from Amelia’s 10A, removed during repairs after the Honolulu groundloop.

    Did TIGHAR ever chemically analyze this one and compare it to the scrap they found??

    • dave says:

      No need to have it chemical analyzed. Tighar admitted it is not an electra piece of metal based on the Rivet pattern. This was one more time they had said “WE DID IT!!” “WE FOUND A PIECE OF THE PLANE!!”
      And then retracted that statement years later.
      They did the same thing with the bookcase, they did the same thing with the catpaw shoe heel that they now admit could not be Earhart’s.
      Recognize a pattern here? Announce to the press an exciting find, then retract it quietly years. So quietly some people like yourself think Tighar still has faith in it.

      Now Tighar says,” well maybe the piece we found is from a repaired section that would not match Lockheed aluminum rivet patterns”.
      In other words, the piece Tighar found doesn’t match the Lockheed Electra’s. They have quietly let this issue die and go away.

  119. WILSON says: sorry……………………….

  120. WILSON says:

    Mr. Billings theory on New Britain may be worthy of merit. On one AE-New Britain thread (circa 2010-11 ) he was extremely detailed on the Lockheed’s fuel consumption, range at altitude, weather, and the fact that AE may have had but didn’t publicize a “Plan B” if she could not locate Howland. I have to give the gentleman a great deal of credit for sticking to his guns in a logical manner. Goes into Octane levels, discussions at Lae, Island chains AE was aware of, etc.
    I do not feel that aluminum wreck in New Britain is the 10A. However, I would love to see him find a deep pockets donor (and then some) which would allow him to finally get in and sit down on the wing of this unknown aircraft, simply to identify it, and recover remains, if any.

    My own view is that the foot patrol was honest and forthright in it’s observations and recordings, the map is authentic, and another airplane is waiting to be discovered. It’s there. Buried under jungle growth-but it’s there

    What I like best about Mr. Billings is that he’s got grit. He’s doing what he believes in on a shoestring budget, with genuine volunteers who were not returning to a ship each night for “3 hots and a cot”.
    And, it’s their “passion”, in a far different and to me, positive way than TIGHAR.

    I hope he finds a funding source and can put this theory to rest with either confirmation or non confirmation.

    • gari says:


      Between Gardner and New Britain, NB gets the vote from me.

      I liked the veterans story, and for sure it is intriguing, I have said before that just the mystery of the map edge writing and alleged tag plate are worthy of investigating the all aluminium a/c they encountered.

      After reading some of what Mr Billings said, I can see the point he makes regarding fuel consumption and range, I think too many folks are just accepting the lower range of NR16020, without really being open minded enough that they could be wrong.

      Here’s a few thoughts why I think they could be:

      All the Lockheed data is for a 1,200 gallon load on a 16,500 pound plane, yet AE said several times that fully loaded her a/c was only around 15,000 pounds. That means many folks are calculating the fuel rates for a plane starting out at 10% HIGHER than it actually was. More weight is more fuel burned.

      In the first attempt, Oakland to Hawaii was 2,400 statute miles, achieved in 15H 47M, with, according to AE, about 600 miles/4 hours fuel remaining. She left Oakland with about 947 USG, now IF we just add her actual Oak>Haw flight time to her perceived further 4 hours endurance, we get an endurance of 19H 47M. Now using that 19H 47M and the often stated initial fuel load of 947, we get an average endurance of a little over 1.25 minutes a gallon, multiply by the believed Lae take-off fuel 1100 USG gives an in air endurance of around 23 hours. Last usually accepted NR16020 transmission was at 20:13, so IF she went in then, she went in close to three hours too early.

      She covered 2,400 statute miles Oak>Haw in 15H 47M giving an average speed of about 152 MPH, multiply the 23 hour endurance by 152 and get 3,496 statute miles still air, that’s 940 miles further in still air than Howland. If they went in anywhere near Howland then they would have had headwinds of over 40MPH all the way, seems unlikely.

      We don’t know her flight plan. Maybe she did intend to reverse course, it seems bizarre to me to just keep flying around where they thought Howland was at 19:12 for nearly four hours until the engines cut. For sure they didn’t get near Howland, no one saw or heard the plane at Baker or Howland, and AE and FN never saw the Itasca smoke. They were a long long way away from Howland. I think this explains the alleged frantic tone of her voice in the last accepted communications, I’d be emotional too if I’d flown for 20 plus hours, to have the realisation that I may be turning back for another four hours flying to the Gilberts.

      We don’t know her flight profile, she certainly didn’t always follow recommendations and her alleged Position Reports earlier in the flight put her at 10,000 ft much earlier than her presumed flight profile would have her there, and for sure Report 487 only mentions a height of 8,000 ft.

      Report 487 does state that it is a conservative report, so who knows what was achievable? Many crash and sink folks point out that the Cambridge fuel analysers were always giving her trouble, thus the fuel exhausted more quickly than planned. Were they working fine after the last service? Also, R487 can be interpreted as meaning that the lower 4,100 mile still air range is the expected outcome BUT with a fully functioning and adjusted Cambridge system that the 4,500 mile range is possible.

      Of course these are just rough estimates and observations, but in truth, can anyone say that they really KNOW the truth of the matter?

      There are so many unknowns, eg did their debilitated condition from illness plus a long time at altitude have influenced some of their decision making and calculations? I don’t think this is a problem mathematicians or engineers can solve, it will require Lady Luck!!

      I think that if the generally accepted fuel analysis is wrong, then that explains why no one has seen hind nor hair of NR16020 since July ’37, the search area could be even vaster than they believe.

      Not one of the hypotheses can be proven right or wrong until NR16020 is revealed someday, if ever, for now all we have are probabilities and assumptions.

      Personally I think Gardner is wrong, and that the plane is somewhere in the Pacific much further away than people think, if so, finding it is such a task that I don’t think it will ever be found without a project funded to levels of almost Moon-landing program proportions. In short, it is lost to the world, and more bullshit theories will make a few more authors a little richer. It’s funny in the UK we had a German Dornier bomber discovered a while ago, it had been in 50 foot or so of water for 70 plus years, kind of demonstrates the task of finding a ‘little’ plane in the Pacific.

      As for New Britain, it still intrigues me, the story is fascinating, and who knows, maybe she did coax that plane all the way back, having missed the Gilberts. If she did, it is cruel that they were so close to surviving, almost as cruel that their resting place may never be known, despite possible clues.

      I wish Mr Billings well, if he finds the plane the veterans found, the worst that can happen is that some families somewhere may get closure as their long-dead loved one(s) is(are) repatriated or buried. If he DID find NR16020, however, many ‘experts’ would be eating huge slices of humble pie.

      I like reading your posts, informative and funny, although, TBH, many of the posts here seem to be heading towards humour ATM lol

      As for Gardner, I’m off to plant some bits of ebay acquired broken 1935 binoculars that are ‘consistent with’ AE, and a page from a navigational almanac ‘consistent with’ FN, not sure which island or beach yet, can’t decide which one they landed on lol

      • Jeff says:

        Gari, I think we have to give more credit to the witnesses who reported what they knew in 1937. Things are usually pretty much as they appeared to witnesses of an event at the time it occurred. The NB theory is less believable than Gardner if for no other reason than distance. When you throw in many additional hours of flight time with no communication, over flight of other, more plausible landing sites, and 9 trips there with no evidence found, it is evident NB is a promotion like Gardner. The “we’re the little guys approach” may attract some followers, but once again, this is an anecdotal information based theory with no tangible evidence, and even less substance. There is simply no reason the plane would be there.

        Easy to say what if, but you have to evaluate what might have occurred in a logical way. If AE hoped to be rescued, why would she report 157 – 337, and then fly to NB, and not tell anyone. The key here is not to interject supposition that supports a result oriented theory. Starting with the theorized end, and attempting to make last known, factual information fit is a common thread of the Earhart Industry. The “look at me, I’m searching for Amelia Earhart” groups use land locations because they can film themselves doing it which helps connect their audience to the search. It is similar to selling old oil exploration leases. Show a picture of an oil well and claim it will produce money for years, and then collect money from those who believe it.

        Because of their salesmanship and notoriety, TIGHAR has managed to control the discussion, and thought process as to what an Earhart investigation should look like. They have done an effective job of maintaining the focus on their talking points, what they consider to be evidence, while diverting attention from other potential evidence. A discussion about whether a can had mutton or bananas in it, or a jar had lotion or shoe polish in it, is still a discussion about their theory. The same can be said about the mileage debate, the line of position, and the radio signals.

        • Jack says:

          Jeff, good point about ‘controlling the discussion’. A case in point is the discussion of the rusty can. Even loyal Tighar fans and newbies are having trouble swallowing Ric’s suggestion that the can is anything but Coast Guard trash. But from Gillespie’s perspective, so what? — the unstated assumption underlying the discussion is that the Seven Site is where Gallagher found the castaway. But is it? Tighar has not really made a strong case. One wonders, for instance, how Gallagher could have missed finding that 5 inch diameter mutton/banana can or the beer bottle which Tighar also found at the Seven Site (Noonan brought a bottle of Benedictine and Beer with him? Earhart let him?–but I digress…). I think, wherever the castaway was found, it is pretty unlikely that there are any artifacts left to be found there, except possibly small bones or teeth, because Gallagher would have found them during the thorough search he made, back when the site was not dense scaveola scrub, but open forest.

        • gari says:

          @ Jeff,

          Give more credit to the 1937 witnesses? What, like the full credit that people give Williams and Nelson for an excellent report in 487?

          Eyewitnesses are unreliable, that’s why we tend to see what they say as anecdote, we are all fallible beings, enough experiments have been undertaken to show how fallible we are, there’s that Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris test where folks miss a guy walking past in a gorilla costume.

          All the testimony is dependant on the vagaries of subjective interpretation of the observer and the person reviewing the testimony, we also have transcription errors, we have a lady talking over a very loud aircraft – in fact she was advised to pitch her voice higher to enable her to be heard better – using 1937 radio technology, who knows what was being said, look at the reports and how often the radio operators wrote down that they didn’t understand or couldn’t make out what was said. Heck, in the Itasca radio room Bellarts said he couldn’t make one call out, yet Black in the same room said she said it was cloudy.

          The evidence is not very good at all.

          All we have is opinion, and in mine, Gardner makes absolutely no sense. You have a crew scratching their heads thinking “Where the hell are we?” We don’t know if Noonan intended to offset or even to target between Howland and Baker – which makes sense to me – but wherever they ended up it was nowhere near Howland or Baker, no one saw or heard them and for sure AE and FN didn’t site the huge plume of Itasca smoke. So, there they are lost and the Gardner folks think that over the worlds largest expanse of water, that Mr Noonan decides “Hey, I know we’re lost, but why don’t we just head down 337 and see if we hit something..” They were obviously lost, I think that AE keep requesting a radio fix is indicative of that, so essentially once they had gone, what, a hundred miles fifty even with an offset, one 337, would they really continue on? Surely FN could have got a fix on the Moon and Sun?

          Now compare that scenario with the alleged contingency of the Gilberts. That is a pretty large group of targets running tangentially to any reverse course. With enough fuel wouldn’t that surely be a better option, than blindly going south on 337?

          Fuel is the key, as I implied above, for them to go in at 20:13 is 54 USG/PH, a fuel consumption higher than that for Oak>Hawaii in the first world attempt.

          We all can play with the figures to say what you want to say, that’s why I think we’d need real data from real flying scenarios, like Nelson and Kelly did with R487 all those years ago. Computer models, algorithms and calculus can’t beat real data, even the best computer model has to make assumptions, too many parameters otherwise, and we will always have unknowns.

          My primary point is that the consensus – outside of Gardner – seems to think that the plane ran out of fuel ‘close’ to Howland. The people looking in 1937 assumed as much, as do most crashed and sank folks today, indeed Waitte et al. spent a small fortune looking for it in some of the most likely areas, and no one found a thing. Sure it’s a big ocean, maybe they missed it, but also, is it possible that NR16020 was actually further away than people thought it was?

          New Britain? I don’t know, but even a few months ago I would have said no chance, as do most folks, BUT, I don’t think Mr Billings should be tainted with the sorry tale of TIGHAR, either. It seems highly unlikely but looking at the data, right on the edge of possibility maybe that 10E could have got to NB, with favourable conditions, excellent flying and an optimum flight endurance that Report 487 clearly states is possible.

          Folks just look up and say: “Gilberts – too far”, has anyone looked into the range discrepancy between the accepted 16,500 pounds weight and the reported – by AE -15,000 pounds weight? Surely a 10% lighter a/c has much more range? It’s funny, the close to Howland crash and sank folks are perfectly happy with assumptions like “The Cambridge failed” when it supports their view, but state that any contrary assumptions are incorrect.

          If AE went down at 20:13, then she used about 54 USG/PH, from what I can work out at the required BHP, that gives ridiculous SFC’s that would surely flood the engine. Maybe she went in because some other difficulty, a vital component failure, maybe even just shear tiredness from a long flight in a debilitated sick body. Who knows?

          If she didn’t go down at 20:13, then where the heck was she for the following 3 or more hours? Following 337 to Gardner as you prefer? Or making a reverse course to the Gilberts? Flying aimlessly lost over the ocean until fuel exhaustion seems absolutely crazy to me, but I guess I’m not a 1937 aviatrix lol

          All I am trying to be is open minded, Jeff, if that means that people can see daylight looking through my ears, then so be it.

          I live to MY expectations, not anyone else’s lol

  121. WILSON says:


    1. Let’s see: Lae to Howland….over 2000 miles. “Fred: !!! Pick up a couple of cans of roast mutton, some canned bananas for desert, my freckle cream, a nice smooth alcoholic beverage, a pen knife, and a newspaper when you go to the Company Store.”

    2. The Seven Site: Mysterious, ghostly perhaps, with the wind filtering through the palm fronds. Hallowed ground that yields precious few clues , and only when it is compelled to do so. Two shallow depressions to the North . Graves? Who can tell ? A forlorn, hopeless site, the sound of the surf crashing on the reef drowning out the engines of any potential rescue craft. The Heat !! The Heat !!! And so precious little water……..”

    Final Chapter of the TIGHAR novelette entitled: ” DEAD END !!! ” $ 39.95 at the TIGHAR bookstore, $ 35.95 with a $ 5000 donation.


    ” Three million and one, three million and two, three million and three, three million and four….Honey, pop me a cold one…..and some chips please…three million and five” .


    A. A metal needle like arrow which could have come from an aircraft instrument cluster……or……….a Coast Guard pocket compass.

    B. A small hook clasp, similar to those found on circa 1937 Bras…….or …… also used on 1944 Navy/Coast Guard issued denim dungarees.

    C. A faded piece of paper, rolled up in a damp bottle with a note beginning with “Last Will and Testament of”……with no further writing-just blurred ink……….

  122. WILSON says:

    REMEMBER THIS…………………………..

    If AE and FN crash landed on terra firma, and the Lockheed still exists waiting to be discovered, no matter how demolished, no matter how many millions of fragments of what was once a flying machine, Fred Noonan’s Bridge Work will have survived because, due to low fuel, the aircraft did not burn……………………………………….

    • dave says:

      This is strictly conjecture.
      Tighar has already theorized, that scaveola brush was piled into the aircraft making sleeping bunks for the doomed flyers. They posted pictures of the seven site which is strangely void of all brush in period pictures. Have you seen the vacant areas cut into the brush in the 1938 photos? Well there were no people living there to make these voids. There is no logical reason for this voids and gaps in the brush unless a castaway cut the area out as a home, and while clearing the brush piled it into the aircraft.

      So these ideas that the aircraft could not burn is more wild speculation. Of course it could burn. There are storms in the area during the July months. When the first lightning strikes were attracted to that giant aluminum frame, it set the scaevola brush on fire, killing Noonan possibly, or at least injuring him badly since he was inside with a head wound as Betty’s historical documents reveal.
      It is very well possible this accounts for the lack of interior debris found on the island,(it all burned up), and also explains the Campana balm as it was used during WWII for burns, which likely were present on Amelia’s hands, arms, and face.
      It was no doubt one of the few things she grabbed as the plane burned.
      If she had 3rd degree burns, that would hasten the dehydration factor, ultimately explaining why she was dead by the time Maude and Bevington arrived 3 months later on the atoll.

      These are all FACTS!!! So please stop with putting down Tighar and their hard evidence, This is very, very plausible based on the recovered artifacts.

  123. WILSON says:



    Your May 15th comments have this old man bewildered. First off, I thought TIGHAR is now on to the “reef belly landing, washed off at high tide, and sank” hypothesis, so I am presuming your post is one of levity.
    “If” the 10A actually bellied in on Gardner, why sleep in it? One hundred degrees outside, one hundred twenty-five degrees inside…..unless you want to look like that roast mutton you’re rationing.
    Why didn’t Betty have two dozen people, including law enforcement, crowded around her Ham Radio after she picked up the first message?
    How much steel on the 10A? Aluminum burns and melts. What is the melting point for steel rudder and stabilizer control cables?? REBAR from 1941 still protrudes on Wake and Midway.

    AE may not have known much about Survival techniques, but FN flew over water routes for Pan American. Unless comatose, FN would have told AE what to bring ashore, or assisted with the transfer of objects of survival value:
    Even in 1937, aviators new what they needed to get spotted from the air in a hurry:

    1. A parachute laid out against a contrasting ( green foliage) background.
    2. A smokey,continuous fire.
    3. ANY reflective object: personal, or from the aircraft.
    4. Transportable (light enough to carry) aircraft debris placed in clear view on the beach.
    5. An “X”, an” Arrow”, or an “AE + FN HERE” made of logs, driftwood, palm fronds, or the doped skin on the airlerons, IN AN OPEN AREA.
    6. The Life Raft.

    You see, I doubt the Gardner Island /Castaway Theory, in it’s entirety. It’s not a fuel issue, but rather “How do you miss Howland, THEN Baker, and hit/stumble upon Gardner? Next: why pick a reef to ditch on when there’s a lagoon ? And Noonan would know that !!! The Pan American Clippers used lagoons at Midway and Wake- smoother, calmer water…..usually relatively shallow, and far more clear. One Coral Head on the reef would have opened the 10A like a tin can……..
    And, if they survived a reef, water, or earthly ditching, they certainly had time to prepare Identifiers / Markers before the Navy did a flyover.

    Finally: Purported AE Transmissions: Why not ” Gardner-Gardner-Gardner” followed by a “Fix” by Fred?? The “We are on a Reef” message is pure nonsense.

    These are all common sense issues. Even injured, a person will take steps to assist in their recovery.

  124. dave says:

    Yes, complete Levity Wilson. I figured the dead give away was piling the plane with Brush!
    I amused myself with that one. I am surprised Tighar hasn’t used that as a reason no plane contents have been found.

    It is just so easy to do exactly what Tighar does. I could write their script, as you have also done Nicely for their next expedition. I enjoyed yours a lot.

    If a lotion bottle is found, then only Amelia could use lotion.(well they never say only Amelia, they imply it). A shoe is found, Tighar claims Amelia was one of the few that it could belong to since the islanders are Fred Flintstone type beasts that hate shoes.
    (Tighar conveniently skips all the Europeans like Lay,Maude,Bevington and the English Navy landing there to post no trespassing signs.on the trees.)
    It’s all about gathering junk and proposing that Amelia might have used it at one time.
    Since they have a trashed island full of old junk, it’s an easy scam to perpetuate forever to the gullible. Add in a natural wreck, a real disaster site with dead bodies in the Norwich, and Gillespie has first dibs and signed rights to an atoll that can be mined forever for news stories to keep his wallet full.

    That organization has become a complete joke. It was interesting the first few expeditions, then became comical the second 10 years, now it’s a complete farce that few take seriously.
    I do believe more reporters think Niku is a viable alternative than the public, because reporters do not check facts.
    As Gillespie famously said, he can cut Amelia’s fame on and off like a water faucet.
    He knows reporters need a story, it doesn’t matter how ridiculous the story is. So he calls up the reporters every couple of years with another “we found new strong evidence” story, which gets reported around the world.
    Not one reporter from Reuters to Discovery, stops Gillespie and says, well that jar is really interesting but since there was a co-op store on this atoll in the 1940’s,and a hospital, and a coast guard station there in the 1940’s, and countless unknown visitors before that time period, isn’t it just as likely it came from some other source besides Earhart?
    “Call us back Mr.Gillespie, when you find an Electra part”
    That is what I would love to hear reporters say, However,reporters refuse to call this organization what it really is.
    The sad reality is that a mystery story to the newspapers, even a bogus one, is better than no story at all.
    The implications of that fact is disturbing, Since we know the news misreports Tighar’s adventures and has for two decades how many other stories are also just complete bullcrap that keeps getting repeated from one reporter to the next?
    How much of history is real, and how much of “history” is the publicized version that had the best sound bite?
    If the Tighar story is a representative example of the way history is recorded, we really cannot trust any news the new media.

    Which means mine and your history is whatever someone writes it to be, and is frequently a lie.
    So I hate Tighar for the misrepresentations, however I think I hate the non questioning biased news media propagating Tighar’s fantasy even more.
    They are the ones changing history for a dramatic story.

    • gari says:


      Reporters are much less critical these days, all they want is a story, I read somewhere that a reporter today has to multi-task more than in the past and also provide up to three times as much copy than even a few decades ago, so we get less specialists reporting stories.

      Also, if they researched TIGHAR it is time consuming and at the end of the day the editor may think ‘exposing’ the scam would just kill off the story, so you get one headline and the story is dead. Whereas, go along with it, and you get a good many more hours out of the story, maybe I’m too cynical? lol

      When bored I often copy some news story’s body text and paste it into Google to see where else it turns up, quite enlightening to see so many news sources using virtually the same copy.

      The same can be said for Discovery etc, all the time someone can give them an excuse to produce a show, they’ll go with it, as long as people watch the show, that’s all they care about. Personally I do wonder what would they do if they knew the story was complete bull and that no one in the higher echelons of TIGHAR who advocated it really believed it. Would it be worth their while even mentioning it? I mean, the shows producers would be taken to task for allowing an ‘obvious’ hoax be perpetrated at the channels expense, and they’d be ridiculed as a channel – again lol – for falling for it.

      It’s all about money and ‘bums-on-seats’ – to use a theatre expression. Stuff like “Ancient Aliens” gets aired because people will watch it, I can’t even stand the titles any more, yet I have a very intelligent friend who teaches/;ectures IT, who actually believes the crap!! I’ve tried to correct them lol

      As for history, isn’t much of it a lie or an untruth? The victim and loser will often ostracise the victor, and vice-versa. Any story with more than one witness will differ due to our individual bias and perceptions, so ultimately someone somewhere has to edit the story down to a manageable sized tale.

      I was similar to you WRT TIGHAR, when I first heard all those years ago I was quite fascinated, something that puzzled me since my youth seemed about to be resolved. Then, the reality.

      I guess the problem is that the publicity is always going to get more folks interested and visit the site and become more ‘brainwashed, especially as dissent at the forum is pretty much at an end now, after the last clear out. So, if I were to hear about AE while watching a movie or reading a book, I then Google, and who is number one top of the list? TIGHAR. It is only natural to go to the website and read the ‘facts’…hey, I may even be gullible enough to fork out a few thousand quid on a training course digging up some old wreck, prior to my registering interest in entering the lottery of going to Gardner!!! I may even get on History or Discovery lol