No, that’s not Amelia Earhart’s skeleton.

amelia_earhart_1935I can hardly believe it — Ric Gillespie and TIGHAR are once again hoaxing news outlets with yet another absurd claim that he knows where Amelia Earhart is, in blatant defiance of known history. And, once again, the news outlets are parroting his press release without the slightest fact checking or skepticism.

No, there is no chance that the old skeleton from Nikumaroro is Earhart, and no serious scientists think so.

For decades, TIGHAR (a nonprofit formed by Gillespie to fund his Earhart obsession) has been successfully persuading National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and others into funding its various wild goose chases around the South Pacific. This time he is asking for $1.75 million. I guess it’s not bad work if you can get it. Gillespie’s claimed alternate histories for Earhart have never been persuasive to any serious historians, but since he’s the only one making noise, he’s the one whose press releases get trumpeted by the media.

There is no historical doubt to Earhart’s final resting place. She was in partial short-distance radio contact with the Coast Guard cutter Itasca as she ran out of fuel in the immediate vicinity of Howland Island, the planned refueling stop. Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan had followed Itasca’s radio direction finding signal to get there. The water there is very deep, and it’s unlikely that much survives of the plane to ever be found. There’s never been any mystery surrounding her loss at sea.

For some reason, Gillespie thinks they flew instead to an island called Nikumaroro, a full ten degrees off the course they are known to have followed, and which their fuel onboard made it physically impossible to reach. Nikumaroro was inhabited by hundreds of people for decades before Earhart’s flight, but Gillespie has pointed to practically every speck of trash (including part of a shoe and a shard of glass) as proof that Earhart was on the island. Such an identification defies rationality, as Nikumaroro was a British colony of about 100 men, women, and children; a coconut plantation; and a British Coast Guard station; and was loaded with trash from all of those, long before Gillespie and his team began looking for signs of Earhart.

Gillespie’s current claim is another in a long line he’s made about a partial skeleton found on the island in 1940, believed to be one of countless pearl divers who visited the island in the decades before World War II. This time he’s claiming that based on having looked at a photo of Earhart, he thinks the skeleton’s forearm length matches hers, despite it being unequivocally male (sorry, Ric).

News outlets, please stop letting this guy hoax you.

Read the full Skeptoid episode on the Amelia Earhart “mystery”. (Includes complete bibliographic references.)

About Brian Dunning

Science writer Brian Dunning is the host and producer of Skeptoid.
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46 Responses to No, that’s not Amelia Earhart’s skeleton.

  1. anne cameron says:

    I guess, for me, the biggest question about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart is WHO CARES?
    Well, obviously, this Gillispie guy does, he’s made a comfy career out of his on-going fixation but, how many of the rest of us seriously give the first part of a hoot?
    She’s dead. She’s been dead for many years. She tried something, it didn’t work, she didn’t make it, and she’s dead. Doesn’t matter one little bit where she died. She’s dead.

  2. Mudguts says:

    There isnt anything like persistence.. Something “must turn up”

    Lovely sky full of contrails this morning.!

  3. Foo-led says:

    Well, we don’t know she was on “immediate” vicinity of Howland Island, so let’s not make any sweeping generalizations 🙂

    The simplest solution most likely is true (she is at the bottom of the ocean).

    On the other hand the standard aviation operating procedure was that if you were starting to run low on fuel over ocean you flew towards the closest group of islands — which would have taken her to Nikumaroro area (how much fuel was left depends on dozens of factors so it is basically unknown). Plus she said in her last message that she was flying on north-south line trying to locate the re-fuel spot, flying south would have taken her to Nikumaroro. And the US Navy reports from the search planes have on black and white that they saw sights of recent activity on the shore of an uninhabited island. And there were dozens of distress calls during the first couple of days heard around the Pacific by various stations (before tide would have inevitably taken the plane). And there is a photo taken by British 3 months later showing some kind of wreck near Nikumaroro only visible during very low tide. And locals reported the same wreck in later years. Nothing bulletproof, I know, but all put together it is enough coincidences that I understand why so many are fascinated by the slim chance she made it to Nikumaroro (which has no fresh water source – so they would have been pretty much incapacitated after couple of days under the scorching sun – and the search planes flew over the island after a week).

  4. J Garison says:

    This doesn’t explain the ~100 radio messages that she sent out for 4 days …

    • See above. None existed. See pre-TIGHAR accounts. Those are modern fictional inventions.

      • Jim L says:

        No. I have the contemporary report compiled by the Pan Am Pacific Division’s communications office dated July 1937 that lists more than a dozen signals on Amelia’s frequency that were DF’ed to near Gardner Island. I understand this web site is called “skeptoid” but you really don’t have the facts.

        • Gillespie was the first person to claim that those messages, and some telegrams and other stuff, had anything to do with Earhart. That was not a contemporary analysis. Until he came up with his alternate reality, nobody in the South Pacific had any doubt that Earhart & Noonan were lost at sea off Howland. They still don’t, outside of Gillespie’s sphere of influence.

        • Dave M. says:

          Re-read those reports more carefully Jim L. None of the signals could be ID’d as coming from AE… not one.


          “…Wake reported signals in the vicinity of 3105 KC, obtaining an approximate bearing of 140 degrees. However, I do not believe the signals heard at Wake were from the Earhart plane inasmuch as they were unheard at Mokapu at this time. The signals heard at Wake were a continuous carrier for several minutes at a time and we were of the opinion that possibly these signals emanated from somewhere in Japan.”

          “All of the above information was turned over to the Coast Guard officials at Honolulu with emphasis being made at the time that there was nothing definite in what we had heard because of no identifying signals of any nature being received. While it would appear there may have been some connection between the dashes and the KGMB broadcast, we could not state definitely that the signals were from the Earhart plane.”

    • Mike Almond says:

      The hundred messages are all in Tighars opinion. If you look into it you will find somehow none pan out. We are on a reef Wank. New York City Wank According to Tighar the plane was on the reef and in the water at high tide and out of fuel but some how they got off message after message Wank.

  5. Dan DeCesare says:

    This time I must disagree. I think there how many pieces of solid circumstantial evidence that she survived on the island and possibly that skeleton was hers.

  6. Alex says:

    Brian can you explain the numerous distress calls that were allegedly made between the 2nd to the 6th of July from Earhart’s plane if that plane is believed to have crashed in the ocean? Is it true the radio on that plane only worked if the plane engine was operating?

    I don’t know how much truth is in these claims.


    • Earhart & Noonan were in close-range radio contact with the Itasca, 650km from Niku, when their fuel ran out. Claims of “distress calls” are modern fictional inventions. You will find no reference to the existence of these in pre-TIGHAR accounts; see the books in the references section in the main article.

    • Mike Almond says:

      Strangely Tighar managed to come up with about 100 “credible” radio message the center piece of which is Betty’s Note Book. Do a Google search on Betty’s Note Book. Look up what she actually wrote at the time including the call letters of a Honolulu Broadcast station. All these messages were supposedly flying about but the US Navy, US Coast Guard, Pan Am, Radio Manila, Radio Naru to name a few were all manned by professional radiomen and none of them heard Earhart. The nearest thing was Female voice similar to last night no motor sound. And it goes down hill from there Someone tuning up slightly off frequency. Earharts Transmitter was crystal controlled. It was either on frequency or not working. Check out the post loss reports. Find one where the people hearing Earhart knew what frequency they heard her on. Wouldn’t you think if you were burning the last 5 gallons of your gas to get off an SOS it would contain repeated reference to your position especially if your position was on a small atoll, where just the name of the island would be all the location anyone would need?

    • AlexandriaNick says:

      I will preface this by saying I am not an expert on the electrical systems of the Lockheed Electra in specific, but have a general understanding of aircraft of the period.

      It is exceedingly improbable for a downed aircraft of the time to have made any radio calls over a period longer than a few hours. Aircraft of the time were not equipped with an APU. This is important. I don’t know the battery life available to fully charged batteries, but I can’t imagine it is longer than a few hours. In order to recharge the batteries, one of the engines would have had to turn. Now, if you’d set down without fully starving the engines of fuel, you could do this. But you’ve now presented yourself with a new problem: you’ve had to make a safe, wheels down landing somewhere. You couldn’t ditch and float to a shallow or make a belly landing. You need to be on your gear to give the prop space to rotate. Which means…somewhere there has to be a fully intact Electra sitting on its landing gear.

      Hypothetically, an engine that completely lost its prop could turn and provide power, but you’re digging deeper into “how” territory. A belly landing doesn’t tear a prop off, which means you’d have to remove it yourself. And you’d still be faced with trying to figure out where this on-land aircraft is.

  7. Mike McComb says:

    For over two decades Gillespie has been re-writing and fabricating the real history of this event to further his money making scam. At $10,000 per person you too can join his band of ignorant armchair adventurers and dig up garbage on Niku. Will you find the plane? No. Will you find Amelia? No. Will you find anything conclusively at all related to the plane, equipment or occupants of this flight? No. This is the reality of TIGHAR and the snake oil salesman Gillespie.

  8. Jürgen says:

    Thank you!

  9. Sharon Olivari says:

    I don’t know anything about any of this, but, I’d like to think she died a quick death on the water than an agonizing one on land.

  10. Dave M. says:

    Gillespie has been quoted saying; “People started hearing radio distress calls from the airplane and they were verified.”

    Yet Captain Dowell, the commander of the Lexington group that led the search for Earhart, wrote in his offical report;

    “…Many of these messages were in conflict and many were unquestionably false. None could be verified.”

    So who should we believe- Gillespie or Capt. Dowell?

  11. JBP says:

    I thought it was generally agreed that they were off course.

    • seesdifferent says:

      By the surging of the last radio signal, they were so close to Howland Island that the sailors there wondered why they couldn’t see them. But the plane was running out of gas. It couldn’t have reached Niku. This was early in the morning, and the Itasca was pouring out smoke. If the plane was at 3000 feet, they could have seen the smoke for well over 50 miles. But neither party saw the other. The ocean to the northwest was searched extensively at the time, and no oil slick was found. The other important piece of information is that the ocean floor west of Howland has been searched with sonar. Therefore, it seems most likely, at this time, that they came in from the north, after having overshot the line by a considerable margin, perhaps 50 miles or more, and ditched to the east or southeast of Howland. I think the plane is still there. Other planes have survived for long periods under the sea.

      I would add the fact that one of the recent “experts” to have supported the TIGHAR claims is a guy who many years analyzed the iconic Bigfoot movie and said it was authentic. Are we clear?

  12. Michael A. White says:

    We who live on Saipan are partial to the (equally ridiculous) theory that Earhart and Noonan were captured by the Japanese and imprisoned and later executed here. We even show off her purported jail cell. It’s good for tourism.

  13. seesdifferent says:

    Reviewing the various sources, it seems that Jeff Glickman, the bigfoot film authenticator, has vouched for three key pieces of Gillespie’s “evidence”: the Bevington photo of the “wreck” at Niku, the sonar image at Niku, and the length of Earhart’s forearm. It seems unbelievable that people will fall for this stuff time after time after time, without looking critically at the “evidence” or at the backgrounds of the people involved. Millions believe in bigfoot, but there is no DNA, no body, no good photos, no fossils, and if you look at the guy who made the film, he was a two bit chiseler.

  14. Gary LaPook says:

    Here is the link to Glickman’s arm bones report.

    Notice that he is “estimating” the critical measurement points through flesh and clothing. He also does his calculation in “pixels” with no comparison to the linear measurements made by doctor Hoodless. If his elbow data point estimate was off by just 4 pixels, out of a total of 618, pixels then the ratio would be the normal .73 not the .76 that Glickman comes up with. Or with an estimation error of the top of the humerus then a smaller error in the placement of the elbow data point would result in the same normal ratio. The same with an error of the estimate of the wrist. In fact, if there were only a 3 pixel error in the estimation of each of the three data points then you get the normal .73 ratio! He even admits that since all the data points were “estimated” that he cannot place an error estimate on his results. This report is pure junk.

    And just how big are the pixels that Glickman is using? He doesn’t tell us. But since he says that his measurement is of the same humerus that Doctor Hoodless measured at 25.4 cm and Glickman says that the humerus is 267.2 pixels long then simple division gives us the answer, each of Glilckman’s pixels is 0.095 cm the same as .95 mm the same as 0.037 inches one-twenty-sixths of an inch. A three pixel miss-estimate would be only about one-tenth of an inch, through fat and clothes! Good luck with that!
    Oh, and by the way, when did Glickman become an anatomist?

    One of my true joys in life when I was litigating airplane crashes was taking Glickman type “expert witnesses” apart on the witness stand under cross-examination, I saw lots of his type. He uses the standard methods they all use to bamboozle the jury. Notice how accurately he states his measurements of the bones, to one-tenth of a pixel, this is the type of thing done to impress a jury of his accuracy. And it works unless someone like me gets him to admit the problems in his opinion on cross-examination. Looking at his accuracy claim, since we saw that one pixel was .037 inch then one-tenth of that in 0.0037 inches THREE POINT SEVEN THOUSANDTHS OF AN INCH (about 4/1,000 of an inch). Anybody who has worked on his own car knows that you need a micrometer to measure anything to that level of precision yet he is telling us that he can estimate the ends of the bones under the layers of skin, fat, muscle, and clothing to thousandths of an inch accuracy! It may impress an uneducated juror but not anybody who gives it any thought.
    Such BS!
    Before he would even be allowed to testify, the attorney that hired him would have to “qualify” him by asking leading questions about his background and then I would cross-examine him on his background, bringing out his lack of training and experience on these matters and, most likely, the judge wouldn’t allow him to testify.
    Not to be too pedantic but Hoodless did not measure the humerus and radius of the left arm, in fact he didn’t have both of these bones from the same arm. He had the left humerus and the right radius. Nobody is perfectly symmetrical so comparing the lengths of two bones from different arms introduces even more uncertainty into Glickman’s analysis in which he claims an accuracy of thousandths of an inch!

    From the Hoodless report:

    “2. The bones included:- (1) a skull with the right zygoma and malar bones broken off: (2) mandible with only four teeth in position; (3) part of the right scapula; (4) the first thoracic vertebra; 5) portion of a rib (? 2nd right rib); (6) left humerus; 7) right radius; (8) right innominate bone; (9) right femur; (10) left femur; (11) right tibia; (12) right fibula; and (13) the right scaphoid bone of the foot. ”

    For accurate information about Earhart see my website:

  15. Gary LaPook says:

    AT 7:43 am the Coast Guard cutter Itasca’s radio operator LOGGED “1/2 hour of fuel left” radio message from Earhart and her last LOGGED transmission occurred just one hour later at 8:43 am. Ric tries to make the case that Itasca’s Captain Thompson made up the “1/2 hour of fuel left” story later to cover his butt but everybody in the radio room AT THE TIME heard it. Captain Thompson sent a message to his higher headquarters at 1015 Itasca time, only 1:32 minutes after Earhart’s last radio message stating the 1/2 hour of fuel left report from Earhart, see attached page 48. (the “1015” last group is the local time. The first group “6002” the “60” shows the message was originated by the commander of the ship and the “02” is the second day of the current month, local time, July 2, 1937.)The newspaper reporters in the room also published that story in the next day’s newspaper, where they in on a coverup? Did they just read it from the log, they were in the radio room too.

    The shore party on Howland was ordered back to the ship at 0900,only 17 minutes after the last message and, according to the Itasca’s deck log, the shore party had been gotten back aboard at 0912, only 29 minutes after Earhart’s last message, and at 1040 the ship was underway searching to the northwest at full speed.

    Here are links to the Itasca’s two radio logs, the deck log and to Captain Thompson’s two reports, read them carefully yourself.


  16. Gary LaPook says:

    Is TIGHAR still at it? / TIGHAR’s new claim that Noonan didn’t know of the existence of Phoenix islands
    « on: September 20, 2016, 12:32:33 AM »
    I noticed over on TIGHAR today that Gillespie is claiming that Noonan’s chart didn’t extend as far south as the Phoenix islands that this is an explanation for why the words “Gardner” or “Phoenix” are not found in any of the purported radio messages. Nice try Ric!
    In the April 1992 Life Magazine, on page 70, Gillespie wrote:

    “Using celestial tables, Gannon pointed out that on the morning of July 2, 1937, the rising sun
    would have provided the precise line of position Earhart said she was running. By flying
    southeast along that line, Noonan could be sure that, even if he missed Howland, he would reach
    an island in the Phoenix group in about two hours.”

    See Life Magazine here

    (Itasca logged Earhart’s final transmission at 8:43 am “ON LINE OF POSITION 157-337” a line derived by Noonan’s taking an observation of the sun that should have allowed then to find Howland island based on the standard navigation method used then and throughout WW2, “LOP”)

    I pointed this out to Gillespie and on February 26, 2002 he responded:

    “Their plan was not to go to the Phoenix Islands. Their plan was to run
    southeastward on the LOP in hopes of hitting one of the islands known to be
    on that line – namely – Howland, Baker, Gardner, and as we’ve only recently
    realized, Atafu (Duke of York).”

    I recently watched the show, “The Real Amelia Earhart” (2006) on the National Geographic
    Channel and at 21 minutes into the show they show a chart with the LOP through Howland and


    “Gillespie thinks it makes prefect navigational sense for Earhart and Noonan to aim for Gardner
    Island, now known as Nikumaroro, located in the Phoenix Island chain.”


    “If Earhart is lost, the only piece of information she has is that she is on a navigational line that
    falls through Howland Island. She also knows there are other islands on that line so if she flies
    southeastward on that line she is guaranteed of hitting land.”

    And in his recent movie, “Finding Amelia,” about eight minutes into the show Gillespie said that
    navigators came to him and told him about Noonan’s technique. Then a map was put up showing
    the LOP through Howland and Gardner.

    The Narrator says:

    “If Amelia and Fred couldn’t find Howland they could have followed this line south and
    reached another island, Gardner, now called Nikumaroro.”

    Then Gillespie said:

    “And my first reaction is, first of all, these guys know what they are talking about, these are real

    But now Gillespie is confronted with the “inconvenient truth” that there is no mention of these islands in any of the purported radio messages, which are words that any authentic emergency message from Earhart would have had, and which is proof that none of those radio signals came from Earhart. This is a real threat to TIGHAR because their mantra has always been “if even one of those messages is authentic then Earhart had to be on land” and Gardner is the closest land. So Gillespie is hoping that we have forgotten his original theory and he has his fingers crossed that none of the new, hoped for contributors, will find out about this, sorry Ric, the word is now out there.


  17. Gary LaPook says:

    Just one week after Earhart disappeared, three navy planes, with two observers in each, flew over Nikumororo and didn’t see the plane, or Earhart, or Noonan, or a fire, or smoke, or life raft, or tent, etc. They circled over the island for about 30 minutes and the island is like a “doughnut” about 4 miles long but only a quarter of a mile thick so the planes made many passes over every square inch of that island and every spot was observed from only a couple of hundred yards away.

    Back in November 2011 I had a heated discussion with Gillespie regarding the use of the Probability Of detection Tables in the National Search and rescue Manual.

    General discussion / Re: Odds of Spotting Survivors from the Air
    « on: November 09, 2011, 01:33:57 AM »

    Gillespie dismissed my reliance on the Probability of Detection (POD) tables in the National Search and Rescu Manual. I replied:

    ” I think this is quite humorous Ric since you were the one who cited to the POD table as
    authority for your 10-20% estimate for spotting Earhart. Then when I go through the actual
    computation and prove that the authority that you based your claim on actually predicts a much
    higher probability of detection than you like, your come back and say that the POD table is not valid.”

    He responded:

    ” I thought I ‘splained that my 10 to 20% was not derived directly from the POD but was an
    estimate based on the fact that the 1937 search was not conducted with the techniques and
    training used to compute the probabilities in the POD. ”

    To which I responded:

    “What you wrote in your book was:

    ‘According to present- day Civil Air Patrol Probability of Detection (POD) tables, the
    chance of Colorado’s planes locating the aircraft in the course of a single inspection of each
    island was on the order of 10 to 20 percent. In other words, if the Earhart plane was on one of
    the islands of the Phoenix Group, there is an 80 to 90 percent chance that Colorado’s search
    missed it.'”

    I added:

    “There was no indication that your estimate did not come directly from the POD table. Only
    after I went through the calculation in the POD table did you change to now claim that your
    estimate was not directly derived from the POD table.

    ‘So now you now start throwing around claims based on your anecdotal observation
    (something that you always criticize) that you claim are more accurate than the statistical tables
    made by search and rescue professionals after they examined reams of data. So either you are
    right and the professionals in the Air Force, the Civil Air Patrol, the Navy, the Army and the
    Coast Guard are wrong or vice versa. My money is on the professionals, not on you, Ric. After
    all, those guys do not have a dog in this fight.”

    I further pointed out that anyone reading his book would take his statement at face value, that the Search and Rescue Manual PROVED that it was highly UNLIKELY that Earhart would have been spotted by the Navy flyers even though they were actually on Gardner island and I asked Gillespie if he was going to publish a revised edition so that a new reader would not be mislead. You can guess where that went.
    I would also like to mention that the Navy was specifically looking for castaways/survivors. In other words the chances should have been exceptionally high she would have been seen if she was there. Then to make all this work the Electra has to be washed off the reef just in time not to be seen when the Navy search arrives overhead.
    BTW, I’m not asking anybody to take my word for this stuff, follow the links in the prior posts and you will find the tables where you can do the POD computation for yourself.
    The probability that they would have been detected by the Navy pilots, HAD they actually been on Gardner, was extremely high, approaching 100%. See prior posts at:,92.msg2359.html#msg2359,92.msg2373.html#msg2373


  18. Gary LaPook says:

    I just posted the following on Seeker

    All of the stuff that Gillespie claims as evidence that Earhart landed on that island has been debunked numerous times.
    1. None of the claimed radio messages had an identification or location
    2. most were just bleeps and dashes like Morse code, and Earhart’s radio was a voice transmitter.
    3. At 7:42 she said she only had a half hour of gas left while she was still hundreds of miles away from Gillespie’s island.
    4 The piece of aluminum that Gillespie came from her plane has been conclusively proven to have come from a WW2 bomber by chemical analysis and by the marking on it;
    5. A recent, peer reviewed, article confirmed that the bones found in 1940 were from a short Polynesian man.
    6. The Coast Guard had a station on that island during WW2.
    7 The island was occupied from 1938 through 1963 accounting for all the pieces of junk that Gillespie claims could only have come from Earhart including the “freckle cream jar.”
    8. According to Gillespie’s IRS disclosure form for his “non-profit,” he paid himself a salary of $238,000.

    I just posted this on a website for celestial navigators:
    Where to begin, where to begin.

    This is just Gillespie stirring the pot again in an effort to get contributions to his “non-profit organization” for another expedition and so that he can continue to pay himself that $238,000 salary that he had to report on the TIGHAR tax form.

    Here is a link to his latest presentation, apparently the source for the first newspaper account.

    To keep this short, Gillespie left out some significant facts:

    At 7:42 Earhart radioed to the Itasca, “only half hour of gas left;”

    Gardner island had a Coast Guard LORAN station during the war which is the source for all the western objects that Gillespie has found there. It was also inhabited by hundreds of islanders from 1938, just after Earhart disappeared, until 1963.

    His theory is that they followed the 157-337 LOP to Gardner because they knew of the existence of the Phoenix islands yet not one of the purported radio messages contain the words “Gardner” or “Phoenix” or say “I don’t know exactly where we are but we flew southeast for about two hours from where we thought Howland island was;

    No two of the radio “bearings” were taken at the same time so they cannot be triangulated since they could have come from entirely different sources. Gillespie ignores the bearings that don’t go near Gardner. One of the “bearings” that Gillespie claims as “credible” lasted for two hours and the Midway Island station, that took that bearing, stated that it definitely was NOT Earhart and was coming from a station in China or South America;

    And, as we navigators know, the 157-337 LOP only existed for a short time and that its azimuth changed as the sun moved across the sky and would not pass anywhere near Gardner island by the time they could have reached that island;

    The Itasca reported clear skies south of Howland in the direction of Gardner. The sun and the moon were at close to a perfect azimuths for Noonan to obtain a fix and then plot a course directly back to Howland where there was an airport waiting for them. You navigators can do the computations yourselves. July 2, 1937, 1800 to 2400 Zulu.

    I could go on for a thousand pages, I have posted more than 2,000 pages on the TIGHAR website (before I got banned) and on

    in case you have any inclination to get interested in this.

    Also, for you navigators, I put up a website with a lot of contemporary navigation manuals so that you can see the actual manuals that Noonan used for his navigation. Go to

    I have to add one more thing. In the video Gillespie repeats his claim that there was a blob on a 1937 photo that his photo interpreter said shows one of Earhart’s landing gears stuck on the reef of Gardner island. He claims that independent photo interpreters at the U.S. State Department confirmed this interpretation. I had to file a Freedom of Information Act law suit against the State Department, (they stonewalled me for two years) to find out if this claim was true. Internal State Department documents said that they “could not definitely say if it was or it was not an aircraft part”!



  19. Gary LaPook says:

    TIGHAR’s island, Nikumororo (Gardner) is 400 miles south of the planned destination of Howland island. The standard navigational text books that are available on my website state that is is very unlikely for be more off course than 10% of the distance flown, and that is without any updated navigation positions. The distance from Lae to Howland is 2500 miles so it would have been unlikely for thye plane to have been even 250 miles off course even if Noonan had been asleep for the entire time. But, we know, they transmitted a position report from a position only about 1000 miles from Howland so it is very unlikely that they could have been off be even 100 miles yet Gillespie wants us to believe that they ended up four times farther away! This would be like on a flight from Chicago to New York ending up in Florida! So now Ric has put himself in a weaker position because there was no reason for Earhart to fly even 150 NM further to the southeast without the promise of the Phoenix islands waiting for them as he theorized from their hitting the LOP 200 from Howland. Since we know that they had a fix over Nikumanu island, about a thousand NM from Howland, the maximum dead reckoning uncertainty should only be 100 NM, 10% of the distance flown so no reasonable explanation for them being 200 NM off course. And if they got any fixes after Nikumanu then the uncertainty is even less. No reason to fly farther southeast than they flew northwest. Time to do a standard search pattern which was the best procedure available to them and not to fly southeast until the fuel runs out

    And then the moon becomes a bigger problem for Ric. He could have claimed that when Noonan finally got a moon shot that it showed him, at that time, to be closer to Gardner than to Howland so that it made sense not to try for Howland but to divert to Gardner, now he can’t make that claim since he is now saying that they did not know of those islands’ existance.


  20. Gary LaPook says:

    Is TIGHAR still at it? / Re: TIGHAR’s new claim that Noonan didn’t know of the existence of Phoenix islands
    « on: September 20, 2016, 10:21:05 AM »
    Gillespie posted on TIGHAR that Earhart had a copy of the ‘Pacific Ocean’ map insert that came with the December 1936 issue of National Geographic.,1233.msg26930.html#msg26930

    The Phoenix Islands are clearly shown near the center of the sheet and each island is named.

    In that issue is an article, “Flying the Pacific”, which describes Pan Am flights across the Pacific, flights on which Noonan was the navigator.

    Look on page 796 of the December 1936 National Geographic.


  21. As Brian says ‘Gillespie is the only one making all the noise’ about Mrs. Putnam and Mr Noonan (though he seems a little less obsessed with the latter – I wonder why..?). It is a remarkable case of a Conspiracy Theorist making SO much noise that those who have not read proper books about the subject are quickly persuaded. As Secretary of State, poor Hilary Clinton even endorsed and waved off one of Gillespie’s holidays. I am sick of writing to British newspapers that keep falling for his nonsense, but of course it’s easy for journalists (not usually the brightest or most analytical of folk) to wheel out the old AMELIA FOUND headlines and pad out half a page with Gillespie nonsense + pictures of that photogenic lady from the Heroic Age of Flight.

  22. David Reeves says:

    Hello,here are real life ocean survivor stories in the news. 2016 —
    ‘SOS’ in sand leads to rescue of 2 stranded on island in Micronesia —————————————————
    ……………. – Apr 8, 2016
    Three men rescued from deserted island after spelling ‘ HELP’ with palm leaves..The US coast guard spotted castaways stranded on remote island near Micronesia three days after their boat capsized in south Pacific ocean. …. April 24, 2014
    An “SOS” on a sandbar leads Australian searchers to five snorkelers who became stranded when their boat drifted off..// If Amelia and Fred where on Gardner this is the first thing they would have done.
    Set up S>O>S> distress signals all over the place. and they would have been easily spotted by the aircraft searching for them..

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