Showing posts with label Amelia Earhart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amelia Earhart. Show all posts

Did Amelia Earhart Survive Her Crash in the Pacific?

One of the most compelling missing person's stories of the 20th century may have just gotten even more interesting. A member of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) now claims that aviator Amelia Earhart not only survived her crash in South Pacific back in 1937, but she lived for days on a remote island, where she continuously called for help from her aircraft's radio, with those calls being picked up by amateur radio operators all over the world at the time. 

In recent years, TIGHAR has put considerable effort into searching for the remains of Earhart, her navigator Fred Noonan, and their aircraft. The group has made several expeditions to islands in the Pacific searching for evidence of what may have happened to her. They have found some compelling clues, but nothing that definitively says whether or not she or Noonan survived the crash, or even made it to one of the sites they have examined at all. 

But according to Ric Gillespie, a member of TIGHAR, Earhart's calls for help were heard by a woman in Melbourne, Australia; a housewife in Texas who claims to have recognized her voice, and perhaps most intriguing of all – a teenager in Florida. 

What makes the Florida teen's story so fascinating is that she scribbled notes based on what she was hearing, transcribing what was allegedly Earhart's broadcast. The teen wrote several times "New York, New York," seemingly referencing the city. But Gillespie believes that Earhart was actually saying "SS Norwich City," which was a ship that was abandoned on Nikumaroro island in 1929, the place that  TIGHAR believes the aviator set down. 

Today, we take flying around the world for granted, as thousands of aircraft take off from airports all over the globe each day. But back in 1937, it was still difficult to imagine circumnavigating the globe in a small aircraft. That was exactly what Earhart and Noonan were trying to do when they went missing. The pilot and navigator had set out from Lae Airfield in New Guinea the plan was to fly to Howland Island. But somewhere along the way they got off track, and couldn't find their destination. 

Eventually they ran out of fuel and crashed somewhere int he Pacific, but exactly where has long been a mystery. After examining the flight plan, listening to radio broadcasts, and plotting potential courses, TIGHAR has come to believe that Earhart and Noonan landed in a shallow bay off the shore of Nikumaroro, which has been the subject of their searches in recent years. So far, they've come up with nothing, but they hope to return next July – the 80th anniversary of Earhart's disappearance – to look for her Electra aircraft. The group believes that the tide has carried it out to sea, and that they'll be able to find it using a submersible.
Over the years, here at The Adventure Blog we've followed various attempts to locate the missing aircraft that Earhart was flying when she went missing. So far, it has remained elusive, as finding an 80 year old aircraft in the middle of the Pacific is not going to be easy. But, I have to admit TIGHAR has made some interesting finds over the years, including a piece of scrap metal that has been positively linked to the aircraft she was flying. Will they be able to finally substantiate their claims? We'll just have to wait until next summer to find out. 

Video: New Footage of Amelia Earhart Emerges

Rare film footage of Amelia Earhart has been revealed after being kept secret for decades by the man who shot it. The film was made back in 1937, not long before Earhart began her attempt to fly around the world, which would eventually end with her disappearance somewhere over the South Pacific Ocean. The aviator met with photographer Al Bresnik and his brother John at a small airport in Burbank, California when she was preparing for her historic flight. Al was to do a photoshoot of the pilot, while John tagged along and captured the encounter on film. The 16mm footage then sat on a shelf for 50 years until it was discovered by John's son following his death in 1992. The son, also named John, put the film in his desk and didn't get around to looking at it for another 20 years. Now, it is being revealed to the public for the first time. You can see this small slice of history for yourself in the AP News clip below. Amazing.

Has the Mystery of Amelia Earhart's Disappearance Been Solved?

The disappearance of Amelia Earhart somewhere over the Pacific Ocean back in 1937 created one of the most compelling and enduring mysteries of the 20th century. The pioneering aviator, along with her navigator Fred Noonan, were attempting to fly around the world at the equator when they vanished while searching for a fuel stop on Howland Island. What became of them has been open to speculation for more than 77 years. Now, with the help of a piece of scrap metal, researchers believe they have solved that mystery at last.

Yesterday, The International Group of Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) reported that they had successfully linked a piece of scrap metal discovered on the island of Nikumaroro with Earhart's plane. The piece of metal in question is 19 inches wide (48.2 cm) and 23 inches (58.4 cm) long, and was installed on her aircraft on a layover in Miami. It was part of a modification to the Lockheed Electra aircraft that would have allowed the pilot to be able to look out her window more easily so that she could navigate by the stars at night.

According to the TIGHAR report, the piece of metal was originally found on Nikumaroro, an island in the Republic of Kiribati, back in 1991. Researchers claim that by studying the part, they have determined that it not only matches the size and shape of the one added to Earhart's plane, but it made up of the same type of metal, fits consistently with shape of the Electra, and has the same unique rivet pattern as the infield modification. Those variables virtually ensure that it is a part from the missing aircraft.

Historians know that Earhart and Noonan were running low on fuel when they were approaching Howland Island. Somehow, they got off course and could not find the airstrip, but instead were forced to put down on Nikumaroro, which is about 350 miles from their intended destination. It is widely believed that they not only survived the landing, but existed on the island for a time, most likely eventually dying from dehydration. Nikumaroro has very little fresh water, and is said to be a harsh environment with extreme heat, little shelter, and not much to eat.

Examinations of radio records also show that Earhart most likely used the radio on her Electra to try to call for help, but the signals were ignored or not properly heard at all. The aircraft was most likely pulled out to sea by rising tides, which not only hid it from future search teams, but also removed the only resource that Earhart and Noonan would have had at their disposal. TIGHAR researchers believe that the plane is still there, on the west end of the island somewhere.

A few years after she crashed, a British colony was established on Nikumaroro, and existed there into the 1960's before it was abandoned due to a lack of resources. During that time, colonists discovered human bones on the island, which some now believe may have belong to Earhart or Noonan. The box of a sextant was also found there, and it was consistent with one that Noonan would have used for navigating as well. Over the years, these clues have disappeared however, so it is unlikely that they can be used to further establish a link to the final resting place of the aviator and her navigator.

TIGHAR researchers are hoping to return to Nikumaroro in the future, and search for more clues to the mystery. The group is currently seeking funding to mount another expedition, even though they have visited the island on multiple occasions in the past. Until they discover the Electra itself, there will likely always be some speculation as to the ultimate fate of Earhart. But this latest clue seems to give us the most likely ending to her historic flight.