Earhart’s Disappearance Leads to New Britain

COPYRIGHT 2004 – 2021
The contents of this website are Copyright to David Billings. No portion Of this website story may be used without permission. All Rights to the content of this story based on the Earhart Lockheed Electra 10E aircraft being on New Britain Island are Copyright to David Billings and the story is the Intellectual Property of David Billings.

Earhart’s Disappearance Leads to New Britain:

Second World War Australian Patrol Finds Tangible Evidence

Of all the various theories and searches regarding the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, Fred Noonan, and their Lockheed Electra, only one endeavor has the tangible documentary evidence and eyewitness accounts to buttress the conclusion to their final resting place – the jungle floor in Papua New Guinea. In 1945, an Australian infantry unit discovered an unpainted all-metal twin-engine aircraft wreck in the jungle of East New Britain Island, in what was then called New Guinea.

The Australian infantry patrol was unsure of their actual position in the jungle and were on site for only a few minutes. Before they left the site they retrieved a metal tag hanging by wire on an engine mount. The Australians reported their find and turned in the tag upon return to base. The tag has yet to be recovered from the maze of Australian and American archives, but the letters and numbers etched upon it were transcribed to a wartime map. The map, used by the same Australian unit, was rediscovered in the early 1990’s and revealed a notation “C/N 1055” and two other distinctive identifiers of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra Model 10E.

On 2 July 1937, while en route to Howland Island from Lae, New Guinea, pilot Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared shortly before they were to arrive at Howland Island – up to 2,600 miles and 20 hours after take-off. They were flying a modified Electra aircraft built specifically for the around-the-world journey. Had they arrived at Howland Island, their next stop would have been Hawaii, and finally California. A flight around the world would have been the first by a woman pilot. They undoubtedly encountered headwinds on the flight. The widely accepted last radio voice message from her was “…we are running on line north and south…” manually recorded 20 hours and 14 minutes after take-off by a United States Coast Guard ship at Howland.

This theory holds that Earhart and Noonan, after flying some 19 hours should have “arrived” close to Howland, but after an hour of fruitless searching for the island, Amelia invoked the Contingency Plan she had made and turned back for the Gilbert Islands. While there were no known usable runways between Lae and Howland except for Rabaul, there was at least the opportunity to ditch the aircraft near or crash-land on the numerous inhabited islands in the Gilberts along the way if needed, and there was more than sufficient range to reach Ocean or Nauru Islands. Earhart carefully husbanded the engines to extract the maximum range from the remaining fuel. The aircraft had an advertised range of some 4,000 miles in calm air; there should have been plenty of fuel to retreat to the Gilberts at a minimum. Among the myriad of alleged radio calls from Earhart after her last confirmed message were four radio calls heard by the radio operator on Nauru Island…one call was heard just under two hours from her “final” transmission, and some 10 hours later, three more final calls on the pre-selected frequency were heard by the Nauru radioman. The Nauru radio operator was one of only a few radio operators who had reliably monitored Earhart on her outbound leg to Howland – he knew the sound of her voice over the radio. In any event, her aircraft has been projected to have run out of fuel some 50 miles south of Rabaul, New Britain Island, and then crashed into the jungle.


David Billings, a now retired aircraft engineering professional, has been analyzing the flight and searching for Earhart’s Electra for more than 20 years in the jungle of East New Britain. Dense jungle, harsh terrain, poor maps, imprecise archival information, personal resource limitations, and possible natural or manmade burial of the wreckage, have thwarted success. He has led many expeditions into the search area, and has refined his analysis to the likely wreck site using terrain mobility studies, geospatial analysis of aerial and satellite images, custom-built maps, and re-analyzed archival maps and documents. As an example, the Australian-held wartime map is authentic, and the handwriting reflects unmistakable discreet data points and little known references of military operations in 1945 East New Britain.


The longtime map holder, the Second World War Infantry Unit clerk, Len Willoughby, retrieved the map from a map case on a pile of discarded equipment in 1945, and kept the map until he mailed it to former-Corporal Don Angwin in 1993 (and who revealed it to Mr. Billings in 1994). Neither of these former infantrymen had the motive nor “insider” expertise to create or introduce details concerning the Electra’s obscure component identification or situational nuances. The string of numbers and letters, “600H/P. S3H/1 C/N1055,” remains the most significant historical notation found to date in the search for Earhart’s aircraft. This alpha-numeric sequence almost certainly mirrors the details on the metal tag recovered from the engine mount by one of the Australian soldiers on 17 April 1945. This three-group sequence translates to 600 Horsepower, Pratt & Whitney R-1340-S3H1, airframe Construction Number 1055. This airframe construction number IS Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed 10E Electra aircraft, and the engine type exactly matches as well. The eyewitness visual descriptions from three of the Australian veterans at the scene also strongly support this supposition. The date on the map, 24 May 1945, refers to the return answer to the Australians from the American Army, who did not believe it was “one of theirs.”

Powerpoint_AE_PNG_NB_01 14 August 2015

Now that it is lookin like a CV Vaccine will be available and dispensed in time, and providing that the PNG Airline schedules gear up, David Billings is planning his next foray into East New Britain in 2021, the 84th anniversary of Earhart’s disappearance.

New satellite maps, a possible LiDAR survey and more time on site will help in the search.

The search costs thus far have been borne primarily by David with some help from America, from team members and private donations, all of which has been expended on previous expeditions. Some funding will go a long way to assist in providing the answer…

David says:

“After much thought and new analysis of what we do know, a change of tactics is called for and a new search area has been selected. The area now selected was seen to have an area of “loose bare earth” in 1996 but not considered to be of importance as at that time, we were looking for an aircraft wreck on the surface.

The search area is quite remote and every expedition to this area costs a great deal.

Now retired, I need some financial assistance to be able to continue this very interesting project. We have good evidence but need adequate funding. All donations will be thankfully received and acknowledged.”

David Billings, November 2020.

Part 1 – The Beginning | Part 2 – PNG History/Topography | Part 3 – Wreckage is Found
Part 4 – Tangible EvidencePart 5 – Analysis | Part 6 – Lae to Howland Island
Part 7 – Howland area to New Britain – To the Gilberts…
Part 8 – Howland area to New Britain – Flying Westwards for Rabaul
Part 9 – Not Seen, But Not Forgotten
Part 10 – 2017 Expedition Overview
Home | Contact

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I would like to express my greatest thanks to the men of the 11th Australian Infantry Battalion – specifically Don Angwin, Ken Backhouse, Keith Nurse, Roy Walsh and Len Willoughby.

Google Earth:  The Google Earth application has been of enormous assistance with this project in East New Britain by the project being able to look down on the search area for one, and within the project the ability to ascertain distances and locations for points of the Earhart story has been exceedingly helpful.

The Australian War Memorial contains valuable information concerning the efforts of the particular patrol  that found wreckage but also the information contained in the records offers a surrounding view of the events in New Britain at that time of crisis during World War Two.  The AWM records provided invaluable assistance.

The International Group for Historical Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), the organisation based in the U.S. that has carried out research over the years into the disappearance of the Electra and her two crew members.  TIGHAR documentation, and the ascertaining of pertinent facts from within the research contained on the TIGHAR site, is acknowledged.


COPYRIGHT 2004 – 2021

The contents of this website are Copyright to David Billings. No portion of this website story may be used without permission. All Rights to the content of this story based on the Earhart Lockheed Electra 10E aircraft being on New Britain Island are Copyright to David Billings and the story is the Intellectual Property of David Billings.

306 thoughts on “Earhart’s Disappearance Leads to New Britain

  1. @ “H” for December 18th….

    Cold, Chilled or Icy Fuel……

    Well, If you can get it and can run it into the engine without problems then the theory is that a “cold gallon of gas” has more energy than a “hot gallon of gas”, because by volume it weighs more (is more dense) and therefore contains more energy than a hot gallon…… So if you are loaded with 1100 USG of “chilled” fuel and leave it standing in the sun you might end up with 1103 USG of less chilled fuel by the time you take off….big deal…

    Personally, I feel it would cause more problems which would outweigh the slight advantage gained.

    You have to chill it and you have to keep the aircraft chilled before take-off. Then you have to climb quickly to where it is cold, to keep it cold…… which means wasting fuel and shortening your track distance with a steep climb as against a slow climb at less power while proportionally increasing your track distance.

    Remember that the R1340-S3H1 Wasp was a supercharged engine with a permanently running direct drive blower but nevertheless it was a carburetor engine, ie; it was not an injected engine. Carburettors are prone to icing up in the cone leading to the venturi, so pushing icy cold fuel through a carburettor is not a good idea. Somewhere in one of the books Earhart mentions carb. heat and she would need it at cruising altitude. Using weakened mixture for economy will also make a Pilot very aware that carb. heat management is essential. Last Flight mentions (on Page 33): “Ice in Carb, engine in and out, leaned too much…”. Over any ocean, that… would get a PIlot’s attention very rapidly….. That quote is also indicative that Earhart was possibly using “Lean of Peak”, where the mixture is leaned off slightly more than normal. Earhart had met Charles Lindbergh and Lindbergh was said to be a user of Lean of Peak.

    The temperature of the air/fuel mixture going into the cylinder on the intake stroke is also crucial to the power developed. A “cool” dense charge of air/fuel mixture will produce more power than a “hot’ less dense charge of mixture for instance but with a blower running at a ratio of 10 to 1, doing its best to compress the mixture, compressing the mixture will heat it up anyway (Boyle’s Law). The weight of the mixture charge also factors into this and that is why water injection is sometime used in a piston engine at take-off because a few drops of water injected with the mixture increase the weight of the mixture charge. Cool fuel and cool air will add to the power generated, for sure, Those of us that have lived in places where cold fogs exist will perhaps have noticed how their car seems a little perkier on cold frosty mornings…. when you have got it started that is !

    There is a very good book I read years ago about the use of cold fuel and that is “Red Ball in the Sky” by Charles F. Blair (Jr). Blair was famous for flying an early Model P-51 Mustang over the Arctic on record runs. The Mustang had been modified to have “wet wings” so the whole of the wing was a fuel tank and his most famous flight over that continent was from Bardufoss in Norway to Alaska (Fairbanks ?) over the pole. Blair’s system was to cram as much fuel as he could into the Mustang so as to ensure he had plenty because navigating over the pole is not an easy thing to do. Of note was that the wing had a leak, so he was quite brave….! Blair was also famous as the man that married the lovely Maureen O’Hara (a 60’s and 70’s film actress for the young ‘uns). Blair’s Mustang hangs from the rafters in the Smithsonian….




  2. Are you familiar with retired USAF Pilot/Navigator Major Joe Lodrige’s explanation on where Amelia Earhart went missing…? Lecture published on You Tube in May 2017. He surmises that there was insufficient fuel to reach the Gilberts and that AE and FN had crashed east of Howland and Baker, at 10N 175.55W


    1. @ GlueBall December 19th…

      Yes GlueBall, I have watched Major Lodrige’s theory on the loss at sea, which makes it join the “Crashed and Sankers” series of theories. Has Major Lodrige seen mine ?

      Is Major Lodrige aware of the “Contingency Plan” I wonder, for it would be a brave duo that would venture out towards HOW without considering the need for an alternate. An alternate plan does exist in the transcription in the University of Wyoming as has been mentioned, many times.

      Earhart and Noonan and the Theories:

      I think you would agree that “each and every” theory has to be considered in the search for the Electra and AE & FN. If only the few theories without evidence are considered, then we will get absolutely “Nowhere.”

      Of these theories, around US$10 M + has been spent on scouring the sea-bed as attempts for the C & S theories. These theories are “also” put out by qualified Navigators and those searches of the sea-bed have been made without any success. This money has been spent nevertheless (by Nauticos and Ted Waitt), despite there being no evidence of a loss at sea. The Northern Ireland Group who also have a theory made by a Navigator, are yet to attempt the feat when they can raise the money….they also have no evidence.

      Meanwhile, we wait for anther possible attempt by the group who have “the other website” which seems to be in an exceedingly quiet mood at present. This “other website” group have already spent US$10M of OPM, based on “no evidence” and this group has a theory based on an ever-expanding set of assumptions which bulge outwards like some huge inflated rubber balloon. I see that they are now asking for funds to be able to hear Glen Miller again….. kind of a Moonlight Serenade !

      Then we have The Marshalls and Saipan theories which have a plethora of eye-witnesses which accuse the Japanese of locking up Earhart and Noonan and basically throwing away the key until their souls depart this Earth…. The Japanese were meticulous at keeping records of their deeds. The Unit 731 Harbin records are perfect examples of this record keeping and yet no written evidence of AE & FN being held have emerged and the Marines and Army who were at ASLITO Field on Saipan when the Electra was found in a hangar there, have not come forward to say “Hello”….. yet.

      Meanwhile, here in Australia we have a modest attempt at finding the Electra, which actually does have some evidence in documentary form written on a WWII Map. This documentary evidence has been backed up by the sighting recollections of three Australian Army Veterans. luckily while they were still alive, their accounts being on film.

      This modest project in Australian is abiding by the “each and every theory has to be investigated” rule it has imposed on itself and to aid and assist in that effort, so far I have received around 85 thousand of our dollars in assistance towards expeditions (even my Mother-in-law gave 500 of those !)…. Each of the visits now costs around 25-30 K so you can see that for all the trips we have made over the last 23 years some other money had to come from somewhere and the answer to that is “My pocket”. All in all I think there is a bit of an imbalance there “money wise”, when we do have evidence, compared to the aforementioned U.S. based attempts at finding the Electra, without evidence.

      As I put in one of my last replies, the words of Alan Caldwell are straightforward and true…he basically said, “No one knows where it went and no one knows how far it went”.

      So, again, yes, I have seen the video, all the way through …..and it joins the C & S Club.




  3. Its a pity Major Lodrige hasn’t seen Mr Billings extensive website . DB has such detailed workings and facts concerning fuel , winds, contacts , and all the key areas that would have been of interest and significance to the Major in arriving at his conclusion.


  4. Hi David, Your theory, like others, maybe possible but not very probable. See my explanation on google you tube.
    We replaced some of the fuel in a rich mixture with water to allow a more desirable fuel/air ratio for high power
    settings; water provided cooling.( My only experience with water in fuel). Wet air is lighter than cold air and higher
    the temperature , the lighter the air. Probably had both working against their performance.
    My coordinates for her disappearance is 10 minutes N/ 175 degrees 55 minutes W.
    Good luck on you r next venture. Sincerely, Joe


  5. “… and Good Luck to all who sail in her…”….

    That epithet has been said at many a ship’s launching and in a way it applies to all those that get entangled in the Earhart Mystery and end up spending years of their lives In trying to untangle the mystery and to reach and to provide a sound conclusion for those in mental anguish.

    So it is, that I have spent the last 23 years on trying to figure out what happened so as to provide a plausible explanation. So it is that I have done that because this project actually does hold the only piece of tangible evidence that exists in the world as to where the Electra may lie. I say may lie, but personally, on the evidence we have I believe that the Electra was seen by the Australian Diggers in April1945. I do believe it to be the Electra.

    I have tried to explain, very carefully, in an analysis of the evidence; all the little intricacies that I can think of to reason why it is, that I believe the wreck is the Electra.

    I have tried to explain that there are two sides to the East New Britain Search Project.

    The first side, is the tangible evidence of a wreck in the jungle, an all-metal unpainted wreck with no military insignia, no outer identification that was seen and which had Pratt & Whitney Wasp engines.. The writing on a map gives us information for identification, it relates to the Army Patrol which found “a” wreck and it relates to a “Reference” and that reference is to Earhart’s Electra. That is the first side to the Project.

    The second side to the project is a HYPOTHESIS of the “how’ in “how in hell did it get back to East New Britain.” I really do not care so much about the second side of the project, in fact I care not what people think about this side of the Project. I provided it only to give an idea of what happened as a hypothesis. To add to that hypothesis, of late, I will say that currently because of the erratic navigation aspects late in the flight, I do begin to think Noonan became incapacitated.

    My concern remains the same as it always has been, which is to find and identify the wreck the Diggers saw and prove it either way, prove it is Earhart’s and allow the recovery of the remains by an appropriate authority, for decent burials. If it is not Earhart’s, it will be eliminated from the search and whosoever’s aircraft it is, there will possibly be remains to be notified to the appropriate authorities.

    All the toing and froing, all the pushing of one project against the next …..that has really no place in my thinking, I am concerned with finding that wreck is all. That is it, all else is superfluous.




  6. David:
    Kudos to your diligent extraordinary performance compilations in demonstrating how AE’s Electra-10E could have stayed airborne 32 hours (averaging 34 gph). It would have required total concentration of aviating with emphasis on precise engine management. It’s a fascinating read.
    Yes, “Good Luck to all who sail in her.” And in such nautical terms one may conclude that Earhart’s sail was too large for her hull.



  7. Fair comment David. But you’ll have to put up with all the speculation! Having said that your case is by far the most convincing, and backed up with a lot of detail. Another sort of speculation question for you,If Noonan was incapacitated and you were the pilot on the Electra, where would you head for for medical aid- I suppose it would depend whether it was a minor incapacity or something more serious like a heart attack..


    1. @ “H” Dec 23rd….
      I can put up with the speculation and if I don’t like it I can always ignore it….

      It is speculation on my part that Noonan may have been incapacitated, but the two radio messages: “about 200 miles out, approximately” followed by “about 100 miles out” one half hour later do not give me confidence that they could have come from Noonan, a 200 mph G./S into a headwind would say that the manifold pressure had been increased and they were gulping fuel, which is not likely on a long distance flight. The repeated indecisiveness indicators “about” and “approximately”, are words that indicate that their status is “imprecise” something a Navigator would not openly say until he had no option but to say it, in other words “I am lost” but at 10,000 feet with some distance to go, I feel that the words as spoken are not words “He” would use and therefore they would have come from Earhart. If it was minor he would have carried on. Food poisoning comes to mind as a crippler.

      Where could she go ? Not much choice at all if she was on her own and could not expect any help from Noonan, If HOW refused to appear she has no choice but to turn back for The Gilberts and hope for the best. If she is on her own, she cannot leave the controls. Remember that people moving around on Ann Pellegreno’s 10 A affected the trim of the aircraft so too dangerous to climb back over the tanks to aid Noonan if he was floored and I say “If”.

      …and now MERRY CHRISTMAS to all the readers of this website…




  8. I don’t think the Indiegogo was a great success for the project David but now you have so much detail on this website might it be worth a go at another CrowdFunding perhaps with a different Crowdfunder?


    1. @”H” Jan 1st

      The Indiegogo fund raiser of what ? 4-5 years ago ? …..was a complete failure because it was set up incorrectly. At the time a lady in Los Angeles had sent some funding and she had the temporary “rights” to the story under a contract. She was attempting further fundraising by this method and she and her friends decided to set it up without including me as the “face” of the funding appeal and instead placed another guy as the “explaining person” when he was not qualified to do that. I didn’t like it but there was little I could do at the time. I think the total I received was under 2 Grand which went nowhere on the next trip.

      I think I have explained before that part of the problem of accepting funding from a person or persons is that they want their slice of the action by a contract signature and it usually incurs signing away the story rights in perpetuity or for a set period. In the case above the capture of the rights depended on completion of the funding arrangement in a set period of time, something that I had insisted upon and which was stipulated in the contract. The period passed and the contract became null….. Luckily.

      Since then the words “in perpetuity” do not exist for me in the English language when it is in reference to the rights to the story of the Earhart Search Project in East New Britain.

      Regards and Happy New Year to All,


  9. David, you obviously know the terrain and jungle characteristics of the likely crash site you are looking at although I appreciate it might have been a bit different in 1937 but I wonder what chance you think the planes crew would have stood of initial survival ? Would the trees be strong enough to support the Electra, at least for a while, and if injured would Earhart and Noonan be able to descend safely to ground level. Would post crash radio messages have been feasible in certain circumstances in your view?


    1. @ “H” Jan 5th

      The Vets described a “round hole” maybe 40 feet across with trees having broken branches visible and the aircraft on the ground on its’ underside. The cockpit smashed back to the wing and the right hand wing bent upwards at the tip from about ten feet or so from the tip. Sounds to me as if it went straight through the tree canopy and hit the ground on the nose and starboard wingtip. The missing engine is the Port engine which if the records are correct should be Serial No. 6150.. I have previously discussed the fact that the props could not be feathered and depending on the position of the Pitch Levers would depend on what the props would do. Possible scenario is a spin to the right and rapid descent into the trees and the impetus ripping the No. 1 engine out and the aircraft going straight though breaking branches and hitting the ground. I would think survivability would be nil. The front of the aircraft was very lightly built hence the damage rearwards to the more substantial wing.
      Radio ? No, not in my view.



  10. If locals had come across the wreckage would they have removed any of the contents from the Electra? I wonder if there are any stories of items from the plane finding their way into villages , and if anything might still exist somewhere?


    1. @ “H Jan 28th….

      A good question. The Pomio people possibly would have “if” they had found it, but they do not know where it is. They are as puzzled as we have been since 1994 when they came in with us to search for the first time under my auspices and they had also been with one search party in 1993. Generally speaking, local people do not enter aircraft wrecks in case there is anything in there which can go “Bang”.

      As you know “H”: and everyone that reads the website knows, I do firmly believe with the evidence we have that we are on to the resting place of the Electra and the missing Earhart and Noonan. Therefore, the wreckage will have been laying out in the open from the years 1937 until the year that I strongly suspect it was buried by the bulldozer driver: “1996”

      We do know that the wreck was off the ridgeline and just slightly down the slope of the ridge to the northern side. The ridgeline runs roughly NNW to ESE.

      What kind of events have occurred in that region of New Britain Island since July 1937 where local people could possibly find the wreck ?

      There has been a tribe of nomadic people called the MOLKOLKOL living in there for many years pre WWII, during WWII and up until 1951. As well as being nomadic they were very violent and were known for raiding villages on the north side of the island in the OPEN BAY area and also on the south side in the WIDE BAY area where the search we do takes place. Two Molkolkol were shot by retreating Australian Troops in the MUMUS River valley when they attacked the party with long handled axes. They were known to co-operate with the Japanese during WWII. They were rounded up in 1951 by the Australian Administration and were taken to RABAUL and integrated into the BAINING Tribes and generally now are known to live in peace and are not distinguishable from the other tribes around the GAZELLE Peninsula. The worst raid they committed killed 51 people on the Wide Bay Coast most probably in the LAMERIEN area where we go and is most probably the reason why they were rounded up. This Molkolkol story is possibly significant to your question because a nomadic tribe wandering through the jungle may have come across the wreck and may have disturbed the contents. This has been at the back of my mind since that the story about a briefcase belong to Earhart was reported found in a locked safe on Saipan and which may very well be true “IF” the Molkolkol had found the wreckage and had handed in a briefcase to the Japanese on New Britain Island.

      The local POMIO people in the Lamerien area are peaceful folk and are very welcoming to us when we go there. They do not venture very far from their coastal village and if they go to the forest to the West it will be for hunting purposes or for their manhood rites and we have seen these occasions. When they do travel through the forest they generally follow the ridgelines. They assure me positively that they have never seen this wreck we look for but they have seen the B-17 in the Mumus River area. They took me to that in the year 2000. In fact, these are the same tribe of people who recovered some of the bodies of the crew in 1942 and who took them and buried them behind the RILE Church as the story goes… and which were recovered post-war. They are as interested as we are to find the wreck for it will give an opportunity to bring tourists to their area. If they knew where it was they would tell me. It was they who told me in 2011 that the wreck was buried on purpose when the secret broke and the brother-in -law of the deceased bulldozer driver on hearing we were back again looking for it, ‘confessed’ to holding the secret and came out with it but he himself does not know “where” it is buried.

      Extensive logging has been carried out in the area and on the ridgeline, hence the bulldozer entering the scene in 1996. or just slightly earlier. I have an aerial photo I took from the cockpit of a Fokker F28 when I asked the Captain if he would kindly slightly deviate to fly over the area on our way back from RABAUL to Port MORESBY. He did so and I could see that the loggers had made many tracks through the jungle in their pursuit of timber and this would be when “Alvinus” the BD Driver would have been making these tracks .

      Luckily our visit in late 1996 took us to this area and my memory bank recorded the large patch of loose earth just off to the north side of the ridgeline and off the ridgeline BD track. This, fits with the description given by the patrol Lieutenant, Ken Backhouse. Finding that patch in a terribly overgrown and secondary jungle area which the ridge has become after the damage done by the logging… is now the nightmare we face.




  11. Is it beyond the realms of possibility that you could get a few local people you know and trust to undertake some ground examination if you send out some equipment and guidance , maybe remotely supervising them somehow ? One ‘educated’ leader could maybe supervise such a local search.


    1. Ground penetrating radar rentals …http://allgpr.com/rental

      LIDAR UAV Drone rentals …https://www.lidarusa.com/

      Deep penetrating metal detectors. https://www.okmmetaldetectors.com/en/depth-penetration-table/ “The engine of a fighter plane was located by Future I-160 in about 5 m depth under CONCRETE soil.” (16.4 ft)

      On Fri, Mar 2, 2018 at 10:44 AM, Earhart Lockheed Electra Search Project wrote:

      > ‘H’ commented: “Is it beyond the realms of possibility that you could get > a few local people you know and trust to undertake some ground examination > if you send out some equipment and guidance , maybe remotely supervising > them somehow ? One ‘educated’ leader could maybe ” >


    2. @ “H” for 28 February….
      I am sorry to say that it would be beyond the realms of possibility to do that. We are talking about a very remote rural area where education standards are low and sense and sensibility are poor. It’s not their fault, education has always been the key to unlocking the potential of the people of Papua New Guinea but where we go there are no Government services.
      An education is reliant in Missionary schools and other outside help. It was said to me some years ago by an Administrator of a Church Society who had been on PNG for many years that the Pomio people of East New Britain were some of the most disadvantaged peoples in PNG


  12. A further question David, can you be confident you and your team haven’t been over the wreckage on some earlier visits and that your equipment has failed to detect it? Is the equipment you use capable and reliable in giving readings?


  13. Amelia Earhart was groomed to be be an inspirational female. Told to smile so as not to show her gapped front teeth, for instance. Flushed with success after crossing the Atlantic, Ms Earhart was determined to prove herself as the first aviatrix to circumnavigate via the longest route, the equator. After the Luke Field incident, AE looked westward with FN to prove herself minus Manning and Mantz, so as to arrive in the USA on 4th of July celebrations with intention of publishing thereafter. As Remy Martin put it, ” …Earhart’s sail was too large for her hull”. Logistics. Logistics. Logistics.


    1. Could just be a case of unknown knowns, known unknowns, known knowns and unknown unknowns…

      Maybe she got to Gardner, got captured by the Japanese via a submarine, who then pulled the Electra off to ENB, then took Earhart to Saipan for execution, Fred already being dead as stated in Betty’s notebook…

      Or perhaps she crash-landed at ENB, the Japanese followed her, took sundry items to Gardner such as Fred’s banjo, the Electra’s toilet paper (which apparently can be seen in HD video), engine casing, Earhart’s freckle cream jar etc, to make it look like the plane landed there…then took FN and AE to Saipan so that Fred -an expert in Celestial Navigation- could teach the Japanese his navigation techniques in preparation for Pearl Harbor, and AE could show them the nursing skills she picked up in Canada, as well as show the Japanese how to fly a plane with no real ability to do so.


  14. Sorry Guys, I’ve been busy since Feb 4th with posts to the “PPrune Forum” on “Pacfic and General Questions…. there is a thread about Earhart on there, just catching u now….

    For “H”on March 5th:
    Maybe we have been over the site and didn’t pick it up on our MD’s… Ill have to think about that.. There is a new kind of Metal Detector on sale which does go down abut ten feet (3 Metres) but it is quite expensive around US$10,000 i I believe, I could not justify that at present in y finances.

    For “ad rem” on March 15th:
    You seem to be reinforcing the point that she “took a lot on” by choosing to fly as near to the equator as she could… So you have done that. That’s what happens, “Records ” are made to be broken is the only reply I can think of….

    For “passing Through” on March 16th:
    You have just proven that it is possible “to make stuff up !”…… Mr. Gillespie would decorate you with an “Order of Loch Aber” if he had an inking of how much you have advertised his Assumptions and Misleading Claims. There has been a development in the misleading claims department though:… The Aluminum aircraft skin scrap which he calls “The Patch” has been found to accurately match the starboard upper wing skin area of a C-47 but he has not announced this yet, even though the match was found last July 2017 by the Staff at the New England Aircraft Museum. Search the TIGHAR website and you will find no reference to the match being made… “Go figure” why there has been no admittance that “The Patch” is a non-event, after all the thousands and thousands of words expending trying to prove it came from the Electra…

    For Remy Martin in March 20th:
    No, no, no, Gillespie might pick upon it and try to raise funds with it… It would be a JP Barnum moment !

    Regards to all,


  15. David, some independent support in the form of peer reviewed paper.

    The Nikumaroro Bones Identification Controversy:
    First-hand Examination versus Evaluation by Proxy –
    Amelia Earhart Found or Still Missing?

    Pamela J. Cross
    Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford UK

    Richard Wright
    Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, University of Sydney, Australia

    “Without access to the missing original bones, it is impossible to be definitive, but on balance, the most robust scientific analysis and conclusions are those of the original British finding indicating the Nikumaroro bones belonged to a robust, middle-aged man, not Amelia Earhart.” (Page 1)

    “This critical review of the original British investigation and the 1998 reassessment finds there is no supportable evidence to impugn the original British analyses. The most robust analysis of the Nikumaroro bones indicates the individual was most likely a stocky male, not Amelia Earhart.” (Page 17)

    Both above quotes used for educational purposes and are copyright. Cross/Wright 2015: The Nikumaroro Bones and Amelia Earhart.



    1. @ad rem, Aril 1st:

      Yes, this is the paper that spurred TUGHAR into getting DR. Richard Jantz to carry out another miracle and declare Male bones Female at long distance in space and time from the original “Two Doctors” appraisal of what they (underlined) made to be MALE bones (they actually handled them) made in 1941. All together this farce of re-gendering..an already correct gender notation into something like a cross between Monty Python and FawltyTowers.


  16. back in January 2015 the TV show Expedition Unknown did the PNG search for AE. Perhaps it is time to get Josh Gates and do a follow up. Your evidence is compelling enough to get them involved, which in turn gets publicity which translates to funding.


    1. Yes, I had josh Gates contact me about four years ago and we corresponded. What I realised form all the talk was that Josh Gates is all about Josh Gates and any show done by him would be a cavalcade of antics involving all the theories rolled into one half hour show interrupted by adverts. I don’t think Gillespie of TIGHAR was impressed either….

      Basically, I don;t think he was serious enough and leave it at that.



      1. David- The pPrune website concerning your search has so much interesting content and has generated a fantastic level of interest – people on pPrune should read your website and people who have just read your website should take a look at the pPrune correspondence. When will The Australian article be published?


        1. @ H for 5th June….

          My apologies for the late reply but I have been waiting for the newspaper’s photographer to appear for a “photoshoot”…. of me !

          In respect to the readers of “pprune”, the website title has been put up there quite a few times so surely most of those readers will have read at least some of he website, although from some statements made it is obvious some have not….. Lead a horse to water comes to mind…

          The article due to be printed in the Weekend Magazine should be coming up soon as the lady photographer came this morning (16th) so I guess the pics will be transmitted in the next couple of days and then the article will be set up… so possibly the June 30th “Weekend Australian” is my guess because that will coincide with the loss of the Electra 3rd July…..

          Regards. David.


  17. Hi All. Is it possible that Earhart and Noonan landed at the Marshall Islands, as suggested in one theory, and their aircraft was commandeered and repaired by the Japanese during WWII for the purpose of covert operations? An American aircraft would be ideal for a raid on New Britain, or for reconnaissance. This could explain much of the evidence reported in the article in the Australian. Apologies if this is an old or unwelcome proposition.


    1. Hi Richard, David and All
      I am new at looking at all this, but am astounded at all the details assembled on the WEB sites – i.e. Tighar, PPrune and this one.
      However it all comes back to the facts – the start of the flight (there is no dispute) and the finish which may have a few conclusions. i.e. Ocean, remote Pacific Island, PNG or something else.
      It appears that the end of the flight evidence is the key element in all of this, thus the evidence of the aircraft or human remains.
      From Tighar it appears a remote Pacific Island may the answer and from this site that PNG may be the answer. Both possible proposals have credible research and site visits, but the metal or remains appear elusive to date.
      So it really gets back to finding some aircraft remains in PNG with the latest technology and with modern metallurgy history analysis it would answer that part.
      Due to the remoteness of the site and difficulties in financing such, it appears that maybe a group of interested parties approach could be considered.
      I am also not young (73) but have worked in PNG (Lihir), was an amateur pilot and are willing to assist.
      Kind Regards


    2. @Richard Kelsob 4th August

      Like the saying goes: “Anything’s possible”. Let us just wander into Google Earth and take a look at where the most popular destination in the theory of the Marshall Island , “Mili Atoll” is situated. In this exercise we will say that at 1030 GMT the “Ship in sight ahead” radio call was meaning that the ship actually was the USS ONTARIO. MILI is almost directly N.E. of where the ONTARIO was positioned .

      After leaving the ONTARIO the Electra now takes a 45 degree alteration to the course for HOWLAND and heads for the Marshall s 770 miles away. The headwind is now a quartering “abeam” wind and they can make 150 mph groundspeed. The track line passes NAURU off to the left by ten miles.. The Electra will be there in five hours at 1530 GMT or about 2:30 am in the early morning, Local time. (Why go there in the dark ?)

      From MILI to HOWLAND is a further 880 miles and they now have a headwind quotient of about 20 mph and speed is reduced to around 130 mph G/S., They have 880 miles to run and will be at HOWLAND at 2215 GMT or 10:45 Local “ITASCA” time. If Earhart called at 1912 GMT, “…must be on you…” she will be 390 miles from HOWLAMD still, with three hours to run.

      The event described would still have happened in 1937 and fishing an aluminum aircraft out of seawater and having “enough” fresh water (Thousands of gallons) on an Atoll in the Pacific with which ti hose it out in every nook and cranny with fresh water “immediately”,to stop it corroding is out of the question… Then in top of T==that you have to hide it for five years while you reconditionthe engines for the purpose of reconnaissance over New Britain in a war which had not yet been contemplated…. You also need to build a runway somewhere, which they did on TRUK….

      No, I don’t think they flew up to MILI, either that way or “off course” or after they didn’t get to HOWLAND Because to fly from the track line to MILI from where I think they oit to is still over 700 miles in a N.E. direction when The Contingency Plan was to fly to The GILBERTS if they could not find Howland.

      The adage, “..if you do not know where you are, you cannot Navigate to a known destination”, holds true and that also applies to NIKUMARORO. Attempting the Marshalls or NIkumaroro from an unknown position is madness compared to back tracking for The Gilberts that you alreday know are behind you. It is the same plan as when you are lost in a City.



      1. @Ron Haggart AUG 4th

        Yes there is a MS Excel spreadsheet on my laptop which has been put onto the website in condensed format in a MS Word Table. To print the Excel file would be some 30 pages. That file was done at 14700 lbs AUW with a max iof 10K Feet altitude. I also have one for 15000 AUW at 10K ALT. Earhart had also flown the Electra in the U.S. from NYC to Phoenix at 12,000 feet and I have contemplated doing that as well but have not yet got around to it.

        There is a definite advantage by flying higher which conserves just a little bit more fuel (I have found). So, by my figures to fuel exhaustion it could just make it….therefore if it can make it at 10,000 feet it cab make it at 12,000 feet where air resistance is lower. By using the system derived from LR487 Page 30 data, you can also see where the direct drive suoerchaging blower reaches its limits when you climb the Electra and do the maths by the formulas… there is a perceptible minor change in the fuel flow requirement after 5000 feet, to me anyway….. Quite weird to see it happen



        1. HI Bill and thanks for your response and Web details.

          One could possibly come up with the conclusion that they were hopelessly lost with most of the outward leg at night i.e.

          Noonan described his tools and procedures for plotting the Clipper’s course. He wrote, “The actual navigation was comparable with such as would be practiced afloat—fixes were determined entirely by stellar observations at night.”

          I have travelled to and from Lihir Island many times and I would not like to be navigating by stars at night (astrodome?? – side windows??) in this area. On several occasions the commercial flight could not see the Island to land during daylight and was diverted to Kavieng. All one could see on some returns were the cone of Mt Ulawun (2,334M) rising through the clouds.

          If it were me I would go back from whence I came using the opposite compass headings, thinking I could not possibly miss Bougainville, New Ireland or New Britain in daylight.

          It could be suggested weather entrapped them again with little fuel in fading light in New Britain thus the end of the flight as proposed.


    3. Richard, I think that anyone who is studying this seriously keeps an open mind at some level, whatever theory they favour. It is worth remembering that the Japanese were not at war with the US in 1937 and were interested in international developments in aviation. They bought one model 10 Electra from Lockheed in 1938, and several model 14s later, and went on to build them under license, so if they wanted an American aircraft for some purpose during the war they would have several available. I hope that doesn’t start a new conspiracy theory!


      1. @Tom, Richard and Ron…. re: This Discussion “Marshalls”

        For me, I have to look at this question pragmatically and use logic….

        It stands to reason that to end up in The Marshall Islands would mean such a change in direction if on the “outbound leg” as to be able to say, “Looks like she was a spy after all…”, for to make that big a mistake is outside of the Navigating abilities of Frederick Noonan and therefore, must have been “on purpose” but then again, exactly what would Earhart be able to see at 2:30 am in the morning when they did arrive ?

        If she went there after failing to find Howland Island and with a “Now Known” Contingency Plan it defies logic that if that plan was to backtrack to The Gilberts, then they fly back into the west, initially with the sun on their right hand side abeam the aircraft, later, they will be following the sun. If they turn for The Marshalls and head NW,, the sun will initially be ahead if them and later it will be on their left-hand side. This would mean that Noonan could not recognise this simple navigational aid , “the sun” and had also totally lost his compass.

        To some the Marshalls seem logical and to some others the Phoenix Group of Islands seem the place to be. The Marshalls by any look are further away from The Gilberts, when you pull up Google Earth and use the measuring tool. The Phoenix Group are closer than the Gilberts but widely spaced and could easily be missed. The danger with both of these selections is that, if you have failed to find Howland it means that “the NAVIGATION” has failed, if the Navigation has failed, it unfortunately means you areblost or “unsure of your position”… If you are UOYP, you cannot navigatie to anywhere there is a known position off your course. BUT, and it is a big BUT… If you know that on your present course you did pass over a string of islands, you will know that it you turn 180 degrees you will reach them again… That is why she picked The Gilberts, logically, it is the best bet.



      2. Hi Tom and Bill

        This suggests that the aircraft could be a Thalia, Thelma or Toby, but this would conflict with the identification tag and map research. These aircraft appear to have different engines, cowlings and propeller sets etc.



        They certainly would pass for covert operations in PNG and are also very similar in appearance to the very common Beechcraft Model 18 of the period..

        The best solution would be to locate the aircraft.


        1. Thalia’s, Thelma’s, Thora, Topsy’s and Tabby’s…

          All Japanese transport types and I recall the Mitsubishi “Nell” was also used as a trans[port.

          The “Thelma’s” and “Thalia’s” were Japanese derivatives of the Lochheed Model 14 known as the “Hudson”. I have a picture somewhere of a twin-fin and rudder aircraft lying in a scrapheap at Hollandia (now Jayapura) and the distinctive Fin and Rudder assembly and stub tailplane outboard of the fin says, “Lockheed” but it is a Thalia or a Thelma as it has the ‘Frise’ type segment on the rudder leading edge which sticks out into the airflow and assists pilot load. The Electra did not have that Frise segment so the wreck is clearly similar to a Hudson and is the Japanese model so they did use the Thalia/Thelma aircraft in the Dutch East Indies but I have not heard of the use in New Guinea.These two used Nakajima enginesin the 1000 H.P. range…

          “Thora: and Topsy” were a light transport with Nakajima and Mitsubishi engines, respectively….. I can’t find Toby !

          “Tabby” was the licence built DC-3 and the engines would have to be bigger than 600 H.P.



          1. For Toby

            From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Model_14_Super_Electra

            Lockheed Type LO Transport Aircraft Long designation given to 30 Model 14-WG3B aircraft delivered by Lockheed for use by Nihon Koku K.K. (Greater Japan Airways Co. Ltd). Given the allied reporting name Toby.

            I appear to be drifting of subject and I think the key points are the unpainted wing top and the engine frame identifications map tag details.

            So just to confuse myself further with some nonsense on these two issues
            1. It appears all military aircraft in PNG WW2 were painted, and any non-military unpainted plane would certainly arouse suspicion.
            2. From http://www.lockheed.adastron.com/electra/eleclist.htm there is a list of all Australian delivered Model 10-A (9 off), 12-A (4 off) and 14 (9 off) and subsequent histories with none missing.
            3. From Earhart’s first attempt crash repairs, could the repaired engine mount with the tag attached have been fitted to a later manufactured / repaired aircraft. Earhart’s 1055 was number 5 of 15 10-E’s in the manufacturing line of 149 total. So how many were manufactured and sold unpainted prior to the beginning of the WW2.
            4. One could also ask are the engine mounts frames interchangeable for the 10-A, C and E using the different model Wasp engines. We are now going around in circles looking for an unpainted Model 10 with a repaired 1055 10-E engine mount frame sold prior to WW2..
            5. Model 14’s appear to be a non-event as all Model 14’s had engines of 875+ horsepower and would have different engine mount frames..

            The evidence needs be substantiated from the PNG aircraft.

            Ron H


    4. From https://www.thisdayinaviation.com/tag/lockheed-super-electra-14-n2/ it is of interest of what Earhart could have done with an Electra 14 by looking at Howard Hughes special with 4500 miles range introduced in Oct. 1937. Earhart was not in the same league as Hughes with navigation, radio, safety, risks etc.

      One could expect that the Japanese would be watching this aircraft very carefully and probably copied some aspects of it for covert mapping purposes with one of their own imported 14’s prior to WW2.

      But until then they may have to do with 1055 until it came to grief in New Britain on a mission.


  18. I am relatively new to this, and initially thought that crashed-and-sank was most likely, but since some of the post-loss radio calls appeared to be genuine I started looking at the range of the aircraft, and that brought me to David’s research quite quickly. As an engineer I like his approach and I think he is right. It is worth looking at the other theories if only to discount them, except that life is too short….and it does seem almost certain that the wreck in PNG is the Electra. The only possible Japanese involvement (apart from the fact that they assisted in the search) is that one of their wartime patrols might have found the wreck before the Australians did, as David himself has written. If so it should have been recorded, and I wonder if there is anything in Japanese archives?


  19. Yes, i wonder too if a Japanese patrol might have come across the wreckage – if so they might have removed things like papers or brief cases etc. Which would have found their way somewhere into Japanese military circles.


  20. David,

    This is a piece of speculation, but may be of interest. Looking at the flight from Lae towards Howland in part 6, if Noonan was compos mentis and saw the Ontario, he would, as you say, have calculated a revised ETA – but he does not seem to have passed it on to Earhart – hence “must be on you” at 1912. Could this have been deliberate? He might have concluded that with no astro, significant head winds, and doubtful radio, they were not likely to find Howland, and pretending to be lost was the most diplomatic way of getting Earhart to turn back sooner rather than later. Just my thoughts.


    1. @ Ron Haggart: Your points…..
      1. A lot Japanese aircraft were not a[painted at the start, all allied aircraft were until some appeared unpainted when air superiority was achieved. Your point is correct though that an aircraft unpainted AND without military insignia would be noticed… as it was.
      2. All Model 10’s have been accounted for except for two, CN’s 1055 ad 1065. 1065 is in Russia somewhere.
      3. If all others are accounted for, “No”… plus it is not likely. Sending it out fir repair in order to refit later was O.K. because they had plenty of time with the rebuild on their hands. I would hazard that all of them were delivered unpainted… whatever order they went down the line, her’s was CN1055.
      4. The other engines were smaller so the mount pickups would be unique to the R-1340 engines. I doubt that there was adifference to the 550 HP version and the 600HP version, the pickup points would be the same but possibly the n 600 mounts had slightly bigger tubing. I don’t know on that.

      @ Tom Gwyn and @”H”:
      I have enough trouble with Australian Records without tackling hyroglyphics !
      It is feasible that wandering local people such as the Molkolkol did find it and report to the Japanese, I have as you say “spoken of that” I would not say it could not have happened but cannot say that it did…

      @ Tom Gwyn:
      Navigators will pass on a new ETA, it is standard practice. The time if the “overhead” at Nukumanu is critical to assess their average G/S over the distance NUK – ONTARIO. My working believes that they were abeam NUK at about 0710 0710 GMT(7:10 hours into the flight) and with about 430 miles to go (off the tip of my head) their Av G/S would work out to 124 mph…meaning a G/S at the ONTARIO of about 120 mph, down 18 mph so realistically that would be his latest speed and with around 1250 miles to go the ETA would be in 10 hours making it 2036 GMT so calling at 1912 GMT was 1:24 too early (rough figures while I am replying). I think I have this on the website. It just does not make sense to me why she called “on you” at 1912 GMT. I have said before, I am beginning to think, she panicked due to the conditions.



      1. From what I can see on the Web, It appears there were 2 only 10-E specials with long range capabilities 1055 and 1065.

        Of the 15 only 10-E’s, I can only find 1025 (Ejército Argentino), 1042, 1053, 1054, 1055, 1065, 1133 (Pan Am) & 1130 (Pan Am) = 8 only, but I suspect Pan Am took delivery of many more, thus I have several missing 10-E’s.

        But this is all academic if10-E engines may not be interchangeable without a new engine mount frame for a 10- A,B,C although it appears some conversions were done i.e. 1138..

        The earlier 1017 model Lockheed KXL1 to Japan is a mystery and 1065 is already covered in detail.

        So enough of all this confusion, which takes us no closer to the PNG site.


  21. Marshall Islands way out thoughts.

    Another explanation how 1055 could have ended up in PNG from the Marshall Islands.

    Japan must have desperately required detailed military information on SE Asia for its East Asian Federation plans prior to WW2.

    For spying at the time, what better aircraft could there be than 1055 10-E;
    1. Long range – 4,000 + miles,
    2. Could be mistaken (with a new ID) for any of the many unpainted 10, 12 or 14’s that may have operated in the area – American, Australia, Guinea Airways, Indonesia KNILM and Japan NKYKK.

    Of course this would mean the unhappy end for Earhart and Noonan as has already been proposed.

    If 1055 was lost on one of these flights nobody may be the wiser and worth the risk.


    1. @Ron Haggart
      Well, a good theory… but as I said previously, they would need the whole of one of The MarshalI Island (Atoll) lagoons to be fresh water p.d.q., in order to wash all the salt out of the Electra plus a reconditioning shop for the engines…. They had all the photographs and maps they needed for Rabaul and the Gazelle peninsula anyway…. Japanese “Maru’s” had been calling in to the harbour at Rabaul for years…..
      An excellent book is; “Hostages to Freedom – The Fall of Rabaul” by Peter Stone ISBN0646241249 …. It is a fairly hefty tome, full of maps and photographs, you can’t put it down… Try your local library, too expensive to buy, I got in early….!


      1. I was assuming from other Web sites that 1055 was recovered from the land (not the water) and shipped elsewhere (Saipan?) from Jabat Island.

        The Japanese radio ciphers were broken by 1937.

        US would not divulge any knowledge of Earhart gleaned from ciphers thus endangering code discoveries under any circumstances as area tensions were well established by then.

        The metal tag is probably siting in an intelligence cupboard somewhere.

        From other Web sites and http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/102064-group-to-build-amelia-earhart-monument-on-saipan Saipan is now proposed for a monument etc.

        I was also thinking other sensitive SE areas.


        1. @Ron Haggart…

          Heard today from MIke Campbell that the Saipan memorial is unlikely to go ahead.

          The only two missing Model 10E’s are 1055 and 1065 but we do know that 1065 was sold to Russia after Sir Hubert Wilkins (Australian Arctic Explorer) used it to search for the missing Russian Crew of a 1930’s bomber which was to make a “goodwill” tour of the States.

          George Carrington’s book on Earhart has a full list of Electra’s in the back of the book (including the XC-35)
          ISBN 0-9693175-2-2. It is a useful book but carries baggage.



          1. In the late 1930”s espionage was used extensively in the lead up to WW2 and in 1937, 1055 and 1065 may have been the best proven / reliable long range aircraft in the world.

            To prepare an inconspicuous long range civil aircraft for espionage could take considerable time, so we should not discount the Japanese South Pacific Mandate area as a possible alternative route for 1055 to PNG.

            On arriving at the Gilbert Islands do we turn right or go straight ahead is a conundrum.


  22. Ron, I’m afraid I can’t quite get my head around that! I think if the Japanese wanted to fly a secret mission over PNG in 1937 they would have planned it carefully with their own aircraft.

    David, you are probably right that she panicked in the conditions, and it is certainly not worth arguing about. It just seemed to me that she did not know the new ETA, and as a navigating instructor, Noonan would have been well able to stay one jump ahead of his students.

    None of this gets any closer to finding the wreck – may I ask whether you have made any more progress there?


    1. The Japanese South Pacific Mandate (HQ Saipan) was a very big area with much military development in the 1930’s including airfields.

      From this area 1055 with a range of 4,500 + miles + oxygen = 5,000 miles maybe, could fly over most of SE Asia including Australia without raising suspicion.

      From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aircraft_of_Japan_during_World_War_II it appears there were no Japanese aircraft capable of this performance available in 1937 except maybe Kawanishi H6K (Mavis) which was not conspicuous.

      In 1937 they could not have had recent aerial photograph installations of SE Asia areas of interest for planning without raising some suspicion.

      From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidney_Cotton is a good example of Electra spying prior to WW2.

      The point of all of this is that 1055 could have come from somewhere else as an other alternate to a direct return to PNG.

      So hopefully, the rediscovery in the near future of the 1055 will reveal all.

      Amen (so be it).


      1. From https://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwii/articles/airrecon.aspx Air Reconnaissance in the Pacific

        For their part, the Japanese did appreciate the value of air reconnaissance. ………..Prior to the war, the Japanese performed meticulous aerial mapping of Malaysia and the Philippines, but ……

        It is interesting as to what type of aircraft they must have used without being conspicuous.

        From recent research https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/07/world-war-japanese-maps-discovered/ and http://stanford.maps.arcgis.com/apps/PublicGallery/index.html?appid=1ed3022fc7884690a2f137bce9dfe4fe it gives a good idea of some of the secret detailed Japanese WW2 maps.

        There appears to be more about secret Japanese mapping to be revealed yet.


        1. From what I can glean including http://pacificdigitallibrary.org/cgi-bin/……… it appears the South Pacific Mandate airports available or in construction from 1934 up to WW2 include Saipan 1934 (Aslijo, Lito – Isely, Kobler), Truk 1935 (Etan), Peleliu 1938, Ponarp 1939, Kwagalein etc and probably a few more smaller fields.

          From these airfields most of SE Asia and Australia were within the range of 1055.

          Anyhow the PNG remains will divulge from which way it came.


  23. There has been a lot of interest since the newspaper article was published and I have been asked how much it would cost to carry out a LiDAR Survey followed by a Ground Search. I am waiting for one quote and then I can submit a budget. There have been no promises made as to it going ahead unfettered by financial constraints and I have not been offered a cash lump sum in order to go ahead independently. As it has always been, it is a case of “wait and see” what happens after publicity, One thing is for sure, and tht is that I cannot spend any more on it.


    1. David, From what I have seen of Lidar it would probably show the ground disturbances that you need to see, so I hope very much that you can find someone to fund it. I think one problem is that there have been so many theories about the disappearance, often just wishful thinking, that none of them are taken seriously.


    2. Some thinking in support of possible funding.

      One would think with all this recent media attention in the Australian newspaper, that the Federal Government would get on board for unfinished WW2 business by using the resources of the military / grants / war museum to assist etc..

      They seem to forget that it was the Australians whom may have found the aircraft.

      Maybe somebody can have a talk to the right Politicians in Canberra.


      1. @Ron Haggart Aug 15th
        “On arriving at the Gilbert Islands do we turn right or go straight ahead is a conundrum.”

        Ah ! Here is where I say, I would have liked to have been a fly on the cockpit wall…… If she thought she was at or lateral to Howland then on turning back she had to have the fuel for 600 miles in order to reach The gilberts “PLUS” some more fuel to allow her to I find a nice spot to put it down…. However if she sees land after 1.75 hours (1:45) then she has more fuel available than she though she would have…. What to do. As I keep saying; the pilots I have spoken with all said they would keep going…. A case of where there’s life there’s hope. A crash-landing on The Gilberts with possible fatal injuries or carry on until the inevitable forced landing anyway …

        @Ron Haggart Aug 16th

        Japanese Mapping: Yes, I see what you mean, they did it by aerial photography (obviously) and the airfields of LAKUNAI, VUNAKANAU and RAPOPO are clearly marked. They added Kerevat and Tobera airfields after they had knocked the door down.

        New Britain: Kūchū shashin sokuryōzu Bisumaruku Guntō jūomanbun no ichi

        @Ron Haggart Aug 18th

        I would think most espionage was carried out from TRUK (or Chuuk)

        @Tom Gwyn August 16th

        I am working on a way of funding it and I think it will be O.K. I will be getting the quotation shortly

        The biggest funding has gone to TIGHAR, some US$10 million by my last count and no positive evidence has turned up. Turning over a decision by two British Doctors that the pelvic bone fragment came from a Male (including a sketch of the fragment done by Dr, Hoodless) was one of the more refined claims made by establishing that the Male fragment came from a Female (!) and the other measurements from the same Doctor of the bones in the batch made it that the female was about 5 feet 9 inches tall and was of a “Nordic” race…. Not from a “Short and stocky MALE” as recorded by the good Doctor. All made possible by “Scientific Methodology” and use of a computer. Guess who is the female (?). The piece of aluminium skin constantly touted as coming from the Electra (“Conclusive proof”) since it was found in 1991 has been a main piece of evidence since then…. Now found to have come from a C-47 by “astute” scrutinisers at the New England Aircraft Museum (Well Done !) and yet a C-47 was supposed to have been “minutely” inspected….. but not a word about that since and no explanation to members of the organisation. The mind boggles.


        1. With reasonable visibility and at the sighting of a recognisable Gilbert Island before deciding to go ahead about 1500 miles to Rabaul, Earhart would have to have had some confidence in the remaining fuel supply instead of heading for Jabat or Jabour townships in the Marshall islands about 500 miles away with some inhabited atoll / island groups in the vicinity along the way.

          From https://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/Bulletins/61_FuelSystem/61_FuelSystem.htm
          With 13 separate fuel tanks in a very complicated system, how was fuel managed and measured. I can find little on the fuel gauge system or the fuel management plan.

          One could assume that at some time Earhart ensured the tanks were dry by engine misfire or some other method to ensure maximum range.

          With bad visibility and no sighting of the Gilbert Islands, west is the only way to go by using compass and Sun positions.

          Either way one could well imagine the mental status of Earhart with clouded thinking at this point in time and to carry on regardless west is most probably what happened.


          1. @Ron Harggart 20 Aug….
            We neither know “how far” Earhart got to, or “where” she gt too. Failure to get to Howland say clearly that they were “unsure if their position.
            When people question the possibility of a return to ENB I have to state that there are two sides to this Project.
            The Factual side is the Map evidence and the eye-witness accounts from the three Veterans who saw wreckage.
            People are NOT content with that, they want to know “How” it would be possible for the Electra to get back to ENB on minimum gas. Fair enough…. I then give a Hypothesis based on the climatic conditions for wind in July, the fact that the Electra with a large wing area and a good Lift/Drag ratio needed economic power to stay in the air at weights below the normal MAX AUW of 10,500 lbs. This is proven from the figures in Lockheed Report 487.
            I extrapolate these figures in LR487 Page 30 (corrected) to enter this into a MS Excel spreadsheet where i have five very large tables in the file showing Coefficient of LIFT, Coeff. of DRAG, Lift/Drag Ratio, Total Drag figure and Horsepower Required. These tables run in 100 lbs increments from a weight of 16500 lbs down to 7500 lbs and from a speed of 70 mph to 190 mph… hence this file is HUGE.
            Those five tables are governed by the Air Density value, corrected for temperature, for differing altitudes and when I change the Density ie; “The ALTITUDE” in ONE Cell, all the table figures change as each individual cell has a formula inside….. I can therefore tell you what H.P is required to fly at 160 mph at 7000 feet at whatever tempersture for instance or any combination.. From the H,P required figure I can get a Fuel Flow figure per hour. The data is then fed into another MS Excel file and plotted from the MAX AUW down to fuel exhaustion.

            Doing this takes a few days. But it gives a result for a HYPOTHESIS.

            How did Earhart Manage the fuel ? There were gauges for the wing tanks only. Earhart had a tabular (paper) control of gas gone per hour from the twin needle flowmeter on the INST. Panel. Knowing which tank she was feeding from and the content, she would feed until down to say, the last 50 Gallons and then tanks were switched, feeding from AFT to FWD tanks in the fuselage and feeding fuel into a collector tank (RH Inboard I recall but don’t quite me). There was a “Stripping Pump” (Wobble type pump) to extract the last drop from a used tank.
            When fuel got down to the wing tanks only, she could read contents off the gauges. The Gauge system was a Hydro-pneumatuc System which a kind of bellows in the tank bottom connected by a small bore “air-line’ To the gauge. Fuel Pressure in the tank caused the air pressure in the bellows to make the needle in the gauge move. The system needed pumping up on a regular basis.

            The PRINCIPLE of the Hypothesis is to SAVE the aircraft. Any Crash-landing/Ditching out in the Pacific Islands or Sea is going to destroy the aircraft or make it so badly damaged, as to make an “economic recovery” not feasible. After the ground loop at FORD Island, my feeling is that Earhart would attempt anything to save the aircraft and that meant a runway.. There is also the thought that if “immediate” death or injury can be stayed…. for another few hours…..

            I always ask in the light that if the decision was to head West, then Ocean Island and Nauru were both possible and Nukumanu Lagoon was also possible…. I know what Pilots would do because I have asked so many f them….

            What would you do ?



          2. David says: “I know what Pilots would do because I have asked so many of them….What would you do?”

            For such a momentous over-ocean flight and KNOWING that finding Howland via dead-reckoning would be equivalent to the luck of finding a needle in a haystack, it’s practical reality to have focused my efforts primarily on communications with Itasca, with emphasis on RDF (Radio Direction Finder) of Itasca’s transmissions. Most important would have been a thorough preflight coordination with Itasca to transmit (like an AM radio station) on 200 to 1430 kcs – compatible with the Lockheed 10E’s installed Bendics receiver and loop antenna. There is no other way to find Howland, especially with a layer of scattered clouds whose shadows reflecting off the water would play tricks with one’s visual acuity in distinguishing a 6 km² spec of land from shadows. To be sure, I wouldn’t be constraint by schedules or other indimitating media frenzies to depart with anything less than:
            1. A 2nd generator installed (On left engine).
            2. Installations of dual HF/VHF/RDF radios.

            In the case of approaching East New Britain on fumes, even in a Moonless night, the shimmer of water and its contrast from that of land is distinguishable, especially at low altitude. I would be hugging the coastline and not dare to be caught crashing into trees.

            Best regards,



        2. It’s prudent to keep in mind that from Dec ’41 till Aug ’45 a vicious war was raging across the western Pacific with many aircraft parts and dead bodies washing up everywhere. To presume that aircraft parts and bones found on any of the Gilberts Islands could only be those of Earhart and Noonan is impractical reality.


        3. David, I have never been convinced by Tighar’s window patch and their web page says a lot about how to add an extra side window to an Electra, but nothing at all about how to patch over it, so I don’t think they were convinced either. Hopefully you can show us the real one in due course!

          I recently found a copy of The Sound of Wings and couldn’t put it down. Usefully it lists the radio messages on the approach to Howland and at 19.29 is “We are circling but cannot hear you…” which suggests they were lost, some time before the “line of position message” at 20.14.


  24. @Tom Gwyn Aug 20….
    That reception although ‘very loud’ may also have been ‘very scratchy’ on HF Radio and the phrase may have been “We are searching” not ‘We are circling’…. because they were supposed to be doing a Line Search on 157-337 at that time…. 15minutes down and 15 minutes back repeated either side of their track line. That way they would cover an area both sides of the line of 12,200 sq.miles.in good visibility and flying at 1000 feet,
    The other part of that Radio call at 1929 GMT gives the wrong frequency for the DF Unit and although she could her the letter A’s, (how “WELL” she could hear them…. we don’t know) she could not get “a minimum'” or NULL point so it would seem to be “I couldn’t hear the signals very well”. After 19 Hours of engine and propeller blast, it is no wonder she couldn’t hear very well but in any case, they could have been too far away from the ITASCA to get a good signal on that frequency.
    That is why I say they were short of Howland because when coupled with the Fred Goerner found Radio call heard by NAURU Radio of “Land in sight ahead” at 2200 GMT 2nd July, she was most probably seeing one of The Gilbert islands. The radio call I refer to is on Page 307 of Goerners book “The Search for Amelia Earhart” First Edition, and the text in the book goes as this:
    The Goerner Radio Call reference:

    Goerner had permission to examine a US Navy file and writes on Page 307:

    “Near the bottom of the thick folder anther piece of evidence had been added. A terse US Navy message with no heading stated: “At 1030, on the morning of the disappearance, Nauru Radio Station picked up Earhart on 6210Kcs saying, “Land in sight ahead.” ”

    “I blinked my eyes, Nearly two hours after Amelia had supposedly run out of gas, a radio station in the Britsh-controlled Gilbert Islands had received her voice. Why was that message not included as part of the 1937 search ? What had she sighted ? Was that the extent of the message ?”
    Key here are the words: ‘at 1030’, ‘on the morning of the disappearance’, 6210kcs’, ‘nearly two hours after’,

    There was of course a “1030” GMT message made by Earhart, heard by NAURU on the way TO Howland….. but on the “Night before” the morning of the disappearance so it cannot be that one. This “1030” does not fit with any other time zone to be “nearly two hours after”…. than it being anything else but US Navy time aboard the USCG ITASCA, the ship that was waiting for her at HOWLAND and 1030 Local time on the ITASCA corresponds to 2200GMT 2nd July which is one and three-quarters (1.75 hours) [nearly two hours] AFTER the supposed last call at 2014GMT when Earhart said she was changing to 6210 Kcs.

    In 1.75 hours Earhart could fly 300 miles, and if on her Reciprocal Course would be seeing The Gilberts, most probably TABITUAEA or NONOUTI island.



  25. I’ve been in comm with David under a different anon name and have been working with excel to determine if Earhart had the range to get near to howland and return to the crash site- assuming only that she followed the max range figures in LAC487 and careful analysis of a few known ‘ gates ” . Short answer is that paying very close attention to pages 7,8,9,34 and some careful GPH versus AUW/GVW , it was possible to have reached the crash site while planning to reach Rabul. And that she **MAY** have seen island UTILOA (sp? ) or TABUK???( from google map ) on the way back, dependent on two likely assumptions as to range of wind speed, ( 10 to 45 mph ) distance at turn between 300 and 400 miles short, an AUW of around 15,000 lbs. And noting that on the ‘ return leg ‘ a difference in course of less than 2 degrees from straight line to Rabual would account for the ‘ miss ‘ – meaning a slightly quartering wind with about 5 mph or less from direct tailwind could easily account for the miss. I am still auditing my results to make sure the resultant data are reasonable. In hope to publish here the basic data and links I have used.
    I deliberately did not do detailed research ahead of putting together my analysis to reduce the chances of cherry picking data- but did find afterwords some fairly close correlation.

    I note that the ‘ casual” look at page 35 is very misleading and resulted in the only 24 to 26 hours range for 4000 miles at a AUW of 16,500

    A closer analysis of the curves show ( IMO ) on pages 8 and 9 a range of 4500 miles and 30 plus hours IF one pays attention to TAS between 140 and 150 mph throughout. AND a AUW of around 15,000 lbs.

    FWIW I am not a pilot, navigator, or similar but simply an injun-ear who happens to have a very very thin- remote link- to one of the ‘ players” in the Earhart trip in 1937 when I was a few years old- this thru my parents- long story not pertinent here. and some capability with a few features in excel not used by many ( Solver) Thus over the years I wondered about a few comments-. And I have not seen the motion picture a few years ago about Earhart


    1. It’s prudent to keep in mind that airplane performance charts are based on new, factory-fresh airframes and powerplants. Typically, a fudge-factor for older, heavily used worn equipment must be applied for realistic computations. Things like propeller efficiencies (Nicks and dents filed away reduces blade surface), proper rigging of autopilot servos, proper rigging of flight controls (trim tabs could be projected into the slipstream, flaps and gear doors could be drooping . . .all generating drag, however minute – it affects overall performance and fuel consumption. Continuous precise power settings in cruise can be challenging for an exhausted mediocre pilot as Earhart. She’s not the sharpest pilot, as witnessed by a catastrophic ground loop at Honolulu. She was way too slow in applying rudder, differential braking and cutting the power after a blown tire during the takeoff roll.


      1. @Hp Gunther August 22…

        Maybe not even a blown tyre Hp…. for Paul Mantz made claims that she “Jockeyed the throttles” or had a habit of playing with the throttles for directional control instead of using rudder. According to what he had said, maybe she just lost it. It veered left, the Starboard gear collapsed first, the Starboard wing went down then this was followed by the Port gear collapse. This is why the No.2 engine is shown to be pointing skywards as she no doubt cut the power after that propeller hit….. when the Stbd. wing went down, the Port Gear collapse was slower, hence the No. 1 engine was only knocked “slightly” out of line, then the sideways moving Port tyre blew.
        It’s a miracle the whole lot didn’t blow up….


  26. For me, that call of “Land in sight ahead” says it all, and virtually proves the hypothesis. It is a tragedy that it was ignored at the time, and incredible that so many authors and researchers have also ignored it.


    1. @Hp Gunther August 22….

      Hp says: “For such a momentous over-ocean flight and KNOWING that finding Howland via dead-reckoning would be equivalent to the luck of finding a needle in a haystack, it’s practical reality to have focused my efforts primarily on communications with Itasca, with emphasis on RDF (Radio Direction Finder)”

      That is where the major mistake lay, in that Earhart didn’t not focus on getting a handle on using the equipment she had. The “Test Flight” that was carried out after the Maintenance on the Electra at LAE was not successful in that she was not able to DF onto the Lae Radio station and the erroneous conclusion was made that the radio station signal was too strong at about 50 miles from the transmitter. Instead of finding out “why” she could not get a “direction” from the Lae station they just dismissed the thought that anything was wrong (with the operator) and took off for Howland without a conclusive fix to the problem.

      There was a plan to install the second generator and I have read that a mounting plate or casting was produced but never fitted but in addition to that, the required wiring loom would also be a retro-fit requiring design work and installation throughout the airframe. Possibly a cost estimate and time estimate precluded that being done within Earhart’s time scale. This really was an urgent modification requirement for this aircraft, due to the fact of their Generator burn-out on the 1st RTW Flight attempt on the SFO to HI sector in March 1937. Holding down the Morse Key had caused the GEN loss and surely that needed a permanent fix.. Instead of fixing the main problem Earhart had the Morse Key removed !

      So removing the Morse Key and the trailing aerial removed any chance that they could slow morse to ships at sea on the Maritime frequency of 500Kcs !

      Hp says: “In the case of approaching East New Britain on fumes, even in a Moonless night, the shimmer of water and its contrast from that of land is distinguishable, especially at low altitude. I would be hugging the coastline and not dare to be caught crashing into trees.”

      If the Hypothesis I have put forward is correct, I think that by the time that it was dark on the ground in the New Britain region i.e: 0800 GMT 3rd July (6:00pm Rabaul local time), they would be passing the southern end of the New Ireland coast and typically in the late afternoon and early evening there is a blanket of cloud at around 5,000 feet so it is possible that at altitude higher then that, they would not even see the coastline of East new Britain coming up and the phosphorescence of the breaking waves at the shoreline….. and descended blind through cloud. This then is where the three calls heard by Nauru start to appear 30 minutes later “with no hum of plane in the background” and the Electra ended up over the trees….. For me, who once had to descend into trees in a helicopter, it is not something I would want to do again.



    2. well -the problem is( was) just what land she saw ahead … I happen to believe it was one of the two islands mentioned- but am still auditing my results so as to make them nearly bulletproof- or in current terms- missile poof . The assumption by most previous that she took off- climbed to a few thousand feet and ran at 155 TAS
      despite the max performance- range curve on page 9 makes a significant difference in range as does about 1500 lbs AUW less. as to her chops as a pilot for long range- making it 4/5 of the way around the world must have given her a bit of practice. Of course kelly ( clarance ) Johnson using flight test data for his rport obviously put out false info- thats whey he got promoted ??? Rigght !!


      1. For info:

        “arbe18” has done a good amount of work in an add-on program to MS Excel called MS Excel ‘Solver’ which attempts to allow the user to remove some uncertainties in bare information such as LR487 when that report is used to find out, in this instance concerning the “range possibilities of the Electra” and just how far and in what time span are those possibilities.

        The “Gates” spoken of by “arbe18” are the “mileage and time” points where we do know that we have a handle on where Earhart was at a given time, even though her PR transmissions were ambiguous and not given in the strict manner that they should have been. For example:

        “Registration call sign”, “Position at Time”; “Altitude”; “An ETA for the next named reporting point”

        Instead, Earhart made her call on a scheduled time when a call was expected but did not clarify that the Position reported was at a “particular time” so we are left in doubt at to whether she was “Making 140” (only) at 0418GMT, or the PR at CHOISEUL Island was actually at 0518GMT or whether she was “Making 150 (only) at 0700GMT”, or the NUKUMANU Atoll PR was at 0718GMT or how far she had to run to the “Ship in sight ahead” after the call at 1030GMT or if indeed it was the USS ONTARIO, which it most likely was…. Similarly with the Fred Goerner reported “Land in sight ahead” at 2200GMT…. Which land ? That is the big question and all that we can surmise is that her only “initial” hope, being lost,; was to backtrack and turn back onto her reciprocal course (248*Magnetic) and head for The Gilberts as per the previously thought out Contingency Plan,….. hence I have to believe that the sighting was of TABITUAEA or NONOUTI.

        So, when “arbe18” is using “Solver” he has to meet certain criteria (Gates) and cannot be at CHOSEUl in time and distance at 0700GT or 900 miles, he has to be approximately in the 0518 GMT and 680 miles “Gates” or there is no point in the exercise.

        My plotting method is a laborious slog through speeds, altitudes and timings to generally match what Earhart reported and so far “arbe18’s” comparison work in “Solver” is coming close to what I get, doing it the long way.



    1. @”H” SEpt 22nd

      The last few weeks have been gathering quotations for the LiDAR Scan we all want done. First by Helicopter. The quotation for this turned in at $68,000 and surprisingly although LiDAR Surveys have been carried out by chipper for years the scanning company wanted holes cut in the helicopter to accommodate their equipment and being an aviation person I knew that this should not be required and if it did happen, it would take weeks to resolve so canned that idea and the price seemed way too high anyway. Next we approached Drone operators and even a drone job reached an unbelievably high cost for two men an all the LIthium batteries requiired by air transport (Dangerous Goods) and was so open ended I called a halt on that also because it looked like reaching $90,000 by the time that would eventuate. Unbelievable. Both of those quotes were Australian based. A drone company in Canada would do the job for around $50,000 they say. SO the search goes on for funding.
      I now have a meeting to go to this weekend for a funding proposal so that may turn out well but time is running out now for another trip this year.
      In regards to a search for documents and the possible “Metal Tag”, one visit will n be in October and a second visit if required ) in Nov/Dec.by two volunteers.



  27. H has beaten me to it – I was about to ask the same question, as it has all gone quiet – I hope there are developments behind the scenes.

    It is interesting that arbe18 has confirmed David’s calculations independently, a very worthwhile exercise. It is also interesting (and worrying) that several “professional navigators” have had a go at analysing the flight and reached completely different conclusions.

    H makes a good point about the drag factor of a used aircraft possibly not being to factory specification – in this case of course it depends how thorough Lockheed’s recent repair work was.

    Can we deduce anything from the last radio calls which did not have the hum of the engines in the background ? Was the plane still under control at that stage?.


    1. @TomGwyn…Sept 26th.

      Since H’s query and now TomGwyn’s wonderment, yes…. There has been a development.

      But first, your questions: “1. Can we deduce anything from the last radio calls which did not have the hum of the engines in the background ?” and “2. Was the plane still under control at that stage?”

      A1. If we say the Electra is flown back at 10,000 feet to gain the advantage of conserving a little extra fuel then at some point when the fuel contents are known to be on the low side, thoughts will turn to having to descend in order to have a looksee at what will be facng them. I have flown between BUKA and Port Moresby on a couple of occasions in the late afternoon and the view out over the Solomon Sea to the north was of a total cover of cloud down at around five thousand feet and when we have been on the ground, the late afternoon cloud comes rolling in around 5-5:30pm.

      Previously and in the text I have mentioned that Earhart kept a tabular check on fuel usage out of the ‘selected’ tank and switched over to another selection on caculating that the selected “In use” tank was getting towards empty from a low level. When that occurred the “Stripping Pump” came into use to pump the tank out to gain what remained which would not gravity feed. I have also read that the fuselage tanks did have contents senders in the tanks and there was one fuel contents gauge for the fuselage tanks which could be selected by a rotary switch…. Of course, by the time we are speaking of, the fuselage tanks would be empty and fuel remaining would be in wing tanks which did have a Contents guage but the system indication was a Pneumatic ‘Bellows’ system which had to be pumped up every half hour and I have no idea how accurate it was.

      The Radio calls referenced were at 0831, 0843 and 0854 GMT 3rd July which corresponed to 6:31, 6:43 and 6:54 PM on 3rd July and on the ground it would be dark. Above the cloud there may have been some light, “Twilight” fromthe sun. Not a pleasant scenario but there may have been at least a half hour of this situation which I refer to as a powerglide, with the engines not giving out a sharp rasping noise, but just a murmur. The Electra had a Lift/Drag Ratio of 12:1 so from 10,000 feet (think neary two miles), if should be able to glide for almost 24 Miles but at a Best L/D speed of 120 mph that would only last 12 minutes at the most. That 12 minutes does not cover the timespan of 6:31 to 6:54 … but could be included in it. I would like to see when the aircraft clockstopped…..

      A2. My opinion is that after the first engine quits at fuel endurnace then the handling problems start. As the propellers could not be feathered, the props may have stopped or they may have windmilled depending on the speed of the aircraft. . The danger would be the propellers going out of synchronisation which would impart alternating ‘yaw’ into the airframe and wild gyration’s could occur if the propelers alternatively sped up and slowed down due to the airflow and oil pressure being built up from the windmilling. After both engines quit, “Control” may have been lost completely. Putting the Pitch Levers into the “Fine” or “low” pitch position would cause the propellers to be set to “Fine” which would cause enormous drag and a steep descent path. The hole in the jungle canopy was not a “tear-drop” hole where the aircraft had gone in in a glide attitude but was small and 40 feet across when seen, indicating a steep entry.

      The news is that we are expecting that the LiDAR Survey will be going ahead in the next few weeks. That is all I can say at the moment.



  28. Great news,David! I am sure everybody wishes you much deserved success . I wonder how many hours of hard graft you have put into all this over the years..


    1. “…how many hours of hard graft you have put into..” graft ??? I dont speak aussie- but is graft the correct word. In my universe above the equator- graft usually denotes some sort of improper activity as in bribes, pay for protection., etc


  29. David, Great to hear that there is positive progress, and I think we all understand that you may not wish to make everything public. I do admire your patience and persistence. I cannot understand why the historic aviation community doesn’t support this project better. Out of interest, how many visitors does this site get?


  30. @ “H” Oct 3;
    Well, after the ‘Joy” came a gitch but which may or may not be overcome. Hours ? Countless thousands I would say over the 24 Years. No idea really but something cropped up on most days that required a notation being made or an adjustment being made. My thanks go to the webmaster who has built and maintains the website, I didn’t have the time to go through that again in the last couple of years as well as doing the writing..
    @arbe18 Oct 6:
    It;s called “Hard Yards” here…
    @ Tom Gwyn Oct 8.
    The AvCom now wil be mostly deeply interested AViation people… The problem now is that there are too many laptop games and things to do on oblong screens for a lot of young people. I spent my last working years in Singapore and you ony have to travel on a bus or “MRT” (underground) train in Singapore and everyone is on the phone, the world has gone crazy on oblong screens…I ownly have to look at my grandkids, head down, earphones on.
    2016 was averaging 637 views per month (av 21 views a day)
    2017 was averaging 891 a month ( av. 30 views a day)
    2018 is averaging 1200 per month (av. 40 views per day)
    2018 biggest month so farwas August at 2913 views (av. 97 per day)



    1. I’m sure David will update us as soon as he can, and we are all hoping that no news is good news. From the statistics, it looks as though the message is finally getting through – but it is a little surprising that so few of those viewers have commented, as new input and ideas would be very welcome.


  31. David, Thank you for sharing that. Very disappointing of course, but I think we can all understand your position and you have acted correctly.


  32. @ Ron Haggart Nov 18th:

    A recent search at Maxwell AFB has not produced any document or the tag. The researcher reported that the Maxwell records are mainly Operational Reports, not the typical “unit” signals messages we are seeking.



  33. David, Who knows what material and information is hidden or waiting to be found. somewhere. The map you stumbled upon with the Electra notations is an example of how things can get hidden or unnoticed.


    1. @ H, Nov 22nd…
      Hidden pertinent items are proving dfficult to find. In Australia you can search the actual unit signals on line as I have done with the Patrol A1 Sitreps and handwritten report contained in a Patrol DIary for the 11th Battalion “D” Company, but similar “Unit Level” Signal or Records for the USAAF Units are proving hard to locate. The second problem in the U.S is that there are several “Records Storage Faciities” at disparate locations at great distaces from one another.

      We do know that the three Army Battalions at Wide Bay and Open Bay in New Britain were operationally controlled by 13 Brigade and that a reply from the US Army about the find of an “engine” was received by that Unit and therefore an outgoing signal must have gone to the US Army…. so far no trace of either signal has been found. Also the signal content from 13 Brigade “going out” through 5th Division, was passed on, probably verbally, to the 594th EB&SR Company “B” at Jaquinot Bay which caused two Officers of that US Army Unit to visit KALAI Plantation where they wanted to speak to Lieutenant Backhouse. That U.S. Army unit was “on the move”, so would it be likely that they would re-transmit a Signal to their headquarters regarding a “possible USAAF aircraft” seen by an AIF Patrol ? One of my team has looked into that without result. Did some intelligent Officer in that EB&SR unit realise that an “S3H1” engine being a “civilian” engine might belong to an owner who was missing eight years previously ? We don’t know but it could be that thought that made them visit KALAI on the very eve of their departure from New Britain. Just think that if they had not been on the move and had time to get to Ken Backhouse to speak with him, the “Mystery” might have ended there and then in 1945.

      The men of “D” Coy 11th Battalion were told that the US Army had, in their reply, said that the engine “was not one of theirs, but was a WASP engine”, that statement, recalled by Don Angwin watching a TV Program on Earhart in 1990 started the project off…. and my subsequent involvement.


  34. David. Hugely disappointing and appalling behaviour. I’m glad you saw it for what is was. As for the search, I’m hopeful you’ll find a way forward soon.


  35. @John Brocklesby, Dec 19th…

    Thank you John,

    In the meantime, to all interested readers of this website and this blog, Best Wishes for the Festive Season and we hope we can get this done in 2019…



    1. David:

      I imagine that it’s just a matter of time before research programs, the likes of National Geographic, will “drain the ocean” around Howland and Baker (Digital Ocean Mapping) in search for the Electra or parts thereof and verify if indeed AE and FN had ditched or not.

      Meanwhile, merry X-mas and happy new 2019.

      Best regards, -HPG

      On Sun, Dec 23, 2018 at 8:49 AM Earhart Lockheed Electra Search Project wrote:

      > David Billings commented: “@John Brocklesby, Dec 19th… Thankyou John, > Appalling behaviour indeed… To use a simile, it would be like having a > used car that you didn’t want forced on you by two hungry salesmen ! > Anyway, all is well and I have been contacted by the interes” >


    2. last sept -oct I finished my excel analysis showing that it was quite feasible for earhart to reach the expected crash site, and I planned to publish the details. But as it turned out- some local- internal but non critical – non health issues seemed to keep me from the necessay un-interuppted time- several hours needed to make a decent explanation of how I did it, what parameters used, and some pdf files and a few graphs showing how, etc. My apologies- it is still on my to do list. I can say that IMO- the most significant ‘ assumed- required ‘ variable to fit the data and turns out to be a 35 to 40 mph near constant wind – headwind starting after seeing Ontario and staying as a tailwind after turning back short of howland. and that seems to be a reasonably close match to Daves data/assumptions. Short howland about 300 miles,All up weight of around 14,900 lbs, and after Ontaio a near constant indicated Airspeed of around 150 mph.

      In the meantime happy new year !!


        1. Hi everyone,

          I have communicated with Mike Campbell of the website “Earhart Truth” for many years ever since the days of the Amelia Earhart Forum” run by Bill Prymak, noted researcher of Denver, Colorado who passed away a few years ago.

          Mike and I recently conversed over a PNG guy who says he found a wreck with red paint on the underside which is an indication of it being Japanese (they used red primer paint which lasts for many years) and in the words from Mike came the following to which I sent the reply that you can see below:

          From Mike:

          “I do wish you could find this damn wreck and we could all move forward just one real step with this claim.”

          Best wishes.

          Mike Campbell

          My reply:


          So do I…. It really is a fly in the ointment isn’t it ?…. For your theory and everybody else’s, I mean..

          Here we have an engine, identified by the US Army, as a Wasp (any Wasp) sitting on the jungle floor with a nominal twin-engined bare aluminum aircraft wreck close by. It cannot be a WWII wreck so close to Rabaul because you don’t send 450, 550 or 600 H.P. Wasp powered aircraft anywhere near to Rabaul with all those nasty Japanese fighter planes based there and it doesn’t have any military insignia on it anyway….. Not only that but it looked like it had been there for years because the war had only been on for three years and it looked older than that…. to top it all, some documentation from the Patrol that found it says “S3H1”, the designation of a “Civilian” Wasp and there are no records of any US Army “Military” AN-1 engines (same configuration as the S3H1) being in “New Guinea” or any other “Civilian” imported S3H1 Wasps being there pre-War, or during the War either. Not until ex-RAAF Wing Commander Bobby Gibbes bought some Noorduyn ‘Norseman’ single-engined fabric covered aircraft post-War which had S3H1 engines….. So it is a conundrum mixed up in an enigma and to top all that off, “600 H/P S3H1 C/N1055 ” is a handwritten inclusion on a WWII Patrol Map used by the very Patrol which found the wreckage…..

          So along comes a wreck finding enthusiast whose interest lies in closure for families of airmen lost in a distant war who bites into this evidence and we have a tale of a woman Aviator of equal fame to any in the 1930’s and her Navigator lost in an aircraft which fits the wreck description to a “T” and of whom it is said, “We don’t know where she went or how far she went, all we know is that she got lost but we have no idea positively where she and he are…. they are supposed to have headed out into the Pacific on a long-range flight because the aircraft was specially equipped for long-range flights… but there is this nut-case in Australia who says it is her and him that were seen in New Guinea 1945 but he tries to find it on his own without any real assistance and is spending his own money… in trying to find it…” There are no other S3H1 powered aircraft in the Austral-Asian or Pacific regions that could have ended up in New Guinea in the time scale and it is impossible for aircraft enthusiasts to come up with a twin-engined aircraft that was in the area and which fits the bill other than a Lockheed Model 10E Electra that does…..fit the bill. But, but, but…hardly anyone believes him that the wreck seen could be the missing Electra. Why is that ?

          So the fly in the ointment stays in the ointment until someone can come up with a rational and exact explanation of the circumstances which offer a different explanation to the conundrum in an enigma or until someone coughs up some real dough to positively find this wreckage which will stil be there but which is now said to be buried…..

          I hope that explains the situation.



          A Happy and Prosperous New Year in 2019 to all the readers of this blog.


  36. and the beat goes on


    Amelia Earhart died 80 years ago. Conspiracy theories about her disappearance live on.
    Decades after Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared, theories about what happened to them remain the subject of popular debate.

    Jan. 5, 2019 / 12:05 PM PST
    By Kalhan Rosenblatt

    Two years after departing from Miami in what would become a failed attempt to fly around the globe, Amelia Earhart was officially declared dead.

    Saturday marks the 80th anniversary of that declaration, but long after Earhart’s disappearance, theories about what happened to her remain the subject of popular debate.

    Earhart, born on July 24, 1897, in Atchison, Kansas, fell in love with flight in her 20s, and later became the first woman and second person to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic.


    1. @arbe18 Jan 5th….
      Kalhan Rosenblatt appears to be a junior reporter/scribe at NBC who needs to do a lot more research before putting pen to paper….. the Japanese “Dock” photo, for instance has been proven to be from a collection of photos taken well before 1937….
      Thank goodness she didnt know about or mention the “Touch DNA” which was proposed to be collected by the Team of Excavators on Nikumaroro…”Touch DNA…. you can;t see it, can’t smell it… but, but, but, we’ll bring it back for testing”. Now that would be interesting for a reporter to discuss….


      1. I don’t know how many regular visitors there are to this site, but it seems to me that it would be useful if we could all keep posting and keep the discussion going, to encourage and inform new readers. Every aspect of the flight and the project has something of interest.

        With that in mind, I think the site could be made a little easier to navigate – nothing wrong with the style or content but two points could be improved. First, clicking on recent posts does not take you to the latest posts and you have to scroll through a lot. It is all interesting, but many people have short attention spans. Secondly, at the end of each chapter of the narrative it would be useful to have an indication of where you are, and which chapter comes next.


        1. @Tom Gwynn Jan 11th….
          All taken on board.

          My Team Member who is the Webmaster will attend to that when he returns from a holiday.. I am fully aware that the website content is long and takes time to wade through but I do not see any other way to explain the whole story without the detail and the length, so I have to leave as is in content. I didn’t want to turn it into a “Boy’s Own Ripping Yarn”, I wanted to present the facts and an explanation for it, and then show the hypothesis on how the return “could be” done. I think I have done all that but it takes time to read.

          Suggestions are welcome here.



          1. David, I hope I was being constructive. Far from being a “Ripping Yarn,” I think the narrative, both of the hypothesis and your involvement with the project is excellent. It reads like one of Nevil Shute’s finest, with the added dimension of truth. I hope to see it all in print one day.

            Going back to the flight – crew fatigue must have played a part. AE and FN were tired before they started, and must have been exhausted by the later stages. In fact my only slight doubt about the hypothesis is whether the crew could have stayed awake for long enough to fly back to ENB, but apparently they did. Fatigue must have affected their reactions and decision making, and possibly the fuel management was less than optimum as a result.

            The fuel cock system looks over-complicated and far from foolproof , and I doubt whether the gauges were accurate enough to be useful with the tanks nearly empty. The first warning of fuel exhaustion would probably be when the engines faltered. It doesn’t bear thinking about, and it is all the more tragic as they very nearly made it – another 10 gallons or so would have got them to Rabaul.


        2. Tom. For what it’s worth I’m a regular visitor/reader and I’m alerted every time there’s a new posting which I find very reassuring in ensuring I’m not missing any of the public developments of this fascinating story. It works for me.


          1. TOM SAID ” It doesn’t bear thinking about, and it is all the more tragic as they very nearly made it – another 10 gallons or so would have got them to Rabaul.”

            Actually my data analysis shows that they were a few degrees off direct course to Rabual probably due to small vector diff from a direct tailwind over several hours. Which they had no easy way to notice or compare. The result was on a ground milage basis, they actually flew a bit further than Rabual, but about 30 to 40 miles off course when they crashed.


  37. Hi David,

    I’m also a regular visitor here. What a fascinating argument you present. With such a huge volume of information and reasoning required to tell the tale I doubt there is an easy format for all to easily assimilate. Keep up the good work. Best wishes.



  38. This post may be late as the Webmaster is on holiday…..

    @Tom Gwyn and arbe18
    TOM :”The fuel cock system looks over-complicated and far from foolproof , and I doubt whether the gauges were accurate enough to be useful with the tanks nearly empty. The first warning of fuel exhaustion would probably be when the engines faltered. It doesn’t bear thinking about, and it is all the more tragic as they very nearly made it – another 10 gallons or so would have got them to Rabaul.”

    Actually my data analysis shows that they were a few degrees off direct course to Rabual probably due to small vector diff from a direct tailwind over several hours. Which they had no easy way to notice or compare. The result was on a ground milage basis, they actually flew a bit further than Rabual, but about 30 to 40 miles off course when they crashed.

    My response……
    The standard fuel gauging system on the Electra was “hydro pneumatic” in that the weight of the fueL was felt on a bellows in the bottom of the main wing tanks. The bellows had to be pumped up with a pump in the cockpit to the pressure setting of a relief valve in the air line and then a reading taken off the gauge. An old timer at my local airport here remembers the setup and says the system was “inaccurate”…… There was a rotary selector for the other tanks and a second contents gauge for the selection but I do not know if it was the same system or whether it was of the “fuel sender type” [as in cars} or an early version of the “Capacitor type” that are prevalent on more modern aircraft. There ia not much information about the fuel system but it is apparent that Earhart used a tabular control sheet and on tank selection would monitor the usage. by use of the “USG per hour” flowmeter twin-needle instrument. Using the flow she could calculate “Gallons gine out of a tank and when she felt the contents were getting low switch over to another tank and then use the “stripping pump” to pump whatever was left out of the previous used tank into the newly seleced tank after it has used up some contents. There are the odd pictures of handles and rods going backwards from the cockpit door aperture to the tanks which to me are the tanks selector rods, either that or fuel dump handles. .

    Quite true that afew gallons more would have been handy to “look for” Rabaul but maybe they just wanted to reach land, any land. In the text of the site is that if a straight line is drawn Westwards from NUKUMANU Atoll and through the TAU Group (also known as Mortlock Islands) and then CARTERET Reef, then that line passes over WIDE BAY and inland where the search area is. Also, consideration has to be made that in the late afternoon the area gets socked in with cloud and there are mountains on NEW IRELAND Island which they would have to pass over if looking for Rabaul.

    Arbe is correct in that they actaually went slightly further in from Rabaul.

    @John Fallon Jan 16th….
    Welcome… I just wish a “fascinated wealthy person” would pick up on it !




  39. It will be interesting to see more of Arbe18’s analysis and compare it with David’s and it is hardly surprising if the flight was a little off course by the end – assuming they were actually making for Rabaul. Anyway there doesn’t seem to be much doubt that the wreck is the Electra.

    Incidentally, why didn’t the Electra have an astrodome? There would have been a small drag penalty but surely it would have made life easier for the navigator. Just another feature of the flight and its planning which isn’t quite right.

    This is simplistic and I am sure there are huge local difficulties, but it seems to me that the people in PNG who could most easily move some earth and investigate the crash site are the logging company.


  40. @Tom Gwyn Jan 20….
    “….it is hardly surprising if the flight was a little off course by the end – assuming they were actually making for Rabaul. Anyway there doesn’t seem to be much doubt that the wreck is the Electra.”

    You have correctly inferred both a Hypothesis statement and what I say is a Factual statement in what you have said….

    In amongst all the theories about the AE &FN:”Last Flight” are statements saying that “…we don’t know where they went or how far they got..” and to an extent, that is right. All that we know is that after take-off from LAE, they were low over the sea until out of sight.

    If we accept that the radio calls (which gave uncertain “Timing and Location” reports) were totally genuine, then they were headed for HOWLAND by way of double dog-legs through CHOISEUL Island and NUKUMANU Atoll and much later, at 1912 GMT “thought” they were there at Howland. After the “Ship in sight” call at 1030 GMT, I give them 6 minutes (0.1 of an hour in decimal time) to be over the ship itself (the ONTARIO) at 1036 GMT… a ship which was 27 statute miles out of position (more to the East than it should have been). “If” Noonan took that Ship Positition to be the correct US Navy stated and required position, then his “Navigation” is going to be 27 miles “out” if he uses that as the last positive fix.

    We do know that the ship itself, the ONTARIO, was being subjected to a surface wind of 23 mph from 082 degrees. What would the wind be at 10,000 feet ? Aviators will say, “It would be more” and from some of my workings on Time, Distance and Wind, I was coming up with 35 Mph. Remember, the NUKUMANU wind report AE gave was 26.5 mph at 7000 feet. There is also the wind report from Howland itself forthe morning of 2nd July which shows a wind of 30 mph at 7,000 feet from the East.

    Moving on from 1036 GMT at the ONTARIO, we are totally into a Hypothesis of what then happened. We know of “Cloudy and Overcast” conditions at 1415 GMT but we do not now “when” the “C & O” conditions started, From the Atlantic crossing it appears Noonan took Astro readings during the crossing at 2 hourly intervals but then again, he was aiming for a large land mass….”Afrca” which is hard to miss…. I would be taking Astro every thirty minutes when aiming for a tiny dot like Howland. If he kept a two-hour schedule, and his last fix was 1036 GMT at the ONTARIO, then +2 is 1230 and +2 is 1430 GMT. We can see that there were three calls mentioning Astro “difficullty” and if too difficult then Fred would have to be “estimating” on past data.

    Over a span of fuve hours up until 1912GMT the wind could have varied enormously but we do have the wind report at HOWLAND of 30 mph from 090 degrees at 7,000 feet.

    Therefore it is anyone’s guess as to “… where they went to (actual location) and how far they got (in miles from LAE).” So we have to work a Hypothesis on what information we do have.

    What we cannotvget around is that there is a WASP engine in the jungle in the WIDE BAY area which should not be there…


  41. Just some thoughts for comment regarding a return visit;
    1. How does Open Bay Timber and access roads fit into the equation??
    2. Tol airstrip still appears serviceable??
    3. Is the new Tol wharf accessible??


  42. @Tom Gwyn Jan 20th
    “Incidentally, why didn’t the Electra have an astrodome?”

    Astrodomes cause what is known as “Parasite Drag”. They use fuel and on a long range flight you might need that fuel….

    Noonan;s Navigation Equipment was according to reports: A Bubble Octant, a standby Sextant, his two Pelorus (pelorii ?) sighting tubes, his stopwatches and I suppose lots of pencils to mark his maps…. The Pelorus sighting tubes must have caused him to be lying on the flooor at odd angles to be abke to sight through the windows at steep angles and I can imagine him saying, “Ohhhh !, gimme an Astrodome…” It was said that Manning, who joined the ‘team’ (before Noonan) had the larger window put in at the Rear Compartment to assist his navigation of the Electra but when Noonan was recruited he didn’t need it and so it was covered over in Miami, then there was no window at all in the toilet compartment..

    In a video interview made in 1994, the former Lieutenant on the Patrol, Ken Backhouse describes seeing the wreck and he mentions “..a Navigation bubble.” I did query Ken about this as there are no known photographs that I have seen showing an Astrodome on the Electra. Ken said that down the back end of the “body of the aircraft” [meaning the fuselage], there was a large round black thing which was shiny and which he “took to be” a navigation bubble. I showed Ken a photograph of the Electra on the ground aand asked him if he could see anyhthing there on the photograph which represented what he saw (?). He acknowledged that the big balloon tyres could have been the source of the ‘large round black thing’ at the back, wet with rain, as there was light rain falling when they found wreckage. Ken’s view was obscured to an extent by the vines and foliage and tree debris that covered the wreckage.

    Years ago in a response from Roy Nesbit, former RAF Navigator and author, Roy said that aircraft of the period sometimes had iopen hatches for Navigators to take sightings and that there was no astrodme on the Electra.

    Earhart had various amounts of work done on the Electra and an overhead shot of the Electra in the hangar at Darwin does not show a hatch opening on top of the fusealge at the rear in the Navigator station.

    What we would be looking for to prove that there was a “navigation bubble” on top of the fuseslage at the rear that was “Big” wouldbe to locate an unpainted, twin-engined aircraft powered by S3H1 Wasps, which has no military markings among alll the twin-engined aircraft types of the 30’s to early 40’s period, up until April 1945.

    I can’t find one.



  43. @Ron Haggart Jan 22nd.
    1. How does Open Bay Timber and access roads fit into the equation??
    2. Tol airstrip still appears serviceable??
    3. Is the new Tol wharf accessible??

    1. What we found in 2017 was that the access roads to site, without crossing the Mevelo River, are overgrown. The clearest SAT views to be had on the Internet are on Zoom Earth. The local tracks we intended to use are shown as “Open” on ZE but in fact are overgrown and the bridge over the Mevelo is shown as full span but is in fact broken down aon the southern side by the power of the Mevelo in flood…… We travelled dowm from Kokopo in three Toyota Hilux 4WD’s (great vehicles) and the logging tracks are very rough and winding and the trip took 7 Hours for 170 Kms. It would be something of a “Bucket Trip” for 4WD Enthusiasts…. Getting close, we saw the track signposted as “KALAI”, to be overgrown and we had to go through the Palm OIl plantation which is seen “North of” the Mevelo River. Fording the Mevelo in the three “standard” Hilux was somewhat interesting and none if us want to do that again. Open Bay Timber may use their bulldozer to open up the tracks again when the go back to harvest the Canerere trees they have planted but that could take years. OB Timber will have to do that as they do not get along with the Palm Oil people

    2. Agreed it still looks servceable but there are vehicle tracks on it and no doubt there are ruts. It is also a one way in, one wsy out strip as there is a large building at the western end. It is no longer used by fixed wing a/c.

    3. I suppose wwould be able toland at the wharf but then we havre a transport problem to get all the gear from there through to the search area across the Mevelo. To get there by boat is a white knuckle ride for 4 or 5 hours on Yamaha banana boats, we have done that several times but the last time was the last.

    All in all, it is more “convenient” and far less dangerous, to get there by helicopter.



    1. Hi David
      Very interesting stuff and some more thoughts for comment
      1. It appears that a short visit may not afford enough time??.
      2. Would a better serviced site set up over a longer time help??
      3. There may be a barge / shipping service from Rabaul servicing the area plantations, villages, missions etc.??
      4. At Lamerion (Brown Island – Kalai RC Mission) appears to have a well-protected man made break wall constructed for unloading??
      5. Would this unloading area give good 4×4 access to the search area??
      6. Would a small compact all terrain excavator assist search access??
      Ron H


  44. @Ron Haggart 24 Jan….
    Responses to your Q’s….
    1. Correct. We do normallly go for two weeks but sometimes availabiity of Team Members restricts the time avalable. Out of the 14 days, “Go to Woah”, two days are lost in travel to Kokopo and the buying of gear in the town. The first obstacle is Port Moresby AP and the terrorof of the International flight being late and of missing the Rabaul flight in the afternoon. The third day is spent going “in” and setting up camp. Then follows 9 d ys of trekking through the jungle with one day of that as a possible rest day if the tesm requires, so possible 8 days of search…. Last two days are the pick up and flight back. Most of the gear we take is considered “disposable”. The 2017 visit where we took to the logging tracks to get there was cut short by heavy rain and fear of not being able to get back through the ford at the Mevelo River thereby missing flights so we packed up early before the river rose. As it was, the 2nd standard Hilux into the ford with water over the wheel arches stalled, but ‘magically’ started on the key and made it across…
    2. Definitely. If we had a roofed enclosure, fireplace, table and equipment that we could lock up and leave that would be phenomenl …..but not practical…. The locals woudl ‘borrow’ everything because they have ‘nothing’.. Technically in their culture if we leave something with them it wll remain as ours but they will use it. Plastic chairs for example, we leave them and they reappear when we go back. We have probably left five generaors down there but can never guarantee one will be serviceable so we take a new one each time. One time we got one back and it was blowing smoke like a foggy day…..
    3. “Yamaha” banana boats (22 Feet long) with outboard motors only. We will not use them again. Sometimes the sea has been like glass and will take as little as four hours but mostly it is a very choppy sea with large swell and can take up to 6 hourss. There are no largish (100 foot) boats serving the area.
    4. The Brown Island dock was there when I first went in 1994. it was built by the Australian Army in late ’44/earlyv ’45, but no loonger exists except for the crumbling concrete piles.
    5. Yes we have landed on the sheltered beach there a few times and then contact the locals and wait until the tractor and trailer is free to go up the coastal goat-track to Lamerien Village whuch is situated closer to the Mevelp Estuary than is shown in maps. The locals are pretty good in the use of their tractor.
    6. I would like one when we find it but getting one through the tangled mess that it is in there would be the problem…. I favour a Caterpillar D9 first, before an excavator !


    1. Hi David
      Thanks for comments and some more thoughts for consideration and being from a construction background including building transmission power lines at nearby Lihir Island, I tend to view this as a construction project to get the best access to proposed locations in a timber lease area and then provide some minor clearing and excavation in selected areas.
      Some further thoughts for consideration;
      1. To initially set a up site (with a minimum crew) and clear access to the area to be explored and then additional expert team members could fly in / out by helicopter to suit individual needs. Medivac needs could also use this method.
      2. The site would not be permanent but properly fitted out.
      3. It has now been confirmed there is a commercial weekly service to the area and vehicles / equipment can be driven of and picked up at Kal / Brown Island (to be confirmed) during the weekly service. If it eventuated Kal was the only shipping point, the excavator will become an essential part to assist in the crossing of the Mevelo.
      6. We tend to only use heavy equipment (D9) to create access roads for vehicles, equipment etc.)
      When we GPS survey in impenetrable timber mountain areas we prefer to use a small tracked excavator such as Kubota KX018-4 (1.7 kgf) + which can create a narrow access track and is not hindered by slope, obstacles or weather.
      We also use them to clear overgrown existing tracks of regrowth vegetation and make temporary access etc.
      In regards to equipment availability last time we worked up that way we imported second hand vehicles and equipment from Aus. / Japan and resold locally through an agent on the way out without any loss in value.
      With this arrangement the period could be varied on a weekly basis without great ongoing hire costs etc.
      Kind Regards
      Ron H


    2. You could go into derelict TOL airstrip with Alaska type bushwheel mounted Tundra tires on tailwheel draggers.

      [image: Cub tudra.jpg]

      Best regards,


      On Sat, Jan 26, 2019 at 9:08 AM Earhart Lockheed Electra Search Project wrote:

      > David Billings commented: “@Ron Haggart 24 Jan…. Responses to your > Q’s…. 1. Correct. We do normallly go for two weeks but sometimes > availabiity of Team Members restricts the time avalable. Out of the 14 > days, “Go to Woah”, two days are lost in travel to Kokopo and the buyin” >


      1. If the search area is south of the Mevelo River maybe the beach at Zoom 4° 59′ 3.62″ S 151° 57′ 23.42″ E may be a an option, but I do not know of anybody with a suitable STOL for hire or available in the area. Apparently a B29 landed and took off from a beach in this area during WW2.
        Ron H


    1. Doesn’t this sound like the ‘old’ missing Ventura plane that went down there?Considering the amount of time it has been known about , I would have thought divers would have recovered at least one identifiable item by now. Whilst we should keep an open mind i can’t say I am overly excited about it!


  45. @ Ron Haggart Jan 25 & 26…

    The BUKA Island Project….
    “Project Blue Angel is very interesting https://www.projectblueangel.com/
    Yes it is interesting and this wreck was first seen on 2005 and I recall a big article about it in the PNG Post-Courier newspaper circa 2008. That article said there was box of gold on board protected by a large sea snake…! There then was a picture that appeared of one of the mainwheels which showed it not to be an Electra 10E mainwheel as it had a bigger rim and what looked like a medium pressure tyre on it. There is a missing USN Lockheed Ventura in that area and Amercan researchers have said that what they have seen is this Ventura.

    I see in the short video clip that divers have been down but still no pictures of what they can see. Yes Buka would be on a return flight path. Mr. Snavely has been involved with this for a few years now. They have a wreck but have not brought any distinguishble Electra feature to the surface. Yes, it is interesting.

    Passenger Ferry Services to WIDE BAY….
    Ron’s Item 3 – “There is a suitable regular service to the area confirmed from my previous Lihir Island shipping contacts”….
    Well don’t keep it to yourself Ron, I’m all ears, let me have the name of the Shipping Company and the Regular Ferry Schedule from Rabaul or Kokopo to Wide Bay and I’ll see if we can use it.. I’ve had a squint on Google but cannot find any regular passenger ferry service to TOL Wharf or Wide Bay or Brown Island so please enlighten me..



    1. To all Readers who POST on the blog here….

      Please post in reply ‘after’ the last post on the blog. If you are posting in reply to a post way back in the list just reference the post like I do. What is happening is that some posts may get missed because they are appearing up the list so to make the posts run by Day/Date, please reply to the last post on the blog as I have done below to Ron Haggart… Thanks.

      @ Ron Haggart Jan 26th 3:28am
      Ron says:
      “3. It has now been confirmed there is a commercial weekly service to the area and vehicles / equipment can be driven of and picked up at Kal / Brown Island (to be confirmed) during the weekly service. If it eventuated Kal was the only shipping point, the excavator will become an essential part to assist in the crossing of the Mevelo.”

      Ron, it would assist me greatky in the possible use of this confirmed “commerciasl and weekly” service, if I knew more about it, so please add the details. I do recognise that “on occasion” a landing barge type vessel must have gone to the beach at Brown Island as there was a very large new tractor dropped off there for the Kalai Villagers about three years ago. By the way, what you see as a “finger sticking out from the bay there is an earthen type ramp not the loading dock that was built in ’44/’45. IF heavy equipment was landed at Brown Island, it would not need to cross the Mevelo.

      @ Hp Gunther says: January 26, 9:07 am
      Hp… good idea but there are no such fitted out light planes current in PNG to my knowledge CASA PNG would have a fit if they thought one was running around in PNG landing in all kinds of short spots. There was a STOL Dornier “27” (?) in PNG , the last time I saw it was in WEWAK in about 1988 suitting in the bacxk of a hangar without walla, salt will have git it by now…. I also recall someone modified a Cessna 172 with larger flaps and wheels many years ago but that was stiored in the same place…

      @ ‘H’ January 26, 1:26 pm
      “Doesn’t this sound like the ‘old’ missing Ventura plane that went down there? Considering the amount of time it has been known about , I would have thought divers would have recovered at least one identifiable item by now. Whilst we should keep an open mind i can’t say I am overly excited about it!”

      Yes it do and Yes something should have surafced by nowsince 2005 if divers have been down there ! See the TIGHAR Report on it at: https://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/Bulletins/60_TooTrue/60_TooTrue.htm



      1. Have the Project Blue Angel people commented on suggestions that what they have is the missing Ventura? I would have thought a few people would have asked that question.


    2. Hi David
      I will email you the details.
      And some thoughts for consideration. Are you seeking experienced team members whom;
      1. are accustomed to working in PNG remote areas including medial issues and
      2. may consider to become risk capital venture investors.
      Kind Regards
      Ron H


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