Earhart’s Last Flight
I’ve always been interested in mysteries of the sea– unexplained ship and aircraft vanishings, etc– and one that has captured the imagination of many over the decades is the enduring riddle that is aviatrix Amelia Earhart’s last day(s). What is fact is that she climbed in her Lockheed Model 10 Electra with experienced transocean navigator Fred Noonan and disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island two days before Independednce Day 1937.
Then came the radio signals– more than 40 of them in the space of five days– which are subject to debate. Bearings taken by Pan American Airways stations suggested signals originating from several locations, including Gardner Island (Nikumaroro), 360 miles to the SSE of Howland. It was noted at the time that if these signals were from Earhart and Noonan, they must have been on land with the aircraft since water would have otherwise shorted out the Electra’s electrical system– and able to charge the battery via an engine generator. A huge week-long search that included the carrier Lexington and the battleship Colorado produced nothing.
The captain of the USS Colorado later said “There was no doubt many stations were calling the Earhart plane on the plane’s frequency, some by voice and others by signals. All of these added to the confusion and doubtfulness of the authenticity of the reports.”
Above is a fascinating Powerpoint presentation given by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) Executive Director Ric Gillespie at The Collider in Asheville, NC on August 5, 2106.
The group has been looking into the Earhart mystery since 1988, finding some evidence that points to her landing there, and are about to undertake their 12th trip to Nikumaroro– complete with University of Hawaii research submarines to inspect the reef off the island for random Electras.