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Robots To Search for Amelia Earhart's Lost Plane 98

raque writes "Following up on an earlier story, a group of aviation archaeologists will use underwater robots along with submersibles and sonar to search for Amelia Earhart's plane. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery will search this July for the aircraft, which went down 75 years ago. 'If there's wreckage there that can be recovered, we need to know what it is, how big it is, what it looks like, and what it's made of so we can prepare a recovery expedition that has equipment to raise whatever's there,' said Richard Gillespie, the group's executive director."
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Robots To Search for Amelia Earhart's Lost Plane

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  • She is not there.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @10:27AM (#40452165)

    The group doing this search are (in my opinion) looking in the wrong place. This island is about 350 miles away from Earhart's intended destination, Howard Island, and not on the "line of position" she would have been flying. In order to be anywhere near this island, Earhart and her copilot would have to be really horrible navigators and/or not following the standard navigation procedures of the day. I don't think either of them would have been this bad, even with the tools available at the time. Her copilot was a professional, who had a lot of experience doing this kind of navigation and I'm sure Earhart had some proficiency with the techniques.

    Further, there is no way to know that the items found belonged to Earhart. There is no DNA to test in the bones and the cosmetic items where in common use. Nobody documented what personal items Earhart might have with her so there is no real reason to expect that this has to be where she ended up or that this is her stuff.

    Another reason to doubt that this is Earhart is that it is unlikely anybody could survive a landing that puts the aircraft on the reef. Ditching aircraft of the day is going to kill you (by blunt impact or drowning) 99 times out of a 100. Making a difficult landing on a narrow beach and ending up on a reef in the process is even less likely.

    Finally, there is some interesting evidence based on some measurements of the aircraft and radio configuration and various trained radio operators who logged hearing Earhart during the last few hours. This evidence puts Earhart fairly close to Howard Island before she ran out of gas. This evidence also shows that Earhart was navigating fairly well and following standard procedures in her attempt to find Howard Island. All this evidence supports the conclusion that Earhart was following standard procedures and was close to Howard Island and NOT 350 miles away.

    What happened is simple. The radios on her plane didn't work either being broke or not properly tuned. Adjusting the tube radios of the day is a technically difficult task that's easy to get wrong and Earhart didn't have a lot of experience using them because they where not common equipment on aircraft of the day. With the radios not working Earhart couldn't hear the folks who could hear her and where trying to help her Earhart got close to her destination a few times and was flying a standard search pattern in somewhat unfavorable conditions and simply ran out of luck and gas. In my opinion she is within about 30 min of flight time of Howard Island on her reported line of position (give or take 10 miles or so) which is a huge search area of mostly water. If she didn't die on impact with the water, she would have drowned as the aircraft sank only moments after it came to rest on the surface.

    Where it is nice to think Earhart survived as a castaway, it is nearly impossible for this location to be where she ended up.

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982