Amelia Earhart plane fragment identified

Nov 4, 2014

Image: TIGHAR

By Rossella Lorenzi

A fragment of Amelia Earhart’s lost aircraft has been identified to a high degree of certainty for the first time ever since her plane vanished over the Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937, in a record attempt to fly around the world at the equator.

New research strongly suggests that a piece of aluminum aircraft debris recovered in 1991 from Nikumaroro, an uninhabited atoll in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati, does belong to Earhart’s twin-engined Lockheed Electra.

The search for Amelia Earhart is about to continue in the pristine waters of a tiny uninhabited island, Nikumaroro, between Hawaii and Australia.

According to researchers at The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which has long been investigating the last, fateful flight taken by Earhart 77 years ago, the aluminum sheet is a patch of metal installed on the Electra during the aviator’s eight-day stay in Miami, which was the fourth stop on her attempt to circumnavigate the globe.


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5 comments on “Amelia Earhart plane fragment identified

  • Albeit it’s a report from Fox News, – spit, spit, – this report brings home to me the tragedy of Earhart’s death.

    Perhaps the replacement panel wasn’t as robust as the window had been with its frame, and simply parted company from the aircraft, causing severe instability, and the subsequent crash.

    Or, may be, I’m talking cobblers; for the elucidation of my American cousins, that expression means rubbish.



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  • …substantial contribution in return for a place of the expedition team

    James Cameron would fit the bill.

    I didn’t know that her plane had been modified (d’oh) – good website link from article. Certainly her adventures (plus Lindbergh) must of been a welcome distraction for Depression era folks.



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  • 3
    John Gohde says:

    Amelia was eaten alive by crabs, the first time that the old girl got sick. Be the first in anything? Only if you are crazy, like Amelia.



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  • It is seldom publicized that Amelia Earhart flew her plane off course, ran out of fuel and crashed because of pilot error that could have been easily prevented if she and her navigator, Noonan, had properly coordinated simple communication procedures for the 2,556 mile leg of the flight eastward over the Pacific from Lae, New Guinea to Howland island. Noonan knew how to establish longitude bearing by using the position of the sun. The other crucial bearing depended on radio communication to measure distance and location by latitude. Neither Earhart nor Noonan knew how to read morse code and instructed the Itasca, a Coast Guard cutter, which stood off Howland island to guide them in English. To lighten the aircraft they left morse equipment on the ground to lighten the aircraft. More fatally, they also decided for the same reason to disconnect the 250 foot trailing antenna from the plane which might have facilitated life-saving radio transmission and reception. In flight Earhart switched radio frequency from lower nightime frequency to higher daytime frequency not realizing that the radio frequencies transmitted from the Itasca adequate for positioning and distance had to be restricted to much lower frequency. Communication was lost. From US Navy Operational Archives:

    On July 2, 1937 at 0000 GMT, Earhart and Noonan took off from Lae. Their intended destination was Howland Island, a tiny piece of land a few miles long, 20 feet high, and 2, 556 miles away. Their last positive position report and sighting were over the Nukumanu Islands, about 800 miles into the flight. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Itasca was on station near Howland, assigned on short notice to communicate with Earhart’s plane and guide her to the island once she arrived in the vicinity.

    But it soon became evident that Earhart and Noonan had little practical knowledge of the use of radio navigation. The frequencies Earhart was using were not well suited to direction finding (in fact, she had left behind the lower-frequency reception and transmission equipment which might have enabled Itasca to locate her), and the reception quality of her transmissions was poor. After six hours of frustrating attempts at two-way communications, contact was lost.



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