Is Amelia Earhart’s aircraft actually still missing or found? Six essential things to be aware of

Is Amelia Earhart's aircraft actually still missing or found | Image Credit: thehill.com
Is Amelia Earhart’s aircraft actually still missing or found – On July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, vanished over the Pacific Ocean during their attempt to circle the world in a Lockheed Electra 10e aircraft. According to experts, it’s too soon to confirm if reports that the wreckage has been located are accurate.
Image Credit: thehill.com

Though experts think it’s too soon to tell, a new blurry sonar image promises to unlock the enigma behind the famous aviator’s disappearance. What is known is as follows.

News headlines worldwide are announcing the possible discovery of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10e, the aircraft she was piloting in 1937 when she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, vanished during the most challenging leg of their circumnavigation of the globe, following the release of a grainy gold image.

Tony Romeo, a commercial real estate businessman and pilot, developed Deep Sea Vision, a new company that used sonar technology to acquire the image during an expedition lasting 100 days in the central Pacific, where Amelia Earhart went missing. Romeo, who sold his real estate assets to buy a state-of-the-art autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) outfitted with cutting-edge sonar technology, says, “It was undoubtedly a weird time for all of us.”

After a day of searching for Amelia Earhart’s lost planes, the remotely controlled vehicle Hercules is recovered from the seas off Nikumaroro Island and placed onto the deck of the E/V Nautilus in 2019. The fate of the renowned aviator is a mystery that has long captivated explorers.
Image Credit: nationalgeographic.com

It’s still too early to tell if the finding of an item at a depth of 16,000 feet resolves one of the great historical puzzles. What is known is as follows.

1. Sonar photos are not perfect.

Sonar pictures are not like pictures. Low resolution results from the low frequency of the sound waves that sonar sends out.

According to David Jourdan, an engineer whose business Nauticos has conducted three trips in search of Amelia Earhart, “the sound wave, because it’s so vast, can’t discern fine detail.” “Reflections can alter it, much as when you take a photo of a mirror.” Sometimes promising photos reveal themselves to be something else completely, such as a geological feature, upon closer inspection.

2. The identify of the item was not confirmed by Deep Sea Vision.

As Romeo and his group prepared to embark on a new trip, they discovered the picture in their data storage files. They believed that information from a previous AUV mission had been tampered with. It was too late to go back to the location when they realized it wasn’t—and that they had a possible blockbuster discovery.

“Time had run out for us. Romeo explains, “We were at our limit of resources. “And our [AUV] was without a camera. It broke quite early on in the journey. It didn’t seem worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars he thought it would cost to run over the target again using only sonar. In order to corroborate the findings, Deep Sea Vision intends to return to the sonar image spot this year with a functioning camera aboard the AUV.

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Sonar may have found Amelia Earhart’s long-lost aircraft 16,000 feet underwater, the exploration team believes

3. According to some experts, the plane—if it is one—doesn’t look like the Electra.

Jourdan remarks, “The proportions aren’t quite right,” pointing out that the wings are swept back as opposed to straight across, as the Electra’s were.

Some people have even greater doubts. According to an email blast from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), an organization that has advanced the theory that Amelia Earhart died a castaway on an island to the east of the sonar image site, “the entire center section would have to fail at the wing/fuselage junctions” for the wings of an Electra to fold rearward as shown in the sonar image. “That’s simply not achievable.”

Explore National Geographic at Large In 2019, Bob Ballard, shown here in the E/V Nautilus control room, oversaw a significant search to locate Amelia Earhart’s airplane wreckage.
Image Credit: nationalgeographic.com

Romeo brushes off this critique. He points to the twin fins on the back of the aircraft, saying that the distortion from the AUV traveling through the water is what makes both the wings and the tail appear swept back. He remarks, “That’s really unique of her airplane.” Only a few planes have ever been manufactured in that exact configuration.

4. Although the item is located outside of the range indicated by Amelia Earhart’s radio communications, it is roughly on her flight route.

When Earhart and Noonan vanished on July 2, 1937, they were traveling 2,500 miles from Lae, New Guinea, to Howland Island, an island that is 1.5 miles long. Earhart felt they were getting near after 20 hours of flight, so she radioed the Coast Guard cruiser Itasca, which was waiting for them in Howland, saying, “We must be on you but cannot see you.” The Coast Guard radiomen felt she was quite close because of how loud her voice sounded. Though the intensity of the radio signals indicates that she was only out of sight range, she wasn’t.

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About a hundred miles to the west was the search region covered by Deep Sea Vision; Romeo won’t say precisely where to prevent someone else from making the important discovery. He does, however, concede that their decisions were influenced by an idea that Noonan had overlooked in terms of how the International Date Line would impact his computations. But that explanation doesn’t explain why Earhart’s radio signals weren’t as strong.

5. Some have declared themselves the solvers of this enigma.

Many persons have asserted to have evidence of what happened to Amelia Earhart and Amelia Noonan in the over nine decades following their disappearance.

Advocates of the theory that the Japanese kidnapped and murdered the pilots have cited a variety of evidence, including a generator recovered in a Saipan harbor in 1960 and a 2017 picture found on a Jaluit wharf. While TIGHAR has made a number of false claims over the years, they now maintain that the overwhelming weight of historical and archeological data places Amelia Earhart on Nikumaroro Island, which is 400 hundred miles south of Howland, where they think she starved to death.

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The most straightforward theory is that the pilots just fell into the water. Elgen Long, an airline pilot, authored a book titled Amelia Earhart: The Mystery Solved. He and his wife Marie conducted the most thorough investigation into potential locations for that event. Jourdan has made three journeys and failed to find anything where Long proposed (or anywhere else).

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6. The riddle remains unresolved. That does not preclude a solution.

From recent radio signal tests, Jourdan’s team thinks they have narrowed down the area where the Electra went down. A documentary team will be present to chronicle the event when Deep Sea Vision visits the location later this year. Romeo replies, “There’s no doubt about that—we need to look at it again.” “There’s a certain urgency—we need to get out there before.”

Source:
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/amelia-earhart-airplane-sonar-image


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