In 1937, Amelia Earhart vanished while flying over the Pacific Ocean. Can decades-old radio signals solve the mystery behind her disappearance?
Background on Amelia Earhart
Nearly 75 years ago, Amelia and her navigator Fred Noonan vanished while attempting a circumnavigational flight around the Earth. For more than two decades, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has searched for them, focusing most of its efforts on tiny Gardner Island.
In less than a month, TIGHAR will return to Gardner Island, hoping to solve this enduring mystery once and for all. In preparation for the expedition, the group recently held a 3-day conference in Arlington, VA.
Three interesting pieces of evidence were featured. Yesterday, we discussed a possible anti-freckle jar found on Gardner Island, which might’ve belonged to Amelia. Today, we’re going to talk about “post-loss radio signals.” And tomorrow, we’ll focus on a strange photograph.
Post-Loss Radio Signals…from Amelia Earhart?
Amelia vanished on July 2, 1937. From July 2 to July 18, radio operators reported 120 signals that could possibly be traced to her Lockheed Electra aircraft. These reports have been largely dismissed by experts who suspect she crashed into the middle of the ocean. However, researchers at TIGHAR recently analyzed these signals using “digitized information management systems, antenna modeling software, and radio wave propagation analysis programs.”
“Amelia Earhart did not simply vanish on July 2, 1937. Radio distress calls believed to have been sent from the missing plane dominated the headlines and drove much of the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy search. When the search failed, all of the reported post-loss radio signals were categorically dismissed as bogus and have been largely ignored ever since.” ~ Ric Gillespie, Executive Director of TIGHAR
TIGHAR found 57 credible signals out of the 120 reports. This indicates Amelia’s airplane remained above-water for several days following her “disappearance.” In turn, this fits with TIGHAR’s hypothesis that Amelia crashed on Gardner Island and her plane remained on land for several days before finally being “washed over the reef.”
“The safest procedure is to transmit only when the engine is running, and battery power is required to start the engine. To run the engine, the propeller must be clear of obstructions, and water level must never reach the transmitter.” ~ Ric Gillespie, Executive Director of TIGHAR
Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis
Obviously, this evidence is circumstantial. And some of the 57 radio signals could still be “hoaxes.” However, we find this particular body of evidence quite interesting. At least four signals were heard by multiple radio stations. And other radio signals were reported by credible sources.
“281 north Howland – call KHAQQ – beyond north — won’t hold with us much longer — above water — shut off.” ~ Morse Code Message received by the U.S. Navy Radio at Wailupe, Honolulu, July 5, 1937
Well, that’s it for today. Tomorrow, we’re going to examine a photograph taken three months after Amelia’s disappearance, possibly showing the landing gear of her Lockheed Electra aircraft. Also, don’t forget yesterday’s post on glass shards from Gardner Island which might’ve once belonged to Amelia. And of course, next month, we’ll be following TIGHAR’s big expedition back to Gardner Island where researchers hope to excavate Amelia’s plane from the deep waters off the island’s western end. So, stay tuned…there’s lots more to come!
Guerrilla Explorer’s Coverage of Amelia Earhart
- 7/3/11: Where is Amelia Earhart?
- 3/23/12: The Search for Amelia Earhart?
- 6/3/12: New Evidence for Amelia Earhart?
- 6/4/12: New Evidence for Amelia Earhart: Part II?
- 6/5/12: The Lost Photo of Amelia Earhart’s Plane?
- 6/23/12: The Baltic Anomaly: What is the next Anomaly?
- 7/3/12: The Search for Amelia Earhart Begins Today!
- 7/8/12: Amelia Earhart’s Lost Skeleton?
- 7/13/12: The Earhart Expedition: And so it Begins…
- 7/20/12: The Search for Amelia Earhart Nears an End