Nauru–Ice Cream Cone on the Pacific
The “Chater Report” contained in your extensive archive contains the evidence which my friend and I believe misled Mr. Noonan. The light at Nauru was telegrammed to be at an altitude of 5600 feet. We believe this not to be correct. At that day and time we speculate it should have read 560 feet but verification is ongoing as today the island height is just over 200 feet.
We believe Mr. Noonan would have used his “Pelorus Drift Site” and estimated his distance from the island especially at night below the cloud layer. He knew his altitude so he could have obtained a negative angle sighting, checked current flight altitude for elevation, and applied his trig tables and derive a distance from Nauru. This drift site was their third means of navigation provided. Celestial and radio navigation would not have been available or useable.
If he had taken two sightings and plotted them, they would have a good ground speed and wind data to apply a corrective heading for Nuribenua Island, his next landfall.
This works out why they missed and ended up south of Howland for us. Does it work for you?