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WE DISAGREE WITH TIGHAR’S EARHART THEORIES

12 Jan

This is a copy of a memo we e-mailed to folks on our mailing list.

1-10-14

WE DISAGREE WITH TIGHAR’s EARHART THEORIES

BY ROBERT WHEELER AND FRED NICELY

We are writing to you because you have shown an interest in our research in the past. We have exciting news.

Here at Amelia Earhart Controversy we have been “on the fence” so to speak. The two Earhart landing theories (TIGHAR’s Gardner Island and Fred Goerner’s  Mili Atoll) have merits. Our book, Amelia Earhart Betrayed was based on a theory which incorporated both scenarios. Recently that view changed.

We did extensive research on TIGHAR’s Analysis of Direction Finding Bearings in the search for Amelia Earhart by Bob Brandenburg and we believe that his conclusion that the signals originating from Gardner Island comes up lacking

One of the bearings in question could have originated at either Gardner Island or Mili Atoll.Radio Tower

In addition we have very recently cracked Earhart’s famous “281 Message” that was received by the Navy’s Radio Listening station at Oahu late on the night of July 4th. The original Interpretation was:

TWO EIGHT ONE NORTH HOWLAND CALL KHAQQ BEYOND NORTH DON’T HOLD WITH US MUCH LONGER ABOVE WATER SHUT OFF

Our interpretation is much different it reads:

TWO EIGHT ONE MB NORTHWEST HOWLAND CALL KHAQQ DUE TO QSY 6 889 M 172N E LATI 6 RADIO CAN’T LAST MUCH LONGER COCKPIT GEAR WETTER THIS AM GENERATOR

We do applaud TIGHAR’s research efforts.  Although they have done a great deal of work, we feel that it wasn’t directed at uncovering the truth but only to prove their theory.  Their attitude appears to be we have the right answer; all we have to do is prove it.  There are many people in prison because the police adopted the same attitude and juries believed them. We now officially join the ranks of the Fred Goerner theory: Earhart’s landing at Mili Atoll, subsequent transport to Kwajalein and then to Saipan.

Please visit our ameliaearhartcontroversy.com website to find out how we did it!

Both articles are listed in the RESEARCH SECTION

“Earhart’s Famous 281 Message Cracked”

“TIGHAR’S Bearings Questionable”

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  1. Bob

    Bob

    March 10, 2016 at 11:41 am

    This is an email we received from Woody Rogers, a respected historian and explorer.

    I’d like to chime in my 2 bits on the Niku theory. We have Amelia Earhart, a country girl raised for her first 10 years in a railroad town and then in rural areas until her move to Chicago as a teenager and Freed Noonan, who ran away to sea at a young age, worked on tall ships, steamers and freighters learning both sea craft and navigation and working in this field until he started navigator duties aboard planes at some time in his life. In that era of life on this earth, we can assume that woodcraft and survival skills, at least the rudimentary skills, including how to get a fire going, would be learned from family and friends. So now we have these 2 supposedly crashed on Niku in the Pacific relying on those skills.

    1. Although the castaway site has the remains of fires, no signal fire was lit on that island for neither any passing ships nor the National Geographic Eclipse expedition elsewhere in the Phoenix group to try and get anybody’s attention.
    2. No SOS written in the sand above the high water mark, no palm fronds laid out in an SOS, no coconuts laid out in the same fashion! As a matter of fact nothing of any sort seen by the Navy search pilots.
    3. The plane lands on the reef, gets pulled into deep water and then during the Bevington survey, he doesn’t note an engine with part of a wing and the landing gear sticking up out of shallow water. While I was on Taroa in 2001, I noted several aircraft engines in shallow water, sitting all alone! I asked the natives why there were only engines present, they told me that wave action broke the planes up in a few months after they were shot down and the wreckage pulled into the lagoon. These engines haven’t moved an inch since WORLD WAR 2. Ric fails to tell us how the plane could crash on a reef, float off and sink in deeper water and then mysteriously have the gear float back up, inverted, in shallow water.
    4. On an island full of birds, coconut crabs and coconuts, Earhart and Noonan died of starvation? REALLY? That is so ludicrous that it should really be a comedy skit. I can tell you from my experience on Taroa that coconut crabs are slow, easy to catch and easy to kill with a COCONUT. They taste pretty good, just like coconut! The castaway camp has plenty of bird bones in it, which would mean somebody survived there for quite a while, most likely the survivors of the Norwich City. In an email several years ago, I asked Ric , why, on an island full of coconuts, would they starve in 2 weeks? His reply was, “maybe they didn’t know how to open them”. Well, there are plenty of newspaper photos of Amelia with none other than Duke Kahanamoku, starting with the Olympics back in the early 30s. During her pre Oahu-Oakland flight time in Hawaii in December of 1934 up to her departure, The Duke is paddling her around in a Hawaiian canoe, showing her how to slice a whole pineapple up and taking her to a COCONUT HUSKING DEMONSTRATION. Fred Noonan would have learned that craft as ship’s crew. Additionally, my first father-in-law, Joseph Keeler, was a Professor of Agriculture at the University of Hawaii for over 20 years. He studied the coconut at length and did a study and written paper on how long you could live on coconuts alone. The conclusion was, are you ready for this? OVER A YEAR. Coconuts are chock full of electrolytes and vitamins.
    5. George Putnam, her stepson and I had a conversation over lunch at his home in 2012. He said she could fix anything, (Including their car a few times on the side of the road) and that she carried her toolbox with her EVERYWHERE. He told me that he knew for a fact that it was on the plane with her when she left on her last flight, If she indeed did have it on board she had tools at her disposal to do a lot of survival work after she crashed. Who knows what remained on the Norwich City that she and Fred could have utilized.

     
    • Bob

      Bob

      March 10, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      Possibly many of our readers are not aware that Woody has a very plausable theory about the location of AE’s Electra in the Marshalls. This, in our opinion, is a very workable theory. It would have been very difficult for the Japanese to transport the Electra all the way to Saipan. In addition we asked ourselves why would they go to all that trouble? Mili Atoll is well within reach of the Koshu. AE and FN would have been much easier to transport to Saipan. Reading the history of the Marshalls it is quite plausable that Woody is correct and that if Truk wasn’t the object of a spy mission, the Marshalls would have made much more sense due to it’s proximity to Pearl Harbor. Bob and Fred

       
  2. dirk

    February 5, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    i could careless about someones interpretation. please post the real factual message. i will determine what it says myself. please do not lue to force your opinion on everyone you can. what did this message say exactly? wash for supper it dinner time?

     
    • Bob

      Bob

      February 5, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      From your comment dirk we guess that you want the original wording of the “281 message” The message is stated in the article, but for your edification we will repeat it here. “TWO EIGHT ONE NORTH HOWLAND CALL KHAQQ BEYOND NORTH DON’T HOLD WITH US MUCH LONGER ABOVE WATER SHUT OFF”. That is the enigma of the message.
      By the way I believe if you read the article you will find that we are offering our opinion about the results of our research and do not have the desire or the ability to “force” our opinion on anyone. We hope this answers your question since it wasn’t clear what you are asking. The word “lue” in your comment is quite unclear.

       
  3. D.T

    March 22, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Check out the 2-2-V-1 thread on the Tighar web-site.

    The piece of aluminum that Tighar has claimed for over twenty years now to be a piece of Earhart’s Electra can be no older than the 1940s. It must be from a WW2 aircraft. The evidence is very clear.

     
    • Bob

      Bob

      March 29, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      Thank you very much for your comment D.T.. We checked out the thread and agree whole heartedly that the piece of aluminum isn’t from AE’s aircraft. It would seem that TIGHAR will waste more time trying to prove that it is. As we have said before “Their contention is that if it isn’t a crab, rat or bird it was brought to the island by Amelia Earhart.” If they were truly researchers they would try to find out what type aircraft it DID come from. That at least would show people that they are interested in finding out what really happened. Thanks again for your post.

       
  4. Team One

    Team One

    February 5, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    COMMENT FROM RON BRIGHT
    Based on 15 years of research,I ncluding the Mili and SaIpan claims, I am convinced she went down short of Howland and her last signal at “5” indicated she was about 20 miles NW. She didn’t,t have enough gas to go 700 miles to Mili and with her transmitter working failed to send a new option’. Koshu personnel and logs do not reveal a pickup, and no radio analysis by US discloses a pickup.
    See my views in the Nat Geo TV program of the Search for Amelia Earhart.
    Will look forward to your postings. I have been a TIGHAR member for years and know Gillespie, and KIng and others.
    We all have some pet theories, and until the Holly Grail shows up, it is interesting to follow these. I was looking into the US intercepts of signal traffic on 2-3 Jul 37 around noon, for clues to this puzzle. None have surfaced from the Japanese side of captured docs and review of archives. And the Koshu records and interviews to not seem to support any signals from them or any evidence a plane pickup. Did I mention that Goerner himself changed his mind, although not publicized, that she didn’t land at Mili, but southeast of the Phoenix islands. The Sussman report on Mili inquiries changed his mind.
    Best,
    Ron Bright
    Special Agent ONI/NCIS (ret)

     
    • Bob

      Bob

      February 5, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      Ron, thank you very much for your comments. We have recently revamped our thoughts on the fate of AE and FN; in essence are starting at ground zero. This is a mystery with only one concrete fact that any of us can take to the bank. AE and FN took off from Lae NG in an aircraft that looked like a Lockheed Electra on July 1, 1937.
      That is what we know (I would have made it a bullet but it speaks for itself.)

      What we don’t know:
      *Their route of flight (We know what was publicized but we don’t know her real intentions).

      *If they were seen alive again (No solid evidence exists that they were ever seen again by anyone, but there is plenty of hearsay).

      *The true capabilities of the aircraft they were flying (Again plenty of hearsay and unsubstantial reports).

      *Their real destination (Again we have only what was publicized)

      With these facts in mind almost any scenario is possible. As you have pointed out with your example of the post loss radio signals and the gas consumption figures, she can be placed anywhere in the Pacific. One point I have noticed about the fuel consumption figures is the reluctance of researchers to use Maximum Range Airspeed (flying faster uses more fuel per hour, but the distance traveled is greatly increased) to plot last position and flight path.

      As to your two basic questions: they are very valid but the answers are difficult. Leo Bellarts had no way of comparing signal strength with distances from the Itasca. How do we ascertain that her “5” strength signal was coming from 10 or 200 miles away? We have only her reported position to go by, but not her actual position. In reading the post loss signal reports on TIGHAR’s website the signal received by Paul Yat Lum ham operator on Baker Island at 0720Z July 4th was classified as 4 by 7. If she were on Gardner Island as TIGHAR believes- she was 360 surface miles from the receiver.

      If she were on Mili Atoll, she was 894 surface miles from the receiver. It would have helped matters greatly if Bellarts had recorded her signal strength when she reported 200, and then 100 miles out.

      Her reluctance to let the Itasca know her intentions is quite a mystery: there are at least two probabilities. Firstly, she panicked and couldn’t communicate- possible but not very probable as she was quite level headed and panic only makes a bad situation worse-; but still a possibility. If she went down as you surmise, what would have caused that? A mechanical failure which required all of her attention? Possibly a double engine failure? If we go with a double engine failure with no “Mayday” call, what caused the failure? Fuel exhaustion would be the logical answer-: then our fuel consumption figures are 3 to 4 hours off. Quite a dilemma.

      A second probability is she went to her alternate destination, the Gilberts. Remember, when asked by a reporter earlier “What will you do if you can’t locate Howland Island?” Answer: “I’ll turn around and fly to the Gilberts.” Was it her assumption they knew this on board the Itasca? Not very likely I would want to make sure everyone knew my intentions if placed in the same situation. Many aviators are no longer with us because they wouldn’t switch gears and fly to their alternate in a timely manner. So, she either, had a catastrophic mechanical failure, panicked or just thought she could handle everything all by herself, that is, if we use that scenario without other factors.

      The Japanese are still denying fortifying the Mandated Islands to this day. There are huge gaps in records brought about by a number of actions, both by the allies and the Japanese themselves. I tend to not put much stock in the fact that the Koshu didn’t have any entries in their logs about any kind of pickup. ILet’s look at the eyewitness reports from Mili and take into account the three individuals that you say actually saw an aircraft go down. Did the Japanese just leave the aircraft in the lagoon and not pick it up? We can be fairly sure if the aircraft wasn’t the Electra it was one of theirs. Somehow I don’t think they would just leave it and if they did it isn’t there now. So why wasn’t a pickup reported by someone?

      You are very right about our pet theories and the only thing that will dispel all our cogitating on the subject is the finding of a part of the Electra that has a serial number on it that can be traced to the Earhart aircraft. When and where that artifact is found is yet to be determined. We can speculate all we want, but in the meantime, speculation is free, you know. Speculation doesn’t require us to dig a hole, travel to an uninhabited island or search the ocean depths. Thanks again for your input we hope to hear from you in the future. Bob Wheeler

       
  5. Bob

    Bob

    February 3, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    COMMENT FROM RONALD BRIGHT

    I agree with your Niku access net. AE didn’t, get there! The best evidence is Maude and Bevington,s exploration of Gardner in Oct 1937. The skull and skeleton found in 1940 is not AEs,based on extensive medical research on the Caldwell Luc procedure done o Amelia!
    I don’t see cites for those post loss signals, and thr PANAM are dubious at best.
    I have found that and researcher ,and I van name 6 or 7 can put The Electra anywhere in the Pacific they favor using their gas consumption and radio analyses!,
    Two basic questions. After radio contact with Itasca at 8 am ,signal strength 5 and still at sig 5 at 0843,risk leaving a safe haven and attempt a 6 or 700 mile flight to the Marshall’s or southeast to Gardner? And then make no attempt to let Itasca know of change. Her tranx was working just fine.
    Have you looked into the possibility AE did not return her receiver from Laes 6540? Balfour used it on her test flight.
    I have a monograph on the Mili witnesses ,perhaps 3, actual, claiming they saw an airplane go down. Not nor reported a single unique identifier…twin tail orange wings,and side or wing no,such as NR…..
    Some of my random thoughts, but would enjoy exchanging view. I.e my research with ordinal docs totally discredits the Devine claim he saw an Electra at Saipan
    brightaway@aol.com

     
  6. Bob

    Bob

    January 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Mr van Asten, thanks for your comments. So, where do you think they landed? Or do you think she crashed in the ocean as the “government”would have us believe?

     
  7. Bob

    Bob

    January 18, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Comment from H.A.C. van Asten
    Aircraft was close to Howland as by increasing strength of by ground wave radio signal . Fuel on board when destination supposedly reached was about 45 U.S.gallons . Aircraft was in the air up to 2014 GMT and maximum endurance was 20 hours fifteen minutes .
    Only Howland and Baker could be reached with the remaining fuel , all other land points and occasional reefs were beyond range and endurance . Maximum range was 2,852 statr.miles by the at take-off 1,100 US gallons on board .

     
  8. Bob

    Bob

    January 14, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    This e-mail is from David Bowman, another Earhart enthusiast and respected historian.

    Hi, Bob–
    Thanks for the email. I am indeed still interested in AE as my site should attest. Please check the link for the Independence Oregon gathering in September for photography of an Electra 10E flyby. Also check my Atchison 2013 page. An active member of the Amelia Earhart Society, I go there every year for the Amelia Earhart Festival.

    Re your write-up, I think your translation is valid. In fact I think it is a breakthrough. TIGHAR does indeed have a great website and has done some wonderful research. I was once even member of their forum for a while. But regarding TIGHAR’s search approach, I have to go a bit further than your theory. I.e., it appears to me that it is a matter of their continuing to look in the wrong place because of the profitability. Rick is sponsored by Fedex to the tune of about $104K a year. (Someone in the AE Society found and distributed a TIGHAR financial disclosure statement link.) Rick ‘s wife, Pat, must also be receiving a salary as VP of TIGHAR. If TIGHAR looks in the right place, the Fedex sponsorship stops. Myself, I’m OD’d out on freckle cream, shoe soles and bookcases from PBYs. The Brits had a colony on Gardner/Niku from 1938-63 and the U.S. Coast Guard had a Loran station there from 1944 to 1946. So finding artifacts on Gardner/Niku isn’t exactly a shock.

    For more of my take on AE’s disappearance, see LEGERDEMAIN on my website. IT has the latest disclosure re AE’s disappearance.
    davidkbowman.com

    Below latest email address I have for Woody in my email.

    woodyrogers1@yahoo.com

    Woody BTW is also a member of the AE Society.

    Best,
    Dave Bowman

     
  9. Bob

    Bob

    January 14, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    I received this e-mail from Doug Westfall, author and historian.

    “Thanks Boys, good luck with that one.
    Best Always, Doug”

     
  10. Bob

    Bob

    January 14, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    I received this reply from Woody Rogers, another respected Earhart historian who writes about shearing sheep.
    Bob,
    Read your article and I like it. In my opinion, Ric Gillespie is nothing more than a huckster making $150,000 a year off the sheep he claims are donors, but in actuality they’re just the means for him to live high on the hog. TIGHAR has done a lot of research, but everything is slanted towards his theory and he’s constantly putting down everyone else’s research and conclusions, which to me is the most disrespectful, egregious and unprofessional behavior that can be committed by someone that professes to be one of our own. All any of us know for sure is that Earhart and Noonan took off from Lae and were never seen in the western world again. No theory has any more proof than another at this point. Having said that, I agree that she came down on Mili Atoll, I believe that she was on the reef plain to the west of Chirubon Island for several days until until an incoming tide pulled the plane into the lagoon, eventually coming to rest on the reef next Barre Island. The Japanese picked them up and took her, Fred and the plane to Saipan, with the plane initially being taken to Saipan, back to Jaluit for storage for several years and then to Taroa sometime between June and November 1943. She was long dead, having been murdered in a most heinous manner before October 1937. I have photos of several of these events. Unfortunately, to print some of the photos would create much more controversy than I care to endure. One photo shows the burial of her plane. I would have to invite you for a visit to show you my research. I am still looking for funding to do a dig. You can call me anytime to chat! Still 805 878 4863. woodyrogers1@yahoo.com

     
  11. Bob

    Bob

    January 12, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    This e-mail is from LG Kinney, author and historian.
    “Thanks for the email.

    Your 281 message theory is believable. It certainly has as much credence as any other point of view.

    There was a classified Navy radio intercept and listening station at Oahu, and both Pan Am stations (Midway and Wake) that picked up post loss radio signals, that at the time, the Coast Guard and Navy believed were legitimate and belonged to Earhart. All of these stations admittedly had a 10 percent error variance as to direction. Records that I have reviewed all indicated these signals came from the Marshalls. As I mentioned previously, these signals for some reason have never been discussed to any extent. TIGHAR, as you state, has been more effective in pushing the belief one of the signals dissected Gardner Island.

    In your earlier message to me, you mentioned the possibility of the Navy picking up Japanese messages that might have broadcast messages concerning Earhart. That was a real possibility and something that I have pursued for several years. We indeed had broke the Japanese naval code in 1937. That code called the “blue code” was replaced in 1938 by the code that later was called JN-25. That code was a more sophisticated version but still had some of the earlier subsets. There was another later Japanese code we never cracked called “The fleet code.”

    During the mid 1930’s and until January 1938, the general Japanese Navy code was virtually unchanged. OP20-G had difficulty with the new code first put in place in January 1938 and it took at least two years to partially make sense of it. By 1940, we only had 8 percent deciphered.

    But, it is a fact, the Japanese code in place at the time of the Earhart disappearance and until early 1938 was completely readable by OP-20G. However, if one is to believe a few old cryptologists whom I talked to a few years ago, (now dead) they insisted much of the pre-war Japanese naval traffic was deciphered but never translated until 1946. They argued you could get almost as much information from identifying the sending station, and reviewing key words. They called this “traffic analysis) and in most cases a translation by ONI was not necessary. With that said, I have been searching for pre-WWII Japanese message traffic analysis/translations at NARA for hundreds of hours without success. They are nowhere to be found. I have discussed this issue with a recently retired NSA historian/cryptologist (they somehow were turned over to NSA) who said he searched for this material at length himself and never have found it. There is still more to this code mystery.

    Back to Mili. There is too much antidotal evidence (witness statements) from natives that cannot be discounted. The fact that witnesses stated they assisted in the loading of a twin engine airplane onto a small barge from the surf at Barre Island at Mili Atoll is consistent with the later Marshall Island witnesses who saw a white woman and man at Jaluit. Of course this daisy chains with the natives that said they saw a white woman at Jaluit, and others who said they saw a white woman at Roi Namur (Kwajalein Atoll)

    I have found the only piece of documentary evidence ( as far as I know) that could lead a reasonable person to believe that Earhart was in the Marshalls. I have not divulged this information and probably will not for awhile as I hope to find at least one other smoking gun before I write about Earhart. By the way, I am the author of a political action novel called The K Street Boys. Its a good book, but with only a small publisher backing it – it has gone nowhere. It is almost impossible for fiction to get published by the big houses these days unless your name is Grisham, Thor, or Baldacci.

    There has been an on going debate between myself (Les Kinney) and Tom King of TIGHAR) at a blog belonging to Mike Campbell, author of Amelia Earhart The Truth at Last. Mike has a tendency to antagonize some people because of his passion and bluntness. The debate begins in the comments below Mike’s rant. Its quite long but detailed. I suggest you take a look.

    Here is the link: http://earharttruth.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/oct-24-rossella-lorenzi-tighars-best-friend/

    If you wish, you may call me to chat about any of this stuff.

    Les Kinney”

     
  12. Bob

    Bob

    January 12, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    This is the first reply I received via e-mail that responded to the 281 message-TIGHAR’S Bogus Bearings

    Phil Van Zandt (Filo Vance) is a respected historian and guest blogger.

    I did read the article with interest… way back in my college AFROTC days, I had a ‘military on leave’ instructor who’s code name I was to learn later was what he used in classes. I doubt that MSU actually knew any different. Within 6-months after returning to active duty he perished over the Yellow Sea… the Korean conflict was ended by a truce some years before, but what Americans were not told is that the sparring between Chinese MIG pilots & Americans who by then were told we owned the air over the Pacific and the sea-lanes below, continued as kind of a ‘contest’. Not one where ‘Winner-take-all’ was at stake, but a ‘friendly reminder’ of who really won in China. and who lost.
    I started to say that “Major Libuse” was an able tactician and had spent some time and effort trying to teach students navigation (the old form – before GPS); one of his documented classes used the case of missing Aviatrix, AE and former Pan-Am air-boat fleet navigator, Fren Noonan. If he had any knowledge of their being captive and imprisoned on Saipan, he never mentioned it. He worked with courses, headings and corrected compass readings and came up with the assumption that there had to be a detailed contingency plan involved, because so little information placed them on course for Howland Island. This man knew a lot about over-water propogation of radio waves; atmospheric bounce, the effects of cloud-cover, etc. as well as the use of a standard sextant. He calclated fuel usage as the aircraft lightened based on it’s modified hull and re-distributed interior weight and asked the class to explain what they believed might have cause the aircraft not to reach its “intended destination” – wow, we had answers from trignometry majors to spying on the Japs enroute, at a time I believe it had not been proposed by Gorener or other theorists. Well, dumb Phil had them over-shooting Howland (which BTW the Major had a very fine aerial view photo-enlargement of) and simply running out of fuel; ditching in the Pacific and taking to the rubber raft, ignorong what was by then inferred as to someone impersonating AE on shortwave. No one seemed capable of understandig the poorly-done Morse code message, and even the Major doubted it’s sincerity. There were 23 conclusions from 28 students, and a couple who simply were “Lost in Space” dreamers. I never knew just how many ever became pilot-observers, while the rest may have one for private or commercial licenses. Our summer-camps were filled with tech and trips, but MajorLibuse had his “Magic 8” (students he would take up in the schools military Beech 18 and let us have time at the controls; we every other weekend visit some airbase, and often he would check-out other aircraft and again give us each a chance at testing our skills. I felt like the dumb-ass of the roup one day when he had each don a parchute, nd placed me in the squat position at the open door, while the major explained rip-cord pull and finally what would happen if bail-out fright took place in any of them – by giving my posterior a swift boot. f course I tumbled out the open door, my mind not on counting to 5, but on the quickly approaching macadam which had been 4′ below. I landed on the parachute (just as he knew I would) – to the laughs and gaffaws of the other 7. The major then extended the ladder and asked me to reboard, Took my parachute… he sat me in the pilot’s seat and reviewed the trim, the throttles, control console, instumentation and the pedals while the 7 others crowded up to see what was happening in the cockpit. I was starting to get an idea this was more than just a re-familiarization, when he instructed the others to strap themselves in for a take-off shortly and buckled himself back into the co-pilots seat. He motioned for me to snap on my head-phones mic just as he was doing, and he called the tower requesting taxing and take-off, along with weather & winds. I knew which engine to crank first after making sure the brakes were set, and did so with a little shaking in both legs; I started #2 awaiting the clearance to move, checked the rudder, and all visible clearances twice to calm my nerves and I felt a hand on my right shoulder, slide down to place mine again on the throttles, while his other stayed firmly on the wheel-yoke with the exception of a thumb raised.
    I did OK; we got airborn at the right spot & speed; avoided the tower at the N. end of the field; leveled off at the instructed altitude and gave as much of the less than 360-degrees horizontal and far less vertical sky a check for other aircraft. The radio message vectored us for an 021 flight at a different altitude to Selfridge field, N. of Mt. Clemens with a circle E-W over Lake Huron approach. I looked at the major and he just smiled. The Major took over for the landing, which he told me was because he wasn’t sure that I might be uncomfortable watching the white Nike missiles track our approach. Did I get cheers from the other 7? Frankly, although on another outing we did touch’n’ go’s at Wright-Patt, my memory of Selfridge was more frozen by being sat second in a P-80 (jet) trainer as we flew along the Grosse Pointe coast, S. above the Detroit river to Lake Erie’s Put-In-By and back over that route… when I wasn’t looking out either side, my mind was on how complicated a jet engine was, and how fast aircraft using such dropped if there was a flame-out!
    Summer camps were even less fun, and I knew it was because of instructors changes, and not again seeing Major Libuse… I flunked the red-red hue color-blindness test, and that ment no 2nd. Lt. bars, so I had a parting with the Air Force and some regrets. I substituted marriage, three kids and some traveling for ever getting a private pilots license and I don’t regret it – mostly! But I could never have solved the 281 message – even if AE had whispered it my dreams… Congratulations (and one of these days I’ll stick to the subject, I promise!) Phil

     
 
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