Whatever Happened to Amelia Earhart?

More than 80 years after Amelia Earhart’s disappearance somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, a recent analysis of transmissions received by radio amateurs may well have solved the mystery.

According to research recently published by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), the leading hypothesis is that Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan crash landed on tiny, uninhabited Gardner Island (now known as Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati in the Pacific. Their hypothesis is based on an extensive analysis of dozens of transmissions from Earhart reportedly picked up by radio amateurs and others following her initial disappearance.

The TIGHAR paper notes that identified transmissions occurred on Earhart’s harmonically-related, primary frequencies that were more prone to ionospheric propagation, thereby enabling them to be transmitted and received over much longer distances.

Unfortunately, while Earhart’s distress calls were heard by many people, rescuers at the time were unable to accurately identify the exact location of Earhart’s downed plane. In all likelihood, Earhart and Noonan were unable to escape the reef-bound island and ultimately perished there.

Read the complete TIGHAR paper.

Read a posting at the ARRL website that offers a more detailed summary of the paper’s findings.


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