Category Archives: Amelia Earhart Project

Discovery Channel to air TIGHAR’s Amelia Earhart Expedition Special this Sunday

In July, I posted a series of posts about the expedition led by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) in search of  Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra. After spending two weeks scanning the ocean floor and overcoming a variety of technical issues, the group of researchers headed back to Hawaii to go through the sonar and ROV images. TIGHAR has not shared the final results of their search on their website because the Discovery Channel filmed the expedition.

Discovery Channel will air the results of the expedition this Sunday, August 19, at 10PM ET/9PM CT. The special, entitled Finding Amelia,” will explore Earhart’s disappearance, the theories of the expedition’s leader Ric Gillespie, and the final results of the Niku VII expedition. Check your local listings and be sure to tune for what could prove to be a historic event.

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TIGHAR’s Niku VII Expedition Concludes

The search for Amelia Earhart’s plane by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR). The group spent the last nine days searching the waters around Nikumaroro Island using advanced sonar and ROV technology.

If you have been following TIGHAR’s daily reports, you know that the expedition has had some technical issues. Problems with the sonar technology and the ROV have not been uncommon. Despite these issues, the team was still able to collect a massive amount of data that they will begin to analyze on their return trip to Hawaii.

Yesterday was their final day at Nikumaroro, and their daily report indicates that they did not find any objects that appeared to be plane shaped, but some speculate that the plane may have broken up as it washed out to sea. If this is the case, they will need to analyze all the sonar scans and ROV images. This will be a challenge because there are pieces of the shipwreck of the SS Norwich City in the area.

The analysis of the data will certainly take some time, and I will post a full update as soon as their final report is published. In the meantime, you can continue to follow the expedition by visiting the TIGHAR website, reading their expedition reports, and following their Facebook page.

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TIGHAR Group to Reach Nikumaroro Island Today – UPDATED

A group of researching hoping to find the wreckage of Amelia Earhart’s plane should arrive at Nikumaroro Island sometime today. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) left Hawaii on July 2 and estimated arrival at the island early this morning local time. Once they are in position, they intend to immediately begin using sonar technology and an ROV to map the ocean floor.

Earhart, and her navigator Fred Noonan, disappeared on July 2, 1937, and the search for Earhart’s plane has been off-and-on again for the past 75 years. This time, the crew are using a photograph taken two months. after Earhart disappeared as their guide. The photograph appears to show the landing gear of a Lockheed Electra protruding from the water.

The TIGHAR expedition is led by Earhart historian and TIGHAR Executive Director Ricahrd E. Gillespie, author of the book Finding Amelia. He has been searching for Earhart’s plane since the founding of TIGHAR in 1988. Hopefully after this expedition, Gillespie will have to update his book.

The expedition will be at the site for ten days, and I will post updates as they are available. You can follow the expedition by visiting the TIGHAR website, their expedition reportsor their Facebook page. The group is still accepting donations to help pay for the expedition and you can help by visiting their donation page.

UPDATE: The group arrived at the island this morning at 1:30 AM local time (7:30 AM EDT). The intent was to begin scanning the ocean floor with the AUV, but after a 4-hour test run, the group began to have issues with the propulsion system on the AUV. Luckily the repair should be fairly simple and keep working. You can read the full report HERE.

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The Search for Amelia Earhart’s Plane begins Today – UPDATED

Today, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) Niku VII expedition will depart from Honolulu, Hawaii for Nikumaroro (formerly Gardner) Island. The team will be using underwater sonar technology in an attempt to locate the missing Lockheed Electra of Amelia Earhart.

Amelia Earhart disappeared 75 years ago today, July 2, 1937. Earhart was making a flight around the globe and was nearing the end of her journey when she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean. She was due to land at Howland Island, and despite minimal radio contact, she never made it. Despite a search by the United States Navy, Earhart, her navigator Fred Noonan, and her plane were never found. It has been assumed that Earhart crashed into the Pacific Ocean, and it has been speculated that she may have survived the crash by ditching the plane near one of the thousands of islands in the Pacific.

Earhart rose to stardom in 1932 when she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Earhart hoped to become the first woman pilot to fly around the world and she began her first attempt in March 1937. This trip was cut short when her plane crashed on takeoff from Luke Field in Hawaii. She began her second attempt in June 1937, time flying from west to east. She was on the next to last flight of the journey when she disappeared.

The above photo, taken in 1937, was discovered earlier this year and appears to show a landing gear from a Loockheed aircraft. Many scientists, including famed explorer Robert Ballard, have examined the photograph and believe it is the best evidence to date. This evidence exciting the historical and aviation communities and the groundwork began to fund an expedition to explore the site. If Earhart’s plane is off the coast of Nikumaroro Island, it would prove that Earhart’s navigator was off course. There is also a chance that Earhart survived the crash and evidence of this may still be on the island. The hypothesis of the TIGHAR team is that Earhart landed the plane safely on the reef off the island and that the plane was washed off the reef and into deeper water. The appearance of the landing gear in the photograph would support this theory.

The expedition to locate the Lockeed Electra is using state-of-the-art technology and is being filmed by the Discovery Channel. TIGHAR is leading the expedition aboard the vessel R/V Ka’Imikai-o-Kanaloa. The research team is led by Richard Gillespie and has a total crew of nineteen. The expedition team left Hawaii today and should arrive at Nikumaroro Island on July 9. They will use the next ten days to comb the area using multi-beam sonar and side-scan sonar. The team also will be equipped with a ROV should the wreck be located. The expedition will leave Nikumaror Island on July 19 and arrive in Hawaii on July 27 where the team will demobilize. If the Electra is found, no plans have been made to recover the aircraft. The team will only document the crash site extensively using underwater camera technology.

TIGHAR is relying on corporate and private donations for the expedition and you can get involved and donate by visiting their donation webpage. Their corporate sponsors include Lookheed Martin, Discovery Channel, FedEx, GeoEye Foundation, Photek, White’s Metal Detectors, Fast Signs, and Bray & Scarff.

This could prove to be a historic expedition. I will keep a close eye on the expedition and post updates. You can follow the expedition by visiting the TIGHAR website, their expedition reports, or their Facebook page.

UPDATE: The expedition has been pushed back one day and will now leave Hawaii tomorrow, July 3. The delay is due to the fact the entire team could not be assembled today.

Source: TIGHAR

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