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Thank you for your interest in the Search for Amelia Web site. We welcome your comments and invite you to send them along to us by completing the form below.

The Waitt Institute’s search for Amelia Earhart’s plane has concluded and unfortunately, we did not find the aircraft. However, with the hope that future searchers may be able to build upon the work we’ve done, we’ve elected to publish our research and results—including all sonar data from the mission—on this site. We take full responsibility for our work, including any and all calculations or assumptions, whether accurate or otherwise. We are confident Earhart’s plane is not in area of seafloor we surveyed.

All appropriate comments submitted here will be posted on our ‘What We’ve Heard’ page unless you request otherwise in writing. Our goal is to generate positive dialogue and fresh ideas about where Amelia’s plane may still be found. If our research helps you with this purpose, we are grateful. In any case, please view this page as a platform where you can share your own theories and suggestions about what you think happened to the ill-fated World Flight.

Make sure to subscribe to our RSS feed to know when we update this page. We also invite you to join us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news.

Please Note: Comments will not be posted until reviewed, which may take up to 30 days.

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What We’ve Heard…

Our readers share their thoughts…

Comment—Sharon W:

Hey guys. I just wanted to say thank you for your website. You have done a beautiful job of explaining the whole story. I have read literally tons of info on Amelia Earhart’s incredible life and tragic final hours over the years and have waited all my life for the plane to be recovered. Your website is by far, without a doubt, the most informative, well-organized, scientific, logical and fascinating compilation of the facts and circumstances I have read on “AE” in years… actually, ever. And I just loved the videos, especially the one showing the view of Howland. Made the hair on the back of my neck stick up. I think you are definitely on the right track with your search and, if your research continues, and I pray it does, I know you will finally find her.

Unfortunately, there is an incredible amount of nonsense on the web about this subject, and I was so excited and elated to find you guys. I have always believed that she (Amelia) was so close to doing what seemed impossible, but most likely ran out of fuel or had a serious equipment failure or something. What you are doing, looking for the “needle in the haystack,” is not much different than what that incredible lady did 73 years ago. After already flying 20k miles, then for 20hrs straight, only to have to fly through the eye of a needle to make it. Difference is, your quest is not a matter of life or death. Please keep up the good work. You’re so close. You’re gonna find her.

Comment—Craig G:

Have you conclusively searched the area hypothesized by Elgen Long?

Response—SearchForAmelia Editor:

If you look under Research in Appendix 2, you’ll see that to cover all of Elgen Long’s area, the search would have required looking to the east of Howland (meaning they went too far). Our researchers also made a case for the EON possibly being west of the island, but it’s a much lower possibility. The dotted line on the diagram I’ve sent you represents Long’s total area of probability. If you compare that to the final mosaic of both missions, you’ll see that we also covered the northeastern part of Elgen’s hypothesis - mainly in the earlier mission.

As we say on the site, we believe we’ve eliminated a substantial percentage of the area from Elgen’s work, but all of our studies have been based on Amelia’s aircraft coming up short of Howland. We have not checked out the eastern area of probability and have no plans to do so.

You can see most of this by going through all the research that we published on the site and comparing it to the final mosaic.

Comment—Dan S:

Why not settle the TIGHAR theory once and for all and search the deep reef area where TIGHAR believes it is? That won’t take very long and is a small area.

Comment—Jose L:

Your activities on this matter have been fascinating for me. I have 2 questions:

1- (Is it) possible that the plane remains could now be destroyed in small particles that are impossible to see on the ocean floor?

2- The island I saw in the video is so small–and I did not see any airport. (Was) there such a thing in that time?

Thank you very much for sharing your great information.

Comment—Joe L:

If you go 10 min n & 176-45w as a point and draw a 40nm radius circle, it is the most probable location of the lost aircraft.

Comment—Richard C:

Thank you for posting all this information on your site, and I hope you don’t mind me querying a couple of your fuel estimates.

The fuel used in the climb to 8000ft seems to be too high if AE was following Kelly Johnson’s recommendations. You seem to have missed that in his telegram Kelly Johnson told AE to climb to 8000ft using 2050rpm and 28.5in.  On page 7 of his L487 report, these values are used in a climb portion of the profile, and show the power as 400hp. Based on the values in L487 400 hp would be enough to give the 15500lb Electra the 130ft/min climb rate to get to 8000ft in one hour. On page 34 of L487 400hp per engine is shown as using 62 GPH, which seems a bit low. Assuming that fuel flow would be proportional to rpm and manifold pressure, then based on the first cruise sector values of 60 GPH, from 1900rpm and 28.0in, would give 66 GPH for 2050rpm and 28.5in.

The 1080 gallon take-off fuel from Swenson and Culick seems a little strange because we know the 12 fuel tanks held 1151 gallons, of which one 81 gallon tank was reserved for 100 octane fuel. So the eleven tanks for 87 octane fuel held 1070 gallons, and in his book Elgen Long’s says that those were filled to capacity. Charter’s report states that the 100 octane tank had at least 40gallons in it so that implies a total of at least 1110 gallons.

Comment—Michael B:

The search for the missing Lockheed L-10 was fruitless because the L-10 didn’t crash anywhere near Howland Island. Accordingly, the “crash and sank” theorists, so prevalent in the Amelia Earhart Society, have always been wrong. The Marshall Islands and the Japanese Imperial Navy are the keys to unlocking this mystery.

Comment—Woody P:

I have read with much interest your research on Amelia Earhart. I assume from your website that your focus is only on what is referred to as the “crashed and sank” theory. Am I correct in assuming this?

Response—Search For Amelia Editor:

Our research and the searches we’ve conducted were based on the crash and sink theory. That said, one of the reasons for publishing all the information is to promote all discussion that will lead to solving the mystery. We have posted thoughts by other readers on different theories and will continue to do so.

We’re confident she isn’t in the areas we’ve searched and hope the published data will narrow the search and help solve the mystery.

Comment—Rolfe R:

I have been following this search project with interest. There is a lot of commendable in-depth detail and analysis on your website. I have also looked at the information in the TIGHAR website. I find the radio transcripts the most intriguing (and where most of the vital clues probably lie in).

One question - the conversion to GMT from local times is difficult to figure out. It is understood that Lae, PNG local time is GMT +10 (it still is). But in the TIGHAR Part 3 Final Flight analysis paper, it mentions that Itasca operated on “Time Zone +11.5″ and Howland Island on “Time Zone +10.5″. Is this to mean that (based on GMT world time zones in July 1937), when it was 10h00 am in Lae on July 2 (equivalent to 0000 GMT, ie GMT is 10 hrs less than local time) then it was 10h30am July 2 in Howard Island (ie 30 minute time difference) and 11h30am onboard Itasca??

If so, then assuming Earhart planned on a 20 hr flight, she would have expected to arrive in Howard Island at 2000 GMT July 2 (ie same day), equivalent to 06h00 am Lae time and 06h30 am Howard Island time July 3 (ie next day based on local times). This makes a lot of sense if they expected sunrise to occur at Howard at about 06h20am, thus giving them the best chance of getting a good fix and crossing the “magic” 337/157 line intersecting Howard right on time.

If the above interpretation is correct, then there appear to be some errors in the local time to GMT time conversions for the Itasca radio logs. Eg, the Bellarts transmission recorded at 07h42 am Itasca time (”must be on you but cannot see you”) - that would be 2012 GMT and not 1912 GMT as indicated in the Part 3 TIGHAR paper.

Please help clarify - hopefully I have missed something in the conversion that would explain this apparent inconsistency.

Response—Search For Amelia Editor:

There are clear incongruities in many of the records but one that our team was aware of are the differentiations in the time zones. Clearly radio communication planning, frequency choices and time hacks were a major factor in the disappearance, but we believe our researchers accurately took them into account in their calculations. Also, please see Elgen Long’s response to a question on time zones in response to an earlier comment.

Comment—Cameron W:

After more than a dozen years of intensive research, and the editing and annotating of Capt. Safford’s Flight Into Yesterday, (published by Paladwr Press), I’ve long thought Winslow Reef should be thoroughly checked as a possible location of the Electra. (This passed (sic) on a theory that AE might have headed east toward Canton Island. I’d be happy to elaborate.)

Response—Search For Amelia Editor:

Cameron, we appreciate the input and we have heard this theory. The area you speak of was one of the few spots in the region that had been referred to in the public record just prior to the flight. While a search on Canton might be worthwhile, we had to concentrate our efforts on the area we selected. We’ll be happy to share your additional information with other readers if you decide to share it with us.

Comment—Craig B:

I have read with interest both Elgen’s and Ric’s account of AE’s final minutes in the air. Ric and I in fact had an e-mail debate some years ago over this.

What has always bothered me is the absence of radio communication after AE’s last transmission. The long held common assumption is that AE ran out of fuel and ditched. As a pilot it is very hard for me to accept that AE would make scheduled radio calls throughout the flight including her last one announcing her dire situation but not make the final, most important transmission of her life, her intentions.

AE was flying low over open water, tired, desperately straining to find the safety of Howland. At a time when she must have known that she wasn’t going to find the airstrip and her only chance of survival was to be found she fails to make the last radio call. A call that would have saved hers and Noonan’s life. That points to only one outcome; uncontrolled entry into the water. Your site is the first I have read that mentions this.

Thank you for your efforts and a great AE site. The plane is there and it will be found. Good luck in any future searches.

Comment—Markus W:

I can’t find any reference whatsoever on your website to the extensive research done by Fred Goerner. Regardless of what you may think about his conclusions, which to me personally are beyond compelling, don’t you think he deserves at least a nod from a serious AE research team as yours?

Not to be picky but a body of work as large as his on the subject simply can’t be ignored.

And I wish you the very best of luck and success in your efforts, regardless of whichever theory proves true!

Response—Search For Amelia Editor:

Markus, thank you for your note. As you know there are many theories about what happened and, until the plane is found, none can be dismissed. Here’s a link for other readers to an overview of Mr. Goener’s work.

Comment—Joe K:

Thank you for this historic expedition in search of America’s lost aviators. I truly enjoyed every video, photo, and word of this web site. I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Harold Edgerton on a treasure expedition in the late 80’s the founder of EG&G Marine pioneer of side scan and forerunner of EdgeTech. My dad searched for Amelia’s plane several days while aboard the battleship BB46 USS Maryland.

He spoke of the rumors surrounding her loss, the sea state, and many other naval details. I would like to know if you plan to survey the other side of Howland Island. I would like to know what the cost of this project was including the equipment. I truly appreciate the work and effort by the team of Waitt Institute and the founder Ted Waitt.

Response—Search For Amelia Editor:

Joe, we appreciate your note. Thank you for the kind words. The Waitt Institute has no current plans to conduct or fund future searches around Howland Island or based on other theories. We’ve published all of our research in the hope that it will help narrow the search area for other searchers.

Comment—David B:

I am back at my home in Australia now and have had the time to review your document up to the Page numbered 33.

I find some inconsistencies, assumptions and some mistakes.

I do agree that “Route C” was the route they took and I have been saying that for years and that Harry Balfour in LAE misheard or “mis-recorded” the PR as 150.7 Longitude…
You can read more from David here.

Response—Search For Amelia Editor:

David, thank you for all your thoughts and input. We appreciate your dedication and enthusiasm and will post all of your thoughts and comments at the link above. We’ll be happy to update the comments from you, along with other readers’ reactions to it, but we do not have the resources necessary to respond to all the comments and questions. We’ve published the research our search was based on as part of our commitment to narrowing future searches by you or others.

Comment—Ivan A:

Congratulations for such a good site for those interested in the fate of AE; also congratulations for the remarkable operation of mapping of the seafloor with all the AUVs and all the good people. I have two questions.

Will the Waitt Institute continue to support operations like this one (this is, mapping more of the ocean floor?)

Given what was found and particularly what was not found, what do you think has to be changed in the basic assumptions made for this search?

Response—Search For Amelia Editor:

Ivan, thank you for the note. The Waitt Institute is currently considering additional missions that would continue mapping the ocean floor. Regarding basic assumptions and how they may need to be changed, we are leaving that task to others.

Comment—Ian M:

Below is a brief summary of the New Britain Theory from the web site aerospaceweb

“One such theory has been promoted by Australian engineer David Billings who believes Fred Noonan misjudged the Electra’s position because of his inability to take celestial navigation fixes during the flight and high winds. Billings uses these factors to suggest the plane was actually considerably short of Howland Island when the flyers began searching for it. Billings further cites data on the Electra’s fuel consumption rates showing the plane was more efficient than assumed by most researchers, suggesting the plane could have reversed course and flown much farther than is generally accepted.”

Response—Search For Amelia Editor:

Ian, thank you for the notes and your interest. We’ve posted the link you provided so other readers can learn more. We do not know the source of that page and do not vouch for or support any of its content. Also, regarding your earlier question / comment on fuel consumption our researchers are fairly certain that an assumption of 20 gallons per hour is per engine; not total consumption. They also note that returning to New Britain would have meant approximately 50 hours of total flying time. Besides not enough fuel to sustain that time, they remind us that the planes engines were not capable of operating for that long without additional oil.

Again though, since the plane has not been found, we can’t absolutely rule out any theory and we wish everyone the best of luck in future searches.

Comment—Dan O:

Excellent research and website! Can you go into a little more depth on radio transmissions heard from Amelia? We all know by the footage of her last take-off that she lost the radio antenna. James Carey’s recently discovered diary has comments that the last messages received by Itasca were very strong, indicating that the plane was near. There was also a crewman from the Itasca that was interviewed several years ago who was standing in the radio room as an observer that made the same comment that Amelia’s last transmission was very strong. How far would a transmission be heard by Itasca based on the evidence? I mean, is it several hundred miles? More than that? Less than that? Whatever you can add would be appreciated. Thank you and best of luck on any further missions.

Response—Search for Amelia Editor:

Dan, the information we have on radio signal strength is in Radio Call Log and in Signal Strength and Distance where the research team said, “Signal strength is an unreliable indicator of distance, however, the Itasca logged signal strengths of AE in-flight position reports and it is worthy to examine the data.” Perhaps some of our other readers have ideas. If they’ll submit them here, we’ll post appropriate responses.

Comment—George B:

Sir, Assuming the Earhart Electra ran out of fuel, crashed and sank, is it possible the aircraft NEVER sank to the sea bottom? If enough of the empty fuel tanks remained intact, could the plane have sank to a certain depth and remained at depth as the prevailing currents carried it away for hundreds, or thousands of miles? Is this possible?

Response—Search For Amelia Editor:

Thank you for the note. Much of the documentation indicates the Electra’s tanks were likely to fill with water and cause it to sink. Since we didn’t find the plane, we can’t be sure what happened.

Comment—Ian M:

I think your fuel consumption figures are too high. Those Kelly Johnson figures relate to horsepower settings that would be too high for the plane’s speed and weight. I can forward my figures to you when you reply.

Response—Search For Amelia Editor:

Ian, thanks for the interest. We’ve forwarded this to our flight experts and would love to see your figures so we can also share those with them. You’ll be notified when responses are posted. Again, thanks!

Comment—Stephanie P:

Some years ago a VA patient who had been a POW in Japan was told by a guard he became friendly with that the Japanese killed Ms. Earhart as they thought she was a spy.

Response—Search For Amelia Editor:

Thank you, Stephanie. You’re right! Due to Amelia Earhart’s fame and her close association with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, one of the rumors at the time of her disappearance was that she may have been captured and killed by the Japanese as a U.S. spy. However, while no one knows for sure what happened to Amelia, most current researchers have dismissed this theory for lack of any real evidence. The two most widely-held theories today are: 1) she crashed and sank in the Pacific; or, 2) she landed and later perished on a deserted Pacific isle. You can read more about the theories surrounding Amelia’s disappearance here

Comment—Chris C:

I am totally amazed at the area that was able to be covered during this search. Amelia has always been a subject I have loved and so glad to see the search has continued. I have to commend this group for such an awesome job even though we didn’t find her this time. I have always thought that she went down around Gardner Island now known as Nikumaroro up to the McKean Island area. I would love to see this type of detailed search done in those areas. Once again thanks guys for doing such an amazing job. I will gladly volunteer for the next trip.

Response—Search For Amelia Editor:

Thank you Chris. We appreciate your note and will keep your offer in mind. We’re adding some interesting information from Ric Gillespie of TIGHAR. You should check out their site too.

Comment—Trish B:

Your website was recommended by a friend. I am very impressed with the quality of both the website and the work you have accomplished regarding the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. As a former military aircraft Navigator and a current FAA certificated Flight Navigator, I am quite interested in the process by which you evaluated the quality and accuracy of their navigation skills. I currently ferry airplanes to China 5-6 times per year from Seattle via Honolulu and Saipan. Besides GPS and INS, I take along a sextant for daylight navigation (using the sun and moon, as available). In Saipan the locals often tell me that Amelia and Fred were held in Garapan prison by the Japanese, and that Amelia is buried on Tinian. I assume you are aware of this rumor, among many others.

Thank you for your efforts to determine the truth about their disappearance.


If the flight departed from Lae at 10 a.m. (local) July 2nd, and continued for approximately 20 hours, shouldn’t the date of disappearance be July 3rd?

Response—Elgen Long:

Regarding the date of Earhart and Noonan’s disappearance:  Amelia and Fred were operating the flight from Lae to Howland Island on Greenwich Mean Time. They took off from Lae at 0000 hours July 2, 1937, and the last message from Earhart was received at 2013 GMT, July 2, 1937. As far as Earhart and Noonan were concerned, they went down soon after that on Friday, July 2, 1937. The USCG Cutter Itasca was standing by at Howland Island on Friday morning, July 2, 1937. The last message received by the Itasca was logged as being received by the Itasca at 8:43 a.m. Friday morning, July 2, 1937. Captain Thompson, convinced that Earhart went down shortly after the last message, left at 10:40 a.m. Friday morning, July 2, 1937, to search the most probable area 337 degrees to the northwest.

It was Friday, July 2, 1937, Greenwich Mean Time. It was Friday, July 2, 1937 in London, Paris, Rome, New York, Miami, San Francisco, Honolulu and Howland Island. It was July 3, 1937, in Lae, Sydney, New Delhi and Tehran.

Because of the confusion of time zones — some places were on the half hour, and yes some were even on arbitrary local minutes and seconds — one of the most important outcomes of the Earhart disappearance was the worldwide decision that in future emergencies all stations would report all dates and times in Greenwich Mean Time.

See more about Elgen Long’s work and expertise here

Comment—Barbara G:

I really have enjoyed this web site as I am an AE fan and a female pilot for the last 30 years. I did not know there was a search which was conducted this year - fascinating! I liked the different maps of AE flights, and the navigation details, the maps I could follow, the videos of Mr. Waitt and the Electra (except the cockpit was gone), and the discussion of the theories and photos. Since I fly over the Pacific as a pilot to Hawaii from LAX twice a week using B757 IRU (inertial nav) and GPS, I have a great appreciation and respect for this largest ocean in the world. There is more detail on this site than on the official AE web site. Great job!

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