The difficulty of converting time-zones and how important that could be
Additional central factors involved in this research were Time and Radio Schedules (transmit and receive plans among various parties). These issues are well documented by Long, Safford, and Itasca logs. These complexities are important to establishing an accurate timeline, which is necessary to document the flight profile and likely end point of the mission. Resolving all time issues was critical to accurate re-construction.
Perhaps Long said it best9, “At that point, Howland Island, and the three ships [USS Ontario, USS Swan, and Itasca] were operating with their individual clocks set in five different time zones and their calendars on two different days and dates. Two were set in zones where the whole hour came at the same time as the Greenwich whole hour; two had their clocks set a half hour different from Greenwich time; the fifth, Earhart’s, was variable and changed with her movements. With the International Date Line in the middle of the assembled ships and stations, the system was all but incomprehensible. Any requirement that an action be timed to occur on the hour as supposed to on the half hour, at a quarter before the hour as opposed to a quarter after the hour, or at any specific number of minutes before or after the hour, was wide open to misinterpretation….”
Further, Long states, “…Howland Island was using the 10+30 hour time zone -the same as Hawaii standard time - while the Itasca was using the 11+30 hour time zone; the two were one-half mile apart, but one hour different in time.
The research methodology for The Project baselined all calculations to Greenwich Time, also known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or Universal Coordinated Time (UCT).