Did TIGHAR find Earhart’s plane? Possible possibilities are not very impressive

Don’t be fooled by the hyping headlines that they found the Earhart plane.

Earhart expedition team says video possibly shows plane debris | Reuters.

A team of researchers trying to solve the mystery of aviator Amelia Earhart’s 1937 disappearance said on Friday that underwater video from a Pacific island has revealed a field of man-made debris that could be remnants of her plane.

The footage was collected in July by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) during a $2.2 million expedition to Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati.

TIGHAR said on Friday that one segment of the video shows a field of man-made debris that the group maintains could have come from Earhart’s plane.

Gillespie could not give a size of the man-made objects shown in the video, saying there was nothing in the images with which to compare them for scale.

Source: Reuters

They point out they have had technical difficulties, there is doubt in that the plane ever crashed there at all (they oversell the evidence for this), and their TV special is about to go on Discovery. The pictures are blobby and show nothing the average person would be impressed by. That is even admitted by the TIGHAR people but their “forensic expert” is, well, an expert, who says it’s a debris field. Debris from what? Not clear. Not even that it is a plane or man-made. This is being hyped beyond what is really there.

Photo: TIGHAR, Arrows point to “debris”

For more: Finding Amelia Earhart which points out how unlikely TIGHAR’s hypothetical location is and that the quality of their evidence has been extremely poor. As is this.

  11 comments for “Did TIGHAR find Earhart’s plane? Possible possibilities are not very impressive

  1. Tom
    August 18, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    Apparently Kiribati is littered with debris from WWII. Not good enough..

  2. Chipshotz
    August 19, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    While it would be sensational if evidence was found of Earhart, this is appearing more and more like the search for Bigfoot.

  3. h.a.c.van asten
    August 19, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    Typical TIGHAR hoax , their inner circle knows very well that the aircraft has never been on Nikumaroro , but for commercial reasons the “Non Profit” organization insists to her nonsense “hypothesis” consisting of concoction and hoax from the beginning .

  4. Jim Price
    August 19, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Looks like a bunch of rocks. The TIGHAR people are a lot like UFO hunters. They decided a long time ago where Earhart went down and continue to look for evidence to support their beliefs. So far they haven’t found a shred of credible evidence.

  5. Kristen
    August 19, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    I was rooting for this one, but it looks like typical Discovery Channel fodder. The Skeptoid article was excellent. It’s a bit of a party-pooper, but I’d rather know the truth and work from there.

  6. Kirk Lorange
    August 21, 2012 at 6:19 AM

    It does look like a wheel and strut to me, over on the right, and it does look like a propeller blade attached to a hub with another coming off at the right angle for a three-bladed prop top left.

  7. h.a.c.van asten
    August 21, 2012 at 7:58 AM

    It is very doubtful but there may be parts of an aircraft . However ,if parts are present , they will not be of NR-16020 since the debris field is at Nikumaroro , an island where crew and aircraft have never been : the fuel reserves after 1912 GMT @ July 2 were insufficient to reach any other land point than Howland , or Baker alternatively , apart from the answer to the question if ever was set course for Gardner . The chance for finding anything related to crew and aircraft in the 400 SM off Howland Nikumaroro vicinity is nil : aircraft´s maximum range was 2,740 SM , endurance 20-plus hours . Shortest distance Lae-Howland was 2,556 SM , so in the most favorable event and if steered to Gardner , 184 SM , not 400 , remained to go before ditching at sea . Publicity stunts as by TIGHAR´s inner circle will not change these conclusions .

  8. August 23, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    Brian Dunning writes about the TIGHAR fiasco. http://www.skepticblog.org/2012/08/23/amelia-blobsquatch/

  9. LREKing
    August 23, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    It’s some stuff.

    In the water.

    That is all.

  10. gari
    September 22, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Mr van asten, C L Johnson, who designed and tested the Electra, gave a longer endurance according to his 487 report, and I have seen your figures ‘debunked’ elsewhere.

    However, I do agree with your viewpoint of TIGHAR. Mr Gillespie has already written one book and indicates that it was to be one of a trilogy, so would a cynic consider an ulterior motive for keeping the Nikumaroro hypothesis in the headlines?

    I have been on the TIGHAR forum and find it has an adversarial miasma almost at the level of belief and delusion that 9/11 conspiracy forums have. It is VERY confrontational towards any contrary view or hypothesis, yet says that it welcomes opinion.

    They seem to have little understanding of celestial navigation and seem to not understand that a Sun-line is part of a Sun-circle, that goes AWAY from Nikumaroro.

    Something went wrong on that flight, and despite the fact that in its terminal phase Noonan could have shot the Sun and the Moon he obviously didn’t or acquired too late. Earhart did not update her radio and navigation skills, despite her license nearing renewal, and so incompetently handled the DF and radio communications.

    If Noonan was having navigation problems or was ‘incapacitated’ and Earhart had to fly unaided, I can’t for the life of me understand why they would continue south in the hope of finding land knowing that there is something wrong with the navigation? Makes no sense. If they had the fuel more sense would be to track-back and hope for the Gilberts.

    There again, apparently, she did believe she had psychic abilities!! So who knows?

    I think they just searched for Howland until fuel was exhausted. The plane just crashed and splashed.

    I am thinking of coming up with my own hypothesis about the Electra ending up in the Bahamas and see if I can get some mugs to fund me living out there – for about 50 years lol

  11. gari
    September 22, 2012 at 2:44 PM


    How many ships and planes have been lost in the Pacific over the years and that whole mass of water is redistributing stuff all the time. What are the chances of artefacts appearing on any of the islands? I would wager if you spent nine years scouring the coastline of any of those islands you would find similar artefacts, and don’t forget that Nikumaroro has had folks on it, on and off for a hundred years plus.

    TIGHAR are cherry picking and making things fit their hypothesis, a piece of shoe, a broken bottle, a bit of plexiglass and some poo, I mean, really?

    They took an old report about a skeleton find from years ago and completely change the findings, with no physical evidence of the skeleton. What?

    There is NOTHING that directly links Amelia or Fred to that island, and they been looking for a decade and more.

    One good thing is that they have brought into the public domain a lot of ‘lost’ documentation so that modern ‘Ameliaites’ can invent their own hypothesis. For sure, I am intrigued as to what went wrong that day, but in truth, when you read about the ‘World Flight’ team – you realize that it was never perfect and they were regularly having logistical, mechanical and personnel issues.

    Fascinating story of human failure, though, it is a pity the both Noonan and Earhart’s individual achievements are forgotten because of the ‘mystery’.

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