|Fred Noonan & Amelia Earhart|
I have just finished "Amelia Earhart - Case Closed" by Mike and Marjie Markowski, the revised edition of the original work of Walter Roessler and Leo Gomez.
"Case Closed" investigates the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan off Howland Island in July 1937. However, unlike many other tomes that focus on Amelia's many aviation achievements, this book seeks to focus on the events that led up and contributed to that fateful day.
When we think of Amelia Earhart we tend to visualise a young daring girl setting off on a grand adventure, and who vanished off the face of the earth. However, the truth is rarely as fanciful; and "Case Closed" seeks to dispel some of the myths surrounding this extraordinary woman and her exploits.
"Case Closed" leads us through the life and aviation achievements of Amelia - and touches briefly upon those of her predecessors. We also learn of the personalities of Amelia and those surrounding her - and how these may have impacted upon decisions later made concerning her final flight. And we also learn that a series of events - each on its own probably not significant - together resulted in tragic consequences.
The authors look at a number of important issues that ultimately impacted on the final flight. We learn of:
- Amelia's choice of plane in the Lockheed Electra - most of her other ventures were in the single-engine Vega;
- Amelia's crash on 20th March 1937 on her first attempt - an incident which resulted in damage to her Lockheed Electra and constant mechanical problems;
- the non-participation of half her original crew in the second attempt - both Paul Mantz and Harry Manning decided not to accompany Amelia and Fred;
- the decision to travel west-east rather than the usual east-west route;
- adverse weather conditions affecting the Electra, navigation and pilot;
- the decision not to take all necessary forms of communication on the final leg, whilst communication between both navigator and pilot was most basic;
- "jet lag" and fatigue affecting both Fred and Amelia which resulted in both experiencing navigational errors and poor decision-making
What "Case Closed" confirms is that Amelia and Fred did not survive the attempt and vanished, somewhere near Howland Island, on the final leg of their journey. What I appreciated in this work was the efforts of the authors to offer a critical assessment of events leading up to that fateful day and to offer constructive analysis rather than look at events through rose-coloured glasses.
But let there be no mistake - in no way do the authors disparage the character and achievements of Amelia and Fred; rather they seek to show that both were human with all the frailties of humanity. Their disappearance was a tragedy and loss to the world of aviation.
Recent news articles on Amelia Earhart that have been featured on Women of History:
- Amelia Earhart - Lost Evidence?
- Results of Amelia Earhart Search
- More on Amelia Earhart Search
- Amelia Earhart - New Evidence
- DNA Inconclusive In Search For Amelia Earhart
- Bone Key To Earhart Mystery
- Amelia Earhart Found??
I cannot but recommend "Amelia Earhart - Case Closed" for those who are keen to discover more about Amelia and Fred's last journey.