Searching for Amelia

Like many, we’re fascinated with the search for Amelia Earhart, which has resumed. Here are some articles.



Christian Science Monitor



9 Comments on “Searching for Amelia

  1. It seems unlikely that Earhart landed on a remote island and much more probable that the plane ditched into the sea. But you can’t prove a negative and until they find definitive evidence one way or the other, all theories are possible.

  2. well she could have ditched it in a lagoon or near the island. BTW- one of the’ players’ in the whole episode was a person named Dick Black- who had a very fascinating background, having been a radio operator for (later Admiral) byrd expeditions to South Pole .

    Dick was responsible for setting up a radio beacon/ landing field on Howland Island.

    When I get some time- I’ll add to that.

  3. A little history which may be of interest to some
    . . . While working for the Interior Department he was based in Hawaii and in charge of preparing Howland Island for the arrival of Amelia Earhart in her attempt to fly around the world in 1937. He monitored her last messages before she vanished over the Pacific Ocean. Witness to Pearl Harbor . .

    and a bit more at
    Now some ‘related ‘ information

    According to some old family history and a (possibly lost) XMAS postcard ( which I had seen years ago ) from Dick Black from Antartica, my parents became good friends of Dick Black and his wife in the 1930’s- while he was living and working in the San Francisco area. According to family oral history, while he was on the second expedition with Byrd ( 1934-35) , his wife got a severe infection of some sort in her facial area and passed away, leaving a young son about 2 to 4 years old at the time. According to oral history, my parents stepped in to care for the boy for a few days/weeks until other Black family members could arrive.

    About a year or so after the loss of Amelia, my folks had a short discussion with Dick. At that time, he supposedly mentioned that there was a lot about the issue which was NOT made public. ( probably about using a then unpublished ( military ? ) frequency range for radio direction finding ). It was known at that time that he was sent to Howland Island to prepare an emergency field.

    Dick Black was in the Naval reserve at that time- and there was then and now a lot of speculation that there was some involvement re intelligence issues as to what the Japanese were doing re naval buildup . . .

    Its a small world.

    And NO i have not seen the Hollywood version

    • The Hilary Swank movie was rounding panned (with good reason, BTW) but there were great aerial scenes of the Lockheed Electra used in the movie and Hillary had an uncanny resemblance to Amelia.

  4. a minor correction to my previous- as I’m digging up more info

    . . . while he was on his second expedition with Byrd ( 1934-35) , his wife got a severe infection of some sort in her facial area and passed away . .

    Right issue- wrong dates ..

    . . .Richard Black died at the age of 90 on August 11, 1992 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery . Black’s first wife, Ruth Slayberg, died in 1932. Black’s second wife of 55 years, Aviza Johnson Black, survived her husband.

    So it was the 1932 Byrd expedition . . .


    Born August 10, 1902, in Grand Forks , North Dakota , Richard Black graduated from … Island that Black supervised construction of the air strip for Amelia Earhart’s … attending the Operative Training School of the Office of Naval Intelligence.



  5. And a bit more

    During the first years after graduation, Black found work with the North Dakota state engineer’s office, the Great Northern Railroad and the Lake Shore Gold Mines in Ontario, Canada.

    Meanwhile, Byrd had established a base camp in the Antarctic that he named “Little America.” In 1933, Byrd hired Black as an engineer for his second expedition.

    ******In San Francisco, Black bid farewell to Ruth and his 5-year-old son. The excitement about his new assignment was short-lived when he learned that his wife had died on January 21, 1934. Being a consummate professional, Black carried on his work and, because of his accomplishments, was awarded the Navy’s Special Silver Medal. *******

    When Black returned from Antarctica in 1935, the Interior Department stationed him in Hawaii. On May 13, 1936, President Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order placing the islands of Jarvis, Baker and Howland under the Interior Department, where they were to be administered by Black. In June of 1937, Black was asked to prepare an airstrip on Howland, an uninhabited coral island midway between Hawaii and Australia, to serve as a pit stop for Amelia Earhart and her navigator.

    On July 2, Black boarded the Coast Guard cutter Itasca to help guide the aviatrix onto the small island through radio communications. However, the radio equipment on Earhart’s plane was faulty and the signals picked up by Black were insufficient.


    And from wiki . . .

    In her last known transmission at 8:43 am Earhart broadcast “We are on the line 157 337. We will repeat this message. We will repeat this on 6210 kilocycles. Wait.” However, a few moments later she was back on the same frequency (3105 kHz) with a transmission which was logged as a “questionable”: “We are running on line north and south.”[107


    Interesting re the 6210 frequency- 3105 was US standard at the time . . .

    NUFF unless someone has additional documents or facts

    Just thought it would be of interest to some aviation buffs . . .

    • Quite interesting. Thank you!

      the freq change was due to different skip patterns for SW reception.
      i.e. you have near field reception (ground wave) and then rings of
      reception ( each time the radiowaves have been reflected by the ionosphere
      back to the lower reflector : earth / ocean ) The zones are frequency and daytime
      dependent. Here she seems to have swapped into the wrong freq.

      • Not quite that easy- it had to have been deliberate to try to use that higher freq – I believe if you do some more research on the whole issue at that time, you will find that that higher frequency was part of some government research/ military and primarily used for RDF in the military. Dick Black was also a competent ” ham’ radio type, and had been to a few naval intelligence schools at that time. I’m not too sure what the freq was on the RDF beacon he set up on howland – but it was all done with bucu government help, and may have been a dual frequency type- note the exact multiple. RDF was relatively new at that time.

        Another factor which seems to have contributed to the ‘ spy’ theory was the upgraded ( WASP ) engines used on the electra ( eg military ) versions not at that time used/available to the public/commercial.

        From my recollection- the XMAS postcard my parents had was a typical contact card re ham radio at that time and used his own call letters ( but I may be wrong ).

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