Elgen Long

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FAQ by Randy Jacobson
How does TIGHAR’s theory differ from from that advanced by Elgen Long?
Elgen Long is the patron saint of the crashed-and-sank school. To put AE in the water near Howland he needs the airplane to burn fuel much faster than it should have. To do that he postulates a climb over a mountain range on New Britain.
The cause of Elgen Long’s hypothesis for climbing rapidly to10,000 feet has to do with the Chater Report, which documents all of Earhart’s transmissions to Lae, New Guinea after take-off. (Eric H. Chater was the General Manager at Lae for Guinea Airways Limited.) Quoting from his report...“The Lae operator heard the following on 6210 KC - ‘Height 7000 feet speed 140 knots’ and some remark concerning ‘Lae’ then ’everything okay’. The plane was called and asked to repeat position but we still could not get it. The next report was received at 3.19 pm on 6210 KC – ‘height 10000 feet position 150.7 east 7.3 south cumulus clouds everything okay’. The next report receibed at 5.18 pm ‘position 4.33 south 159.7 east height 8000 feet over cumulus clouds wind 23 knots’.”
The 10,000 foot elevation comes from the second position report, but that location is obviously in error: 7.3 south is 0.3 degrees south of Lae!, and 150.7 east does not make sense considering time of flight within any reasonable bounds close to 3 PM Lae time. Earhart did have to fly over New Britian, but we have examined a topographic map of the island, and her flight path passes right through a low-lying (less than 1000 foot) wide path through two major mountain ranges, and would have been an easy navigational “fix” to home in on. Earhart’s other messages suggest flight paths at considerable heights, but well within her operating envelope. Of course, considering the partial messages received, the erroneous position report, it is not clear that much credence can be given to these heights. For more information, see our review of Elgen Long’s book.