Historians and researchers are once again stoked about new evidence that they seem to think may soon lead to at least some of the long-awaited answers about what happened to the world’s most famous female aviator – and her plane
Throughout the almost 9 decades since Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan vanished without a trace while trying to circumnavigate the globe, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of times, people have asked; ‘what happened to Amelia Earhart?’ A much smaller percentage of those rhetorical queries also included the name of Earhart’s navigator, Fred Noonan.
That sad but brutally honest truth is evidenced every day by the existence of scores of humans across the globe who all know Earhart’s name and at least the cursory details regarding her accomplishments and disappearance – the same people who would have to run immediately to Google at the mention of the name Fred Noonan.
The fact that the loss of his life isn’t deemed anywhere near as significantly detrimental to humanity as hers is a sad reality of the world we live in.
Just ask the family Goldman. Their son Ron was the waiter who was brutally slain beside Nicole Brown-Simpson back in 1994, or the family of poor Farrah Faucet, the one-time 1970s penultimate pin-up girl and original Charlie’s Angel, who had the double misfortune of happening to pass away from the confines of our Earthy existence after a long bout with Colo-rectal cancer, on the same day that the self-proclaimed ‘King of Pop,’ Michael Jackson died from complication surrounding a medically administered drug overdose.
But I digress – the travesty and injustice of those truths are indeed an excellent discussion, but one for another day.
Instead of focusing today on the relative ambiguity of the collateral damage surrounding the deaths of prominent celebrities, I want to focus this discussion on a different kind of loss in the Amelia Earhart tragedy – the loss of the plane.
No, this is not because I’m some kind of aviaphile, (definitely not a word, but it probably should be), but because of all the characters in play at the time of Earhart’s disappearance, the aircraft is the only element of that group that might possibly still exist in some quickly recognizable manner. It is quite literally also the only piece of the puzzle that could answer at least some of the questions surrounding that fateful day.
For example, we know that none of Earheart, Noonan, nor the Electra ever made it to their intended destination. It’s been more than well documented that the three were en route from Lau, New Guinea to Howland Island, when all hands (and planes) were lost, never to be seen again. Exactly how, and perhaps, even more importantly, why they never made it to Howland, are the questions that absolutely nobody has the answers to, but which a good percentage of the planet has lusted to find the answers to, for the best part of the last century.
To be sure, there have been countless searches, limitless investigations, and an even greater number of theories and hypotheses (if it’s possible to have a number that’s higher than both countless and limitless that is, but you get the point).
The point I’m making here is simply that 86 years (the amount of time that’s elapsed since any of those three have been seen at the time of this writing), is a very long time and regardless of the reason or reasons why the trip was not successfully concluded, it is pretty safe to say that there is not much, if anything, of either of the aircraft’s human occupants left that could definitively identify them even if they were suddenly and miraculously found – the Electra, however, is a much different story.
Even if the plane were found to have gone down in the ocean somewhere in the vast aquatic openness between New Guinea and Howland, there’s a very good chance that certain very identifiable parts of the aircraft still exist. Parts such as the engines, fuselage, plastics, glass, and numerous other items are likely still intact and resting in their cold, dark, watery grave, just waiting to be discovered — exactly like the RMS Titanic waited between the night of its sinking on April 15th, 1912, and its discovery by Dr. Robert Ballard on September 1st, 1985 – some 73 + years later.
Fast forward another almost 40 years, and while definitely deteriorating a little more every day, the great ship still exists and still attracts the peeping eyes of enthusiasts the world over – exactly the same way an underwater wreck site for Earhart’s famed Electra would be treated should one be found.
In conclusion, I’m writing this piece because of a recent bevy of new articles popping up all over the place, reigniting the wanderlust of humanity to once and for all determine what happened to our planet’s most well-known female aviator.
New theories abound, yet old ideology prevails – the ideology that Amelia Earhart, yes okay, and that other guy too, are still out there and are still somehow findable – I disagree. I do, however, believe that the Electra is still out there, and just like the Titanic, is resting somewhere in her lonely solitude, just waiting to be discovered.