S. Martin Shelton

Retired U.S.Navy Captain, Novelist

Other Missing Flights

Malaysia Flight 370 has been missing for 41 days.  Best deductions from all data indicates that Flight 370’s Boeing 777 aircraft is at the bottom of the Indian Ocean about 1,200 nautical miles  west of Perth, Down Under.  It’s black-box is dead—no longer transmitting locating pings.  Experts in the field speculate that it may years or perhaps never that they’ll find this aircraft.

Missing Malaysia Flight 370 is not unique.  Over the years there have been a number of well-publicized missing flight that have not been found.  Let’s review six.

 

  1. On 8 May 1927, Charles Jules Nungesser, a French World War One flying Ace and his wartime comrade François Coli, took off from Paris in their PL-8 biplane, the’Oiseau Blanc (The White Bird), in an attempt to fly non-stop to New York.

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Several people in Ireland spotted them flying overhead.  They disappeared without a trace.

 

2. On 1 July 1937, Aviatrix Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, in her Lockheed Electra model 10E, departed Lae, New Guinea, headed for Howland Island, some 2,300 miles to the east.

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This was to be the next to the last leg of her around the world flight across the equator.  Her goal was to land at Oakland, California on 4 July amid a gigantic celebration engineered by her husband, George Putnam. She tried to communicate with her short-range radio with her guide ship, the Coast Guard Cutter, USGS Itasca, stationed offshore Howland.  Unfortunately, radiomen on Itasca could not communicate effectively with her because she was unskilled in the radio procedures required.  Speculation is that she crashed into the Pacific some 200/300 nautical miles northwest of Howland.  No trace of her, Newman, or the Electra has been found.  Nonetheless, to this day, searchers are looking for a positive evidence of her remains and for the parts of the Electra—members of the TIGHAR organization have centered their search on Gardner Island, now Nikumaroro in the in the Republic of Kiribati—about 400 nautical miles southeast of Howland.

 

  1. At 0608 hours, on 29 July 1938, Pan American World Airways, Martin M-130 flying boat, the Hawaii Clipper. lifted off the placid waters of Apra Harbor, Guam, headed for Manila—about 1,400 nautical miles west. Onboard were six passenger and nine crewmembers.

 

3

Pan American World Airways, “Hawaii Clipper”

 

The aircraft’s radioman transmitted his position was at noon.  The flight was routine: altitude is 9,100 feet, ground speed is 112 knots, scattered rain, and cumulus clouds with tops at 9,200 feet.   Nothing else was heard from the flight.  No trace of aircraft was ever found–no bodies, no wreckage, no oil slick, nothing.

 

  1. On 14 December 1944, the famous big-band leader Captain Glenn Miller, US Army and his pilot disappeared over the English Cannel. They were on a flight from Royal Air Force Base Twinwood Farm in Claphan to Paris in an Army Air Corps utility aircraft. Noorduyn UC64.

 

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Noorduyn UC64

 

No trace of Miller, pilot or aircraft has ever been found. Miller’s status is “missing in action.”  The army awarded him posthumously the Bronze Star.

 

  1. The “Lost Patrol.” On a bright, sunny day at 1410 hours, 5 December, 1945, five Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo bombers, with 14 crew members, lifted off from the Naval Air Station, Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a routine patrol off the Atlantic coast.

 

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Grumman TBMs

 

About an hour later, the tower heard the flight leader say, “We seem to be off course.”  Then they heard, “We cannot be sure where we are.  Repeat: cannot see land.”  Later. “We can’t find West.  Everything is wrong.  Everything looks strange.”  Finally, the last transmission was, “We’re completely Lost.”  This was the last transmission from Flight 19.

The Operations Officer orders a Martin PBM Marnier flying boat to launch and search for the missing Flight 19.  On board were 13 men.   Ten minutes later the PBM radio checks with the tower.

Neither the 5 TBMs or the PBM were ever heard from again. They disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle.

 

 

  1. On 5 March 1962, Flying Tiger Lines flight number 739, in a Lockheed Super Constellation, lifter off from Anderson Air Force Base, Guam en route to Clark Field, Philippines. 107 souls were onboard.
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Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation in Air France Colors

 

No distress call was heard and no trace of the aircraft have been found.

 

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