Hawaii Clipper Forum

Due to a popular request, a “Talk-Back” page is being included.  I encourage anyone with a desire to learn more, a piece of information to share or an idea to pose that to the group.  Together, we can learn more and floe this mystery.



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65 Comments Add yours

  1. Sounds great!


    1. MT says:

      Introducing myself: Melanie Tatum (Wife) to Bryan Tatum (Grandson of “Assistant Engineer Officer T.B. Tatum). My father in law Tom is his son (who was 1 1/2 years old at the time of the disappearance).


      1. Guy says:

        Hi Melanie, can you kindly forward your email address?


    2. wendy626 says:

      Hello. I love this blog!! I’ve been looking into the Hawaii Clipper for decades, it’s great that info is so much easier to share on the internet now as opposed to then. With so few passengers, this seemed like a special flight arranged through Juan Tripp. I’ve always wondered what the true missions of Dr. McKinley and Dr. Meier really were and if you’ve run across anything about that in your research. When the films came out of Nanking, there must have been more intelligence that came with them regarding the activities of the Japaneses in Manchuria. McKinley was a retired Colonel in the Army, Dean of Medicine at GW Univ and a world renowned immunologist. Meier was the co-inventor with Lindbergh of the air scoop and a plant pathologist from the Dept of Agriculture. My gut tells me they were part of this group because they were going on to China to see what kind of chemical warfare was being tested on civilians in Manchuria by Unit 731. Anyone have any information to prove or disprove this theory of mine?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks so very much Wendy, your interest is certainly appreciated. Wow, there is so much to say about some of your thoughts. Tell you what; let me do some digging in my files and I’ll post some responses and we’ll go from there.

        All the best,



  2. elisa guessford says:

    Espionage? Is there any truth or proof to the notion that this Pan Am clipper flight was going to rescue Amelia Earhart? This is my biggest question about the disapperance of the Hawaii Clipper and her crew? I use the term disappearance because I don’t think it crashed. I do believe it landed and not having Amelia, the renegade Japanese sailors took the money and killed the crew and passengers burying them in 6 foot of concrete. Still what happened to the clipper? Did they have Amelia? Had they already killed her and burried her in the concrete as well or did they just use her disappearance as a ruse to steal money and the clipper? I am so curious and so glad for your blog and investigation for your book and documentary. This is all bound to uncover some interesting information. Thanks.


    1. Guy says:

      Hello Elisa, I thought I had responded to this but it must have fallen off. No worries, I will answer this again. There is a theory that the three million dollars in gold back notes carried by passenger Wah Sun Choy might have actually been mostly made up of funds moved from the department of treasury (via a Chase Manhatten Bank account used by the government for such efforts) as ransom money for Earhart and Noonan. Although this sounds like a really great story, I personally doubt it. In speaking with two expert Earhart Hunters, there are allleged stories that she was captured near Mili Atol, transferred to Saipan, interrogated and put up for ransom. From the conspiracy angle, she and her navigator were to be used as bait. The Japanese (the rogue Fleet Faction society that perpetrated the hijacking) were more interested in obtaining the clippers two week old Pratt & Whitney 950 horsepower engines rather than the money. If this is indeed what happened, then the discovery of the supposed same three million doller certificates by US Marines in a Siapan bank vault may give credence to the story.I alternatively believe the money was indeed intended for the defacto Chinese government to help battle the Japanese in China. The money amount surly was not solely raised from donations in New York as the country was still in a severe depression but as previously mentioned, with additional funds from the US government. The interesting “coincidence” is that the three million was the exact amount the cost of 50 new Curtis pursuit planes were to cost Chang Kai Shek… and the sales person for those very aircraft was aboard the clipper as well. I think the lipped prize was just too much to pass up for the rouge group of Japanese Navy officers.

      After DNA confermation, this part of the mystery will be solved and will perhaps open the door to finally understand the who, what and why of the Hawaii Clipper mystery.

      Thanks for reading!!


      1. elisa guessford says:

        Thanks, Guy. Every time you share your knowledge and experience you heighten my interest that much furthur. Keep up the great work.


      2. InDepthSCUBA says:

        I just learned the Mike Campbell has a new book due out this spring. The book is titled “The Truth at Last” and builds on his work revealing a long list of eyewitness counts that put AE and Noonan on Saipan.

        July 3rd 2012 marks the 75th anniversary of the disappearance of Fred Noonan and AE. This could be a great year for truth to come out on both of these aircraft disappearances.


      3. Thanks Larry, you are very kind and I’m glad to have you abourd. I too eagerly await Mike Campbells new book and hope I can somehow contribute to the legend of AE and perhaps, 2012 will indeed bring an end to both mysteries. Stay in touch and feel free to email me as I will be in Chuuk next month!



  3. Diana D Balderrama says:

    I just want my grandfather back on U.S. soil where he belongs and Esther Sauceda Camarillo will have some closure to this murderous act done to her father. I’m sure family members of the passengers who were on the Hawaii clipper would like that too. Thank you Guy for all your hard work that you are putting in to this project.


    1. Mary Skribanowitz says:

      I agree with you Diana Balderrama. My mother, Mary Helen Sauceda, Jose Sauceda’s youngest daughter has always wanted just that…her father to be brought back to US soil and have closure before they themselves depart this world of ours. I extend my graditude for all the hard work Guy Noffslinger has put into this project. God bless and pray all this will finally be resolved!


      1. Thanks Mary, I think this may be an exciting year in revelations as a few folks have come forward with new and interesting news that support our hijacking premiss. Stay tuned!!




  4. You betchah and thanks so much for the warm wishes Diana. I have a researcher in Japan that is pulling together information from his side of the Pacific. I think we are in great shape for a return to the island in early 2012. 🙂 Stay in touch!!


  5. Jonathon says:

    Hey Guy,

    I think you’re doing a great thing by uncovering the truth. I can’t believe I’d never heard about this tragedy until I stumbled across your kickstarter page. I wish you luck. I’d also like to offer my help if you need someone to do any of the foot work for you. I work for an airline and I get around. I look forward to seeing what you discover in your quest.

    Safe Travels,


    1. Thanks Jonathon, much appreciated. It’s one of those stories that have fallen between the crack of time and luckily, some of the puzzle pieces still remain. I am hopeful enough of them can be put together to get a clear picture as to the who, what and where. Next month will be THE month we get this thing into high speed.


  6. InDepthSCUBA says:

    I am very excited about your upcoming trip to Truk. Congratulations on getting your funding. I lived in Truk for two years and have longed to get back there with the ability to scan the concrete foundation/slab at the Hospital on Dublon. I just stumbled upon your site today. I am looking forward to your findings. All the best.


    1. Hi Larry. Thanks for logging in and for your interest on my research. As always, any information is very helpful. I would be no where without the help and resources many like you have willinginly provided. I look forward to your participation and thoughts on the effort.

      Warm regards,



  7. Alice Mae Perez says:

    Mr. Guy Noffsinger, I just want to thank you for all your efforts put forth into what reallly happen to the Clipper and my Great Uncle Jose Maria…I do pray and hope this will be the year to finally bring closure to our family members and especially my Aunt Ester and bring my uncle home……I will be greatly looking foward to your findings….. God Bless and Good Luck….And please keep intouch…..Alice Mae……


  8. elisa guessford says:

    Guy, please don’t feel unsuccessful, you are not, in fact, you are doing a great work and any information you uncover no matter how small it may seem to be, is success. Remember, “line upon line, precept upon precept”. You have and know much more today then you did ten years ago. Keep up the great work and know that you are appreciated. I truly believe they know you are searching for them and after all these years they can only help but be a bit more patient. Thanks for all you do.


    1. Thanks Elisa, your are the most kind of kind. I’m only going to push harder now. I am sure I was within earshot of the slab.


  9. Jim Linder says:

    Guy: You seem to have some pretty good info but I’m not finding the evidence to support the hypothesis that the pax and crew of the Hawaii Clipper ended up buried somewhere at Truk. I’ve heard it before, from Charles Hill, etc., but haven’t seen anything that seemed to be compelling. Did you conduct a GPR search at Truk and if so what was the result?

    I have seen various contradictory information over the years about the fate of the Hawaii Clipper, some of it pretty convincing of the the theory that that somehow the Japanese ended up with the aircraft. Some of this information has not been published elsewhere, as far as I know. But at the same time, if this story were true, there should be further evidence still extant. I believe study of pre-war Sakae engines may hold the key – if there are still any to be found.


    1. Hi there Jim, thanks so much for your interest. I will be honest with you and all the other readers of this blog that I have intentionally withheld about 70% of my evidence because I am writing a book and producing a concurrent documentary. I will however share some information here that may perhaps sway the argument.

      I have found six maps from the Japanese, British and Americans that indicate all the areas of the island that would possibly be the burial location. I then overlaid them and created a candidate list that was shown to local residents of the island (two years ago and then again in February). Taking testimony from two children of the actual Chuukese labor work party that entombed the bodies in concrete (they not only verified the story but added to it and did so without being asked), that I started to believe the myth could be factual. I then went further to pour over the notes made by Gervais, Hill and a few others and believe that (due to the remoteness of the islands, lack of communication capabilities and desire to lie), that the local islanders were honest, forthright and sincere in their belief that the happenings were true. The main problem is that the story had not been handed down from generation to generation and almost all the older folks that would know the story first hand have passed on.

      I did bring a GPR unit and conducted some scans but the three locations I covered came up negative. A good thing was that it ruled out some consistencies that were not obvious.

      All in all, I am still convinced the story is true, but as most will say, the proof is in the pudding. I’m headed back sometime soon and hope to secure the correct location once and for all. On a side note, I did confirm the story of Mark Walker’s sister about the aircraft was said to be lost in a storm however none was present at the time of loss. The weather reports for the entire flight area for the week of the disappearance were pulled and the show clear and near perfect flying weather. This and a few other facts show a trend of a cover up. The reason? I believe to not scare off the Postal Service contract that the mail could be falling into the hands of the Japanese Navy. The public was alarmed at the loss of another Pan Am Clipper, but if it were at the hands of saboteurs, then Pan am might have lost all their contracts and eventually, the flying route. More to come!


  10. Chris says:

    Hi Guy,

    I just became aware of your site, and your passion. I’ve been fond of the M-130 Clippers since childhood, learning of them from my father.

    My interest inspired me to learn about the M-130s and later allowed me to help build a Clipper model, for a hollywood feature film “The Phantom”. For this work I took no money, preferring to be “paid” with the components for a copy of my my own. [which I still possess – unfinished]

    When asked “which one will you build it to be… China, Philippine or Hawaii?” my answer was simple… “Hawaii… it’s the only one that could still exist.”

    It will be with a twinge of sadness that I receive the news that you have finally located her or her crew, because it will take me one step further from the fantasy that someone will one day open a hangar door to find her, a strange plane sitting – an artifact out of time. All the same, I wish you success in your endeavor and thank you for keeping her in the minds of the living.

    Perhaps as your next project you will consider discovering the fate and location of the M-156 “Russian Clipper”? With the fall of the USSR, I had hoped more details would emerge, but so far none have.

    Best Regards,



    1. Hi there Chris,

      Yes, finding the remains of the M-156 (Martin Ocean Transport) would be very cool indeed however I understand it was scrapped after serving a very long time flying people and cargo for Aeroflot. Apparently, they didn’t like the “Russian / Soviet Clipper” name.


  11. Charles Hill says:

    Hello, Mr. Noffsinger,

    I’m Charles Hill, son of Charles N. Hill, author of Fix on the Rising Sun. I am fascinated by your project, Mr. Noffsinger, and happy to see that someone is working to build upon my father’s work in such a visceral way. I do wish you would give my father more credit for his tireless research. My family suffered a great deal so that he could finish his book, which took him around a decade to consolidate and publish.

    I spoke recently with Anne O’Sullivan (sp?), the daughter of one of the ultimate M.I.A.s. She called us at the Hill residence, telling me of your trips to Truk, and that you had still been unable to locate the concrete slabs of legend. She told me that you required a document that my father had acquired for his research on the Clipper in order to locate the slabs. She called it the Priester (sp?) report. I have not yet located this document (I know my father had backups and hardcopies of most all of his documents), but if you would like to correspond with me, I would love to hear from you about this. It would be very satisfying if I could help bring my father’s work further into the light and bring some solace to the families of the Clipper’s crew and passengers.

    Charles Hill


    1. Thanks so much Charles,

      Yes indeed, your father was a wonderful resource and in fact, my fellow researcher Steve Testa was invited and visited your dad in Ohio. I’m very sorry for your loss and I have a huge amount of respect for Charlie. Anne did reach out to you at my request because I had actually spoken to your mom and brother twice about finishing the work Charlie had picked up from Joe Gervias but was never sent any of the files I requested. It’s ironic that the very last thing Charlie ever said to me was that (as far as he knew) I was the last one to seriously carry the torch and to not let it fall after he was gone, I could not image it would be so soon.

      It is true I have not given Charlie more credit for his work, but that is only here on this blog. The book and documentary project actually intrenches him in a much more pivotal role, one I am sure you will be enthused and proud to see. I will make an effort to speak of his significant research here now too, and I hope you could also continue your search thru his documents as well for some of those files. I will send you the list Anne had spoken about to maybe finish this patchwork of research and data.

      Charles, I had rarely spoken to such a driven man as your father and I know you all paid a heavy price for his passion. I will make you a promise to give it my best as well and hope that it will in some way, it will at least write the last chapter of his unfinished work.

      Warm regards,



  12. Tony Gochar says:

    Wondeful site! We have a mutual interest. Please send me an email so that we might discuss some things we have researched. I think there could be a great synergy in our efforts. Tony


  13. lee sherman says:

    I was thrilled to see my contributed photo on your website today. It has been over 20 years since it was given to me from a co-worker. Your work and dedication in regard to the disappearance of the Clipper is most admirable. I am most glad I was able to provide the image of the Clipper at Alameda Cal. Good luck and good hunting for the whereabouts of the passengers and crew.


    1. Many thanks Lee, much obliged for your help!


  14. William says:

    Have you looked at the mystery of Pan Am 7, “Romance of the Skies.” A mystery if there ever was one.


    1. Hi William,

      Thanks for both your interest and email. I have heard of this particular Boeing 377 Clipper, but since bodies were recovered including identified debris from the Romance of the Skies, I pressed on with the mysterious disappearance of the Hawaii Clipper where ZERO trace was found.


  15. David Wilma says:

    Is there more information on the banknotes “allegedly” recovered on Saipan in 1944?


    1. Guy says:

      Nothing yet has been found however we did find a treasure trove of images of Truk Lagoon that will help isolate the location for the big dig this summer. :-). Thanks for checking in!


  16. Dave Wilma says:

    Has the theory of Japanese intervention come up with how or who would redirect the flight?

    I don’t find the motive of looking at the engines to be particularly convincing. These were civilian products and Japanese agents could have simply purchased an airplane with the engines and flown it anywhere they chose.

    The idea that Wah Sun Choy’s money would be used to pay for Curtis airplanes is cinematic, but why would not the money have simply be paid to Curtis in the U.S. instead of being taken to China first? $3 million U.S. was a lot of money then, but I need to be directed to the evidence that Wah had that much. Given the presence of U.S. and European banks in China and East Asia would not a conventional transfer have been safer?

    I think that Ameila and Fred crashed into the Pacific near Howland Island. No Japanese kidnapping, no ransom, no conspiracy.

    As for connections with the Japanese aggression in China, that was an army campaign without much involvement by the civilian government or the navy. And the army and the navy did not talk to each other.

    I will follow this investigation just because I am always interested in new thinking and new evidence as well as anything about World War II. At this writing I will lean on the theory that Terletsky found himself in the clouds and spun in ala John F. Kennedy, Jr.


  17. Dave Wilma says:

    In the spirit of conducting a thorough investigation, have you been able to locate in the National Archives recon photos (rather than combat photos) of Truk? These might identify the suspect medical facility. There are archivists and professional researchers who love finding these lost records. I have no idea how the photos would be files, e.g., by carrier, air group, operation, but these things are still surfacing. For example, photos from the 15th Air Force taken of the Birkenau death camp surfaced with victims and the gas chambers.


    1. Guy says:

      Absolutely David. A thorough effort was put into NARA just last week and hundred of new documents have been discovered including new photos!


  18. Hyatt Barnes says:

    Hello Guy;

    I bought a copy of “Fix on the Rising Sun” and have been fascinated
    by it as an aviation mystery story ever since.

    Although I’m a (former) private pilot with a little over 300 hours in a
    Cessna 172, I have to confess that I’m still trying to get my brain
    around the navigation trick of burying the true positions in the falsified
    radio’ed position sent by Flight 229’s radio operator at the behest of the
    Japanese captors.

    Anyway, I seem to love when a “nefarious” conspiracy is uncovered and
    the bad guys exposed to the light of truth.
    As a result, I’ve been ready to fully accept the theory put forth by the
    book’s author concerning the crew’s murder and entombment at Dublon.

    However, page 56 of the book refers to China Lake as being
    “PAA’s alternate landing area”.
    The fly in the buttermilk here is that there is no lake (at least with
    water in it) at China Lake.
    It’s actually a dry lake bed about 150 miles north of Los Angeles
    in the vicinity of the Mojave Desert..

    The Navy established it in the forties as a Naval Air Station for
    testing naval air weapons.
    I was stationed at an AF radar site in the early 60’s located at Boron, CA
    which was roughly between China Lake and Edwards Air Force Base.

    There is Lake Isabella 60 miles West of China Lake, but even that
    didn’t exist until created by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1953.

    As far as I’ve been able to determine, Pan Am’s alternate landing area when
    San Francisco Bay was socked in was Clear Lake, North of San Francisco
    and East of Ukiah, CA.
    That vicinity is in fact where the Philippine Clipper flew into a mountain
    in January of 1942.

    I know it’s probably “wet blanketish” in light of the tremendous research
    conducted by the late Charles Hill, but an error of fact that significant can
    cause uncertainty about the rest of the work.

    That aside, I’ll still be trying to dope out the navigational trick with the
    Clipper’s true vs false positions.


    1. Guy says:

      Hello Hyatt and thanks for your post. I too saw that and scratched my head and wondered if it was some sort of typo or something I had not found in my own research. I have seen the photos of China Lake in 1942 and at other times and you are right, it is indeed a dry lake bed.. the perfect place to land wheeled aircraft and conduct bombing tests. I personally doubt that PAA would have any landing area and have no idea what was meant by the statement on page 56 however, there Is a China Beach just south of the Golden Gate Bridge above Lincoln Park. Now there are some serious rocky points there close to shore however if you needed to land outside the fog area within the bay, it just might work but I have not seen any documents that show this to be the location. I will look into it thought and appreciate your question. Thanks again for checking in and stay tuned, there is a lot more info coming very soon. Best, Guy


    2. Charles Hill says:

      Mr. Barnes,

      I’m Charlie Hill, son of the author of “Fix on the Rising Sun.” Your comment showed up in my inbox, as I am subscribed to this blog, and I was VERY intrigued by what you had to say, and it has inspired me to write this comment.

      First let me say that my father spent my entire childhood writing this book. We lived in motels, hotels, and other people’s apartments while he slaved away, constructing his case against the Japanese Navy and the United States gov’t. As a kid, I was CONSTANTLY debriefed on his conspiracy theories, which included his belief that Jesus was an alien, the red spot on Jupiter is a spaceship, and that Amelia Earhart was a double agent who helped the Japanese military create the Zero. He also believed he was on a government black list, unable to hold a job (hence living in motels), because of his research into Amelia Earhart, who, according to my late father, died in the early 2000s in Virginia.

      That is NOT to say that his book on the Hawaii Clipper is completely false. However, after finding holes of logic and evidence in just about every conspiracy theory he exposed me to, I have long since given up on uncovering the “truth” to any of his stories. This is because my father, while a genius in intellect, was a very paranoid man. He was so smart that he could argue just about anything and bring you to his side, especially if you had a soft spot for rebellious, anti-establishmentarian type voices. He was VERY persuasive and knew how to make an argument. But the fact is, he was deeply disturbed, and everyone around him suffered for it.

      I’d also like to point out that my father had an uncle who starved to death in a Japanese POW camp during WW2. He never forgave the Japanese for this. I suggest taking a look at his foreword with this in mind. My father was a strong man, but one who too easily held grudges. Unfortunately, that makes it hard (for me at least) to take anything he has written at face value.

      Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the thought behind trying to continue his work, that maybe there could be some truth to it. But in my experience, my father’s theories end up being nothing but paranoid fantasies. He spent so long writing that book because he already knew the conclusion he wanted to make before he started writing it. He already knew who he was going to blame. It was just a matter of constructing a detailed argument to support his foregone conclusions, which only experienced aviators or those with deep knowledge on military matters could readily refute.

      Anyway, thank you for your interest in my father’s work, and God bless,
      Charles D. Hill


  19. Hyatt Barnes says:

    Hello again Guy;

    Here is the URL for a Pan Am B-314 sitting at Clear Lake.
    A beautiful shot, what?


    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hyatt Barnes says:

    Mein bubu Guy!

    HERE is the URL!

    Getting older does take its toll, what?



  21. Jamie Dodson says:

    You may enjoy this 75th China Clipper Anniversary Video on Vimeo. It has some details about the mysteries loss of NC14714




  22. Tari Bernard says:

    Hello. My husband and I came across a framed copy ( a souvenir sheet we think) in an antique store recently. We bought it because we are autograph collectors and because we thought it was a great item.The photo is a sketch dated 1935 by H. McCallister. It has a clipper (sailing) ship, and the Hawaiian clipper. Also on the bottom it has the autographs of the apparent crew of the Hawaiian Clipper. But, when I did research on the information, I found that the crew signatures are completely different form what the photograph shows. I do not know very much about aviation, (we collect mostly celebrity autographs) and I am confused as to this information. Perhaps some one of you can help me. The photograph lists Captain A.E. LaPorte, First officer H.G. Gulbransen, Navigation officer Fred S. Ralph, Flight engineer Theron E. Griffin, and Radio officer W.T. Jarboe Jr. According to the information I have found on the internet, The Captain was Leo Terletsky, and his crew. Did the airline have a change of crew at the last moment, and these souvenir sheets were already printed???? Thank you ahead of time if anyone can help me with this information.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ms. Nakashima says:

      I am completely new to this topic, but I found this site while searching for “Theron E. Griffin.” I have several letters that he wrote to a family friend that we cared for up. The letters are in the original envelopes, and are mailed from Midway Island Pan American Airways system to Maui, Hawaii. I suspect if I read through these, I may gain some insight. The one in my hand at the moment is dated 7-5-40.


  23. James T. Lee MD says:

    You wrote in a recent post here, “On a side note, I did confirm the story of Mark Walker’s sister about the aircraft was said to be lost in a storm however none was present at the time of loss.”

    That’s interesting since Mark had two sisters, one was my mom, now dead, and the other was her older sister Lenora, also now dead. I NEVER heard either of them say that the plane “was said to be lost in a storm. . .”

    Where did you get this notion ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Guy says:

      Hi there James,
      Hi James,

      Thanks for the note. This story I heard twice from Charlie Hill and from Charlie Hills son. It was indeed from Mary Ann Walker Lee and the account was given to him on Memorial Day, May 29th, 1995. The story was that within days of the loss of the clipper, a Pan Am weatherman was standing in front of a large blackboard with two weeks worth of weather stats and readings. He said to her that the ship was presumed lost in a typhoon but she saw nothing behind him other than clear weather. This story is also written of in Charlie Hills book “Fix On The Rising Sun” page 25.


  24. Dave Wilma says:

    I did some searches in digitized newspapers and came across a story in The Seattle Times, September 5, 1947, p. 2, col. 3, “Japanese Doctor Sentenced to Die.” He was convicted of brutally murdering 10 P.O.W.s in 1944 at the medical facility on Truk. Could these be the bodies buried under the old medical clinic reported by locals?

    If Guy can get some confirmation of human remains there the Department of Defense can take over analysis and recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Guy says:

      Hi there Dave,

      Thanks for your message and to answer you, no. There were many more murders on the island that not only involved Americans, but other allies, indentured workers and the local Chuukese. I have a map that shows over twenty unique facilities (from hospitals to medical storage) and examined each and everyone. I and the folks with me on the last visit pretty much came to an agreement that the spot identified was indeed the location Amelia Earhart researcher Joe Gervias said was the final resting place of the passengers and crew of the Hawaii Clipper.


  25. Les Kinney says:

    Guy, I haven’t talked to you in awhile. Are you aware their were five medical facilities on Truk? There was the big Navy hospital on the bluff which I believe was built after 1938. There were also four smaller clinics in Dublon town. How do you know you dug up the right one?

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Guy says:

    Hi there Les,

    Thanks for the note and yes, I’m 100% sure because we found the very unique post marking the hospital, some locals confirmed that there was a medical “building” there and we found elements like medical vials, tiles and other related items. So, I think we nailed it.




  28. Diane Wyman Barrett says:

    Your work sounds most interesting-
    Do keep me posted.


  29. Bob Wheeler says:

    I have been corresponding with Phil Van Zandt and Woody Rogers about Amelia Earhart and the Hawaii Clipper mysteries. I have done quite a bit of research on both and come up with some observations.

    Without getting really detailed (we can do that if you want to) according to the CAA investigation the Clipper had 9.3 hours of fuel remaining when it disappeared. With the information given by the aircrew about the wind speed and direction 19 knots @ 247 degrees it would have taken them 11.2 hours to cover the 1496 SM to Truk Island. Unless they refueled somewhere along the way the would have run out of fuel 1.9 hours short of Truk.

    Because the headquarters for the IJN Pacific was at Saipan it would make sense that they would have been taken there. It is 1040 miles to Tinian Island (A nice out of the way place for the Martin M-130 to land) and the flight time would have been 7.6 hours. Seems to make a bit more sense. Also I haven’t seen any one mention the implications of the two scientists on board and the relation to Unit 731 and Operation Fugo and the “hooks” on board both the Clipper and AE’s Electra.

    I would genuinely enjoy communicating with you and lending any help I can. I have been working closely with POW/MIA families from Vietnam and have an extensive aviation background.

    I hope to hear from you in the future and please keep up the good work.

    Bob Wheeler


  30. authorjamiedodson says:

    Thoughts on the Disappearance of the Pan American Airways Flight 229
    Hawaiian Clipper
    By Jamie Dodson
    Bottom line: The M-130 was flying into bad weather and …
    1. Flew into a super cell – Captain Teletsky lost control and crashed. There is documentation about structural weakness of the M-130 that may have contributed to the loss. And the fierce fight between Glenn Martin and Juan Trippe after the loss of NC 14714 – each blaming the other’s organization.
    2. Av gas explosion – like TWA 800, or the loss of the SAMOAN CLIPPER off Samoa in January 1938. Note the Hawaii Clipper-color image practicing fuel dumping over SF bay, below.
    3. Lighting strike. A B-52H suffered a strike 40 years ago that ignited a wing tank removing 18 feet of the left wing. Crew made it home safe.
    I am unconvinced about the theories of hijacking from Charlie Hill’ or the theories of http://www.lostclipper.com. They are the stuff of great fiction – not fact.
    On a MH 370 note. I agree with a Hypoxia theory. It is the best reason yet – if you discount space aliens or the Bermuda Triangle.
    Hawaii Clipper departed Guam on the last leg of the westbound journey at 11:39 local time. The last radio contact was 3 hours 27 minutes later, when the aircraft reported flying through layers of clouds and moderately rough air 565 miles from the Philippine coast.
    Hawaiian Clipper
    CREW: Incident Details
    1. Capitan: Leo Terletsky, Disappearance: July 28, 1938
    2. First Officer: Mark (Tex) A. Walker, Summary: Disappeared over water between Manila and Guam
    3. Second Officer: George M. Davis, Site: Western Pacific Ocean
    4. Third Officer: Jose M. Sauceda, Passengers: 6
    5. Fourth Officer: John W. Jewett, Crew: 9
    6. Engineer: Howard L. Cox, Injuries (non-fatal): 0
    7. Assistant to Engineer: T. B. Tatum, Fatalities: 15 (all)
    8. Radio-navigator: William McCarty. Survivors: 0
    Aircraft type: Martin M-130
    Operator: Pan American World Airways
    Registration: NC14714
    Flight origin: San Francisco
    Stopover: Hawaii, Midway, Wake and Guam
    Destination: Manila

    Discussion on the Hawaiian Clipper:
    The Hawaiian Clipper maintained Radio communication (Manual Morse) in a normal manner up to 0411 G. C. T. At that time the Clipper sent a routine report giving their position at 0400 G. C. T. (12 Noon Manila Time).
    The message was as follows (a13 communications are in code and message quoted are interpretations):
    “Flying in rough air at 9100 feet. Temperature 13 degree centigrade. Wind 19 knots per hour from 247 degree. Position Latitude 12 degree 27′ N. Longitude 130 degree 40′ E dead reckoning. Ground speed made good 112 knots. Desired track 282 degree, Rain. During past hour cloud conditions have varied. 10/10ths of sky above covered by stratocumulus clouds, base 9200 feet. Clouds below, 10/10ths of sky covered by cumulus clouds whose tops were 9200 feet. 5/10ths of the hour on instruments. Last direction finder bearing from Manila 101 degree .”
    The radio operator at Panay, Philippines acknowledged this message and indicated that he wished to transmit weather sequence reports based on observations compiled at 0400 G. C. T. by the Philippine Stations and relayed to him in accordance with Company procedure.
    William McCarty, the Clipper radio operator, replied as follows: “Stand by for one minute before sending as I am having trouble with rain static.”
    Nothing more was ever heard from the flight.
    The radio operator in Panay again called the Clipper at 0412 G. C. T., giving him the weather sequences. This message was not acknowledge – nor were any others over the next five hours.
    40-odd years ago a B52H just N of Battle Mountain NV was involved in an incident. The pilot wrote, “We were out of 18,000 and descending IFR through cumulus clouds to a low-level route when I became aware of static in the UHF radios. That was very unusual–indeed, it’s the only time I remember hearing UHF static. Then I noticed St Elmos fire on the windshield wipers. I had seen it before at night of course, but never in daylight, and it was mid-morning. A very loud, sharp “bang” immediately followed, and we lost electrical power and the radome depressurized.
    “We got the electrical system patched up and flew back to MI. On leaving the aircraft, we marveled at the fiberglass nose radome, which had a 30-50mm hole blasted clean through it and de-lamination cracks running away from the hole to the edges of the fiberglass in all directions.
    “While in debriefing, the crew chief came running into the room, distraught, asking “What did you guys do to my airplane!?!” On returning to the aircraft, we found the outer 18 feet of the left wing missing its fiberglass skin. (Total wingspan was 185ft.)
    “The lightning apparently entered the nose and left at the wingtip, taking 18 feet of fiberglass, which covered the ECM gear in the wingtip, with it when it left.”
    What is the connection?
    Terletsky’s tanks were 1/2 full of Avgas 100+ degrees warmer. Per the TWA 800 investigation, Jet a spark ignites at 96F at 13,800. What do you want to bet Avgas spark ignites at 13C at 9,000?”
    From the book Skygods: The Fall of Pan Am, by Robert Gandt 1995, publisher William Morrow and Company, Chapter 3, page 20.
    “Captain Leo Terletsky was a different sort. Terletsky was a European, a White Russian of considerable charm – on the ground. In the air he was insufferable. Unlike Sullivan, he was scared to death of flying. His anxiety caused him to shout at co-pilots, issue orders and immediately countermand them. He infected his crews with his own anxiety. A number of co-pilots refused to fly with him.”
    In late July, 1938, Terletsky was flying the Martin M-130 Hawaii Clipper (NC14714) from Guam to Manila. Somewhere in mid-Pacific, in an area of towering cumulus buildups and torrential squalls, the flying boat vanished from the sky. No trace has ever been found.
    Horace Brock penned Flying the Oceans: A Pilot’s Story of Pan Am, 1935-1955. In his book he recalls being in Manila that day in July, 1938 scheduled to be the first officer on the return flight. He’d flown with Terletsky before and was considering refusing to fly with him. Terletsky had almost crashed an S-42 they were piloting in the Caribbean. According to Brock, Chief Pan Am Engineer, Andre Preister wanted to ground Terletsky.
    However, President Juan Trippe refused based on a request from Igor Sikorsky. Sikorsky, also an Ex-Pat White Russian, was a great friend of both Trippe and Terletsky. Sikorsky pressured Trippe to give Terletsky another chance. Trippe agreed but insisted that Terletsky pass a competency test with the new Chief Pilot Harold Gray. (Gray later became Pan Am President after Trippe retired.) The test was scheduled for after the Hawaii Clipper returned to Alameda -and of course never took place.
    Brock also recalls that a typhoon or intense tropical storm had just rolled over the Philippines headed east for Guam and the Hawaii Clipper’s flight path.
    The disappearance of Terletsky and the Hawaii Clipper came only a year after Amelia Earhart vanished in the same part of the globe. And six months after the SAMOAN CLIPPER (S-42B) crash January 9, 1938, in the Pacific off Western Samoa – with the loss of Captain Edwin C. Musick, Pan Am Chief pilot, the remainder of the crew and all the passengers. The Hawaii Clipper disappearance made for an appealing mystery and the press speculated about Japanese sabotage.
    The Pan Am flying boat pilots I spoke with said they believed that the Hawaii Clipper went down after entering a storm. Those that had flown the M-130 uniformly hated it. Then Chief Pan Am Pilot, Ed Musick, is quoted as saying, “The M-130 is unstable on every axis and a pig to fly.”

    Figure 1 Captain Musick on the left – 1st Officer on the right is unknown.
    To the Pan American pilots the real villain wasn’t the Japanese. It was the Pacific and its vast, brooding, hidden storms. The Hawaii Clipper crew had reported seeing anvil-topped cumulonimbus clouds rising to above sixty thousand feet – higher than anything they had previously thought possible. To blunder into such a storm with a flying boat would be catastrophic. And it would be just like Leo Terletsky to do it.”


    Flying the Oceans: A Pilot’s Story of Pan Am, 1935-1955 Hardcover– May, 1983
    by Horace Brock
    ISBN-13: 978-0876686324
    “As we droned across those limitless wastes of water, always tense to hear the slightest break in the 112 spark plugs firing 56 cylinders 15 times a second, we were a little north of Magellan’s track but we thought of him and Captain Cook who sailed waters right under us and found the Hawaiian Islands… All of us had a pretty good idea of how Cook’s sailors felt and, had one of our engines ever failed and had we gone down, in our little rubber boats we would have seen the ghost of the Victoria or the Endeavor.”
    Aviation’s Quiet Pioneer, by Peter Leslie (2012)

    Contains a copy of a Pan Am memo from John Leslie (author’s father) to Glenn Martin prior to the Hawaii Clipper’s disappearance. In it Leslie states his concerns about the M-130 wing struts. All three aircraft had suffered bend or shear struts during flight or landings (splash-down). This was a serious air frame fault that might have contributed to the disappearance.

    Skygods: The Fall of Pan Am, by Robert Gandt 1995, publisher William Morrow and Company,

    Great book! Gandt was a Pan Am pilot for almost 30 years, and had contact with some of the old “boat captains”. Anyone interested in how a great American company can be power-dived into the ground should read it.

    Fix on the Rising Sun: the Clipper Hi-jacking of 1938—and the Ultimate M.I.A.’s. by Charles Hill
    Hill’s book is a fun potboiler with details of conspiracies and reverse-engineering of airplane engines. Hill–is deceased but his story is full of holes, wild speculation and few hard facts.

    The State of Hawaii has a gallery of images of the Hawaii Clipper, but little mention of the mysterious event.
    Not at all a primary source, a site called Historic Mysteries has an article called “The Hawaii Clipper Disappearance” that is interesting only because it wraps up everything in a few short paragraphs and has a newspaper link.

    Gone but not forgotten – The Pan Am Historical Foundation Website http://www.panam.org.



    1. Guy says:

      Very interesting Jamie and I sincerely appreciate your thoughts, however, you missed one very critical component that blows your theory out of the water.

      Upon hearing of the disappearance of the Hawaii Clipper, the sister of pilot Mark Walker immediately went to confront the Pan Am officials at the operations facility and remarked to her family how the company representative said there was severe weather in the area (a cover up) in the vicinity of the clippers last transmission. She noted that he appeared to be stalling and not convinced of what he was actually saying. She also noticed that the weather forecast board directly behind this man showed clear weather. Taking this bit of information, I compared it to the US Air Force 557th Weather Wing (previously US Army Air Corps) own weather data from Guam for the entire week ending on Sunday the 31st. The results were an average of light scattered showers and average to good flying conditions. So no, it is very doubtful the demise of the Hawaii Clipper was due to a super cell. That fact is not even the critical point you missed – which is the two eye witness accounts of Mori and Naruun stating they both helped cover 15 American people (13 Caucasians, one oriental and one “dark” man face down in concrete. My team is the only one that I am aware of that has made three trips over six years and determined the most likely spot where these fifteen people are located. Incidentally, the description both men gave 100% matches the crew and passenger manifest of trip #229 of 13 Caucasians, one Chinese American and a Latin American (Jose Sauceda). The passenger and crew makeup where also noted by a third party , a young Korean American US sailor in 1946 who had infiltrated the Dublon island slave population just prior to repatriation, and confirmed 15 Americans of unknown origin had been murdered prior to the war in 1938. It is my firm belief that all suggestions or allegations other than a hijacking will quickly vaporize IF the remains are recovered and the DNA matched to relatives.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. authorjamiedodson says:

    My sources are (or were – as many have passed on) Pan Am flying boat crew interviews and their publications. I’m not surprised that the Alameda Pan Am Ops weather map displayed a clear sky as reports were scattered and often incorrect. The Guam US Army Air Corps weather reports were based on local observations and shipping reports. It’s big ocean and big and small storms slipped through undetected – repeatedly.

    What are your thoughts on John Leslie’s trail of correspondence with Martin over the M-130 sea-wing to wing struts? They continued to fail mostly during rough landings. However, Leslie was on record saying the results could be catastrophic if they separated during flight.

    Clearly, there is much we do not know.

    I will keep an open mind and hard evidence will convince me of the likely fate of NC14714. If you succeed in locating the graves and the DNA data supports your theories will “hold more water”.

    Enjoyed the discussion and wish you and your team good luck in your endeavors to solve one of aviation’s most enigmatic mysteries

    Cheers! Jamie

    Liked by 1 person

  32. authorjamiedodson says:


    I’ve got some pix I can share if you’ve got a way.


    1. Guy says:

      Hi Jamie, that would be super. Thank you! I also have the weather report that I mentioned above if you would like to look it over – it’s very interesting. Do you use drop box or google drive?


  33. authorjamiedodson says:

    May I suggest that you change the Hawaii Clipper Forum Image? The aircraft pictured is a Martin M-156. The Martin submission for the next gen clipper request for bid. Glenn Martin sold the M-156 sometimes called the “Soviet Clipper” to the USSR after Pan Am, Juan Trippe, rejected the design in favor of the Boeing B-314. The Martin M-130 upgrade was an inferior aircraft in many ways but Tripp had other reasons. After the tragic loss NC14714 Martin took to the press and issued statements that the loss was do to poor maintenance. The ensuing row took place in the press and soured the Martin-Trippe relationship forever.


    1. Thanks for your keen eye, Jamie. I’ve updated the page to reflect the proper M-130 image we have on file. We appreciate your participation and have a great 2017!


  34. Guy says:

    Thanks for the comment Jamie. The image is indeed the M-156 but was placed there by an automated system – we will change. As for the statement of Martin citing “poor maintenance,” do you have copies or imagery corroborating these statements? Would love to host here on the forum as it contradicts both the CAA and PAA Chief Engineer Andre Priester’s reports. The two independently conducted investigations both exhaustively indicated with verified data and interviews that the M-130 Hawaii Clipper was maintained with “exceedingly high standards of maintenance” and showed that the ultimate demise of the flying boat was not due to any mechanical failure.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. authorjamiedodson says:

    Sure. The documents are reproduced in Peter Lesley’s book about his father
    “Pan Am Engineer John Lesley” by Peter Lesley. See link below. I met Peter in 2010 at the China Clipper 75th Anniversary Celebration. We discussed the likely fate of the Hawaii Clipper. I will scan them but how do I upload?


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