On some tests I took data from a US Navy Aircraft. The aircraft a P3 Orion, is shown in figure 4. Figure 5 shows me in the middle sea in the cockpit. This test lasted for a week over the Atlantic.
First a few words about the Bermuda Triangle. The legend started in 1950 when a flight of Navy Grumman torpedo planes disappeared on a training mission from Florida. The legend then grew as other strange happening were reported. An investigative reporter, Larry Kusche, then decided to solve the problem. He wrote a book called “The Bermuda Triangle – mystery solved.” His conclusion was the legend of the Bermuda Triangle is a manufactured mystery, perpetuated by writers who either purposely or unknowingly made use of misconceptions, faulty reasoning, and sensationalism. Here is my personal experience in the Bermuda triangle.
In May 1974 JHU/APL conducted a sea test in the Atlantic near Bermuda . My assignment was to support the test in a Navy anti-submarine aircraft. The aircraft was a four engine (turboprop) P3 Orion. Turboprops were used because they could remain in the air for up to 20 hours. I was the only civilian on the aircraft. The crew, a pilot, copilot and navigator, had flown combat bombing missions in Vietnam. . We flew from Brunswick, Maine. I would sit in the third seat in the cockpit behind the pilot and co-pilot. We would leave at 6 am and return home about 8 pm. From Brunswick we would fly down the coast to South Carolina. Then we would head east to the test area. The first two days were uneventful. The third day we flew down the coast to South Carolina and headed east. After leaving the coast behind for several hours, we started trying to contact the surface boats taking part in the test. They had a beacon that we would pick up when we would get close. We flew in a circle trying to pick up the beacon signal. We could not detect any beacon signal. We tried to radio them to no avail. Then the navigator came up and said all electronics and navigation systems were not functioning, including the compass and Loran. There was no GPS in those days. The pilot asked the navigator if he thought he could get us home since this was the notorious Bermuda Triangle where many planes have disappeared. The navigator unzipped his flight suit and exposed a white T-shirt he was wearing. On the T -shirt was written, “Trust Me”. We all laughed. Had it been an overcast or stormy day we would have been in a lot of trouble. Having flown in circles and now with no compass we had no idea in which direction we were heading. We had no idea in which direction the coast of the US was. We could have flown off in a direction headed out to sea, run out of gas and crashed. This is what happened to the Navy Grumman Avengers in 1950. Even if we survived the crash, we could be out in the middle of the Atlantic with no one knowing where we were since we had no radio contact with anyone and no one would know why our radio went dead. Fortunately, it was a clear sunny day. We followed the setting sun west until we hit the coast and then followed the coast back to Brunswick. Upon landing the pilot told the crew chief to get everything working by 6 am the next morning even if he had to stay up all night to do it. When we arrived at the plane the next morning, the crew chief looked at us funny and said, “I don’t know what you guys are on, but when I checked out the plane right after you landed everything worked fine.” However, this is not the end of the story. Two years later I am reading an article on the Bermuda Triangle in the newspaper. A Russian physicist claimed that all disappearances coincided with either the new moon or the full moon, but mostly the new moon. His reasoning for this was the following: the earth has a molten core and a magnetic field. At new moon, for example, the sun, moon and earth are all alone a line, so the gravitational pull of sun and moon is greatest. This disturbs the molten core that disturbs the magnetic field that in turn screws up electromagnetic communications and compasses. So I had to look up the phase of the moon the day we had problems. It was the day of the new moon!!!!!
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