by Fred Gay


The flight instruments in the pictures give the plane's locations along this perilous journey. You must keep track of the plane's relationship to navigational beacons, using an autopilot (A/P) that only occasionally is engaged. Key pieces of data have been blurred out, such as the displays of the NAV radio frequencies, which would otherwise tell you almost exactly where you are.

Using that information on the images, the aircraft's path can be traced on a standard aeronautical sectional chart, available on websites like All legs of the path are directly to or from a navigational aid, as indicated by the ADF (used to tune in non-directional beacons) and VOR (used to find bearing) needles on the gyrocompass display. These are the images, by chronometer reading:

11:36:25: The ADF receiver is tuned to 269, which in a search on an appropriate navaids website (, for instance) will show that only one NDB (Non-Directional Beacon) station with the frequency 269 is within 66.6 miles: Topsfield in Beverly, MA (TOF).

11:37:27: The VOR is 23NM away, and your course is 324. Just past the TOF NDB (it's right behind us, as indicated by the ADF needle). Turning to a course of 324 to head towards the tuned in VOR (VOR/NAV1 selected), which is Manchester, NH (MHT), the closest VOR on a 324 course (22.7 nautical miles away, as indicated by the receiver).

11:45:40: The ADF receiver is now off. Just approaching the MHT VOR (2.1NM to go).

11:46:50: Turning to a new course of 352, just after passing the MHT VOR. A new VOR is tuned in 22.0NM away, which is Concord, NH (CON).

11:54:19: Approaching the CON VOR, with 2.5NM to go.

11:55:24: New VOR tuned in to Pease in Portsmouth, NH (PSM), turning to a heading of 120, with PSM 33.7NM away.

12:09:25: 2.6NM away from PSM, heading inbound.

12:10:32: Turning to 225 after passing PSM, and tuning in a new VOR 23.7NM away, which is Lawrence, MA (LWM).

12:19:54: 2.5NM to go to the LWM VOR.

12:21:06: The ADF is active again, though the readout is still blurred. However, the VOR receivers have gone off, the autopilot has switched to Heading mode, as it no longer has a NAV radio to get course information from. ADF indicated station is at a heading of 207, which is what the A/P is dialed to, and is turning the plane to that heading, this time on the Shaker Hill, MA (SKR) NDB.

12:25:52: Continuing toward SKR on heading 207.

12:27:50: The VOR1 receiver is back online, and the A/P is back in NAV mode. Just past the SKR NDB, turning to follow the VOR1 receiver, on a course of 140, to the Boston, MA (BOS) VOR with 9.9NM to go.

12:30:50: Heading toward BOS with 2.3NM to go, and SKR NDB directly behind us.

12:32:14: Outbound from the BOS VOR (as indicated by direction follower needle), on a heading of 225, 1.0NM away from BOS.

12:34:48: Still outbound from BOS, 7.4NM out.

12:43:14: 28.5NM outbound from BOS and pointed straight down, putting the plane headed for a bitter END directly over ATTLEBORO, MA.