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Stendec
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 31-07-2010 21:00    Post subject: Stendec Reply with quote

This was posted on another thread
http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=409475#409475

It was in the Andes . . .

Horizon did a programme on it, the transcript is here
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2000/vanished.shtml

Quote:

On August 2nd 1947, a British civilian version of the wartime Lancaster bomber took off from Buenos Aires airport on a scheduled flight to Santiago. There were 5 crew and 6 passengers on board the plane - named "Stardust". But Stardust never made it to Santiago. Instead it vanished when it was apparently just a few minutes from touchdown. One final strange morse code radio message - "STENDEC" - was sent, but after that nothing more was heard from the plane.

I'm reviving this little mystery as it featured in

10 Things You Didn't Know About... - 3. Avalanches

Iain Stewart travels across mountain ranges and glaciers to reveal ten remarkable stories about avalanches.

Over a million avalanches happen throughout the world each year, and yet we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the chaotic turbulence inside an avalanche. Scientists have had to put themselves right inside a raging avalanche to find out more.

Stewart shows how the deadliest avalanche in history killed 18,000 people in three minutes; how Hannibal's army was devastated by avalanches as he crossed the Alps to fight Rome; why an avalanche was key to one of the greatest aviation mysteries of all time; and how global warming may increase the rate of ice avalanches in the future.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b008vrwk/10_Things_You_Didnt_Know_About..._Avalanches/

It seems the plane crashed into the mountains and triggered an avalache that covered it, hence none of the search planes spotted it. For 53 years the wreckage moved down the mountain concealed in a glacier.

However, the word 'Stendec' is still a mystery!
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 31-07-2010 21:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was shot down by a UFO!
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tilly50Offline
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PostPosted: 05-08-2010 11:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not know much about morse code, except that it is made up of a series of dots and dashes. Would it be possible that the morse for STENDEC could be altered to make up a recognisable word?
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 05-08-2010 12:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

tilly50 wrote:
I do not know much about morse code, except that it is made up of a series of dots and dashes. Would it be possible that the morse for STENDEC could be altered to make up a recognisable word?

Only if the operator was really ham-fisted!

This is unlikely in an era when Morse was still commonly used.
Quote:
Morse messages are generally transmitted by a hand-operated device such as a telegraph key, so there are variations introduced by the skill of the sender and receiver — more experienced operators can send and receive at faster speeds. In addition, individual operators differ slightly, for example using slightly longer or shorter dashes or gaps, perhaps only for particular characters. This is called their "fist", and receivers can recognize specific individuals by it alone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morse_code

I used to know Morse code, but I'm very rusty now. So, using Wiki as a crib, here's STENDEC in Morse:

... | - | . | -. | -.. | . | -.-.

(I've used ' | ' for the spaces.)
Quote:
The Chilean radio operator at Santiago states that the reception of the signal was loud and clear but that it was given out very fast. Not understanding the word "STENDEC" he queried it and had the same word repeated by the aircraft twice in succession. A solution to the word "STENDEC" has not been found. From this time on nothing further was heard from the aircraft and no contact was made with the control tower at Santiago. All further calls were unanswered.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2000/vanished_stendec.shtml

It has been pointed out that Stendec is an anagram of 'descent', but that hardly gets us much further!
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OldTimeRadioOffline
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PostPosted: 02-02-2011 05:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

rynner2 wrote:
It has been pointed out that Stendec is an anagram of 'descent', but that hardly gets us much further!


The same combination of letters also gives us "scented."
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ginoideOffline
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PostPosted: 02-02-2011 08:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

...and "descent".
sorted.
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 02-02-2011 14:23    Post subject: Reply with quote

ginoide wrote:
...and "descent".
sorted.


Case closed!
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escargot1Offline
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PostPosted: 02-02-2011 14:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've also read a theory that a panicking radio operator may have been trying to spell out a message which began 'STARDUST' but it all went pearshaped.
Seems more likely to me than just scrambling the letters.
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 02-02-2011 16:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

escargot1 wrote:
I've also read a theory that a panicking radio operator may have been trying to spell out a message which began 'STARDUST' but it all went pearshaped.
Seems more likely to me than just scrambling the letters.

That was discussed in the BBC link in the OP:
Quote:
STENDEC/Stardust

The Theory
The radio operator meant to say Stardust. STENDEC and Stardust have some similarities both in Morse code and English
... /- /.-/ .-./ -../ ..-/ .../ - (Stardust)
... / - / . / -. / -.. / . / -.-. (STENDEC)


Discussion
They may be similar, but it is still hard to imagine an experienced radio operator getting his plane’s name wrong on 3 occasions. Furthermore, aircraft were usually referred to by their registration (in Stardust’s case G-AGWH) rather than the romantic names airlines gave them. And finally, there seems to be no reason to transmit the plane’s name at the end of a routine message.

Also, if the operator thought he was landing shortly, why would he be panicking?

We now know the plane crashed into a mountain because of a navigation error. If they were in cloud they may have been unaware of the impending crash until the moment of impact.
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escargot1Offline
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PostPosted: 02-02-2011 16:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nobody knows for sure, though. I'm going with the UFO theory.
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linesmachineOffline
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PostPosted: 02-02-2011 16:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

...abducted by Chinese Lanterns. They hurt cows too. And set light to thatch.
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gncxxOffline
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PostPosted: 02-02-2011 18:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe the pilot was going all hippy dippy space brothers and made his last message "Stardust" evocative of that? It's probable the message was never finished anyway, so it genuinely is something we'll never know.
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 02-02-2011 20:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

gncxx wrote:
Maybe the pilot was going all hippy dippy space brothers and made his last message "Stardust" evocative of that? It's probable the message was never finished anyway, so it genuinely is something we'll never know.

Wireless Telegraphy (WT) required a trained Morse operator. The pilot couldn't fly the plane and work a Morse code transmitter.
Quote:
The full message sent at 17.41 hrs was as follows:

'ETA [estimated time of arrival] Santiago 17.45 hrs STENDEC'

...

The 17.41 signal was received by Santiago only 4 minutes before the ETA. The Chilean radio operator at Santiago states that the reception of the signal was loud and clear but that it was given out very fast. Not understanding the word "STENDEC" he queried it and had the same word repeated by the aircraft twice in succession. A solution to the word "STENDEC" has not been found. From this time on nothing further was heard from the aircraft and no contact was made with the control tower at Santiago. All further calls were unanswered.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2000/vanished_stendec.shtml

So it seems the message was finished, giving the 4 minute ETA, and the strange word Stendec was confirmed twice.


For those who haven't read the links in the OP, it seems that the plane was flying very high to avoid bad weather over the Andes. But this put them into the jetstream, which (unknown to the crew) slowed their progress. They thought they had passed the Andes and began to descend, only to crash into the mountains on the Argentinian side.
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escargot1Offline
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PostPosted: 02-02-2011 21:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

linesmachine wrote:
...abducted by Chinese Lanterns.


Time-travelling ones.
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SpookdaddyOffline
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PostPosted: 02-02-2011 21:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

rynner2 wrote:
...For those who haven't read the links in the OP, it seems that the plane was flying very high to avoid bad weather over the Andes. But this put them into the jetstream, which (unknown to the crew) slowed their progress. They thought they had passed the Andes and began to descend, only to crash into the mountains on the Argentinian side.


But isn't that the most likely explanation using the information available? As opposed to the definite explanation, I mean.
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