Title: B-24 Lady Be Good Mission
Author(s): Joseph Portney
Published in: Proceedings of the IAIN World Congress and the 56th Annual Meeting of The Institute of Navigation
June 26 - 28, 2000
The Catamaran Resort Hotel
San Diego, CA
Pages: 316 - 318
Cite this article: Portney, Joseph, "B-24 Lady Be Good Mission," Proceedings of the IAIN World Congress and the 56th Annual Meeting of The Institute of Navigation, San Diego, CA, June 2000, pp. 316-318.
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Abstract: In April 1943, the B-24 Lady Be Good (LBG) takes off with a group of 24 other B-24’s from Soluch Air Base (just south of Benghazi, Libya) bound for Naples harbor for a high altitude bomb raid. The crew is on its first combat mission. The navigator, who just completed twenty weeks of navigation training, would face his greatest challenge in directing the LBG back to home base after an aborted bomb run. On the inbound leg, the crew of the LBG would depend upon a non-directional high frequency direction finding station at Benina Tower in Benghazi to guide them safely home. Tragically Lt. Dp Hays, the navigator, took a reciprocal bearing off the back of the station. This led the LBG to overfly its base at Soluch, continuing deep over the scorching Libyan desert. The nine-man crew bail out as the LBG spends its fuel and crashes in the desert. Fifteen years later, a British petroleum exploration team discover the wreckage of the LBG preserved in its desert crucible with all but one of the crew skeletal remains located. The navigator’s log is recovered and reveals no dead reckoning (DR) entries on the inbound leg explaining why the reciprocal bearing from Benina Air Tower was accepted. The navigator was simply lost. This paper demonstrates how the ambiguity of the reciprocal bearing could have been resolved and the tragedy of the ill fated Lady Be Good could have been averted.