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1 steve_davis  Thu, Dec 30, 2010 3:20:06pm

So apparently the mystery hasn't been solved, because I don't see anything in the article suggesting anyone understands what Stendec meant. I thought this had been solved in a documentary I watched. Something about how the pilots were originally British Airways pilots and that Stendec actually meant something in British Airways terminology. Something like "We're completely screwed."

2 Shiplord Kirel  Thu, Dec 30, 2010 3:35:18pm

re: #1 steve_davis

So apparently the mystery hasn't been solved, because I don't see anything in the article suggesting anyone understands what Stendec meant. I thought this had been solved in a documentary I watched. Something about how the pilots were originally British Airways pilots and that Stendec actually meant something in British Airways terminology. Something like "We're completely screwed."

It's at the link:

Once again, STENDEC reads / . . . / - / . / - . / - . . / . / - . - . /. The actual message probably ended with / - - . /. The wireless operator in Santiago must have assumed that the last letter was C, and added a dot after the first dash: / - . - . /.

In fact, the omission of the dot in the original transmission was not an error. The letter was not C. Nor were the first two letters of this strange message ST: / . . . / - /. The dots and dash formed one letter, V: / . . . - /.

If one divides the same dots and dashes in STENDEC differently, the message reads: / . . . - / . - / . - . . / . - - . /, which is VALP, the call sign for the airport at Valparaiso, some 110 kilometers north of Santiago. The experienced crew of the "Stardust" apparently realized the plane was off course in a northerly direction (it was found eighty kilometers off its flight path), or they purposely departed from the charted route to avoid bad weather. In either case, they attempted to contact what they thought was the nearest airport, Valparaiso, not Santiago. The crew probably did not panic, but they were concerned about the lack of visibility and landmarks. Their curse was too much sky.

Morse allows a maximum of four dots and dashes in any letter, narrowing the possibility for mistakes. If not V, then the first letters might have been EIN, or IAR, but these combinations lead nowhere. The first letter has to be V, and the rest just fall into place-ALP-a perfect match in Morse.

3 shutdown  Thu, Dec 30, 2010 5:13:37pm

Thanks SK. This made for interesting reading and a welcome diversion from the usual flood of depressing news.


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