Any pilot trying to get a fix on something so small and barely above sea level while making an approach under the stress of low fuel and with an airplane that was by no means forgiving or nimble would be taking a hell of a gamble. First, you would have to decide that the atoll was a viable option. Then you would have to align your approach without any of the normal navigation aids—not even a runway to target. The descent over water would need to be at a very shallow angle and finely judged to touch down precisely, leaving no margin for error. (Landing on an aircraft carrier would be a lot easier.) Earhart, despite her evident nerve, was no flying ace; she had crashed the same airplane during takeoff on Hawaii on an earlier test flight.
TIGHAR backs up its radio theory with a catalog of artifacts found at various times on the island, including a pocket knife similar to one owned by Earhart, and the broken pieces of a jar of Dr. Berry’s Freckle Ointment. OK, Earhart had freckles. And, apparently, wished she hadn’t. But would freckle treatment really have featured as a necessity to be carried on a flight where every ounce of weight had to be justified and, if not, discarded?