What is the Stratus approach?

There are a number of different theories surrounding Earhart’s disappearance

The reason for this is because the disappearance is a mystery – it’s unsolved, and until the plane is found no one can say for sure what happened.

The theories range from Earhart being captured by the Japanese, to her landing on Gardner Island and dying as a castaway, and there is even a theory that she returned to the United States and lived under an assumed identity. While all of these theories are fascinating, the Stratus Team believe that the answer is much simpler – that Earhart ran out of fuel while searching for Howland Island and crashed into the Pacific Ocean.


The Stratus approach is to get to the bones of the matter using logic to determine why Earhart did not make it to Howland. Our approach is based heavily on celestial navigation and an understanding of the techniques used by Fred Noonan. Gary LaPook, the Stratus navigator, is one of the few people alive today who has a working knowledge of the navigation techniques used by Noonan and we believe this knowledge is crucial to solving the mystery.

Stratus is unable to publish our exact intended search area or the analysis which reaches that conclusion, however, our theory is based on convincing evidence that has been overlooked by all previous searchers and expeditions. Due to the competitive nature of the Earhart search, access to our theory report is available only by non-disclosure agreement.

Along with a written report of our theory, we have been working with CanDo 3D, a 3D animations company based in Belfast to make a visual presentation of our theory. We have reconstructed the Electra, Itacsa and Howland Island to explain visually how the flight progressed and our explanation for why the flight was unsuccessful.


It is understandable that various theories have cropped up over the years which almost try to provide a more fitting ending to such an icon – as though it’s incomprehensible that such a legend could have merely run out of fuel and crashed into the ocean. The Stratus Project, however, seeks to strip away the romanticism that has been built around the disappearance, and base the foundations of our hypothesis on simplicity and logic in order to solve the mystery.