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Recreating Amelia Earhart's Last Flight


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Earlier this month I decided to complete a round the world trip in a vintage propliner. Hadn't really thought which one, but was toying with taking SimOuthouse's new version 3 C47 Beta.

 

Did some preliminary planning and discovered quickly that range may be a problem. At that point I recalled Amelia Earhart's fateful last trip and started looking at her route both flown and as planned if she had made it to Howland Island safely. Even with that route there are still some legs that are "iffy"; most notably Natal to Senegal, Lae to Howland...obviously, Howland to Honolulu, and Honolulu to Oakland.

 

My question here, though, is I'm wondering if this flight would be disallowed as a recreation of a flight that ended in the [Mod - Happy Thoughts]umed death of both Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan? I would not be using the Lockheed 10E's authentic tail number as a callsign, but I am seriously considering purchasing Just Flight's Lockheed 10A for the trip.

 

Even though Caripito, Venezuela and Howland Island airports (two stops on her flight plan) do not exist in FSX I have used Airport Design Editor to recreate both of them. Yes, Howland Island is there, just no airport to land on until I made one. Works Progress Administration (WPA) actually built three runways there for her to use. Took quite a bit of searching the Online National Archives, but I finally found a schematic of the WPA Howland Airport layout including Itascatown, named after the Coast Guard Cutter that ferried workers and was on station providing navigation signals for her to follow.

 

So, how do I do this, if at all, without causing a fuss?

 

Randy

Randy Tyndall - KBOI

ZLA I-11/vACC Portugal P4

“A ship is always safe in the harbor. But that’s not why they build ships” --Michael Bevington ID 814931, Former VATSIM Board of Governors Vice President of Pilot Training

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I honestly don't know who this question is addressed to and I suspect you are going to get all the usual suspects dropping in to tell you why you can or cannot do this. So I'm just going to wait for this post to attract every ready room lawyer in VATSIM like a bee to honey and see what happens

 

For what it's worth, I am of the opinion, which means very little I realize, that you can fly wherever and whenever you want using any aircraft you choose. The fact that you may be following the flight path of a 70 odd year old flight shouldn't really matter to anyone. I have, for example, been flying my DHC-5 around the South Pacific lately and I don't think anyone cares that my flights include stops at fields that haven't been used since WWII, visiting places like Ford Field or Midway or the Solomon Islands and the like.

 

I don't see how what you have planned could concern anyone but you.

__________

Ira Robinson

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Here's my question: Which Amelia Earhart's flight are you going to recreate?

 

I ask this, because there are two Amelia Earharts, and the second one (Amelia Rose Earhart) completed the first one's (Amelia Mary Earhart) flight, with not only a very emotional circling around Howland Island (Amelia Mary's last known location), but awarded 10 young women $7,500 flight training scholarships.

 

BL.

Brad Littlejohn

ZLA Senior Controller

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Here's my question: Which Amelia Earhart's flight are you going to recreate?

 

BL.

Title says all...

EDIT: Oh right, I didn't even know that. Im [Mod - Happy Thoughts]uming Amelia Mary Earhart as she is the one that is most well known as an avation pioneer.

Andrew Ogden | I3
Gander Oceanic OCA Chief
VATSIM Web Developer

Visit us: https://ganderoceanic.com
Contact: [email protected] 

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Here's my question: Which Amelia Earhart's flight are you going to recreate?

 

BL.

Title says all...

 

Just edited my post. Amelia Rose Earhart completed Amelia Mary Earhart's last flight. More info on it here:

 

http://www.flywithamelia.org/flight-around-the-world/

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/theprotojournalist/2014/06/02/317332798/amelia-earhart-has-a-flight-plan

 

EDIT: FlightAware has her flightplan archived.. let me see if I can find it.

 

BL.

Brad Littlejohn

ZLA Senior Controller

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Here you go! Amelia Rose Earhart's flight around the world (destinations only, per the now archived ameliaearhartproject.com)

 

KOAK - KDEN

KDEN - KMIA

KMIA - TTPP

TTPP - SBSG

SBSG - GOOY

GOOY - FPST

FPST - HTKJ

HTKJ - FSIA

FSIA - VRMM

VRMM - WSSS

WSSS - YPDN

YPDN - AYNZ

AYNZ - NGTA

NGTA - PLCH (includes 3 circles around Howland Island)

PLCH - PHNL

PHNL - KOAK

 

All of this was done in a Pilatus PC-12.

 

BL.

Brad Littlejohn

ZLA Senior Controller

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to all...just so there's no confusion...

 

I'm referring to the 1937 Amelia Earhart/Fred Noonan flight in the Lockheed Electra 10E that never showed up at WPA Howland Airport.

 

As for whom this is addressed to, I guess ultimately Kyle Ramsey or anyone who can potentially tell me to "call it quits because the flight is not allowed"?

 

It's no big deal if I can't/shouldn't do this, I just don't want to get somewhere in the middle of the African Continent and be told to "knock it off". That would be deflating.

 

Nor do I want to set a precedence by getting an affirmative nod and open up a can of worms for the VATSIM powers with a sudden influx of "if he can do this, then why can't I do that?' type questions. If anyone suspects that will happen I just won't do it...I'll go via Greenland.

 

Randy

Randy Tyndall - KBOI

ZLA I-11/vACC Portugal P4

“A ship is always safe in the harbor. But that’s not why they build ships” --Michael Bevington ID 814931, Former VATSIM Board of Governors Vice President of Pilot Training

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Just go do it. You're not intending to disappear off Howland Island and never return, right?

 

The issue with the 9/11 callsigns, MAS370, MAS17, etc. etc. etc. is that people in INCREDIBLY poor taste were re-enacting the exact events of those fated flights. Your flying this as a tribute out of respect for Amelia Earhart's undertaking is hardly in the same vein.

Dhruv Kalra

VATUSA ZMP ATM | Instructor | VATSIM Network Supervisor

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Thank's Druv, I think I will and just keep it low key while enroute.

 

I am rather proud of the field I created at Howland Island, though. Probably won't be able to resist a screenie or two. Took me forever sifting through the online National Archives' WPA entries to find the map of the island that showed the field layout.

 

Thanks again.

 

Randy

Randy Tyndall - KBOI

ZLA I-11/vACC Portugal P4

“A ship is always safe in the harbor. But that’s not why they build ships” --Michael Bevington ID 814931, Former VATSIM Board of Governors Vice President of Pilot Training

1087023

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Thank's Druv, I think I will and just keep it low key while enroute.

 

I am rather proud of the field I created at Howland Island, though. Probably won't be able to resist a screenie or two. Took me forever sifting through the online National Archives' WPA entries to find the map of the island that showed the field layout.

 

Thanks again.

 

Randy

 

I also believe you shouldn't have a problem.

 

In fact, I would even go as far to say that such recreations, even here on VATSIM, have helped to further pinpoint where Amelia Mary went down, for any research and efforts to locate the aircraft and their last known whereabouts.

 

In this case, by announcing what you are planning to do, even as a tribute, is pretty much a version of "asking permission versus begging forgiveness". Now that the SUPs/Directors here know, they can make an informed decision instead of going off the cuff.

 

BL.

Brad Littlejohn

ZLA Senior Controller

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Earlier this month I decided to complete a round the world trip in a vintage propliner. Hadn't really thought which one, but was toying with taking SimOuthouse's new version 3 C47 Beta.

 

Did some preliminary planning and discovered quickly that range may be a problem. At that point I recalled Amelia Earhart's fateful last trip and started looking at her route both flown and as planned if she had made it to Howland Island safely. Even with that route there are still some legs that are "iffy"; most notably Natal to Senegal, Lae to Howland...obviously, Howland to Honolulu, and Honolulu to Oakland.

 

My question here, though, is I'm wondering if this flight would be disallowed as a recreation of a flight that ended in the [Mod - Happy Thoughts]umed death of both Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan? I would not be using the Lockheed 10E's authentic tail number as a callsign, but I am seriously considering purchasing Just Flight's Lockheed 10A for the trip.

 

Even though Caripito, Venezuela and Howland Island airports (two stops on her flight plan) do not exist in FSX I have used Airport Design Editor to recreate both of them. Yes, Howland Island is there, just no airport to land on until I made one. Works Progress Administration (WPA) actually built three runways there for her to use. Took quite a bit of searching the Online National Archives, but I finally found a schematic of the WPA Howland Airport layout including Itascatown, named after the Coast Guard Cutter that ferried workers and was on station providing navigation signals for her to follow.

 

So, how do I do this, if at all, without causing a fuss?

 

Randy

 

Are you going to use d'ed reckoning or the GPS?

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Thanks Brad, much appreciated.

 

James,

 

For the over water segments I plan on using the Bubble Sextant available through AVSIM. Believe it or not, it does work in both FS2004 and FSX. I have used it to successfully navigate across the North Atlantic from Gander to Greenland and on to Iceland before. it got me close enough to pick up land based VORs and NDBs. I also flew a night flight with it from Denver to Twin Falls, Idaho shooting stars and arrived within 10 miles of KTWF using only it, no VORs or NDBs that time.

 

Basically, it [Mod - Happy Thoughts]umes that the star (or sun during the day) you position in the viewfinder is correctly positioned in the sim. There is a Celestial Navigation website that gives the key azimuths, declinations, etc of the primary navigation usage stars based on a 24-hour Zulu clock and an [Mod - Happy Thoughts]umed longitude and latitude. For instance, right now, over Howland Island at 0400Z on August 19th, 2016 the sun will be visible at a declination of 12 degrees 38.7 minutes and a zenith of 238.8 degrees. You set those figures on the dials, point the sextant at the sun and take your shot. It gives you the sun's actual declination and zenith based on your actual position and fills in your actual coordinates. Now you know where you are, where you were supposed to be, and how to adjust your course to get where you want to take your next shot in one hour by plotting the data on the graph paper. it's actually pretty cool and fills in all that "yawn" time while enroute at cruise altitude. You are constantly checking your next shoot, getting the data from the Celestial website, setting up the sextant and taking the shot.

 

No GPS required. You take hourly shootings and chart your progress on a flightplan printed on 1/4x1/4 grid graph paper. I will use VORs and NDBs over land when available, a dead reckoning course when they are not until one comes in range, but no GPS or FMC. Didn't exist in 1937 so they won't exist "now".

 

In 1937 the USS Coast Guard Cutter Itasca was positioned off Howland Island and providing a directional beacon for Amelia Earhart to home in on. When I created the WPA Howland Airport in FSX using ADE9X I also positioned an new NDB I called "USS ITASCA", code ITA, with a frequency of 365.0 offshore along with a ship library object to represent the Itasca. The range is set at 100nm and hopefully I will get close enough with the sextant to pick up the signal. if not...well, let's just hope history does not repeat itself virtually.

 

This is gonna be fun.

 

Randy

Randy Tyndall - KBOI

ZLA I-11/vACC Portugal P4

“A ship is always safe in the harbor. But that’s not why they build ships” --Michael Bevington ID 814931, Former VATSIM Board of Governors Vice President of Pilot Training

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Thanks Ross, it's definitely gonna be an adventure.

 

And a big thanks to you Kyle for finding the words to put the flight in the proper perspective.

 

Taking "Fate is the Hunter" by Ernest K Gann along on the trip for reading material enroute. Bought the Just Flight Lockheed Electra L10A last night for the trip and already modified the aircraft config to remove all but the pilot, copilot, and bags weights. Edited the fuel load, weight, and position to put extra fuel in the cabin, just like the real L10E had been modified. Heading for Oakland today from Boise to position for my start.

 

Off we go!

 

Randy

Randy Tyndall - KBOI

ZLA I-11/vACC Portugal P4

“A ship is always safe in the harbor. But that’s not why they build ships” --Michael Bevington ID 814931, Former VATSIM Board of Governors Vice President of Pilot Training

1087023

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Well,

 

I'm on my way. Did Oakland to Burbank yesterday and Burbank to Tucson today. ATC on line both times for portions of the flight. Awesome. I bought the Just Flight L10A and modified the config to allow for 1151 gallons of fuel, just like the L10E NR16020 that Ms. Earhart flew.

 

Kinda disappointed a bit with the JF L10A, but only a bit. It doesn't come with a GPS, which is fantastic, but it also will not let me modify the panel config to allow for the sextant. Don't know how I'm going to do the over water legs if I can't get the sextant to work...

 

Randy

Randy Tyndall - KBOI

ZLA I-11/vACC Portugal P4

“A ship is always safe in the harbor. But that’s not why they build ships” --Michael Bevington ID 814931, Former VATSIM Board of Governors Vice President of Pilot Training

1087023

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Thanks Brad, much appreciated.

 

James,

 

For the over water segments I plan on using the Bubble Sextant available through AVSIM. Believe it or not, it does work in both FS2004 and FSX. I have used it to successfully navigate across the North Atlantic from Gander to Greenland and on to Iceland before. it got me close enough to pick up land based VORs and NDBs. I also flew a night flight with it from Denver to Twin Falls, Idaho shooting stars and arrived within 10 miles of KTWF using only it, no VORs or NDBs that time.

 

Basically, it [Mod - Happy Thoughts]umes that the star (or sun during the day) you position in the viewfinder is correctly positioned in the sim. There is a Celestial Navigation website that gives the key azimuths, declinations, etc of the primary navigation usage stars based on a 24-hour Zulu clock and an [Mod - Happy Thoughts]umed longitude and latitude. For instance, right now, over Howland Island at 0400Z on August 19th, 2016 the sun will be visible at a declination of 12 degrees 38.7 minutes and a zenith of 238.8 degrees. You set those figures on the dials, point the sextant at the sun and take your shot. It gives you the sun's actual declination and zenith based on your actual position and fills in your actual coordinates. Now you know where you are, where you were supposed to be, and how to adjust your course to get where you want to take your next shot in one hour by plotting the data on the graph paper. it's actually pretty cool and fills in all that "yawn" time while enroute at cruise altitude. You are constantly checking your next shoot, getting the data from the Celestial website, setting up the sextant and taking the shot.

 

No GPS required. You take hourly shootings and chart your progress on a flightplan printed on 1/4x1/4 grid graph paper. I will use VORs and NDBs over land when available, a dead reckoning course when they are not until one comes in range, but no GPS or FMC. Didn't exist in 1937 so they won't exist "now".

 

In 1937 the USS Coast Guard Cutter Itasca was positioned off Howland Island and providing a directional beacon for Amelia Earhart to home in on. When I created the WPA Howland Airport in FSX using ADE9X I also positioned an new NDB I called "USS ITASCA", code ITA, with a frequency of 365.0 offshore along with a ship library object to represent the Itasca. The range is set at 100nm and hopefully I will get close enough with the sextant to pick up the signal. if not...well, let's just hope history does not repeat itself virtually.

 

This is gonna be fun.

 

Randy

 

Yes very cool. You will be doing it as close to real as possible. Good luck with the flight.

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Why can't you modify the panel? What happens when you try?

 

I can't modify the panel because I'm an idiot, Ross

 

I actually got it modified after I made the above post. I forgot a very important part of the panel.cfg file...namely the [window titles] entry at the very beginning that tells the sim what "instruments" to look for. It's all good now, got my sextant. Gonna try the leg to New Orleans either tonight or tomorrow to dry run the sextant when I have VOR/NDB backups to use.

 

Heather Sherman built an L-10 for a recreation of this flight over at FSE

 

Kyle,

 

I found an FS2004 version of FS-Berlin's L10E that is actually very good. Has the sextant, a drift meter, and an E6B Flight Computer right in the gauge package as well as the original texture for NR16020. It's already modified for the 1151 gallon capacity and the FDE "tweaked". Even has a Cambridge Engine Analyzer gauge to help with fuel flow and performance of the mixture/prop settings. Credit for that one in part is going to Dave Bitzer who was one of the developers of the Flight Sim Bubble Sextant and did NR16020 research at the Smithsonian concerning the aircraft from docomeents maintained there.

 

Not sure what you mean by FSE? FS Economy? Found two L10A repaints by her at AVSIM for the FS-Berlin version (FS2004), but no panels. Perhaps she contributed to the one being credited to Dave Bitzer.

 

I think between the JF for FSX and the FS-Berlin one for FS2004 I got this covered now. I'm getting excited and really looking forward to Natal to Dakar to test my mettle...and my metal!

 

Randy

Randy Tyndall - KBOI

ZLA I-11/vACC Portugal P4

“A ship is always safe in the harbor. But that’s not why they build ships” --Michael Bevington ID 814931, Former VATSIM Board of Governors Vice President of Pilot Training

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Just a quick update...

 

Finished KOAK-KBUR-KTUS-KMSY-KMIA. I did the last two offline to practice with the Sextant and make sure I was going to still be able to navigate with it. Got my route planned for KMIA to TJSJ and then off U.S. soil and beyond.

 

Sextant is working great. I've been using it in conjunction with VORs/NDBs as a verification tool and I've been able to get within 10 miles of my waypoint fixes. Version 6 of the Bitzer/Beaumont Bubble Sextant actually displays a cloud in the sextant eyepiece and prevents a "shot" if you don't climb above any clouds, which is about as realistic as I think they can get with a flight sim sextant.

 

Been a fun ride so far, but I've been flying to very familiar airfields. After San Juan it's gonna get really fun. I've been wanting to "old school" out of Natal for a long time, just never got around to it. Now I get to...

 

Randy

Randy Tyndall - KBOI

ZLA I-11/vACC Portugal P4

“A ship is always safe in the harbor. But that’s not why they build ships” --Michael Bevington ID 814931, Former VATSIM Board of Governors Vice President of Pilot Training

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Another update...just finished flying from San Juan, PR to Caripito, Venezuela. That's one of the two airports I had to create using Airport Design Editor from Scruffyduck. Howland Island being the other one.

 

I now have 25 hours in the Lockheed Electra L10 and 4,335 nm under the wings. All at 161 KIAS (give or take depending on the winds) and no higher, so far, than 11,500' MSL. Flew this last leg online using the sextant for over the gulf until I could pick up the Margarita VOR, then flew visual from there. Flightplan called for TJSJ to CAR (the identifier I gave the "new" old Caripito Airport) and VATSPY thought I was going to Caribou, Maine in the US. I looked in FSX to see if any other default airports went by "CAR" and none showed up. Forgot about checking VATSPY.

 

Anyway, next leg to Paramaribo, a nice little 616 mile jaunt down the coast.

 

Randy

Randy Tyndall - KBOI

ZLA I-11/vACC Portugal P4

“A ship is always safe in the harbor. But that’s not why they build ships” --Michael Bevington ID 814931, Former VATSIM Board of Governors Vice President of Pilot Training

1087023

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Back in the VATSIM saddle again after several days of spotty internet connection for which Zito Media...ugh...had no explanation. 14 modem resets in one hour is a little extreme, don't ya think. New modem and more importantly new "black box" on the telephone pole behind the house and I'm airborne.

 

Made it from Paramaribo to Fortaleza offline and flew SBFZ to SBNT this morning online with nary a hiccup or glitch. All is good and preparing for the long over water to Dakar soon. Getting good fuel consumption with the Cambridge Gauge installed in the Electra and found a transcript of a 1937 telegram from the Chief Pilot at Lockheed to Amelia Earhart giving her the suggested Cambridge Gauge setting, Prop RPM, and altitudes to fly to achieve maximum range. I now have 30+ hours in the Lockheed Electra and 6,398 miles behind me according to Skyvector with 18,277 miles to go.

 

Hope the press is waiting when I land at Oakland...

 

Randy

Randy Tyndall - KBOI

ZLA I-11/vACC Portugal P4

“A ship is always safe in the harbor. But that’s not why they build ships” --Michael Bevington ID 814931, Former VATSIM Board of Governors Vice President of Pilot Training

1087023

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Made it across the Atlantic in one piece.

 

Pretty uneventful, but some moments...Here is a shot of the Cambridge Gauge in action. Kelly Johnson, Lockheed's Chief Pilot in 1937, made several out and back trips with Amelia at the controls of the Electra teaching her how to use the gauge. It gives the best fuel consumption for a given phase of each leg using prop rpm, mixture, and MAP settings. His final recommendation to her given in a set of three telegrams shortly before the flight commenced in Oakland was first, climb to 8,000 feet at a Cambridge setting of 7.8, rpms 2050, and MAP of 28.5". At 8,000' reduce Cambridge to 7.3, rpms to 1900, and MAP to 28" and fly with those settings for three hours. Then 7.2, 1800, and 26.5" for three hours. Then 7.2, 1700, and 25" for three hours. At the end of that phase she was to climb to 10,000' and make a final setting of 7.2, 1600 rpm, and MAP of 24" and remain there for the remainder of the flight.

 

eArKssj.jpg

 

This is what the sextant looks like while taking the shot for waypoint 1 at 3 degrees South, 33 degrees West. You pick three stars...or celestial bodies if moon or planets are visible...to shoot. The course star (Star 1, the blue line) is as close to 90 degrees left or right of your heading as you can find in the tables. The check star (Star 2, the green line) is ideally 45 degrees toward your true heading as you can get, and the final shot, the speed star (Star 3 and the one I'm shooting now which line will be red) is as close on your current heading as you can get. The third star, Diphda, is the bright white dot I'm trying to center in the bubble. Dave Bitzer and Mark Beaumont designed the gauge with a built in "wobble" to simulate the bouncing and jostling of the aircraft during flight, so you try to keep the star centered so it's up and down oscillations are evenly over and under the bubble.

 

lHcKf3q.jpg

 

This is the result. You can see that my real position at the time of the final shot was 2 degrees 40 minutes South and 32 degrees 55 minutes West. I was Northeast of my intended waypoint by 21 miles on a true heading of 14 degrees. You make course corrections to the next waypoint based on that position.

 

mMXt9kC.jpg

 

The coming dawn and Africa is thataway...

 

LPdnLAt.jpg

 

Hello St Louis...

 

vTBc6pZ.jpg

 

And finally, a poor photo of the sheet I used to plot my course on graph paper. Dotted line is true course, solid black is intended course to waypoints, and red line is actual course based on star shots and plots. I used a mathematical protractor to compute course to next fix. You can see I overflew and was way east of waypoint two because I had a tailwind from the Northwest that blew me faster and south. I overcompensated and the winds changed heading to waypoint three, but was almost dead on by WP6. I was just getting reading to shoot the stars for waypoint seven when I started receiving the VOR at Dakar so I just homed in on that, overflew GOOY and headed up the coast to St Louis VFR.

 

nsYR1hu.jpg

 

Well, that's it for now. On to Dakar, a short 100 mile jaunt, and then Eastward.

 

10 legs down and 7,939 miles behind me.

 

Enjoy

 

Randy

Edited by Guest

Randy Tyndall - KBOI

ZLA I-11/vACC Portugal P4

“A ship is always safe in the harbor. But that’s not why they build ships” --Michael Bevington ID 814931, Former VATSIM Board of Governors Vice President of Pilot Training

1087023

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