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The LBG Google Earth Map - Map Notes and Tips

Positioned Elements

The data sources and placement of elements within the GE map are essentially identical to the considerations that were used for the LBG Crash Area Map. To view these notes see the Crash Area Map notes page here.

Embedded Information

Google Earth is designed so that any icon or position marker can host associated text information in a pop-up bubble by simply single left clicking the icon. We have embedded such text in most of the elements of the map. A good way to explore the map is by starting in the south at the Lady Be Good wreck and working your way north, as the crew did. This will follow a mostly chronological sequence of events.

Groupings and Sub-Folders

We've grouped various elements of the map into categories and sub folders so that they can be turned on or off if you wish. The "Places" window at the left side of the GE screen is where this is done. Opening the plus signs of the main file or any of the sub-folders within will reveal all of the files it contains. Checking or unchecking the box next to any of these folders or elements will toggle that element or it's group off or on.

Vehicle Tracks: Widths and Image Overlays

The Italian and British vehicle tracks were vastly different in width and character. The Italian tracks were made by only 5 vehicles traveling one way (north), who had spread out a bit so as not to eat each others dust. Judging from photos taken of these tracks, they were probably never more than fifty yards wide at maximum. The British Tracks on the other hand were made by many vehicles, on what appeared to have been repeated occasions, perhaps in both directions, and were reported to have been almost a mile wide. This was thought to be due to successive vehicles spreading out farther to the left or right each time to avoid the soft earth and dust that had disturbed the ground during previous traverses. We have used a set of image overlays to give them a bit of texture and set them at widths that reflect their reported width. The British track is therefore set at about 7/10th of a mile wide, while the Italian track is just over 50 yards wide. More information on when these tracks were believed to have been made during the war and under what circumstances may be found by clicking the arrows that identify them.

The LBG Flight Path

The crew was known to have asked for and received an "inbound" ADF reading of 330 degress from Benina tower near Benghazi at 12:12 am on the morning of April 5th as they were returning home from Mission 109. The reciprocal of this is of course 150 degrees, the heading thought to have been the one they took into the desert. If you draw a straight line Lt. Woravka's position (over which the LBG must have passed because his parachute failed to open) back to the coast, at a heading of 330 degrees, it hits the coast just east of Benina which certainly seems to verify a 150 heading assumption.

For the last few minutes of her flight, we've charted the curving starboard descent trajectory from Woravka to the crash site by carefully tracing an image overlay of the Flight Simulation Tests we conducted. If the test results are as robust as they appear to be, this can be considered a very close approximation of the flight path the Lady took on her way to to the ground.

The Azimuth Circle

At the very bottom of the left hand file tree for the main LBG Map file you'll find an unchecked file entitled "Azimuth Circle". Checking the box will bring up the image overlay of the azimuth circle itself. It is centered (for no particular reason) on Lt. Woravka's coordinates. This is the tool we used to lay out the headings and directions of many of the map's elements. As you can see, its nearly readable to a tenth of a degree. We left it in the main file because it's a handy tool for those who may have more than a passing interest in the LBG saga, who may want to reference or measure a heading or azimuth value. It can be manipulated by right clicking the file and choosing "Properties". You can move it by grabbing the cross hairs of the green boundary box while holding down the left mouse. You can resize it by holding down the "Shift" button and grabbing any corner of the green box. Be careful though, for if you do not hold down the shift button, you will alter the equal width to height ratio of the circle, rendering it inaccurate unless it it "squared back again" using the GE measuring tool (see next tip). It is aligned to true north; readings will be the same of course.

Distance Measuring Tool

The GE distance measuring tool is a great way to check precise distance between any two points, or measure the combined distance of a multi-point path. Simply click the icon that looks like a blue ruler in the menu bar at the top of the GE screen. You can choose a variety of measuring units as well. This has been an indispensable tool in creating the GE Map.

Seeing The Vastness: The Lady Be Good "Life Sized" Image Overlay

For an interesting perspective try this...

You may have noticed how Google Earth keeps the size of the icons and their labels consistent regardless of the altitude you zoom to. Image overlays on the other hand, retain their size once they are set. We have used both a standard icon/label (customized to look like LBG) and an image overlay for the LBG wreck to illustrate the size of the aircraft as compared to the environment that surrounds it. The overlay is the exact size of the actual LBG as it would have appeared on the Calanscio gravel plain (110 ft wingspan x 66 ft fuselage). You have to zoom in very close however to see the LBG overlay begin to resolve as it outsize's the "auto-size" behavior of the icon/label.

Now, to get a feeling of just how enormous the Calanscio gravel plain actually is, zoom in close enough to the LBG wreck so as to sense how large a human being would be next to the wreck. Make sure and tilt the perspective a bit so as to nearly get an more oblique view towards the horizon. Now uncheck the default GE icon/label "Lady Be Good" (so in doesn't auto-resize wider than the overlay as you zoom out) and slowly zoom back. The LBG soon becomes and nearly infinitesimal dot before you even begin to see the sand sea on the far horizon. Into this enormous and inhospitable wasteland, almost completely devoid of vegetation, is where the hapless crew found themselves. Considering the Liberator's tiny size compared to the enormous emptiness surrounding it, it's no wonder it took so many years for it to be spotted.

The Lady Be Good Today

07/14/09 UPDATE: The LBG has been moved again! Sometime prior to April 28th, 2009 what remains of the Lady Be Good was removed to a "secured" location at the El Adem military Airfield 16 miles south of Tobruk. After being removed from the desert by the Libyan government in 1994, the LBG was kept in two different compounds in Tobruk (the latest from 2004-2009) and an adjacent one (from 1994-2004). During this time the LBG was relatively easy to access and view. Recently (sometime prior to April 28th, 2009) she was again moved to the location at the El Adem military airfield. This new location is reportedly not "open to the public". Photos of her Tobruk sojourn, and her slow disintegration due to years of visits by various parties, may be found in our LBG Photo Archive entitled "Tobruk Storage 1994 - 2009". As of July 11th, 2009 Google Earth's aerial photos still showed her at the Tobruk compound location.

Exactly what date she was moved to the El Adem military airfield and the details surrounding the move have not been ascertained by us as of yet. The most recent photos of her, taken at the El Adem airfield on April 28th 2009, may be viewed in the the LBG Photo Archive gallery entitled "LBG Today". These photos reveal that some parts of her remains, most notably areas of the fuselage behind the wings appear to have been further broken and damaged, as compared to relatively recent photos taken in the Tobruk compound.

Wish someone could bring you home. Till then, Rest in Peace ol' girl.