A Scottish tech company is helping in the search to find the ‘lost plane’ of early aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart.

Clarus Networks is providing satellite connectivity to help a deep-water search vessel solve one of the greatest mysteries in aviation.

Earhart disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island in 1937 as she attempted to become the first woman to complete a circumnavigational flight of the globe.

She and her navigator Fred Noonan were last seen in Lae, New Guinea, on July 2, 1937, on the last land stop before Howland Island and one of their final legs of the flight.

Now, South Carolina-based marine robotics experts Deep Sea Vision are probing the ocean floor to try and find the Lockheed Model 10-E Electra.

Clarus Networks – the Bathgate-based telecommunications firm – has been deploying Elon Musk’s Starlink technology to connect the vessel’s sophisticated search equipment in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where fast connectivity is otherwise impossible. 

They provided low Earth orbit satellite technology, Starlink Maritime, to deliver high-speed internet for the team’s search vessel. This allowed Deep Sea Vision’s 16-person crew to transmit and manage data from Miss Millie, as well as improving crew welfare on the long mission by allowing video calls back to shore. 

And following a 90-day mission at sea, Deep Sea Vision now believe they have found Earhart’s aircraft on the ocean floor, releasing the sonar imagery to the world. 

Tony Romeo, CEO of Deep Sea Vision: “Our search mission took us to one of the most remote Oceans in the world, but working with Clarus we were able to maintain superfast connectivity. This was critical to our mission, allowing us to handle the massive amounts of data sent by our marine robotics and to Facetime with my six-year-old daughter back home who also had plenty of exciting things to show me.

“We only made the sonar discovery at the tail end of our expedition, so having fast connectivity had a huge impact on keeping crew morale high and allowing us to communicate with support teams back on shore. We are partnering with Clarus for our future search missions, including our return to investigate the site further, hopefully bringing closure to the legacy of an aviation pioneer.” 

Sonar image side by side with Earhart’s Electra at scale (PRNewsfoto/Deep Sea Vision)

Chris Schonhut, director of maritime & energy, The Clarus Networks Group: “The enormity of Deep Sea Vision’s mission demonstrates the sheer power of advanced satellite connectivity, allowing the team to search the largest and deepest ocean as a world first.

“By installing low Earth orbit satellite internet on the search vessel, Clarus used Starlink Maritime to deliver superfast connectivity to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, halfway between Hawiaii and Australia, where it would have otherwise been impossible.

“This advanced satellite connectivity can handle the huge amounts of data produced by advanced marine robotics, as well as supporting the 16-person crew on their 3 month mission. We are proud to continue to support Deep Sea Vision, providing reliable and fast connectivity for their pioneering missions.” 

Starlink Maritime delivers download speeds of up to 220 mbps at sea, with upload speeds of 25 mbps and less than 99ms of latency, creating new possibilities for navigation, crew welfare, and research. To cope with conditions at sea, Starlink Maritime has specialised high-performance antennas designed to withstand extreme temperature and weather, ensuring that connectivity can be delivered even in the most remote, challenging environments.