Gillam Survey
Purpose
View of wreck
Terrain to be traversed to arrive at the site. TIGHAR photo by John Clauss.

In the course of sixteen years of research into the 1937 disappearance of aviation pioneers Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan, TIGHAR has found four artifacts believed to be dados – aluminum panels that are located along the deck/fuselage interface inside commercial aircraft – on Nikumaroro Island in the Republic of Kiribati. These objects may be from Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10E, which according to TIGHAR’s hypothesis Earhart landed on Nikumaroro before expiring there.7

Unfortunately, specifications for the Lockheed Electra discovered to date do not provide details about whatever dado-like objects Earhart’s aircraft may have had, and surviving Electras have all experienced so much interior modification that they cannot be trusted to reflect original conditions. To discover whether Electras of Earhart’s day had dado-like objects similar, or perhaps identical, to those found on Nikumaroro, TIGHAR needs to examine contemporary wreck sites.

Thus far, two aircraft wreck sites have been determined as the best analogs to Earhart’s plane. One of these crashed on the St. Joe National Forest of Idaho in 1936. This site was examined by TIGHAR and USFS personnel July 9-10, 2004. It was found that the wreckage had been extensively salvaged to the point where very little of the aircraft remained and consequently no artifacts resembling dados.8 The second aircraft site is the Gillam crash of 1943. Accordingly, the core purpose of TIGHAR’s fieldwork on the Tongass National Forest of Alaska was to identify, describe and recover any dados that might be found within the NC14915 wreck site. This required that the site be located and carefully examined.


7 For details, see King et al 2004, or The Dado, Part One, and Dados Galore.
8 The NC14935 Crash Site: Evidence of a 1936 Airplane Crash Near Kellogg, Idaho (Wilmington, DE: TIGHAR, 2004), 2-13.

Introduction Purpose Background Research Fieldwork Site Description Aircraft Parts Recovered Interpretation Research Results
Eligibility for National Register Acknowledgements Bibliography Appendix 1: Site Map Appendix 2: Lockheed Electra Appendix 3: Putative Heat Shield Appendix 4: Putative Heat Shield/Lockheed 10B Appendix 5: NC-14915 & WSC-146

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