Highlights From the Forum
November 26 through December 2, 2000
(click on the number to go directly to that message)
|The ’chutes in Darwin||Don Neumann|
|Benevolent Dictators||Alan Caldwell|
|Benevolent Dictators||Skeet Gifford|
|No key aboard the airplane?||Andrew McKenna|
|Betty’s notebook v. recollections||Ron Bright|
|Re: No key aboard the airplane?||Dan Postellon|
|Re: No key aboard the airplane?||Mike Everette|
|Re: No key aboard the airplane?||Chris Kennedy|
|Collapsed Huts, Not||Kenton Spading|
|Sources of Shoes||Kenton Spading|
|Re: Sources of Shoes||Denise|
|Re: Moccassins v. Oxfords||Jon Watson|
|Re: Sources of Shoes||Ross Devitt|
|Spinners and Shoes||Jon Watson|
|Re: Sources of Shoes||Ross Devitt|
>1. As noted in
earlier postings, contrary to what was published in
In Last Flight in the chapter titled "Down Under" AE states: "At Darwin, by the way, we left the parachutes we had carried that far, to be shipped home. A parachute would not help over the Pacific."
Are we saying that AE never made such statement, didn’t know what she was talking about, lied about it or that GPP was taking more than his usually liberal, editorial license as the publisher?
Unfortunately I don’t recall the Forum discussion of this topic, so rather than regurgitate something that has been beaten to death on a previous occasion, perhaps you might recall the month it was discussed so I could refer to the archives for the facts supporting the contention that the parachutes were picked-up at Darwin, contrary to AE’s statement that they were dropped-off?
Still seems (to me at least) strange that two people, who’d never parachuted from an in-flight aircraft before, would elect to make their first such jump in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, leaving on board whatever survival gear (if any) they might need to survive on the open sea. (Certainly FN was acquainted with what necessary gear was required for survival on the open sea, having himself (reportedly) survived several sinking ships during WWI.)
Additionally, I seem to recall that most flyers in the Pacific Theatre during WWII, given those two choices usually elected to ditch their aircraft in the water, as long as their planes were not so badly damaged as to preclude any reasonable chance of survival in taking such action.
It’s faster to regurgitate the source than to dig it out of the forum archives. The June 28, 1937 issue of the Sydney Times (?) newspaper carried a story under the headline "Mrs. Putnam Arrives. Enthusiastic Welcome At Darwin." The account of the arrival is quite detailed and includes the following paragraphs:
One of her first actions was to ask the Civil Aviation Officer (Mr. Alan Collins) whether two ’Irvin caterpillar ’chutes’ had arrived from America. Fully tested and ready for immediate use, the parachutes were sitting in Mr. Collins’ office.I don’t know how the story got turned around by the time it was published in Last Flight, but there seems to be little doubt that the book got it backward. A clue to the logic behind the decision might be found in Linda Finch’s observation that the nose section of the Model 10 is constructed of very light gauge aluminum (mostly .025 inch) and might be expected to crumple during a ditching, trapping the occupants.
Tom King wrote:
> but I tend to
think that the benevolent dictator model is best applied when
Of course you are right, Tom, but I prefer my own way in most situations, not just war or flying. That is particularly true when it is MY ballgame and MY livelihood resting on the decision making. In my law practice I routinely ask for advice from my peers but then make my own decision. There is no vote.
I signed on to this forum with the understanding there was one leader, that I was welcome to input all I wanted and I could disagree all I wanted but in the end the decisions would be made by that one person and not by majority vote. I’m happy with that concept in this organization. If I was a partner, making my living here, I would feel differently.
I agree with the general procedure this forum is following. I think it is reasonably logical and scientific. I have trouble occasionally with the group going off on what I consider senseless rabbit trails and I sometimes say so. However I recognize if all those trails were disallowed many would become bored. They give us something to do and something to fuss at each other about, keeping our little fingers busy.
What would everyone do if they couldn’t worry about whether an old time radio was a Zenith or a Victor or how much it cost in 1937? Or whether huts were falling down or still standing, or whether it was overcast on July 2, 1937 or what the tide was at Gardner that day? Whether a coop sold expensive shoes to poor native workers or not? Or what Janet has to say today? Some of this is important and some is idle and useless chat. Busy work. I’m glad someone else decides what is useful and what is not. I’m glad it is not by vote. I don’t WANT to decide. I just want to contribute where I think I can be of help and piss and moan when I disagree.
Rule by committee is certainly "fair" to all members but a classmate reminded me once that we don’t erect monuments to committees.
Sorry Tom. As a product of BOTH the military and the airline, I must side with Col. Gillespie.
I submit that certain endeavors are not optimum to the team/matrix concept of leadership. The military and airlines have already been offered as examples, and I have personally experienced these from both ends of the command playing field. Life and death decisions must sometimes be made without delay. If the mission/flight ends in disaster, one person is responsible. In the case of TIGHAR expeditions, there is one other factor. Assuming all participants survive the event, one person, and one person only, stands to lose everything. The rest of us just walk (or swim) away and rejoin our lives already in progress.
As you suggest, the team approach would work very well when there is time to deliberate each issue, and when the penalty for a wrong or untimely decision is not irreversible. The design of next year’s automobile is probably a team decision. Closer to home, the trek to Loon Lake was accomplished as a team (Ric, Tim Smith and the other regulars). But there is a big difference between Loon Lake and Niku. No sharks in Loon Lake.
In the airline biz, Cockpit Resource Management (CRM) training addresses disputes within the cockpit and provides appropriate resolution, while preserving the integrity of command responsibility.
Suppose you are stranded for several days, and after numerous attempts to send voice messages without success, and with your batteries at the point where you can’t recharge them (we’re finally out of gas), you find yourself thinking about alternatives. How do we make the most of what is left in the batteries?
Fred, the old mariner, starts thinking about it. He knows that sending morse takes less power than voice, and since they have had no response to their voice messages anyway, he might as well try to find a way to send morse. He gets out his swiss army knife and dissects the mic and fashions a rudimentary Morse key out of the components. Then he sends a last ditch message in morse as the batteries drain out for the last time.
Would explain the use of morse late in the game (July 8th) only after all else failed.
OK radio guys, how difficult would it be to make a key from scratch components? Please confirm that morse takes less power than voice (which is why it is still used to identify radio aids to navigation, VORs NDBs etc.)
LTM who knows necessity
is the mother of invention
Perhaps TIGHAR has not yet had time, but TIGHAR was going to clarify with Betty whether she heard "Earhart" verbally use the terms "South", which Betty may have abbreviated to "S", and heard the words "minutes" and "degrees" in the entry S 3°9′ 165° E (adding the appropriate symbols). That might explain why she wrote it in the latitude/longitude format. Compare this with her first entry of "South 391065 E or Z" that was written without any minutes, degrees and not in a lat/long format, just simply 6 letters in a row with no indication it was a coordinate.
Did Betty recall retuning her short wave station/frequency during the 1 ¾ hours of intermittent transmission because of static, fading, sound level? (I know I am always fiddling with the band on my s/w receiver during a broadcast). Goerner may have been right when he thought this could be some amalgamation of short wave broadcasts in and around that frequency that were mistakenly written as one continuous voice reception.
I asked Betty those questions and she really can’t remember. Throughout our association with Betty I’ve been impressed by her willingness to say that she just doesn’t remember when, in fact, that is the case. It makes the things she says she does remember that much more credible. Ultimately, of course, the document has to stand on its own.
Andrew McKenna wrote:
>OK radio guys,
how difficult would it be to make a key from scratch
A key is basically just an interruptible switch. Boy scouts used to make keys out of old tin cans, all you need is a springy strip of metal and a few screws. Morse can be understood better than voice, particularly if there is a lot of interference. I would expect the same amount of noise from a code or voice transmission at the same power level, but the code would be understandable for a greater distance.
Andrew McKenna wrote:
>OK radio guys,
how difficult would it be to make a key from scratch
It would take more than just a telegraph key to make the radio work in CW mode, as it was modified... there was a changeover switch involved to go from "phone" to "cw". This required a plug to go into the transmitter. If they did not have one, it’d be impossible-to-very-difficult to fabricate one in the field... especially without a wiring diagram (and the skill to read that diagram) and a soldering iron.
Don’t even think about a battery powered soldering iron... those things would kill a battery as fast (almost) as the transmitter. And I am not sure I have ever seen reference to a 12-volt powered iron from the 30s.
If one wanted to send Morse the easiest way would be just use the mic button without tearing the mic apart (which would, in my humble opinion, be kind of a dumb thing to do).
Assuming the mic was broken, or deemed to be, the quick-and-dirty way to send Morse is just to touch two wires together, if you can ID the right two wires (in this case, push-to-talk and ground).
However the radio was not at all intended to be Keyed on CW, in voice mode. And sending Morse this way, with this radio, would actually consume MORE power, because of the constant start-restart, and surge currents associated with this, of the dynamotor power supply (an ampere-piranha).
And by the way, VORs and NDBs don’t use true CW emission. They are tone-modulated with Morse telegraph characters. It is true that tone modulated Morse is still easier to read, on a weak signal, than a voice identifier.
AE’s radio had no tone-modulated telegraph emission capability.
LTM (who is not
a mechanical ignoramus)
Please clear up some confusion---I am under the impression that both Earhart and Noonan had a problem with Morse. Was it that they didn’t know it altogether, or else could only transmit it or receive/interpret it very slowly given the state of their familiarity with it?
Our most contemporaneous description of Earhart’s and Noonan’s ability to send and receive morse (or lack thereof) is in the Chater Report. It says, in part:
On enquiry Miss Earhart and Captain Noonan advised that they entirely depended on radio telephone reception as neither of them were able to read morse at any speed but could recognise an individual letter sent several times. This point was again mentioned by both of them later when two different sets at Lae were used for listening in for time signals.
Thank you for pointing out that indeed there is a high probability that Arundel’s Huts were still standing on Niku in 1929 and as such were likely recognizable in 1937. I interpreted the message from J. Thomas the same way you did.
As long as you resurrected the subject I will respond to some questions asked by yourself, Dave Porter and others subsequent to my detailed posting related to Lambrecht’s "Signs of Recent Habitation" report.
I remind the Forum that the HMS Leith visited Gardner/Niku on February 15, 1937 to erect a flagpole and placard proclaiming the island to be the property of His Majesty the King. Something related to this "recent" visit to Niku is certainly a candidate what Lambrecht observed.
I’ll concede that huts in a "state of collapse" might not be entirely "collapsed" and may even have been recognizable as such in 1937. I’ll also concede that HMS Leith’s flagpole with placard may still have been standing, although none of the poles and placards Leith installed on the other islands of the Phoenix Group were reported by Lambrecht, nor did Maude and Bevington mention a flagpole on Gardner when they visited the island in October.
> ....he [Spading]
wants you to look into the subject in more depth to
Thank you for your insights. In a number of postings (including the one above) you have made a big issue of the fact that the British would not be caught dead wearing American shoes or that American shoes would not be available in the Pacific. One of the key words in your argument being "American". However, the shoes have not been identified as being "American". We do not know what country the shoes, that TIGHAR found in 1991, came from.
We do know the country where the replacement heel came from. But we do not know the country of origin of the original heel or for that matter the shoe itself.
Regarding Burns-Philp: We know the vendor that supplied the store (On Chong). Burns-Philp was considered but they lost out. The basic history of the store is well documented.
Please note the spelling of my name....Spading (no L).
OK, I have conceded on the shoe --- but only on the proviso that there was an American priest based in the immediate vicinity of Nikumaroro during the 30 years in question (this could be easily checked. I have the e-ddress of the Columbian Fathers’ Pacific Head Office in Suva if you’d like to take it further) ... but I am not giving you an inch on a replacement heel.
Quite apart from the fact that such a thing couldn’t have come in on any of the normal trade routes, having them in the store would be as ridiculous as, say, bringing in tape cleaning heads to sell to people who have barely heard of a VCR.
And this is entirely the point. Shoes are barely a priority in the islands today, and when Amelia touched down in the Pacific they were so NOT a priority they had barely stopped being considered a food group. I’m not kidding about that. In 1937, it was only about forty years since the Monasavu Villagers ate Reverend Baker’s boots --- with Reverend Baker still inside them. (The subsequent ridicule teaching the islanders that there was more shame in eating shoes than there was in eating missionaries.)
Shoes were so hardly understood in fact --- and no Pacific Islander will thank me for telling you this since it is a source of embarrassment to them these days --- ours is the first generation who didn’t think you wore shoes for the SOUND. That’s correct. They honestly believed Europeans wore shoes for the sound they made when they hit the ground; that a shoe was actually a sort of strange, exotic, rather needless and slightly foolish musical instrument!
And thus they didn’t want to wear them unless they had to --- a visit to the city, say, or to go to church --- and when they had to they found them so hot, sweaty and so desperately uncomfortable (their feet were so broad they couldn’t fit them properly) they invented their own type; the Policeman’s Sandal - and they wore those instead. (This type of footwear is --- along with flipflops for less formal occasions --- still the predominant shoe in the islands today.)
So think about it! Why, then, would a store run by Pacific Islanders have a replacement heel -- even a non-American replacement heel --- in stock? Surely, if shoes had so very little meaning, a replacement part would have none at all. And, besides, since they hardly ever wore shoes, they’d hardly need to get them re-soled. Furthermore, if anything ever wore out, they’d replace it or fix it with something at hand, not bring something in. They were and still are great improvisers.
So, that is my point. Nothing has changed. As it was with shoes, excluding the possibility of the replacement heel coming in on a shoe worn by an American, and excluding the possibility of it coming in already attached to the unestablished unwanted shoe from the unestablished crate donated to the island by Goodwill via the Columbian Father who we haven’t even established was in the Phoenix Group, it just wouldn’t have happened. It would not have been there!
Let me underline this by quoting from a dear old Irish priest who was one of the people I canvassed on the issue of American shoes AND replacement heels ending up in Our Pacific. Without giving this priest -- who has spent over sixty years all over Our Pacific, with long residences in parishes in the Gilbert and Ellis Group, and the Wallis and Futuna Group --- a context for my question, I asked him if he could think of a way an American replacement heel from a 1930s pair of woman’s moccasins could have ended up on an stretch of uninhabited beach in the Phoenix Group. He thought about it for a while and shook his head. "The only vaguely logical explanation for it," he said, "is that it came from Amelia Earhart!"
There you have it! For him it could only have been A.E. He did not even allow for the possibility of that unestablished Goodwill crate!
Have I convinced you? I do hope so. But if I haven’t, drop me a line (you have my e-ddress) and I’ll give you a way of getting in touch with the Columbian Order, and you can go off chasing it as much as you wish. No! Sorry, Mr Spading. I’ve looked it up. Since The Columbian Fathers are the source of the Pacific’s American priests, and since the Order didn’t turn up anywhere in the Pacific until 1952 --- and didn’t travel beyond Fiji anyway --- there could have been no American priest in our region of the Pacific during the thirty years in question. So let’s extract him from the equation. No priest! No Goodwill crate! No alternative explanation for the replacement heel!
For your private information, and to save space in this forum, I’m sending the history of this Irish/American Order’s dealings in the Pacific, which I’ve extracted from their website, to your personal e-ddress.
I will send you their e-ddress in Fiji if you decide to take it further.
LTM (who always
considers the sound when she buys shoes)
P.S. Total misunderstanding! ON CHONG is the name of the trader! I get it now!! The wording in your posting was so ambiguous, I thought you were talking about Burns Philps’ having dealings in Cambodia. Not so!
Well, that just strengthens my case. A Chinese trader would have brought in goods through Hong Kong. Those goods would mainly have been Chinese in origin. Thus we’re DEFINITELY talking flip flops, plimsols, and the ubiquitous black leather policeman’s sandals --- shipped up from Fiji.
I’ve been perusing the documents and photographs in the Purdue library’s on-line collection --- and in photograph number XI.A.4.c there’s an excellent side view of AE’s blucher oxfords. The style she’s wearing (according to the ads currently on the internet) is commonly referred to as a moc-toed blucher oxford, due to the stitching around the toe (similar to a moccasin) maybe that’s the source of the confusion.
Also, it is interesting to note that the heels appear to be built up slightly. There are actually three thicknesses of heel, not just two as commonly found on men’s shoes. Obviously we can’t know if this was how she bought them, or if it was done after she purchased the shoes. But if she had the heel thickness increased, that could account for the after-market or repair heel. And yes, the rubber part of the heel is very clearly black.
Also, in picture XI.A.3.a, which is taken inside the airplane looking toward the cockpit, AE’s foot is resting on a tube or bar just aft of the center console, and her shoe is clearly visible. It is very possibly the same shoe that she is wearing in 4c, except that in 3a the heel appears to be very short or worn down. I’m inclined to think she had her favorite flying shoes re-heeled before the trip. In 4c, the heel edges are very sharp and there is no apparent wear at all.
Unfortunately, while we can date 3a as being taken pretty early-on in the life of the airplane (due to the panel details, particularly the overhead panel), there does not appear to be a date or location associated with 4c. Perhaps you have more information that would help identify the chronology of 4c.
The whole issue of "tracking" AE’s shoes via datable photos is a fascinating one and we did quite a bit of that back when we were first working with the shoe parts found on the island. Now, with the Purdue photos available on line and better ability to digitally examine photos via Photoshop, we should be able to do a much more comprehensive study.
The first step (ouch!) is to begin identifying all the photos that show AE’s shoes. You’ve spotted a couple of good ones.
XI.A.3.a , as you’ve noted, is a fairly early photo. The panel is in its earliest form and the Sperry Gyropilot is either just being installed or is being worked on. The cockpit door is still installed and the forwardmost fuselage tanks are not yet in place. I’d put the date as not later than October 1936.
XI.A.4.c is trickier. That’s not her airplane. It’s a 10A (small engines) and you can see that the registration on the underside of the wing includes a "V" or possibly a "Y." This has to be one of the ships Lockheed produced for a foreign buyer. I know that there is another shot of AE with this same airplane that shows more of the registration. If we can pin down the registration we can get a delivery date and, thus, a not-later-than date for the photo. My hunch is that this photo may have been taken before her own airplane was delivered.
So far I see nothing in Denise’s posting to show that the shoe might not have come from the Norwich City.
Try this. According to the manufacturer, the heel was produced in a mold that was not used until the mid-1930s. Norwich City went aground in 1929.
I suspect you’re right about the performance testing --- but it looks funny, since we’re used to seeing it (the airplane) without them (the spinners).
I went back and snooped around in the Purdue files and found several photos with the spinners (XI.A.2.c, XI.A.2.d, and XI.A.2.g). The last two show that the Bendix loop is installed, the dorsal antenna is further back than the final configuration, and there are two ventral antennae. Also the dents in the left side of the nose are clearly visible. Any idea how it got those? I’ve seen them in several photos.
I found some more shoe pictures as well, including XI.A.3.c, and XI.A.4.d (which is at the tail, and seems to show the port for the trailing antenna). There are also a couple that show AE in saddle shoes (XI.A.3.e and XI.A.4.a). The heels on the saddle shoes are white and a different style, but they might help you decipher her shoe size.
(The index of Earhart images on the Purdue website is at Earhart Photos.)
>...the Bendix loop
is installed, the dorsal antenna is further back than
Yes. That’s the configuration of the airplane at the time of the first WF attempt in March 1937.
>Also the dents
in the left side of the nose are clearly visible. Any idea
There are no dents in the nose. What you’re seeing is the reflection of the engine cowlings. Don’t feel bad. It’s an optical illusion that has fooled a lot of people.
>I found some more shoe pictures as well, including XI.A.3.c,
That’s the shot taken in Java that we use to determine the size of the shoes.
>and XI.A.4.d (which
is at the tail, and seems to show the port for the
That’s the Miami shot we talked about recently where they seem to be swinging the compass. What you’re seeing just above AE’s head is the hole where the original trailing wire used to be. If the trailing wire were still there you’d see a tapered white cylinder about six inches long protruding from that hole. That installation was removed prior to the first attempt and replaced with a unit mounted on a mast that stuck down out of the belly. That rig was subsequently wiped out in the Luke Field wreck. By the time this picture was taken, the airplane had no trailing wire at all.
>There are also
a couple that show AE in saddle shoes (XI.A.3.e and
Looks like both shots were taken the same day (AE is dressed identically). The guy with "A.E." on his coveralls in the first shot is Bo McKneeley. My guess is that both of these photos were taken in Miami.
>The heels on the
saddle shoes are white and a different style, but they
What you need to photogrammetrically measure shoe size (or the size of anything) is to have something of known dimensions in the same photo AND in the same plane (distance from the camera) as the thing you want to measure. That’s what makes the photo of AE standing on the wing ( XI.A.3.c) so good. She’s standing on rivets and we know how far apart those rivets are. It’s just like she’s standing on a ruler.
> Try this. According
to the manufacturer, the heel was produced in a mold
Great, That narrows the possibilities a lot for the TIGHAR shoe parts, but there’s no mention of a replacement heel in Gallagher’s material. There are possibilities for the TIGHAR shoe parts post dating Earhart, however the original shoe parts (in reference to which I saw no reference to a replacement heel) almost had to come from the N.C. or Earhart. The likelihood of another woman being down there lying under a Ren tree is just too far out.
I’d be interested to know how a woman’s shoe could reasonably be attributed to the Norwich City. Gallagher makes no mention of a heel at all. In his telegram to the Resident Commissioner of October 6, 1940 he says "Only part of sole remains. Appears to have been stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal."
On October 17, 1940 he tells Vaskess, "Only experienced man could state sex from available bones; my conclusion based on sole of shoe which is almost certainly a woman’s."
Apparently additional shoe parts were found during the "organized search" because later on July 1, 141, after the remains and artifacts arrive in Fiji, Dr. Steenson says of the shoe parts "that they appear to be parts of shoes worn by a male person and a female person."
What TIGHAR found at the Aukeraime site in 1991 were the fragmented sole of a shoe and a Cat’s Paw heel that went with it, a small brass shoelace eyelet, and a different, non-Cat’s Paw heel. Our find might be described in the same words Steenson used to describe what Gallagher found --- "they appear to be parts of shoes worn by a male person and a female person."
It’s hard to imagine that the shoe parts Steenson examined included a heel that read "Cat’s Paw Rubber Co. USA" and he just didn’t happen to mention it. That means that there’s probably another Cat’s Paw heel somewhere on that island. It’s nowhere close to where we found the other shoe parts - we know that much. It would be pretty interesting if it turns up at or near the 7 Site.
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