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Author Topic: Grand Rapids trip (2-2-V-1)  (Read 117367 times)

Jerry Germann

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Re: Grand Rapids trip
« Reply #105 on: February 02, 2014, 12:00:33 PM »

 

 
 
 
Earhart Project Research Bulletin #54
 8/1/2009 
A Piece of the Grail?

Abstract





A piece of bent sheet metal alleged to be a souvenir from the March 20, 1937 accident in Hawaii that ended Amelia Earhart’s first world flight attempt appears to match a specific feature on her aircraft.
 
Background

On September 19, 2008 TIGHAR received a request from the television production company that films the PBS series “History Detectives” for assistance in evaluating an artifact alleged to be a piece of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra. According to a document submitted with the artifact, it was obtained as a souvenir by a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps 50th Observation Squadron at Luke Field, Oahu on March 20, 1937 following the accident that ended Earhart’s first world flight attempt. The serviceman sent the piece of debris home to his mother who received it on April 3, 1937. She kept it “as a reminder of her admiration for Amelia Earhart.”

There is, of course, no way to be certain that the artifact came from NR16020, but photos sent by the production company showed several distinctive features. TIGHAR agreed to investigate further to determine whether the piece is consistent with its alleged origin. The artifact arrived at TIGHAR’s offices on October 20, 2008 and, for administrative purposes, was assigned TIGHAR artifact number 2-9-L-1.
 
General Description
Artifact photoArtifact 2-9-L-1 is a fragment of severely deformed sheet metal measuring nominally 5.25 inches (13.3 cm) by four inches (10.2 cm) with a thickness of .032 inch.

A.   Both edges of the long axis of the piece are fractured.

B.   One short edge features a .75 inch (1.9 cm) wide reinforcing strip of what appears to be anodized aluminum. The strip is attached to the sheet with flush rivets. Set into the reinforcing strip is the female component of a Dzus fastener – a closure device in which a slotted post (the male component) engages a wire (the female component) and, with one quarter-turn twist, draws the two components tightly together.

C.   The reinforcing strip ends with a finished corner after which the sheet features the rolled lip of what appears to have been a circular opening roughly five inches (12.7 cm) in diameter.

D.   The other short edge appears to have been cut using snips.

E.   Near the cut edge the sheet fractured through what appears to have once been a .125 inch (.3 cm) rivet.

The aluminum exhibits no sign of corrosion and appears to have been polished before, but not after, the event that resulted in its deformation. The exterior surface (based upon the orientation of the Dzus fastener) exhibits evidence of impact and abrasion.
 
Clues

Polished Electra
Earhart’s technical adviser Paul Mantz with the Electra on March 19, 1937, the day before the accident.
1.The sheet metal is consistent with 24ST (known today as 2024) Alclad, the type of aluminum used in the construction of Earhart’s Electra. Polishing Alclad to a shiny finish is a labor-intensive process and is usually done purely for show. Photographs of Earhart’s Electra prior to the accident show that the aluminum was polished.2.The metal shows no sign of weathering, suggesting that it has been in a protected, dry environment. It is unusual for aircraft wreckage to be carefully preserved. The artifact’s condition is consistent with it being kept as a treasured souvenir.
3.Dzus fasteners are usually used on aircraft to close access doors and to attach panels that need to be easily removable for maintenance. The female component of the fastener is naturally mounted to a stable surface, often a bulkhead or the reinforced frame around an access door. In this case, the female component of the fastener is mounted on sheet aluminum with no nearby line of reinforcing rivets – an unusual application.
4.The strip in which the Dzus fastener is mounted ends in a finished corner. Beyond the corner, the edge of the metal sheet is rolled to form the lip of a circular opening.
 
Comparison to C/N 1052

C/N 1052
Lockheed Electra 10A c/n1052 at the New England Air Museum, Windsor Locks, Connecticut.
AE and plane
Earhart’s Lockheed Model 10E Special, c/n1055.
Luke Field wreck
 On November 19, 2008, TIGHAR Executive Director Ric Gillespie made a direct comparison of Artifact 2-9-L-1 to Lockheed Electra 10A constructor’s number (c/n) 1052 at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Although only three serial numbers from Earhart’s c/n 1055, the airplane in Connecticut is a 10A, equipped with 450 hp Pratt & Whitney R985 Wasp Junior engines. Earhart’s Electra was a 10E equipped with 550 hp Pratt & Whitney R1340 S3H1 Wasps of slightly larger diameter.

No location on c/n 1052 matches artifact 2-9-L-1. However, there are double-sided doors on the underside of each engine nacelle that provide access to the carburetor.

Doors on 1052
Double-sided access door on underside of engine nacelle, Lockheed 10A c/n1052.
Nacelle
Artifact 2-9-L-1 overlaid on drawing of underside of
 left engine nacelle of Earhart’s Electra
 The doors are secured closed by means of Dzus fasteners. Because the female components of the fasteners are mounted on half of the door, rather than on a stable structure, they match one of the distinctive features of the artifact – a female Dzus fastener set in a piece of plain metal sheet.

Photos of the same area on Earhart’s 10E c/n 1055 reveal a similar double-sided door closed with Dzus fasteners, but of somewhat larger dimensions and with different cut-outs.

A photo of the Luke Field wreck taken during salvage operations shows extensive damage to the area in question on the underside of the left engine and may show a hinge where the door was torn off.
 
Conclusion

There appears to be a high probability that Artifact 2-9-L-1 is as represented – a souvenir piece cut from Earhart’s wrecked Lockheed Electra.


 
Archived Research Bulletins Earhart Project Home Page
 
My conclusion as to polishing was derived from documents such as this , as well as photos in the Purdue archives,... if one goes to the quick search box at the Purdue e archives Earhart collection site .... type in Electra, ( numbering will change if other entries are submitted)... the following photos seem to indicate polishing, ..some photos estimate dates as being pre Luke field incident , some final flight....Numbers 20,30,35,83,93,94,135,and 169.are examples.
In my opinion black and white photographs do not give a proper representation of an objects reflective properties. An example would be the Cord /Electra photo...the hubcaps/bumpers/windshield frame/etc., don't appear all that much brighter than the Electra's skin in the background, and they are brand new chrome. The Finch replica is what we antique auto enthusiasts would label an OVER restoration. Numerous examples exist today in the automobile field due to improvements in paints, methods of application, and burnishing procedures. (Henry Ford's Model T never looked that good new). Can other factors contribute to an objects captured appearance? Time of day the photo was taken, film/dust on the object / angle of photo as compared to object could be some. It is my belief that Earhart's plane was polished as per the method of the day...no, not as brilliantly as today's techniques would produce...what method would be required to remove the ink stamp on the panel, a simple solvent wash or??? Also during Luke field repairs was this the only panel installed in this manner , what if several were done this way, I just can't agree with the thought that Lockheed or others wouldn't be conscientious enough to pay attention to this detail ...after all  Earhart and her plane were to go before a worldwide audience?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Grand Rapids trip
« Reply #106 on: February 02, 2014, 04:11:28 PM »

It is my belief that Earhart's plane was polished as per the method of the day...no, not as brilliantly as today's techniques would produce...what method would be required to remove the ink stamp on the panel, a simple solvent wash or???

As I have tried to communicate, apparently in vain:
We don't know how the letters A and D became etched on the sheet.  There is no sign of the rest of the labeling. The letters are only discernible if you catch the light just right. In short, there is no way to tell whether the original inked labeling was buffed off or not.

Also during Luke field repairs was this the only panel installed in this manner , what if several were done this way, I just can't agree with the thought that Lockheed or others wouldn't be conscientious enough to pay attention to this detail ...after all  Earhart and her plane were to go before a worldwide audience?

No one is suggesting that Lockheed did not pay attention to this detail.
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JNev

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Re: Grand Rapids trip
« Reply #107 on: February 03, 2014, 07:13:38 AM »

....that said, can we conclude that if this panel was installed on the under belly or fuselage window opening , that this lettering would be visible looking upon the exterior of the plane?

Forget the "window opening."  The rivet pattern is all wrong.  The repaired skin was installed with the labeling on the exterior surface.  No way to tell whether the ink of the labeling was then buffed off.

Which rivets - along the edges?  The intermediate rivets seem like afterthought but the peripheral / larger rivets must be what you are referring to.  Is there enough evidence available to us as to the spacing to eliminate a possibility as to attachment to that part of the Electra? 

What about the 'large' window frame - upper edges - may well not have matched original pitch on the stock L10E; do we have details on rivet pitch for that area?

Good if we can eliminate a particular area, but it would be good to substantiate how we know this before doing so.
- Jeff Neville

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Grand Rapids trip
« Reply #108 on: February 03, 2014, 09:36:39 AM »

The intermediate rivets seem like afterthought but the peripheral / larger rivets must be what you are referring to.  Is there enough evidence available to us as to the spacing to eliminate a possibility as to attachment to that part of the Electra? 

I'm not sure what you mean by "intermediate rivets."  All of the rivets holes on the artifact are 3/16ths shaft diameter except for the line along edge that are 5/16ths.  The sole surviving rivet is a 3/16ths  brazier head. 

What about the 'large' window frame - upper edges - may well not have matched original pitch on the stock L10E; do we have details on rivet pitch for that area?

There is a photo of the plane in Miami with the freshly-installed (shiny) patch where the large window used to be.  I have a print of it but I can't put my hands on it at the moment. (Still sorting out boxes from the move.) The photo gives a good idea of the rivet pattern on the patch.  Nothing like the artifact.
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JNev

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Re: Grand Rapids trip
« Reply #109 on: February 03, 2014, 09:58:30 AM »

The intermediate rivets seem like afterthought but the peripheral / larger rivets must be what you are referring to.  Is there enough evidence available to us as to the spacing to eliminate a possibility as to attachment to that part of the Electra? 

I'm not sure what you mean by "intermediate rivets."  All of the rivets holes on the artifact are 3/16ths shaft diameter except for the line along edge that are 5/16ths.   The sole surviving rivet is a 3/16ths  brazier head. 

Thanks Ric.  'Intermediate' = 3/32" (not 3/16"?) lines lying well within sheet boundaries in my meaning.  My thought has been that those may be a crap-shoot - not necessarily patterned after existing holes on Electra, whereas those along the edge might coincide with something we could identify as an original pattern on the Electra.

What about the 'large' window frame - upper edges - may well not have matched original pitch on the stock L10E; do we have details on rivet pitch for that area?

Quote
There is a photo of the plane in Miami with the freshly-installed (shiny) patch where the large window used to be.  I have a print of it but I can't put my hands on it at the moment. (Still sorting out boxes from the move.) The photo gives a good idea of the rivet pattern on the patch.  Nothing like the artifact.

That information is very much appreciated, especially if you can find that picture (I believe you of course, but it would be cool to see if / when you can find and post - many other priorities I realize).  Good photographic evidence of what that patch really was is something I've been looking for to do a comparison and it is good to know there is some of course, even if it rules the lav window area out.

The only remaining question I might have is whether we have enough edge-pattern evidence for a conclusion to that - but I take it you have been able to see that the edge-rivet pattern on the artifact distinctly does not match what can be observed in that photo - well enough.

Perhaps a breakthrough will come for the belly or elsewhere yet - this 'skin' is still a great find as I see it.
- Jeff Neville

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Walter Runck

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Re: Grand Rapids trip
« Reply #110 on: February 03, 2014, 10:15:50 AM »

Do we have anything that shows the "before and after" of the window installation?
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Grand Rapids trip
« Reply #111 on: February 03, 2014, 10:23:40 AM »

Do we have anything that shows the "before and after" of the window installation?

From a small gallery of photographs hidden on the website where no one can find them:




LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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JNev

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Re: Grand Rapids trip
« Reply #112 on: February 03, 2014, 10:30:21 AM »

Do we have anything that shows the "before and after" of the window installation?

From a small gallery of photographs hidden on the website where no one can find them:
...

Clarification: I realize this post of Marty's was in response to Walter Runck - was just adding a sidebar; re-worded [in barckets] to clear that up -

Thanks Marty [for posting these for Walter - and all our benefit] - I think I've already posted similar myself, as obtained from this very site as you cite [meaning, tongue-in-cheek - we have a wealth of such stuff on TIGHAR site - just takes a bit of digging to get at it sometimes]...  ;)

What I still hope to see is the photo Ric mentioned that provides greater photographic detail of the window covering installation.  That is something long longed-for.

[And now on to the later post by Ric as to the belly area - fascinating.]
- Jeff Neville

Former Member 3074R
 
« Last Edit: February 03, 2014, 12:26:18 PM by Jeffrey Neville »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Grand Rapids trip
« Reply #113 on: February 03, 2014, 11:09:43 AM »

'Intermediate' = 3/32" (not 3/16"?) lines lying well within sheet boundaries in my meaning.  My thought has been that those may be a crap-shoot - not necessarily patterned after existing holes on Electra, whereas those along the edge might coincide with something we could identify as an original pattern on the Electra.

Yes, 3/32".  My bad. 
From the NTSB report: "The remains of a solid brazier-head rivet were found in the hole denoted by arrow "R" in
figure 1. The manufactured head of the rivet was on the convex side of
the sheet and was marked with a single round dimple in the center of the
head, as shown in the right center photograph of figure 1. The dimple
usually signifies a 2117 aluminum alloy rivet. The length of the
undeformed rivet shank (distance between the manufactured head and the
formed head) indicated that the skin had previously been attached to an
approximately 0.06 inch thick underlying member."

In other words, those "intermediate" rivet holes indicate the former presence of underlying members, presumably stringers.
 
Perhaps a breakthrough will come for the belly or elsewhere yet - this 'skin' is still a great find as I see it.

The breakthrough has already broken through. All aspects of the artifact, including the rivet pattern, fit closely with a section of the belly on the right hand side of the aircraft between stations 269 5/8ths and 293 5/8ths.  The apparent discrepancy in the spacing between stringers may be due to distortion due to the deformation of the fragment of skin when it blew out of the belly.  The one known discrepancy between the rivet holes in the artifact and standard Electra construction is the line of 5/32" holes along the one edge.  The standard airplane has a double row of staggered 3/32" rivets along the keel where the skins overlap.  The artifact shows evidence of a double row of staggered 5/32 rivets.  Aris Scarla sees the use of larger rivets along the keel in the repair as a reasonable possibility in the repair of NR16020.
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Monty Fowler

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Re: Grand Rapids trip
« Reply #114 on: February 03, 2014, 11:43:01 AM »

*points up to photo* If that's not a case of "A picture is worth a thousand words," then I don't know what is.

LTM,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 CER
Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
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Walter Runck

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Re: Grand Rapids trip
« Reply #115 on: February 03, 2014, 11:47:45 AM »

Do we have anything that shows the "before and after" of the window installation?

From a small gallery of photographs hidden on the website where no one can find them:


I should have been more specific.  By "installation", I meant the details of how the hole was cut, framed and glazed, so for me, interior shots would be much more helpful. 

I'm using the window as a homework project for some CAD work I'm doing.  In general, I want to model that section of the fuselage "as built", then modify it to show the window "as installed", then add the "as covered" details.  Finally, the model will be subjected to hydraulic loads to see what happens and/or breaks.   

I don't expect any relevations concerning the Electra, artifact or Niku.  The goal for me is to improve my skills with this kind of software. It's just more fun to use an example from something you're interested in than a generic widget.

That said, any info regarding the shape and size of the fuselage components in this area would be appreciated.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Grand Rapids trip
« Reply #116 on: February 03, 2014, 11:49:30 AM »

*points up to photo* If that's not a case of "A picture is worth a thousand words," then I don't know what is.

A word of caution.  The overlay in that photo cannot be considered exactly to scale.  There are problems with perspective.  The photos of the artifact was taken from almost directly overhead and the photo of the belly structure of c/n 1052 is slightly oblique.  There is also the problem that the artifact was deformed when it was blown out.   The photo does show, however, that we're in the ballpark.  The actual match up might be even better.
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Monty Fowler

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Re: Grand Rapids trip
« Reply #117 on: February 03, 2014, 11:58:54 AM »

I'll settle for  ballpark for the moment. I can see all the edges in a ballpark.

LTM, who thinks 2014 will be homerun time for TIGHAR,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 CER
Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
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Walter Runck

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Re: Grand Rapids trip
« Reply #118 on: February 03, 2014, 12:42:26 PM »


A word of caution.  The overlay in that photo cannot be considered exactly to scale.  There are problems with perspective.  The photos of the artifact was taken from almost directly overhead and the photo of the belly structure of c/n 1052 is slightly oblique.  There is also the problem that the artifact was deformed when it was blown out.   The photo does show, however, that we're in the ballpark.  The actual match up might be even better.

Match up to what?  If the stringers were replaced as part of the repair, might they not have been offset?  I can't tell how the originals were attached, but new ones may have required fresh locations.  If so, the rivet pattern of the replacement skin wouldn't be expected to match the original stringers.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Grand Rapids trip
« Reply #119 on: February 03, 2014, 01:10:44 PM »

Match up to what?  If the stringers were replaced as part of the repair, might they not have been offset?  I can't tell how the originals were attached, but new ones may have required fresh locations.  If so, the rivet pattern of the replacement skin wouldn't be expected to match the original stringers.

Any major repositioning of stringers would require special engineering drawings mentioned in the Repair Orders and approved by the Bureau of Air Commerce. Such drawings were mentioned in the Repair Orders for strengthening splices on the nacelle ribs (where the landing gear had failed) and the subject special engineering drawings are part of the repair record.  The Repair Orders call for replacement of the skin of which 2-2-V-1 seems to be a part but no drawings are mentioned, so we must presume that the stringers didn't move much, if at all.
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