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Author Topic: 2-2-V-1 - patch?  (Read 769523 times)

JNev

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2-2-V-1 - patch?
« on: June 06, 2014, 04:42:46 PM »

This thread is started to focus on the idea that artifact 2-2-V-1 may be associated with the 'patch' covering of the large lavatory-area navigation window on NR16020. 

The old string "Artifact 2-2-V-1 - aluminum 'skin'" (now closed) is linked here for reference and contains a number of photos and comments that may be of interest.

Similarly, a number of exchanges from the string "The Question of 2-2-V-1" (see reply #986 and subsequent therein) are also linked as relevant to this discussion.

- Jeff Neville

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« Last Edit: June 06, 2014, 04:51:38 PM by Jeffrey Neville »
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JNev

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Re: 2-2-V-1 - patch?
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2014, 04:47:30 PM »

On Friday, May 30, four members of the Artifact 2-2-V-1 Commission examined Lockheed 10A c/n 1052 at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT.  Present were Lee Paynter, Bill Mangus, Karen Hoy and Your Obedient Servant.
We were not able to find anywhere on the New England Air Museum Lockheed 10 that met the criteria for a match to 2-2-V-1, even if the area was repaired in a way that did not require new engineering drawings.  There were two places where there were parallel rows of rivets and enough length without a crossing row of rivets.  One was on the belly in the area we had previously considered the best fit, but the rivet pitch there is 1.5 inches and we learned in Dayton that in a repair the rivet pitch cannot change.  The rivet pitch on the artifact is 1 inch so 2-2-V-1 cannot have come from there.
The section of the belly just forward of that location has rivets with a 1 inch pitch but the skin in that area is .040, not .032.  So we're left with a case of "close but no cigar." 

All the other interesting things we've observed about the artifact are still true and we still have no good alternate Aircraft of Origin.  The mystery deepens.  We're still waiting for the results of tests to determine whether there is aluminum paint on the interior surface of the artifact. The same test will also tell us whether there are traces of zinc chromate present that are not visible to the naked eye.

BTW, we were easily able to match the piece of wreckage from the Idaho wreck to the trailing edge of the starboard-side outer wing panel on the New England Air Museum airplane. This was a good illustration of how easy it is to match even a bent and twisted piece of wreckage to an intact example of the same type of aircraft - provided you have the right aircraft to match it to.

Where does that leave us with 2-2-V-1?  It doesn't fit anywhere on a standard Electra and for it to fit anywhere on Earhart's repaired Electra the basic structure would have to have been altered so much that it would require the approval new engineering drawings - and there are no such drawings indicated in the repair orders. Does that mean that 2-2-V-1 can now be eliminated as possibly being wreckage from NR16020?  Not quite.

There is one part of the Earhart Electra that was a special "field modification" that was not done as part of the post-Luke Field wreck repairs.  Jeff Nevile has this observation:
"I am wondering again about the late-installed cover for the large nav window which was created and installed in Miami. It was a 'one off' mod / de-mod effort with potential for deviation from mothership details, IMO. Trouble is, no other example exists in true-to-NR16020 form that I know of - unless Finch's L10 at Seattle museum of flight has a faithful duplication of the cover. I've seen that one and it does not match 2-2-V-1- but I'm not sure there's a good record of the details of that job on Earhart's own bird to go by. What I'd give for a clear photo..."

We have very few photos of the patch and none of them is of sufficient resolution to see the rivet pattern. The window was originally installed to give the navigator an optically correct  way to take celestial observations from the starboard side of the airplane (the flat window in the cabin door served that function on the port side). No one knows for sure why it was removed and skinned over in Miami, but I have a theory.

Flying around the world from East to West as originally envisioned put the big window on the North-facing side of the airplane. Flying West to East on the second world flight attempt put the big window on the South-facing side.  I suspect that during the flight across the U.S. from Oakland to Miami they discovered that the South-facing window made the cabin unbearably hot.  Noonan reportedly felt that the elaborate navigator's station speced out by Mantz and Manning for the first attempt was excessive.  I suspect that, with AE's permission, he asked the Pan Am mechanics in Miami to replace the window with a patch.

Regardless of why it was done, it was clearly done.  Might the patch have ended up looking like 2-2-V-1?  We'll never prove that it did, unless we find better photos than we have now, but we might be able to show that it could or prove that it couldn't.
- Jeff Neville

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JNev

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Re: 2-2-V-1 - patch?
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2014, 04:49:12 PM »

OK I know nuffink about plane construction but if you were covering over a window would you cut it to shape as an insert or would you just lay it over the aperture?

It can be done either way, depending upon need of function and / or expediency.

Earhart's window covering appears to be 'expedient', as best I can tell from the pictures we have - a mere covering that neatly enough simply overlaps the original skin on the Electra at the edges of the aperture.  It also has distinctly 'square corners', not the nicely-rounded radii of a 'plug' for that window.  Admittedly those photos are a bit grainy, so take with a grain of salt.

So it does not seem to be a 'neat' plug or insert, such as is the case with the Finch Electra on display in Seattle at the Museum of Flight (I have pictures but not at-hand for moment - will follow).  Finch's window 'covering' is fairly clearly a removable 'hatch' by appearance, with a distinct separation line; the outer air passage (skin) is flush to the surrounding skin.  It is also clearly vertically braced in the web area (major 'mid' or 'open field' between the boundaries).  As a 'plug', it also happens to have rather elegantly radiused 'corners' as opposed to the rather sharp corners on the Earhart airplane covering (which CAN be discerned clearly from the vintage photos).  2-2-V-1 clearly does not match the Finch airplane; it appears to be a possible candidate for the Earhart window covering, IMO.

What we cannot tell from the existing pictures found so far of the Earhart Electra window covering is how any mid-field rivet patterns are oriented - vital to the case for 2-2-V-1, obviously.  But it looks to be braced rather 'normal' to the surrounding skins (which arguably suggests a stiffener pattern more closely oriented to the existing longitudenal stiffeners on the bird rather than vertical to my eye - but can't be sure).  It also lacks the tell-tale gap around the edges that are noticeable on the Finch bird (no pun intended...) in the 'plug type' installation.  The bracing does not mean it would match existing 'stiffeners' in the Electra because, IMO, these could have easily been improvised as mere mid-field light-weight stiffeners to avoid the timpanic oil canning effects of airflow over a large, thin sheet.  That is of course speculation since so far we don't have details - but it is quite possible and a realistic position to explore, IMO.

I wouldn't know how to lay odds on this, but as Monty notes, I have a very strong 'hunch' about the possibility.  I realize there are still other mysterious questions about this artifact - some that may yet disqualify it.  But it has not been qualified as from another type as-yet despite a rather exhaustive effort (I was certainly exhausted after crawling around a number of museum pieces with TIGHAR in Dayton...), and this possibility seems vital in my view.

There is another string that was devoted to this prospect.  Go there to review previous discussions.  I closed that string after the focus shifted to the belly as it was believed that the rivet pattern was not right for this - but I'm not sure we really connected the dots on that at the time, and the belly was a good focal point for study (there are surviving examples of belly skins, whereas Earhart's window covering was a 'one-off' effort which wasn't duplicated among sister ships that we are aware of).

As to Nathan's suggestion (welcome aboard, Nathan) regarding possible stowaway on the N.C., I doubt it (and those who adhere to the font mystery as disqualifying would howl in agreement, I'm sure) - 1929 (year of ship wreck) was too early for this kind of material to show up as relating to aircraft construction.  The Boeings of the time ('29) were rag, steel and wood - the B247D didn't emerge for a few years yet (and would be the one Boeing product of the '30s that might contribute such an artifact).  I would put 'other airplane types' in the area before that (and the question remains: WHICH other types?  A Cinderella hasn't been found for this aluminum slipper yet...).

I'd like to encourage our followers to scour for a good picture of the covered window on Earhart's airplane - Niku enthusiast or critic matters not (some of our critics appearing here have contributed some outstanding finds and all of us at least share an interest in this quest, either way).  I wish I were as good at ferreting those things out as so many others have been, but just don't seem as able as some, so contributions of such pictures are asked...

Here is one from TIGHAR's files -
- Jeff Neville

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: 2-2-V-1 - patch?
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2014, 05:49:29 PM »

The first photo here was taken on May 20, 1937 at Burbank, the day after the airplane came out of the rear shop. This is one of the Dusty Carter photos owned by TIGHAR.  They're the only known photos of the "secret" departure of the second world flight attempt.  You can clearly see that the lab window is still present.

The second and third photos were taken in Miami as AE taxied out for departure on the morning of June 1, 1937 - the public beginning of her second attempt.  The shiny patch is apparent.

The fourth photo is how Bill Harney portrayed the patch. The positioning is correct but the rivet pattern on the patch itself is pure guesswork,
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: 2-2-V-1 - patch?
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2014, 06:00:59 PM »

The patch extended from Fuselage Station 293 5/8 to Fuselage Station 320 - a distance of 27 5/8 inches.  More than enough for 2-2-V-1.

The fuselage skin in that area was normally .025 inch.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2014, 06:03:51 PM by Ric Gillespie »
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John Ousterhout

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Re: 2-2-V-1 - patch?
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2014, 06:07:09 PM »

Another photo, from the Purdue collection that shows the top and forward portion of the sheet metal.  It's hard to tell if rivets are faintly visible on the cover, but they can be made out on the surrounding pieces.  Perhaps someone with image-enhancing software could bring out some better detail.
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richie conroy

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Re: 2-2-V-1 - patch?
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2014, 08:13:55 PM »

To me

The square patch above right wing in Ric's second photo appears to be more consistent with our artifact than the toilet one ?

Do we know why that patch was replaced ?
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Greg Daspit

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Re: 2-2-V-1 - patch?
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2014, 09:35:03 AM »

What is known of patches being painted outside of the factory?
Is the research being done on possible paint on the artifact include testing if the possible painted area extended under the stringer locations?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: 2-2-V-1 - patch?
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2014, 09:46:03 AM »

To me

The square patch above right wing in Ric's second photo appears to be more consistent with our artifact than the toilet one ?

Do we know why that patch was replaced ?

I don't think that's a patch.  There were no repairs specified for that area. Some of the skins on the airplane are darker than others.  Dunno why.
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Chuck Lynch

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Re: 2-2-V-1 - patch?
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2014, 10:30:51 AM »

"Some of the skins on the airplane are darker than others.  Dunno why."

Could the "grain" of the aluminum be turned so that the reflections are different?

Thanks.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: 2-2-V-1 - patch?
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2014, 10:56:15 AM »

What is known of patches being painted outside of the factory?

Nothing, but my expectation would be that a small patch like this, cobbled together by PanAm in Miami, would not be painted.  In that respect, if Jen Mass finds no trace of paint on 2-2-V-1 (whether aluminum paint or zinc chromate) it reinforces the hypothesis that the artifact is the patch.

Is the research being done on possible paint on the artifact include testing if the possible painted area extended under the stringer locations?

No.  The first question is whether there is paint there at all.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: 2-2-V-1 - patch?
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2014, 11:53:06 AM »

"Some of the skins on the airplane are darker than others.  Dunno why."

Could the "grain" of the aluminum be turned so that the reflections are different?

Good question.  I don't know.
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Greg Daspit

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Re: 2-2-V-1 - patch?
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2014, 09:58:30 AM »

That rear window always looked like a possible weakness in to me. A big squareish hole in the stressed skin. Maybe this hole in the skin was closed as an effort to strengthen a possible weakness like the Comet had with its square windows. "Why" this patch was done could be important. Structural reasons versus just covering may require stiffeners added  and may change the spacing of the double row of rivets. The problem with that theory is if they discovered a crack or had a concern after making the first trip after being repaired then why did they not report it and there be repair orders?
Look at the picture in the hyper link. Specifically the fracture between two frames at the bottom of the window. Is it similar to one of the fractures in 2-2-V-1, if 2-2-V-1 was a cover over the window?
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« Last Edit: June 08, 2014, 10:13:29 AM by Greg Daspit »
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James Champion

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Re: 2-2-V-1 - patch?
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2014, 04:07:07 PM »

Quote
That rear window always looked like a possible weakness in to me. A big squareish hole in the stressed skin. Maybe this hole in the skin was closed as an effort to strengthen a possible weakness like the Comet had with its square windows.

I've wondered about that also, but realized it there really was any structural issues with the window (because of the heavy fuselage loading from the fuel tanks) it would be a Lockheed issue and would not have been corrected by a small shop in Miami.
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Ricker H Jones

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Re: 2-2-V-1 - patch?
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2014, 05:43:02 PM »

A hard landing on the reef could have initiated the failure of the patch if it had been a structurally weak area.
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