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Author Topic: Amelia and friends  (Read 15677 times)

Ric Gillespie

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Amelia and friends
« on: December 27, 2014, 10:02:41 AM »

I received the following email and photos from Dan Kingsley:

"While I served on the United States Precision Helicopter Team in 1986, I was given a picture of Amelia in a portrait, in formal dress, sitting in a chair with three men.

The photo was given me by Sergei Sikorski, son of Egor Sikorski, who was serving as an American judge on the Team.  My recollection of the event was different from what he tells me now (he was alive a year ago, and I sent him the picture to reconfirm its authenticity).

As I recall, he stepped out of a building with a glossy B&W, showed it to me and told me it was her, the Wright Brothers and his father. He said it was owned by Bell Helicopter, who had given him the photo. At my interest, he placed it on a copier and gave me a copy.

Now he says his father is not in it. I presume he should know his father better than all of us... and I am stunned.

And I have discovered that one of the Wright Brothers could not have been alive at the time of this photo.

If it is a fake, it is rather good. I would like you to have it, and perhaps establish the real story for all to know.

I do not claim to own this photo.  I believe it is old enough to be public domain, but I would like the real story in any case.

Dan Kingsley
CW4, USA, Retired"

I replied:

"Fascinating puzzle.  The photo is not a fake.  I would put the date circa 1929 based  I on AE’s youthful appearance and 1920s clothing style.  Despite his son’s assertion, the man on the left might be Igor Sikorsky (but I don’t know why Bell Helicopter would own a photo of their principal competitor). I don’t think the man on AE’s left is Orville Wright (Wilbur, as you say, was long dead). No idea about the man at far right.

After her transatlantic flight as a passenger in 1928, Earhart was feted by many prominent aviation figures.  This looks to me like a photo taken at a dinner or awards event.

Ric"

Can anybody shed light on this photo?

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Bruce Thomas

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Re: Amelia and friends
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2014, 10:31:28 AM »

"Fascinating puzzle.  The photo is not a fake.  I would put the date circa 1929 based  I on AE’s youthful appearance and 1920s clothing style.  Despite his son’s assertion, the man on the left might be Igor Sikorsky (but I don’t know why Bell Helicopter would own a photo of their principal competitor). I don’t think the man on AE’s left is Orville Wright (Wilbur, as you say, was long dead). No idea about the man at far right.

After her transatlantic flight as a passenger in 1928, Earhart was feted by many prominent aviation figures.  This looks to me like a photo taken at a dinner or awards event.

Ric"

Can anybody shed light on this photo?

This photo can be found in the Wright Brothers Collection of the Wright State University Libraries.

It is described as, "Orville Wright seated with Amelia Earhart, Elmer A. Sperry, and Vilhjalmur Stefansson. The photograph was taken while Orville was attending the third aeronautic meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.This image is attributed to A. W. Sanders Co., Saint Louis, Missouri."

There is a "creation date" listed of 5-29-1929.

Stefansson, on the far right, is described in Wikipedia as a "Canadian Arctic explorer and ethnologist." Sperry, between Stefansson and Earhart, is described in Wikipedia as the "co-inventor of the gyrocompass."
LTM,

Bruce
TIGHAR #3123R
 
« Last Edit: December 27, 2014, 05:24:38 PM by Bruce Thomas »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Amelia and friends
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2014, 10:36:43 AM »

I told Dan Kingsley the Forum was amazing.

Thanks Bruce.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Amelia and friends
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2014, 10:49:11 AM »

I told Dan Kingsley the Forum was amazing.

The time stamps suggest that Bruce solved this in just slightly under 29 minutes from the time you posted the question.   ???

That may not be the fastest elapsed time from question to answer--Karen Hoy is a very rapid responder!--but it is certainly in the upper echelon.

Well done, Bruce!
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Monty Fowler

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Re: Amelia and friends
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2014, 01:04:20 PM »

Thumb's up to TIGHAR's Vast and Unpaid Research Department.

LTM,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 ECSP
Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
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Jeffrey Pearce

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Re: Amelia and friends
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2015, 09:31:42 AM »

I realize this picture has probably been observed but since it shows the navigation window used by Noonan and some equipment alongside it I thought I would post the link to the picture.

http://www.heraldstandard.com/uploaded-photos/today-in-history/image_476db4d8-037a-5815-bc7c-2bac28f473b5.html

Jeff P.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2015, 11:05:27 AM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Amelia and friends
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2015, 02:16:59 PM »

I realize this picture has probably been observed but since it shows the navigation window used by Noonan and some equipment alongside it I thought I would post the link to the picture.

That's not a navigation window. It's the standard Electra window.  The instrument mounted in the window is a pelorus. The guy with AE is Harry Manning. The photo was taken prior to the first world flight attempt.  Whether the instruments mounted beside the window were still there for the second attempt is unknown. 
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Jay Burkett

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Re: Amelia and friends
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2015, 11:31:40 AM »

Is that the map/plotting table she is sitting on?  I don't recall ever seeing it in other photos.
Jay Burkett, N4RBY
Aerospace Engineer
Fairhope AL
 
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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Amelia and friends
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2015, 02:48:43 PM »

I love the caption to the photo

"Manning was to accompany her across the Pacific to Australia, but the flight would eventually be scuttled due to technical problems."

Technical problems?  As in crashed on takeoff and nearly destroyed the aircraft? 

I guess those might be considered technical problems, but.....

amck
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Amelia and friends
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2015, 05:02:11 PM »

Is that the map/plotting table she is sitting on?  I don't recall ever seeing it in other photos.

Yes.  The table seems to have been Manning's idea.  It's not clear whether it was still there for the second attempt  but it would seem to make sense to have someplace where Noonan could lay out a map.
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Jay Burkett

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Re: Amelia and friends
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2015, 11:04:21 AM »

I would not have thought that the interior trim, or lining, would have been installed.  From what I have read, Amelia was obsessed with weight.  The interior lining would have been the first thing to go!

Any idea what that "blob" is over the window?
Jay Burkett, N4RBY
Aerospace Engineer
Fairhope AL
 
« Last Edit: March 25, 2015, 11:08:05 AM by Jay Burkett »
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Jay Burkett

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Re: Amelia and friends
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2015, 11:56:04 AM »

I may have answered my question.  Whatever it is it is located in the right place for a mirror.  Such a mirror would be used by who ever is sitting at the table in order to read those three gauges without geting up.  The gauges would appear mirrored (reversed).  It looks like some form of cellophane tape was used.  What was throwing me was that from the angle the picture was taken virtually no edges are present.  What you can see is shiny and crinkled.  The lining looks too pristine, and the object so irregular and and nondescript to be a planned/production feature.  Likewise, a foil placard did not seem to fit.  It has all of the characterics of an impromptu field modification.

The next question would be what is the mirror taped to?  Light bezel?  Coat hook?

I know this doesn't help find the plane, but, it does help understand how that station was used and the functions of the person using it.

I appologize for the trivial detour ...
Jay Burkett, N4RBY
Aerospace Engineer
Fairhope AL
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Amelia and friends
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2015, 12:35:19 PM »

Here's another view of the object. There seems to be another one just like it over the window on the left side of the cabin.  I think they're just lights.
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Neff Jacobs

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Re: Amelia and friends
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2015, 01:29:16 PM »

I think most likely air vents.   There was a scoop on the roof and I've seen somewhere some dotted lines indicating ducting coming down more or less over each window.   In much of the equatorial world where almost all of the flight took place it would have been hot and most likely had strong gas fumes with no air.  Not much of an air vent but as good as Fred would have been used to on the ships of the 1930s/
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Jerry Germann

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Re: Amelia and friends
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2015, 01:43:04 PM »

If an air vent, it seems the hood may be designed to rotate to differing angles; almost looks like aluminum foil covered Styrofoam.
It may be my eyes, but it also looks different in shape at various stages....Third image , it almost appears as if what we see in Ric's image has left an imprint in the liner aft of the ( new?) object.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2015, 02:24:08 PM by Jerry Germann »
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