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Author Topic: Mystery rods  (Read 43841 times)

Gary LaPook

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Mystery rods
« on: October 25, 2011, 11:02:33 PM »

I am attaching a photo showing what appears to be several long rods with handles along the starboard 118 gallon tank. These appear in many photos. What is their purpose?
gl
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John Joseph Barrett

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2011, 06:55:11 AM »

Any chance that they were to open and close valves to regulate which tank was supplying fuel? I'm not aware of the plumbing method used for the fuel lines. Did all drain into one common line that then fed either engine or could each tank be isolated from the system with a valve operated by a lever? Seems to me that it might be wise to be able to isolate a tank from the system in case that tank had a problem, like contaminated fuel, etc. Did all tanks supply fuel constantly so as to not upset the trim of the aircraft? Could levers and rods be used to control fuel valves? Just a thought....
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2011, 07:40:37 AM »

I've often wondered about those rods.  We have the Lockheed schematic for the airplane's fuel system as of March 12, 1937 (5 days before the departure of the first world flight attempt). We'll put that up on the TIGHAR website along with some other photos and documents concerning the fuel system.  I'll post a link as soon as they're up.
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Sheila Shigley

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2011, 09:05:19 AM »

1936 and 1937 (acc. to captions)



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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2011, 09:14:15 AM »

1936 and 1937 (acc. to captions)

The 1936 photo was taken before the tanks were installed.  Whoever took the 1937 photo had to be lying on top of the tanks.
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Sheila Shigley

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2011, 09:17:20 AM »

The 1936 photo was taken before the tanks were installed.  Whoever took the 1937 photo had to be lying on top of the tanks.

Lol - so often, pictures of the photogs in action would have been as interesting as their subjects.

Another view - undated, from the Oakland auction last month:

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Sheila Shigley

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2011, 09:18:05 AM »

That was kind of huge - do photos that large work here, or would smaller be better?
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Sheila Shigley

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2011, 09:23:08 AM »

Just the rods:

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Sheila Shigley

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2011, 09:27:27 AM »

A biggie of the original photo in this thread:

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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2011, 10:02:15 AM »

In the photo with Paul Mantz, you can see what looks like a sight glass that has been added to the aft side of the door frame.  It is not evident in the photo of AE listening to the headsets.  Would be interesting to date these photos and create a timeline of when stuff was added.

My guess is that, combined with the sight glass, the rods are valve controls for fuel management.

Also interesting to note that with these rods in place, the cabin door would not have been possible to close, yet it is still there.

amck
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2011, 10:07:46 AM »

That was kind of huge - do photos that large work here, or would smaller be better?

You can set the size you want for the image to display.

Code: [Select]
[img width=640]http://oaklandlocal.com/sites/default/files/i/earhart--cockpit.jpg [/img]


Then if someone clicks on the image, it will open up to full-size.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 10:09:35 AM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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Jeff Lange

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2011, 10:33:01 AM »

There doesn't appear to be much of a gasket set on the top hatch, which would probably create a lot of wind noise/whistling while in flight. I'm amazed that any of the pilots of that era had ANY hearing left.

Jeff Lange
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Jeff Lange

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Gary LaPook

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2011, 08:52:57 PM »

1936 and 1937 (acc. to captions)


------------------------
It's interesting that in the left photo you can see the Cambridge analyzer mounted above the instrument panel below the compass and in the second photo it is gone. I have attached a blow up of the Cambridge.

gl
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 09:06:42 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2011, 09:03:09 PM »

It's interesting that in the left photo you can see the Cambridge analyzer mounted above the instrument panel below the compass and in the second photo it is gone.

They moved it to right in front of the pilot on the main panel.  There were many changes to the instrument panel layout over time.  The Harney Drawings show the layout as of January or February 1937 - the last good cockpit shot we've found.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 10:34:36 PM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2011, 08:31:33 AM »

In the "Ditching at Sea" forum, Reply #23, Chuck provides "Vent_Lines.jpg" photo that shows a row of objects on the tops of the tanks approximately in line with the Mystery Rods.  There are three objects visible.  A 4th one may be underneath the raised platform on top of the aft tank, and may be the reason for that particular platform to be raised higher than the one that extends along the tops of the forward 3 tanks.  The purpose of the aft platform seems to me to simply provide a place for someone to climb on top of the tanks without putting a knee directly onto the tank top.  Once on top of the tanks, someone could crawl forward on the narrower, and slightly lower, forward platform.  That much I believe is obvious.
I would suggest that the objects are the fuel lines from each tank, and manually operated valves were either already in place, or were added later.  Access to the valves, if already in place back then, might have been by reaching or crawling to within convenient reach. Practical experience might then have shown this to be impractical, especially if only two people are on the a/c, leading to the use of the Mystery Rod actuators so the pilot could control fuel.

Cheers,
JohnO
 
« Last Edit: October 27, 2011, 09:17:01 AM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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