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Author Topic: Fuel System Research Bulletin  (Read 35402 times)

John Ousterhout

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Re: Fuel System Research Bulletin
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2011, 12:51:40 PM »

Although I'm nearly convinced that the mystery rods activated dump valves, the fact that the could work as both pull and push-rods raises a question: were they supposed to be able to push, as well as pull?  The cable-operated dump valves locked open, if I understand correctly.  If I were designing similar valves for the aux. tanks, but wanted to protect the cables, I'd route them along the tops of the tanks, under the platform, not angled up over the tops like the mystery rods.  Then again, rods would be perfectly functional, and generally would have less friction than cables, if that was an important factor.
Can anyone suggest a different function for the mystery rods?  Also, why only 3, when there were 6 tanks?
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Fuel System Research Bulletin
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2011, 06:40:44 PM »

Although I'm nearly convinced that the mystery rods activated dump valves, the fact that the could work as both pull and push-rods raises a question: were they supposed to be able to push, as well as pull?  The cable-operated dump valves locked open, if I understand correctly.  If I were designing similar valves for the aux. tanks, but wanted to protect the cables, I'd route them along the tops of the tanks, under the platform, not angled up over the tops like the mystery rods.  Then again, rods would be perfectly functional, and generally would have less friction than cables, if that was an important factor.
Can anyone suggest a different function for the mystery rods?  Also, why only 3, when there were 6 tanks?
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The only reason to activate the dump valves is after an engine failure and it is a one way trip, you want to get rid of as much weight as possible to keep from crashing so there would never be a reason to try to close the valves once they were opened so pull cables are the way to go. The cables are inside flexible protective housings so you don't have to worry about inadvertent activation.  The standard dump handles are protected from inadvertent activation by safeties. If the rods were for dump valves then it looks like an accident just waiting to happen. In addition to the small handles at the cockpit ends there are also those big handles sticking out just waiting for someone crawling past to accidentally dump the fuel. Hmmm, maybe that is why they ran out of fuel after only 20 hours.

gl
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Ricker H Jones

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Re: Fuel System Research Bulletin
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2011, 09:54:38 AM »

Looking at Ric's evolution of the fuel system, the photo with the photographer taking a picture shows that the cockpit door has been hung with the cut-out in the door for the rods already made.  In the photo with AE looking aft over the first iteration of the installed tanks (with the two filler necks and a manifold system going to the tanks)  a rod is shown attached to one of the tanks. (it passes between AE's arm and belt).  Could these rods have operated valves on the filling manifold to close off a quarantined tank and prevent it from being filled? 
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John Ousterhout

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Possible Dump valve design question
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2011, 07:26:19 AM »

Gary (or anyone else who knows) - is there anything like a "standard" fuel dump valve design that Lockheed might have used, if they used dump valve on the auxiliary tanks?  I read a snippet from a different book about Earhart that mentioned the dump valves would have been pushed open by sea water pressure during a water landing.  How can we evaluate this possibility if we know nothing about the valves?  Can dump valves be opened by external pressure this way?
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Possible Dump valve design question
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2011, 07:43:21 AM »

I read a snippet from a different book about Earhart that mentioned the dump valves would have been pushed open by sea water pressure during a water landing. 

Ah yes ... "would have" ... a guess masquerading as a fact.
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Fuel System Research Bulletin
« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2011, 12:46:18 PM »


Of course nothing would prevent the "Rods" from being able to be Push/Pull  and/or  "Twist".

Does/Did anyone, including AE and FN really know the total fuel at Take-Off?

Using the numbers listed on the valve diagrams, it looks like a total of 1151 gallons if tank #5 had 70 and 1230gallons if tank #5 had 149.  But, the Chater report talks about all tanks being full except for the 81 galon tank that was half full.  What 81 gallon tank was he reporting on?

Can anyone clear this up?
No Worries Mates
LTM   Harry (TIGHAR #3244R)
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Fuel System Research Bulletin
« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2011, 05:16:15 PM »

Does/Did anyone, including AE and FN really know the total fuel at Take-Off?

I don't know any way of answering that question without being there.  We know that Chater and Collopy were both under the impression that there was a total of 1,100 U.S. gallons of gasoline aboard the airplane when it left Lae. I think it's safe to assume that AE and FN also believed that to be true. 

Using the numbers listed on the valve diagrams, it looks like a total of 1151 gallons if tank #5 had 70 and 1230gallons if tank #5 had 149.

According to both the November 1936 and May 1937 inspections, Tank #5 had a maximum capacity of 70 gallons and the aircraft's total fuel capacity was 1,151 U.S. gallons.  That seems pretty well settled.
 
  But, the Chater report talks about all tanks being full except for the 81 galon tank that was half full.  What 81 gallon tank was he reporting on?

Nice catch Harry. I've been waiting for someone to spot that discrepancy in the Chater report.  Bob Brandenburg and I went 'round and 'round with it last summer.

Chater says, "July 1st — after the machine was tested the Vacuum Oil Co.’s representatives filled all tanks in the machine with 87 octane fuel with the exception of one 81 gallon tank which already contained 100 octane for taking off purposes. This tank was approximately half full and it can be safely estimated that on leaving Lae the tank at least 40 gallons of 100 octane fuel – (100 octane fuel is not obtainable in Lae). A total of 654 imperial gallons was filled into the tanks of the Lockheed after the test flight was completed. This would indicate that 1,100 US gallons was carried by the machine when it took off for Howland Island."

The airplane did have an 81 gallon tank in each wing as you can see from the diagrams in the Fuel System Research Bulletin.  The trouble is, each 81 gallon tank shared a fueling port AND a fuel gauge with the 16 gallon tank in that wing.  As shown in the Fueling Form in that bulletin, for fueling purposes, each wing had a 97 gallon tank.  So how could Chater (or anyone for that matter) know that one of the 81 gallons tanks was half full?  As far as we know, there was no way to "stick" those tanks.  The Kollsman fuel gauges for those tanks read from 0 to 100 gallons in five gallon increments.  Apparently one 97 gallon tank (81 + 16) - we don't know which wing - was dedicated to 100 octane.  If you looked at the gauge for that tank and it read 40 gallons you'd know that the 16 gallon tank was dry and the 81 gallon tank was about half full.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Fuel System Research Bulletin
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2011, 03:26:51 AM »

Does/Did anyone, including AE and FN really know the total fuel at Take-Off?

I don't know any way of answering that question without being there.  We know that Chater and Collopy were both under the impression that there was a total of 1,100 U.S. gallons of gasoline aboard the airplane when it left Lae. I think it's safe to assume that AE and FN also believed that to be true. 

Using the numbers listed on the valve diagrams, it looks like a total of 1151 gallons if tank #5 had 70 and 1230gallons if tank #5 had 149.

According to both the November 1936 and May 1937 inspections, Tank #5 had a maximum capacity of 70 gallons and the aircraft's total fuel capacity was 1,151 U.S. gallons.  That seems pretty well settled.
 
  But, the Chater report talks about all tanks being full except for the 81 galon tank that was half full.  What 81 gallon tank was he reporting on?

Nice catch Harry. I've been waiting for someone to spot that discrepancy in the Chater report.  Bob Brandenburg and I went 'round and 'round with it last summer.

Chater says, "July 1st — after the machine was tested the Vacuum Oil Co.’s representatives filled all tanks in the machine with 87 octane fuel with the exception of one 81 gallon tank which already contained 100 octane for taking off purposes. This tank was approximately half full and it can be safely estimated that on leaving Lae the tank at least 40 gallons of 100 octane fuel – (100 octane fuel is not obtainable in Lae). A total of 654 imperial gallons was filled into the tanks of the Lockheed after the test flight was completed. This would indicate that 1,100 US gallons was carried by the machine when it took off for Howland Island."

The airplane did have an 81 gallon tank in each wing as you can see from the diagrams in the Fuel System Research Bulletin.  The trouble is, each 81 gallon tank shared a fueling port AND a fuel gauge with the 16 gallon tank in that wing.  As shown in the Fueling Form in that bulletin, for fueling purposes, each wing had a 97 gallon tank.  So how could Chater (or anyone for that matter) know that one of the 81 gallons tanks was half full?  As far as we know, there was no way to "stick" those tanks.  The Kollsman fuel gauges for those tanks read from 0 to 100 gallons in five gallon increments.  Apparently one 97 gallon tank (81 + 16) - we don't know which wing - was dedicated to 100 octane.  If you looked at the gauge for that tank and it read 40 gallons you'd know that the 16 gallon tank was dry and the 81 gallon tank was about half full.
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There is definitely a conflict in the evidence regarding the fuel on board. The tanks only held 1151 U.S. gallons so that puts an absolute top limit on the gas in the plane. Chatter said that 654 Imperial gallons (785 U.S. gallons) were put into the tanks so this puts an absolute floor on the fuel load of 785 U.S. gallons.

Both Collopy and Chatter state that the plane had 1100 U.S. gallons on board but there is a conflict in their statements. Collopy said that a 100 gallon tank was half full while Chatter said an 81 gallon tank was half full. There are no 100 gallon or 81 gallon tanks in the fuselage but there are 102 gallon and 81 gallon tanks in each of the wings. Earhart lost control of the plane on takeoff from Hawaii so she would be loath to have a lateral fuel imbalance on takeoff at Lae so is likely that she wouldn't just leave one tank in just one of the wings half full but would leave a tank on the other side half full also. Supporting this theory is the discrepancy in the size of the tanks described by Chatter and Collopy. If one of them looked in the tank and passed the information on the other guy then they would have the exact same size for the tank so it didn't happen this way. If they each looked in the same tank that was half full then, again,  they would have stated the same size. Based on this it is reasonable that they were each looking in different tanks, one in the right wing and one in the left wing. They both said they saw a tank half full and even if they talked to each other neither would have reason to realize that the other guy was talking about a different tank since they both calculated 1100 gallons total. It is like the old story of the three blind men examining an elephant. Based on this I believe that it is quite likely that they only had about 1050 U.S. gallons on board when they took off from Lae.

gl
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Fuel System Research Bulletin
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2011, 09:11:29 AM »

Both Collopy and Chatter state that the plane had 1100 U.S. gallons on board but there is a conflict in their statements.

Yes, but easily explainable without jumping to the conclusion that they were wrong.

Collopy said that a 100 gallon tank was half full while Chatter said an 81 gallon tank was half full. There are no 100 gallon or 81 gallon tanks in the fuselage but there are 102 gallon and 81 gallon tanks in each of the wings.

True.

Earhart lost control of the plane on takeoff from Hawaii so she would be loath to have a lateral fuel imbalance on takeoff at Lae so is likely that she wouldn't just leave one tank in just one of the wings half full but would leave a tank on the other side half full also.

How can you possibly know what Earhart would be loath to do?  I imagine that you would be loath to set off to fly around the world in 1937 without knowing Morse code.  I sure would. The 81 and 102 gallon wing tanks were in the center section inboard of the engines and gear.  A 300 lb. discrepancy side-to-side that close to the fuselage and inboard of the gear in a 15,000 airplane is hardly worth worrying about.

Supporting this theory is the discrepancy in the size of the tanks described by Chatter and Collopy. If one of them looked in the tank and passed the information on the other guy then they would have the exact same size for the tank so it didn't happen this way.

There was no way to "look in the tanks."  The tanks were buried in the wings. As shown in the Fuel System research bulletin, the 16 and 81 gallon tanks share a filler port.  For fueling and fuel gauge purposes the two tanks are treated like a single 97 gallon tank.

If they each looked in the same tank that was half full then, again,  they would have stated the same size. Based on this it is reasonable that they were each looking in different tanks, one in the right wing and one in the left wing. They both said they saw a tank half full ...


No they didn't.  Neither one of them said anything about seeing a tank half full.  Chater said, "This tank was approximately half full and it can be safely estimated that on leaving Lae the tank at least 40 gallons of 100 octane fuel ..."  He didn't say how he knew the tank was approximately half full.  Collopy said, "One tank contained only 50 gallons of its total capacity of 100 gallons." Ditto.

If the wing tanks were not full, the only way to know how much fuel was in them was from the fuel gauges. From photos of the Electra cockpit it appears that the the fuel gauge for each of the "97 gallon" tanks was a Kollsman 180.  The gauge read from 0 to 100 gallons in five gallon increments (even though the combined tanks held only 97 gallons).  Chater looks at the gauge and sees that it reads roughly 50 gallons.  He knows that the gauge is actually for two tanks, a 16 and an 81, because he has a Lockheed Electra of his own.  If the gauge is reading 50 gallons then the 16 gallon tank is empty and the 81 gallon tank is down about 34 gallons - about 47 gallons remaining.  So he says, "This tank was approximately half full and it can be safely estimated that on leaving Lae the tank at least 40 gallons of 100 octane fuel ..." Safe guess. 
Collopy looks at same gauge and sees the same thing but Collopy doesn't know the particulars of the Lockheed 10.  All he knows is that the gauge goes from 0 to 100 gallons and that the needle reads about 50, so he says, "One tank contained only 50 gallons of its total capacity of 100 gallons."

Based on this I believe that it is quite likely that they only had about 1050 U.S. gallons on board when they took off from Lae.

I think it's more likely that the actual load was more like 1,107 U.S. gallons but 1,100 is a safe conservative figure.

Ric
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Fuel System Research Bulletin
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2011, 12:06:18 AM »

--------------------
O.K. Ric, I'll buy that, it makes sense to me.

gl
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 01:05:51 PM by J. Nevill »
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Richard C Cooke

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Re: Fuel System Research Bulletin
« Reply #25 on: November 21, 2011, 08:30:54 AM »

Collopy looks at same gauge and sees the same thing but Collopy doesn't know the particulars of the Lockheed 10.  All he knows is that the gauge goes from 0 to 100 gallons and that the needle reads about 50, so he says, "One tank contained only 50 gallons of its total capacity of 100 gallons."
Collopy's telegram reports what Noonan told him about the fuel onboard:

"According to Captain Noonan the total fuel capacity of the aircraft was 1150 U.S. Gallons and oil 64 U.S. Gallons. They left Lae with a total of 1100 U.S. Gallons of fuel and 64 U.S. Gallons of oil. One tank contained only 50 gallons of its total capacity of 100 gallons. This tank contained 100 octane fuel and they considered the 50 gallons of this fuel sufficient for the take-off from Lae."

There is no suggestion that he personally checked the plane, and the numbers are nice round ones ie: 1150, 1100, 100 and 50 which is what he would remember from a conversation with Noonan, rather than an engineering or maintenance report giving exact numbers.

Richard Cooke
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Fuel System Research Bulletin
« Reply #26 on: November 21, 2011, 09:10:57 AM »

There is no suggestion that he personally checked the plane, and the numbers are nice round ones ie: 1150, 1100, 100 and 50 which is what he would remember from a conversation with Noonan, rather than an engineering or maintenance report giving exact numbers.

Thanks Richard.  I think that's a good observation.
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richie conroy

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Re: Fuel System Research Bulletin
« Reply #27 on: December 01, 2011, 02:48:30 PM »

i come across this picture so thought i would post it as u can see the rods an rods connected in upright position goin to black box or pump  :)

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Chuck Varney

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Re: Fuel System Research Bulletin
« Reply #28 on: December 02, 2011, 07:59:31 AM »

Ric,

The photo that Richie Conroy attached to Reply #29 shows a piece of equipment mounted atop the starboard 118-gallon tank.

Do you know what it is?

Chuck
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Fuel System Research Bulletin
« Reply #29 on: December 02, 2011, 08:26:14 AM »

Ric,

The photo that Richie Conroy attached to Reply #29 shows a piece of equipment mounted atop the starboard 118-gallon tank.

Do you know what it is?

Chuck

Short answer: No.
The key question is:  When was the photo taken?
I think I see part of the Hooven Radio Compass at lower right. That would date the photo to some time between October 1936 and early March '37 before the change to the Bendix loop.
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