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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Octane Analysis
« Reply #30 on: December 07, 2011, 09:05:58 PM »

Also Gary, AE wasn't big on learning about her aircraft. Why would she open or use manuals?  If everyone knew 100 octane was a waste of time then why did she have it in her aircraft and ferry it around?  It's what she believed that matters. She planned things based on the knowledge she knew. Even if it's wrong its what she believed was right. Her reality. Her opinion.  Her plan.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Octane Analysis
« Reply #31 on: December 07, 2011, 09:48:25 PM »

Also Gary, AE wasn't big on learning about her aircraft. Why would she open or use manuals?  If everyone knew 100 octane was a waste of time then why did she have it in her aircraft and ferry it around?  It's what she believed that matters. She planned things based on the knowledge she knew. Even if it's wrong its what she believed was right. Her reality. Her opinion.  Her plan.
As I wrote a week ago:

"That is my point and the extra hour of flight endurance could have allowed Earhart to find Howland, or some other island or, if she landed on Nikumororo then the extra fuel would have provided many hours of extra radio transmitting time, take your pick."

Of course she made decisions based upon the information she had at the time, it is just unfortunate that she was misinformed.

gl
« Last Edit: December 07, 2011, 10:20:23 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Octane Analysis
« Reply #32 on: December 07, 2011, 09:59:19 PM »


The issue that we were initially discussing was the question:  IF the 81 gallon tank that contained about 40.5 gallons of 100 octane fuel had been "topped off" with 40.5 gallons of 80/87 octane fuel, THEN would the distance to takeoff have been appreciably lengthened?
I guess you missed this, I put it on a different thread:

----------------------------------------------------

"What Johnson said was correct for a 14,000 pound takeoff without flaps but was definitely NOT TRUE for a 15,000 pound takeoff which takes significantly more than 2,000 feet at standard conditions and even more at the 2,000 foot density altitude at Lae. According to report 487, it takes 2,600 feet to take off without flaps at 16,500 pounds at a sea level density altitude. Doing the same calculations we did before, we find that a takeoff at Lae at a density altitude of 2,000 feet and 15,000 pounds without flaps results in a ground run of 2,278 feet. Lest you think that this is all just theoretical mumbo-jumbo, this calculation agrees quite closely with Chatter's observation of 2,550 feet, a difference of only 272 feet, less than a 12% difference thus Chatter's observation confirms the accuracy of this calculation. (I accept Chatter's report as more accurate in all of it's detail compared to Collopy's short letter.)

It is interesting to look at what would have happened if Earhart had completely filled that tank, adding about 50 U.S. gallons weighing 300 pounds. A takeoff at 15,300 pounds without flaps would have taken 2,370 feet, only 92 feet longer. And if she had put the flaps down to the 30° position specified in report 487 the takeoff would have taken only 1,914 feet providing a 1,086 foot safety margin, 57% extra runway.

We know that Earhart did not fill that tank because she believed that she needed 100 octane fuel to get maximum power out of her engines but Pratt and Whitney documents show that the engines make full takeoff power of 600 horsepower using the 87 octane fuel available at Lae (Jeff Neville disputes this) so she could have filled that tank, made a safe takeoff, and then have an extra hour of flying endurance to find a safe place to land.

Just for the sake of argument, let's say that Neville is correct and that she could only get 550 horsepower from each engine using 87 octane fuel, how would this have affected the takeoff? The length of the takeoff run varies with the inverse of the ratio of the engine power. Report 487 shows 2,100 feet for standard conditions, 30° of flaps, and 16,500 pounds using the full power of 600 horsepower from each engine, a total of 1,200 horsepower so taking off with a total of 1,100 hp gives a takeoff distance 9% longer, 2,290 feet. We adjust this for the takeoff weight of 15,300 pounds as we did before and find 1,970 feet. We then increase this by 6% to account for the density altitude so the complete calculation gives 2,088 feet compared to 1,914 for 1,200 hp (we could have just multiplied the 1,914 by 1.09 too), only 174 feet longer and with 912 foot safety margin, 44% extra runway available. Doing the same calculation for the flaps up scenario produces a takeoff run of 2,585 but this would be cutting it close so Earhart would have to have remembered to set the flaps correctly.
So no matter how you figure it, Earhart unnecessarily left behind an hour's worth of fuel and this fuel could have made a significant difference in the end. "
----------------------------------------------------

That should answer your question.

gl
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Octane Analysis
« Reply #33 on: December 07, 2011, 11:26:09 PM »

But your calculations are all based on what she needed to take off from Lae.  I believe she was thinking ahead to the takeoff at Howland. She really didn't know much about what was going on there as she wasn't doing a lot of talking with Itasca. Is there a record of her asking what shape the new unpaved strip was in?  Yes Gary many people in Washington were concerned that she get a good runway but they were in Washington. Not on the actual island. Why the incessant commentary on leaving without mixing the 100 octane she thought could boost her take off. A little insurance ( she believed) for that unknown runway.  Mixing her octanes for 50 more gallons when she calculated an ample reserve just seems like throwing her insurance away. Anyway she didn't do it so I must be right. LOL.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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JNev

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Re: Octane Analysis
« Reply #34 on: December 08, 2011, 01:05:43 PM »

If AE was flying with one tank of 100 octane because she had been told or led to believe she needed it for extra power on takeoff then why would she have that tank topped up with non 100 octane. She believed she had plenty of fuel, with ample reserve, for the trip to Howland.
She did know that Howland's airstrip had just been constructed and has no idea what shape it was really in. So saving any 100 octane for a "boosted" takeoff on a new runway on a small island would have been prudent.
EXCELLENT - YOU GET IT, Irvine John Donald; THE HIGHEST MP SETTINGS BY WHICH TO OBTAIN MAX HP IS PRECISELY THE POINT; IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT 'MAX POWER' IN THE LOOSE TERMS OF '600 HP' WE'VE SEEN REPEATEDLY PLASTERED HERE. - Jeff
She didn't plan on getting lost and needing every tank to be 100% full.  But she did need to plan her takeoff from Howland. If some of the arguments/inferences in this thread are true then why was she carrying two types of octane in the first place?
I THINK YOU NAILED THE POINT - THERE WAS GOOD REASON FOR HER TO PRESERVE THE 100 OCTANE STASH - Jeff
...High octane fuel is needed in high compression engines to prevent detonation (knock) that can quickly damage the engine. Earhart's S3H1 engines are low compression engines with a compression ratio of only 6:1, designed to make full takeoff power with the 87 octane fuel available at Lae...
ALL TRUE - PROVIDED ONE DID NOT EXCEED THE CRITERIA WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT (INCLUDING MP) - Jeff
One hundred octane fuel only became available, in experimental quantities, in 1934. The S3H1 had been designed to use the existing 87 octane fuel because it takes a lot longer than the one or two years that 100 octane fuel was available, prior to the actual construction of her engines, to design a new aircraft engine.
VERY GOOD FIND, GARY; YES - EXCEPT FOR THE NEED IN THE CONDITIONS PREVIOUSLY NOTED (WHICH YOU TEND TO CONTINUE TO IGNORE), AND THAT BY WHATEVER MEANS, AE DID HAVE 100 OCTANE IN A TANK - Jeff
Only one of the 107 other versions of the Wasp engine, many designed during WW2 after 100 octane fuel was freely available, required the use of 100 octane fuel and even that one version only put out 600 hp, just like Earhart's engines. (That one engine type was fuel injected and had many other modifications.) Think about it, there was a lot of pressure and incentive for Pratt & Whitney to increase the power of these engines, ("don't you know, there's a war on") but they were unable to do so even when 100 octane and other even higher octane fuels were available, all the way up to 145 octane.
INTERESTING - BUT NOT COMPLETELY ACCURATE PER THE LONG-FETED TCDS FOR THE , UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS, AGAIN CONSIDERING MP, ETC. - Jeff
Ask all of your friends and I bet that they will all say the same thing, that putting high octane fuel in their cars, that have engines that use "regular," will make the car go faster and accelerate faster because the engine will make more power with the "high power," high octane fuel. All of your friends will be wrong.
WITH EXCEPTION OF HAVING SO MANY FRIENDS WHO WOULD BELIEVE IT (WORD ABOUT THAT MYTH HAS GOTTEN ABOUT), THAT IT IS A GOOD POINT, AND TRUE - Jeff
Simply putting high octane fuel in your low compression engine that is not designed to use high octane fuel, that does not require the use of high octane fuel to prevent detonation, will not allow the engine to make more power. Apparently, in 1937, this was also a common misconception but, since the 100 octane fuel was just newly available, perhaps this misconception can be forgiven. The power setting table for these engines proves this, using the higher octane 91/96 fuel produces the exact same power output as when using 80/87 octane, the higher octane does not produce more power and the same is true if using 100 octane fuel.
IT IS DOUBTFUL THAT AE BOTHERED WITH THE 100 OCTANE RESERVE OUT OF MYTH; IT IS PROBABLE THAT IT WAS ABOARD FOR THE REASONS WELL UNDERSTOOD - MAX USE OF MP TO ENSURE MAX POWER ON TAKE-OFF AND INITIAL CLIMB WITH LESS RISK OF DETONATION/PRE-IGNITION; IT MAY WELL HAVE BEEN A 'CONSERVATIVE' DECISION, TOO - AS YOU'VE NOTED, LESS WAS UNDERSTOOD IN THOSE TENDER YEARS OF FUEL AND POWER DEVELOPMENT. - Jeff
Another question presents itself, where did Earhart get the 100 octane fuel, did she tanker it all the way around the world?
NOT SURE WE KNOW - PERHAPS SHE ONLY HAD USED AROUND 50 GALLONS BY THE TIME SHE WAS READY TO TAKE-OFF FROM LAE, SO MAYBE IT WAS WHAT WAS LEFT FROM TAKE-OFF AT MIAMI (I HAVE NOT DONE THE MATH, BUT YOU CAN IF YOU LIKE: LOOK AT THE TIME LIMITS / LIKELY MAX CONSUMPTION PER TAKE-OFF X NUMBER OF TAKE-OFFS TO THAT POINT).  ONE THING SEEMS CLEAR - THERE WASN'T ANY AT LAE. - Jeff
gl

gl

Some of this was interesting as a 'continuance', so I made a few comments in bold italics throughout...

LTM -
- Jeff Neville

Former Member 3074R
 
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Octane Analysis
« Reply #35 on: December 08, 2011, 01:32:12 PM »

Hi Jeff. Yes I think Gary made some good points on the fact that 100 octane doesn't "boost" anything. And my point to him is that it doesn't matter what we believe or can prove, it's what did AE believe. 

We see this often in current marketing practices where a claim is made to market a product and the claim is later found to be incorrect. (Boy I had to dance around that statement.).
If AE bought into the claims on this new higher octane performance then it "may" explain why she had it on the flight.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Octane Analysis
« Reply #36 on: December 08, 2011, 09:15:37 PM »

I can see that and agree - and I still think she had valid reasons for it -

While NR16020's Wasps were indeed 'low compression' as has been pointed out by Gary, they were also 'boosted' by a supercharger.  I'm not sure I can reliably remember the impeller gear ratio but believe it was 10:1 on the TCDS (ratio is neither here nor there for our purposes, just one item on the sheet that affirms a blower was present) -

That's how one would get the 36.5" of manifold pressure cited in the TCDS - when the higher octane fuel happens to be indicated.  It is curious that this point never got mentioned in this whole string - it is almost as if the presumption all along was that these were naturally aspirated engines.  If they had been naturally aspirated we wouldn't be having the discussion on octane and effects and AE's necessities on this point - yhe higher octane consideration would not be in the picture.  'Blown' engines poke more air mass into the combustion chambers - and have a similar effect at higher MPs that a 'higher compression ratio' would naturally have (it is all about relative mass and relative compression values).

A naturally aspirated engine would only develop around 28.5" or so of MP max on a fair day - something just under ambient barometric pressure (there is a pressure drop over the throttle plate, etc.).  In that case you could knock yourself out all day with a Wasp and never get close to ill effects. 

If memory serves, you don't start creeping over the line in a naturally aspirated engine to a need for higher octane ratings until past around 8.5:1 compression or so.  From boyhood on the flight line, I recall Cherokee 140's having a basic requirement for 80 octane fuel - their O-320 engines probably had 6:1 or so compression ratios; the Cherokee 180 was different - 91/97 octane for their O-360 engines that were likely more like 8:1 or something higher (I haven't looked it up - someone can for the exercise if they wish to).  As a practical matter, our little airport stocked (in those days) "80" and "100" (really 80/87 and 100/115), so 140's got "80" and 180s got "100" octane at the pump. 

How can I remember thatso well?  Guess which 14 year-old line boy (at the time) topped off a 180 one night with 80 octane... I thought I had ruined the airplane.  The wonderful fellow who ran the place listened to my confession and then gave me one of my earliest technical short-courses in aviation: why different airplanes required different grades (compression ratios, volatility, etc.) - and that the amount of 80 octane I had pumped into the 180 was not enough to dilute the existing 100 octane below any safe level.  The man was not only an experienced civilian aviator of great talent and learning, he was a retired naval aviator with many years of training and experience with large recips.

So in fact, and very close to one part of Gary's insistence with which I never disagreed, the Wasp was quite tolerant up to a fair degree of boost: it is only at the very highest MP's where the higher octane is required (...where the 'anti-knock' solution becomes more critical).

And I should proabably just leave it all with your own elegant take-away - it is what AE actually did that counts, and her reasons would be easy enough to understand. 

So, forgive my ruminations - but AE proabably did have a fair understanding that one just doesn't slam the shiney things forward to the wall on a boosted engine without knowing they're not going to trigger destructive problems.  100 octane would be one easy way to ensure that wouldn't happen, and I suspect she still had the remnants of the original stash aboard, possibly from Miami, for another take-off at Howland, after Lae.  Makes sense.

LTM -
I'll leave you with just one word, PLANK.  ;)

gl
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Octane Analysis
« Reply #37 on: December 08, 2011, 09:45:33 PM »


Makes sense?
Let's see, am I to understand that AE loaded up a tank with 81 gallons of 100 octane gas (486 lbs) and schlepped it half way around the world because she might need it for takeoff from Howland?  I think not!

If she felt that she needed that flavor of gas at Howland, George Putnam would have assured that 2 druns (110 gallons), at least, would have been included in the fuel cache waiting for her at Howland.
No Worries Mates
LTM   Harry (TIGHAR #3244R)
 
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Octane Analysis
« Reply #38 on: December 09, 2011, 03:58:25 AM »

If AE was flying with one tank of 100 octane because she had been told or led to believe she needed it for extra power on takeoff then why would she have that tank topped up with non 100 octane. She believed she had plenty of fuel, with ample reserve, for the trip to Howland.
She did know that Howland's airstrip had just been constructed and has no idea what shape it was really in. So saving any 100 octane for a "boosted" takeoff on a new runway on a small island would have been prudent. She didn't plan on getting lost and needing every tank to be 100% full.  But she did need to plan her takeoff from Howland. If some of the arguments/inferences in this thread are true then why was she carrying two types of octane in the first place?
Except we know that they had planned to carry only 825 gallons of fuel for the leg from Howland to Hawaii which is only 1892 SM, 664 SM shorter than the Lae to Howland leg. This is 275 gallons less than they carried on takeoff from Lae so the weight of the plane would have 1650 pounds less, only about 13,350 pounds. Doing the same takeoff calculations I have shown before we know that the takeoff distance varies with the weight ratio squared. Report 487 gives 2100 feet for a takeoff at 16,500 pounds, 13,350 pounds is only 0.809 of the maximum weight, which squared equals 0.654 times 2100 feet predicts the takeoff distance at Howland of 1,375 with 30° of flaps. For a no flap takeoff the distance would be the same 0.654 times 2,600 feet for a Howland takeoff distance of 1,700 feet.

We also have confirmation that these calculation are accurate. The plane weighed 14,000 pounds on takeoff from Oakland and that takeoff was without flaps. Doing the same calculation, the formula predicts the takeoff distance at Oakland  of 1872 feet. The actual measured distance for that takeoff was 1897 feet, a difference of only 25 feet! Even if Earhart didn't want to do this calculation she knew from the Oakland takeoff that she could takeoff in only 1897 feet at a weight of 14,000 pounds and she knew that she would weigh less than that at Howland so would know that she could get off in the same 1897 feet without flaps and even shorter if she chose to use flaps.

Based on this, there was a large safety margin at Howland so no reason to worry about a takeoff even with less than full power if she believed that she couldn't get full power if only 87 octane was provided by the Coast Guard. It is also certainly possible that Earhart had a barrel of 100 octane landed at Howland.

gl

gl
« Last Edit: December 27, 2011, 06:38:34 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Octane Analysis
« Reply #39 on: December 09, 2011, 05:39:38 AM »

No Harry. She didn't truck it around the world just for Howland. The question everyone was asking is why she didn't fill that tank before leaving Lae. I simply raise a possibility.

Gary you have an excellent technical answer for why she didn't need the 100 octane. Now please give me an excellent technical answer for A) why she had it in the first place and B) why she didn't fill that tank with 87 octane and have a blend.   

If AE had all of this knowledge that said she didn't need 100 octane then why did she have it???

Come on guys. It's 1937. World war 1 ended only 19 years before. All of the many advances of ww 2 have not yet taken place. So the science of flying isn't nearly as advanced as today. It's barely out of barnstorming.  This is a woman out to make a name for herself who doesn't even know morse code or have a morse key with her or have proper communication plans with the one CG ship she should absolutely be in touch with.  Her communications and overall planning were lacking but you want me to believe that in the area of fuel and engines she knew then what you know today?

Try getting into her head and say WHY she carried the fuel. Not why she didn't need it. I look forward to the answer.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Octane Analysis
« Reply #40 on: December 09, 2011, 08:15:49 AM »

How many of us have gotten a tank full of "bad" fuel, even at modern airports?  As IJD says, "It's 1937... ", and fuel quality in foreign lands may have been highly variable.  If it were me, I'd want at least one tank of uncontaminated fuel.  She wasn't going to know how each fillup would perform as she progressed on her flight until she switched tanks. Since takeoff is the most unforgiving time in each leg, when an engine hiccup is intollerable, so she might have simply wanted a guaranteed tank of trouble-free fuel, and 100-octane is sort of a "belts and suspenders" approach.

She may have known that 87 octane gave her full power, but worried that a tank full of bad fuel that was only ~60 octane would be dangerous. 

Where was her last opportunity to fill the tank with 100 octane and verify "good fuel" with a low-weight takeoff on a long field - maybe Darwin? 

How many gallons would she burn in a heavy takeoff and initial climbout at max power?
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Octane Analysis
« Reply #41 on: December 09, 2011, 10:31:59 AM »

No Harry. She didn't truck it around the world just for Howland. The question everyone was asking is why she didn't fill that tank before leaving Lae. I simply raise a possibility.

Gary you have an excellent technical answer for why she didn't need the 100 octane. Now please give me an excellent technical answer for A) why she had it in the first place and B) why she didn't fill that tank with 87 octane and have a blend.   

If AE had all of this knowledge that said she didn't need 100 octane then why did she have it???

Come on guys. It's 1937. World war 1 ended only 19 years before. All of the many advances of ww 2 have not yet taken place. So the science of flying isn't nearly as advanced as today. It's barely out of barnstorming.  This is a woman out to make a name for herself who doesn't even know morse code or have a morse key with her or have proper communication plans with the one CG ship she should absolutely be in touch with.  Her communications and overall planning were lacking but you want me to believe that in the area of fuel and engines she knew then what you know today?

Try getting into her head and say WHY she carried the fuel. Not why she didn't need it. I look forward to the answer.
I've said it several times, she was misinformed about the capabilities of higher octane fuel as are almost all people, even today.

gl
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Octane Analysis
« Reply #42 on: December 09, 2011, 10:34:58 AM »

How many of us have gotten a tank full of "bad" fuel, even at modern airports?  As IJD says, "It's 1937... ", and fuel quality in foreign lands may have been highly variable.  If it were me, I'd want at least one tank of uncontaminated fuel.  She wasn't going to know how each fillup would perform as she progressed on her flight until she switched tanks. Since takeoff is the most unforgiving time in each leg, when an engine hiccup is intollerable, so she might have simply wanted a guaranteed tank of trouble-free fuel, and 100-octane is sort of a "belts and suspenders" approach.

She may have known that 87 octane gave her full power, but worried that a tank full of bad fuel that was only ~60 octane would be dangerous. 

Where was her last opportunity to fill the tank with 100 octane and verify "good fuel" with a low-weight takeoff on a long field - maybe Darwin? 

How many gallons would she burn in a heavy takeoff and initial climbout at max power?
But how would she be certain of the quality of 100 octane fuel purchased somewhere along her route? It would be just as likely to be contaminated as the normal 87 octane fuel bought along the way.

gl
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JNev

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Re: Octane Analysis
« Reply #43 on: December 09, 2011, 11:21:05 AM »

From the "Chater Report" -

"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)."

By Chater's report, this is what "AE did", and thereby Chater has stated "the reason for it".  I find no good reason to question this.  It also just happens to be consistent with an L10E "book" take-off at 36.5" MP boosted / 2300 rpm / 600 at sea level for 1 minute from Lae.  That's fits the criteria as published today; apparently the same was understood at that time. 

In the Report of the Tenth Cruise to the American Equatorial Islands, Richard Black reported:

"Four drums (200 gallons) of 100 octane gasoline (special for take-off) and numerous spare parts, supplies, and tools are being carried to (H)howland for the Earhart flight."

It is interesting what history can tell us.

---

Quote from Gary LaPook -

Quote
I've said it several times, she was misinformed about the capabilities of higher octane fuel as are almost all people, even today.

gl

That's your judgment; if so, then so must have been everyone else around her - like Kelly (Lockheed), Mantz, Marshall (P&W), and in other ways, Noonan, Hooven, etc...  I disagree.

LTM -
- Jeff Neville

Former Member 3074R
 
« Last Edit: October 27, 2014, 08:32:30 AM by Jeffrey Neville »
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Octane Analysis
« Reply #44 on: December 09, 2011, 11:25:20 AM »

No Harry. She didn't truck it around the world just for Howland. The question everyone was asking is why she didn't fill that tank before leaving Lae. I simply raise a possibility.

Gary you have an excellent technical answer for why she didn't need the 100 octane. Now please give me an excellent technical answer for A) why she had it in the first place and B) why she didn't fill that tank with 87 octane and have a blend.   

If AE had all of this knowledge that said she didn't need 100 octane then why did she have it???

Come on guys. It's 1937. World war 1 ended only 19 years before. All of the many advances of ww 2 have not yet taken place. So the science of flying isn't nearly as advanced as today. It's barely out of barnstorming.  This is a woman out to make a name for herself who doesn't even know morse code or have a morse key with her or have proper communication plans with the one CG ship she should absolutely be in touch with.  Her communications and overall planning were lacking but you want me to believe that in the area of fuel and engines she knew then what you know today?

Try getting into her head and say WHY she carried the fuel. Not why she didn't need it. I look forward to the answer.
I've said it several times, she was misinformed about the capabilities of higher octane fuel as are almost all people, even today.

gl

Ok Gary. So you understand then why she didn't dilute the 100 octane.  She was misinformed. And that was probably one of the lesser mistakes that led to the tragic end.  Jeff's newest post certainly adds to the story.  Nice detective work Jeff.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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