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Author Topic: Electra Handling?  (Read 54288 times)

Bill Roe

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Electra Handling?
« on: July 07, 2012, 08:56:05 PM »

Just curious - has any forum member flown this airplane?  Heh, are there any air worthy Electras around?

What controls the airplane on the ground?  -  Some tail draggers by the stick as the tail wheel is free wheeling.

Here's a pic of her personpit (cockpit is such a sexist term - isn't it?  ;) )  It's really filthy.  A ton of dirt/dust on the console - I wonder if the filth could have affected any instruments?



That white wire looks like a mickey mouse job.
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Bill Roe

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Re: Electra Handling?
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2012, 09:09:08 PM »

By the way - Amelia's personal car was a yellow Cord.

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Bill Roe

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Re: Electra Handling?
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2012, 09:25:54 PM »

OOPS!  Ground loop at Luke in Hawaii. 

You know I've read some of the links given to me on the intro thread.  Or the chatterbox.....  Anyway, one of the more interesting discussed her abilities as a pilot.  Diplomatically allowing the reader to judge that she had problems.  Hell, she sucked, imho.  Thus my question re ground maneuvering.  If she landed on a smooth, wet reef with only stick control with power, she probably did end up in deep water?

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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Electra Handling?
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2012, 10:33:32 PM »

You know I've read some of the links given to me on the intro thread.  ...  Anyway, one of the more interesting discussed her abilities as a pilot.  Diplomatically allowing the reader to judge that she had problems.  Hell, she sucked, imho.

The list of her records and wrecks is in the Ameliapedia article on Earhart.

It comes from Ric Gillespie's observation that AE tended to have trouble when she moved up in type, then became proficient later on.

The Luke Field accident fits this pattern.  It happened early in her ownership of the Electra.  After flying 22,000+ miles in it, she made an absolutely masterful takeoff from Lae.  I don't doubt that she was capable of making an equally masterful landing on the reef.

I don't know whether the tailwheel was actively controlled by the rudder pedals.  My impression is that AE tried to control the aircraft by tweaking the throttles instead of being swift and decisive on the rudder--ground loops in tail draggers are quite common, and there really isn't a big mystery about what causes them and what avoids them.
LTM,

           Marty
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Bill Roe

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Re: Electra Handling?
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2012, 08:42:37 AM »


  My impression is that AE tried to control the aircraft by tweaking the throttles instead of being swift and decisive on the rudder........


I've been reading - trying to figger out how you got that impression.  My understanding is that she was taking off on wet psp.  Slippery stuff.  Real slippery.  My impression is that she tried to correct with the yoke.  At least that would explain the eye witness account of the accident.  She probably would not have ground looped had she provided some right rudder before lift off.  I'll have to search and try to find her accident interview.

Maybe not - my experience with psp has been in a single engine (3400hp) tail dragger during the monsoon season at NKP, Thailand.  Flying a multi-engine, lower hp may change my mind.   

Nevertheless, I will respectfully disagree that she was "capable" of a decent landing on the reef.  There's a whole bunch of difference between landing on a prepared field and setting down safely on an unknown surface - and I still think she should not have been flying outside her comfort zone - she was not that capable a pilot.

I hope that, once the Electra is located, a determination may be made as to a gear up or gear down landing.

And Marty - thank you for your reply.  And links.  And patience with this new comer.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Electra Handling?
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2012, 11:31:50 AM »

  My impression is that AE tried to control the aircraft by tweaking the throttles instead of being swift and decisive on the rudder........

I've been reading - trying to figger out how you got that impression.

Ric presented this quotation to the Forum in 1999: "Mantz certainly didn't shoulder any blame for the Luke Field wreck when he talked to his biographer Don Dwiggins (Hollywood Pilot, Doubleday, 1967), He blamed AE's throttle-jockeying on takeoff, a dangerous practice which he had often warned her about.  As he put it "She didn't listen to Papa."

Asynchronous thrust is a great help with turns when taxiing in close quarters, when the rudders are ineffective.  Once the tail comes up, the rudders gain authority--and it's time to use them.

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My understanding is that she was taking off on wet psp.  Slippery stuff.  Real slippery.

I used to think that was the case, but the review board said that was not an issue.  See references in the wiki article.

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My impression is that she tried to correct with the yoke.  At least that would explain the eye witness account of the accident.  She probably would not have ground looped had she provided some right rudder before lift off.  I'll have to search and try to find her accident interview.

The review board says there was no accident interview.

Part of their finding reads: "On reaching the end at the at Miss Earhart turned and after a brief delay opened both throttles. As the airplane gathered speed it swung slightly to the right. Miss Earhart corrected this tendency by throttling the left hand motor. The airplane then began to swing to the left with increasing speed, characteristic of a ground-loop. It tilted outward, right wing low and for 50 or 60 feet was supported on the right wheel only. The right-hand landing-gear suddenly collapsed under this excessive load followed by the left. The airplane spun sharply to the left sliding on its belly amid a shower of sparks from the mat and came to rest headed about 200 degrees from its initial course."

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Nevertheless, I will respectfully disagree that she was "capable" of a decent landing on the reef.  There's a whole bunch of difference between landing on a prepared field and setting down safely on an unknown surface - and I still think she should not have been flying outside her comfort zone - she was not that capable a pilot.

Once she left Miami, every airport she went to was "an unknown surface."  Off-airport landings were not uncommon during her career (1921-1937).  I think she could have made the landing without too much difficulty. 

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I hope that, once the Electra is located, a determination may be made as to a gear up or gear down landing.

It would take great luck to be able to determine that.  You'd need a pretty intact wing. 

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And Marty - thank you for your reply.  And links.  And patience with this new comer.

You're welcome.  :)
LTM,

           Marty
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C.W. Herndon

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Re: Electra Handling?
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2012, 11:57:46 AM »

Good summation Marty. I also read the wiki article about the "Disaster at Luke Field" and found the interview with Gerald V. Berger very revealing. It's another one of those numerious things I had not seen before.

The Marbles No. 2 Hand Ax picture looks familiar. Is that the one I posted before?
Woody (former 3316R)
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« Last Edit: July 10, 2012, 08:15:10 PM by C.W. Herndon »
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Electra Handling?
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2012, 12:47:27 PM »

"What controls the airplane on the ground?  -  Some tail draggers by the stick as the tail wheel is free wheeling."
I've not heard of any airplane that uses the yoke/stick for control on the ground, other than the Earcoupe (it had no rudder pedals).  I've flown a few light aircraft with fully-swivelling tail wheels and they still require use of the rudder (controlled by pedals), along with differential braking (toe or heel operated), for ground control.  Perhaps Gary or some other expert can clarify the point.
As I recall reading, the Lockheed used a separate hand lever for brakes, making its use during takeoff a 3-handed procedure - left hand on the yoke, right hand on the throttles/props/mixtures, 3rd hand on steering brakes, feet on rudder pedals.  Once the tail is up, brakes wouldn't normally be used on takeoff, but the pilots hands are pretty busy up to that point. The controls may have been strictly designed for operation by two people.  It was an airliner, after all.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Bill Roe

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Re: Electra Handling?
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2012, 01:28:58 PM »

Yupper, John -

A-1E Skyraiders, P-51s (just to name a couple) - maneuver under power with the rudder - blast of prop wash over the control surface.  Oh fer Pete's sakes.  Just noticed my goof - so sorry - not with the stick/yoke.  These aircraft are single engine and very powerful.  Heh, heh - lemme see here, what's my excuse?  Would you believe that it's been awhile since I've had command of an airplane?  That's a good one, let's use it. 

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Bill Roe

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Re: Electra Handling?
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2012, 01:35:47 PM »

Oh, and Marty -

A gear up landing could possibly be determined by the position of some of the moveable parts of the landing gear -

And - my reference to an unknown surface did not include friendly unknowns.  She's out of gas, over a rather large expanse of water and lost. 
Plus, and most people don't know this, but she had to pee real bad and needed to skid in someplace just to relieve herself.  So there!   ;) :D
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Electra Handling?
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2012, 02:33:35 PM »


I've been reading - trying to figger out how you got that impression.  My understanding is that she was taking off on wet psp.  Slippery stuff.  Real slippery.  My impression is that she tried to correct with the yoke.  At least that would explain the eye witness account of the accident.  She probably would not have ground looped had she provided some right rudder before lift off.  I'll have to search and try to find her accident interview.



The photo you posted above shows the runway at Luke to be turf, not PSP. I was at Luke Field on Ford Island last year and the runway is still turf.

gl
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Electra Handling?
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2012, 02:40:15 PM »

You know I've read some of the links given to me on the intro thread.  ...  Anyway, one of the more interesting discussed her abilities as a pilot.  Diplomatically allowing the reader to judge that she had problems.  Hell, she sucked, imho.

The list of her records and wrecks is in the Ameliapedia article on Earhart.

It comes from Ric Gillespie's observation that AE tended to have trouble when she moved up in type, then became proficient later on.

The Luke Field accident fits this pattern.  It happened early in her ownership of the Electra.  After flying 22,000+ miles in it, she made an absolutely masterful takeoff from Lae.  I don't doubt that she was capable of making an equally masterful landing on the reef.

I don't know whether the tailwheel was actively controlled by the rudder pedals.  My impression is that AE tried to control the aircraft by tweaking the throttles instead of being swift and decisive on the rudder--ground loops in tail draggers are quite common, and there really isn't a big mystery about what causes them and what avoids them.
Well Marty, I disagree with you an this one. She forgot (or otherwise failed) to follow the procedure from Lockheed and didn't extend the flaps to the proper position for takeoff which resulted in the overly long takeoff roll and could have resulted in disaster.

gl
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Electra Handling?
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2012, 02:56:37 PM »

"What controls the airplane on the ground?  -  Some tail draggers by the stick as the tail wheel is free wheeling."
I've not heard of any airplane that uses the yoke/stick for control on the ground, other than the Earcoupe (it had no rudder pedals).  I've flown a few light aircraft with fully-swivelling tail wheels and they still require use of the rudder (controlled by pedals), along with differential braking (toe or heel operated), for ground control.  Perhaps Gary or some other expert can clarify the point.
As I recall reading, the Lockheed used a separate hand lever for brakes, making its use during takeoff a 3-handed procedure - left hand on the yoke, right hand on the throttles/props/mixtures, 3rd hand on steering brakes, feet on rudder pedals.  Once the tail is up, brakes wouldn't normally be used on takeoff, but the pilots hands are pretty busy up to that point. The controls may have been strictly designed for operation by two people.  It was an airliner, after all.
I don't know if we discussed this before, if we did, I don't remember the answer. Most powerful taildraggers  (P-51s, DC-3s, etc., I suspect William's Spad had one) have locking tailwheels, and that you lock in the straight ahead position for takeoff. You line up on the runway, taxi forward a bit to make sure the tailwheel is centered and then lock it in this position usually by holding the stick all the way back. Then by holding the stick back at the beginning of the takeoff roll you firmly plant the locked tailwheel on the ground and it keeps the plane going straight. Then when you have enough airspeed so that the airflow over the rudder is enough to assure directional control, you push the stick forward to raise the tail off the ground and then steer with the rudders. Did the L10E have a locking tailwheel?

gl

(BTW, I saw a show on the Military Channel several months ago and I was surprised to find out that Spads had shot down Migs over Viet Nam.)
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 03:01:30 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Bruce Thomas

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Re: Electra Handling?
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2012, 03:11:32 PM »

The photo you posted above shows the runway at Luke to be turf, not PSP. I was at Luke Field on Ford Island last year and the runway is still turf.

Here's an interesting first few sentences from an article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on April 23 of this year.
Quote
The Navy wants to cover Ford Island's historic runway with photovoltaic panels — an addition the service said would "define and interpret" the original runway while providing environment-friendly power.

But the neighboring Pacific Aviation Museum calls the proposal an "atrocity" in light of the airfield's rich history.
LTM,

Bruce
TIGHAR #3123R
 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Electra Handling?
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2012, 04:10:30 PM »

Good sumation Marty. I also read the wiki article about the "Disaster at Luke Field" and found the interview with Gerald V. Berger very revealing. It's another one of those numerious things I had not seen before.

The site is "Buried Alive" with information!  ???

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The Marbles No. 2 Hand Ax picture looks familiar. Is that the one I posted before?

Of course it is.  I'm a horder.  I take pretty things back to the wiki.   ::)
LTM,

           Marty
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