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Author Topic: Symposium Questions  (Read 15770 times)

Brad Beeching

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Symposium Questions
« on: June 03, 2012, 12:39:13 PM »

I've had it in my mind that if Earhart & Noonan landed on the reef at Niku, it was somewhat less than a smooth landing and in fact may have been more along the lines of the Luke Field ground loop. Enough damage to cause injury, not enough to preclude running an engine.

Was anything presented during the symposium that discussed the condition of the plane on landing, and if so, could you please elaborate?

Brad
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2012, 01:04:22 PM »

The question of how flat was the reef edge was the subject of a question yesterday.  Ric and others present who have been to Niku said its very flat and smooth. Some compared it to an asphalt strip while others said concrete. The we're able to show a picture of how flat it was. Additional question was how much water was on the reef at the time of landing. Tide charts show it was only inches. Perhaps 6".

They also said its very slippery. With the big rough field tires the Electra had it is likely it was a reasonable landing. Perhaps not baby skin smooth but not with any likely damage. Remember this vintage of aircraft has lap belts only.  Also remember that we don't know for sure as we have no witnesses or record.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
« Last Edit: June 03, 2012, 06:35:05 PM by Irvine John Donald »
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Brad Beeching

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Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2012, 02:02:22 PM »

Thanks, but there were two witnesses to the landing... but it is unfortunate that they couldnt be found in time to be interviewed!  ;D

I was wondering though, is there any information regarding what the Electra might have weighed on landing, and what impact that might have on how the aircraft might have behaved on landing in some 6" of water on a slick surface? I think it was Ric who said it was somewhat akin to walking on ice didn't he? So I guess the question in my mind is, although the surface is very smooth, how probable is it that she slid off the smooth part of the reef and hung a wheel in a crevasse? Such a scenario could account for the reported injuries and other comments reported as well as a possible explanation for "Nessie" could it not?

Irv, you reminded me that the aircraft had big, high floatation tires. Not being a pilot, how would a rough field landing be in a large twin engined aircraft that is very light with big, wide tires on a very slick surface covered with 6" of ocean water?

Brad
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2012, 07:04:21 PM »

Technicality Brad. LOL. Yes two witnesses were present but they had no one to tell. (If a witness falls in the forest and no one is present do they make a sound?)

Good question for some of the pilot types out there. Gary?
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Brad Beeching

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Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2012, 09:43:02 PM »

Or the question that begs an answer might be "If two witnesses fall on a beach, and only a retired lawyer and an archeologist saw it, would they be believed?"  ;D

Brad
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2012, 10:12:50 PM »

Or the question that begs an answer might be "If two witnesses fall on a beach, and only a retired lawyer and an archeologist saw it, would they be believed?"  ;D

Brad

Aaah yes but only an archaeologist would have the appropriate background to assess the archaeological aspects of the falling witness and any traces such a fall may have left.
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Brad Beeching

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Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2012, 10:49:39 PM »

And only a lawyer qualified to argue the legal aspects of the fall, any injuries incured as a result of the placement of sand vs witness and damage to said sand as a result of any possible impact with witness both real and imagined!  ;D

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John Ousterhout

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Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2012, 10:52:11 PM »

I'll leave it to GL and other, more experienced pilots to comment, but when I've landed a Cessna 152 on a rough "grass" strip, it had no difficulty dealing with a "rough" surface that appeared to me to be comparable to the good-parts of the coral surface shown at Niku.  My Cessna only has small tires compared to AE's Lockheed, which looked to me to be able to handle a rough ploughed field without difficulty.   If AE landed at Niku as proposed, the big tires would probably have delt with the best parts of the reef surface easily.
Consider this - Alaska bush planes commonly land on very rough surfaces using tires about the size AE had on her Lockheed.  They land at speeds about the same as the Lockheed (<60 knots), and I would guess with approximately the same loading (I'm guessing here - Gary please fill in details).  The idea that a Lockheed might be able to land on the best parts off the reef seems entirely within reason to me.  The unknown part of the question is whether AE would have been able to do so, even assuming she made it to Niku.  The best part of the reef might or might not have been obvious from a quick fly-over examination.  I'm not aware of AE having any experience dealing with water landings, or the optical illusions they can present.  That's pretty specialized training.  Fred might have had some experience.
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Brad Beeching

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Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2012, 11:12:51 PM »

That is the question I am driving at. I would expect AE was fairly well versed in grass and other soft field landings, and Im sure the aircraft could handle the reef surface as it was rigged. Im curious about what happens when you land a lightly loaded 14,000 lb balloon tired aircraft onto a very slick surface that is covered with a layer of ocean water? I would also question whether or not the 6in of water was moving from wave action or would would it have been static? I know what happens to my car when I hit a sheet of water at 70 mph (112.65 kph) in a West Texas frog strangler... the rudder and throttle controls cease to function!  ;D

Brad
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2012, 05:44:20 AM »

Brad---as we found out, there may have been little water on the reef landing area at the time. So handleing the water problem I personally think wasnt an issue. Other factors may have been-
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2012, 02:46:43 PM »

My take-away is that the Electra should not have had a major problem landing on the area that's been suggested. 

The big Good Year 'Air Wheels' are true flotation types - low PSI, big footprint - they absorb a lot of imperfections on a surface and shock very well.  One huge reason for their existence on planes like NR16020 was precisely the problem at-hand - dealing with 'unimproved conditions' - runways with irregular surfaces.

Water and hydroplaning does raise issues, no doubt.
Here is a video of a water landing.

And another.

I don't think that I have ever landed with six inches of water but I know that I have landed with at least three inches of water and slush.

gl

« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 04:25:48 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2012, 06:50:23 AM »

way cool Gary----Thanks for posting that! I'm with Jeff----these would be great down here!
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2012, 08:40:30 AM »

Nice link. Thanks Gary.  Are those tires similar to the Electras?  And scale of aircraft the same as the Electra to size of tire? 
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2012, 08:47:25 AM »

Irv---I think the electra tires were something like 36" in diameter, so with the length of the plane, it didnt look out of place. I'm thinking about the size tire on a C47 (DC3). Made for rough, unimproved field landings, just about perfect for a reef landing.
Tom
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2012, 10:03:37 AM »

Nice link. Thanks Gary.  Are those tires similar to the Electra's?  And scale of aircraft the same as the Electra to size of tire?

I have some photos of Electra tires in my Auckland album.

Jeff Glickman said that the Electra had 36" diameter tires.

I don't know how that compares to the tundra tires used in Gary's videos.
LTM,

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