Research Document #33
The Luke Field Crash Report: Exhibit A
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STATEMENT OF FIRST LIEUTENANT KENNETH A. ROGERS, Air Corps, Engineering Officer, Wheeler Field, T.H.

The enclosed copies of (a) General information about the Amelia Earhart Putnam flight and, (b) Plan for Amelia Earhart Putnam Flight, published at Wheeler Field, give a comprehensive picture and understating of the pre-flight preparation and plans at Wheeler Field, so the following deals entirely with what was done for Miss Earhart while she was here and on the way here.

From the time Miss Earhart left California the Goup Radio Station stood by on all three frequencies it was possible for her to send on until she had landed at Wheeler Field. The Group Operations was on the alert during the entire flight and plotted her course throughout the night. They made periodical reports when requested by Globe Wireless, concerning the weather and field conditions at Wheeler Field.

After she landed, the Group Operations Officer and the Airdrome Officer, with sufficient enlisted personnel, directed Miss Earhart to the 75th Service Squadron hangar. The crash truck followed the plane to the hangar, and the Ambulance with the flight surgeon in charge was available on the hangar line. Instead of stopping on the ramp, the airplane was taxied into the hangar before the motors were out. The hangar was kept clear of all people except those officially on duty there and the receiving party. The hangar was roped off and every effort made to safeguard the plane from damage.

As soon as the crew had cleared the plane and taken a little time for pictures, they were escorted to the Commanding Officer's quarters where food was awaiting them. A direct line telephone had been installed there for the use of Miss Earhart.

From approximately 3:00 a.m. on the morning of her arrival, and until after she departed, sufficient military police, augmented by a battalion of Infantry, furnished the necessary guard and controlled the traffic situation.

Mr. Mantz departed with the rest of the crew with no word whatsoever as to what was to be done to the plane in the way of service and check-over. Mr. Thomas, the Pratt and Whitney engine man for this territory, was present and he and the Engineering Officer took it upon themselves to do what is usually done to put an airplane into suitable condition for the continuance of such a flight. The following work was done:

Checked pitch adjusting screws for proper setting.
Greased counterweight caps.
Pumped gasoline from right wing tank into left wing tank.
Drained oil.
Serviced with 68 quarts of oil: 34 quarts in each tank.
Spark plugs removed, cleaned, spark gap adjusted and reinstalled.
Magneto breaker points checked.
Intake packing nuts re-tightened.
Tightened carburetor heater nuts.
Removed both batteries and placed on charge.
Both batteries re-installed.
Greased propeller hubs with special grease brought with airplane.
Removed control box and installed spare control box.
Removed control box and checked same and found that the current control was set to cut at between 60 and 70 amperes.
Checked ignition system and found a fuse blown, caused by improper setting of current control, to cut out at between 60 and 70 amperes.
Adjusted both control box maximum current controls to cut out at 45 amperes, and reinstalled one control box.
Checked voltage control and reverse current cut-out on both control boxes.
The valves of No. 1 cylinder on each engine checked by Mr. Thomas.
The compression of each cylinder on both engines checked by Mr. Thomas.
Bulb in instrument light dimmed by painting it white.
Engine ring cowlings removed, cleaned, inspected, and reinstalled.
Fuel and oil lines, connections and piping inspected.
Fire extinguisher line taped up.

When the plane arrived Mr. Mantz said that something had gone wrong with one of the propellers to the extent that the pitch could not be changed and that he had flown the airplane for the last seven or eight hours with the propellers in this condition. From the amount of grease pumped into the propeller hubs, it was clearly evident that these hubs had not left Oakland with very much grease in them.

It took all morning and until about three in the afternoon to finish the above checking, but the ship was then ready to be run up to find out if the grease which was forced into the hubs had cleared up the propeller trouble. Mr. Mantz very opportunely showed up at this time and proceeded to run the motors up. The controlling mechanism on the left propeller worked but the pitch on the right one would not change even the slightest degree. During this run up it was also determined that the reason the generator had failed to show a charge during the latter part of the trip was due entirely to the fact that the fuse was blown out and not to the control box being out of order, as Mr. Mantz had insisted upon landing.

The ship was pushed back into the hangar and the right propeller removed and taken to the propeller room for check. It was partly disassembled and found to be very badly galled and the blades frozen solidly in the hub. This was believed to have been caused by the lack of and use of improper lubricant: an opinion expressed by both Mr. Thomas and Master Sergeant Biando, the latter the best propeller man at Wheeler Field. The theory that the hubs were nearly dry when the plane left the mainland was further augmented, it previously having been noted that there was no possibility of the grease having leaked or been thrown out since the propellers and the engines presented a remarkably clean and grease-free appearance when work was first started. At this point it was thought that Wheeler Field did not possess the proper tools to complete the work required on the propellers, and upon the advice of the Depot Engineering Officer the left propeller was taken off the engine and both sent to the Depot for overhaul.

The propellers were returned to Wheeler Field about two o'clock in the morning and were installed by the crew which the Engineering Officer kept in the hangar for that purpose after being told by telephone by Mr. Mantz at seven o'clock that night that there was a possibility Miss Earhart would want to leave around eight or nine in the morning. When the installation had been completed and the cowlings safetied and checked, the crew retired for a much needed three hours sleep.

The crew and the Engineering Officer were back on the alert at seven in the morning that found they could had used the time for sleep to advantage when none of the Earhart party arrived until nearly eleven o'clock.

Mr. Mantz at this time requested that the gasoline which he had wanted pumped (and which will be noted, Item 3, was pumped,) from the right wing tank into the left should be pumped back into the right wing tank. This was done and the ship rolled out of the hangar. Mr. Mantz was at this time told of everything which had been done to the plane and he said that was all there was to be done except servicing. The crew assisted the Standard Oil man in servicing with gasoline though the amount was told only to the Company man by Mr. Mantz.

Mr. Mantz wanted some air let out of the right oleo strut so that it would come down to the level of the left. This was done under his supervision and when complete left both struts with only about two inches clearance instead of nearly four inches which the right leg had when the plane had first landed.

The plane was run up by Mr. Mantz and it was found that the propellers worked perfectly.

Mr. Mantz, Mr. Holmes and Mrs. Miner, then climbed into the plane and Mr. Mantz took it off on a test flight, leaving with the instructions that if he did not return it would be known that the plane would be kept at Luke Field and would not return to Wheeler Field prior to takeoff contemplated the next morning. At two o'clock in the afternoon the Engineering Officer called Luke Field and verified the rumor that the plane had landed at noon and decided to remain at Luke Field.

rogers sig

K. A. Rogers
1st. Lieut. A.C.
Station Engineering Officer

Crash Report Cover Pages Exhibit "G" Statement by Mr. Fred D. Wood, Hawaiian Air Depot.
Proceedings and Findings Exhibit "H" Statement by Mr. E. L. Heidlebaugh, Hawaiian Air Depot.
Exhibit "A" Statement by the Engineering Officer, Wheeler Field, T.H. Exhibit "I" Statement by Mr. Lynn V. Young, Hawaiian Air Depot.
Exhibit "B" "Plan for Amelia Earhart Putnam Flight", Headquarters Wheeler Field, T.H. Exhibit "J" Statement by Corporal E. J. Cashman, R-4311524, 65th Service Squadron.
Exhibit "C" Letter, "Amelia Earhart Putnam Flight", Headquarters Wheeler Field, T.H. Exhibit "K" Statement by Private E. C. Schultz, 6678961, 65th Service Squadron.
Exhibit "D" Statement by the Operations Officer, Luke Field, T.H. Exhibit "M" Inventory of property shipped.
Exhibit "E" Statement by the Engineering Officer, Hawaiian Air Depot. Exhibit "N" Request for shipment and release from responsibility.
Exhibit "F" Statement by Mr. Geo. H. Miller, Hawaiian Air Depot.  
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