Among the many unfounded allegations featured in Randal Brink’s
Star – the Search for Amelia Earhart is an aerial photo of
a Japanese airfield taken during World War II. A greatly enlarged, fuzzy
blow-up of an airplane on the ground shows what the author describes
as a “distinctive
twin-tailed monoplane.” Brink states that “the Japanese built
no twin-tailed monoplanes.” The left wing of the airplane appears
to be missing and the the author implies that this could be Earhart’s
Electra which, according to anecdotal accounts, was recovered by the
Japanese with a “broken wing.”
In fact, the photo shows a monoplane that looks like it is probably twin-engined,
but there is nothing to indicate that it is necessarily twin-tailed. Even
so, the author’s allegation that “the Japanese built no twin-tailed monoplanes” is
Could the airplane in Brink’s photo be a Lockheed 10 with the
left wing missing? Not likely. The wing on the plane appears to
be missing from very close to the fuselage. An Electra’s wing literally
can’t come off that way. The Model 10’s “main beam” (a structure
that looks like part of the Brooklyn Bridge) runs from engine to
engine right through the cabin. It’s just about indestructible.
The wings of a Model 10 only “come off” from outboard of the engines
where the main beam stops.
The airplane in the photo could be any of a number of common
Japanese types, but it’s hard to imagine how it could be a Lockheed
Electra. Even if it was, that would not make it Amelia’s Electra.
The Imperial Japanese Navy purchased a Model 10 (cn 1017) from
Lockheed in March 1935 and shipped it home to Japan.