Highlights From the Forum
April 16 through 22, 2000
Page 1 of 2
Randy Jacobson reminded me that he had compiled the radio transmissions received from NR16020 during the Oakland/Honolulu flight for the 8th Edition. Here they are:
0842 GMT: "KHAQQ position intercepted at 0842 GMT 31 degrees N, 139 degrees 49'W, All's well." Reported by USCG Hawaii at 0850 GMT.
1058 GMT: "At 0028, KHAQQ on phone, reports all's well, no position." Reported by USCG Hawaii at 1105 GMT.
1100 GMT: "Intercepted position at 1100 GMT 29 degrees 15'N, 147 degrees 38'W." Reported by USCG Hawaii at 1125 GMT.
1200 GMT: "Intercepted position at 1200 GMT: 27 degrees 42'N, 149 degrees 40'W". Reported by USCG Hawaii at 1245 GMT.
1300 GMT: "Following intercepted from plane: speed approximately 155 land mph, approximate time of arrival 0800 PST". Reported by USCG Hawaii at 1305 GMT.
1410 GMT: "Intercepted position at 1410 GMT: 25 degrees N, 143 degrees W." Later corrected to 153 degrees W. Reported by USCG Hawaii at 1455 GMT.
1545 GMT: "Following intercepted at 0515 quote Will arrive 1620 GMT". Reported by USCG Hawaii at 1555 GMT.
1615 GMT: "Earhart plane off Diamond Head at 0545 Honolulu time." Reported by USCG Hawaii at 1617 GMT.
1630 GMT: "Earhart plane arrive Honolulu at 0600". Reported by USCG Hawaii at 1632 GMT.
Note that the only speed report is the somewhat cryptic "speed approximately 155 land mph" at 1300. I take this to be a ground speed.
I was very excited about the possibilities. Last Sunday we had the opportunity to research the records of Captain P.V.H. Weems. Forum members may recall that Fred Noonan corresponded with him about navigation matters. Weems was probably the foremost American expert on celestial air navigation, published some of the earliest books on the subject, and had his own successful navigation school. He taught (and was good friends with) Lindbergh, among others, and was brought out of retirement to teach celestial navigation to the first astronauts. His grandson currently has all his grandfather's records in about fifty file boxes.
With the enthusiastic help of Dennis McGee, we went through all the files looking for more Noonan correspondence. Unfortunately, none was found. We did get a couple of additional leads which will, hopefully, prove more fruitfull. We also learned some things about the Weems school of navigation, including the fact that Gatty was a key associate and instructor, and we found some correspondance between Weems and PanAm which indicates how he felt about Noonan's skills.
Weems asked PAA for permission to use Noonan's letter about the Hawaii flight navigation in the second edition of his book. In one letter he says, "I think it would serve beautifully as a technical description of the navigator's flight work and also would help to clear the air as to his personal ability as a navigator. I believe the publication of his letter would be in the nature of a testimonial to his ability as a navigator." And in another letter he said, "...to me it seems to be a very excellent compliment to Noonan to have this letter published, because a great many people in public life believe that Noonan caused the failure of the Earhart expedition through lack of knowledge of navigation, which in my opinion is far from the facts." PAA eventually suggested he not use it, but left it up to his judgement. Weems ultimately included it in his book.
There are a couple of file boxes I hope to get back to someday for a more thorough search. While there may be no extensive Noonan correspondance, we know there must at least be a copy of Weems' original letter to Fred which caused his published reply. The search goes on.
Blue skies, -jerry
Rumors about his navigational ability --- but not his drinking. Once more it seems that the entire drinking problem folktale is utterly without foundation.
The reception given my long posting about learning to think about the 10E's performance gives me the courage to offer a few more thoughts. I am going to assume a familiarity with the earlier posting, and I am not going to show all the work. The methodology is the same. All figures assume standard conditions, normal gross weight(10,500), and TRUE airspeed in mph, unless the contrary be stated.
In the earlier posting, I pointed out that Johnson's 60 - 51 - 43 gph settings approximated 68 - 59 - 49 % of rated horsepower. I estimated a speed (at gross) of 157 @ 10,000 at Johnson's lower power setting of 38 gph (43.2% power). What would the speeds be (at normal gross weight) for the other Johnson settings?
Let's take 68% first. We have two sets of figures that enable us to bracket 68%. The first set is Lockheed's data for 63.6% (188 @5000) and 75% (197 @ 5000). Sixty-eight per cent is slightly below the midpoint (69.3) between those two figures; relying on the principles discussed in the HYPO-1 example, we can estimate that the 68% cruise will be roughly midway between 188 and 197 - let's call it 192 @ 5000 feet. To estimate for Johnson's altitute of 8000, we use our o.8% rule of thumb: 3 x o.8% = 2.4%. Increasing 192 by 2.4% gives 196.6.
Test the result by bracketing the 10E with the C-210 and V35 speeds for 8000 at 68% power: C-210 = 193; V35 = 198. Take the midpoint of 195.5.
These two methods (one based upon Lockheed data, and the other based upon data for two modern planes) yield estimates within 1 mph of each other, and encourage us to rely on the C-210 and V35 data in estimating speeds at other percentages of power.
Let's say @8000 the 10E gets 196 mph at 68% power and 10,500 pounds.
At 59 % @ 8000, the C-210 gets 181, the V35 about 186. Interpolate for the 10E and call it 184.
At 49 % @ 8000, the C-210 gets 165, the V35 about 170. Call it 168 for the 10E.
We now have the following estimated speeds for the 10E at NORMAL gross:
Since all of the foregoing numbers assume NORMAL gross of 10,500, they need to be adjusted for the ACTUAL (over)gross weight of the plane during the time period when Johnson expected the given power settings to be used. This is problematical, but we must make at least tentative assumptions about gross weight to continue the discussion.
I intend to assume that Johnson expected the Electra to weigh no more than 14,000 pounds when it departed for Hawaii with 900 gallons of fuel. Certainly arguments can be made for other weights --- I don't have enough information to be certain --- but two things cause me to select 14,000: AE said (Last Flight page 32) that takeoff weight was 14,000, and gave the takeoff distance as 1,897 feet (a figure confirmed by other sources); Kelly Johnson says he wrote AE a letter dated Feb. 17, 1937 in which he said "If a normal, good runway is available, with a length of 3000 feet (for the heavier loads), no wingflap is required or recommended as the ship will take off in 2000 feet with a load of 14,000#." (Letter quoted in Johnson's book Kelly: More Than My Share of It, page 44.) On takeoff for Hawaii, the 10E was about 300 pounds heavier than Johnson anticipated, because it carried 947 gallons of fuel rather than the 900 he deemed sufficient. Since the takeoff (into the wind) was still shorter than 2000 feet, I consider 14,000 the upper limit for Johnson's estimate of gross weight for the Hawaii flight. (Johnson says that in the letter he also "listed distance, fuel load and gross weight for each leg of the flight from San Francisco to Natal [on the first attempt]." I certainly would like to see that letter. Is there a copy at Purdue?) If we find that 14,000 is incorrect, we will need to make some adjustments later, but they will not be difficult.
I suggested last time that (assuming the 10E would do somewhat more than 150 at normal gross on 38 gph @10,000 feet) Johnson perhaps selected the time for the final power reduction by considering when the plane would maintain more than 150 mph true. I suggested that that reduction would come after the takeoff weight had been reduced by about 3000 pounds due to the consumption of 500 gallons of fuel in the first 9 hours of flight (462 provided by Johnson's cruise figure, plus perhaps 38 gallons burned due to taxi, takeoff and additional fuel consumed in climb). Let's see what we can do to test these assumptions.
I hope nobody takes the exact figures too seriously --- we really should round them off --- but I have left them as shown to make the calculations clear.
What speeds can we estimate for these settings and weights?
Let's disregard hour 1, because a considerable portion of it is spent in takeoff and climb to 8000, and let's pick things up at the START of hour 2, at an assumed gross weight of 13,400, and altitude of 8000 feet, and 68% of power (which at 10,500 pounds should yield 196 mph). What speed can we expect at 13,400 pounds?
Here's where it gets sticky. There are no data in the specifications that tell us the effect of overgross weight on cruise speeds. We need some point of reference. Let's take a look at the Electra 10A for a minute. (I feel I'm going from the frying pan to the fire, because I have less data for the 10A than I do for the 10E, but we'll see what we can tease out of it. Nothing ventured ... as they say.)
Let's first make some basic assumptions about the relationship of the 10A and the 10E They are different airplanes, but for our purposes here, I am going to suggest that only one of their differences is significant in this discussion --- the 10E has more drag than the 10A because of the increased diameter (6 inches or so) of its engines (and, therefore, its nacelles and cowlings). The normal gross weight difference is not important (because we will attempt to compare them at the same weights), and neither is the difference in maximum horsepower (because we will attempt to compare them at the same horsepower settings). We can assume, I think, that at the same weight, and the same horsepower (all else being equal) the 10E will be a bit SLOWER than the 10A, because of its higher drag.
All 10A figures come from the 1936 Jane's, unless otherwise stated. The engines are rated at 450hp for takeoff, and 400hp for continuous operation. Maximum speeds (presumably at 400hp) are given as 190 (sea level) and 210[sic! --- misprint for 200?] (@5000). Cruising speeds (presumably at 75% or 337.5 horsepower per engine) are given as 176 (sea level); 185 (@5000) and 195 (@9600). Setting aside the suspiciously wide gap given for the SL and 5000 foot maximum speeds (the 10E's SL and 5000 foot maximum speeds are 214 and 226, respectively), we note that our o.8% rule of thumb works well enough when applied to the speed range - it's not worth the effort to recalculate it. All of these 10A numbers are at the normal gross of 10,100.
Can we get some rough idea of how the speeds of the 10A and 10E compare at roughly the same horsepower. Sure --- at 5000 feet (and 337 1/2hp per engine) the 10A has a cruise of 185 mph according to Jane's. At 5000 feet and 350 hp per engine the 10E gives 188 according to Lockheed. Not enough to get excited about --- though we should note again that the 10A is 400 pounds lighter (4%) and using about 3% less power. Call it a wash, and call the speeds roughly the same for the two planes at the same weight and horsepower.
What was the question again? I remember, it was "what speed can we expect from the 10E at 8000 feet, 60 gph and a gross weight of about 13,400 pounds?"
As it happens (aren't coincidences amazing?) we have some information about the 10A's performance at 13,300 pounds. It is not as detailed or as convincing as I would like it to be, but it may still help. The source is Ann Pellegreno, World Flight pages 79-81. Ms. Pellegreno tells us that her Natal takeoff weight "was estimated at 13,300 pounds". She says that during the first hour, she cruised at 1000 feet, 30 inches of manifold pressure [and 2100 rpm? --- see page 147], with 112 mph indicated (say 115 true). Of course, she doesn't tell us what power her engines were yielding at that setting. (That would make things too easy!) Fortunately, the Morrissey book (Amelia, My Courageous Sister) reproduces (page 176) a sheet giving the specifications of Electra engines for the various models. The 10A engines (R-985-5B) are rated 400 hp @ 2200 rpm @ 34.5" HG, and 300 hp @ 2000 rpm @ 28" HG ("maximum recommended"). Interpolation indicates that Mr. Pellegreno was operating at around 325 per engine.
What speed would the Pellegreno 10A have given at 8000 at about 13,300 pounds, at 325 horsepower ? Adjust 115 true airspeed at 1000 by increasing 5.6% (7 x o.8%) to estimate true airspeed at 8000. The answer is about 121-122 mph.
If the 10A will maintain 122 true @ 8000 on (say) 325 hp per engine at 13,300 gross, what will the 10E do on 375 hp per engine? We have already seen (I hope) that equal horsepower will give roughly the same speed for the two planes at the same weight, so the question becomes merely "what speed increase can we expect in the 10E by increasing horsepower from 325 to 375? "
We have already answered that question. The 51 gph setting is about 325 hp per engine. The 60 gph setting is about 375 hp. Speed (at normal gross) increases from 184 to 196 (12 mph or about 6.6%) at 8000 feet.
Factoring in a 6.6% increase from the122 mph speed of the 10A gives us only 130 mph for the 10E at the beginning of hour 2! I confess that I expected to see a speed close to 150 true, but if the Pellegreno report is correct, the overload had a greater impact on speed than I expected.
If these calculations are correct, a 3000 pound overload reduces the 10E's 68% true airspeed @8000 from 196 to 130 - a reduction of 66 mph, or 2.2 mph per 100 pounds of excess weight.
What should we estimate the effect on true airspeed of the gradual reduction in weight caused by fuel burn to be? I believe it is not linear, but I don't have the data (or expertise) to do a curve. Let's assume a straight 2.2 mph increase per 100 pounds of weight reduction, and see where this takes us.
Let's remember something first. We believe we know (table on page 1) that at normal gross 59% of power produces about 93.9% (184/196) as much speed as 68% power; that 49% produces about 91.3% (168/184) as much speed as 59% power; and that 43.2% produces about 92.2% (157/168) as much speed as 49% power. We can use these numbers to estimate the change in speed caused by power reduction.
This is what the progression now looks like:
End hour 1 = 130 mph on 480 lbs/hr (60 gph)
End hour 2 = 141 mph (speed increases 2.2 mph per 100 lbs; 4.8 x 2.2=10.6)
End hour 3= 152 mph (another 11 mph increase during hour 3)
Start hour 4= power reduced to 59% (51 gph; 306 lb/hr) gives 93.9% of 152 = 143 mph.
End hour 4 = 149 + mph (speed increases about 6.7 mph/hr at 59% (3.06 x 2.2 = 6.732).
End hour 5 = 156 mph
End hour 6 = 162 mph
Start hour 7 = power is reduced to 49% (43gph/258lb/hr)speed drops to about 91.3% of 162 = 148 mph
Start hour 8 = speed about 154 (speed is increasing about 5.7 mph/hr (2.58 x 2.2 = 5.676)
Start hour 9 = speed about 160
End hour 9 = speed about 165
Start hour 10 = power is reduced to 43.2% (38 gph; 228pph) speed is about 152 mph (92.2% of 165); weight about 11,000 pounds
Start hour 12 = normal gross weight of 10,500 reached by 2 hours at 228 pph; expected speed of 157 attained
Hour 13 and following : gradual speed increase as weight continues to reduce. Expected increase per hour should be less than 2.2 mph/hr per 100 pounds weight reduction, now that the plane is below normal gross. (How much less is beyond scope of this exercise.)
It works out pretty well. The only place we are caught short is in hours 10 and 11, where we must abruptly reduce our hourly speed increase to 2.5 mph, instead of the "expected" 5 mph (2.2 x 2.28 = 5.016) to arrive at the expected speed of 157 at normal gross of 10,500 pounds. Smoothing the curve would incorporate that change more gradually into the numbers, but you get the general idea.
>What would be ideal
would be an environment LIKE Niku's where we
Having lived in the US Virgin Islands for 6 years, I can say that most non living organic material is rather quickly devoured by various critters be they dogs, cats, rats, etc., right on down to tiny little ants (are there ants or other insects on Niku?). Seriously, if you don't clean your dishes promptly, the ants arrive in a great horde and do it for you.
The intensity of the sun is so high that objects "age" quite rapidly, and this includes materials like pressure treated lumber, UV resistant vinyl and other supposedly weatherproof plastics, and especially rubber, never mind bones and other organic materials. Come to think of it, there are probably some old steak bones off the edge of the deck.......
I can easily believe that the bones on Niku looked to Gallagher and the rest like they had been out there for longer than actual. Their medical training would have certainly included anatomy, but they would have studied a nice fresh skeleton (you don't want to know how they make a skeleton out of a cadaver!!) or model, not something that had been out in the weather for several years.
Tom, I still own a house in St. Thomas. We could probably find a spot to drop a specimen if you think St. Thomas matches up with Niku in a reasonable comparison. I am sure you will have go and personally inspect the property for suitability........
I always wanted to find a use for the empty lot next door. I hope the neighbors don't mind too much.
LTM - who thanks
the ants for doing her housework
OK if you can't reconstruct a face from the skull, make a skull from a face. Take a picture of AE and FN then remove the appropriate amount of skin and then compare the measurements with the notes. The eye sockets should be a good place to make the assumption that the skull measurements could be...... or positively not AE's or FN's.
LTM (who always
does everything backwards)
Interesting thought. The tricky part would be establishing scale in the photo. Assuming that problem could be solved, you couldn't make a positive I.D. but you might be able to either increase the apparent coincidence (the castaway and AE had the same size eye orbits) or disqualify the castaway altogether as being either AE or FN.
Anybody know if this has ever been tried before?
>water teaming with sharks and barracuda
Water doesn't "team" with sharks and barracuda, however I have heard that the sharks and barracuda may themselves "team" with each other. And some of us still haven't managed to find "all" the postings in a zip file for quick download. Therefore there are people out here who think they may have seen something not covered, and ask. Obviously you know by now that is why I slip these questions in --- gives a chance for a quick explanation without a long debate, and a chance to show new forum readers the reasoning behind TIGHAR's thinking.
It also gives you a chance to pop the web address for the complete forum file (parts) again for new members of the forum. ..............
Correction noted. Teeming, not teaming.
The above posting from Ross has been extensively edited to delete his speculations about how the bones and artifacts might be explained by the Norwich City wreck. I said it was a dead horse and I meant it.
I have also deleted his advice to new forum members about what to ask and what not to ask and his explanations about what I do and why.
There are two ways to research what has and has not been covered on the forum. The easiest way is to check the Forum Highlights on the TIGHAR website at Forum Highlights.
This is a week-by-week archive of forum activity going back to July of 1998. The extraneous one-liners and off-topic excursions have been edited out and the principal topics covered are shown for each week to make it easy to find what you're looking for. It's a fabulous resource that takes hours to assemble each week. We have hundreds, if not thousands, of people who can't handle the volume of traffic on the forum but religiously read the Highlights every week.
The other way is to access the unedited forum archives in plain text on the TIGHAR website: Forum Archives.
> Rumors about his
navigational ability -- but not his drinking. Once
It is interesting to note that there is a definite parallel between Noonan's alleged drinking problem and the whole Earhart mystery. People insist on a certain point of view even though no facts support it-- only rumor and speculation abound and people twist things to try and support whatever they want. I think it is a sad state of affairs to lay blame on Noonan when he can't defend himself and there has yet to be ANY substance to his drinking problem. People claim he had a problem because they heard it from someone else who never knew the man!
The entire Earhart saga is so mired in myth that sometimes it seems like there is no way to pull it out.
Everybody knows that Noonan was a drunk --- and he wasn't.
Everybody knows that Earhart was a great aviation pioneer --- and she wasn't.
Everybody knows that the sensible explanation of their disappearance is that they simply ran out of gas and crashed at sea --- and it isn't.
Don Jordan writes:
> ... It doesn't
take any medical training to somewhat accurately guess the
I have a thought about cases like Don's. He doesn't understand that his experience is based on a specific set of environmental conditions. Change the conditions and the results change, too. But, instead of trying to tell him that his experience is insufficient, you might recommend a book such as Forensic Taphonomy (1997) by William Haglund and Marcella Sorg.
About the contents of the Fiji suicide skull: There was nothing but loose dirt in the skull and no soft tissue elsewhere, either. Under the right conditions, natural mummification occurs; under other conditions such as hot, moist weather and scavengers, five days to two weeks is sufficient.
Another thing, someone else mentioned that the Hoodless measurements had been to determine height using formulae closer to 1937. -- Older formulae are no more representative of stature for older cases. The methods have not changed; only the databases have changed. The older formulae are simply based on (much) smaller databases and less testing.
Dr Burns might know the answer to the question of reversing the process-face to skull. Coincidently a world expert on skull and face reconstruction is Dr. David Hunt, Smithsonian National Musuem of Natural History is featured in an article in the April Smithsonian. He describes the complexities of craniometgric analysis (his speciality),which is study of skull measurements. He talks about putting 80 measurements into the computer to get a model, etc. Also he describes the method of trying to match skulls with photographs of actual people. So maybe the idea has some merit. Does anyone have a contact at the Smithsonian. The article contains a lot of reference material,the database of skeletal measurements at the U. of Tennessee,the possibility of skull distortion from burial.
The data were from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville because that's where Dr. Richard Jantz is from. Dick Jantz developed the Fordisc II program and Dick Jantz is one of the co-authors of our paper on the evaluation of the Hoodless measurements. I'll ask Dick and Kar Burns about the "face to skull" idea.
I wouldn't put someone at the Smithsonian in the uncomfortable position of working on this problem. The Air & Space Museum branch of the institution has already shown very clearly that it has an agenda in the Earhart dispute.
A while back I believe you estimated Amelia Earhart's takeoff distance at Lae based upon reviewing the film of this event. I believe your estimate was about 2,700 feet; however, I failed to record your number and wonder if you would be kind enough to give this to me again.
I have calculated takeoff distance as a function of gross weight and wanted to see how your estimate fits within the spread of my calculations. I assumed a range of gross weights from 14,500 to 15,400 pounds in this analysis. (The methodology can be found in John D. Anderson's Introduction to Flight, 4th Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2000, pp. 421-426, or most any text on aerodynamic performance.)
I also did an estimate of gross weight based upon 1936 Lockheed data for the aircraft as originally constructed. These data were adjusted for known changes (e.g., elimination of one fuel tank and a corresponding amount of fuel) as well as estimates for other modifications. The bottom line of this estimate was 15,200 pounds gross weight at Lae with 1,100 gallons of fuel. I did the takeoff study to see if the airplane would takeoff within 3,000 feet on a grass field in still air. The calculated result for this gross weight is 2,930 feet.
There has also been a great deal of discussion about lift/drag ratio and optimum speed during the Lae -- Howland flight. I am just beginning an analysis on range and endurance using Breguet formulas, and will hopefully be able to offer some thoughts on the subject in the future.
It's not my estimate. Eric Chater said that the takeoff run was approximately 850 yards (2, 550 feet). James Collopy said that airplane left the ground 50 yards from the end of the 1000 yard runway (a takeoff run of 2,850 feet). If you split the difference you get 2,700 but the film seems to agree more with Chater. I guess it depends on what you want to count as the "end" of the runway. For what it's worth, it's also apparent that there was a least a breath of headwind -- maybe 3 to 5 knots -- and it's certainly possible that she went into the overun to begin her takeoff, which could have gotten her another couple hundred feet.
One good way to solve the question of how much runway Amelia used at Lae is to buy Sporty's (Sporty's Pilot Shop, Batavia, Ohio -- plug, plug, plug!) handy-dandy runway-use manual calculator. Regretfully, I've left mine home today but as I recall this valuable little gadget will give you the correct numbers when you crank in weight, altitude, temperature, runway surface, etc. etc. Just slide the little stripes this away and that away and then -- Bang -- you got the number.
I'm positive there is also an electronic version of this thing but Sportys' only cost about $8.95 and there are no batteries to change. Think the board of directors would spring for it, Ric?
LTM, who thinks
analog is way cool
The problem is not how to calculate take off distance. The problem is that we don't have the numbers we need to plug into the formula. We have a pretty good handle on how much fuel was aboard but we don't have an empty weight for the aircraft nor do we know how much other stuff they had aboard. We know that the elevation was virtually sea level, but we don't know the temperature except in a general sense.
Then there's the question of pilot technique. What an airplane can theoretically do and what a given pilot can make it do are often very different. All of us Super Pilots have stories about how we took off with impossible loads or landed in impossible crosswinds.
Earhart hauled that puppy off the ground in 2,700 feet, give or take a hundred feet or so either way. That's about as good as we're going to get and, utimately I don't see how knowing the takeoff distance more precisely makes a darn bit of difference in figuring out what happened to her.
As a new Document of the Week we have just mounted a complete transcript, in chronological order, of all of the telegrams, letters and minutes pertaining to the bones found on Gardner Island in 1940. Click here: Bones Chronology.
As you wade through this volume of official British paperwork, keep in mind that this entire chapter in the saga of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart was utterly unknown to the world until very recently. This is the first time the complete story, pieced together from a number of previously untapped sources, has been made public.
Among all the many allegations of cover ups and secret files that have been made over the decades, it turned out that there WAS information that might have a bearing on the Earhart case that WAS declared to be "strictly confidential" and WAS quite intentionally withheld despite several recommendations to the contrary. Until the files were brought to light after nearly 60 years, numerous knowledgable sources from Fred Goerner to Harry Maude were adamant that the rumors of the remains of a woman being found on Gardner could not possibly be true.
Many things are true which numerous knowledgable people are sure can not be true. It just takes time and perseverance to prove them wrong.
I suggest there are valid reasons for estimating takeoff distance at Lae. It is quite useful, at least for my purposes, as noted below.
1. I earlier estimated Amelia's gross weight at takeoff to be 15,170 pounds. This number was derived using a weight statement prepared by Lockheed in 1936 for Amelia's airplane as a basis for my 1999 estimate. I adjusted the original weight breakdown to represent probable conditions during the 1937 Lae takeoff. Takeoff distance at this weight calculates to 2,914 feet. Call it 2,900 feet. Thus my original gross weight estimate is within the limits of field conditions at Lae (still air, damp turf surface, 3,000 feet in length, sea level).
2. Note that the calculated result is also roughly consistent with Ric's conclusion that the aircraft takeoff distance was "2,700 feet give or take a hundred feet or so either way."
3. I feel comfortable in asserting that a calculated takeoff distance is more accurate than contemporary visual impressions of a rather brief event. The visual impressions are useful as a guide, however. For instance, it seems reasonable to conclude that Amelia did not need every available foot of runway based on these reports.
4. A parametric analysis of takeoff distance places bounds on gross weight, and this is useful for subsequent estimates of range/endurance using Breguet formulas. These formulas are dependent upon starting and ending gross weight values as well as other factors. Again, for my own purposes, results from Breguet calculations will provide a reality check on my detailed flight profile fuel consumption figures.
5. I believe one of the Forum members expressed concern that Kelly Johnson might not have been able to estimate range in the same way as possible today. The Breguet range formula was a well established tool in the 1930s and there is every reason to believe that Johnson would have made this estimate as a matter of routine. It is still presented in current aerodynamic textbooks discussing performance for piston engine aircraft.
Ric is correct in stating that takeoff distance calculations do not tell us what happened to Amelia Earhart. It is part of a systematic engineering evaluation to narrow the possibilities, however.
In establishing your hypothetical gross weight of 15,170 pounds did you allow for the structural modifications made to the airframe during the 1937 repairs? Both the left and right side nacelle ribs (which bear much of the load from the main gear) were beefed up with "splices" which involved adding structure to both ribs. It's not clear from the report (Lockheed Aircraft Corp. Report #490 now in the NASM Library Special Collections section) just how much weight this added to the airframe but from the drawings my guess would be something under 20 pounds. Other repairs may or may not have increased or reduced the weight. All we can tell from the photos of the airplane after the repairs is that the Repair Orders were apparently not followed with a great degree of accuracy.
There is, of course, also the issue of what changes were made to the cabin interior since your 1936 weight statement. Mantz and Manning added all kinds of junk which Noonan may or may not have retained. We just don't know. There's even a great debate about how many radios were aboard for the second world flight attempt. the variables could easily run to several hundred pounds.
My point is that using a number like 15,170 pounds may be fine for theoretical calculations but it might be wiser to use a rounder number like 15,000 pounds and not risk creating the illusion that it's anything but an educated guess.
From the Web Site...
I can't find reference to it in previous postings, but has anyone else noticed the discrepancy in the chronology ???
You know Ross, sometimes you really earn your keep. No, nobody else has caught that and it IS a discrepancy in Macpherson's original report. It was Sir Harry's telegram of September 20th (not 30th) that got Irish so upset. In it the High Commissioner "asked" (right!) Gallagher if he would be willing to accept the post of Secretary to the Government for the Gilbert & Ellice Islands Colony at Ocean Island and relinquish his post as Officer in Charge of PISS. For Gerald, who had worked himself literally to the point of death for the PISS and for whom Gardner Island had become a cherished home, this was the worst possible news. Macpherson simply mistyped the date.
Very sharp work Mr. Devitt.
Actually the crabs burrow up to at least 50 cm. deep, and Ric's right, we have no real information on their range, though we do know that the females migrate from inland to the beach to release their eggs into the water. It IS a bit curious that the skull got buried while the rest of the bones didn't, but it's hard to imagine that Hoodless wouldn't have recognized that he had one person's cranium and another's mandible.
One curiosity about the whole thing is that in one of his telegrams Gallagher says that lots of teeth are in place, and he must have been talking about the mandible because he'd not yet excavated the cranium. But then Hoodless, saying nothing about teeth in the maxilla, reports only four teeth in the mandible. I don't know what to do with this...
LTM (who wants to
keep all her teeth about her)
Actually, Gallagher's description of events matches Kilts' version quite well. In both accounts the skull is found seperately from the rest of the remains. It's not difficult at all for me to imagine a skull (certainly the most recognizable human bone) being found first and buried and the area being avoided thereafter until Gallagher insists on a search. Given the degree of scattering that we know occurred, it's also not at all difficult to see the skull being separated from the rest of the remains, especially since the structure it's attached to -- the spinal column -- is missing.
As for teeth:
On Sept. 23, 1940 Gallagher (having found the mandible but not yet dug up the skull) says "... many teeth are intact."
On October 17, 1940 he says "... only five teeth now remain." It's not entirely clear whether he has yet exhumed the skull but I tend doubt it.
I think he delays digging up the skull as long as possible in recognition of the sensibilities of the Gilbertese. In his letter of December 27, just before he ships the bones off, he writes that the skull has been buried in damp ground for "nearly a year." By the time the bones get to Hoodless in April of 1941 one of the five teeth has been lost.
My suspicion is that Gallagher's original comment that "... many teeth are intact" is based upon the five teeth he can see in the mandible and what the workers told him about the skull that he had not yet seen. If I'm right, there is reason to think that the skull went into the hole with at least some teeth and came out with none. And THAT'S why I want to get into that hole.
On the subject of myth, one could place out of context the many historical references to the social drinking habits of those 3 icons of the mid-20th century, Churchill, Roosevelt, and Eisenhower, and fabricate a much stronger case that they were impaired alcoholics (they weren't) than one ever could about Noonan. There is zero evidence that Noonan had a problem with alcohol.
There is evidence that he drank "socially", as did most of the industrial, political, and scientific leaders of the world during that era.
TIGHAR has done much so far to repair Noonan's reputation, based on the evidence: Noonan was one of the best and most reliable navigators of his time and was a true aviation pioneer who helped open the Pacific to safe commercial airline traffic, which is exactly why Earhart chose him as her navigator.
Lest we forget the pioneer researchers here's something from Goerner that might be of value.
Goerner wrote in his book The Search for AE about dental records of AE and FN, p.172-174. On Amelia he writes:
A Professor Thedore McCown, Univ. of California, in 1960, had a letter from Dr. Horace L. CARTEE,DDS from Miami, Fla, that reports that the day before AE left on the flight he removed an "upper right third molar" from AE hoping to cure some severe headaches she was having. CARTEE said he was the president of the American Society of Oral Surgeons and identified a Dr. Collins Sword as AE's general dentist in Miami. Sword was deceased. CARTEE didn't have the dental chart but he recalled that AE had a full complement of teeth from the upper-left cuspid to the upper right third molar, and a full complement from the lower left cuspid to lower right second molar. The third molar was missing.
Of particular note, Goerner also had a letter from Dr. Wilmore B. Finerman of Los Angeles who wrote that AE had been his patient in 1934 and said her skull should show evidence in the right maxillary sinus of a Caldwell-Luc type (?) operation.
Would the Caldwell-Luc operation be of such magnitude or plainly obvious to Dr. Hoodless who would have or should have noted in his examination of the skull? Are those tooth descriptions of any value with what we know of the teeth left in the skull?
Where would we find medical records today of Dr. Finerman? Are any Miami forum members close to a library to look up a 1937 directory for Dr. Cartee to even verify there was such a dentist or go to Miami American Society of Oral Surgeons records? Who knows if TIGHAR can find the skeletal remains, these guys might be important.
Or maybe these records or letters are available at the Nimitz Museum included in Goerner's research contributions.
Hoodless notes that the "right zygoma and malar bones of the skull are broken off". Kar? Could this be in any way related to the operation Earhart had on the right maxillary sinus?
Without knowing just which four or five teeth survived in the mandible, the information about Earhart's teeth doesn't help a whole lot.
> I presume NASA
performed the following calculations on the aircraft:
There was a NASA page put up by the Stennis Space Centre in conjunction with the World Flight (Finch). The figures there in conjunction with the Tech Team Tigers daily journal (every day Finch issued them a progress report with the details of the trip and including weather / distance / time observations) are what I based some of my speculation as to the performance of the Electra and the flight times on early in the my forum posts.
To that I added the wing loading of 34.42 lbs.sq ft, and thought it may be difficult to fly at 90mph fully loaded.
As Ric has pointed out before, some of these figures have little to do with the actual Electra specs, and I'd still like to see the real ones... I find it disappointing that an education arm of NASA posted this without going to the trouble of verifying these...
Everybody assumed that Finch, backed by Pratt & Whitney, had her facts straight. Nothing could be further from the truth. For example, her airplane is NOT one of the 15 10Es that were built. There is only one 10E in existence -- c/n 1042, owned by Grace McGuire of Rumson, NJ. Finch's airplane -- c/n 1015 -- was built as a 10A and had the big engines hung on it much later by Varig in Brazil. There's another 10A that has been converted to 10E standard. It's c/n 1130 and it is stored at the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, FL.
To Tim Smith:
The width of the sciatic notch is determined by genes and hormones. The notch itself does not change with childbirth, but an adjacent area often changes with parturition. A furrow known as the "auricular sulcus" sometimes develops. (This may be the "lip or wrinkle that you mention.) The pubis changes in that the symphysial surfaces tend to break down further than mere age would indicate. Also, "pits" may develop on the superior/internal surface of the pubic bones in the area adjacent to the symphysis. (All of this is much easier with a couple of bones in front of us.)
There are those who say that they can determine the number of children borne by a woman by looking at the pelvic bones, but there is no scientific research to support such claims. It can be said that "preauricular sulci" and "parturition pits" are consistent with childbearing. It cannot be determined how much child bearing.
Why are we talking about this? If you are wanting to look at the bones from 1940, so do I. But, if we did have the bones in our hands, we might find indications of parturition and still not prove anything. These are actually just indications of trauma. I have not yet have the opportunity to examine the pelves of a sample of jockeys or cowboys. It would seem that they suffer trauma in the same area, if not from the same direction.
You wrote, "I'm sure we'll be able to get Tim to demonstrate the procedure described above but we'll need a volunteer from among the female registrants."
Really? and how long is the archaeology class going to last? -- ¾ of a year? -- or do you just plan to boil down the registrants who have already given birth? -- "A volunteer" won't do. You will need an adequate sample size. Good luck.
LTM, Kar Burns
Boiling down our course registrants is not part of the usual curriculum for the course. I guess we'll pass.
The following is in response to Ric's questions and comments concerning my posting of 4/18/00 with respect to my gross weight estimate for Amelia's airplane at Lae, New Guinea.
I did not make an allowance for weight added at the time repairs were being made after the accident in Hawaii. The existing over-gross condition of the Electra was well known and understood by all parties. For this reason I believe that any extra weight resulting from repairs and refurbishment would have been relatively minor, something on the order of 200 pounds and probably much less.
Assume for purposes of discussion, however, that when the airplane was repaired structure was added (perhaps 20 pounds as you estimate), perhaps another radio (150 pounds) and an additional 30 pounds of who knows what. This would total the 200 pounds mentioned above. This represents a minuscule 1.3 percent increase in gross weight from the 15,170 pounds of my current estimate. The impact on performance would have been negligible, and it was certainly within the structural capability of the airframe.
The original gross weight estimate in June 1936 was 16,141 pounds. Lockheed felt that this was at the upper safe limit and cautioned the Putnam's in this regard. Interestingly, Paul Mantz signed off on this gross weight.
In any event, the weight problem obviously remained a concern and was considered further. As a consequence, one 47 gallon fuel tank was subsequently removed bringing gross weight down to 15,809 pounds. This occurred circa August 1936. (The original fuel capacity was 1,204 gallons.)
It does not seem reasonable, at least to me, that Mantz and Manning would have added "several hundred pounds." Quite possibly some weight was added in furnishings. A gross weight over 16,000 pounds would have been counterproductive considering that Lockheed specifically warned George Putnam and Amelia Earhart in writing on June 2, 1936, that the "gross weight [16,141 pounds] of your Electra has reached the point where we would deem it highly inadvisable to add anything more to it."
In summary, I think we can bound the gross weight of the Electra as it took off from Lae, New Guinea. From a structural standpoint, Lockheed believed that 16,000 + pounds was an upper limit. We know it had to be less because takeoff distance calculations show a gross weight limit of 15,400 pounds using 3,000 feet of runway. If there was an additional 200 feet of overrun to use (3,200 feet in all) the takeoff weight could have been as high as 15,700 pounds.
The (visual) evidence seems to suggest that Amelia used something around 2,700 to 2,900 feet to lift off, the latter number including a 200 foot overrun. This range of takeoff distance indicates a gross weight of between 14,800 and 15,170 pounds.
Fifteen thousand pounds is probably a reasonable number to use, as you have indicated. It is, however, much more than "an educated guess."
Thanks Birch. The 1936 commentary on maximum weight is new information to me. I knew that the tankage had been changed but never knew exactly why.
Ron Bright reported: "A Professor Thedore McCown, Univ. of California, in 1960, had a letter from Dr. Horace L. CARTEE, DDS from Miami, Fla, that reports that the day before AE left on the flight he removed an "upper right third molar" from AE hoping to cure some severe headaches she was having."
Didn't TIGHAR research this and find that Dr. Cartee never existed or at least was never located?
If this story is true then it is one more nail in the coffin of Earhart's reputation. Isn't a "third molar" a wisdom tooth? In any event, I would like to believe that after having a major tooth pulled any pilot would want to rest a day or two for at least some preliminary healing to take place. I sure wouldn't want to be blowing out blood clots at 10,000 feet and bleeding all the way to my next fuel stop. Add to that the normal pain of a major extraction and pile on hundreds of miles of vibration, noise, and evil smells and you have the makings of one very miserable journey.
I know it was the 1930s, but pain had been invented years earlier and surely she understood that. Was AE really THAT gullible, naive, unsophisticated, determined, ego-driven, etc. etc. etc.?
LTM, who brushes
I dunno. Did we ever look for Dr. Cartee? I remember that back in 1991 when we were busily digging up the grave on Niku, LIFE magazine contacted some dentist in Miami who claimed to have information but wanted a ton of money for it. When the grave turned out to be an infant it became a dead issue (sorry).
You make an interesting point about the timing of the alleged extraction.
Ross D.'s recent post said the cruise speed of the 10E was "90 mph" and the max speed was "202 mph." Are those correct? That seems to be a pretty big spread between cruise and max.
Also, if the 10E cruise was 90 mph what the hell was AE doing going 140-150 mph? Oh, I know, "super cruise", like the new F-22.
LTM, who no longer
The NASA specs are wrong.
I realize that Finch has some problem with TIGHAR viewing her plane, but I am wondering if we can contact the owners of the other two and at least see what the dado structures look like (presuming they have them) and compare it with the artifact dado we have. Perhaps the owners would photograph the structures for us even if they won't let us near the planes. Since we don't know what the dado looked like on Earhart's aircraft, it would be interesting to see how the other two 10Es handled the same fixture, and how it compares to the artifact. Certain conclusions may be able to be drawn depending upon similarities/differences with our own artifact.
Unfortunately, there's not a Model 10 out there that hasn't had its interior redone numerous times and unless we could see an original installation it won't do us any good. We've seen similar, but not identical, dados in other Electras. We know that the mounting holes on our artifact are right for a Model 10. We know that the insulation is right for a Model 10.
If somebody, way back when, had taken an Electra with the original factory-installed interior and said, "Golly, the Lockheed Model 10 is an historic type and we need to preserve an example for future generations. Let's put this airplane in a museum and conserve it." we'd have a wonderful source of information. But people don't do that with airplanes, even today. If an original example of something does miraculously turn up, the first thing that happens is that it gets "restored" and the information that survived "the teeth of time" falls victim to "the hands of mistaken zeal."
In a Caldwell-Luc operation, you enter the maxillary (upper jaw) sinus by going through the bone over the second molar. This might be a reason for the skull to break in the malar (cheek) area. The bones in this area are thin, and it might not be obvious that an operation was done, unless there was healing and the skull was well-preserved (and we can assume it was not). I suspect that hospital records of such an operation would still be available on microfilm, if you can document when and where the operation was done. IF you can re-find the skull, this might be additional evidence that it is AE's. It is likely that any office records of Dr. Finerman or Dr. Cartee have been destroyed long ago. A Caldwell-Luc operation can be done for sinusitis (is this why AE had headaches?), or can be used as a way to expose other nerves/blood vessels in the area for further operations. This is a fairly common procedure for an ears-nose-and-throat surgeon.
In the summer of 1918, during the great influenza epidemic, Earhart contracted a pneumonococcal bacterial infection of her frontal antrum (sinus). The only available remedy was surgery which involved opening and draining the cavity. This painful and lengthy procedure incapacitated Amelia throughout the fall of 1918. In 1925 she had another bout of sinus trouble necessitating more surgery and draining. If all this work was on the right side it sounds like she may have had a very weakened malar bone on that side.
Kar - how common is it to find broken malars on skulls?
Caldwell-Luc is an opening into the maxillary sinus (the air space generally located behind the cheekbone) occasionally used in dentistry to retrieve pieces of teeth accidentally shoved in there, perhaps in AE's case to help her with some sinus problem (her headaches?). The opening is generally made in the mouth between cheek and gum above the teeth on that side. It should not, after three years, have any major lasting effect on the structural integrity of the cheekbone unless there were complications we don't know about. Any evidence of the operation might be noted by an examiner looking for it, not necessarily by someone not in tune with the history of the deceased.
Tom Ruprecht (DDS)
Now I'm confused. Does the procedure involve damaging/weakening the bone or not?
From various past postings I assumed that TIGHAR had most, if not all drawings and specifications for the original 10E built for AE. Aren't these documents sufficient to inspect the dado and compare?
Lockheed did not make new drawings for each airplane they built and, as far as we know, there were never any drawings made specifically for c/n 1055 except the four special engineering drawings that had to be approved for the nacelle rib splices that were done at the time of the repairs in April/May 1937.
The surviving original paperwork for Earhart's airplane is very sketchy and is largely limited to Bureau of Air Commerce Inspection Reports, license applications, licenses, and correspondence. We have the original cockpit specs for the layout of the instrument panel, but many changes were later made. There is virtually no information about cabin furnishings othe than what we can see in a few pre-first attempt photos.
Figuring out exactly what NR16020 was like is a very difficult and, as yet, incomplete, process.
Could Amelia's receiver, a Western Electric four band type, receive a commercial AM radio frequency from KGMB? (Long claims the receiver was a Bendix and her transmitter the Western Electric.)
A second experiment may be of even more value.
It seems to me the more important experiment would be to confirm the alleged "four dash" response to the radio station's request on 4 July. Could Amelia's 50 watt radio, if on land or sea, using battery power or engine power, at sea level, transmit 1500 plus miles in daytime? That is the crucial question.
If that capability has not been firmly established, NIKU IV could rig up a Western Electric type 13C 50 watt transmitter and transmit four dashes in the daytime. Some researchers say she couldn't transmit Morse and the key had been removed. I suppose she could click on the mic button. Maybe it doesn't make any difference, that is 50 watts is 50 watts. Battery power would be a variable by the next day, 5 July.
Amelia's other alleged post loss transmissions, probably the most genuine, were picked up Jul 2 at radio Nauru in the evening on 6210. But the operator said he could not interpret the speech due to "bad modulation" or "speaker shouting into microphone"... but voice similar to [Amelia's]." The question here is if she could transmit by voice that evening,why wasn't she transmitting voice on 4 and 5 July in response to the KGBM request two days later, even though she was asked to send "four dashes". After all Itasca or someone else could be nearby.
Maybe these questions have already been answered or easily explained, and the only question would be was it Amelia. Or perhaps the KGMB transmission is not regarded as valid today. Then again this could be just another "dead horse". Seems you have quite a corral full.
Yes, Earhart's Western Electric 20B receiver could pick up commercial broadcast bands.
Elgen Long's allegation that she had a Bendix receiver is based upon the same quality of research as his 26.5 mph headwind. Earhart herself, in an interview given in Karachi during the world flight, described the Western Electric receiver under the co-pilot's seat. She referred to the Bendix Radio Direction Finder as being on the instrument panel indicating (to me at least) that she was referring to the new Bendix coupler rather than an entirely separate radio.
Bob Brandenburg has determined through some rather sophisticated computer modeling of the aircraft's transmitter/antenna system that the dashes heard by Pan Am in Hawaii could NOT have reasonably come from NR16020 if it was on Gardner. Other dashes heard by Navy Radio in American Samoa could, in theory, have been genuine.
The idea of trying to duplicate Earhart's transmissions using a WE 13C will not work. Assuming you could even find a 13C and get it working, the characteristics of Earhart's signals were dictated by the entire system in the aircraft and by the unique properties of the antenna as installed on NR16020. Virtually impossible to duplicate in the field.