In 1978, accomplished draftsman and consummate aircraft modeller William F. Harney set himself the task of building a non-flying scale model of the Lockheed “Electra” Model 10E Special in which Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan disappeared in July 1937. Bill’s objective was to create a truly accurate replica of the world’s most famous missing aircraft. To give himself room to include the down-to-the-last-rivet degree of precision he wanted to achieve, he elected to build a model with a wingspan of fully six feet.

After years of research assembling an extensive collection of photographs and documents pertaining to Earhart’s aircraft and inspecting disassembled Electra c/n 1052 (now restored and exhibited at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut), Harney completed a set of detailed plans for Earhart’s Electra. In 1991, as the giant model began to take shape, Bill joined TIGHAR and entered into a collaboration with Executive Director Ric Gillespie. TIGHAR had been researching the Earhart Electra since 1988. By combining forces, Harney and Gillespie were able to resolve many unanswered questions and track the airplane’s complex series of modifications and equipment changes from the day it was delivered in July 1936 until the day it disappeared one year later.

Twenty-four years in the making, Bill Harney’s model of NR16020 was completed in 2002. In 2006 he donated the original plans to TIGHAR. After having the five sheets, each measuring five feet by three feet, scanned and digitized, TIGHAR’s Pat Thrasher began the process of precisely re-drawing the complete series, rendering the drawings as vector graphics that now can be used for a variety of research and illustration purposes. The transformation took nearly three years during which time continued research further refined and enhanced the accuracy and detail of the collection. The end product is a set of fifteen 11″ by 17″ sheets on glossy paper presented in an attractive cover. (A DVD with digital versions of the drawings at their original 30″ by 60″ scale will be sent on request.)

Sadly, Bill Harney did not live to see the completed digital version of the elegant drawings he crafted by hand. He passed away in February 2008. This portfolio is dedicated to his memory.

A Sampling of the Harney Drawings

Click on each thumbnail to see a full-sized version in a new window.

Page 5 thumbnail
Page 7 thumbnail
Main panel thumbnail
Page 5: Port side stations and skinning configuration; overhead view; cowling detail.
Page 7: Floor plan, interior; cockpit and cabin interior, side view, including fuel system.
Detail from page 11: Main instrument panel, including rudder pedals and brake bar.

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