Volume 12 Number 2/3
October, 1996

earhart logoearhart logoFound Objects

Navigator’s Bookcase Sheet of aluminum with red paint Cut Strip of Aluminum Aluminum Plate
Dado Aircraft Skin Aluminum Comb Riveted Assembly
Channel Section Cables Plexiglas Aircraft Safety Wire
Thermometer, broken Threaded metal cap Shoe parts Artifact 2-2-G-8, Shoe heel
[B-24] Navigator’s Bookcase (TIGHAR Artifact 2-1)
Date Found: October 1989 during TIGHAR’s NIKU I expedition.
bookcase
Materials analysis: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Laboratory Report date: December 31, 1990
Description: An open box constructed of .040 inch aluminum with a single row of four .25 inch diameter holes offset left of center on the side facing the opening. Traces of a sloppily-applied greenish yellow coating are present on the interior surfaces. Stamped into the metal in three locations is the designation 28F4023.
Condition: One side of the box has been removed, possibly with a hack saw, and the remaining corners have been cut apart, apparently with the same tool. Interior fixtures once secured with #4 (4/32 inch) AN442 (flat head) rivets have been removed, leaving enlarged and deformed holes.
Identification: Artifact 2-1 is Consolidated Aircraft Part Number 28F4023, officially described as Box-Furn., Navig. Book & Paper Stowage. Although designed for the PBY (Consolidated Model 28), this particular bookcase has been modified for installation in a B-24 type airplane. Early examples of the Consolidated Model 32 (B-24C and some B-24D/PB4Y-1 aircraft, a total of 1,653 machines) were equipped with PBY bookcases. Later, Consolidated designed a special bookcase for the Liberator which carried a 32F... part number.
Commentary: At first, this artifact really had us stumped. It was obviously a PBY part, but the mounting holes indicated that it was never installed in a PBY. Could it have been aboard Earhart’s airplane? It took two years of research to determined that the answer is no, but knowing that it came from a B-24 became important in the light of later discoveries.
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