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
[?] Sheet of aluminum with red paint (TIGHAR Artifact 2-2)
Date Found: October 1989 during TIGHAR’s NIKU I expedition.
Materials analysis: National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Report date: March 5, 1992
Description: The sheet is about 5.25 inches wide by 15.5 inches long and is 0.032 inches thick. The long straight edge of the piece appears to have been an original manufacturer’s cut. The piece appears to have been further mechanically cut where right angle corners are evident. Magnified examination of the inside corner sections of these cuts revealed deformation patterns typical of cuts made with a pair of tin snips. The remaining edges of the sheet appear to be typical tearing fractures. One surface of the sheet has a rusty brown stain on about half of its area. The opposite surface has a faint red coloration over a portion of its surface. The material is 2024 (previously known as 24ST) aluminum but is not Alclad (a corrosion inhibiting treatment).
Condition: Even though the aluminum is not Alclad, the piece exhibits only mild surface corrosion. The area of apparent red paint on one surface may or may not be a result of local adaptive use.
Identification: unknown
Commentary: The absence of rivet holes along the original manufacturer’s cut edge, and the fact that it is not Alclad, argue against this piece ever having been part of the skin of an airplane. The small rectangular strips cut from one end suggest that this might be connected to an incident remembered by Coast Guard veteran Ernest Zehms who was stationed on the island in 1944. In 1992 Zehms recalled that one of his friends collected some small pieces of aluminum from a B-25 wreck on Canton Island and brought them to Nikumaroro for the purpose of making aluminum watch bands. However, when shown a photograph of this artifact Zehm’s did not recognize it. It is worth noting that an inventory of the Earhart aircraft taken after the March 20, 1937 crash in Hawaii lists “2 Pcs. Sheet metal Alcoa” (Item #66) as being among the spare parts carried.
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