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Author Topic: Aluminium Bombs  (Read 8071 times)

Neff Jacobs

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Aluminium Bombs
« on: November 17, 2013, 06:05:25 PM »

If one accepts Noonan was flying under and overcast, previously it was my assumption Noonan was operating pure DR with wind speed and direction unknown.  Based on a article I found this is not necessarily true.  In a March 22, 1936 article printed in the Baltimore Sun Noonan made much of PanAm's ability to determine drift angle, and I presume, wind speed and direction, by dropping either flairs or aluminium powder bombs.  Either created a fixed point on the ocean surface from which drift could be measured.   The Luke Field Inventory  has item 30   12 Aircraft Water Lights and item 31    7 Aluminium Direction Bombs.   So, it appears at the time of the Luke Field accident Noonan had equipment on board allowing him to measure drift angle and by wind triangle wind speed and direction.  I think any assumption he did not have and did not use this capability on the Lae Howland flight would be a dangerous one.

It is my surmise:  Being careful to maintain a fixed speed and altitude throughout drop the flair.  Go thru a procedure turn as you would to return to a non-directional beacon.  Line up the flair on the reciprocal course and crank in wind correction to make the flair stand still left to right in the windshield.   Pass the flair.  Another procedure turn and line up the flair on your original  course.  Again crank in wind correction until it stands still and fly on with the  wind correction made.  Your navigator should in addition be able to draw two wind triangles that show the wind coming from the same speed and direction.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2013, 06:12:03 PM by Neff Jacobs »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Aluminium Bombs
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2013, 07:44:54 PM »

I think any assumption he did not have and did not use this capability on the Lae Howland flight would be a dangerous one.

Dangerous how?  No one can draw any conclusions about what did and did not happen on the Lae/Howland flight.  The fact that they missed Howland argues that Noonan was not able to get them there with celestial and DR alone.  If they were where Kelly Johnson recommended they were at 10,000 feet.  Were "water lights" usable from that altitude? 

It is my surmise:  Being careful to maintain a fixed speed and altitude throughout drop the flair.  Go thru a procedure turn as you would to return to a non-directional beacon.  Line up the flair on the reciprocal course and crank in wind correction to make the flair stand still left to right in the windshield.   Pass the flair.  Another procedure turn and line up the flair on your original  course.  Again crank in wind correction until it stands still and fly on with the  wind correction made.  Your navigator should in addition be able to draw two wind triangles that show the wind coming from the same speed and direction.

So you've invented a whole procedure for how to use flairs to measure wind direction and speed.  How about researching how it was actually done?
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Neff Jacobs

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Re: Aluminium Bombs
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2013, 09:21:37 AM »

Dangerous in assuming Noonan was more lost than he was, that he had no means of improving on pure DR with drift unknown.  It seems to me at lest one leg of inquiry needs to assume Noonan was able to get at least a drift angle by dropping flairs and/or aluminium bombs and his DR was accordingly better.

Yes my surmise of method is no more than thinking out loud and needs to be and is being followed up with research.  Looking at later methods, circa WWII the method no longer seems to have been in use or at least not in the manuals I have read so far.   One hole I can see in the method is the assumption the flair is stationary.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Aluminium Bombs
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2013, 09:42:25 AM »

Dangerous in assuming Noonan was more lost than he was, that he had no means of improving on pure DR with drift unknown.  It seems to me at lest one leg of inquiry needs to assume Noonan was able to get at least a drift angle by dropping flairs and/or aluminium bombs and his DR was accordingly better.

What is dangerous is the assumption that any line of inquiry about the flight's navigation will result in anything more than possibilities.  the available evidence suggests that the flight reached Gardner. We'll never know for sure how they did it.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Aluminium Bombs
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2013, 10:32:02 AM »

What is dangerous is the assumption that any line of inquiry about the flight's navigation will result in anything more than possibilities.

I have a feeling that what the navigation re-enactors are saying, without putting their whole argument into words, is that Fred must have gotten them so close to Howland Island that they could not have landed on Niku.  For what it's worth, it means that the people who buy the re-navigation arguments will invest their money in deep-sea searches rather than in exploration of the seamount around Niku.  I think that is where the rubber meets the road in this case.

LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Aluminium Bombs
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2013, 10:59:47 AM »

For what it's worth, it means that the people who buy the re-navigation arguments will invest their money in deep-sea searches rather than in exploration of the seamount around Niku.  I think that is where the rubber meets the road in this case.

Okay, but at the moment there is no road for their rubber to meet. I'm not aware of any impending deep sea searches (other than our own).
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