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Author Topic: Patch Analysis and Electra Integrity  (Read 4762 times)

Randy Conrad

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Patch Analysis and Electra Integrity
« on: March 16, 2019, 02:39:40 AM »

Its late and like most Earhart enthusiasts and researchers we find these late hours and nights as ways to fuel our desire of wanting to know the what if's and the what not's. After reading Ric's recent update of the patch analysis and film scanning...its like sneaking under the Christmas tree Christmas morning wanting to know what you got. The anticipation... the long await. That's what it feels like!!! The excitement!!! and finally the answer we've all been waiting for. After reading his followup update...it leaves me wandering how much structural damage did the Electra suffer when she ground looped in Hawaii. What drives me to curiosity is did the back two windows suffer damage or pop out when she came down hard. Another thing that I'm led to believe after reading Ric's update is the elusive patch served as an emergency exit the second time when she landed at Gardner Island (Niku). If this be the case, it would have served as a fast means of exiting the plane had the tail end of the Electra landed in water, and the plane door on the other side of the plane was badly damaged! After reading excerpts from Betty's notebook....you wander if this is true beings how Fred was in a panic to get out of the plane. All you had to do was one swift kick and the patch would fall off the plane. If the patch pans out to be a true piece of evidence and history in the making...we all have to take this as our elusive smoking gun. Like many...we may never know exactly what became of the plane...but we have documented evidence to prove that she indeed landed there if the patch is the one item that came off the Electra. In regards to the person who filmed Amelia at Lae...they are exactly right....Landing on Howland would take alot of skill and knowledge...Landing on Gardner Island (Niku) was luck and guts. As for those that have the theory that she was taken captive by the Japanese...I highly believe that to be untrue. If the Americans couldnt find her...how in the heck did the Japanese find her! The stories from the rescue of the Norwich City crew, and those of you who've been to Niku for days...leaves no doubt that Gardner Island was no picnic area. It may be a tiny atoll or reef, but it also served as a grave yard. I'm really excited for Ric and Jeff in the coming days. It might end the final chapter or the start of a new journey. Anyway...need to hear more from all you guys out there...Good Luck Ric and Jeff!!!
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Patch Analysis and Electra Integrity
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2019, 08:16:01 AM »

it leaves me wandering how much structural damage did the Electra suffer when she ground looped in Hawaii.

The damage is well documented in photos and the Lockheed repair orders.

What drives me to curiosity is did the back two windows suffer damage or pop out when she came down hard.

No, they did not.

Another thing that I'm led to believe after reading Ric's update is the elusive patch served as an emergency exit the second time when she landed at Gardner Island (Niku). If this be the case, it would have served as a fast means of exiting the plane had the tail end of the Electra landed in water, and the plane door on the other side of the plane was badly damaged!

There was a hatch over the pilot's seat.

After reading excerpts from Betty's notebook....you wander if this is true beings how Fred was in a panic to get out of the plane. All you had to do was one swift kick and the patch would fall off the plane.

One swift kick wouldn't do it.  Even if the bottom edge failed due to flexing of the weakened empennage, the other edges remained firmly riveted ti the aircraft.  It's looking more and more like Earhart and/or Noonan removed the patch, probably to increase ventilation, but it was not an easy process.
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Patch Analysis and Electra Integrity
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2019, 04:58:17 PM »

I think the need to make new openings is a lesson they learned by being in the plane with the cabin door open and then closed.
Getting good ventilation in the cockpit was probably limited by the combined area of the cockpit window and hatch openings. See “Stack effect”
For best results in achieving this effect the outlet should be the same size or bigger than the inlet.
In the case of the Electra the air outlets would be the cockpit windows and hatch because they are higher.  The cabin door, which is lower, would be the inlet.  I estimate the combined cockpit openings  to have less area of the cabin door. If the cabin door was already and always fully open, making another opening in the lavatory would probably not do much to help conditions in the cockpit. Maybe even make it worse. A partially opened cabin door would probably get better ventilation.  Of course if they knew or learned this is unknown. Unknown wind and positioning could cause other effects that effected the airflow too.
However if they had to close the cabin door for concern of water getting to the transmitter then I think the loss of air movement in the cockpit would be immediately noticeable once they closed it. Once the cabin door closed there was zero lower inlet air and no chance for a stack effect. Based on the waves and splashes that may have been a concern during higher tides this may have been a repeated  and painful lesson, if they hadn’t already learned if from earlier in the flight. IE it feels better in here when the cabin door is open but now we have to close it so what can we do?
3971R
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Patch Analysis and Electra Integrity
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2019, 08:37:04 AM »

However if they had to close the cabin door for concern of water getting to the transmitter then I think the loss of air movement in the cockpit would be immediately noticeable once they closed it. Once the cabin door closed there was zero lower inlet air and no chance for a stack effect. Based on the waves and splashes that may have been a concern during higher tides this may have been a repeated  and painful lesson, if they hadn’t already learned if from earlier in the flight. IE it feels better in here when the cabin door is open but now we have to close it so what can we do?

High tide was running about .7 meter (2.29 ft) assuming calm water on the reef (which seldom happens).  Leaving the cabin door open would not be a good idea. Getting rid of the patch looks like a good option.

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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Patch Analysis and Electra Integrity
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2019, 09:50:46 AM »

Ric et al

I don't see AE and Fred hacking out the patch unless they were absolutely sure that the aircraft was no longer flyable.  That means by the time they might have hacked out the patch, some significant damage had already occurred.  Most likely to me is the collapse of the left landing gear. For the radio signals to keep coming, the right engine needs to be out of the water and operable in order to recharge the batteries.

Now do your tidal analysis with the left gear collapsed.  The door on the left side would be further into the water and ever more unusable.  All the more reason to hack out another hole for ventilation.

amck
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Bill Mangus

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Re: Patch Analysis and Electra Integrity
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2019, 10:10:41 AM »

Ric,

I recall you writing somewhere, probably in the 2-2-V-1 thread, that you thought some of the bends/distortions in the artifact appear to, or could have been made by someone kicking the patch, probably repeatedly.

Given what's seen in the frames from the new film you've posted, does that idea still hold?
Bill Mangus
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Patch Analysis and Electra Integrity
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2019, 10:26:38 AM »

Given what's seen in the frames from the new film you've posted, does that idea still hold?

What we see in the new imagery is buckling on the patch. Cutting stringers to install the window weakened the tail structure and allowed the empennage to flex.  Earhart's hard landing in Miami caused the tail to flex and probably cracked the window.  The patch that replaced the window was also eventually damaged by the flexing of the empennage, causing the buckling we see.

The dents on the inside surface of the artifact appear to have been caused by striking with a tool. 
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Leon R White

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Re: Patch Analysis and Electra Integrity
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2019, 12:53:13 PM »

Have we discarded the possibility that the natives either before, or unbeknownst to other might have scavenged parts of the plane? I can imagine that wrecks like the ship or the plane would be prized 'finds' for the native villagers.  I haven't found any extensive discussion other then it was suggested that gilbertese had made wooden objects decorated with aluminum bits.  If Fred died first, and Amelia was buried, who buried her before Gallagher's group found her?

thnks
Leon
Associate Dean of Camel-in-Cloud Studies at University of Ovahtheyah
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Patch Analysis and Electra Integrity
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2019, 01:50:53 PM »

Have we discarded the possibility that the natives either before, or unbeknownst to other might have scavenged parts of the plane? I can imagine that wrecks like the ship or the plane would be prized 'finds' for the native villagers.  I haven't found any extensive discussion other then it was suggested that gilbertese had made wooden objects decorated with aluminum bits. 
See "Catch of the Day" pages 12 and 13, TIGHAR Tracks

If Fred died first, and Amelia was buried, who buried her before Gallagher's group found her?

Amelia wasn't buried.
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Bill Mangus

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Re: Patch Analysis and Electra Integrity
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2019, 09:58:51 AM »

The latest Tighar Tracks explanation of the damage to 2-2 V-1, particularly the bottom edge “failure in tension” struck a chord with me that I hadn’t realized until this morning.  I guess it was lurking in my sub-conscious until I was in that half-awake/half asleep period.  I’ve a couple of questions which may shed some light on feasibility of some further research that the Forum may weigh-in on.

The observation that the heavy taxi/takeoff, long flight and perhaps a rough landing on the reef may have led to the “failure in tension” is a good one.  I’d like to carry it one or two steps further.

When the picture of AE and NP beside the window first surfaced and the gap in the fuselage was noted I remember a search on the forum looking for similar damage on the left side in the vicinity of the cabin door.  I don’t think any was found.  Given the worsening conditions that may have existed at the end of a long series of flights and after landing on the reef, I wonder:

1.   Might the cabin door have been sprung to the point it would not close (or even open) properly, creating a water leak in the fuselage?  I think an  undamaged fuselage would be relatively water tight, except perhaps around the tailwheel location. 

2.   If there was no damage to the door, how water tight would the fuselage have been during high tide.  Would the tail end have filled with water to the level of the tide and then had to drain (slowly?) as the tide went out?  Seems like the weight of this seawater would have added to the vertical stress on the tail twice a day, worsening the gap under the window and perhaps extending it underneath the fuselage to the left side.  If the fuselage retained enough positive buoyancy, it seems it might have bobbed up/down in the wave action, perhaps bouncing the tailwheel on the reef, adding to the stress and damage on the fuselage.  Might an engineering study of these forces and weights acting on the fuselage be useful?  How complicated (and expensive) might it be?  Need to figure out volume of fuselage below high tide waterline, weight of water is known, some sort of calculation regarding the strength of the compromised fuselage an values for the forces acting on it.
Probably not a trivial exercise but doable.

3.   If you assume the damage was getting progressively worse each day (and how could it not given the above) then the “failure in tension” may have happened at some point prior to the last radio message.  At 1:30am local time on July 7, Thelma Lovelace heard Earhart say “we have taken in water.”  The tide was low at that time so the aircraft must have moved closer to the reef edge.  And/or something bad had happened to the fuselage.  Perhaps later but prior to the last known message, the tail assembly failed completely and broke, if not all the way off, enough to drop that section of the fuselage all the way to the reef.  What would this have done to the water level inside the fuselage and any attendant effect on the ability to transmit.  I expect this would have forced them to evacuate to the beach if they were still aboard.

4.   Later the tail separates completely, is broken up and is washed past the Norwich City wreck, around the point to the reef flat where the 1954 photographs appear to show highly reflective objects just under the surface.

 
All speculation I know but it seems to fit the evidence.
Bill Mangus
Researcher #3054SP
 
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Patch Analysis and Electra Integrity
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2019, 11:29:31 AM »

If the tail section had significant leaks wouldn’t water have reached the transmitter at high tide?
3971R
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Patch Analysis and Electra Integrity
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2019, 11:49:20 AM »

If the tail section had significant leaks wouldn’t water have reached the transmitter at high tide?

Not necessarily.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Patch Analysis and Electra Integrity
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2019, 11:58:59 AM »

1.   Might the cabin door have been sprung to the point it would not close (or even open) properly, creating a water leak in the fuselage?  I think an  undamaged fuselage would be relatively water tight, except perhaps around the tailwheel location. 

Possibly, but the bottom of the cabin door opening is much lower than the bottom edge of the patch, so if the concern was ventilation, it would be better to get rid of the patch rather than leave the cabin door open. 

2.   If there was no damage to the door, how water tight would the fuselage have been during high tide.  Would the tail end have filled with water to the level of the tide and then had to drain (slowly?) as the tide went out?  Seems like the weight of this seawater would have added to the vertical stress on the tail twice a day, worsening the gap under the window and perhaps extending it underneath the fuselage to the left side.  If the fuselage retained enough positive buoyancy, it seems it might have bobbed up/down in the wave action, perhaps bouncing the tailwheel on the reef, adding to the stress and damage on the fuselage.  Might an engineering study of these forces and weights acting on the fuselage be useful?  How complicated (and expensive) might it be?  Need to figure out volume of fuselage below high tide waterline, weight of water is known, some sort of calculation regarding the strength of the compromised fuselage an values for the forces acting on it.
Probably not a trivial exercise but doable.

The fuselage would not be fully water tight but it should be pretty good.  I think the tailwheel area in particular would be open to the water.  I agree that if the whole empennage filled with water it would put a tremendous strain on the fuselage in the patch area.  I would think that an engineering study would be pretty complicated.  You’d have to calculate the volume of the empennage and the weight of the water versus the strength of the (weakened) structure.

3.   If you assume the damage was getting progressively worse each day (and how could it not given the above) then the “failure in tension” may have happened at some point prior to the last radio message.  At 1:30am local time on July 7, Thelma Lovelace heard Earhart say “we have taken in water.”  The tide was low at that time so the aircraft must have moved closer to the reef edge.  And/or something bad had happened to the fuselage.  Perhaps later but prior to the last known message, the tail assembly failed completely and broke, if not all the way off, enough to drop that section of the fuselage all the way to the reef.  What would this have done to the water level inside the fuselage and any attendant effect on the ability to transmit.  I expect this would have forced them to evacuate to the beach if they were still aboard.

I don’t know, but I wouldn’t think that the entire tail would separate.  At 1:30am local time on July 7, Thelma Lovelace heard Earhart say “we have taken in water.”  The tide was low at that time so the aircraft must have moved closer to the reef edge.

4.   Later the tail separates completely, is broken up and is washed past the Norwich City wreck, around the point to the reef flat where the 1954 photographs appear to show highly reflective objects just under the surface

The mapping photos were taken in December 1953 - picky, picky.  On 1997, former Niku resident Tapania Taeke told us she saw "part of a wing" on the reef in that area in the late 1950s.
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Randy Conrad

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Re: Patch Analysis and Electra Integrity
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2019, 01:02:40 PM »

If the rear wheel of the fuselage was to catch unlikely in a rut on the beach...what is the probability rate that it could separate the fuselage from the rest of the Electra?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Patch Analysis and Electra Integrity
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2019, 02:39:04 PM »

If the rear wheel of the fuselage was to catch unlikely in a rut on the beach...what is the probability rate that it could separate the fuselage from the rest of the Electra?

I would think that the tailwheel would tear free instead.
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