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Author Topic: 2-2-V-1 wing panel comparisons  (Read 16840 times)

Ric Gillespie

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Re: 2-2-V-1 wing panel comparisons
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2019, 09:13:20 AM »

The are general similarities in the rivet patterns on 2-2-V-1 to the wing of the C-47A at Dover.  If 2-2-V-1 is from a C-47, the December 17, 1943 loss of a C-47A at Sydney Island is, without doubt, the most likely suspect.  Sydney (now Manra) is 195 nautical miles from Niku and was part of the Phoenix islands Settlement Scheme. Five families from the settlement on Sydney were moved to Niku in the early 1950s.  Palshaw’s hypothesis is, 2-2-V-1 is a piece of the right wing of the Sydney wreck, salvaged by locals, and brought with them to Niku.  There are some problems with that hypothesis.

•  According to the AAF accident report, "the right wing had clipped a tree, outside of the motor, at the beach while coming in low from the water. This was verified by the natives on the island. The right wing struck a tree, breaking the tree off about thirty feet from the ground. … A portion of the right wing was found approximately 86 feet inland.  The plane went up over the trees for a distance of about 150 yards and started coming down through the trees again, shearing off the trees until it came to rest approximately 376 yards from the first tree which was struck.  The motors continued on after the plane came to rest, one for 46 yards and the other 63 yards from the plane.  The airplane burned completely with the exception of the tail section and the left wing from the motor out, also the right wing which had been lost.”
Included in our copy of the accident report is a bad photocopy of a photo of the right wing (attached).  The part of the wing where 2-2-V-1 appears to fit (between the engine nacelle and the aileron) is right where the tree sheared through the wing.  The metal in that area should show impact damage similar to wreckage we retrieved from the Idaho Electra cash site. (photo attached). If 2-2-V-1 is from the Sydney wreck it is more likely from the left wing.

•  There was certainly no "cold working" of the C-47 wing prior to the accident. Tom Palshaw suggests the “cold working” on lower left of 2-2-V-1 occurred after the sheet was salvaged.  I’m not sure that’s possible.  I’ll ask the metallurgists.

•  We know 2-2-V-1 spent considerable time under water - long enough for coral growth to form - and scrubbed around on an abrasive surface (such as the reef flat) long enough to wear all of the edges smooth.  Those features are hard to square with a piece of metal salvaged on land and brought to Niku by a settler from Sydney.

•  There was no casual inter-island commerce.  The first settlers from Sydney arrived in the early 1950s, but in 1944 and '45 American servicemen traded with locals on Nikumaroro for carved wooden boxes with small decorative metal inlays said to be from "the downed plane" which had been on Gardner when the first settlers arrived. Laboratory testing has confirmed the metal to be ALCLAD aluminum.  So the settlers on Gardner apparently had access to aircraft aluminum before any settlers from Sydney arrived.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2019, 09:17:23 AM by Ric Gillespie »
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Bill Mangus

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Re: 2-2-V-1 wing panel comparisons
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2019, 12:29:00 PM »

Another thing to perhaps consider is the difference between how 2-2-V-1 looks compared to the relatively pristine pieces seen on the boxes -- no coral growth, oxidation, etc.  I don't know if the colonists had tools enough to polish what aluminum they found but 2-2-V-1 would hardly be considered useful enough for decorative pieces.  I don't really know, though.  Would 2-2-V-1 "clean-up" nice enough to be a decoration?

(Rainy and cold here; I'd rather be thinking about a warm Pacific island :D)
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: 2-2-V-1 wing panel comparisons
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2019, 12:55:13 PM »

Would 2-2-V-1 "clean-up" nice enough to be a decoration?

I don't think so, but 2-2-V-1 shows no sign of having had pieces cut put of it.  If the locals were using aluminum from the Electra for the inlays, the metal was coming from other salvaged bits.
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Jerry Stalheim

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Re: 2-2-V-1 wing panel comparisons
« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2019, 01:56:21 PM »

I'm confused now, ... so are we now saying that this piece likely has nothing at all to do with AEs plane, OR are you saying that they used a piece from another plane entirely to possibly cover the window of AEs plane and this might be it? 

Need some clarification please.

Thanks
Jerry S
LTM
Thanks,

Jerry
5228R

LTM
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: 2-2-V-1 wing panel comparisons
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2019, 07:19:17 AM »

I'm confused now, ... so are we now saying that this piece likely has nothing at all to do with AEs plane, OR are you saying that they used a piece from another plane entirely to possibly cover the window of AEs plane and this might be it? 

We're not saying anything. We're doing the same thing we've been doing since we found the piece in 1991.  We're trying to figure out where 2-2-V-1 came from and how it got to where we found it.
• We are comparing 2-2-V-1 to photos of the patch on AE's plane and we're finding remarkable similarities. It is virtually certain that AE's plane was once at Nikumaroro, so it's reasonably possible that part of the plane may have ended up where we found it.
• The artifact is also similar to a section on the wing of a C-47A.  A C-47A is known to have crashed on another island in the Phoenix Group so it's reasonably possible that part of the plane may have been salvaged and brought to Nikumaroro.
•  We're not aware of any other reasonable possible sources for the artifact.

Which explanation is most reasonable?  To answer that question we're collecting more detailed data on the artifact, the patch, and the C-47A. 

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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: 2-2-V-1 wing panel comparisons
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2019, 01:27:02 PM »

You guys are confusing each other.

What Ric is trying to say is that 2-2-V-1 was not the source of the little bits of Alclad that the islanders used to inlay on the boxes and other decorative items they traded with the Coasties.  We know this because 2-2-V-1 has no signs of having little pieces cut out of it, so the source for that material had to be other salvaged aluminum.

2-2-V-1, if it is the patch from AE's plane, didn't come from another aircraft, it was cut from a fresh sheet of Alclad.

I hope that helps clarify.

amck
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Randy Conrad

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Re: 2-2-V-1 wing panel comparisons
« Reply #21 on: December 18, 2019, 12:27:02 AM »

As late as it is early, I thought I better send this or I'll totally forget it entirely. Anyway, I was online researching the other night and from reading an old Miami Herald online back on the week that Amelia was there...it went on in the article that the old Miami airport was turned into a Naval station. With that I've been doing some searching on C-47 that Ric was mentioning, and I ran across this. Very interesting to say the least, and it might hold the answer to our elusive patch.....

   Henry Guerin, who started with Douglas in the early 1920s, was now his wartime factory manager at Santa Monica. Guerin had developed a “Hydropress” process that employed male dies made of metal with a “universal” female die made of rubber. This process cut aluminum alloy sheets, and shaped them in a single operation. The Guerin Process was responsible for turning out aircraft parts at undreamed of speed. This process eventually led to closed wing compartments and leakproof integral fuel tanks, without which long range aircraft like the C‑54 would not have been possible. The Guerin hydropress machinery and methods were also later adopted by the auto industry to meet the wartime production needs.

            Other parts of the airplane, fairings, access panels, cowls, and wing fillets once formed by hand, were now consigned to Guerin’s presses or stretch‑formed over dies. The objective was to develop a machine tool or technique to replace a hand tool operation. Rivet machines replaced hand riveting, and combined, the improved production techniques cut manufacturing time by 50 percent.

http://www.dc3history.org/c47dakota.html

With the information on Henry Guerin and starting with Douglas in 1920...I'm curious to know Ric if the metal used in the patch was widely used by other aircraft companies at the time Amelia's plane was built. With Guerin "Hydropress" it makes you wonder during that time frame and with war in the foreground that one type of metal was used. Granted I'm no historian on aircraft metal but it would make sense if you were going to mass produce planes at any given moment. Two things we might need to consider with more information on the patch is what kind of record keeping did George Putnam have in regards to the cost of having this done to the plane. Do we know if there is any purchase invoice of any kind in any of George's records or files or anything listed in the Purdue University. Is it possible that there is a ledger somewhere with accounts receivable at the Miami Airport? It would be really interesting to find out if this be the case. Anyway, you might be on to something of this Ric. If Guerin Hydropress was a big thing, then most likely most of the big time plane body shops would have had it in their possesion and at any time, it would be possible to cut and form a piece of metal to fit to size. I'm curious to know if any of these alloy sheets are anywhere to be found in Miami???




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Ric Gillespie

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Re: 2-2-V-1 wing panel comparisons
« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2019, 09:08:20 AM »

Rivet machines replaced hand riveting, and combined, the improved production techniques cut manufacturing time by 50 percent.

Machine riveting would be very precise.  Unfortunately, the article does not say when Douglas began using machine riveting.

With Guerin "Hydropress" it makes you wonder during that time frame and with war in the foreground that one type of metal was used.

The type of metal did not change.  From 1932 on, virtually all American all-metal aircraft, military and civilian, were made of 24ST aluminum.


Two things we might need to consider with more information on the patch is what kind of record keeping did George Putnam have in regards to the cost of having this done to the plane. Do we know if there is any purchase invoice of any kind in any of George's records or files or anything listed in the Purdue University. Is it possible that there is a ledger somewhere with accounts receivable at the Miami Airport?

No records of any kind have come to light with respect to the installation of the patch in Miami. 

If Guerin Hydropress was a big thing, then most likely most of the big time plane body shops would have had it in their possesion and at any time, it would be possible to cut and form a piece of metal to fit to size. I'm curious to know if any of these alloy sheets are anywhere to be found in Miami???

While in Miami, NR16020 was hangared at Karl Voelter Inc., a small FBO offering "Sale -Service -School" at Miami Municipal Airport - certainly not a "big time plane body shop". The patch was probably installed in the Voelter hangar. I think the Guerin Hydropress is something that would only be found in an airplane factory.
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Matt Revington

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Re: 2-2-V-1 wing panel comparisons
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2019, 12:43:01 PM »

Just a note this web page shows archive holdings at HistoryMiami Museum, aviation papers predominantly from 1930-1955 including Miami International Airport (which was previously Miami Municipal Airport), of particular interest is that there are holdings  in this collection related to Amelia Earhart but no details given.  Might be worth a visit for a local TIGHAR member

https://www.historymiamiarchives.org/aviation-papers-circa-1920-1963


also  in the Memphis Public Library archive  a box of material related to Phoebe Omlie a woman prominent in aviation in the 1930s and 40s includes correspondence between her and Karl Voelter apparently in regard to a planned Amelia Earhart film, there might be something of interest there.

"Box Four
contains materials relating to a proposed Amelia Earhart film; the Ninety-Nines, Inc.; Helen
Richey; OX5; aviation magazines, newsletters, and articles; various personal documents; and
general correspondence with Louise Thaden, Phil Wendell, Robert McComb, Karl Voelter,
Glenn Buffington, and Roscoe Turner."

https://memphislibrary.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p13039coll1/id/2601/
« Last Edit: December 18, 2019, 01:24:54 PM by Matt Revington »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: 2-2-V-1 wing panel comparisons
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2019, 02:03:53 PM »

Just a note this web page shows archive holdings at HistoryMiami Museum, aviation papers predominantly from 1930-1955 including Miami International Airport (which was previously Miami Municipal Airport), of particular interest is that there are holdings  in this collection related to Amelia Earhart but no details given.  Might be worth a visit for a local TIGHAR member

Jeff Glickman and I visited that collection when we were in Miami in 2014. Nothing helpful there.
BTW, Miami International was not previously Miami Municipal. Miami Municipal ceased operations in 1954.  It's now Amelia Earhart Park. MIA was originally Miami City Airport and later merged with adjacent Pan American Field and Miami Army Airfield to become Miami International.

also  in the Memphis Public Library archive  a box of material related to Phoebe Omlie a woman prominent in aviation in the 1930s and 40s includes correspondence between her and Karl Voelter apparently in regard to a planned Amelia Earhart film, there might be something of interest there.

The film seems to have been a 1974 production involving Shirley Maclaine. 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: 2-2-V-1 wing panel comparisons
« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2019, 12:35:14 PM »

This is an update on what I’ve been doing to test the hypothesis that 2-2-V-1 is from the C-47A that crashed on Sydney Island Dec. 17, 1943.

As shown in the attached illustrations, I’ve assigned an alpha-numeric designator to each rivet hole on 2-2-V-1 ( see “hole numbers.jpg”).  After precisely measuring distances on the artifact with adhesive measuring tape, I’ve plotted each hole on a schematic in Adobe Illustrator to a tolerance 1/32”.  The result is a far more accurate picture of the rivet pattern than we have ever had.

Major take-aways:

•  The spacing of the rivet lines as shown in a 1992 issue of TIGHAR Tracks is not precise. The paper template of 2-2-V-1 used by Tom Palshaw is based on the 1992 measurements.  The differences, while not huge (see “Actual v template”.jpg ) are significant when measuring precise alignment with the pattern on the C-47 wing.  Palshaw’s template appears to fit the C-47B wing but it does not accurately reflect the artifact.

•  The pitch of the small rivets in all four lines - a total of 93 rivets - is unfailingly precise at exactly one inch, except in one instance.  The space between holes C14 and C15 is 1/16” short (see “#3 pitch anom.jpg”).   Hole C14 is “stretched” vertically. I don’t see how the two anomalies have anything to do with each other.  The pitch precision of 99% of the small rivets suggests the use of a jig or template, but the anomaly argues against a jig, so the small rivet holes appear to have been hand-drilled using a template which apparently slipped in one instance.  This would seem to be more likely in an expedient repair rather than during factory manufacture.
The vertically deformed hole is unusual -  nearly all other holes are undeformed. The vertical deformation implies a tugging force.  The bottom edge of 2-2-V-1 exhibits lateral tearing due to overload, i.e. tugging.

•  The two top rivet lines (E and F) angle down left to right and are nearly, but not exactly, parallel to each other.  The center rivet line (D) runs straight left to right.  The lowest row of small rivets (C) is parallel to the center line (D).

•  The large rivet holes along the bottom of the artifact (B) have a consistent pitch of 1 1/4” except between B5 and B6 where the pitch is 1 1/8” (an eighth of an inch short) and between B6 and B7 where the pitch is 1 11/16” (nearly half an inch too long). 

•  Perhaps more significantly, line B is actually two separate lines. Holes from B1 to B5 are in alignment, but at B6 the line jumps up 1/8” and continues straight to B14.  There may, or may not, be a hole at B15. (see “Line B.jpg”)

•  An “A” line of rivets is implied but no remnant of a hole is discernible so it’s not possible to know the distance between lines A and B.

Whether any of these features can be seen on the patch awaits Jeff Glickman's work with the 16mm film. 

All of this is unlike anything I saw on the C-47A at Dover AFB and supports the hypothesis that 2-2-V-1 is a repair rather than factory construction.
Tom Palshaw was using an inaccurate template (my fault, not his) to compare 2-2-V-1 to the wrong airplane (a C-47B rather than a C-47A).  The C-47A at Dover, 42-9284, is a different contract year than the plane that crashed on Sydney, 43-30739. For the best possible comparison to the C-47A that crashed on Sydney Island, we need to come as close as we can to apples-to-apples. We need to do a detailed examination and measurement of the relevant section on the wing of the closest surviving C-47A by tail number.  We will be doing that later this winter.

« Last Edit: December 21, 2019, 05:14:52 PM by Bruce Thomas »
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Randy Conrad

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Re: 2-2-V-1 wing panel comparisons
« Reply #26 on: December 29, 2019, 12:34:19 AM »

http://www.historymiami.org/wp-content/uploads/documents/update-v1-n6-3.pdf

I ran across this article the other night on Karl Voelter and Miami Airport. Its a very good article and talks alot about who Karl really was. His portion of the article starts on page 5, and page 12. After reading the article, I personally am convinced that the patch work done to the Electra wasnt done in a hurry per say. After reading Karl's profile, I'm convinced that his way of doing things had to be in top notch condition. After all he was in the Marines and he also flew planes and also raced them. However, it did mention the fact that what he had, was a "tin hangar". I don't know how to decipher that comment, but I assume it was all he had to work with! I also uncovered in the Air Commerce Bulletin of 1935-1937 ads that mentioned Karl Voelter Inc. and his aeronautical charts he had for sale. So I believe Mr. Voelter was a reputable man and did things the right way.
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Bill Mangus

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Re: 2-2-V-1 wing panel comparisons
« Reply #27 on: December 29, 2019, 08:24:59 AM »

Randy,

That's a good find and very interesting.  I wonder if Mr. Voelter's  descendants, if any, have kept any of his papers or other documentation which may shed light on May/June 1937.

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: 2-2-V-1 wing panel comparisons
« Reply #28 on: December 29, 2019, 11:51:03 AM »

After reading the article, I personally am convinced that the patch work done to the Electra wasnt done in a hurry per say. After reading Karl's profile, I'm convinced that his way of doing things had to be in top notch condition.

I think the patch was probably fashioned and installed by Earhart's own mechanic, "Bo" McKneeley.  He probably did the work in Voelter's hangar, but NR16020 was Bo's baby.  He had been maintaining and performing modifications on the airplane for the past year. He was likely the one who installed the window the patch replaced.  It doesn't make sense that he would outsource a last-minute repair.
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Randy Conrad

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Re: 2-2-V-1 wing panel comparisons
« Reply #29 on: December 30, 2019, 12:06:17 AM »

Ric, there is one thing I did forget to mention in my findings in the Air Commerce Bulletin was that in the 1935-1937 issues it has a section where planes that make changes and modifications have a certificate number of the change or work done. I found that very interesting. I did search those certain issues but did not see anything. Not saying its possible that a certificate number was issued on the Electra...but something to look further into!
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