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Author Topic: Electra radio equipment and antennas  (Read 34351 times)

Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Electra radio equipment and antennas
« Reply #30 on: March 05, 2015, 05:55:03 PM »

The controls for the radio were moved to her side of the cockpit, I believe. 

I think my source is Ric Gillespie.

You KNOW you can't trust that guy.
As far as I know, we don't have a photo of the cockpit layout after Manning jumped ship and the plane was repaired following the Luke Field wreck.

Not your fault.

I messed up.

Working from memory ...  :-[
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Neff Jacobs

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Re: Electra radio equipment and antennas
« Reply #31 on: March 05, 2015, 08:09:20 PM »

You may look here http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140727-amelia-earhart-history-flight-airplanes-adventure-explorer/   to read about how Earhart used radio on her Honolulu Oakland flight.   She also carried a simple to operate, a single needle pointed to the station automatically, radio compass  by Bill Lear  http://mlsandy.home.tsixroads.com/Corinth_MLSANDY/rt105.html   reads in part 

So he, Bill Lear, took the next logical step.
  He brought his direction finder to the Bureau of Air Commerce, which
  wanted to improve private flying as well as commercial aviation and which
  had been working on a radio compass for fifteen years without much
  success.  If Lear could get the bureau to endorse his radio compass, he
  figured he would have a better shot at reaching the roughly 7,500 private
  pilots in the country as well as the major airlines.  He convinced
  Director Eugene Vidal to commission the bureau to test his Learoscope to
  see if it would be of any value to the private pilot.  Vidal hired his
  friend Amelia Earhart, for $1 a year, to fly Lear's direction finder
  (slightly rebuilt according to bureau specfications) in her bright red
  Lockeed Vega primarily to determine its possibilities as an air
  navigation aid for private owners of aircraft." To draw Earhart as a test
  pilot was a promotional coup, for the aviatrix- the first woman to cross
  the Atlantic, one year after Charles E. Lindbergh- was a darling of the
  media.  Vidal asked her to make notes and observations to assist [the
  bureau] to perfect the instrument."
Neff
« Last Edit: March 05, 2015, 08:16:58 PM by Neff Jacobs »
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John Wallace

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Earhart and Lears RDF in 1935: clues to 1937?
« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2015, 12:55:18 AM »

Interestingly, Lear designed the rdf (which became the basis for what he installed in Earhart's Vega) for the MacRobertson International Air Race from London to Melbourne, Australia. This race covered much of the same ground Earhart later flew over in her round the world trip. 

Further info on Lear, 1935 rdf (including pics), and trip across the country to install in Earharts Vega can be found at:
http://www.dmairfield.com/people/lear_wm/index.html 
and re the Vega itself with photos of the rdf loop:
http://www.parksfield.org/airplanes/NR965Y/

Earhart herself commented on her experience with the Lear RDF in a telegram to Putnam which is reproduced at the Purdue archives:
http://e-archives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/epurdue/id/184

(Purdue archives also have some other information about the Lear rdf in her one of her scrapbooks.)

One small correction: the rdf was not installed for the Hawaii to California to trip. Lear flew to California and installed it for the California to Mexico City flight (on which leg she probably did get lost.) The rdf did remain on the vega after the Mexico City to Newark flight. It can be seen in the Grand Canyon Airport photo later in 1935 after the flight to Newark. 

I myself have wondered if Earhart's experience with Lears RDF in 1935 led to overconfidence when testing the rdf in the Electra at Lae and then in the ill fated leg where she disappeared.  It has always been puzzling to me how she was all over the Cambridge gas analyzer and Noonan all over the time checks but seemingly out to lunch about the rdf.  Lear had every reason to make sure Earhart knew how to use his rdf in 1935.  Its prototype had been flown over Asia to Australia. Her own 1935 telegram (which bolsters contemporary news accounts) shows she had at least some experience with it. So maybe she got lulled by what she thought she knew rather than publicity crazy, fact poor lack of interest in details.

Interestingly too, the Stormy Genius biography of Lear gives additional context for what seems to be pretty intense competition over rdf development in 1935. (In other parts of book not quoted in the web account.) So Hooven's later account in his report really seems to miss key context both as to the state of the rdf and also Earhart's prior experience.  Of course when your star publicist goes missing never to be found, it is understandable that Lear never further promoted the Earhart connection to his rdf.

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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Earhart and Lears RDF in 1935: clues to 1937?
« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2015, 02:51:52 AM »

... seemingly out to lunch about the rdf.

In my opinion, FWIW, you may drop "seemingly" from your account.

I would say she was "demonstrably out to lunch."

Quote
So maybe she got lulled by what she thought she knew rather than publicity crazy, fact poor lack of interest in details.

That makes sense. 

Quote
Hooven's later account in his report really seems to miss key context both as to the state of the rdf and also Earhart's prior experience.  Of course when your star publicist goes missing never to be found, it is understandable that Lear never further promoted the Earhart connection to his rdf.

Why did she install Hooven's system first?  Who liked it?

Why did she uninstall it?  Who didn't like it?
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Monty Fowler

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Re: Electra radio equipment and antennas
« Reply #34 on: March 06, 2015, 06:47:21 AM »

The only thing I can contribute about a possible reason  for ditching the RDF prior to her second attempt was that Amelia seemed positively obsessed with weight, as in, reducing it. Anything that, in her mind, would not "earn its keep" during the flight got the heave-ho, either before or during. And since she never bothered to get proficient in RDF, let alone the ground-level basics of Morse code, to her RDF wasn't "worth the weight."

The wretched irony of which is if she had left that "worthless" instrument in, we might not still be having conversations about what happened to her and Fred.

LTM,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 ECR
Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
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