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Author Topic: Mystery rods  (Read 47086 times)

Patrick Dickson

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #30 on: October 31, 2011, 04:42:29 AM »

perhaps the "handles" on the cabin-side of the cockpit bulkhead are "stops".....to limit the available range of rotation of the rods ??
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #31 on: October 31, 2011, 06:42:08 AM »

Perhaps the rods do not rotate - those handles might be intended to be pulled on.  The bearing block would work either way.
Are there any photos showing the handles in any other positions? Rotated? Pulled forward?
90-degree rotating handle implies something like ball-valves on the aft ends of the shafts.  Pull-handles imply something like poppet or spool valves, or a linkage that turns the motion through an angle, like a bell-crank.  If there were emergency dump-valves on the tanks, I would expect them to be large, and on the bottoms of the tanks.  You wouldn't want such a valve to be accidentally bumped open, but a pilot might want to have a crew member dump fuel during an emergency, so there are redundant handles - one set where the pilot/copilot can reach them, and another set where crew in back can reach them.
Was the plane safe to land with full tanks, as might be necessary if a problem developed immediately after takeoff?
Was the aircraft tested with water in the tanks before they were filled with gas?  Dumping the water might have been through temporary valving.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Friend Weller

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #32 on: October 31, 2011, 08:06:39 AM »

Perhaps the rods do not rotate - those handles might be intended to be pulled on.  The bearing block would work either way.

I thought about that, too, last night - that these rods might not be actuating something by rotating axially but may be set up in a push-pull configuration to perform that function instead.....if only we knew with certainty what that function was!

LTM,
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Brad Beeching

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #33 on: October 31, 2011, 05:37:33 PM »

Just a thought.... The tanks installed inside the cabin were not Lockheed standard tanks correct? The forward tank is mounted very close to the center of gravity of the airframe with the remaining tanks lined up fore and aft behind it. I believe those rods control simple valves that allow fuel to be burned from each tank in succession. In other words, the engines fed from the front tank only and the valve allowed fuel to be moved forward to the front tank for use. This arrangement would allow her to keep the aircraft balanced in flight. I think when looking at vehicles from the early part of the last century we need keep in mind that simple solutions to a problem were used all over. Ever really look at a Model A car or any other vintage aircraft closely? Simple solutions... I think they call it the K.I.S.S. method...

Gums
Brad

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John Ousterhout

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #34 on: October 31, 2011, 09:08:10 PM »

I'll take a guess, having spent a couple days thinking about those handles. One possible reason for the large handles is to provide a better purchase by someone of small stature sitting in the pilot's seat.  Those small handles on the cockpit-ends of the rods might be enough for a strong man with big hands to pull, but they're in a poor position for someone with a small stature to apply much force.  Think of where you'd be putting your hands and arms to pull on those small handles in an emergency - your left hand is on the wheel, you're seatbelt is tight, you're dividing your attention between flying the airplane and reaching with your other hand to pull on the little handles, which are about shoulder-height on the same plane as your seat-back, and a bit more than an elbow  distant from your shoulder. If you're sitting in a chair right now, reach for that location - it's really awkward, and you have little leverage to pull with.  The long handles further back might be just where AE could reach back and "straight-arm" them.  Try that while you're sitting down - stick your right arm straight back just below shoulder level and make a fist.  That's about where those handles are located, if the "someone" has short arms. The three distinct angles might also be intentional, to make it easy to tell which handle you are grabbing without looking.  Reach back, grab one, and lean forward while rotating your torso to the left, and you'll be able to pull with a lot of force.
This still doesn't explain what the rods did, but the above description sure sounds consistant with emergency dump valves to me.
I see that the handles and rods are on the Harney drawings.  I also can see the rods barely visible under AE's elbow in one of the photos on page 2 of this thread.  It still isn't clear what they connect to, but I'm hopefull they'll show that detail in some unexpected photo.
Does anyone recognize the small handles from any other aircraft use?  The look tantalizingly familiar to me...
Cheers,
JohnO
 
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 08:36:46 AM by John Ousterhout »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #35 on: November 01, 2011, 02:07:09 AM »

Just a thought.... The tanks installed inside the cabin were not Lockheed standard tanks correct? The forward tank is mounted very close to the center of gravity of the airframe with the remaining tanks lined up fore and aft behind it. I believe those rods control simple valves that allow fuel to be burned from each tank in succession. In other words, the engines fed from the front tank only and the valve allowed fuel to be moved forward to the front tank for use. This arrangement would allow her to keep the aircraft balanced in flight. I think when looking at vehicles from the early part of the last century we need keep in mind that simple solutions to a problem were used all over. Ever really look at a Model A car or any other vintage aircraft closely? Simple solutions... I think they call it the K.I.S.S. method...

Gums
-----------------------------------
Except there were three floor mounted valves plus the two mounted below the throttles to select the tank to be used.

Here is a link to the fuel plumbing blueprint at Purdue:

http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/earhart&CISOPTR=3683&CISOBOX=1&REC=8



Unfortunately it is incomplete. I have not been able to find a complete
copy, does anybody have access to a complete one?

Check the diagram and you will find that the two valves we see below the throttles and their labels are in accord with the diagram. The valve on the right under the throttles is labeled "Engine selector valve" on the diagram. The left valve shown in the photo is the one shown cut off along the left edge of the diagram near the top. Based on this correspondence, we can expect that the other three valves were installed as shown on the diagram.
gl

« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 02:15:07 AM by Gary LaPook »
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #36 on: November 01, 2011, 07:05:59 AM »

5 valves shown on the diagram:
1) Engine Selector [3-way]
2) Stripping Valve [3-way]
3) (For)ward (Select)or Valve [ 6-way]
4) (cutoff on top left of dwg) [appears to be 6-way, identical labelling to 3)]
5) Center Floor [only 2 "off" positions shown. Appears to be similar to 2), so may have 3 positions, 2 of which are off]

3) and 4) are the ones mounted under the throttles.  They have identical sector labels, but different functions that aren't immediately clear (I assume one controls return fuel flow).  The diagram shows 4) connecting to the 2) Stripping Valve, which is not a term I'm familiar with.  It may be a return selector.

Both 3) and 4) have "fuselage" sector labels, which may refer to the large aux. tanks in the passenger compartment, unless there was a different "fuselage" tank in addition to the aux. tanks.  There are no labels visible that indicate the ability to select among the specific aux. tanks.

It would be nice to see the entire drawing.  There isn't quite enough information to tell us about the aux. tanks' plumbing.  A reasonable design might have a single selector valve to chose from any one aux. tank, plus another selector valve to chose which tank receives returning fuel.  The drawing may show two more valves.

Is there any question that the mystery rods are associated with the fuel tanks?
Cheers,
JohnO
 
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 08:38:48 AM by John Ousterhout »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #37 on: November 01, 2011, 07:13:04 AM »

Here is a link to the fuel plumbing blueprint at Purdue:

http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/earhart&CISOPTR=3683&CISOBOX=1&REC=8



Unfortunately it is incomplete. I have not been able to find a complete
copy, does anybody have access to a complete one?

Yeah, we have good, cleaned-up, legible facsimiles of the complete schematic plus a fueling order form that Earhart apparently intended to use during the world flight (dunno whether she used it or not).  We'll get 'em up on the TIGHAR website along with hi-res photos of the cabin and tank details. 

The Harney Drawings do show small streamlined ports on the belly of the aircraft - one for each tank - that he labeled "fuel drains."  If that's what they are it's odd that the openings face forward.  I would expect drains to face aft.  I would expect vents to face forward but the plumbing for the vents is clearly manifolded and seems to go up to the filler ports on top of the fuselage, not individual vents going down to the belly.

BTW, anyone who is interested in sorting out these questions should really get themselves a copy of the Harney Drawings folio. I won't say they're perfect but they are by far the most accurate representation of what the aircraft looked like at the time it disappeared. The drawings are beautifully rendered in a bound collector’s folio of fifteen full-color 11″ by 17″ drawings on heavy glossy paper.  You can also get them on disk as hi-res jpegs.  No extra charge.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #38 on: November 01, 2011, 09:53:09 AM »

5 valves shown on the diagram:
1) Engine Selector [3-way]
2) Stripping Valve [3-way]
3) (For)ward (Select)or Valve [ 6-way]
4) (cutoff on top left of dwg) [appears to be 6-way, identical labelling to 3)]
5) Center Floor [only 2 "off" positions shown. Appears to be similar to 2), so may have 3 positions, 2 of which are off]

3) and 4) are the ones mounted under the throttles.  They have identical sector labels, but different functions that aren't immediately clear (I assume one controls return fuel flow).  The diagram shows 4) connecting to the 2) Stripping Valve, which is not a term I'm familiar with.  It may be a return selector.

Both 3) and 4) have "fuselage" sector labels, which may refer to the large aux. tanks in the passenger compartment, unless there was a different "fuselage" tank in addition to the aux. tanks.  There are no labels visible that indicate the ability to select among the specific aux. tanks.

It would be nice to see the entire drawing.  There isn't quite enough information to tell us about the aux. tanks' plumbing.  A reasonable design might have a single selector valve to chose from any one aux. tank, plus another selector valve to chose which tank receives returning fuel.  The drawing may show two more valves.

Is there any question that the mystery rods are associated with the fuel tanks?
----------------------------------

There are 6 valves, not 5.
The valves on the panel are 1 and 4 and they do not have identical labels. On the Purdue website you can enlarge the images so that you can see them more clearly.
Look at the photo I attached showing the two valves below the throttles, you can read the labels clearly.
Contrary to modern twin engined planes the Electra had a fuel system that fed both engines from the same tank. The right valve under the throttles is a standard Electra valve, with "right engine on," "left engine on," "both engines on ," and "both engines off" positions choosing which engine is to receive fuel from the fuel system. The left valve is in series with the right valve and is also almost standard, it selects the fuel tank to use, "right 97 gal. wing tank,"  "left  97 gal wing tank," "right 102 gal wing tank," "left 102 gal wing fuel tank," "off," and then the added position of "fuselage tanks." When in the "fuselage tanks" position it then opens the port to a third valve that selects which of the fuselage tanks to use. If it was desired to use fuel from one of the two forward 118 gallon tanks then the third valve was turned to "off" and fourth valve was opened to chose "right" or "left."

gl
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 06:10:42 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #39 on: November 02, 2011, 02:14:43 PM »

5 valves shown on the diagram:
1) Engine Selector [3-way]
2) Stripping Valve [3-way]
3) (For)ward (Select)or Valve [ 6-way]
4) (cutoff on top left of dwg) [appears to be 6-way, identical labelling to 3)]
5) Center Floor [only 2 "off" positions shown. Appears to be similar to 2), so may have 3 positions, 2 of which are off]

3) and 4) are the ones mounted under the throttles.  They have identical sector labels, but different functions that aren't immediately clear (I assume one controls return fuel flow).  The diagram shows 4) connecting to the 2) Stripping Valve, which is not a term I'm familiar with.  It may be a return selector.

Both 3) and 4) have "fuselage" sector labels, which may refer to the large aux. tanks in the passenger compartment, unless there was a different "fuselage" tank in addition to the aux. tanks.  There are no labels visible that indicate the ability to select among the specific aux. tanks.

It would be nice to see the entire drawing.  There isn't quite enough information to tell us about the aux. tanks' plumbing.  A reasonable design might have a single selector valve to chose from any one aux. tank, plus another selector valve to chose which tank receives returning fuel.  The drawing may show two more valves.

Is there any question that the mystery rods are associated with the fuel tanks?
----------------------------------

There are 6 valves, not 5.
The valves on the panel are 1 and 4 and they do not have identical labels. On the Purdue website you can enlarge the images so that you can see them more clearly.
Look at the photo I attached showing the two valves below the throttles, you can read the labels clearly.
Contrary to modern twin engined planes the Electra had a fuel system that fed both engines from the same tank. The right valve under the throttles is a standard Electra valve, with "right engine on," "left engine on," "both engines on ," and "both engines off" positions choosing which engine is to receive fuel from the fuel system. The left valve is in series with the right valve and is also almost standard, it selects the fuel tank to use, "right 97 gal. wing tank,"  "left  97 gal wing tank," "right 102 gal wing tank," "left 102 gal wing fuel tank," "off," and then the added position of "fuselage tanks." When in the "fuselage tanks" position it then opens the port to a third valve that selects which of the fuselage tanks to use. If it was desired to use fuel from one of the two forward 118 gallon tanks then the third valve was turned to "off" and fourth valve was opened to chose "right" or "left."

gl
-------------------------
The above description is quite straight forward and should not confuse anybody.

Now looking at the rest of the fuel plumbing diagram in the Electra we come to the confusing part. There are two additional valves, the first labeled "stripping valve" and the one just below it on the diagram labeled "...RD," the rest of the label that is cut off is "forward floor valve." This valve duplicates the left valve on the instrument panel (this is the upper left valve on the diagram that is cut off) and both of these valves are connected in parallel allowing selecting any of the fuel tanks. This second valve is used to transfer fuel INTO a selected fuel tank. The valve on the instrument panel selects the tank that fuel is drawn OUT OF to go to the engines. The forward floor valve is connected to the stripping valve and the stripping valve selects where the fuel to be transferred comes from, either from the wobble pump or from the tank selected for supplying fuel to the engine.

Two examples will make this clear. Let's say all the fuel from the number 5 fuselage tank has been used up. Earhart then switches the left fuel selector valve away from the "fuselage" position to one of the wing tank positions to keep the engines running. She then sets the stripping valve to the wobble pump position and sets the forward floor valve to one of the wing tanks positions and then pumps the handle to move the remaining fuel from the depleted fuselage tank into the selected wing tank. After this is completed she then sets both of these valves back to off. (Note, only fuel from the fuselage tanks can be moved with the wobble pump and it can only be sent to a wing tank. Also, the plane must be using a wing tank during this operation, not one of the fuselage tanks. )

The other use of this system is to transfer fuel between tanks by use of the mechanical fuel pump. The stripping valve receives pressurized fuel from the engine side of the fuel pump, this fuel coming from the tank then being used to feed the engines. By manipulating the stripping valve and the forward floor valve, fuel can be directed to any other tank in the plane to maintain balance except fuel from one fuselage tank cannot be transferred to another fuselage tank. (See recent post on fuel system thread)
.

gl
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 10:03:04 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Erik

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #40 on: February 13, 2012, 01:09:43 PM »

Could the mystrey rods have been designed for 'sealing' the tanks as much as they were for 'dumping' the tanks?  This newspaper article states the tanks were adapted for quick emptying and complete sealing.  I've never heard that mentioned before.  Click on the article for link.

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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #41 on: February 13, 2012, 01:49:50 PM »


Geez, 6 tanks capable of being sealed off and making a buoy.
Or, perhaps  removed from the plane and laid down and attached together to make a raft of sorts.  Add a hasty mast and a parachute sail and, well you can get the idea...
No Worries Mates
LTM   Harry (TIGHAR #3244R)
 
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #42 on: February 14, 2012, 08:39:14 AM »

with fred 'injured', how was she going to get those tanks out of the plane? On the reef, with rising water? Oh i get it, take the tanks out and let them float to the shore while you retreve another---or out to sea---. How about doing in one by one----thats moving a tank 100yds maybe to the shore line, walking on reef. By the time she retreved the tanks, if the tide was coming in, there water problaby be knee to waist deep. Would be a very tireing job. I doubt seriously that she handled that.
Tom
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Alfred Hendrickson

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #43 on: February 14, 2012, 12:02:26 PM »

Thread hijack:

Ric, what became of the actual model Mr. Harney made? Did not see that mentioned.

End thread hijack!
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Mystery rods
« Reply #44 on: February 14, 2012, 08:03:09 PM »

with fred 'injured', how was she going to get those tanks out of the plane? On the reef, with rising water? Oh i get it, take the tanks out and let them float to the shore while you retreve another---or out to sea---. How about doing in one by one----thats moving a tank 100yds maybe to the shore line, walking on reef. By the time she retreved the tanks, if the tide was coming in, there water problaby be knee to waist deep. Would be a very tireing job. I doubt seriously that she handled that.
Tom
What tools did they have to remove the tiedowns and the fuel manifolds from the tanks?

gl
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