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Author Topic: Amelia and early accidents  (Read 14987 times)

Ric Gillespie

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Amelia and early accidents
« on: February 28, 2013, 01:59:35 PM »

LOL No wonder she had, what - 8 airplane accidents?

Quote
Ric (brought forward from 'Frisky Woman' thread) -

I think I've counted 11.


Ric, do you know how many of the 11 today would be called "accidents" as opposed to "incidents"?

Two occurrences while she was taking instruction don't count because she was not Pilot in Command so it's "only" ten - six accidents and four incidents.  An accident involves substantial damage to the aircraft and/or serious or fatal injury.

Avro Avian    NC7083 (previously G-EBUG)
August 31, 1928 - landing accident Pittsburgh, PA.  No injuries, substantial damage.  ACCIDENT
September 30, 1928 - forced landing near Tintic, UT.  No injuries, minor damage.  INCIDENT

Lockheed Vega 1 c/n 36   NC31E
August 19, 1929 -landing accident Yuma AZ. No injuries, minor damage. INCIDENT

Lockheed Vega 5 c/n 22   NC7952
September 30, 1930 - landing accident at NAS Norfolk, VA.  Minor injuries, severe damage to aircraft. ACCIDENT

Pitcairn PCA-2      NC10780
June 1931 - takeoff accident Abilene, TX.  No injuries, totalled aircraft, letter of reprimand from Department of Commerce. ACCIDENT
July 1931 - replacement aircraft, landing accident Camden, NJ. No injuries, minor damage. INCIDENT
September 1931 - landing accident Detroit , MI.  No injuries, totalled aircraft. ACCIDENT

Lockheed 10E Special c/n 1055      NR16020
March 20, 1937 - takeoff accident Honolulu, HI.  No injuries, extensive damage. ACCIDENT            
May 21, 1937 - engine fire Tucson, AZ.  No injuries, minor damage. INCIDENT
July 2, 1937 - failed to arrive Howland Island. ACCIDENT





« Last Edit: September 29, 2013, 07:48:02 AM by Jeff Neville »
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Amelia and early accidents
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2013, 08:48:52 PM »

Ric, do you know how many of the 11 today would be called "accidents" as opposed to "incidents"?

Two occurrences while she was taking instruction don't count because she was not Pilot in Command so it's "only" ten - six accidents and four incidents.  An accident involves substantial damage to the aircraft and/or serious or fatal injury.

Avro Avian    NC7083 (previously G-EBUG)
August 31, 1928 - landing accident Pittsburgh, PA.  No injuries, substantial damage.  ACCIDENT
September 30, 1928 - forced landing near Tintic, UT.  No injuries, minor damage.  INCIDENT

Lockheed Vega 1 c/n 36   NC31E
August 19, 1929 -landing accident Yuma AZ. No injuries, minor damage. INCIDENT

Lockheed Vega 5 c/n 22   NC7952
September 30, 1930 - landing accident at NAS Norfolk, VA.  Minor injuries, severe damage to aircraft. ACCIDENT

Pitcairn PCA-2      NC10780
June 1931 - takeoff accident Abilene, TX.  No injuries, totalled aircraft, letter of reprimand from Department of Commerce. ACCIDENT
July 1931 - replacement aircraft, landing accident Camden, NJ. No injuries, minor damage. INCIDENT
September 1931 - landing accident Detroit , MI.  No injuries, totalled aircraft. ACCIDENT

Lockheed 10E Special c/n 1055      NR16020
March 20, 1937 - takeoff accident Honolulu, HI.  No injuries, extensive damage. ACCIDENT            
May 21, 1937 - engine fire Tucson, AZ.  No injuries, minor damage. INCIDENT
July 2, 1937 - failed to arrive Howland Island. ACCIDENT

Thank you, Ric, that is most informative. Practically a one-person Hazard-to-Navigation. This leads me to ask why the US Government spends so much to save fools from their own incompetence (viz young Kennedy) and yet at the same time penalizes well-intentioned pilots that make innocent mistakes that result from the difficult interpretation of complex regulations and mandated procedures. The Roosevelt Administration spent $2 million to search for AE (today's equivalent?) because she campaigned for him? Whose bacon was saved - Gene Vidal's?

And, really, has anything changed?
Tim
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Dan Swift

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Re: Amelia and early accidents
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2013, 07:42:29 AM »

I don't know Ric, even a fender bender that is your fault I consider an ACCIDENT.  A "landing accident with even minor damage, to me, is an ACCIDENT.  Also, I noticed pattern here.  This woman had some 'issues' with landings it appears.  To me an INCIDENT is when you just miss the collision, or almost have an ACCIDENT. 

And agree that if AE had completed her 'mission' that she would have most likely faded away into history.....a distant memory.  Her sudden and trajic disapperance at the height of her popularity kept her celeberty status alive. 

Just as Elvis dying at age 42 kept his popularity alive.  If he had lived to retire at an age of 70+, let's say, he too would have just been a star from the past...not still present like he is.  Similar phenomenon to me. 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Amelia and early accidents
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2013, 08:00:29 AM »

I find it rather sobering to consider that a national hero like Earhart would probably find her outlook on life to be subject to analysis by every pundit on television and the media these days. Didn't seem to raise an eyebrow then - perhaps the media wasn't so pervasive or people still had bitter memories of the worst of the depression years.

The media were not nearly as forgiving of Earhart as the legend that has grown up since her death would lead you to believe.  TIME magazine's coverage of her intention to make a world flight can only be described as mocking.

"Between 1924 and 1933 the globe was girdled six times by aircraft. Last year, when Pan American Airways started carrying passengers across the Pacific, reporters Herbert Ekins and Leo Kieran circled the globe on commercial lines. Soon after, Pan American’s President Juan Terry Trippe and a party of friends also flew around on commercial lines. Last week, Aviatrix Amelia Earhart Putnam took off from Oakland “to establish the feasibility of circling the globe by commercial air travel” and “to determine just how human beings react under strain and fatigue.”

TIME’s description of the accident was no less sarcastic:

"Down the long concrete runway the ship shot at 60 m.p.h. Suddenly the left tire [sic] blew out. Lurching, the plane crumpled its landing gear, careened 1,000 ft. on its bottom in a spray of sparks while the propellers knotted like pretzels. With sirens screaming, ambulances dashed to the wreck just as Flyer Amelia stepped out white-faced. Said she: “Something must have gone wrong.”


Aviation pioneer and syndicated columnist Major Alford Williams, USMC was downright scathing.  On March 31, 1937 in the aftermath of the Luke Field wreck, as AE was proclaiming her determination to try again, Williams wrote in a widely published op-ed:
“Individually sponsored trans-oceanic flying is the worst racket in aviation. Amelia Earhart’s ‘Flying Laboratory’ is the latest and most distressing racket that has been given to a trusting and enthusiastic public. … It’s time the Bureau of Air Commerce took a hand in this business and it’s my guess that the bureau will not grant Mrs. Amelia Earhart permission to make another attempt.”

Williams was almost right. Amelia's friend Gene Vidal had stepped down as Director of the Bureau of Air Commerce and, after the debacle in Hawaii, the new boss was not much inclined to approve another try.  Earhart and Putnam countered with an offer to reverse the direction of the world flight to begin with a "shakedown" cross-country flight from Oakland to Miami to identify any glitches from the re-build.  Once any problems had been addressed by Pan Am mechanics in Miami, then and only then would Earhart announce that her second world flight had actually begun.  The reversal in the direction of flight would be sold to the public as motivated by weather/wind concerns.  The Bureau agreed and the plan was carried out so effectively that, seventy-five years later, virtually every biography of Earhart repeats the fiction that she voluntarily reversed the direction of the world flight. 

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Amelia and early accidents
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2013, 08:14:23 AM »

I don't know Ric, even a fender bender that is your fault I consider an ACCIDENT.  A "landing accident with even minor damage, to me, is an ACCIDENT.

I tend to agree with you.  I was using the FAA's definition of accident versus incident.

Also, I noticed pattern here.  This woman had some 'issues' with landings it appears.

All of the aircraft she flew had conventional (tail wheel) landing gear.  Conventional gear aircraft require skill in maintaining directional control on takeoff and landing.  With enough practice, any normally coordinated person can acquire the necessary skill to keep the airplane going straight, but Earhart was impatient and put herself in situations where she needed skills she didn't have.  The British have a saying. "All airplanes bite fools."
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Dan Swift

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Re: Amelia and early accidents
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2013, 08:23:41 AM »

I know.  I flew a couple years ago.....and came close to a couple of ground loops myself in some strong crosswinds.  But as you say, AE seemed to NOT prepare herself properly for many things...that eventually might have saved her life. 
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Gloria Walker Burger

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Re: Amelia and early accidents
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2013, 11:31:11 PM »

I've seen 'ground loop' said in numerous threads. I looked it up in Wikipedia and still am confused. Can someone explain this to me, a non-pilot?
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Amelia and early accidents
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2013, 07:23:32 AM »

I've seen 'ground loop' said in numerous threads. I looked it up in Wikipedia and still am confused. Can someone explain this to me, a non-pilot?

In an "air-loop" (no one calls it that; I'm making that term up), the airplane's path goes up in the air and around a center point in a somewhat circle-ish form.  This is an aerobatic maneuver and can be quite entertaining for pilots, passengers, and spectators.

I a "ground-loop," the airplane goes left or right off the runway and turns back the way it came.  In most cases, this is not what the pilot intended to have happen.  It ordinarily indicates loss of control and often comes from "pilot-induced oscillations" (over-controlling or attempting control inputs at the wrong time). 

Here is a video of a mild ground loop on landing.

Deliberate ground loop with smoke on for entertainment purposes
.

Mild ground loop on high-speed taxi run.  The pilot didn't want to take off and got into a no-man's land--rotary engine spinning fast enough to provide lots of torque but airframe not traveling fast enough to provide effective rudder control.
LTM,

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Amelia and early accidents
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2013, 07:57:56 AM »

Great videos Marty!  Earhart's groundloop was far more violent. For a detailed description/illustration see page 42 in The Object Formerly Known as Nessie in the new TIGHAR Tracks.
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Jeff Carter

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Re: Amelia and early accidents
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2013, 10:25:06 AM »

And a nice (safe) one in a P-47:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFvD7Ok0ghY

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Dave McDaniel

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Re: Amelia and early accidents
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2013, 01:03:25 PM »

I'm glad you posted that Jeff. I was just about to say that ground loops can be a positive thing. As the video shows it can be used to shorten stopping distance in the event of an emergency. This does not work well in a tricycle type gear aircraft under any circumstance! Of course it doesn't hurt that the P-47 was built like a tank and had a very stout landing gear.

Dave 
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Dan Swift

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Re: Amelia and early accidents
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2013, 07:05:38 AM »

Correct me if I am wrong, but ground loops are most common on landing where you are decelerating after touch down and you begin to lose some of the control across the rudder.  Some conventional gear (tail dragging) aircraft were notorious for ground loops.  The Beachcraft 18 "Twin Beach", a similar vintage and style to AE's Electra, was on of those notorious A/C.  They later designed a "tricycle" conversion or version of that plane.  But, to ground loop one on takeoff at higher speed would have been more violent...and scary.   I would guess the ground loop happened by trying to abort the takeoff and therefore decelerating and the tail was trying to pass you by?     
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Amelia and early accidents
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2013, 07:31:53 AM »

But, to ground loop one on takeoff at higher speed would have been more violent...and scary.   I would guess the ground loop happened by trying to abort the takeoff and therefore decelerating and the tail was trying to pass you by?     

You have the violent and scary part right.  Ground loops on takeoff typically happen if the pilot is inept in making directional corrections after the tail comes up but before the plane has built up enough speed for the rudders to become effective.  It takes some deft dancing on the rudder pedals and perfectly-timed jabs at each brake to keep the front end in front of the back end, especially if you're over-gross.  Been there, done that in a DC-3 loaded with too many hockey players and their gear.  It feels like running downhill with your hands tied to an overloaded wheelbarrow.  In a twin-engined airplane there's a temptation to augment the rudder with differential power (backing off the throttle on one engine) but it's a dangerous technique because you can't make adjustments fast enough.  Paul Mantz told his biographer Don Dwiggins that AE lost control during the Luke Field takeoff because she "jockeyed the throttles."
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John Klier

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Re: Amelia and early accidents
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2013, 01:16:51 PM »

A few years back I was volunteering at an airshow in Burnet Texas. About an hour before the show was to start a late spring cool front blew in. The vendors tents were blowing all over the place and a lot of aircraft that were still en route opted to turn around and go home. There was a F4F Wildcat (or maybe a Hellcat) that was close and the piloted decided to come in. He ground looped at the end of the runway and ended up flipping the aircraft over. The damage didn't appear too bad. I've never heard what happened with that aircraft. I assume it was fixed back up.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Amelia and early accidents
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2013, 05:39:46 PM »

There was a F4F Wildcat (or maybe a Hellcat) that was close and the piloted decided to come in. He ground looped at the end of the runway and ended up flipping the aircraft over. The damage didn't appear too bad.

The great Charlie Hillard lost control of his Hawker Sea Fury shortly after beginning to fly shows with it.  It wasn't a full ground loop, but he departed the runway, hit some mud, the aircraft tipped over, and he suffocated underneath it.  15,000 hours or so in the air, 25 years with the Eagles Aerobatic Flight Team.  So sad ...
LTM,

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