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Author Topic: New Book Project  (Read 4833 times)

Ric Gillespie

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New Book Project
« on: August 21, 2015, 10:11:13 AM »

A heads-up to the Forum.  We'll soon be posting this to the homepage of the TIGHAR website, the TIGHAR Facebook page, in a TIGHARNews bulletin, etc.

Research and support needed for a

From Drawing Board to Disappearance

As a service to historians, researchers and, in fact, anyone interested in Amelia Earhart, TIGHAR will publish a book documenting the evolution of the world’s most famous missing aircraft.   Delivered to Amelia on her 39th birthday -  July 24, 1936 – the aircraft was in service less than a year when it vanished on July 2, 1937.  During that time Amelia’s Model 10E Special underwent many modifications.  Instruments, fuel tanks, registration markings, radios, antennas, even windows - came and went as the so-called Flying Laboratory was readied for its globe circling mission. In the seventy-eight years since it was last seen, misconceptions about Earhart’s Electra have made it difficult for the public to assess competing theories about its ultimate fate.  It is long past time for a documented history of the plane’s development, what is known – and not known – about the changes that were made and what they say about the people who made them.

TIGHAR’s two previous books - Amelia Earhart’s Shoes: Is the Mystery Solved? by Tom King,  Randy Jacobson, Karen Burns, and Kent Spading (AltaMira Press, 2001)  , and Ric Gillespie’s book, Finding Amelia – the True Story of the Earhart Disappearance (Naval Institute Press, 2006) are text-heavy narratives published by respected houses. Last year, as an experiment in in-house publishing , TIGHAR offered Searching for Amelia Earhart – A Travel Journal by Laurie Rubin - a large format “coffee-table” book lavishly illustrated with Laurie’s fabulous photos from the 2012 Niku VII expedition.  Laurie produced the book through on-demand publisher BLURB and donated all proceeds to TIGHAR.  We were impressed by the superb quality of the end product and the book has sold well in the TIGHAR Store. 

Whether we use BLURB or another publisher, large format and high-quality production values will be the standard for the Earhart Electra book.  An initial grant from TIGHAR member Larry Inman in 2013 made it possible to lay the groundwork for this important  project and Larry’s fabulous Remember Amelia personal collection will be an important resource. We’re also fortunate to have the Harney Drawings from which we can create full-color illustrations.  Dozens of historical photos will show the aircraft as it appeared at key stages in its development. Reproductions of telegrams, letters, Bureau of Air Commerce Inspection Reports and Lockheed Repair Orders will document how the airplane changed over time. The narrative accompanying the photos and illustrations will tell the human story behind the machine.  We’re hoping that when it’s finished this will be a book that every Earhart enthusiast will want.   In addition to the large format printed edition we’ll produce an economical  e-book edition.

We’re going to need help researching and writing this book.  While much of the airplane’s history is well documented there are gaps that further research may be able to fill.  As we have in the past, we’ll turn to the TIGHAR membership for help in digging for needed source material.  As research questions arise we’ll put them out to TIGHAR researchers and to TIGHAR’s Amelia Earhart Search Forum.  We’ll publish draft chapters in TIGHAR Tracks and on the TIGHAR website.

Devoting the time required to a project like this is expensive. To help fund the writing we’re asking you to join the TIGHAR Literary Guild with a contribution of at least $100. Members of the Literary Guild will be listed in the Acknowledgements section of the book and will be the first to receive a signed copy of The Earhart Electra – From Drawing Board to Disappearance as soon as it’s published.

Here’s a draft of the proposed Table of Contents.

Introduction – Myths and Misconceptions
Confusion about the capabilities of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra has often misled attempts to solve the mystery of her disappearance. The true story of the aircraft’s evolution not only documents it’s capabilities but also provides important insights into Earhart’s personality and priorities. Understanding her aircraft’s final configuration is essential to discovering her fate.

Chapter One  - “The twin-engined Lockheed”
1932 - 1934
The politics and pragmatism behind the Lockheed Model 10 Electra and Amelia Earhart’s surprising role in its initial design.

Chapter Two  - “The tree on which costly airplanes grow”
May 1935 – February 1936
How Earhart selected and acquired an airplane to fly around the world.

Chapter Three – The 10E Special
March 1936 – June 1936
The concept, construction and pre-delivery testing of a special long-range version of the Model 10E Electra.

Chapter Four – “The realization of a dream”
July 1936 – September 1936
Delivery to Earhart , fuel system difficulties, paperwork foul-ups, and the problem-plagued 1936 trans-continental Bendix Trophy Race.

Chapter Five –  The Flying Laboratory
October 1936 – February 1937
Preparations for the world flight, including the installation and subsequent replacement of a potentially life-saving radio navigation system; antenna additions and changes; installation of additional cabin windows; and construction of a navigator’s station.

Chapter Six – “Honolulu crack-up”
March 1937
Malfunctions during the Oakland/Honolulu flight and an in-depth analysis of the Luke Field accident.

Chapter Seven – “Like broken bones”
April 1937 – May 1937
Repairs and modifications made in Burbank and Miami prior to departure from the U.S. for the second world flight attempt.

Chapter Eight – “No serious defects”
June 1937 – July 1937
Equipment failures and repairs during the world flight and an assessment of the airplane at the time of its departure from Lae, New Guinea.

« Last Edit: August 21, 2015, 11:18:52 AM by Ric Gillespie »

Alfred Hendrickson

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Re: New Book Project
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2015, 11:41:05 AM »


This is a timely post. I was getting ready to email you and ask about this next book, which I knew you were going to be writing some time.

Thanks. I look forward to seeing this project develop. I will be contributing to it.

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