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Author Topic: Thoughts on the Bevington Object  (Read 54902 times)

Ric Gillespie

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2015, 09:41:13 AM »

when the final report about the Bevington Object is produced by Jeff Glickman

As far as I know, Jeff Glickman is not planning to write a "final report" about the Bevington Object.  I presented everything we know in The Object Formerly Known As Nessie. Jeff reviewed what I wrote before publication.
At the end of the paper I wrote:

"The statistical probability of an unknown object that is not the wreckage of Electra landing gear having all of the quantifiable characteristics present in the Bevington Object is vanishingly small. The fact that the object is in the area where abundant other evidence had already led us to conclude the aircraft was landed adds a further level of likelihood that the object in the photo is what it appears to be: a photo of wreckage from NR16020 on the reef at Gardner Island in October 1937."

That's as far as we can take it. If somebody wants to do their own analysis of the photo they are welcome to do so.  It's in the collection of Eric Bevington's papers in Rhodes House Library at Oxford University in England.  Jeff recommends a Nikon D800 camera with a Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G lens and a Sigma EM-140
ring light.  Any number of airlines offer service to Heathrow and Gatwick.  The train to Oxford leaves from Paddington Station.
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Monty Fowler

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #31 on: November 08, 2015, 01:55:17 PM »

Thanks, Ric, I read the report after you reminded me of it earlier. It's a good overall review. That is part of the answer. My queries and concerns about being able to examine all of the the information used to make those conclusions remain.

LTM,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 EC
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JNev

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #32 on: November 09, 2015, 07:15:36 AM »

I also enjoyed the read but agree that Monty's is an important point.

We've heard of probabilities being 'vanishingly small' before (earliest found reference here pre-dating the well-known usage by a TIGHAR expert in the trial work) and I agree that it's an appealing statement in such cases, something the searcher would prefer to find for sure.  But how is that quantified in a case such as an 'object' lying to the north of the shipwreck, especially given that -

"We've found that the underwater currents vary greatly in direction and speed from day to day and even hour to hour"?

Consider also, from Niku VIII's preliminary report -

"A thorough visual and metal detector search turned up no airplane debris but an inspection of shallow water debris from the shipwreck revealed relatively lightweight pieces of copper sheet that had not been swept away by storm activity.  This discovery seems to argue against the theory that the Earhart aircraft was torn apart in the surf (if lightweight sheet metal from the ship survived in shallow water, so should lightweight metal from the plane) and supports the theory that the plane sank in deeper water more or less intact."

- which seems to underscore the need to weigh all points of evidence. 

If lightweight ship's material is still scattered unscathed in the shallows where TIGHAR was hoping to find evidence of an airplane (or was there a search in ship's stuff predictable areas that turned up the copper - not clear), but if no similar airplane debris being there is enough to suggest that a shallows break-up should not have been the case, then there appears to be a contradiction to be considered: ripping a gear off the airplane in a reef landing or some subsequent churning looks to be a probable debris-releasing event.  It just seems that if the airplane were crippled in that manner suggested by TIGHAR's reading on the B.O. (losing a gear, assuming we're not looking at a small portion of a submerged, intact airplane (too shallow there?)), then it might have followed that other shards might well have been released as it journied toward deeper waters partly on its belly and one wing, etc.

Ric has also asserted that "Distribution patterns from wind, storm and heavy surf are well defined at Niku.  The best model is Norwich City".  While that is appreciated, short of firm evidence in-hand there seems to be a handful of contridictions to overcome - including that lightweight ship's material in areas where ship stuff wasn't expected (if I'm reading it right) throws a fly in the ointment.  Could not have some piece of ship's material have drifted to that spot where the B.O. is seen in those few years between the shipwreck and Bevington's visit?

In sum, it just seems that all points should be carefully weighed if the case is to be narrowed.  Otherwise the possibilities appear large, IMO.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #33 on: November 09, 2015, 10:43:31 AM »

Could not have some piece of ship's material have drifted to that spot where the B.O. is seen in those few years between the shipwreck and Bevington's visit?

Of course it could, but what makes the Bevington Object interesting is not so much its location as its physical constituent components that match the size and shape of Lockheed Installation 40650. Norwich City went aground in 1929 so its kind of hard to argue that it may have been carrying a shipment of landing gear components for an airplane that wasn't designed until 1933. 

In sum, it just seems that all points should be carefully weighed if the case is to be narrowed.

I agree. We spent three years weighing every point we could find.  The thing on the reef in the Bevington photo looks like the wreckage of an Electra landing gear.  The right main gear of NR16020 separated from the airplane in the Luke Field wreck and came apart in the same way.  You don't have to take Jeff Glickman's, or the State Department's, or my word for it.  You can see it in the photo.  I'd say that narrows the possibilities rather nicely.

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Greg Daspit

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #34 on: November 09, 2015, 05:35:56 PM »

A lot of data has been made available for TIGHAR members to study the Bevington photo including a Tiff file of the photo that Mr. Glickman took, and The Object Formerly Known as Nessie report, which included a lot of information such as Luke Field photos and the ground loop analysis. Engineering Drawings of the Landing Gear Assembly were also made available.  I did my own studies of the data made available, with multiple component orientations, and agree that the object looks a lot like the landing gear after it failed in the Luke Field accident.

 Regarding the landing gear:
The Luke Field Photos, the Kellogg Crash example  and the Engineering drawing Ric posted show a round bar or tube that connects to the center pivot point of the cylinder.  Examples of different Electras show two flat bars on each side of the cylinder. In the other examples, the worm gear has a different shape and is mounted lower on the cylinder. It seems to be a modification done before the worm gear was eliminated. Was this modification available by the time they repaired Earhart’s plane? (see attachment)
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Monty Fowler

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #35 on: November 09, 2015, 06:30:35 PM »

In discussing various hypotheses about how the object ended up where it was in October 1937 we make the assumption that it is what it appears to be.

And I guess that is where I circle back to the thoughts/documents/communications leading to that assumption, and laying all of it out there, so that any disinterested party can make their own judgment about what they are looking at.

The Bevington Object might be one of the landing gear from our favorite Electra. It might be something else manmade that hasn't been considered yet. Assuming it is what we all want it to be is not, I believe, going to lead to any final answers.

LTM,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 EC
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James Lynch

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #36 on: November 09, 2015, 08:42:41 PM »

If the object is what it appears to be, it must have come off on the initial landing, as any pilot after setting it down would have turned to the beach, and a slow attempt at reaching the beach would not be sufficient force on the gear to rip it off, damage it maybe. Of course she should have done a wheels up in the lagoon, the radio was not that important at the time.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #37 on: November 09, 2015, 09:15:59 PM »

And I guess that is where I circle back to the thoughts/documents/communications leading to that assumption, and laying all of it out there, so that any disinterested party can make their own judgment about what they are looking at.

All of the all that we have IS out there. TIGHAR has been totally transparent throughout our entire investigation of the Bevington Object and I don't understand why you are implying that we would hold anything back.

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #38 on: November 09, 2015, 09:26:52 PM »

Regarding the landing gear:
The Luke Field Photos, the Kellogg Crash example  and the Engineering drawing Ric posted show a round bar or tube that connects to the center pivot point of the cylinder.  Examples of different Electras show two flat bars on each side of the cylinder. In the other examples, the worm gear has a different shape and is mounted lower on the cylinder. It seems to be a modification done before the worm gear was eliminated. Was this modification available by the time they repaired Earhart’s plane? (see attachment)

Earhart's was the last Electra to be built with the old worm gear system.  The "flat bar" modification clearly made for a much more robust structure.  The parts shown lying on the floor in your attachment were from cn1052, the 10A at the New England Air Museum.  1052 obviously predated Earhart's 1055 so the "flat bar" modification to 1052 must have been done some time later.  There is nothing in the repair orders for 1055 about modifying the landing gear.
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Dale O. Beethe

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #39 on: November 09, 2015, 10:01:03 PM »

If the object is what it appears to be, it must have come off on the initial landing, as any pilot after setting it down would have turned to the beach, and a slow attempt at reaching the beach would not be sufficient force on the gear to rip it off, damage it maybe. Of course she should have done a wheels up in the lagoon, the radio was not that important at the time.
I believe the thought is that the landing gear would have probably been ripped off as the airplane got manhandled by the surf in the increasingly high tides, not in the initial landing.  This was discussed at length a while back and is well worth reading.
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James Champion

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2015, 07:02:13 PM »

Having once wrapped an aluminum canoe around a lone beach-ball size rock in 16 inches of water, I have gained an enormous respect for the power of moving water. It took six people 15 minutes to get that canoe out.

I don't think the Electra was torn into tiny pieces on the reef. At high tide with the tail half-in the water (weighed down), the tail wheel unable to pivot, one landing gear in a depression, surf hitting the side, I believe the Electra would have buckled in the middle of the fuselage across the patched window and door. No aircraft is designed to take such pounding lateral forces on the fuselage. The Electra may have already sustained damage in this area from a hard landing at Miami in addition to structural compromises for the large window opening and additional damage from a reef landing at Gardner.

The torn rear of the fuselage would have been then been buoyed somewhat by the empty cabin fuel tanks. With waves from the right direction, the front half of the plane have would have been free to pivot, rolling on the free wheel and twisting the stuck gear right off the wing. The front half of the Electra could have continue to pivot, pushed by the waves, until it spun and rolled over the reef edge in a matter of minutes. The tail could have washed over the reef edge at a later date, but might have been hidden in the surf when Lamberecht searched over Gardner.

In addition to the Bevington Object (landing gear), that would have left the possible window patch V-2-2-1, the later islanders tales of an aircraft door, aircraft cables for fishing gear, some aluminum for craft projects, and the island collective memories of an aircraft wreck.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #41 on: November 11, 2015, 09:23:04 AM »

At high tide with the tail half-in the water (weighed down), the tail wheel unable to pivot, one landing gear in a depression, surf hitting the side, I believe the Electra would have buckled in the middle of the fuselage across the patched window and door. No aircraft is designed to take such pounding lateral forces on the fuselage. The Electra may have already sustained damage in this area from a hard landing at Miami in addition to structural compromises for the large window opening and additional damage from a reef landing at Gardner.

That's a really interesting theory that deserves closer scrutiny.  The first question that occurs to me is whether the pattern of failure on the edges of the artifact fits the scenario you describe.
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Jon Romig

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #42 on: November 16, 2015, 10:10:15 AM »

At high tide with the tail half-in the water (weighed down), the tail wheel unable to pivot, one landing gear in a depression, surf hitting the side, I believe the Electra would have buckled in the middle of the fuselage across the patched window and door. No aircraft is designed to take such pounding lateral forces on the fuselage. The Electra may have already sustained damage in this area from a hard landing at Miami in addition to structural compromises for the large window opening and additional damage from a reef landing at Gardner.

That's a really interesting theory that deserves closer scrutiny.  The first question that occurs to me is whether the pattern of failure on the edges of the artifact fits the scenario you describe.

James' theory that the Electra fuselage folded in the middle due to a force in the middle (waves) being resisted by both ends of the structure seems unlikely to me - it requires the tail and landing gear to hold stationary while the wave bucked the middle of the fuselage. I think it is more likely that the tail, with its large vertical surfaces near the ground and that were perpendicular to wave action, would have pivoted with the waves even if it was weighed down with internal water.

Note that the force required to buckle a beam in the center that is "fixed" at both ends is much greater than the force required to buckle a cantilever beam. In this case James' concept is the beam fixed at both ends, and mine is the cantilever.

So if the front of the Electra resisted the sideways force of the waves (let's say because of a stuck landing gear) the tail could buckle as a result of the pounding of heavy surf.

Additionally:

1. There is no reason to think that the portion of the fuselage weakened by the installation of the window would have performed better in tension or compression - both seem equally likely to me. Since 2-2-V-1 clearly exhibits failure in tension, this strongly suggests that the buckling occurred with the starboard side of the aircraft on the outside of the fold. If the buckling force was provided by heavy surf hitting the tail from starboard and the tail was unrestrained, that means the Electra was facing south at the time, and quite possibly fixed in place by a stuck landing gear.

This conclusion - that the Electra was likely facing south on the reef - may be useful or merely entertaining...

2. The other source of sufficient force to "tear" the patch would be a hard landing (probably harder than the one in Miami), where the buckling would likely proceed vertically. I think that one effect of a hard landing would be a strong upward force on the rear of the fuselage, but others may know better.

If the fold pivot was along the top of the fuselage, tearing would occur as seen in 2-2-V-1. If the fold pivot was at the bottom of the fuselage, the patch would have been under compression and the patch would not look as it does. However, I would argue for a bottom fold pivot in this scenario - the bottom beam of the fuselage was stronger and the added window would have weakened the top half of the fuselage. In this case the patch would have been compressed and not look as it does.

So my #2 scenario seems unlikely, leaving us - I believe - with the Electra facing south and wave action as the force, as posited by James.

3. The "tearing" exhibited by 2-2-V-1 along the edge with the tab shows a strong directional bias - the tearing is much more exaggerated at the left end (with the tab facing upwards) than at the right. Does this tell us anything useful in regard to the above theory?


Cheers,

Jon
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« Last Edit: November 16, 2015, 10:12:26 AM by Jon Romig »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #43 on: November 16, 2015, 12:07:23 PM »

I just don't see it.  If we hit the airplane with a big wave on the starboard side and the forward part of the plane is held immobile, the fuselage might fail at Station 293 5/8 but I don't see how that can leave the patch looking like 2-2-V-1.

First of all, 2-2-V-1 is bowed out, not in.  As I see it, the bottom edge failed as a lateral tear, possibly simultaneously with the fractured aft edge. The next edge to fail had to be the top edge which was probably chopped out by human action.  The last edge to fail had to be the forward edge because it failed from metal fatigue after having cycled back and forth against a rigid underlying vertical structure.  In other words, it looks to me like 2-2V-1 was hit on the interior surface by a force (either human or water) strong enough to tear the sheet from the rivets along the bottom edge just like a piece of paper tearing along a perforation (1).  That force or a similar force was sufficient to fracture the sheet along the aft edge (2.).  Somebody then chopped the top edge free (3.).  With three edges free, the piece could be worked back and forth until the metal failed from fatigue. 
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Jon Romig

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #44 on: November 16, 2015, 02:05:32 PM »

I just don't see it.  If we hit the airplane with a big wave on the starboard side and the forward part of the plane is held immobile, the fuselage might fail at Station 293 5/8 but I don't see how that can leave the patch looking like 2-2-V-1.

First of all, 2-2-V-1 is bowed out, not in.  As I see it, the bottom edge failed as a lateral tear, possibly simultaneously with the fractured aft edge. The next edge to fail had to be the top edge which was probably chopped out by human action.  The last edge to fail had to be the forward edge because it failed from metal fatigue after having cycled back and forth against a rigid underlying vertical structure.  In other words, it looks to me like 2-2V-1 was hit on the interior surface by a force (either human or water) strong enough to tear the sheet from the rivets along the bottom edge just like a piece of paper tearing along a perforation (1).  That force or a similar force was sufficient to fracture the sheet along the aft edge (2.).  Somebody then chopped the top edge free (3.).  With three edges free, the piece could be worked back and forth until the metal failed from fatigue.


Thanks, Ric. I expect you are right - I agree that it is hard to reconcile the origins of the four edges with that scenario.

1. A couple of years ago you wrote that TIGHAR might commission a test to see what level of hydraulic force would be required to cause a similar tear in aluminum sheet. I assume that test has not been done because the result would not have contributed to the search. True?

2. Do you see a meaningful difference in the quality of the torn edge from right to left? To my eye the left end of the tear in your image seems to be the result of a more oblique torquing/pulling action (hence its "sawtooth" shape) than the right end, which is much straighter.

3. Has the "chopped" edge been closely examined to determine if there is any evidence of the tool that was used to cut it, either via toolmarks or trace? If, for example, there is trace that indicates a particular alloy of steel, and toolmarks for a particular shape/size of ax, this information might be useful in identifying the "chopper" and thus where it was done.

Thanks,

Jon
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