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Author Topic: Thoughts on the Bevington Object  (Read 51385 times)

Byron Ake

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Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« on: September 22, 2015, 12:50:04 PM »

Ever since the discovery of a flaperon from Malaysia Airlines flight 370, I have been rethinking the Bevington object. Specifically, this question: what if the Bevington object was not stuck to the reef? What if it was not anchored to a large piece of the plane, but instead was being kicked around by the waves at the edge of the reef? This could explain why the object was never investigated by Bevington's party. A piece of garbage from the ocean (especially a tire) bobbing in the surf would invoke a lot less curiosity than an unusually shiny piece of shipwreck debris stuck in the reef. The flaperon stayed above water because it was sealed to keep out moisture that could turn to ice in flight, according to the news articles. The landing gear had a large, buoyant tire that would keep pulling it toward the surface after it sank with the rest of the plane, only popping up later while Bevington and his party were there.
We only have one poor quality picture of the object. Is there anything in that picture that would suggest that the object is stuck to the reef, or vise versa? Emily Sikuli describes some plane wreckage around that area, but what she describes sounds nothing like the Bevington object.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2015, 01:11:26 PM »

what if the Bevington object was not stuck to the reef? What if it was not anchored to a large piece of the plane, but instead was being kicked around by the waves at the edge of the reef?
What you suggest is not impossible but we don't think it was anchored to a large piece of the plane.  We imagine that the landing gear assembly tore loose from the aircraft in much the same way a landing gear assembly tore loose from the plane during the Luke Field groundloop.  If the wreckage of the assembly was, as you say, "bobbing in the surf" buoyed by the tire I would not expect to see the heavy fork and worm gear showing above the surface.
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Byron Ake

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2015, 07:38:18 AM »

Hmm that is true. Looking at the photo again, the fork is clearly visible above the water line, so perhaps it wasnt exactly "bobbing in the surf."

When do you think the landing gear separated from the aircraft? Before or after the plane went into the sea?
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Skip Daly

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2015, 07:52:36 AM »

Let's also not forget that the BO appears to also be visible in one of the high-res aerial shots (from a different date), implying that it was "stuck in place" (at least for a time)...
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Byron Ake

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2015, 08:24:10 AM »

Let's also not forget that the BO appears to also be visible in one of the high-res aerial shots (from a different date), implying that it was "stuck in place" (at least for a time)...

Are you referring to one of the 1938 aerial photos?
(Can't link to it right now, I'm on my phone)
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2015, 08:49:43 AM »

When do you think the landing gear separated from the aircraft? Before or after the plane went into the sea?

Airplane is parked on reef.
Water/surf level on reef at high tide gets high enough to float aircraft briefly and set it back down putting sideload on gear similar to groundless.
Gear fails, as it did in Hawaii.
Aircraft, now on its belly, is more vulnerable to wave action.
Surf pushes aircraft toward reef edge.
One mangled gear assembly gets stuck in a groove and separates from the airframe.
Wreckage of gear assembly remains stuck for at least three months.
The rest of the airplane goes into the ocean and ......?????

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2015, 08:55:20 AM »

Let's also not forget that the BO appears to also be visible in one of the high-res aerial shots (from a different date), implying that it was "stuck in place" (at least for a time)...

That might have been someone's opinion but I don't think we ever confirmed that there is something in the Dec. 1, 1938 photos that is in the same place the Bevington Object was in October, 1937.  I would be surprised if there was something still there when the New Zealand survey was there and didn't get noticed.
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Monty Fowler

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2015, 09:25:13 AM »

If the wreckage of the assembly was, as you say, "bobbing in the surf" buoyed by the tire I would not expect to see the heavy fork and worm gear showing above the surface.


Not trying to parse words, but we don't definitely know that landing gear components are what is showing in the enlargements of the photo that Jeff Glickman has looked at, do we? I remember him saying that he agreed that might indeed be what those fuzzy shapes are. But that's a long ways away from an absolute.

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

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2015, 10:18:06 AM »

Here is my interpretation of the evidence:
Airplane parked on reef.
Tide/surf take plane and drag it across reef, damaging landing gear.
Plane falls into ocean and sinks mostly intact.
Plane settles, possibly inverted, on reef slope.
Lamb. search and aerial photos show nothing unusual.
Three months pass, oleo strut finally gives, tire and gear float to surface to be washed up on edge of reef and are accidentally photographed by Bevington.
Plane remains undisturbed on reef slope, shallow enough to have pieces torn from it as recently as 1991 (2-2-V-1.)
Pieces washed ashore are found and used by natives, starting the rumor of the wrecked plane (misc. aluminum pieces, decorative inlays, anecdotal reports of plane parts) despite no reports by westerners of a wrecked aircraft.

Please poke holes in my interpretation so I can come up with something better :-D
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Byron Ake

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2015, 10:34:50 AM »

The reason I bring this up is if the Bevington object is not where the Electra was parked, but instead was part of the debris field, that would push the search area northward. The area off of the object has been explored by divers and robots but nothing conclusive has yet been found.
What is the reef and surf like on the northern tip of the island? Would a desperate Earhart force the plane up that way to protect it from the rising tide?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2015, 10:41:37 AM »

Not trying to parse words, but we don't definitely know that landing gear components are what is showing in the enlargements of the photo that Jeff Glickman has looked at, do we? I remember him saying that he agreed that might indeed be what those fuzzy shapes are. But that's a long ways away from an absolute.

How could we possibly definitely know that the Bevington Object is the wreckage of a Lockheed Electra landing gear assembly?  Glickman and three independent U.S. Government photo analysts agree that the photo shows a manmade object with at least three distinct separate components that match the shape and dimensions of the tire, worm gear, and fork of Lockheed Installation 40650 and which appears to have failed in the same way that the right main gear assembly failed on NR16020 in the Luke Field groundloop.  Identification through photo interpretation doesn't get much better than that but we still refer to it as the "Bevington Object", not "Installation 40650."
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2015, 10:48:35 AM »

Please poke holes in my interpretation so I can come up with something better :-D

I have a little trouble with the oleo strut letting go after some period of time rather than getting forcefully torn apart but there's nothing in scenario you describe that couldn't happen. 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2015, 10:52:38 AM »

The area off of the object has been explored by divers and robots but nothing conclusive has yet been found.
What is the reef and surf like on the northern tip of the island?

The reef flat at the NW tip is strewn with huge coral boulders.  The surf at the NW tip is the biggest of anywhere on the island.
During Niku VIII the dive team covered the reef slope north of the Bevington Object location all the way up to the NW tip.
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Skip Daly

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2015, 01:21:35 PM »

Let's also not forget that the BO appears to also be visible in one of the high-res aerial shots (from a different date), implying that it was "stuck in place" (at least for a time)...

Are you referring to one of the 1938 aerial photos?
(Can't link to it right now, I'm on my phone)


Yes.  On page 16 of the thread about the high res 1938 aerial photos, John Balderson pointed out an anomaly that sure looks like the BO - and corresponds to its location in the Bevington photo.

This would seem to support the case for the object having been reasonably stationary (at least for a certain amount of time).

In his July 29, 2013, 10:39:52 AM post, John wrote: "Ric, isn't this the Bevington object we're looking at in image "_DSC0339"?  To me it appears to be an object sticking out of the water and not a blemish because of apparent shade at the same angle as the "Norwich City".   I've attached a cropped version of the image with reference marks and a zoomed-in view of anomoly."

« Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 07:18:24 AM by Skip Daly »
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don hirth

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Re: Thoughts on the Bevington Object
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2015, 01:45:54 PM »

Friends, For MY money (ain't got much) the B.O. and the aggregate of post loss radio intercepts represents about 90% of the reasons that the plane was washed off the reef. (The aluminum artifact makes up the balance)
dlh
 
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