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Author Topic: How tall was Amelia?  (Read 112285 times)

Steve D. Burk

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #30 on: November 30, 2015, 11:43:05 AM »

Last night (before I had joined TIGHAR, which I did this morning) I emailed a suggestion to TIGHAR concerning Amelia's height.  I received an encouraging reply from Marty Moleski so I'll repeat the idea here.  My suggestion involves the photo in which Amelia is standing immediately adjacent to the Vega's propeller---and the idea is to use the propeller as a measuring device---a "yardstick".  This can be done by carefully measuring the propeller length at the Air& Space Museum. However, the propeller in the Museum may not be the exact one in the photo, so it would be necessary to find out if there could have been any changes to the propeller specs (i.e., length) from the Museum aircraft and the propeller in the AE photo.  The propeller logo in the photo (and in a photo I have of the Vega at the Museum; see attached) indicate that it is from the Hamilton Standard Propeller Company.  Even if the Museum propeller and the propeller in the AE photo are of identical length, it would be best to first test the technique independently.  One way would be to, say, photograph Ric (who stated that he is 5' 10.5") and see, if by knowing the length of the prop measured at the Museum, one can accurately determine Ric's height from the photo of him using this technique.  This initial test might also indicate ways to refine the technique to account for distortions before using this approach with the AE photo itself.  The major advantage here of this approach is that factors such as tire inflation are by-passed and the prop itself becomes a "measuring stick"---like the rulers one sees in line-up photos!
Steve Burk
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #31 on: November 30, 2015, 12:29:55 PM »

However, the propeller in the Museum may not be the exact one in the photo, so it would be necessary to find out if there could have been any changes to the propeller specs (i.e., length) from the Museum aircraft and the propeller in the AE photo.

Earhart originally donated her transatlantic Vega to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia where it hung from the ceiling for many years.  The engine was low-time so she swapped it for a run-out engine before donating the airplane to the museum.  Many years later the Smithsonian cut a deal with the Franklin Institute and acquired the airplane.  The Smithsonian then "restored" the airplane to its current appearance.  This involved, among other things, stripping the fabric covering off the molded plywood fuselage (and selling bits of it as souvenirs) and recovering and painting the airplane.  What relationship the prop that is now on the airplane has to the prop in the photograph is anybody's guess.  HamStandard props come in many lengths.
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Steve D. Burk

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #32 on: November 30, 2015, 12:49:08 PM »

Thanks, Ric.  I was afraid that might be a problem.  I liked the idea of using the prop because she is standing so close to it.  Would the diameter of the circular engine opening be anymore standard on the Vega than the prop lengths?  If so, perhaps that measure could be used rather than prop length?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #33 on: November 30, 2015, 12:57:09 PM »

Would the diameter of the circular engine opening be anymore standard on the Vega than the prop lengths?  If so, perhaps that measure could be used rather than prop length?

If it's the same cowling as in the photo the diameter hasn't changed - but how to get this measurement is not up to me. Jeff Glickman is the expert. My job is to get him what he needs.
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Steve D. Burk

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #34 on: November 30, 2015, 01:11:38 PM »

Some of your earlier discussion, Ric, lead me to believe that tire inflation was going to enter the calculations, such as your statement: "Jeff will only use one of the photos. He'll need to measure the tire compression in the photo he decides to use. Once he has scaled the photo that should be easy. The airplane as exhibited in the museum is on jacks so there is no tire compression.  I'm not a photogrammetrist but it seems to me that it should just be a matter of adjusting for the height of the jack stands minus the amount of tire compression."  If tire compression were to be a factor, I felt it might be useful to suggest an alternative to avoid that approach.  But I fully understand that the actual approach to be used is up to the expert, Jeff Glickman.
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Hal Beck

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #35 on: November 30, 2015, 01:19:35 PM »

I'd be interested know how you know that the 5'8" height she listed on her pilot's license and passport is within 1 to 2 inches of her actual height. If I used that "documentary" height in drawing some conclusion you'd be all over me.

Well, I can’t speak for Jeff Scott, but I wouldn’t be all over you.  I’ve seen no good reason to doubt that Amelia correctly reported her height in her pilot’s license — I certainly don’t think your statement that “people often misstate their height” is sufficient reason to think that Amelia’s reported height was wrong.  Ric, how often is “often”? How far off on average is the discrepancy between a person’s true height and his/her reported height on official documents? 

Maybe the best we'll be able to come up with is 5'8" plus or minus two inches but that's still better than "She said her height was 5’8"."


If Amelia’s reported height of 5’8” falls within the margin of error for your “forensically determined” height, then there is no reason to believe that her true height was anything other that what she reported it to be.

Since Mr. Glickman’s name has come up, when is he going to explain how he determined the presence of four rivet lines on the Miami Patch photo?  Or perhaps this will this never be explained, and we’ll simply have to take it on faith that Mr. Glickman somehow sees those rivet lines?  Mr. Glickman doesn’t even have to explain how he improved the original Miami Patch photo to bring out those rivet lines, we merely need to see the improved picture that brings those details out.
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Bill Mangus

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #36 on: November 30, 2015, 01:51:10 PM »

How tall was Nilla Putman?

If that can be found, this picture might be useful.

A.  How would we find an accurate height for Nilla Putnam? 
B.  AE and Nilla are not in the same plane as the plane (so to speak). They are standing some distance from the Electra.  We would have to guess at that distance.  The beauty of the Vega photos is that AE is actually touching the aircraft so we know exactly where she is relative to the point of reference on the aircraft.

A.  From the discussion in the 2-2-V-1 thread last year when the Miami Herald pictures and the Nilla/AE picture were introduced, I got the impression you had or knew someone who had a contact with David and Nilla Putman's descendants but I may be wrong.  They may have records which would give her height.  In particular I'm thinking a dressmaker's measurements.  Won't know unless someone asks.

B.  In the case of this picture I think the Electra is irrelevant.  Both Nilla and AE are squarely facing the camera (parallel to the plane of the camera lens) and their feet are in line with each other.  Nilla is a little bit on one foot but it shouldn't be enough to matter.

If a reasonably reliable and figure could be found for Nilla the difference in height would seem to be a simple calculation but I'll leave that to Jeff G.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #37 on: November 30, 2015, 01:59:34 PM »

Well, I can’t speak for Jeff Scott, but I wouldn’t be all over you.

That's good to know.

If Amelia’s reported height of 5’8” falls within the margin of error for your “forensically determined” height, then there is no reason to believe that her true height was anything other that what she reported it to be.

I agree.

Since Mr. Glickman’s name has come up, when is he going to explain how he determined the presence of four rivet lines on the Miami Patch photo?

That's explained in the latest TIGHAR Tracks. 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #38 on: November 30, 2015, 02:01:18 PM »

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Jerry Germann

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #39 on: November 30, 2015, 02:35:29 PM »

Looking for personalities with reported height, near Earhart's , I came upon this image;

http://iv1.lisimg.com/image/7472307/513full-babe-didrikson-zaharias.jpg

Sources list Babe as being 5'6 1/2" - 5'7"
http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/di/babe-didrikson-1.html
https://books.google.com/books?

http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/di/babe-didrikson-1.html

Earhart is standing on what appears to be a wee bit higher ground by the tree, ....both seem to be wearing similar style shoes/heels...
« Last Edit: November 30, 2015, 02:47:53 PM by Jerry Germann »
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Karen Hoy

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #40 on: November 30, 2015, 02:52:05 PM »

Amy Johnson is reported as being 5'4"
http://www.britishheritage.com/amy-johnson-pioneer-aviator/

In this photo, AE is obviously taller, even if both are wearing heels:

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/dd/66/f4/dd66f49aa35cbf82d5895ec184c17d3b.jpg

Johnson and her husband Jim Mollison were also in the photo of AE and the Roosevelts. They were the ones wearing bandages.
FWIW, Mollison was also shorter than AE.

LTM (who says stand up straight),

Karen Hoy 2610 ER
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Roger London

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #41 on: November 30, 2015, 02:55:55 PM »

In any of the photos with Amelia and another known-height person why not use Photoshop and marquee a slice through one of the two figures, copy & paste (the paste goes into a new layer), then move the pasted slice over the opposing figure. This overcomes the figures standing on uneven ground. It can also be used to compare matching points, like eye-lines/ nose-bridge, to ankle bones etc.
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Roger London

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #42 on: November 30, 2015, 04:03:02 PM »

Using my Photoshop technique on the posted image on   http://iv1.lisimg.com/image/7472307/513full-babe-didrikson-zaharias.jpg,   which is rather low resolution, and taking their nose-bridges to both right ankle bones on the two figures. Then in Photoshop I measured the two sliced-image heights, obtained the percentage difference, and then multiplied the lesser stated-height of 5ft 6.5in of Didrikson, giving Amelia at an apparent 5ft 7.5in. However Amelia's head is tilted forward, arguably similarly to Didrikson, but Amelia has a more pronounced head-lean to her left thus slightly reducing her height in the image. So this 5' 7.5" height figure needs to be slightly increased. Overall this Photoshop technique alleviates error with unknown shoes & various sole thicknesses, as well as crown hair thickness due to vastly differing female hair styles. A higher resolution image is preferable.
Hope this helps.

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #43 on: November 30, 2015, 04:33:33 PM »

It will be interesting to see how all of the amateur analyses compare with whatever Jeff Glickman comes up with.  GUARANTEED:  If there is a significant discrepancy the expert will be declared wrong.
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Neff Jacobs

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #44 on: November 30, 2015, 09:58:52 PM »

I like the proposed independent look at Amelia's height. Even today with the strict rules for drivers licence they still take my word for height and weight.  I suppose if I offered something off by several inches or 50 pounds they would question it, maybe not.

On the amateur side there are some obvious bounds in multiple photos.

She was a little taller than Paul Mantz.
The same size as Mannering +/- hair style
With Amelia wearing 2 inch heels, a little shorter than President Hoover
A full forehead shorter than Noonan. 

Findings outside the obvious will, as you have pointed out, result in many suggesting  Tighar must be wrong.   Tighar has in the past taken, in my opinion, a very brave stance in it's interpretation of the data of the post loss signals and 2-2-V-1.  I await the independent findings of Amelia's height and it's defense with interest.
Neff
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