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Author Topic: How tall was Amelia?  (Read 113803 times)

JNev

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #45 on: December 01, 2015, 11:02:23 AM »

Good information about your effort.  I truly wish you guys luck - this seems like a very stiff challenge to gauge Earhart's height with precision within an inch or so. 

Given the prop scaling mentioned, as you mentioned earlier, Ric, the prop now installed on Earhart's Vega may not even be the same length as that installed in historic photos of yesteryear, so the possible variables from that and other things seem daunting: she may have swapped props (low time kept / high time installed) as well as engines.  Even a given prop type often has blade lengths that can be shortened permissibly for repair, etc.  That said, the Vega clearly has lots of 'landmark' features that may be helpful.  One hopes the original cowling is present, of course.

A picture of the NASM Earhart Vega exhibit shows a ground adjustable prop now on the bird - likely the original type, but what appears to be a variable pitch prop (hydro-controlled) low in the foreground.  I doubt that hydro-controlled prop (if what it is) was ever on that Vega - may possibly be an example of what was on the Electra or something, don't know. 

It may be of some side interest (not in terms of measurement so much) that the Vega carried an earlier version of the same basic direct drive Pratt & Whitney 1344 cu. in. engine as the Electra - a Wasp (C1 at 420 HP or an SC1 at 450 HP; Electra of course carried the S3H1 at 550 HP normal, 600 HP for 1 minute at take-off).

Since gear scaling is mentioned, I wonder about possible variables like the gear height - aircraft weight / strut extension, tire height (inflation / original size / type: semi-airwheels, or airwheels, etc?) and whether the condition of those things is clear in the historic photos and effectively comparable to how the plane sits today.  I also note that the tail is raised somewhat in the exhibit, so the nose is a bit lower than would be the case if sitting in normal ground attitude.  Fussy details, but when you're trying to benchmark the aviatrix against an airframe of that size it probably will be tough to work through those details.

It's cool that you got direct access.  The Vega - a beautiful craft and sleek for its day, is my all time favorite historic airplane and they're quite rare.  It was arguably the first purpose-built 'business airplane'.  I was permitted 'inside' the rope with Kermit Weeks' example some years ago at Fantasy of Flight for a close look, quite a treat.

Not meaning to go on so but this is what happens on my way to 'looking something up' in aviation museums...  :P
- Jeff Neville

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Patrick Dickson

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #46 on: December 01, 2015, 11:20:09 AM »

it's never a "simple, bolt-on" procedure, is it Ric ?
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Jerry Germann

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #47 on: December 01, 2015, 12:29:41 PM »

Along with the height information on the pilot license,...5'8", other documents list this feature as well,...such as this passport issued in 1932,....see attachment;

5' 8" seems to be the stock answer. Note that the date of birth is wrong.

Important information,....Here is another document giving Amelia's year of birth as 1898...so that makes two documents that state this year,...anyone have a copy of Amelia's birth certificate ?
The Census report gives 1897 as her birth year...strange how seemingly important documents would contain errors like the two documents I mentioned, but I too, have discovered many recording errors in the census reports as well, when searching my family tree, hard to trust the written record sometimes.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 02:02:06 PM by Jerry Germann »
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Hal Beck

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #48 on: December 01, 2015, 12:54:08 PM »

In the interest of heading off future outraged demands and accusations that we're hiding information, I should share a recent exchange we've had with NASM about our upcoming visit.

A fundamental part of doing any kind of research is showing how you got your answer.  That is what people do when they write papers in the physical and social sciences, or when they write books analyzing historical subjects, for example. So you need not consider providing information about what Jeff Glickman’s methods for determining Amelia’s height as something to do merely to “head off outraged demands and accusations”, it is an obligation that everybody who does research is under.  In the email message you’ve quoted, Jeff Glickman gives a nice thumbnail sketch of how he proposes to estimate Amelia’s height and presumably once he has done so he’ll be able to ‘show his work’ like any other researcher.  I look forward to reading about that.

So when are we going to see how Jeff Glickman determined that the presence of rivet lines on the Miami Patch photo?  I asked about that yesterday (see reply #35 above), and you directed me to the latest issue of Tighar Tracks.  I’ve a copy of the 22v1 article in that issue of Tighar Tracks, and I see only a single sentence on page 18 stating that Jeff Glickman has been able to detect rivet lines, I see no explanation of how he did so. When will we see that explanation?  Did Mr. Glickman somehow enhance the Miami Patch photo to make those rivet lines more apparent?  If so, can we see the enhanced photo?  If not, then what did his analysis consist of?  It’s good that you had an expert in forensic photo analysis examine the Miami Patch photo, but if you merely state that your expert says there are rivet lines on the Miami Patch but can’t show us how your expert reached that conclusion, you’re simply making an argument from authority.
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Jerry Germann

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #49 on: December 01, 2015, 02:39:05 PM »

Here in this newspaper is an article, that gives a figure to the nearest estimation of her height,....from any source I have come across thus far. If credible, it places Earhart just short of 5'8" , as I take the meaning of the description to be on the lower side of the figure.

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1787&dat=19370715&id=T3YcAAAAIBAJ&sjid=VWQEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2990,1079621&hl=en
« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 02:44:57 PM by Jerry Germann »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #50 on: December 01, 2015, 03:00:49 PM »

I asked about that yesterday (see reply #35 above), and you directed me to the latest issue of Tighar Tracks.  I’ve a copy of the 22v1 article in that issue of Tighar Tracks,

I'd be interested to know where you got a copy of the 2015 TIGHAR Tracks.  It has been sent only to TIGHAR members.

and I see only a single sentence on page 18 stating that Jeff Glickman has been able to detect rivet lines, I see no explanation of how he did so. When will we see that explanation?

When I get around to it. 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #51 on: December 01, 2015, 03:06:30 PM »

Here in this newspaper is an article, that gives a figure to the nearest estimation of her height,....from any source I have come across thus far. If credible, it places Earhart just short of 5'8" , as I take the meaning of the description to be on the lower side of the figure.

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1787&dat=19370715&id=T3YcAAAAIBAJ&sjid=VWQEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2990,1079621&hl=en

Nice find Jerry. Like the height on the pilots license and passport, the information probably came from Amelia herself. 
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Jerry Germann

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #52 on: December 01, 2015, 05:21:44 PM »

On the front page of the same newspaper;  https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1787&dat=19370715&id=T3YcAAAAIBAJ&sjid=VWQEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2990,1079621&hl=en

Interesting note about the searchers and their struggle against the elements.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #53 on: December 01, 2015, 05:28:24 PM »

Interesting note about the searchers and their struggle against the elements.

"The heat was so intense the aviator smeared their faces with grease."

We prefer sunblock.
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James Champion

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #54 on: December 01, 2015, 06:28:05 PM »

If you are wanting to get Amelia's height, you might also measure her flight suit on display at the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Center. I was there on Nov 24 just before this Forum thread started. Lots of things to see so I only glanced at it in passing. As I recall, it is by itself, upright in a clear display case, and appeared to be made of a stiff black material like leather, and consisted of a jacket and slacks. When I saw it I assumed it was custom tailored for her. If you go to the Air and Space website and search 'Amelia' under 'Collections On Display' it is listed as "Suit, Flying, Civilian, Amelia Earhart", but there is no link to an actual picture. She is probably wearing it in one of the many photographs of her with a plane in the background.

If I knew this thread would start a few days later, I would have taken and posted a picture!
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Steve D. Burk

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #55 on: December 01, 2015, 10:24:06 PM »

It might be worth considering what would happen if the Smithsonian measurements and subsequent analysis were to conclude that AE's height was, say, 5ft 9 in + or- 1 inch.  On the one hand this range could be used to argue that possibly she was as tall as 5 ft 10 in. and had misstated her height on records.  However, another argument could reasonably be made that 5 ft 8 in is within the error bounds of the measurements and agrees with the height AE claimed on her records. This latter argument seems more persuasive to me because it doesn't require AE to have falsified her records.  Thus, if 5 ft. 8 in. falls within the error bounds of her height as inferred from the Smithsonian analysis, it would seem difficult to argue for a height other than her stated 5 ft. 8 in. value.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #56 on: December 02, 2015, 05:35:07 AM »

Thus, if 5 ft. 8 in. falls within the error bounds of her height as inferred from the Smithsonian analysis, it would seem difficult to argue for a height other than her stated 5 ft. 8 in. value.

I agree.
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Joe Cerniglia

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #57 on: December 02, 2015, 08:08:10 AM »

The attached 1926 Massachusetts RMV license indicates Earhart's height to be 5 ft. 7 in. This differs from the height of 5 feet 8 inches stated on her pilot's license and passport but is closer to Dr. Hoodless' estimate of the Nikumaroro castaway's height of "5 feet 5 1/2 inches."  Given that the official documents, including this one, are not unanimous and cannot at all be considered decisive in any case, I should think Jeff Glickman's determination would be valuable to know.

The RMV document repeats the error of 1898 as the year of birth. I remember my grandmother gave her year of birth as 1904 when in fact it was 1903. When I asked her why she told me it was tradition for women of her generation to advance the birth date by a year to cheat Father Time, if only in a small way. Her epitaph marker is carved 1904, at her request.

Joe Cerniglia
« Last Edit: December 02, 2015, 08:12:21 AM by Joe Cerniglia »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #58 on: December 02, 2015, 08:42:48 AM »

Nice find Joe.  So far we have AE stating her height as 5' 8", almost 5'8", and 5' 7".  In 1926 AE was 29 years old.  Seems like she would have her full height by then.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: How tall was Amelia?
« Reply #59 on: December 02, 2015, 08:46:31 AM »

Incidentally, it was wrong of me to post excerpts of the emails from NASM.  I've apologized to NASM and I hereby apologize to the Forum.  I should know better than to dance to the tune of our critics. It won't happen again.

I have removed the post.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2015, 09:45:37 AM by Ric Gillespie »
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