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Author Topic: PBA Lockheed 10 ditching  (Read 12942 times)

Diane James

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PBA Lockheed 10 ditching
« on: February 12, 2016, 07:44:48 AM »

In August 1967 Provencetown-Boston Airlines ditched a twin-engine Lockeed 10 airplane similar to Fred and Amelia's.  It was put down in calm water just a couple of hundred yards from the beach. 

Does TIGHAR know if the wreckage was recovered?  If it remained in the water could anything of value to the Fred and Amelia story be learned from investigating it?

Diane
Diane James
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: PBA Lockheed 10 ditching
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2016, 08:23:35 AM »

We've studied that incident in as much detail as we can find. The airplane was a 10E and it seems to have been salvaged.  It floated for only eight minutes but it didn't have the long-range fuel tanks NR16020 had.  Estimating weights, buoyancy, venting, etc. as best we can, we calculate that Earhart's Electra, washed off the reef leaving behind the Bevington Object, would probably float for about 18 minutes.
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Matt Revington

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Re: PBA Lockheed 10 ditching
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2016, 10:24:46 AM »

There is a photo of the plane in the surf at this link:

http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=28881
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Bill Mangus

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Re: PBA Lockheed 10 ditching
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2016, 01:32:08 PM »

Note the missing vertical stabilizers and what appears to be a crack (?) at the fuselage and the right-side horizontal stabilizer.  Could NR16020 have come apart the same way?  I'd bet the light-colored objects in the survey photographs of Niku from the 50's are the same pieces.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: PBA Lockheed 10 ditching
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2016, 01:41:14 PM »

Note the missing vertical stabilizers and what appears to be a crack (?) at the fuselage and the right-side horizontal stabilizer.  Could NR16020 have come apart the same way?  I'd bet the light-colored objects in the survey photographs of Niku from the 50's are the same pieces.

The entire elevator and the vertical surfaces (fins and rudders) on both sides are gone.  I'm not sure that's a crack on the right side stabilizer. Might be a rope. Anyway, I think the damage to the tail was most likely due to the pilot putting the airplane down at a high angle of attack with the tail striking the water first.  NR16020 washing off the reef would not sustain that same kind of impact.
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Greg Daspit

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Re: PBA Lockheed 10 ditching
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2016, 03:45:40 PM »

How did the plane end up on the beach?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: PBA Lockheed 10 ditching
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2016, 04:03:56 PM »

How did the plane end up on the beach?

Did it end up on the beach? 
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Greg Daspit

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Re: PBA Lockheed 10 ditching
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2016, 06:51:00 PM »

How did the plane end up on the beach?

Did it end up on the beach?
The plane ditched and sank in August 27 1967 but still looks to be in a big piece in the picture of it “in the surf” that was “auto stamped Dec 67”.
I think the picture was more likely taken at low tide but still question it.
It could be that water force, possibly from a storm moved it in closer to shore but I think it would be more damaged if that happened. Or it could be a combination of low tide exposing it and then it getting emptied of water enough for waves to move it closer to shore without breaking it apart more.

If NR16020 sank after floating off the reef of Niku and was  at times exposed at low tide it could be playing hide and seek with the islanders who see it and others who don’t.
What the “surf” picture of N233PB suggests to me as a possibility, is that the tanks in NR16020 could drain enough to temporarily float the plane again, in a big piece.
3971R
 
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 07:30:28 PM by Greg Daspit »
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Matt Revington

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Re: PBA Lockheed 10 ditching
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2016, 08:28:58 PM »

The auto date stamp of December 1967 is the date picture was developed, in the old days cameras had film rolls with 12 or 24 shots in them and people tended to use them carefully.  My old family albums are full of Christmas pictures stamped February because that's when the roll was finished and they were taken to the local pharmacy or camera shop. Given that the Electra went down close to shore I would bet this photo was taken very close to the date of the accident in August and that it was salvaged soon after.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: PBA Lockheed 10 ditching
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2016, 08:04:10 AM »

If NR16020 sank after floating off the reef of Niku and was  at times exposed at low tide it could be playing hide and seek with the islanders who see it and others who don’t.

If the plane was in water shallow enough for it to be exposed at low tide it should be visible at least twice every day, sometimes more, sometimes less depending on whether its a spring tide or neap tide.  It's hard for me imagine that a situation like that could exist during the three day Maude/Bevington visit in October '37 and the two-month New Zealand Survey (Dec. '38 - Jan. '39) without somebody noticing.

What the “surf” picture of N233PB suggests to me as a possibility, is that the tanks in NR16020 could drain enough to temporarily float the plane again, in a big piece.

So the plane goes into the water.  The tanks fill sufficiently to cause the plane to sink.  What would cause the tanks to then drain?
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Greg Daspit

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Re: PBA Lockheed 10 ditching
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2016, 09:05:40 PM »


So the plane goes into the water.  The tanks fill sufficiently to cause the plane to sink.  What would cause the tanks to then drain?
Water forces moving the plane to a higher place and holes in the tank.
I recall the aerial tour of the island you narrated and the large boulders you pointed out that were thrown up on the western reef flat by storms. The estimated location of the Bevington Object and the area Emily Sikuli said there was a plane have always been interesting to me because of the dynamic water forces there.

Another possibility is the receding water before a low tide Tsunami exposed the plane, possibly draining the fuselage enough to lighten it significantly, then the wave came in and water forces moved it higher.

I also recall 2-2-V-1 and the possible water forces on it that occurred before the last edge failed due to bending back an forth.
3971R
 
« Last Edit: February 20, 2016, 10:32:42 PM by Greg Daspit »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: PBA Lockheed 10 ditching
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2016, 08:16:45 AM »

I recall the aerial tour of the island you narrated and the large boulders you pointed out that were thrown up on the western reef flat by storms. The estimated location of the Bevington Object and the area Emily Sikuli said there was a plane have always been interesting to me because of the dynamic water forces there.

If the sea could toss those coral blocks up on to the reef it could certainly puke the plane back up to where people could get at it and then take it way again. 
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