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Author Topic: 4,500 miles?  (Read 11129 times)

Ric Gillespie

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4,500 miles?
« on: March 08, 2016, 10:59:46 AM »

The original purchase order for the Electra dated March 20 and signed by Amelia on March 23, 1936 (attached) specifies:
"Gasoline capacity to provide range of 4500 miles in accordance with our letters dated 2/21/36 and 3/5/36."

This strikes me as curious. On what basis is Lockheed guaranteeing a range of 4,500 miles?  Report 487 "Range Study of Lockheed Bimotor Airplane" was not published until June 4 and the test flights upon which the report is based seem to have been flown May 18-20, 1936.  Unfortunately, we don't have letters mentioned in the purchase order.

Why 4,500 miles?  Officially Earhart has not yet said anything about a world flight, even to Purdue, but 4,500 miles sounds like the range she'd need for her original plan to fly solo from Hawaii to Tokyo.
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Matt Revington

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Re: 4,500 miles?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2016, 03:04:53 PM »

According to google maps Honolulu to Tokyo is about 3900 miles so that range would more than cover it. Since it took her 20 or so hours to fly from Lae to the vicinity of Howland (~2500 miles) going 3900 miles solo would have been gruelling
« Last Edit: March 08, 2016, 03:12:05 PM by Matt Revington »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: 4,500 miles?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2016, 03:08:46 PM »

According to google maps Honolulu to Tokyo is about 3900 miles so that range would more than cover it.

  Honolulu-Tokyo with the traditional 20% reserve is 4,680.  Close enough.
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Jerry Germann

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Re: 4,500 miles?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2016, 09:58:39 PM »

According to google maps Honolulu to Tokyo is about 3900 miles so that range would more than cover it. Since it took her 20 or so hours to fly from Lae to the vicinity of Howland (~2500 miles) going 3900 miles solo would have been gruelling

I agree Matt; It seems she was up for that challenge though;

https://books.google.com/books?id=gj-fEra150UC&pg=PA55&lpg=PA55&dq=earhat+planned+midair+refueling&source=bl&ots=tsn2q-bSfM&sig=6RpZYYE4iK-bOKxTipD1AMOmDrA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiNuMqu4bLLAhUru4MKHS4fApAQ6AEINDAE#v=onepage&q=earhat%20planned%20midair%20refueling&f=false

I thought it interesting, this idea of mid air refueling, in her early planning. She doesn't seem very confident that her plane could handle the weight of fully loaded tanks during takeoffs, and in lae, she almost realized those fears.
When did she just go ahead and tell Lockheed to design her tanks to fly the whole distance in the event Mr Roosevelt declined the mid air scenario? No Mantz, No Noonan, No Manning ....SOLO. If mid air refueling became the plan, what of the tank sizes? How many????
« Last Edit: March 09, 2016, 08:14:15 AM by Jerry Germann »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: 4,500 miles?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2016, 09:02:10 AM »

It seems she was up for that challenge though;

Contrary to the source you cite, FDR did not exactly "grant her request."  He scrawled at the top of her letter, "Do what we can & contact Mr. Putnam." 

The Navy seriously considered her proposal and, on November 29, Admiral Ernest King wrote this carefully worded response.  In reality, Amelia's plan was utterly hare-brained.  The idea that a single pilot flying in close formation with another aircraft could somehow wrestle a dangled hose into a suitable receptacle without fouling it in the propellers is absurd.  King killed the proposal by insisting that the expense of the extensive training required be borne by Earhart.
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Bill Mangus

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Re: 4,500 miles?
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2016, 01:39:45 PM »

"Why 4,500 miles?"

Could it just be a typo?

(from Colorado Springs)
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: 4,500 miles?
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2016, 02:39:55 PM »

"Why 4,500 miles?"

Could it just be a typo?

I don't think so. That's the number that shows up everywhere - photo captions, press releases, Report 487, etc.
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Jerry Germann

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Re: 4,500 miles?
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2016, 10:28:24 AM »

"Out with the old in with the new"

This letter reads like a wish list , crediting the old vega, but petitioning the need for a new craft to go places. Note, early on the desire was to be able to go 6,000 miles.

http://e-archives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/epurdue/id/505/rec/586
« Last Edit: March 16, 2016, 10:32:38 AM by Jerry Germann »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: 4,500 miles?
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2016, 10:49:37 AM »

Fascinating.  It's a shame the letter is not dated.  Purdue says "circa early 1936" but that may be a guess.
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Jerry Germann

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Re: 4,500 miles?
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2016, 11:16:49 AM »

This March 11th letter, lowers the estimated range number to 4,500 once again....

http://e-archives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/epurdue/id/523/rec/2673
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