Advanced search  
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5   Go Down

Author Topic: Chapter Two  (Read 51066 times)

Ric Gillespie

  • Executive Director
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 6101
  • "Do not try. Do or do not. There is no try" Yoda
Chapter Two
« on: March 30, 2016, 12:36:11 PM »

Chapter Two of Finding Amelia - The True Stroy of the Earhart Electra is titled:
"The tree upon which costly airplanes grow.” May 1935 – February 1936

It deals with how Earhart selected and acquired an airplane to fly around the world.  We all know the story - right?

In the first chapter of the book that would become Last Flight, Earhart wrote that her need/desire for an Electra first occurred to her while flying over the Gulf of Mexico en route from Mexico City to Newark, NJ on May 8, 1935.
"So on that sunny morning out of sight of land, I promised my lovely red Vega I'd fly her across no more water.  And I promised myself that any further over-ocean flying would be attempted in a plane with more than one motor, capable of keeping aloft with a single engine.  Just in case.
Which, in a way, was for me the beginning of of the world flight project. Where to find the tree on which costly airplanes grow, I did not know.  But I did know the kind I wanted - an Electra Lockheed, big brother to my Vegas, with, of course, Wasp engines.
Such is the trusting simplicity of a pilot's mind, it seemed ordained that somehow the dream would materialize.  Once the prize was in hand, obviously there was one flight which I most wanted to attempt - a circumnavigation of the globe as near its waistline as could be."

In the fourth chapter she explained how the dream materialized. 
"One day last summer President Edward C. Elliott of Purdue asked my husband what most interested me beyond immediate academic matters. ... So he divulged my suppressed pilot's yearning for a bigger and better airplane. Not only to go to far places further and faster and more safely, but essentially for pioneering in aviation education and technical experimentation.
So, in due time, I came into possession of my two-motor Lockheed Electra. ....I had intended to undertake a year;s research with my plane and thereafter plan some interesting flight. But circumstances made it appear wiser to postpone the research and attempt the flight first."

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.  Earhart wrote "it seemed ordained that somehow the dream would materialize" after the dream had materialized, but in May 1935 there was no hint that it would.  She seems to have assumed her long-distance stunt flying days were over. After the Mexican flight she had the Vega converted to passenger configuration for use in a charter and flight school business she was starting in partnership with Paul Mantz.   
Elliott's query to Putnam about Amelia's plans "beyond academics" turned out to be a totally unanticipated turning point in AE's life.  How and why it came about is a fascinating story.  One key source is Putnam's now-rare 1939 biography of Amelia "Soaring Wings."  We've ordered a copy ($50).  Anybody care to sponsor that?
I'm especially curious to figure out what "circumstances" made it appear wiser to do the world flight before making research flights with the airplane.  There's a lot of story here that hasn't been told.
Logged

Karen Hoy

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 91
Re: Chapter Two
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2016, 01:08:42 PM »

I will sponsor the book. Do I send a donation via the TIGHAR Store?

LTM (who has lots of books),

Karen Hoy 2610ER
Logged

Ric Gillespie

  • Executive Director
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 6101
  • "Do not try. Do or do not. There is no try" Yoda
Re: Chapter Two
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2016, 01:21:02 PM »

I will sponsor the book. Do I send a donation via the TIGHAR Store?

Thanks Karen.  Just make a Literary Guild donation via the Store.  I'll know what it's for.  Much appreciated.
Logged

Patrick Dickson

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 38
  • TIGHAR Member #3168A
Re: Chapter Two
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2016, 01:34:00 PM »

Q.E.D.
well done Ms. Karen !
Logged

Matt Revington

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 396
  • member #4155
Re: Chapter Two
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2016, 01:36:28 PM »

Way to go Karen

AE seems to have known by April 1936  that she was going to go for the world flight sooner rather than later, she had already requested a leave from Purdue at that point.

http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/epurdue/id/328/rec/162
Logged

Ric Gillespie

  • Executive Director
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 6101
  • "Do not try. Do or do not. There is no try" Yoda
Re: Chapter Two
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2016, 03:54:15 PM »

AE seems to have known by April 1936  that she was going to go for the world flight sooner rather than later, she had already requested a leave from Purdue at that point.

Not necessarily.  Note that the letter makes reference to aeronautical research but not a world flight.  A world flight may have been seen as a possibility from the very beginning. Attached is a transcription (for ease of reading) of the document on the Purdue website at http://earchives.lib.purdue.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/epurdue/id/505/rec/21. It is unsigned and undated.  Purdue believes it to have been written by Putnam to Elliott "circa 1936." They're probably right but Purdue captions have been known to be wrong. I suspect it dates from the autumn of 1935 and is part of Putnam's reply to Elliott's request for information about Amelia's plans "beyond academics."  I'm hoping that Soaring Wings will confirm that. As you can see, Putnams's pitch (if that's what it is) was wildly optimistic and quite different from the way things turned out.
Logged

Ric Gillespie

  • Executive Director
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 6101
  • "Do not try. Do or do not. There is no try" Yoda
Re: Chapter Two
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2016, 04:05:02 PM »

Think about this for a second:
What if Elliott had not asked Putnam about Earhart's plans? Putnam would not have had the opportunity to pitch the idea of Purdue buying AE an airplane.  With no new airplane would Earhart have concentrated on making a success of the charter/flying school business with Mantz? What would the rest of her career have been like?  How would we remember her today?
That's why understanding Elliott's motivation is so important.
Logged

pilotart

  • T3
  • ***
  • Posts: 139
Re: Chapter Two
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2016, 05:49:23 PM »

<....>, Earhart wrote that her need/desire for an Electra first occurred to her while flying over the Gulf of Mexico en route from Mexico City to Newark, NJ on May 8, 1935.
"So on that sunny morning out of sight of land, I promised my lovely red Vega I'd fly her across no more water.  And I promised myself that any further over-ocean flying would be attempted in a plane with more than one motor, capable of keeping aloft with a single engine.  Just in case.<....>
Of course all of that took place eight years before I was born, but I've often wondered about that Electra's capabilities when flown on one engine.

I know that historically the first multi-engine airliners had three motors so they could continue to maintain altitude if one of the engines quit.

Although equipped with "constant-speed" variable pitch propellers, the Electra at that time did not feature feathering propellers. (Turning the prop blades to produce minimum drag when stopped.) And this greatly limits performance when trying to perform on a single engine.
http://avstop.com/ac/flighttrainghandbook/propellerfeathering.html

Of course at the excessive take-off weights involved by carrying all that long-range fuel load, I would expect that Electra "....capable of keeping aloft with a single engine." would not have been available for at least the first half of her long-range flights. Don't see where they had any capability for rapid fuel dump. I realize that at the time of their loss, their weight was down to a manageable level.

According to the Smithsonian:
http://www.sil.si.edu/smithsoniancontributions/AnnalsofFlight/pdf_lo/SAOF-0001.4.pdf
Page 77, "Feathering" did not arrive until 1938!

Pilot training for a 'multi-engine' rating primarily involves flying it on one engine, was this true during Amelia's Electra checkout. I am aware that you can reach a minimum drag (with an un-powered engine and non-feathering propeller) by first slowing airspeed to a point that the 'dead' propeller stops 'windmilling'. Doing this in a multi-engine aircraft would put you at great risk of a complete loss of control (VMC Roll).

I would be interested to know how much you know and can include dealing with training procedures of the day and Amelia's 'checkout'. We know of her involvement with the great Paul Mantz and his frustration with Amelia's 'learning motivation' in relation to Navigation and proper utilization of her Radio equipment, did he ever mention anything about her basic 'emergency' aircraft handling training and skill.

I know that one of the big selling points for the early Douglas multi-engine airliner, was its supposed capability of continuing on a single engine, this must have also been a factor for the even earlier Boeing and Lockheed versions.

Difficult to imagine that 'single-engine' training and practice would not have been an important factor for those early pilots.
Art Johnson
 
Logged

Jerry Germann

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 421
  • Go Deep
Re: Chapter Two
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2016, 10:36:11 PM »

Think about this for a second:
What if Elliott had not asked Putnam about Earhart's plans? Putnam would not have had the opportunity to pitch the idea of Purdue buying AE an airplane.  With no new airplane would Earhart have concentrated on making a success of the charter/flying school business with Mantz? What would the rest of her career have been like?  How would we remember her today?
That's why understanding Elliott's motivation is so important.

Would love to have the time and access to explore this collection;

 http://www4.lib.purdue.edu/archon/index.php?p=collections/findingaid&id=26&q=&rootcontentid=2168#id2168
Logged

Matt Revington

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 396
  • member #4155
Re: Chapter Two
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2016, 03:36:52 AM »

Logged

Ric Gillespie

  • Executive Director
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 6101
  • "Do not try. Do or do not. There is no try" Yoda
Re: Chapter Two
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2016, 07:42:59 AM »

Although equipped with "constant-speed" variable pitch propellers, the Electra at that time did not feature feathering propellers. (Turning the prop blades to produce minimum drag when stopped.) And this greatly limits performance when trying to perform on a single engine.

Excellent point Art.  Today, a multi-engine airplane without full-feathering props would be unthinkable.

Of course at the excessive take-off weights involved by carrying all that long-range fuel load, I would expect that Electra "....capable of keeping aloft with a single engine." would not have been available for at least the first half of her long-range flights. Don't see where they had any capability for rapid fuel dump. I realize that at the time of their loss, their weight was down to a manageable level.

I believe it did have emergency fuel dump capability.  I'll try to find documentation.  But you're right.  At the weights involved in Earhart's long-distance flying and without full-feathering props, for most of the trip a second engine only doubles the risk of engine failure. Most of Earhart's contemporary long-distance fliers chose single-engine aircraft.  Dick Merrill, for example, chose a single engine Vultee V-1A for his September 1936 round-trip transatlantic flight.  In May of 1937 he did it again; this time in a Lockheed 10E Special like Earhart's without full-feathering props. By the time Howard Hughes flew a Lockheed 14 Super Electra around the world in 1938, his ship was equipped with full-feathering Hamilton-Standard Hydromatic props.


Pilot training for a 'multi-engine' rating primarily involves flying it on one engine, was this true during Amelia's Electra checkout. I am aware that you can reach a minimum drag (with an un-powered engine and non-feathering propeller) by first slowing airspeed to a point that the 'dead' propeller stops 'windmilling'. Doing this in a multi-engine aircraft would put you at great risk of a complete loss of control (VMC Roll).

Single-engine operations in a non-feathering twin is a hairy proposition.  Attached are the published procedures for the Model 10 written for a non-U.S. operator. 


I would be interested to know how much you know and can include dealing with training procedures of the day and Amelia's 'checkout'. We know of her involvement with the great Paul Mantz and his frustration with Amelia's 'learning motivation' in relation to Navigation and proper utilization of her Radio equipment, did he ever mention anything about her basic 'emergency' aircraft handling training and skill.

Unfortunately, no.  We have virtually no information about how much and what kind of transition training Earhart received.
Logged

Matt Revington

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 396
  • member #4155
Re: Chapter Two
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2016, 07:59:29 AM »

One thing I find odd is that many of the early communications between GP and Purdue mention the idea of the world flight starting and ending at Purdue Airport.  It's easy to imagine the newsreel footage of AE shaking Elliot's hand and then flying off , it would have put Purdue on every movie screen in the country and AE could then have just flown to Oakland, picked up Manning and Noonan started her flight to Hawaii as she did on the first attempt.
 
Why did that never happen? Did Purdue distance itself from AE (as with the Purdue colours being removed from the Electra) because they were afraid of negative publicity if something went wrong.
Logged

Ric Gillespie

  • Executive Director
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 6101
  • "Do not try. Do or do not. There is no try" Yoda
Re: Chapter Two
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2016, 08:07:05 AM »

Did Purdue distance itself from AE (as with the Purdue colours being removed from the Electra) because they were afraid of negative publicity if something went wrong.

I share your curiosity. I'm not aware of any backing-away on Purdue's part but it is true that, once the plane was delivered, the whole operation seemed to drift further and further away from the original concept. 
Logged

Daniel R. Brown

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 80
Re: Chapter Two
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2016, 11:13:46 AM »

I believe it did have emergency fuel dump capability.

Not documentation, but a report:

"Pacific Storm Again Delays Miss Earhart's World Flight"  Oakland CA 3/15/37 (published in 3/16/37 AP newspaper affiliates) -  "Mantz declared that in the event of difficulty more than half way to any over-water stop, surplus gasoline can be dumped and the plane can continue on one motor. If trouble develops before the halfway point, a return will be made to the starting field, he said."

Dan Brown, #2408
Logged

Ric Gillespie

  • Executive Director
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 6101
  • "Do not try. Do or do not. There is no try" Yoda
Re: Chapter Two
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2016, 11:21:50 AM »

"Pacific Storm Again Delays Miss Earhart's World Flight"  Oakland CA 3/15/37 (published in 3/16/37 AP newspaper affiliates) -  "Mantz declared that in the event of difficulty more than half way to any over-water stop, surplus gasoline can be dumped and the plane can continue on one motor. If trouble develops before the halfway point, a return will be made to the starting field, he said."

Whew!  I wonder about that.  I have a hunch that if you ran the numbers you'd find that Mantz was being optimistic.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5   Go Up
 

Copyright 2024 by TIGHAR, a non-profit foundation. No portion of the TIGHAR Website may be reproduced by xerographic, photographic, digital or any other means for any purpose. No portion of the TIGHAR Website may be stored in a retrieval system, copied, transmitted or transferred in any form or by any means, whether electronic, mechanical, digital, photographic, magnetic or otherwise, for any purpose without the express, written permission of TIGHAR. All rights reserved.

Contact us at: info@tighar.org • Phone: 610-467-1937 • Membership formwebmaster@tighar.org

Powered by MySQL SMF 2.0.18 | SMF © 2021, Simple Machines Powered by PHP