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Ric Gillespie

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Source needed
« on: January 04, 2021, 03:10:22 PM »

Harry Manning's departure from the world flight after the Luke Field accident was publicly attributed to his three month lease of absence from United States Lines expiring - which was true.  He probably could have gotten an extension but he apparently later said he had lost faith in Earhart's piloting ability and was fed up with Putnam - but I can't find a source for that.  I know I've seen it somewhere and, given his history with George Putnam, it's entirely credible but I can't use it unless I have a source. It's not in Butler, Rich, Lovell or Long.  Can anyone find it?
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Bruce Thomas

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Re: Source needed
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2021, 06:35:49 PM »

The closest thing I can find like that is something written by Mike Campbell, of earharttruth fame, writing in 2015. Perhaps this is what you recall having read.

Quote
Fifty-two years later, Fred Goerner told a Pennsylvania television executive, “It is not correct to blame a tire blowout for the [Luke Field] incident.  Harry Manning was in the right hand co-pilot’s seat on the attempted Honolulu takeoff.  Manning wrote to me and then told me in tape recordings that the crash was the result of Earhart’s jockeying the throttles on takeoff as she was having trouble controlling the takeoff.  The blown tire was a result rather than a cause.  Manning said, ‘One second I was looking at the hangars, the next second the water. I was ready to die. It was phenomenal that none of us was injured.  She simply lost it.  That’s all.  I decided then and there that was it for me.  I’d been ready to leave anyway because of [George Palmer] Putnam. ’ ”

Manning was likely referring to the publisher’s micro-management of his famous wife’s publicity campaign for the world flight, and his tyrannical insistence that the spotlight remain focused only on Amelia, as if she were the only person in the Electra.
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Bruce
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« Last Edit: January 04, 2021, 06:44:11 PM by Bruce Thomas »
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Bill Mangus

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Re: Source needed
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2021, 07:20:53 PM »

See the Wikipedia entry for Harry Manning.  Note 1 references a book that may have more information than what is mentioned in the article itself.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Source needed
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2021, 08:50:56 AM »

Fifty-two years later, Fred Goerner told a Pennsylvania television executive, “It is not correct to blame a tire blowout for the [Luke Field] incident.  Harry Manning was in the right hand co-pilot’s seat on the attempted Honolulu takeoff.  Manning wrote to me and then told me in tape recordings that the crash was the result of Earhart’s jockeying the throttles on takeoff as she was having trouble controlling the takeoff.  The blown tire was a result rather than a cause.  Manning said, ‘One second I was looking at the hangars, the next second the water. I was ready to die. It was phenomenal that none of us was injured.  She simply lost it.  That’s all.  I decided then and there that was it for me.  I’d been ready to leave anyway because of [George Palmer] Putnam. ’ ”

Thank you Bruce.  That's what I was remembering.  The source is a letter and audio recordings from Manning to Goerner.  The quote might actually be in Goerner's "The Search for Amelia Earhart" but the book is not footnoted or indexed and wanders all over the place so it's difficult to find any particular passage.  However Goerner is a reliable source when he's quoting someone he interviewed.

Manning was likely referring to the publisher’s micro-management of his famous wife’s publicity campaign for the world flight, and his tyrannical insistence that the spotlight remain focused only on Amelia, as if she were the only person in the Electra.

There's more to it than that. Putnam started having doubts about Manning's ability when he misidentified the Electra's position on the way back to California in February after announcing the world flight in New York .  In March, after expressing his concern to Bureau of Air Commerce rep Bill Miller, Putnam insisted on a test. In the pre-dawn hours of March 10, Mantz, Manning, Putnam, and radio technician Joe Giurr took off from Burbank in NR16020 and headed west over the ocean. After flying westward out over the ocean for an hour, Manning was given the task of guiding the flight back to Burbank using celestial and dead reckoning techniques.  He was off by twenty miles.  Had the target been Howland Island they would have missed it.

To Manning it was merely verification that the key to finding Howland was RDF which had always been his plan, but for Putnam it was confirmation that Manning's navigational skills were not up to the task. Upon their return to Burbank there was a message for Putnam from Miller in Oakland asking for word on how the flight went.  Putnam called and told him.  It was five days until the world flight’s scheduled departure and they had a navigator who couldn’t navigate. Something had to be done. Miller said Pan Am’s senior navigator Fred Noonan, had recently left the company and might be available.  Putnam asked Miller to set up an appointment and, on March 12, Putnam and Manning met with Noonan who agreed to accompany the world flight as far as Howland. Amelia was apparently not involved other than to agree with her husband's decision.

It's not hard to imagine how Manning felt and it's easy to see what he meant when he said, "I’d been ready to leave anyway because of Putnam.”

In researching and writing this book I am continually surprised at the degree to which Earhart was a performer managed by her agent and publicist.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2021, 08:52:31 AM by Ric Gillespie »
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Harbert William Davenport

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Re: Source needed
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2021, 03:57:14 PM »

Here's one other source, TIGHAR's own article on Manning, with two sources footnoted:
With the three person crew aboard, the aircraft began its take-off roll just after 5:40 a.m. During take-off the Electra veered slightly to the right, and Amelia corrected to the left with a change of engine power; as described in the Luke Field Crash Report:, the aircraft “began to swing to the left with increasing speed, characteristic of a ground-loop…sliding on its belly amid a shower of sparks…”. Luckily there were no serious injuries. Manning had only a bruised elbow, but it was obvious that the World Flight venture was over for the time being. Public comments reported that Manning’s three month leave of absence could not be extended to permit him to participate in another attempt, but the Longs wrote, “Amelia…had talked to Manning, who was very gentlemanly about being replaced by Noonan when the flight resumed.”[19] Frederick Goerner spoke at the Amelia Earhart Symposium presented at the National Air and Space Museum library in 1983. He quoted Harry Manning’s comments years after the Luke Field accident: “Amelia Earhart was something of a prima donna. She gave the impression of being humble and shy; but she really had an ego, and could be tough as nails when the occasion required it. I got very fed up with her bull-headedness several times. That's why she brought Noonan into the picture --in the event I were to give up on the flight. AE herself was not a good navigator; and Noonan was a happy-go-lucky Irishman. He wasn't a 'constant' navigator. I always felt he let things go far too long...” [20] [21]
20.   Aviation Journal (California), “Amelia Earhart Symposium”, February 1984, p 5
21.   Lovell, Mary S., The Sound of Wings, The Life of Amelia Earhart, St. Martin’s Griffin, 1989, NY, p. 252
H. Wm. (Bill) Davenport
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Source needed
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2021, 08:46:31 AM »

Thanks Bill.  In retrospect, some of that seems a bit odd.

Public comments reported that Manning’s three month leave of absence could not be extended to permit him to participate in another attempt, but the Longs wrote, “Amelia…had talked to Manning, who was very gentlemanly about being replaced by Noonan when the flight resumed.”[19]

The full quote from Long's book (page 108) is “Amelia old G.P. that she had talked to Manning, who was very gentlemanly about being replaced by Noonan when the flight resumed.” This allegedly occurred aboard S.S. Malolo on March 25 as AE, Manning and Noonan were preparing to disembark in Los Angeles upon their return from Hawaii.  Putnam had gone aboard to talk to AE before they met with the press.
Long's source for the quote is Noonan's widow, Mary Bea Ireland, in a circa 1978 interview.  So how does this work?  AE supposedly tells G.P. she talked to Manning and says Harry was "very gentlemanly" about being replaced by Noonan, and then either AE or Putnam tells Noonan that AE talked to Manning and he was very gentlemanly and Noonan, at some time, tells Mary Bea who, ultimately, tells Long.
It sounds to me like Mary Bea is defending her late husband's memory by assuring Long that Fred in no way usurped Manning's place as navigator.  He could afford to be gentlemanly.  He no longer had a dog in the fight.

Frederick Goerner spoke at the Amelia Earhart Symposium presented at the National Air and Space Museum library in 1983. He quoted Harry Manning’s comments years after the Luke Field accident: “Amelia Earhart was something of a prima donna. She gave the impression of being humble and shy; but she really had an ego, and could be tough as nails when the occasion required it. I got very fed up with her bull-headedness several times. That's why she brought Noonan into the picture --in the event I were to give up on the flight.

Manning was correct that AE's public persona was very different from her true character, but it was not AE who brought Noonan into the picture.  That was all Putnam with the agreement of Mantz and Miller. AE merely went along with the decision. There was also no hint that Manning was considering giving up on the flight. To the contrary, he was deeply involved in working out the radio details with Pan Am and the Coast Guard. 
Manning, understandably, was not about to tell Goerner that Noonan was brought into the picture because Putnam had lost confidence in him.

AE herself was not a good navigator; and Noonan was a happy-go-lucky Irishman. He wasn't a 'constant' navigator. I always felt he let things go far too long...”

Manning only flew with Noonan once, on the trip from Oakland to Honolulu, but his impression was correct.  Noonan was sloppy.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2021, 08:48:36 AM by Ric Gillespie »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Source needed
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2021, 09:11:48 AM »

The full quote from Long's book (page 108) is “Amelia old G.P. that she had talked to Manning, who was very gentlemanly about being replaced by Noonan when the flight resumed.” This allegedly occurred aboard S.S. Malolo on March 25 as AE, Manning and Noonan were preparing to disembark in Los Angeles upon their return from Hawaii.  Putnam had gone aboard to talk to AE before they met with the press.
Long's source for the quote is Noonan's widow, Mary Bea Ireland, in a circa 1978 interview.

Les Kinney has pointed out to me that Long's interview was with Manning's wife, not Noonan's wife.  My bad.  I misread Long's citation.
That makes more sense.  Of course Mrs. Manning is going to say her late husband was gentlemanly.

Les disagrees with my characterization of Noonan as "sloppy."  I have referred him to my article "The Wrong Navigator" in the April 2020 issue of TIGHAR Tracks.

Les also says it was Mantz, not Miller, who steered Putnam to Noonan.  I've asked him for his source.
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