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Author Topic: TIGHAR Tracks and Preparation for World Flight  (Read 582 times)

Randy Jacobson

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TIGHAR Tracks and Preparation for World Flight
« on: February 25, 2021, 06:26:35 PM »

Just got my TIGHAR Tracks today (hardcopy!), and enjoyed the two chapters. 
Ric: you have done an amazing job of uncovering correspondence and documentation regarding Manning and Noonan that I never thought existed.  The story you describe regarding aerial navigation faux pas with Manning finally puts the whole story together and coherent for the first time.  Similarly, the notes about Mantz and taking off the two-engine tail-dragger now makes the Luke Field crash understandable.  What's still unexplained is how improper grease got into one of the propeller hubs but not the other...very strange.

I thought I had captured most of the correspondence regarding the pre-flight preparations during my many visits to the National Archives and other sources, but somehow you've scavenged even more sources! 

Well done, sir!
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: TIGHAR Tracks and Preparation for World Flight
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2021, 08:12:06 AM »

Just got my TIGHAR Tracks today (hardcopy!), and enjoyed the two chapters. 
The story you describe regarding aerial navigation faux pas with Manning finally puts the whole story together and coherent for the first time.  Similarly, the notes about Mantz and taking off the two-engine tail-dragger now makes the Luke Field crash understandable. 

Thanks Randy. Earhart biographers (Lovell, Rich, Butler) had most of the dots but, perhaps because they are not pilots, never really connected them. I have the advantage of having sat there with my hands full of overloaded twin-engined tail-dragger. That accident was entirely predictable and, given Earhart's "bullheadedness," almost inevitable - and Mantz knew it.

What's still unexplained is how improper grease got into one of the propeller hubs but not the other...very strange.

I need to fix that.  Both hubs had the improper grease and the left side was also damaged, but not as badly as the right.  From Lt. Arnold's report:
"We then overhauled the left hand propeller and found that slight galling had occurred. Both propellers were cleaned and lubricated with Mobile No. 2 lubricant which is Air Corps Specification for summer use."
So who screwed up?  The guy responsible for servicing the airplane prior to both flights was Bo McKneeley.

I thought I had captured most of the correspondence regarding the pre-flight preparations during my many visits to the National Archives and other sources, but somehow you've scavenged even more sources! 

The "big find" were Doris Rich's papers at the NASM Archives.  They're a real treasure trove of correspondence and notes but not available online and only accessible by personal visit. I spent an entire day there.  Their photcopier was busted so I took photos of each document with my iPhone. Example below.
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Randy Jacobson

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Re: TIGHAR Tracks and Preparation for World Flight
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2021, 06:07:41 PM »

I wonder where Doris Rich found these correspondences?  Any ideas?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: TIGHAR Tracks and Preparation for World Flight
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2021, 08:43:46 AM »

I wonder where Doris Rich found these correspondences?  Any ideas?

Rich's book was published in 1989 after six years of research. Rich had access to Paul Mantz's papers via his biographer Don Dwiggins.  Dwiggins died in a car accident in 1988. The Mantz papers went to the Experimental Aircraft Association Library in Oshkosh.  I reviewed the Mantz papers when I was in Oshkosh for a speaking presentation some time around 2000 when I was researching Finding Amelia. I found some interesting stuff, including a couple of 3x5 note cards passed between the cockpit and cabin during the Oakland/Honolulu flight (the library hadn't realized what they had), but if the Mantz/Putnam correspondence was there I missed it.  I just checked the EAA Library website and they don't even list the Mantz papers as being in their collection.
There's a TIGHAR saying that dates back to our days in the Round Lake Hills of Maine:  "Stuff is hard to find."
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Jeff Lange

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Re: TIGHAR Tracks and Preparation for World Flight
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2021, 07:29:37 AM »

Sunday morning! Got my latest TIGHAR Tracks in yesterdays mail and I am ready to dive in! Biggest question is- which TIGHAR mug to use for my coffee? ;D ;)
Jeff Lange

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