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Author Topic: The Navigator's Bookcase  (Read 29635 times)

Ric Gillespie

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The Navigator's Bookcase
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2011, 01:05:57 PM »

I do not need a loss list to know that a part that was ONLY used on B24C/D and PB4Y-1's would not be found on a B24J.

That's true, but you don't know that part 28F4023 was ONLY used on B-24C/D.  All you know is what I wrote and all I know is what it says in the Interchangeable Parts List.  What happened on the factory floor and in the field often differed from the manual.

However the PB4Y-1 loss that you mention IS very interesting. Especially considering the amount of B24 parts found on Niku and the fact that it's flight path would have passed directly over Niku. Is it not just as reasonable to theorize a similar fate for the PB4Y-1 as we are for Amelia??

You tell me.  In 1937 Niku was uninhabited.  In 1943 there was an active colony of about 100 people on the island who were very much aware that a war was going on and were in touch with the District Officer on Canton.  The same month the PB4Y1 disappeared a U.S. Coast Guard PBY landed at Niku with a team to survey the best location for a Loran station.  The engineers arrived in July 1944 and the Loran station was there until May of 1946.

I know it is much more likely that this plane crashed on or near niku than a part being salvaged from a B24J that was never on it.

You know a lot more than I do.
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Ric Gillespie

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The Navigator's Bookcase
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2011, 02:47:34 PM »

I've done some more digging.
According to the Parts List not all B-24Ds/PB4Y1s had the PBY bookcase (Part No. 28F2043).  The last aircraft was Consolidated Ser. No. 1559 which was AAF Ser. No. 42-40482.  The airplane lost somewhere between Canton and Funafuti was 42-40882.  It should not have had the 28F4023 PBY bookcase installed.
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Kevin Weeks

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The Navigator's Bookcase
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2011, 09:32:20 AM »

I've done some more digging.
According to the Parts List not all B-24Ds/PB4Y1s had the PBY bookcase (Part No. 28F2043).  The last aircraft was Consolidated Ser. No. 1559 which was AAF Ser. No. 42-40482.  The airplane lost somewhere between Canton and Funafuti was 42-40882.  It should not have had the 28F4023 PBY bookcase installed.

nice detective work. Is my memory correct that you found some sort of structure that you tied directly to a PB4Y-1??? if so that would significantly narrow down the search for the plane.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: The Navigator's Bookcase
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2011, 10:04:03 AM »

I've done some more digging.
According to the Parts List not all B-24Ds/PB4Y1s had the PBY bookcase (Part No. 28F2043).  The last aircraft was Consolidated Ser. No. 1559 which was AAF Ser. No. 42-40482.  The airplane lost somewhere between Canton and Funafuti was 42-40882.  It should not have had the 28F4023 PBY bookcase installed.

nice detective work. Is my memory correct that you found some sort of structure that you tied directly to a PB4Y-1??? if so that would significantly narrow down the search for the plane.

Niku IIII found an stainless steel exhaust manifold from a B-24 in the lagoon.
LTM,

           Marty
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Kevin Weeks

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Re: The Navigator's Bookcase
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2011, 11:43:10 AM »

as a note on the lost between canton and funi, the tighar page with aircraft losses in the area states that craft went down 300 miles south west of canton and lost all crew. anyone know how close that is to niku?

I just went and looked it up, kanton is ~280 miles from niku which would put the wreckage at least close enough to possibly wash up on shore.

obviously Ric's homework on the bookcase still precludes it from being on this particular plane, but still gives us ANOTHER B24 from which parts could come from.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2011, 11:53:00 AM by Kevin Weeks »
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Kevin Weeks

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Re: The Navigator's Bookcase
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2011, 12:04:57 PM »

marty, the link to aircraft losses on the 2-1 page you posted a link to mentions another Pb4y-1 that went down in november. this is aircraft # 32123. the ASN lists it as having ditched near funi. the tighar page lists it as having gone down immediately after takeoff on canton but with a footnote that it doesn't seem right due to the 6 days at sea before rescue. I think the ASN article clears up what happened to this plane. took off from Kanton, ditched in the sea near Funi.

tighar link:
http://tighar.org/wiki/Aircraft_lost_in_the_vicinity_of_Nikumaroro

asn link:

http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=81085
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Jeff Scott

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Re: The Navigator's Bookcase
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2011, 02:42:24 PM »

It's also worth remembering that the B-24J had a huge production run, over 6,000 built depending on how you count variants and subvariants.  It was also being built simultaneously by 5 different factories.  You can virtually guarantee there were differences in the details between all 6,000+ of these aircraft and it wouldn't be at all surprising if navigator bookcases (perhaps left over after C/D production finished) were included in some of these airframes.  Minor details like these are often left out of the production records, especially in the frenetic environment of World War II.  Can anyone prove it happened?  Maybe not, but it is plausible.

I work on an air vehicle production program and we often find unexpected differences in each lot because the manufacturer or a subcontractor decided something could be made cheaper or better or to replace obsolescent parts and still meet the overall performance specs.  Unfortunately, sometimes they turn out to be wrong!
It's not too late to be great.
 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: The Navigator's Bookcase
« Reply #22 on: June 14, 2011, 08:20:55 AM »

Fascinating string... (and I am wholly uncertain as to how my first post somehow wound up being at the 'head of the class' here - I didn't originate it).

I split the topic to make it easier for people to find this particular thread.

Quote
The encyclopedic knowledge of B-24 variants and PB4Y1s is worth the read alone, never mind the bookcase.  Mr. Weeks' knowledge of these warbirds is humbling, to say the least.

Yes.  I have to go back over the list on the wiki to correct my mistakes and double-check some information from Aircraft Archaeology.

Quote
In any 'case', ...

 :P

Quote
... it appears to be long-foregone that the bookcase did not likely come from the Electra - unless the B-24 installation pre-dated the Electra AND a bookcase was salvaged from such a bomber and 'match-drilled' via existing holes to the Electra's interior structure in some fashion as a 'make do' item, before the world trip.  That sort of field mod is not unheard of in my experience, but without stronger evidence there is no evident tie to the Electra.

But not a waste - ANY aircraft artifact and story is of course of interest to us TIGHAR folk.

When this thread started, I thought TIGHAR had knockdown proof that the case could not have come from the Electra.  The match between the bookcase holes and the B24/PB4Y airframe certainly seems conclusive.  The only problem is finding a plausible pathway for the box to arrive on Niku by 1989.  The argument isn't as airtight as I thought it was.
LTM,

           Marty
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: The Navigator's Bookcase
« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2011, 08:54:15 AM »

marty, the link to aircraft losses on the 2-1 page you posted a link to mentions another Pb4y-1 that went down in november. this is aircraft # 32123. the ASN lists it as having ditched near funi. the tighar page lists it as having gone down immediately after takeoff on canton but with a footnote that it doesn't seem right due to the 6 days at sea before rescue. I think the ASN article clears up what happened to this plane. took off from Kanton, ditched in the sea near Funi.

I couldn't find the "takeoff from Kanton," but I do see "ditched near Funi."  I've revised the entry in the wiki table.

The ASN link leads to JoeBaugher.com, which says that the PB4Y-1 was an "ex-USAAF B-24D 42-40950."

Baugher also lists 32102 as "ex USAAF B-24D 42-40882."  Aviation Archaeology lists that as going down "400 mi SW of Canton," but I haven't found the source for that remark.  Did they find wreckage there?  Get a distress signal that located the plane there?  Make a guess based on known time in the air?

Ric says that the parts list excludes this airframe from carrying the bookcase--at least in principle.
LTM,

           Marty
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Kevin Weeks

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Re: The Navigator's Bookcase
« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2011, 11:47:01 AM »

Fascinating string... (and I am wholly uncertain as to how my first post somehow wound up being at the 'head of the class' here - I didn't originate it).

The encyclopedic knowledge of B-24 variants and PB4Y1s is worth the read alone, never mind the bookcase.  Mr. Weeks' knowledge of these warbirds is humbling, to say the least.

In any 'case', it appears to be long-foregone that the bookcase did not likely come from the Electra - unless the B-24 installation pre-dated the Electra AND a bookcase was salvaged from such a bomber and 'match-drilled' via existing holes to the Electra's interior structure in some fashion as a 'make do' item, before the world trip.  That sort of field mod is not unheard of in my experience, but without stronger evidence there is no evident tie to the Electra.

But not a waste - ANY aircraft artifact and story is of course of interest to us TIGHAR folk.

LTM -

Jeffery, I would hardly call my knowledge on this aircraft humbling! I know some basic facts about the production runs and their variants. I do not have access to the technical documentation that Ric has. Pretty much Everything I've come up with is a "reasonable assumption" that Ric has backed up or disproved for me (Thanks Ric!)

I am an admirer of WWII aircraft more than anything else. I build "Hot Rods" for a hobby and the production legacy of almost every WWII aircraft plays out just like a hot rodder would build them. Constant improvements
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Alex Fox

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Re: The Navigator's Bookcase
« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2011, 11:55:13 AM »

it appears to be long-foregone that the bookcase did not likely come from the Electra - unless the B-24 installation pre-dated the Electra AND a bookcase was salvaged from such a bomber and 'match-drilled' via existing holes to the Electra's interior structure in some fashion as a 'make do' item, before the world trip.  That sort of field mod is not unheard of in my experience, but without stronger evidence there is no evident tie to the Electra.
Except the photograph.  (see http://tighar.org/wiki/2-1).  I'm not convinced the bookcase was from the Electra, but the photo is at least some arguable connection to it.
Quote
"A photo of Earhart and Noonan standing before the open cabin door in Darwin, Australia shows a shadowy object on the cabin floor that COULD be the bookcase. It’s the right size, the right shape, but it just isn’t clear enough to be sure. We built a full-scale model of an intact case and photographed it on the floor of a Lockheed 10, duplicating the angle of the Darwin photo. Yup, looks right. We built a scaled-down model of the interior of the cabin and put a scaled down bookcase under the scaled-down navigator’s table."
#4317
 
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Kevin Weeks

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Re: The Navigator's Bookcase
« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2011, 12:18:20 PM »

I couldn't find the "takeoff from Kanton," but I do see "ditched near Funi."  I've revised the entry in the wiki table.

When this thread started, I thought TIGHAR had knockdown proof that the case could not have come from the Electra.  The match between the bookcase holes and the B24/PB4Y airframe certainly seems conclusive.  The only problem is finding a plausible pathway for the box to arrive on Niku by 1989.  The argument isn't as airtight as I thought it was.

The takeoff from Kanton was listed on the Tighar Wiki. read something like:
crash on takeoff from canton, rescued 6 days later.
then the footnote read something to the effect of:
rescue time seems long considering crashed after takeoff

I believe the argument against the box being on the electra to be airtight. As to which B24 it came from, that we may never know for sure. the two earlier PB4Y-1's that we discussed having crashed in the vicinity (vicinity being within several hundred miles) seem to have been reasonably ruled out.

Who knows how far away something like that could have come from?? say you are a native who's prize possession is a set of books/maps/charts and you are being relocated after the war. the Island you are on has an airport with several wrecked B-24's bulldozed off into the corner and you go over them looking for something usable to keep your books safe during the relocation.....

might never know where it originated given a scenario like that. although other bits found on the island with partial serial numbers and the stainless exhaust seem to give some possibility of a "local" crash.


does anyone have a link to a comprehensive list of WWII aircraft losses that includes the B24 and PB4Y-1?? When Tighar goes back looking for the electra down deep I think it might be a good idea to also have a likely identity for a lost b24 that could show up on the viewfinder.....

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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: The Navigator's Bookcase
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2011, 01:59:54 PM »

The takeoff from Kanton was listed on the Tighar Wiki. read something like:
crash on takeoff from canton, rescued 6 days later.
then the footnote read something to the effect of:
rescue time seems long considering crashed after takeoff

I think that was Pat Gaston's way of explaining that this was not the plane that crashed on takeoff from Kanton.  Since we now have better sources than Pat had in 2004, I've eliminated the phrase that suggested that this might have been the Kanton crash. 

Quote
... does anyone have a link to a comprehensive list of WWII aircraft losses that includes the B24 and PB4Y-1?? When Tighar goes back looking for the electra down deep I think it might be a good idea to also have a likely identity for a lost b24 that could show up on the viewfinder.....

The references for the wiki article show the sources we've used so far.  I've got some more information from Aviation Archaeology that I have not cross-checked with our current list nor with the Aviation Archaeology website.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Kevin Weeks

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Re: The Navigator's Bookcase
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2011, 02:20:39 PM »

The takeoff from Kanton was listed on the Tighar Wiki. read something like:
crash on takeoff from canton, rescued 6 days later.
then the footnote read something to the effect of:
rescue time seems long considering crashed after takeoff

I think that was Pat Gaston's way of explaining that this was not the plane that crashed on takeoff from Kanton.  Since we now have better sources than Pat had in 2004, I've eliminated the phrase that suggested that this might have been the Kanton crash. 

Quote

... does anyone have a link to a comprehensive list of WWII aircraft losses that includes the B24 and PB4Y-1?? When Tighar goes back looking for the electra down deep I think it might be a good idea to also have a likely identity for a lost b24 that could show up on the viewfinder.....

The references for the wiki article show the sources we've used so far.  I've got some more information from Aviation Archaeology that I have not cross-checked with our current list nor with the Aviation Archaeology website.


ok, I read it as the plane took off from kanton so there is no reason it should have taken 6 days for the rescue.....


have to look into some of them when I get time.
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