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Author Topic: FAQ: Electra bouyancy, Ditching at sea  (Read 83834 times)

Tom Gallagher

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Re: FAQ: Electra bouyancy, Ditching at sea
« Reply #75 on: October 30, 2011, 10:45:09 AM »

Does anyone have ANY information on any fuel tank construction or fuel caps used by Lockheed, in any model aircraft, in the late 1930's?  It would be a big help reducing the assumptions.  Knowing what was done by some other manufacturer may not be much help.
The '46 Aeronca 7AC I learned to fly in had a vented cap with a tube that pointed into the airstream, with a wire and cork-float arrangement in a clear plastic tube tied to the right hand down tube in the cockpit to tell me how much fuel remained.  They're not applicable to this discussion, being built a decade later than AE's craft, but I have fond memories of those days.
-----------------------
J-3s had the same fuel gauge.

gl

Indeed they did.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: FAQ: Electra bouyancy, Ditching at sea
« Reply #76 on: October 30, 2011, 11:42:40 AM »

OK, I’d like to take a step back and look at the two stories we’re building here:

1) an island tradition that an aircraft was deteriorating on the reef in 1938 or so, leaving scattered parts for locals to remember and use over the years.

Let's be clear about the evidence which suggests that the aircraft did not float away undamaged. Let's go through it chronologically.

- a photograph which shows debris (aka "Nessie") which may be aircraft wreckage on the reef in October 1937
- the anecdotal recollection of Emily Sikuli who saw debris on the reef in the same location in 1940 or '41.  Her father told her it was from an airplane.
- the anecdotal recollection of Dr. John Mims who saw aircraft debris in use by the locals on Gardner in 1944 and was told it was from an airplane that was there when the first settler arrived in 1938.
- the anecdotal recollection of former island resident Taniana who, as a boy in the late 1940s or early '50s, played with a curved metal door found on the lagoon shore near the southern passage. (No link yet.  New anecdote from the recent Solomons expedition.)
- aerial mapping photos taken in 1953 that show what appears to be a debris field of light-colored metal on the reef near the entrance to the main passage.
- the anecdotal recollection of Pulekai Songivalu who saw aircraft debris washed up on the lagoon shore opposite the main passage some time in the late 1950s
- the anecdotal recollection of Tapania Taiki who saw "part of a wing" on the reef flat and airplane parts on the shore near the main passage some time in the late 1950s
- aircraft structures that may be heat shields from the Electra cabin found in the abandoned village by TIGHAR in 1989 and 2003.
- a sheet of 24ST ALCLAD that may be from the Electra found washed up near the abandoned village by TIGHAR in 1991.
- a shard of plexiglas that matches Lockheed Part #40552 found in the abandoned village by TIGHAR in 1996.
- the anecdotal recollection of Dr. Greg Stone who saw an airplane wheel in the main lagoon passage in 2002.

A word about anecdotal recollections or "eyewitness testimony."  Gary is preaching to the choir when he says that it's the least reliable form of evidence.  The entire Japanese Capture canon consists of unsubstantiated and often contradictory anecdotal recollections.  To be meaningful, old stories must be corroborated by hard evidence, i.e. archival records, photographs or artifacts - and even then they must be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. Memory is unreliable, but when recollections from a variety of witnesses seem to tell a consistent story that is corroborated with photos and artifacts it's time to pay attention.

2) a compelling argument that the aircraft floated away after landing on the reef, buoyed by  the aux. fuel tanks, not long after AE landed there.

I've seen no compelling argument that the airplane floated away.  I've seen argument based upon admitted speculation that the airplane should have floated if it went into the water undamaged.  A compelling argument that the airplane floated away would have to include some kind of real evidence suggesting that it did  - for example, an anecdotal sighting of a floating aircraft or an absence of stories, photos or artifacts suggesting debris washing up on the island.  We have quite the opposite.

I’ll add 3): At the risk of heresy (“opinion…contrary to a… generally accepted belief”, Webster’s), I’ll posit some other options that come to mind: that NR16020 ditched at sea, and eventually drifted onto the reef.  This would not explain the radio traffic, and the chance of actually floating to the reef from any particular ditching point seems vanishingly small in most cases. However, the presence of AE/FN present or alive on the aircraft is not necessary for this scenario.  It only offers one explanation of how an aircraft mysteriously appears on the reef for the island tradition to grow around.  If there was also a tradition of corpses or skeletons associated with the aircraft, then they might have perished at sea before arriving on the reef.  If the tanks provided flotation for a long period of time, then the Electra could have eventually ended up on a beach or reef somewhere, so why not Gardner?  Perhaps the Electra ditched immediately upwind of the island and drifted to the reef. Perhaps the Electra ran off the end of the reef, losing a landing gear in the process, and the survivors swam/boated to the island, followed by the wreck of the aircraft?  That would rule out running the engines ever again, and ruin the belly antenna, but might preserve the radio and batteries.

We can posit almost any scenario if we choose to disregard selected bodies of evidence.  Your #2 ignores the abundant evidence that the plane broke up near the reef. Your #3 ignores the post-loss radio signals.  We can put the airplane in the water near Howland if we ignore everything TIGHAR has found that says the flight ended at Gardner.  A good hypothesis needs to take all the evidence into account.  You can't complete a jigsaw puzzle and have pieces left over unless you can convincingly explain why it's not part of the puzzle.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2011, 06:53:53 PM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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John Ousterhout

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Re: FAQ: Electra bouyancy, Ditching at sea
« Reply #77 on: October 30, 2011, 03:38:07 PM »

Ric sez: "...I've seen no compelling argument that the airplane floated away."
Thanks for catching my poor wording.  The idea I was attempting to convey was that there is a compelling argument that the aircraft would be quite likely to float (re: the current discussion about the buoyancy and survivability of the tanks), given what is assumed about the landing and subsequent evidence (the islander's tradition, radio logs, aerial photos showing debris, "nessie", etc).
To restate my question; how could an Electra retain significant buoyancy, yet stay in the vicinity long enough for the tradition to develop?
Cheers,
JohnO
 
« Last Edit: October 30, 2011, 10:14:11 PM by John Ousterhout »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: FAQ: Electra bouyancy, Ditching at sea
« Reply #78 on: October 30, 2011, 08:27:03 PM »

To restate my question; how could an Electra retain significant buoyancy, yet stay in the vicinity long enough for the tradition to develop?

Well, one way would be for it to lose bits and pieces - landing gear, outer wing panels, tail surfaces - that would eventually turn up on the reef or on shore, but the center section and fuselage might remain afloat to sail off into the sunset.  The problem with that scenario is that we have artifacts - the putative heat shields - that were attached to the cabin flooring. In order for pieces of the flooring with heat shields attached to wash up on the beach where they could be salvaged by the locals, the fuselage structure has to be breached.  We also have the anecdote about the boys playing with a curved metal door which also suggests severe damage to the fuselage.

Neither of these pieces of evidence is proof that the cabin of the plane was smashed to pieces against the reef by the surf.  The heat shields and the door could be from some other source we haven't thought of.  They are not smoking guns.  They are clues - pieces of real evidence that may or may not be pieces of our puzzle.  Calculations of the plane's buoyancy and resistance to damage are just that - calculations, nothing more, nothing less.  They may or may not be accurate depending upon the many estimates and assumptions made, but they are not clues to what happened.   No one knows what happened when the plane went over the reef edge - if it went over the reef edge -  but the available evidence, the available clues, suggest that whatever happened was violent enough to exceed the aircraft's structural limits.  Is the blue Pacific capable of beating a Lockheed Electra to death against a reef?  No contest.

In short, it is possible that the aircraft broke up near the reef edge.  It is also possible that it floated away. We have clues that suggest that it broke up near the reef edge.  We have no clues that suggest it floated away.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: FAQ: Electra bouyancy, Ditching at sea
« Reply #79 on: October 30, 2011, 09:04:01 PM »

OK, I’d like to take a step back and look at the two stories we’re building here:

1) an island tradition that an aircraft was deteriorating on the reef in 1938 or so, leaving scattered parts for locals to remember and use over the years.

Let's be clear about the evidence which suggests that the aircraft did not float away undamaged. Let's go through it chronologically.

- a photograph which shows debris (aka "Nessie") which may be aircraft wreckage on the reef in October 1937
- the anecdotal recollection of Emily Sikuli who saw debris on the reef in the same location in 1940 or '41.  Her father told her it was from an airplane.
- the anecdotal recollection of Dr. John Mims who saw aircraft debris in use by the locals on Gardner in 1944 and was told it was from an airplane that was there when the first settler arrived in 1938.
- the anecdotal recollection of former island resident Taniana who, as a boy in the late 1940s or early '50s, played with a curved metal door found on the lagoon shore near the southern passage. (No link yet.  New anecdote from the recent Solomons expedition.)
- aerial mapping photos taken in 1953 that show what appears to be a debris field of light-colored metal on the reef near the entrance to the main passage.
- the anecdotal recollection of Pulekai Songivalu who saw aircraft debris washed up on the lagoon shore opposite the main passage some time in the late 1950s
- the anecdotal recollection of Tapania Taiki who saw "part of a wing" on the reef flat and airplane parts on the shore near the main passage some time in the late 1950s
- aircraft structures that may be heat shields from the Electra cabin found in the abandoned village by TIGHAR in 1989 and 2003.
- a sheet of 24ST ALCLAD that may be from the Electra found washed up near the abandoned village by TIGHAR in 1991.
- a shard of plexiglas that matches Lockheed Part #40552 found in the abandoned village by TIGHAR in 1996.
- the anecdotal recollection of Dr. Greg Stone who saw an airplane wheel in the main lagoon passage in 2002.

A word about anecdotal recollections or "eyewitness testimony."  Gary is preaching to the choir when he says that it's the least reliable form of evidence.  The entire Japanese Capture canon consists of unsubstantiated and often contradictory anecdotal recollections.  To be meaningful, old stories must be corroborated by hard evidence, i.e. archival records, photographs or artifacts - and even then they must be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. Memory is unreliable, but when recollections from a variety of witnesses seem to tell a consistent story that is corroborated with photos and artifacts it's time to pay attention.

2) a compelling argument that the aircraft floated away after landing on the reef, buoyed by  the aux. fuel tanks, not long after AE landed there.

I've seen no compelling argument that the airplane floated away.  I've seen argument based upon admitted speculation that the airplane should have floated if it went into the water undamaged.  A compelling argument that the airplane floated away would have to include some kind of real evidence suggesting that it did  - for example, an anecdotal sighting of a floating aircraft or an absence of stories, photos or artifacts suggesting debris washing up on the island.  We have quite the opposite.

I’ll add 3): At the risk of heresy (“opinion…contrary to a… generally accepted belief”, Webster’s), I’ll posit some other options that come to mind: that NR16020 ditched at sea, and eventually drifted onto the reef.  This would not explain the radio traffic, and the chance of actually floating to the reef from any particular ditching point seems vanishingly small in most cases. However, the presence of AE/FN present or alive on the aircraft is not necessary for this scenario.  It only offers one explanation of how an aircraft mysteriously appears on the reef for the island tradition to grow around.  If there was also a tradition of corpses or skeletons associated with the aircraft, then they might have perished at sea before arriving on the reef.  If the tanks provided flotation for a long period of time, then the Electra could have eventually ended up on a beach or reef somewhere, so why not Gardner?  Perhaps the Electra ditched immediately upwind of the island and drifted to the reef. Perhaps the Electra ran off the end of the reef, losing a landing gear in the process, and the survivors swam/boated to the island, followed by the wreck of the aircraft?  That would rule out running the engines ever again, and ruin the belly antenna, but might preserve the radio and batteries.

We can posit almost any scenario if we choose to disregard selected bodies of evidence.  Your #2 ignores the abundant evidence that the plane broke up near the reef. Your #3 ignores the post-loss radio signals.  We can put the airplane in the water near Howland if we ignore everything TIGHAR has found that says the flight ended at Gardner.  A good hypothesis needs to take all the evidence into account.  You can't complete a jigsaw puzzle and have pieces left over unless you can convincingly explain why it's not part of the puzzle.
------------------------------------------


You like to set up a "strawman" so that you can easily knock it down. You demand that the "crash and sankers," and now the "floated away from Gardners," to provide physical proof to back up their theories knowing full well that inherent in those theories is that the plane sank somewhere on the 70% of the earth's surface that is ocean so that it is highly unlikely that the plane will ever be found. So as long as the plane is not found you can claim that those theories are weaker than yours, this is a pretty clever tactic on your part.

But lets turn this around and as Lucy said in one episode:

"Oh Ricky, you've got some 'splaining to do."


1. What became of all the debris in the 1937 photo?
2. What became of the metal door?
3. How did the debris field move over to the main entrance, and what happened to all that debris?
4. How did the debris move to inside the lagoon opposite the main entrance and what happened to all that debris?
5, What happened to the wheel?
6. Why didn't Lambrecht notice any of these shiny debris fields since they were obvious enough to show up in a photo?

"A debris field here, a debris field there, here a debris field there a debris field everywhere a debris field, old McDonald had a farm, ee eye ee eye oh."

You have the same problem that the various Japanese capture theories have, conflicting locations that can't all be right and if three out of four are wrong then there is a good chance that all four out of four are wrong. Same with all of your "debris fields."

Up to this point you have recovered about five pounds of materials that you speculate could have come from the Electra. You have not been able to prove that any piece that you recovered came from the Electra and from nowhere else. Stuff was "consistent with" the Electra but also "consistent with" other sources. The plane weighed 7,000 pounds, where are the other 6,995 pounds of the wreckage that you claim was seen at various times? Since the pieces of metal would have been valuable materials, they should have been recovered by the natives and put to use in their village and you should have found a whole lot more than five pounds of questionable materials. These island people are very adept at harvesting things from the sea and they had plenty of time to do it. They would not have just passed a "legend" down that there was such valuable stuff out on the reef, they would have gone and gotten it. So Ric, what did you do with all that other stuff?

gl
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 12:41:23 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Mona Kendrick

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Re: FAQ: Electra bouyancy, Ditching at sea
« Reply #80 on: October 31, 2011, 12:10:16 AM »

Since the pieces of metal would have been valuable materials, they should have been recovered by the natives and put to use in their village and you should have found a whole lot more than five pounds of questionable materials. These island people are very adept at harvesting things from the sea and they had plenty of time to do it. They would not have just passed a "legend" down that there was such valuable stuff out on the reef, they would have gone and gotten it. So Ric, what did you do with all that other stuff?


     As you point out, aluminum scrap was valuable to the islanders.  I would guess that they packed up all the pieces they had on hand along with their other possessions when they abandoned Niku in the early 1960's.


     
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: FAQ: Electra bouyancy, Ditching at sea
« Reply #81 on: October 31, 2011, 08:01:41 PM »

You like to set up a "strawman" so that you can easily knock it down. You demand that the "crash and sankers," and now the "floated away from Gardners," to provide physical proof to back up their theories knowing full well that inherent in those theories is that the plane sank somewhere on the 70% of the earth's surface that is ocean so that it is highly unlikely that the plane will ever be found. So as long as the plane is not found you can claim that those theories are weaker than yours, this is a pretty clever tactic on your part.

It is not a strawman and it is not a tactic.  I merely ask that proponents of other theories do what TIGHAR has done - present evidence.  The champions of Japanese Capture have failed to produce evidence other than contradictory anecdotal recollections and a few fancifully misinterpreted archival documents such as the Love To Mother telegram and the Morgenthau transcript.
The advocates of Crashed & Sank don't even have that much, but it's not for want of effort.  The Howland Group, Nauticos, and most recently Waitt have spent orders of magnitude more money than TIGHAR searching the ocean bottom in the area where they calculated the plane should be (somewhat less than 70% of the earth's surface).  They have found exactly nothing.  That, of course, does not prove that the plane isn't there - only that they didn't find it.  What says that it isn't there are the post-loss radio signals.  If only one of the signals is genuine, then the airplane can't have crashed and sank.  Our catalog and analysis of all the known reported signals leaves us with two possibilities:
-Either the Earhart aircraft was on land and on its gear in the Phoenix Islands area for several nights following its disappearance
or
- There was a hoaxer in the Phoenix Islands area who had the capability to transmit on Earhart's frequencies, could mimic her voice, had information about her that few people were aware of (such as her incompetence at Morse code), and just happened to be in the Phoenix Group on July 2 or had positioned himself there because he knew ahead of time that she would not reach Howland.
 
Which possibility do you feel is the most likely? 

The Floated Away hypothesis has the same problem as Crashed & Sank.  You can do calculations all day long but the available evidence argues against it.

But lets turn this around and as Lucy said in one episode:

"Oh Ricky, you've got some 'splaining to do."

Fire away Lucy.

1. What became of all the debris in the 1937 photo?

I don't know.  It was there then and it's gone now.  That's a given.  It was apparently still there in 1940 or '41 when Emily Sikuli saw what her father said was debris from an airplane in the same spot.  The reef edge is an extremely dynamic environment.  Norwich City looks a tad different today than it did in 1937.  I'm frankly surprised the debris Bevington photographed in '37 was still there three or four years later.

2. What became of the metal door?

Beats me.  Maybe it's still somewhere back in the bush where the kids left it.  We'll take a look when we're there next summer but that area where the door was reportedly found - just south of Bauareke Passage, known as Nurabu - gets overwashed periodically.  One thing we've learned is that the sea giveth and the the sea taketh away.

3. How did the debris field move over to the main entrance, and what happened to all that debris?

I wasn't there so I can't say for sure, but Norwich City provides us with an excellent model for what happens to man-made structures that get hung up on the reef.  The ship went aground in November 1929 and remained largely intact until January 1939 when the aft half - the part that was not aground on the reef - broke off and sank. There is some, but surprisingly little, wreckage on the reef slope down to about 150 meters.  The bulk of the stern must be deeper than we've looked so far.
The massive triple-expansion steam engine was amidships and remains on the reef edge to this day. Over the years, the half of the ship from the engine forward gradually weakened due to rust, broke up in storms, and was scattered across the reef flat.  Only the lower structure of the hull and keel now remain where they were in 1929.  Most of the ship is just gone. A debris field of heavy components - oil tanks, boiler, winches, etc. - runs in an east and southeasterly direction across the flat.  There's a large section of hull plating up against the shoreline about halfway to the entrance of the main lagoon passage.  There is some shipwreck debris on the shore of the lagoon peninsula (Taraia) opposite the main passage and there is a large tank from the ship on the lagoon shore just north of Bauareke (the southern) Passage. 

So .... at least in the case of Norwich City, some parts of the wreck went into the water and sank to a depth greater than we have yet explored, and parts that were on the reef were scattered in an east and southeasterly direction, then along the shore toward the main passage.  The passage is basically a venturi and there is a strong flow in or out of the lagoon depending on the state of the tide. Floating debris moved through the passage and either across or down the lagoon, probably depending on the direction of wind and surge through the main passage.  Most of the wreckage from the forward half of the ship - tons and tons - is just gone, apparently rusted away.

4. How did the debris move to inside the lagoon opposite the main entrance and what happened to all that debris?

My guess would be that it got there the same way floating debris from Norwich City got there.  Based on what we have found in the abandoned village, the aluminum used by the locals - from whatever source - was primarily sheet (skin).  They made combs, decorative inlays for carved wooden crafts they traded or sold to servicemen, but mostly they just cut it up into small rectangles they used as fishing lures.  In other words, most of their use of aluminum was consumptive.  They used it up.

5, What happened to the wheel?

I don't know.  What I do know is that in the year between the time Greg Stone says he saw it (2002) and we were able to get a team out there to look for it, the west end of the island was hit with weather that did significant damage to the shoreline where he said he saw the wheel.  Over the years we've been going to the island we've seen a regrettable increase in the severity of storms.  Buildings that have stood since the place was abandoned in 1963 have only recently been flattened by waves coming ashore in storms and parts of the old village that were still rich with artifacts in 1989 have since been swept clean by overwash. 

6. Why didn't Lambrecht notice any of these shiny debris fields since they were obvious enough to show up in a photo?

I don't think the debris fields were there yet. At the time Lambrecht flew over I think the wreckage of the airplane was hung up in relatively shallow water just past the reef edge and obscured from view by the surf.  Had there been aircraft debris washed up all over the place, Bevington and Maude should have seen it in October 1937; the new Zealand Survey party should have seen it in late 1939/early 1939; the Grumman Duck from USS Pelican should have seen it in April 1939; the USS Bushnell survey party should have seen it in November 1939.  The earliest report we have of airplane debris being seen is Emily in 1940 or '41 and she doesn't see a debris field.  She sees one piece of wreckage, apparently jammed in the reef, that can only be seen at low tide on a calm day and doesn't look like an airplane.  How did her father know it was part of an airplane?  Somebody must have seen more than that, either her father himself or villagers who fished on the reef edge.  By 1944 the locals were decorating carved wooden boxes with bits of aluminum they told U.S. servicemen were from "the downed plane" so they apparently had some access to pieces of wreckage - but the Coasties were certainly not aware of any great mysterious debris fields of airplane wreckage.  The first debris field we know of turns up in the 1953 aerial mapping photos and it's only four pieces of light colored metal, but they're along the shore just at the ocean side entrance to the main passage - just where they should be if the plane has started to seriously break up and the wreckage is following the same distribution pattern as the Norwich City wreckage.  Later in the 1950s we have reports of part of a wing on the reef in that same area, another piece of wreckage on the Taraia lagoon shore and the door down by Bauareke Passage - all consistent with the known distribution pattern of Norwich City wreckage.

"A debris field here, a debris field there, here a debris field there a debris field everywhere a debris field, old McDonald had a farm, ee eye ee eye oh."

You have the same problem that the various Japanese capture theories have, conflicting locations that can't all be right and if three out of four are wrong then there is a good chance that all four out of four are wrong. Same with all of your "debris fields."

Not so but far otherwise. The anecdotes and photos do not conflict.  They fit a known model of wreckage distribution determined by the natural forces acting upon the island.

Up to this point you have recovered about five pounds of materials that you speculate could have come from the Electra.

I wasn't aware you had weighed it.  I haven't.

You have not been able to prove that any piece that you recovered came from the Electra and from nowhere else. Stuff was "consistent with" the Electra but also "consistent with" other sources.

Which pieces are you referring to that are consistent with the Electra but also consistent with other sources?  If an artifact is so amorphous that it's consistent with the Electra but also consistent other sources we don't pay much attention to it.  It's the ones that we can't connect with other sources that get our attention.
We've tried our level best to match our piece of aluminum skin (2-2-V-1) to something, anything, other than an Electra.  I could bore you for hours with the aircraft we've crawled over and measured. The closest match is still to the Lockheed 10.  Everything fits except the rivet pattern - and that comes darn close. We know the metal is from a repair.  We don't know how the repairs to NR16020 were actually carried out. Find me an airplane that it fits better than an Electra and I'll thank you sincerely.  That thing has been driving me nuts for 20 years.
Our piece of plexi matches the engineering drawing for the cabin windows of the Model 10. The material, thickness, color, and compound curvature are right.  I can't find a match anywhere on WWII airplane but i haven't checked them all.  Maybe you can find one.
The things we think are heat shields are puzzling.  We can imagine how they might have been used on Earhart's aircraft but we haven't been able to find any other aircraft that has any part anything like them.  Maybe you'll have better luck.



The plane weighed 7,000 pounds, where are the other 6,995 pounds of the wreckage that you claim was seen at various times? Since the pieces of metal would have been valuable materials, they should have been recovered by the natives and put to use in their village and you should have found a whole lot more than five pounds of questionable materials.

As I hope I've 'splained above, I think most of those 6,995 pounds are underwater and the bits that did wash ashore were, for the most part, salvaged and used up.  What we have found in the village are the scraps left over from that activity.

These island people are very adept at harvesting things from the sea and they had plenty of time to do it. They would not have just passed a "legend" down that there was such valuable stuff out on the reef, they would have gone and gotten it. So Ric, what did you do with all that other stuff?

Would have?  Did the people who lived on Nikumaroro harvest things from the sea by diving or didn't they?  I've often wondered whether a fisherman who looked down from the reef edge on a rare, flat calm day and saw a wrecked airplane five or ten feet below might dive down and try to salvage something.  I sure wouldn't.  Torn aluminum is sharp and there are always plenty of sharks around - but I'm not Gilbertese.  In numerous interviews with former residents and reading thousands of pages of archival documents I've never heard or seen a reference to the people who lived on Nikumaroro diving in the ocean, or in the lagoon for that matter. They did a lot of fishing but you don't need to dive to get fish there.  At Niku you don't even need bait. Just put a line in the water with something shiny on it (like a little piece of airplane skin) and in no time you'll have a fish.  They mostly fished from sailing canoes in the lagoon.  Getting out over the reef through the breakers to the ocean was dangerous and usually only done in the whaleboat that was used to ferry supplies ashore from ships. There was apparently also some ocean fishing done by standing out at the reef edge at low tide on calm days (the ONLY time you'd want to be anywhere near that reef edge).

Sorry for the length of this posting but your questions and tone made it apparent that some 'splainin' was indeed in order.  If you could have so many misconceptions, so might others.   That's our fault, not yours, or theirs.  It's our job to make what we've learned easily and clearly accessible so that interested people like yourself can form their opinions based on accurate information. We try, but we clearly need to do better. I hope this overly-long posting helps.

« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 08:03:31 PM by Ric Gillespie »
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JNev

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Re: FAQ: Electra bouyancy, Ditching at sea
« Reply #82 on: November 01, 2011, 01:06:54 PM »


I have flown 67 different types of planes and all of them had tank vent lines coming out of the bottom of the plane, none on top, so I am curious, can you give us some examples of planes with the the vents on top of the cabin?

I didn't say 'on top' - I suggested they might be 'as high as practical' (or words to that effect). 

Quote
Although regulations allow for vented gas caps, only two examples come immediately to mind, and neither were part of the original design of the plane. The Cessna 150 has only one vent that is under the left wing and leads only to the left wing fuel tank. The right tank is vented by a cross-over pipe from the left tank. This caused a problem that made the left tank  feed fuel more rapidly than from the right tank. An Airworthiness Directive required the installation of a vented cap on the right tank to deal with this problem. (It is not uncommon to find this vented cap on the left tank by mistake, installed by some idiot that didn't understand the reason for the A.D.) The other one is that some Bonanzas have vented caps, also required by A.D., due to clogged vent lines causing the collapse of the rubber fuel bladder installed in the wing tanks. I suppose there must be other similar examples. Do you know of any planes that had vented caps as part of the original design?

Examples -

- Cessna 120 / 140 - 2 vented caps
- Maule M-4 series - 2 vented caps
- Luscombe 8 series - vented cap atop fuselage
- Cessna Cardinal RG (C177RG) - two vented and raised caps (new style caps by A.D. - the old ones were flush and vented) and two cross-vents - one to each opposite wing-tip trailing edge
- Piper Cherokee (PA-28) series - commonly had raised, vented caps in addition to tank vents under wing 
- Piper J-3 and others of similar type commonly depended on simple, vented caps

Others such as Aeronca, Ercoupe, and others of this genre more often than not were dependent on vented caps.

These are a few that I've flown and know of, I'm sure there are many others.  Make a point to look more closely at the local airport sometime, don't take my word for it.

In any case - should the plumbing become compromised while the tanks are in water, it matters not where the vent outlets are located - water will eventually fill the tanks, matter of time.
- Jeff Neville

Former Member 3074R
 
« Last Edit: October 03, 2012, 01:57:50 PM by J. Nevill »
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