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Author Topic: The Last Takeoff Footage.  (Read 91374 times)

Heath Smith

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The Last Takeoff Footage.
« on: December 01, 2011, 06:47:38 PM »


Is it possible to obtain a higher resolution copy of the footage that is posted here?

http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/ameliavideo.html

I would like to analyze the video frame by frame and would like to obtain the highest resolution footage available.

Thank you.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2011, 08:04:28 PM »

Is it possible to obtain a higher resolution copy of the footage that is posted here?

http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/ameliavideo.html

I would like to analyze the video frame by frame and would like to obtain the highest resolution footage available.

We could put the best copy we have on DVD.  $50 contribution.  Free to TIGHAResearchers.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2011, 08:38:44 PM »


Is it possible to obtain a higher resolution copy of the footage that is posted here?

http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/ameliavideo.html

I would like to analyze the video frame by frame and would like to obtain the highest resolution footage available.

Thank you.
Here are some low resolution frames.
gl
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Gary LaPook

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2011, 08:45:56 PM »


Is it possible to obtain a higher resolution copy of the footage that is posted here?

http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/ameliavideo.html

I would like to analyze the video frame by frame and would like to obtain the highest resolution footage available.

Thank you.
Here are some low resolution frames.
gl
Some more frames.
Even with these low resolution frames it is clear that there are TWO separate and distinct puffs of dust next to each other, one kicked up behind each of the main wheels. It is clear from these frames, and will be even clearer if you analyze hi res frames, that these two dust clouds were not made by a belly antenna being ripped off. This is especially obvious since the tail is up and there are several feet of ground clearance under the belly antenna.

gl
gl
« Last Edit: December 01, 2011, 11:30:36 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Heath Smith

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2011, 04:19:53 AM »

Ric,

Thank you for the information. I will look in to joining up. I appreciate it. After breaking down the videos to still frames it is an interesting challenge and I am willing to invest some time there.

Gary,

It is funny you say that because that is exactly what I see as well for a couple of reasons. One frame seems to clearly show the puffs from the left wheel originating at the wheel itself. You probably cannot see the initial puffs of smoke from the right wheel due to the position of the sun and the shadow of the Electra. Once the smoke is no longer in the shadow it is quite visible. 

The distinct puffs are also too large to be caused by an antenna wire falling off. They look like smoke from the tires. I found another clip on the Internet that shows the Electra "bouncing" at high speeds just before takeoff causing smoke puffs (and I am sure there were two distinct puffs there as well). That can be see here at 0:23s and 0:24s:

http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/finding-amelia-signs-of-danger.html

Did Amelia use some technique at take off to get the tail up or something? I do not recall many instances of tires creating smoke at take off as in shown in the footage. Something is odd there but I cannot put my finger on it. It seems odd that the wheel speed would be that different after losing contact with the ground for a fraction of a second. Any ideas there?

While viewing the footage that I do have of the last takeoff, I also believe that I can see the antenna post located below the wings although this is one visible for 2-3 frames. Was that the post that was supposed to have broken off or was it the other 1/2 way down the body?

While the theory that Amelia could not hear because the belly antenna was ripped off at take off is compelling, I do not believe that this footage can demonstrate that. Even with much better footage, the antenna and posts are difficult to see at 1/2 the distance with much better resolution footage. I am willing to take a good look though.

If the antenna did not fall off, perhaps there was some other reason that she was not able to receive transmissions, maybe operator error or equipment malfunction? It seems crazy to me that they did not take off and immediately test their radio with someone on the ground as it really was their only lifeline to the outside world. Was there any evidence of such a radio test heard by ham operators or anyone else? There was no tower at Lae with a radio? Strange.

Thanks.

Heath
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2011, 05:47:18 AM »

The distinct puffs are also too large to be caused by an antenna wire falling off. They look like smoke from the tires. ...

http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/finding-amelia-signs-of-danger.html

Did Amelia use some technique at take off to get the tail up or something? I do not recall many instances of tires creating smoke at take off as in shown in the footage. ...

I believe a dirt road crossed the runway.

I don't have time to confirm that now.  I have to suit up and show up for class.

But the puffs may be "dirt" rather than "smoke."

Quote
If the antenna did not fall off, perhaps there was some other reason that she was not able to receive transmissions, maybe operator error or equipment malfunction?

Another blown fuse, perhaps?

Quote
It seems crazy to me that they did not take off and immediately test their radio with someone on the ground as it really was their only lifeline to the outside world.

Earhart did many things that seem crazy in retrospect.  Not understanding or verifying the operations of her radios is a big part of the accident chain.

Quote
Was there any evidence of such a radio test heard by ham operators or anyone else?

There are no reports of HAM operators listening in from Lae, New Guinea (that I know of).

Quote
There was no tower at Lae with a radio? Strange.

There were radios.  Cf. The Chater Report, for example.
LTM,

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2011, 06:54:43 AM »

One frame seems to clearly show the puffs from the left wheel originating at the wheel itself.

I disagree.  The film clearly shows that the puff originates well behind the left wheel and probably centered under the fuselage.

You probably cannot see the initial puffs of smoke from the right wheel due to the position of the sun and the shadow of the Electra. Once the smoke is no longer in the shadow it is quite visible.

There is no puff from the right wheel.  There is only one puff that splits into two parts, probably due to propwash from the two engines.

The distinct puffs are also too large to be caused by an antenna wire falling off. They look like smoke from the tires.

Neither you nor Gary understand the hypothesis about the antenna loss. The hypothesis is that the rearmost mast supporting the belly wire antenna was knocked off before the takeoff run began, probably when the airplane swung around to line up with the runway.  When the takeoff began the broken-off mast was dragged along the turf runway by the wire.  The puff is the mast snagging on the ground and ripping the wire free - hence the later anecdotal report of a length of antenna wire being found on the runway.

I found another clip on the Internet that shows the Electra "bouncing" at high speeds just before takeoff causing smoke puffs (and I am sure there were two distinct puffs there as well). That can be see here at 0:23s and 0:24s:

http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/finding-amelia-signs-of-danger.html

Did Amelia use some technique at take off to get the tail up or something? I do not recall many instances of tires creating smoke at take off as in shown in the footage. Something is odd there but I cannot put my finger on it. It seems odd that the wheel speed would be that different after losing contact with the ground for a fraction of a second. Any ideas there?

Those are not smoke puffs.  They are water splashing from puddles.  Notice that no flaps are used on the Oakland takeoff either (900 gallons of fuel aboard).  Mantz was in the right seat.  It's not likely that Paul "forgot" to lower the flaps.  My suspicion is that, knowing that AE had trouble keeping the airplane straight on takeoff and knowing that flaps reduced rudder authority at low speeds, Mantz advised her not to use flaps on takeoff.  I know that Gary likes to draw conclusions from technical studies but Amelia may never have seen Report 487 and probably wouldn't have understood it if she did.

While viewing the footage that I do have of the last takeoff, I also believe that I can see the antenna post located below the wings although this is one visible for 2-3 frames. Was that the post that was supposed to have broken off or was it the other 1/2 way down the body?

The aft antenna mast is definitely there when the plane taxis out.  It is definitely gone when the plane comes back past the camera.  The latter determination was made by a professional forensic imaging specialist who examined a still photo (not a frame from the film).  Whether the "puff" has anything to do with the antenna loss is really neither here not there. It's a simple case of now you see it, now you don't.  The antenna was lost.

While the theory that Amelia cold not hear because the belly antenna was ripped off at take off is compelling, I do not believe that this footage can demonstrate that.

That's correct.  The antenna loss was confirmed from a still image taken by by Mr. Alan Board.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2011, 08:00:11 AM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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Heath Smith

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2011, 03:17:20 PM »


Ric,

I do not suppose that still image that was analyzed is available on the Tighar site?

Looking at the puffs, I do not see that they are on the center line. Maybe with the higher resolution footage that would be apparent.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2011, 05:43:58 AM »

I do not suppose that still image that was analyzed is available on the Tighar site?

Research Bulletin here. [link repaired 12/3/2011 @ 10:57 am ET]

Looking at the puffs, I do not see that they are on the center line. Maybe with the higher resolution footage that would be apparent.

As I said before, there is only one puff.  It first appears well behind the left main gear. Exactly where it appears in relation to the underside of the airplane is hard to determine due to the angle but it was the opinion of the forensic imaging specialist that was under the fuselage.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2011, 08:57:31 AM by Bruce Thomas »
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Brad Beeching

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2011, 09:38:49 AM »

If the mast was ripped off the aircraft, did anyone ever mention finding the mast along with the wire? Or was it only the antenna wire that was found on the runway?

Brad
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2011, 10:49:03 AM »

If the mast was ripped off the aircraft, did anyone ever mention finding the mast along with the wire? Or was it only the antenna wire that was found on the runway?

The anecdote about finding the antenna wire on the runway at Lae was secondhand and not contemporaneous with the event.

That doesn't necessarily mean it's false.
LTM,

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Brad Beeching

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2011, 01:36:19 PM »

Who said anything about thinking it was false? All I asked was if there was any mention of the mast itself, or if it was just the wire?

Brad
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Heath Smith

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2011, 01:48:20 PM »

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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2011, 02:32:33 PM »

Who said anything about thinking it was false? All I asked was if there was any mention of the mast itself, or if it was just the wire?

I'm sorry if I made it sound as though I imputed that opinion to you.

TIGHAR has often expressed a preference for first-hand witness statements made close to the time of the events in question.  So, for example, the claim by Gore Vidal that AE used code to report that the delay in Lae was due to Fred being drunk is second-hand and was not recorded not close in time to the event in question. 

The report that some "old timers" said they had found Earhart's antenna on the runway at Lae is dubious on the same grounds.  It does not mention the mast being attached to the wire; it is not from an eyewitness; it is not from a record close in time to July, 1937; in my view, it is of dubious value in deciding what, if anything, fell off NR16020 on the morning of 2 July 1937.
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John Ousterhout

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Re: The Last Takeoff Footage.
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2011, 07:10:44 PM »

I recently realised that I may have been mistaken to assume that a broken antenna would still be attached at the front connection point, at least initially.  The problem with this scenario is explaining how the aft end magically hooks on something on the field and is yanked off to create the "puffs" seen during the takeoff film.  Is this what others assumed happened?  What do you think the loose end hooked on?  Most airfields are preferred to be free of obstructions and objects that might hook airplane parts, and a loose, floppy antenna, possibly with a broken section of mast still attached, will not "hook" on the ground by itself. Note that I do a lot of vehicle tests that include dragging cables along the ground, and I've never seen a cable "hook" on bare ground, even when dragging failed ground anchors, tent pins, instrumentation boxes, etc.  However, there is a different scenario that makes hypothetical sense to me, so I'll throw it out here:
Let's say that during the taxi at Lae, the aft mast contacted the ground, bending it back, tensioning the antenna wire enough to cause it to fail at the forward end.  The loose section of cable was then dragged along the ground, still connected to the bent aft mast, and possibly to a bent intermediate mast.  When the tailwheel rolled over the loose end of the antenna, the remaining connection point abruptly failed.  I've seen a similar action take place when a vehicle wheel rolls over a moving cable - the cable abruptly acquires the velocity of the ground, rather than the velocity of the vehicle (caveat: I test vehicle barriers for a living, not aircraft antennas).
But there's a problem - this scenario would have to occur while the tail wheel was still firmly on the ground, not during the takeoff run when the tail is in the air.  If so, then the puffs are not from the antenna getting yanked off - it was already gone earlier in the taxi or takeoff.
The simple explaination for the puff(s) is the plane passing over the hypothesized dirt road.
OK, let the flames begin.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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