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Author Topic: Did Earhart panic?  (Read 43223 times)

Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Did Earhart panic?
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2012, 05:06:34 PM »

So if no one, and that includes themselves, new where the Electra was then, the debate about having half an hour or x amount of hours of fuel remaining is only debatable if we knew the exact position of the Electra when she made that transmission?
Example:
1. If they were twenty minutes from the nearest landfall then half an hours fuel would suffice.
2. If they were one hour from the nearest landfall then seventy minutes fuel would be enough.
And so on...
Do you see the logic behind this line of thought?
They might have got lucky, Land Ho! or ended up ditching. It all depends on where they were and, how much gas was left when they knew the game was up.
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Did Earhart panic?
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2012, 10:01:02 PM »

The question Jeff is really more that we know she didn't make Howland so where was she when she said "we must be on you".  At that point AE and FN thought they should see Howland below them. How much fuel they had left to search and make an alternate plan was/is important because until they realized they couldn't see Howland they would have been navigating according to plan. Now they deviate. What did they actually do is what all the speculation is all about.  Enough fuel for an alternate plan, Phoenix Island group, or with little fuel she crashes and sinks. How much fuel she had is very important.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Did Earhart panic?
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2012, 12:14:59 AM »


Here's what Ballarts had to say about it in his 1973 interview with Elgen Long:
"Well, don’t go on O’Hare’s log, because I say—I wasn’t even aware that O’Hare was putting that stuff down. . . . No, I mean that. . . .
O’Hare shouldn’t have been putting that down because it was not his responsibility. It was actually mine and Galten, you know. [Laughs] . . . That stinkin’ O’Hare. . . . It’s in error . . . it should never have been in O’Hare’s log. He’s just adding confusion to it and that’s not correct. Possibly O’Hare might have had something in his little punkin’ head that he might have, you know, thought he was going to make a bundle of jack on that or something."
I think that this is quite funny. Talking about Bellarts' recollection of Earhart's voice, a position you disagree with, in the first post on this topic you wrote:

"Bellart's description is from an interview he did with Elgen Long on April 11, 1973 - 36 years after the event.  Anecdotal recollections of events many years in the past are not reliable. "

But when you can use Bellarts to support your position by his bad mouthing O'Hare in the same interview, 36 years after the event, suddenly his recollections are as good as gold. Boy, both sides of your mouth must be getting tired. :D

gl
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Did Earhart panic?
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2012, 01:21:13 AM »



I agree that Kenner and Thompson's accounts support Galten's log "BUT GAS IS RUNNING LOW".  When you're lost in the middle of the Pacific with three and half hours of fuel remaining, gas is definitely running low.  O'Hare's "SEZ RUNNING OUT OF GAS ONLY 1/2 HR LEFT" is clearly a mistake, either by O'Hare or by Earhart, because she was still in the air an hour later.  I wrote about O'Hare's log entry at length in Finding Amelia (pages 95-6).


Not necessarily a mistake because the plane was flying a half hour after her estimate of running out of fuel. Who here has not hit "EMPTY" on the fuel gauge in their car but kept on going believing that he still had 10 or 20 miles left in which to find a gas station. So how far can you go with the gauge reading below empty? have any of you tried an experiment and just drove and drove until the car finally ran out of gas just to find out? The same thing applies to airplane fuel gauges by regulation they must indicate "EMPTY" prior to the tank actually being empty. How long can you go with the fuel gauge in your plane on "EMPTY?" you want to do THAT experiment. Earhart saw the gauge was approaching empty and estimated 1/2 hour left and it is not at all surprising that she had another 1/2 hour of fuel in the tank with the gauge reading below empty. The regulations governing fuel gauges are much more specific and we discussed them here.

gl
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JNev

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Re: Did Earhart panic?
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2012, 04:23:51 AM »

Gary,

Do we even know that the Electra HAD guages for the additional tanks?

As you've recently pointed out, the regs have changed over time, for one thing, but for another - NR16020 was "NR" registered for limited purposes - in essence it was "expermental" as that stood in its day - and not obligated to follow all of the rules.  A watch is sufficient for monitoring fuel consumption in such cases - worked for Lindbergh, and NR16020 had much more going for it than the little Ryan.

"24 hours" is what it's about.

LTM -
- Jeff Neville

Former Member 3074R
 
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Did Earhart panic?
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2012, 06:41:41 AM »

A site glass gage can be seen on the tall tank just aft of the cockpit doorway.  There are no other "gages" I've found in any pictures of any of the big interior tanks.  The wing tanks were the only ones with electric gages on the instrument panel.
Perhaps Gary or anyone else with experience using ferry tanks can tell us what the established procedure for switching tanks might be?  Do you run the large reserve tank until the engine sputters, or use some method of estimation that it's "about empty"?  Is there any account by AE of how she managed fuel in the tanks?  Is there any account of how someone trained her to use the tanks, such as a Lockheed letter?
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Did Earhart panic?
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2012, 01:12:13 PM »

So AE's 'low on gas' was based on the readings from the Electra cockpit gauges? or did FN take a look at the sight gauge on the one extra fuel tank that had one. How would they know the other fuel tanks that didn't have sight gauges were empty? Did they have to wait for the engines to splutter from fuel starvation?
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Did Earhart panic?
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2012, 03:08:11 AM »



As to how the aux (added) tanks were managed in the Electra, I'm not sure.  Sometimes aux tanks like that are allowed to run down to point of 'sputter' - with a watchful pilot watching the time, from good altitude.  Gary LaPook has hands-on experience with that over the ocean in single-engine airplanes (and maybe others) - I'm sure he can share some insight.
I always took off on the main tanks because I figured those tanks might be a little bit more reliable than the ferry system. At a safe altitude I  would switch to the ferry tank and use it completely, saving the mains for the final part of the flight and landing. Here is a link to a story showing that this is a good method.   If I had saved that ferry tank til the end it would have been THE END!
Quote
Often such extra tanks are also used to supply normal tanks periodically, until dry: fuel is moved from the big tank out into a 'normal' permanent tank, as needed, thence consumed by the engine(s) from the normal source.  I do not know how the arrangement worked on the Electra, however.

LTM -

The Electra did not have fuel gauges for the cabin ferry tanks so, in order to avoid that embarrassing silence since both engines would quit at the same time because they were both drawing fuel from the same tank, Earhart would burn each ferry tank to a conservative point, based on her clock, and then switch to another tank. This left some fuel in the tank she had just finished using which is why a "stripping system" was included in the fuel system. After switching tanks, by manipulating the "stripping valve" and then using the hand operated "wobble pump," she would pump that remaining fuel into one of the main tanks to be used latter. This is another reason that you have to use the mains first, to make room for the fuel that will eventually be "stripped" from the ferry tanks.

I believe there is a diagram of the fuel system somewhere on the TIGHAR website. If not then you can find it at Purdue.

gl
« Last Edit: February 22, 2012, 03:12:54 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Did Earhart panic?
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2012, 03:36:41 AM »


Here's what Ballarts had to say about it in his 1973 interview with Elgen Long:
"Well, don’t go on O’Hare’s log, because I say—I wasn’t even aware that O’Hare was putting that stuff down. . . . No, I mean that. . . .
O’Hare shouldn’t have been putting that down because it was not his responsibility. It was actually mine and Galten, you know. [Laughs] . . . That stinkin’ O’Hare. . . . It’s in error . . . it should never have been in O’Hare’s log. He’s just adding confusion to it and that’s not correct. Possibly O’Hare might have had something in his little punkin’ head that he might have, you know, thought he was going to make a bundle of jack on that or something."

I realized that I made a mistake earlier in crediting the notation of ""BUT GAS IS RUNNING LOW" to Bellarts, it was actually Galten that was maintaining that log and who typed that entry. This makes Bellarts' 36 year later criticism of the log maintained by O'Hare, which is where we find the words from Earhart "SEZ RUNNING OUT OF GAS ONLY 1/2 HR LEFT,"  even more irrelevant. Galten was also interviewed and he also confirmed the "1/2 hour left" notation. And if you read Bellarts' words carefully, he did not deny that the  "1/2 hour left" words were actually heard, he only criticized  O'Hare for monitoring the Earhart frequency and entering that in his log because O'Hare was supposed to be monitoring a different frequency. "Actions speak louder than words," Thompson got underway almost immediately so everyone believed the plane had ditched. Thompson was taking a big risk by leaving his station because, if the plane was still flying, it could still arrive at Howland and the Itasca and the shore party would have been gone at that critical moment. This would not have been good for Thompson so he must have STRONGLY believed that she had ditched already.

gl
« Last Edit: February 22, 2012, 03:40:53 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Did Earhart panic?
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2012, 07:09:11 AM »

Gary.  Lt Cooper on page 5 of his report says that all hands except a radio operator and several colonists were called back to the ship. This leaves a handful of people on Howland in the event AE found Howland.

See http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Cooper_Report/Cooper_Report.pdf

I think this is also reported by others who were on the scene. Thompson didn't abandon Howland.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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JNev

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Re: Did Earhart panic?
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2012, 07:43:35 AM »

So if no one, and that includes themselves, new where the Electra was then, the debate about having half an hour or x amount of hours of fuel remaining is only debatable if we knew the exact position of the Electra when she made that transmission?
Example:
1. If they were twenty minutes from the nearest landfall then half an hours fuel would suffice.
2. If they were one hour from the nearest landfall then seventy minutes fuel would be enough.
And so on...
Do you see the logic behind this line of thought?
They might have got lucky, Land Ho! or ended up ditching. It all depends on where they were and, how much gas was left when they knew the game was up.

Jeff H. -

Don't get 'range' and 'endurance' confused - what counts for 'time remaining' is "when she made that transmission", not "where the Electra was".

If the Electra started with 24 hours of fuel aboard and had flown 20 hours, then 4 hours would remain, nominally, as an example.

It can be agreed that what land the Electra might reach would be dependent on 'where' it was at a given time.

LTM -
- Jeff Neville

Former Member 3074R
 
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Did Earhart panic?
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2012, 11:12:19 AM »

Jeff
Don't get 'range' and 'endurance' confused - what counts for 'time remaining' is "when she made that transmission", not "where the Electra was".

Would the time remaining be the location where the Electra was when she made that transmission?

I'm trying to get my head around the fuel system onboard her Electra at the moment which, by neccessity is rather Heath Robinson and, the possibility that 'low on gas' may not have been as definate as it first appears. Note: having seen the schematics for the fuel system the last thing I would want onboard would be anything that even had the remotest chance of igniting fuel vapour i.e lighters/matches/pistols/very pistol etc... In fact, I wonder? :-\
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Did Earhart panic?
« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2012, 12:01:10 PM »


I don't think that we can, or should, attempt to connect AE's  actual position with her reported position at the time of a radio transmission.  They, AE and Itasca, had established that she would report at 15 minutes and 45 minutes past the hour and would listen on the hour and half past the hour.  (Let's remember that the agreement with Lae was that she would transmit at 18  minutes past the hour).  The 0614 (Itasca time) 0544 (Howland time) 1744 (GCT) transmission "About 200 miles out..."  could have been her regularly scheduled report and she could have reached 200 miles out at some time before the radio call and waited until the scheduled time to report it.
We'll never know unless/until the plane is recovered and a log of some knid is in it, or some sort of log is uncovered on Gardner or elsewhere.  Baffling.

Same for the other calls which seem to occur at or near the 15 and 45 minutes past the hour  time frame.
No Worries Mates
LTM   Harry (TIGHAR #3244R)
 
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