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Author Topic: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland  (Read 347193 times)

Monty Fowler

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #330 on: March 05, 2012, 02:51:24 PM »

MR. LaPook - If you don't mind, I don't need anyone to complete my sentences for me. The last one who did that on a regular basis is now know as "the ex." It is not a term of fondness.

LTM,

Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 CER
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Chris Johnson

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #331 on: March 05, 2012, 04:06:05 PM »

IF!!!! they had chutes on the Lae to Howland Leg and IF!!! they ran out of gas, IF one or both bailed out and ditched in the sea, WOULD the silks drag them down or provide somekind of visual record for the coasties??????
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #332 on: March 05, 2012, 04:27:25 PM »

Although there are cans of water shown there are no solar stills shown.

No, but the capiton says that the square cans may be replaced with chemical sea water kits.  Similar to this one pictured.  This kit was available at least in 1940, maybe earlier.

The following was written on an old Museum label that accompanied this kit:"
In 1935 two English chemists, Adams and Holmes, discovered that certain synthetic resins could remove all the solid substances dissolved in water.

As I wrote before in this post:

"That doesn't sound like the "water machine" described by Mantz that condensed moisture "from a person's breath."
I also posted this quote at the same time:


"Sun stills did not come into general use until near the end of the war. Progress had been made earlier in the development of a desalting kit, and by September 1944 they were being issued. These kits took most of the salts from sea water by chemical precipitation and filtering, but the materials in the kit were subject to deterioration."

The manual page I posted before is dated April, 1944 and the wording is "Chemical seawater purification kits may replace some of the water cans." This shows that the manual was revised with the expectation that the desalting kits, then under development, would be included in the raft supplies at some time in the near future which is consistent with the September 1944 introduction date mentioned in my quote. This is 7 years after Earhart disappeared and after high priority, as rapid as possible, wartime development.

What makes you think this desalting kit was available in 1940? It stands to reason that had they been available in 1940 that they would have been in raft emergency kits right away when WW2 started, there would be no reason to wait until hundreds of airmen had been lost by delaying until 1944 their introduction. Note that in December 1942 Hap Arnold said "get the solar stills in production as soon as possible." He did not add "never mind, forget the solar stills since chemical desalting kits have been available for years, just order a hundred thousand of those." Again it is a long time from the point where some scientist makes some interesting discovery until that discovery is turned into a usable product and that that usable product is put into production. The nine year period from the discovery in 1935 until desalting kits reached production in 1944 illustrates this point.

I have attached a 1945 ad describing the desalting kits. Notice that it says, "Flyers adrift at sea have a new life-saver- the Permutit Sea Water Desalting Kit." Hmmm, new in 1945, gee, it doesn't make any sense the ad would say "new" in 1945 if they had been around since 1940, does it. The patent application for the chemical desalting kit process wasn't filed until 1944.

And on the other subject we have been discussing, the amount of water needed to sustain life for a day, I notice that the instructions on the desalting kit says that each chemical packet makes one pint of water, hmmmm, why not make the packets bigger so that each one would make a full quart, hmmmmm.
gl
« Last Edit: March 12, 2012, 01:25:55 AM by Gary LaPook »
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #333 on: March 05, 2012, 04:35:46 PM »

Chris,
Silk parachutes don't float.  Then again, they don't sink with much authority either.  It won't persist long enough in the water to be a useful marker for searchers to spot.  A floating aircraft is more likely to be spotted than a swimming parachutist.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #334 on: March 05, 2012, 07:15:41 PM »

Chris and John, regardless of whether the parachutes may have floated for a time, there were no aircraft in the area to search for them for 5 days. Lambrecht and gang only got to Gardner on the 7th. They continued on past Gardner but this was 5 full days after they might have parachuted into the ocean. I doubt the chutes would still be on the surface.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #335 on: March 05, 2012, 07:20:21 PM »

Chris,
Silk parachutes don't float.  Then again, they don't sink with much authority either.  It won't persist long enough in the water to be a useful marker for searchers to spot.  A floating aircraft is more likely to be spotted than a swimming parachutist.
Chutes definitely sink, I've seen it happen.

gl
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #336 on: March 06, 2012, 12:10:54 AM »

As further evidence that solar stills were not available in 1937 I have attached a page from the Pilot's Information File dated 1944 showing all the equipment included with a multi-person Army Air Corps life raft such as those carried in bombers. Although there are cans of water shown there are no solar stills shown.
gl

How does the saying go?   "Absence of evidence it not evidence of absence"  - or something like that....

Just because these documents don't include references to stills in '37 doesn't mean they didn't exist.  It just means it wasn't documented.  Or, wasn't in the documents we are stumbling across as we find them.
There is not an absence of documents, there are documents that make affirmative statements that solar stills were not available until 1945, see my prior post.

So I've supplied documents supporting my point so now it is your turn, Eric, to come up with documents showing that solar stills were available in 1937 rather than just speculating and hiding behind the old smoke screen of "Absence of evidence it not evidence of absence."

gl
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 01:58:22 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Erik

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #337 on: March 06, 2012, 03:37:06 PM »

There is not an absence of documents, there are documents that make affirmative statements that solar stills were not available until 1945, see my prior post.

So I've supplied documents supporting my point so now it is your turn, Eric, to come up with documents showing that solar stills were available in 1937 rather than just speculating and hiding behind the old smoke screen of "Absence of evidence it not evidence of absence."

gl

I should have been clearer in my words when using the word 'still'.  I certainly did not meant to narrow the inention to a 'solar still' only.  But, rather any kind of 'still'.  Or even chemical devices too.  What I meant was that we have know way of proving either way if any type of device was available during the 30's.  Nor, do we have any way of proving that any type of device was not available.

The best we can do is go with 'likelihood' of such devices being available or not.  In my opion, there is a strong likelihood of some type of water purifying device (not necessarily a 'still', and not necessarily a 'solar still') available to them. 

Since a 'solar still' can be made in one's backyard with a sponge and clear plastic, it is going to be very difficult to prove that one was not available in '37.  Afterall, she could have had one customized for her.  It's obvious from several newspaper articles that some type of device was being talked about.  Whether it is a 'human breath' device, a solar device, a chemical device, or otherwise is of curiosity, but not needed to prove that they existed in the 30's.

Something existed in the 30's.  It's up to us to find out what.



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Gary LaPook

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #338 on: March 06, 2012, 04:29:29 PM »



I should have been clearer in my words when using the word 'still'.  I certainly did not meant to narrow the inention to a 'solar still' only.  But, rather any kind of 'still'.  Or even chemical devices too.  What I meant was that we have know way of proving either way if any type of device was available during the 30's.  Nor, do we have any way of proving that any type of device was not available.

The best we can do is go with 'likelihood' of such devices being available or not.  In my opion, there is a strong likelihood of some type of water purifying device (not necessarily a 'still', and not necessarily a 'solar still') available to them. 

Since a 'solar still' can be made in one's backyard with a sponge and clear plastic, it is going to be very difficult to prove that one was not available in '37.  Afterall, she could have had one customized for her.  It's obvious from several newspaper articles that some type of device was being talked about.  Whether it is a 'human breath' device, a solar device, a chemical device, or otherwise is of curiosity, but not needed to prove that they existed in the 30's.

Something existed in the 30's.  It's up to us to find out what.
Sure you can prove what WAS available in the '30's, just find a document from then describing it.

As to proving something WAS NOT available then, you are right, you and not going to find documents from that period that say "such and such has not been invented yet." However, we can make reasonable inferences from documents that we do have from WW2 announcing the development of solar stills and chemical desalting kits that such things did not exist in the '30's.

And maybe we have been talking past each other a bit. When I have been talking about solar stills I have specifically been concerned with stills designed to be used in a life raft at sea, which was the concern of our military in WW2 and, reasonably, the concern of Earhart's for her long over water flights because on land there are many other ways to secure water that do not require a special solar still device.

We all NOW know the method of making an improvised solar still for use on land of spreading a piece of clear plastic over a hole dug in the ground and collecting the condensate that collects on the underside of the plastic sheet. But I remember when I first heard of that method and saying to myself, "well that make sense, why haven't I heard of that before." It is an obvious invention NOW but it hasn't been around all that long. Although they described many other methods for securing water on land, neither the Army Survival Manual, FM 21-76, nor the Air Force Survival Manual, AFM 64-5, prior to their 1985 revisions, described this type of solar still. It seems real obvious now, but it wasn't real obvious prior to the mid-80's. So again, by reasonable inference, this simple device was not yet known in the '30's. And as to a "breath condensing machine" I pointed out before that the laws of physics doesn't allow such a device. And if the news reports got this wrong why do you think they got anything else in those stories right?

I am certainly willing to be corrected on this point if you find documents from the '30's describing this device or other water machines or stills or chemical desalting kits.

gl
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 04:50:14 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Friend Weller

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #339 on: March 06, 2012, 05:03:57 PM »


We all NOW know the method of making an improvised solar still for use on land of spreading a piece of clear plastic over a hole dug in the ground and collecting the condensate that collects on the underside of the plastic sheet. But I remember when I first heard of that method and saying to myself, "well that make sense, why haven't I heard of that before." It is an obvious invention NOW but it hasn't been around all that long. Although they described many other methods for securing water on land, neither the Army Survival Manual, FM 21-76, nor the Air Force Survival Manual, AFM 64-5, prior to their 1985 revisions, described this type of solar still. It seems real obvious now, but it wasn't real obvious prior to the mid-80's.


But as a Boy Scout in the early 1970's, I knew about collecting moisture in an emergency by placing a clear plastic sheet over a hole dug in the ground.  It's in my BSA manual in my bookcase at home!  I'm sure this method was devised long before I was a Tenderfoot....but how long before?  My dad knew about the same method in the 1930's as a Boy Scout.  He didn't use Vis-kween back then but if he knew about it then, methods to collect water by placing a translucent material (allowing the sun to warm the underlying soil to release it's moisture) over a hole in dug the ground must have been known by the time of the World Flight.  Just how long has this method of obtaining moisture been known but not necessarily published?  And as far as the World Flight is concerned, did it have to be a commercially-produced product to be on the plane or was it a common-knowledge backyard device that wasn't necessarily purchased from a provisioner or produced in a factory?

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Gary LaPook

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #340 on: March 06, 2012, 06:37:15 PM »


We all NOW know the method of making an improvised solar still for use on land of spreading a piece of clear plastic over a hole dug in the ground and collecting the condensate that collects on the underside of the plastic sheet. But I remember when I first heard of that method and saying to myself, "well that make sense, why haven't I heard of that before." It is an obvious invention NOW but it hasn't been around all that long. Although they described many other methods for securing water on land, neither the Army Survival Manual, FM 21-76, nor the Air Force Survival Manual, AFM 64-5, prior to their 1985 revisions, described this type of solar still. It seems real obvious now, but it wasn't real obvious prior to the mid-80's.


But as a Boy Scout in the early 1970's, I knew about collecting moisture in an emergency by placing a clear plastic sheet over a hole dug in the ground.  It's in my BSA manual in my bookcase at home!  I'm sure this method was devised long before I was a Tenderfoot....but how long before?  My dad knew about the same method in the 1930's as a Boy Scout.  He didn't use Vis-kween back then but if he knew about it then, methods to collect water by placing a translucent material (allowing the sun to warm the underlying soil to release it's moisture) over a hole in dug the ground must have been known by the time of the World Flight.  Just how long has this method of obtaining moisture been known but not necessarily published?  And as far as the World Flight is concerned, did it have to be a commercially-produced product to be on the plane or was it a common-knowledge backyard device that wasn't necessarily purchased from a provisioner or produced in a factory?

Friend
I was going to revise my previous post to add the following:

We have to keep this in mind, even though they are both called "solar stills" the plastic sheet over a hole and the inflatable solar still for life rafts are designed for entirely different purposes. The life raft solar stills are for producing fresh water from an unlimited supply of salt water and the plastic sheet over a hole is designed to extract the miniscule amount of moisture that exists even in dry desert soil where there is no other way to get water. If there was more water in the desert soil then the hole you dig to make the solar still would be called a "well" not a solar still. The plastic sheet over a hole will not work on a life raft, or on a floating Electra, to desalinate seawater and the raft type of inflatable solar still cannot be used to extract moisture from desert soil. It seems much more likely that any concern by Earhart and her advisers about securing water in an emergency was related to the life raft situation and not to the desert situation since her flight was over the sea much more than it was over deserts.

gl
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 08:57:31 PM by Gary LaPook »
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #341 on: March 06, 2012, 08:42:56 PM »

Keep in mind that "clear plastic sheeting", though easy to find today, was a rare novelty in 1937.  If you wanted to make a water still in the desert, you wouldn't have clear plastic sheeting to work with, you'd be lucky to have rubberized tarpaulins or oilcloth.  I've not seen a water system made using those materials, but they might work ok.  The only commonly available clear plastic of the day was celluloid, which doesn't fold well and doesn't store well.
There was a huge change in materials available during the war.  Many of the materials we take for granted today were developed during the war, but didn't exist outside the lab in 1937.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #342 on: March 06, 2012, 09:22:31 PM »


JohnO
Well, when I was in Scouts in the mid '40s (yeah, during the Big War) we were taught the technique using a thing called "Waxed Paper"  It was almost clear, smooth. and while not as flexible as plastic, it was pliable enough that it fit the purpose.

I don't remember if it was in my Scout's Handbook or not but I definitely remember an instructional demonstration by my Scoutmaster.

Nothing new under the sun.
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #343 on: March 06, 2012, 09:51:21 PM »


Actually, I misspoke, I was in Cub Scouts during the War and Boy Scouts from like 1946 to 1949.
Sorry bout that, said the Ol' Fart
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #344 on: March 07, 2012, 06:35:56 AM »

Harry,
Your waxed paper story is a good example of the technology available at the time of the flight.  I think most readers here will have experience with it.  The availability of sheet plastic has been a luxury, not available to Earhart and Noonan.  Making a solar still with waxed paper doesn't sound easy or very productive, unless it was BIG.  They might have had some small pieces wrapped around sandwiches, but I question the idea that they would have had a large piece of waxed paper, or a large piece of celluloid, or any similar semi-clear flexible material as ideal for building a still.  They might have had a water-proof canvas tarp, perhaps engine covers.  Can anyone think of any other reason to carry a tarp, especially keeping in mind their obsession with weight.  They didn't even carry much in the way of extra clothes (Noonan wrote about it to his wife).  Ever hefted a canvas engine cover for a big radial?
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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