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Author Topic: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland  (Read 337591 times)

Heath Smith

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #375 on: March 14, 2012, 04:00:16 AM »

Quote
And ask yourself, would that make any sense after incurring the expense of shipping them to Darwin, why pay additional shipping charges when you can just bring them back in the plane?

If the parachutes had value to Earhart why did she not take them from Miami? Was it a concern about weight flying from South America to Africa? That does not seem likely as the distance from Hawaii to California was less.

The only reason that I can think of would be if the husband took it upon himself to send them to her and she did not want them in the first place. From what I understand she was very independent and if she did not like something she was not shy about letting you know. I could see her doing that if Putnam was taking some action that she did not approve of herself. If she was upset about them being sent perhaps that is why she immediately asked about them when they arrived.

It would seem that these would have historic value if they were indeed shipped back. It is would be amazing to me if the owner of the parachutes did not recognize that. That is an argument for them being on the plane.

On the flip side she wrote a telegram to the press while in Lae (search for Lae in Purdue collection) where she say that she has never traveled lighter. She mentions her luggage with some clothes and toothbrush and Noonan's lightly packed aluminum case that he picked up along the way. Perhaps she was a bit paranoid about the weight, rational or not.
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Erik

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #376 on: March 14, 2012, 05:10:21 AM »

If the parachutes had value to Earhart why did she not take them from Miami? Was it a concern about weight flying from South America to Africa? That does not seem likely as the distance from Hawaii to California was less.
That was what I was thinking too.  It does seem a bit odd.  There is also the past history of her attitude towards the usefullness of parachutes doing no good over the ocean.  So, yes it would seem she would have wanted them over land but not over water. 

The only reason that I can think of would be if the husband took it upon himself to send them to her and she did not want them in the first place. From what I understand she was very independent and if she did not like something she was not shy about letting you know. I could see her doing that if Putnam was taking some action that she did not approve of herself. If she was upset about them being sent perhaps that is why she immediately asked about them when they arrived.
Sounds reasonable to me.  I used the term surprise gift earlier, but the surprise could have been disclosed to her sometime during her flight, and that's why she was asking about them.

PS = I just read an article the other day, where fliers from Oakland to Hawaii were purposefully abandoning the parachute and carrying a raft for the ocean crossings.  A pattern?
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Erik

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #377 on: March 14, 2012, 05:16:31 AM »

The arrow feature is intriguing - whether parachutes or not we may never know, but I wonder if that merits a re-visit at some point to look for any remnants that might have been missed before?  What were shock cords and such made of at that time?  Other parts (other than obvious metal parts)?  Metal might have been salvaged away from that location by Earhart or later inhabitants, whereas some remnant of other material may still exist (although the years will rob us of it, if not already done).

I agree.  Remember the dimensions of the white arrow in the photo are extremely close to that of two parachutes.  It would seem that if parachutes where put together in a manner like this, they would have had to have been tied to the 'tops' of the shrubery.  Meaning perhaps that the cords would have been used to tie the chutes to the shrubs themselves.  A perfect candidate for getting blown away a some point later.  If they do return to look, it would seem reasonable that the chutes are long gone.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #378 on: March 14, 2012, 05:18:33 AM »


If the parachutes had value to Earhart why did she not take them from Miami? Was it a concern about weight flying from South America to Africa? That does not seem likely as the distance from Hawaii to California was less.

The only reason that I can think of would be if the husband took it upon himself to send them to her and she did not want them in the first place. From what I understand she was very independent and if she did not like something she was not shy about letting you know. I could see her doing that if Putnam was taking some action that she did not approve of herself. If she was upset about them being sent perhaps that is why she immediately asked about them when they arrived.

It would seem that these would have historic value if they were indeed shipped back. It is would be amazing to me if the owner of the parachutes did not recognize that. That is an argument for them being on the plane.

On the flip side she wrote a telegram to the press while in Lae (search for Lae in Purdue collection) where she say that she has never traveled lighter. She mentions her luggage with some clothes and toothbrush and Noonan's lightly packed aluminum case that he picked up along the way. Perhaps she was a bit paranoid about the weight, rational or not.
As long as we are speculating, if she didn't have parachutes from the start, maybe she got scared on the long legs and then asked Putnam to ship chutes to her in Darwin in anticipation of the 6,500 miles of open ocean ahead of her between Lae and California. She obviously knew they were on the way since she asked about them when she landed in Darwin. It is pure speculation on your part that she was upset by their arrival since there is no mention of her being upset in Darwin by the arrival of the chutes. And there the parachutes are, piled up next to the plane, no reason to drag them out to the plane if she were shipping them back from Darwin.
As I pointed out at the beginning of this thread, neither Chater nor Collopy nor Balfour said that she left behind parachutes, life rafts, very pistols or other emergency equipment. Earhart herself cabled that she repacked the plane and got rid of some "non-essential" stuff. If you think emergency equipment is "non-essential" when flying over 6,500 miles of ocean then you might also believe that she removed one of her engines too.  ;) And don't think that she had no room for the chutes in the plane, remember the plane had two more people and their stuff on board on the original flight from California to Hawaii.

Everyone was aware that this was the most dangerous part of the around the world flight, the most important segment  for carrying emergency equipment. The West Australian newspaper article said "as a safeguard against any emergency, they will be carried on the hazardous final stages of the flight across the Pacific to the United States."

Putnam wrote in the book published later that the chutes that had been carried all the way around the world were unloaded and shipped back from Darwin. How can that claim make any sense. It would be one thing if Earhart had decided to forgo having chutes at any time on the world flight but why would she carry them while flying over both land and ocean and then get rid of them just prior to the most hazardous leg? A more reasonable interpretation of the evidence is that when she started out she didn't think she wanted chutes along but changed her mind somewhere along the way, maybe Noonan demanded chutes and refused to go on unless she had chutes delivered to Darwin. But, if this were the case, she would have had to have made that call very early on since it would take a long time to ship the chutes out to Darwin. In fact, it makes much more sense that it was preplanned to have chutes for the the Pacific leg since it probably required more than a month to get the chutes from California to Darwin which means they had to have been shipped prior to Earhart leaving California on the second attempt.
gl

gl
« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 02:42:18 PM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #379 on: March 14, 2012, 05:22:50 AM »

If the parachutes had value to Earhart why did she not take them from Miami? Was it a concern about weight flying from South America to Africa? That does not seem likely as the distance from Hawaii to California was less.
That was what I was thinking too.  It does seem a bit odd.  There is also the past history of her attitude towards the usefullness of parachutes doing no good over the ocean.
Parachutes doing no good over the ice cold North Atlantic ocean.
gl
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Heath Smith

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #380 on: March 14, 2012, 05:49:09 PM »

Quote
Putnam wrote in the book published later that the chutes that had been carried all the way around the world were unloaded and shipped back from Darwin. How can that claim make any sense.

The guy cutting the checks usually has the best memory. I am sure he coordinated of the all logistics and also covered the expenses. I am not saying that his statements are indeed fact but it does make sense that he would have the better recollection versus reporters only out for the scoop and a paycheck.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #381 on: March 14, 2012, 09:00:19 PM »

Quote
Putnam wrote in the book published later that the chutes that had been carried all the way around the world were unloaded and shipped back from Darwin. How can that claim make any sense.

The guy cutting the checks usually has the best memory. I am sure he coordinated of the all logistics and also covered the expenses. I am not saying that his statements are indeed fact but it does make sense that he would have the better recollection versus reporters only out for the scoop and a paycheck.
You are answering a different question than what you quoted from my prior post. Just explain how it would make sense to ship the chutes back from Darwin if they had carried them that far and not just keep them in the plane.

But the newspaper accounts were contemporaneous, the reporters had no way to just make up those stories, they had no dog in the race, and the stories were published before she went missing. As to the planning and logistics, Mantz was in charge of that until being moved out at the very end so he may have been the one that shipped out the chutes to Darwin.

gl
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Heath Smith

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #382 on: March 15, 2012, 04:16:30 AM »

Quote
Just explain how it would make sense to ship the chutes back from Darwin if they had carried them that far and not just keep them in the plane.

A couple of things that I can think of. One, she was paranoid about un-necessary weight. In her telegram from Lae she indicated that she had never traveled lighter. In an interview with Putnam they joked about him coming along and she said that she would rather have the 180lbs of fuel. So she was always equating the weight of the object versus the equivalent fuel. I am not sure how much a pack weighed back in the day but I am sure they were not light light a modern parachute. What would you guess, 20 pounds times 2, 40 pounds for the chutes? 40 / 6lb = 6.6 Gallons?

It could be that minds were changing all the way up to making the flight in to Darwin. Perhaps AE and FN discussed this at length and decided against taking them to Howland. Had either one of them previously jumped? Perhaps they considered that prospect too frightening or risky and decided to ride the plane down if it came to that. Maybe it was indeed Mantz who wanted them as an insurance policy and not AE?

I do believe they had no intention on ditching or jumping. If they had intentions on surviving a ditch there would have been an emphasis on survival gear like the raft and rations (water). So far, I have yet to see anything other than a mention of a raft left in Miami. The plan seems to have been to touch down on Howland and pop the Champaign corks.

As for the reason to ship them back as I understand it money was always a concern by that time. If they decided against taking them along and they had value they might well ship them back to the U.S..

Unless more evidence surfaces it would be difficult to declare a factual statement given the contradictory statements from the reporters versus Putnam who had inside knowledge.

The photo almost looks like a pile of things not to take along, a spare tire, a spare steering wheel (not sure what that is?), a gallon a paint, it looks more like the junk pile.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2012, 04:34:46 AM by Heath Smith »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #383 on: March 15, 2012, 08:47:19 AM »

Just explain how it would make sense to ship the chutes back from Darwin if they had carried them that far and not just keep them in the plane.

I think you gave a conceivable explanation a few weeks back, Gary.

I know that "entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem," but there may have been two sets of parachutes: the first pair carried to Darwin, then shipped home; the second set picked up in Darwin and destined to be carried the rest of the way.

Possible reasons for two sets:
  • Regulations about length of time between repacks.
  • Anxiety about the effects of the long trip on the chutes.
  • Weight difference?
LTM,

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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #384 on: March 15, 2012, 11:15:30 AM »


Marty
I remember convincing myself some time ago that Gary's explanation about two sets of Chutes, one unloaded at Darwin and sent back to the States, one loaded at Darwin and taken along to Lae (and beyond?, prolly), was correct.  Been waiting for someone else to see the logic  that it fits the things written about the Chutes (newspapers and Putnam)..

Now, I am working on the phrase that goes well beyond my Altar Boy Latin of 65 years ago.  Help us out here. 8)
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Bruce Thomas

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #385 on: March 15, 2012, 11:23:19 AM »


Marty
I remember convincing myself some time ago that Gary's explanation about two sets of Chutes, one unloaded at Darwin and sent back to the States, one loaded at Darwin and taken along to Lae (and beyond?, prolly), was correct.  Been waiting for someone else to see the logic  that it fits the things written about the Chutes (newspapers and Putnam)..

Now, I am working on the phrase that goes well beyond my Altar Boy Latin of 65 years ago.  Help us out here. 8)
It's "Occam's Razor" -- "entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity".  The first KISS principle, I guess.
LTM,

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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #386 on: March 15, 2012, 11:32:22 AM »


Marty
My guess is that the "gallon a paint" is a gallon of lubricating grease.
Relative to the "steering wheel", perhaps she was in the habit of remooving it to prevent  someone from stealing her precious plane, but that presents the question of why not both steering wheels?  details, details, details.
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #387 on: March 15, 2012, 11:37:30 AM »


Marty
I was close, was thinking  "don't make things more complicated than necessary".
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #388 on: March 15, 2012, 11:43:09 AM »

Getting in and out of the cockpit through the overhead hatch might be much easier for two people if one "steering wheel"* were removed.  Without the extra tanks in back, the “normal” route would be out the back door, but that’s a difficult route to exit by.  Judging by the Luke field accident account, Fred normally rode up front during takeoffs, and possibly during landings as well, so removal of one of the "steering wheels" may have been routine before boarding, and (possibly) before exiting.

*GL prefers "Steering Yoke".   The Luke field inventory, item 64, calls it a "Control column wheel".
Cheers,
JohnO
 
« Last Edit: March 16, 2012, 10:24:19 AM by John Ousterhout »
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Did Earhart carry parachutes on the flight to Howland
« Reply #389 on: March 15, 2012, 11:51:48 AM »


JohnO
By Jove, methinks you've got it!
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