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### AuthorTopic: Symposium Questions  (Read 17365 times)

#### Irvine John Donald

• T5
• Posts: 597
##### Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2012, 10:12:02 AM »

Thanks Tom and Marty.  As the Electra was much larger than the aircraft in Gary's video I am trying to understand the relative scales of the two aircraft. In the video the smaller aircraft certainly doesn't appear to be out of control, hydro planing, or otherwise.  Can we reasonably assume the Electra would have had a similar controlled landing like the one in the video?
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv

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#### Jeff Victor Hayden

• T5
• Posts: 1387
##### Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2012, 10:25:18 AM »

The pilots in Garys videos were good and very skilled in the technique needed for that type of landing, they made it look very easy. Notice how they kissed the water surface with the wheels to get them up to speed and the use of the elevators to keep the tailplane down. Takes a lot of skill to do that, more so if you own the plane \$+++++++
This must be the place

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#### Martin X. Moleski, SJ

• Posts: 2961
##### Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2012, 11:06:07 AM »

As the Electra was much larger than the aircraft in Gary's video I am trying to understand the relative scales of the two aircraft.

We have an estimate of a gross weight of 15,000 pounds for the Electra with a full load of fuel.

Let's subtract 6,000 pounds for an approximation of an 80% burn of the fuel.

So the gross weight in the vicinity of Niku might be 9,000 pounds.  Add or subtract weight as you desire.  It's a ballpark figure.

The little aircraft in the videos are probably under 1100 pounds empty and under 2000 pounds fully loaded.

I would say that their tundra tires look oversize compared to the airframe.  To my eye and taste, the balloon tires on the Electra seem to be proportionate to the airframe.  It's a big plane, and they are big tires.

So, as a totally amateur guess, I doubt very much that you could get the Electra to hydroplane like the small high-wing aircraft do in the video.

I wouldn't be surprised to hear that military pilots attempted something like this with Bamboo bombers or even C-47s.  I don't have any such anecdotes at hand.  It's the kind of thing that some military pilots do.  Sometimes they succeed; sometimes they become an example of what not to do.

Were there films of hydroplaning in or before 1937 that might tempt AE to try such a landing?  I don't know.

Were there stories of pilots making landings like this in or before 1937?  I don't know.
LTM,

Marty
TIGHAR #2359A

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#### Irvine John Donald

• T5
• Posts: 597
##### Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2012, 11:34:02 AM »

Thanks Marty. Although you claim amateur status your experience and knowledge have provided an excellent answer.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv

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• T3
• Posts: 158
##### Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2012, 05:07:37 PM »

Thanks for the answers and videos! Interesting to say the least...

Please forgive my obstinate thinking here, I'm having fun trying to make sense off all this.

So, IF our heroes landed on Niku, the possibility that a smooth landing could have been made is highly probable, correct? And a controlled rollout is possible on a water covered surface, correct?

So if it was such a smooth landing, how do we explain what Betty wrote in her notebook? There are several references to injuries, rising water, and that the plane was "slipping". Other people who reported hearing Amelia also made references to "half on land, half in water. How do we explain all that? If the radio broadcasts are real (I personally think they are) How do we account for the credible broadcasts? I just have a hard time with a nice smooth landing and our hero's walking around on sunny Niku with a bump on the head and a cute little limp. Ric himself says in "Finding Amelia" that the transcript reads like a 9-1-1 call. Having said all that, I'm inclined to think she ran a wheel over the edge, either in a crack or just over the edge period. Such a predicament could account for the possible injuries and might also allow an engine to be run. It could also account for the "slipping" comment as well give a possible explanation for no airplane when Lambrecht flew over. When the subject came up at the symposium, did anyone speak of the condition of the aircraft during it's possible time on the reef?

#4327R

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#### Jon Romig

• TIGHAR member
• Posts: 87
##### Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2012, 07:01:27 PM »

I assume these issues have been discussed before, but I have not found answers in my (admittedly incomplete) look through the archives. If answers exist, would someone please point me to them? Sincere thanks!

Jon Romig, first post

1. We have visual evidence that at some point the landing gear may have gotten caught in a fissure in the reef. I understand that the reef would have been covered by +/- 6" of water at the time of landing, which could have concealed a fissure or fissures. Is it reasonable, given a controlled landing, to think that the landing gear could have gotten caught during the rollout, "by accident" so to speak? Or are the fissures located (at least since 1990) so as to require a poor landing in the wrong place on the reef (due to fatigue, unplanned approach, reef slipperiness, hydroplaning, ground loop, etc.) to hit one?

2. Does the surf normally go all the way up the reef at high tide, and under normal conditions would it have been sufficient to shift the Electra at high tide on the fourth or fifth day? The tide heights that I have seen (associated with the radio schedule) do not seem all that high for a plane as large as the Electra, but surf could add many feet I assume.

3. Would it have been possible to maneuver the Electra up onto the beach, or is there a lagoon between the reef and the beach? If AE would not have been able to drive the Electra to a high spot near/on the beach, that would explain much, without requiring a stuck landing gear.

4. Do we have the tide tables for the days in question?

5. Do we have film of someone walking the length of the most likely landing path? I know that it would help my understanding a lot to see that. Maybe Discovery could do it for me? ;-)

6. Did the Electra have wheel brakes or did it depend solely on flaps, propeller pitch, etc. to slow down?

7. Assuming that the Electra was still usable after July 2, and that AE and FN were fit enough to scout around, is there anywhere else on the island that AE could have flown to that would be more protected from surf and tide than the reef? Even a controlled ditch in the lagoon might have been preferable, in retrospect.
Jon Romig 3562R

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#### Tom Swearengen

• T5
• Posts: 818
• earhart monument, Hawaii
##### Re: Symposium Questions
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2012, 07:18:22 PM »

Hi Jon, good to have you join us! I'll try to help answer some of these qustions, but my esteemed collegues can do a better job than me.
WE theorise that the landing took place at or near low tide, so there wasnt much water on ther reef at the time, maybe a couple of inches, but certainly less than 6. What happen this is a matter of debate, but it may have been possible that the Electra was NOT damaged during the initial landing and roll out. It is also possible that the left gear went into the fissure and doomed our heros. This was debated in DC.
At high tide the reef is cover with several feet of water. Obviously more near the edge. We do have tide tables figured out for the time frame in question.

No where else on Niku that I have seen--others may differ--have shown a suitable area for the electra to land, although at first glance it looks like there might have been. Our members that have been to Niku on previous expeditions report non-favorable conditions, except for the reef north of the Norwich City.

There is still some conjecture about this, and debate among my friends here, but eventually TIGHAR will piece this whole story together. Feel free to jump in!
Tom
Tom Swearengen TIGHAR # 3297

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