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Author Topic: Landing perpendicular to beach not parallel  (Read 20630 times)

Ingo Prangenberg

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Landing perpendicular to beach not parallel
« on: June 04, 2012, 11:31:59 AM »

After nearly running out of fuel you finally find a small island quickly looking for any way to put down your plane. Maybe you have time to circle once but then have to make a decision.

I wonder what would be the better choice:

A. Land on a reef parallel to the beach on an unknown surface of unknown length and unknown water depth. (Would the location of the Norwich City be an obstacle for this approach path?)

B. Land perpendicular to the beach and reef in hopes of beaching the aircraft just as the Norwich City did. In this case the very sudden reef elevation might have ripped the front landing gear off with significant force and embedded it for a period of time on/in the reef. The plane would have been in the shallows between the reef elevation and the beach, with plenty of tidal action to later wash it over the reef and into the deep.

What would you do?

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Rich Ramsey

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Re: Landing perpendicular to beach not parallel
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2012, 11:58:43 AM »

First let me warn you about the words "would have". They really don't like them around here, they guesses that pretend to be facts.  That aside I would say you have a very interesting concept of what "could have" happened.  Your logic does make make think it is a idea and explains many things. However there are somethings that I would like to bring up. 1, I believe she did know how deep or shallow the water was by means of the NC. I also believe coming in towards the NC offers a target to hit at. A point where the reef drops off. Also if we use your way of landing I don't see how we can run the engine to have the Radio Messages. 

Just my thoughts on this.
"Hang Tough"
Rich
 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Landing perpendicular to beach not parallel
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2012, 12:10:02 PM »

What would you do?

There is no evidentiary value in what I would do.

But, just for the fun of it, I would land lengthwise on the reef rather than trying to duplicate the feat of the Norwich City.

If she did belly-flop on the edge of the reef, or destroy the landing gear by landing crosswise, there could be no valid post-loss radio signals.

And there would be no way to save the aircraft for another day.

I was talking with a couple of folks, and we were marveling at how many pilots to this day still try to save the airplane rather than their own lives.  It's something that might have run deep in AE, since the plane was so profoundly connected to her livelihood.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: Landing perpendicular to beach not parallel
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2012, 08:49:43 PM »

And herein in a couple of replies lies a big logical conundrum. That conundrum stems from two unproven "facts" being used to create another unproven "fact" i.e. that Earhart and Noonan landed on Nikumaroro.

1. We have no evidence at all that Earhart actually landed on the reef either parallel to or at right angles to the beach, and

2. We have no evidence at all that the post-loss radio messages came from the Electra let alone Nikumaroro.

The whole chain depends upon a claim that Earhart landed the Electra parallel to the beach and was thereby able to crank up one engine to send a couple of messages, of which the most important are garbled and have to be creatively reconstructed to demonstrate the validity of the claim that they are from Earhart.

So as you can see you are using one unsupported guess to support another attractive but unsupported claim.  I suspect you can see why a lot of TIGHAR's critics have reservations about the Nikumaroro hypothesis. 
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Landing perpendicular to beach not parallel
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2012, 09:20:42 PM »

Sir---TIGHAR has a hypothesis--which it is testing. NO ONE has said without any doubt that the TIGHAR theory is fact. Oh yeah---you missed that part---. Should have been there.
Tom Swearengen TIGHAR # 3297
 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Landing perpendicular to beach not parallel
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2012, 10:04:08 PM »

And herein in a couple of replies lies a big logical conundrum. That conundrum stems from two unproven "facts" being used to create another unproven "fact" i.e. that Earhart and Noonan landed on Nikumaroro.

I am persuaded by the post-loss radio traffic that AE and FN landed somewhere.

I am persuaded that Niku is the only likely place for them to have landed in the area.

The other islands have been searched.

I understand that you and others are not persuaded.

You have a right to your beliefs, opinions, and conjectures.

I respect your right to doubt my beliefs and to take a position contrary to mine.

I assert my right to doubt your beliefs and to take a position contrary to yours.
LTM,

           Marty
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Ted G Campbell

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Re: Landing perpendicular to beach not parallel
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2012, 10:11:33 PM »

No Marty, you save the airplane and you save yourself.

Ted Campbell
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Landing perpendicular to beach not parallel
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2012, 10:27:18 PM »

No Marty, you save the airplane and you save yourself.

Ted Campbell
Another valid formulation is that you sacrifice the plane to save the people. An example of this is the standard advice, when performing an emergency landing, to steer between two trees allowing the trees to rip off the wing which absorbs the impact forces so lessening the forces and injuries to the passengers.

gl
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Landing perpendicular to beach not parallel
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2012, 05:30:50 AM »

I think the facts of how the electra got there will always be a matter of debate. When the expedition finds  Identifible parts of the wreckage will solve only one part of the debate---that the plane was there. Not how it got there. None of us were there, so we can only theorize, and talk about it, which we did. I respect Gary's theory, but I to am swayed by the post-loss radio transmissions. As we have seen through this whole process---stranger things have happened.
Tom Swearengen TIGHAR # 3297
 
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Re: Landing perpendicular to beach not parallel
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2012, 06:22:45 AM »

Looking at the artwork of the Electra on the beach of Niku, one would assume AE landed from the south, not from the north, where she could have come from. If she landed that way, would that have been because of the winds from north-easterly direction?
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Landing perpendicular to beach not parallel
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2012, 06:46:03 AM »

my opinion, probably so. consider this: if she were to have tried a north/south final, and landed long, well there's a fairly large ship right in the way, with no where to turn, and maybe not be able to stop in time. Would have made a really bad day even worse.
Tom Swearengen TIGHAR # 3297
 
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Ingo Prangenberg

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Re: Landing perpendicular to beach not parallel
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2012, 06:53:31 AM »

In starting this thread I did not intend to start the usual debate between Malcolm McKay and the rest of the forum in discussing the validity of the complete Niku theory. The debate is not about the overall theory, but about the topic stated in the title. Changing the thread direction may water-down the forum.

I had the intention of sparking a serious thought process on the possibility of a perpendicular landing being possible, but the thread was hijacked in a different direction. Why start new threads if the topic is constantly switched? I also did not start this thread "for the fun of it" and am not looking for the "evidentiary value" of this discussion, but rather trying to look at things from all angles.

It is an interesting idea I had when contemplating what force would be required to lodge a landing gear in a reef face for three months before being washed away. If the Electra was close enough to the beach and at an angle, the motor may possibly have been started to transmit post-loss signals. Also, I do not remember reading this, wouldn't the radio work for a while with the charge the batteries already had? Also, I seriously doubt that the condition of her plane was on her mind if she attempted a crash-landing under those conditions. Lastly, do we know if she could swim?

I'm trying to keep an open mind. I'm not a "believer" or "non-believer", but I do like to think about all possible options without embedding myself in just one train of thought. Thats what keeps this topic interesting and....well, fun.
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Landing perpendicular to beach not parallel
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2012, 07:31:09 AM »

Ingo, it's just my opinion but, I think a parallel attempted landing would be the safest option in this case. Plenty of room to allow for mis-calculations. A perpendicular landing would seriously reduce your options and, room for error. Any over shoot would involve a tussle with the scrub and trees ahead of you which would certainly slow the plane down very quickly if nothing else.
That's only my opinion though so don't take it as gospel.
This must be the place
 
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Landing perpendicular to beach not parallel
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2012, 07:31:50 AM »

Some of my thoughts on the concept:  A pilot with well ingrained habits from landing on conventional runways might assume the way to land on a long, narrow strip of reef is lengthwise, parallel to the beach.  A pilot with experience landing on open "fields" might think landing directly into the wind was important and ignore the orientation of the reef.  A pilot with creative imagination, or desperation, or even clouded thinking that overcomes habit might land in any direction, including across the reef heading towards the beach.  Is it likely that a pilot unfamiliar with the reef structure would touchdown near the outer edge, near the surfline?  Perhaps that would seem like a reasonable approach (sorry for the pun), rather like touching down "on the numbers", since it leaves the maximum distance to roll-out while approaching the beach and trees.  As I recall, the distance from edge of reef to the beach is a couple hundred yards, which is much less than the normal landing distance for most aircraft.  The distance parallel to the beach is much longer, and might offer a temptingly dry, flat, smooth landing spot with plenty of room to stop.
If a taildragger touched down at the reef edge, and caught a main gear in the reef immediately upon touchdown, the damage I imagine would be nearly complete, with neither engine capable of running.  The main gear support structure also supports the engine on that side.  It seems more reasonable to me to assume a successful touchdown that left the aircraft more intact than such a violent touchdown would allow, if any of the post-loss transmissions DF'd by Pan Am are to be believed.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Landing perpendicular to beach not parallel
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2012, 07:47:22 AM »

No Marty, you save the airplane and you save yourself.

You have identified only one of four logical possibilities.

1. The plane cannot be saved; the pilot dies as a consequence.

2. The plane cannot be saved; the pilot who abandons the plane lives.

3. The plane can be saved; the pilot does from abandoning the plane.

4. The plane can be saved; the pilot walks away from the landing.

The hard part is deciding which case is which during a crisis.

I corresponded with a man who decided to abandon his newly-purchased Ultimate Biplane at 1500 feet (#2 above).   I know about the effects of power on flat spins from having crashed quite a few RC aircraft, so I understood his predicament quite well.

I have a friend who built a kit plane with a ballistic recovery system (BRS). After flying it for a while, he sold it to another man.  That man got the plane into a spin and refused to trigger the parachute.  He died (case #1 above); his son survived the crash and explained what had happened to investigators.

I honestly don't know whether AE and FN had parachutes with them; there seems to be some discrepancies in the accounts.  What we do know is that AE's life savings and future prospects were tied up in the airframe.  That suggests to me that she would make every effort to save the aircraft.  I understand that others may see things differently.

The other poster asked for pure speculation about what AE would do if she had decided to land on the reef at Niku.  I have shared my speculation, for what it's worth.  I believe AE would have tried to save the aircraft.  I also believe that there were some credible post-loss transmissions from the plane; therefore I do not believe she landed "perpendicular to the beach, not parallel" (the subject of this thread).
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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