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Author Topic: Artifact 2-2-V-1 - aluminum 'skin'  (Read 78542 times)

Tom Swearengen

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Re: Artifact 2-2-V-1 - aluminum 'skin'
« Reply #75 on: August 01, 2012, 06:41:39 PM »

KC---several of us looked at this piece pretty good (through the glass case!) while in DC at the symposium. Several of us had different ideas on where it 'might' have come from. Might, is the operative word here, because it hasnt been positively established that it came from NR16020. There are a couple of 10E's in musuems, but that doesnt mean that they didnt have some skin work done on them prior to being placed in the museum. Happens a good bit, because as museum pieces, they generally arent flight ready.

But----we can surely use all the help we can get, so jump in---the waters' fine.
Tom Swearengen TIGHAR # 3297
 
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Kirstin M. Campbell

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Re: Artifact 2-2-V-1 - aluminum 'skin'
« Reply #76 on: August 02, 2012, 09:23:52 AM »

Thx for the welcome in.  I'll be off reading for a while  ;D
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JNev

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Re: Artifact 2-2-V-1 - aluminum 'skin'
« Reply #77 on: August 08, 2012, 11:27:25 AM »

The 'rivet placement' on this piece tends to be 'very poor' and does not come close to Lockheed production patterns on the L10 - it is distinctly 'hand craft' as if done in a pinch.

I do not believe we are going to find any patterns on this artifact that match any stock rivet patterns on the Electra - AE's or otherwise.  That is one reason I have thought of this piece, IF it relates to NR16020, as a candidate for the covering over the large lavatory window.  As best as I can determine (primarily by the Harney prints and texts therein) that window was covered in Miami before the last world flight attempt continued on its way.  AE was only there a few days, and whatever covering may have been done, if that information is accurate, had to have been done relatively quickly.  It may therefore be a candidate for a quickly done one-off piece-work job, complete with hastily added stiffeners (in Miami - or perhaps later if 'oil-canning' was noticed in flight along the way and dealt with later...). 

The 'stiffener' lines (I don't know that they were present but the rows of #3 rivet holes is suggestive of light stiffeners) are consistent with that approach.

If that is what this artifact truly is then the only 'match' we'll get to factory rivet lines is where the panel may have picked-up existing rivets along the stiffener at the lower edge of that window, or next candidate possibly the forward row if it picked up the former / bulkhead flange on the forward edge of the panel.  Otherwise, it is whatever pattern the installer established - and possibly matching any fastener holes used for the window edges if other stiffening / window bounding elements were placed there.

The window I speak of is plainly visible in many photos of the right-side of NR16020; it is also distinctly covered in later pictures by a panel of about the size of this artifact (the artifact fitting within the bounds of the visible panel - the artifact does not represent the whole of what it once was).  032" T would be a natural for that application, as would the lighter rivets for something like light-weight stiffeners installed behind such a large panel.

One key to better understanding what 'window cover' and details were actually on NR16020 at that place would be a good photo by which we could discern rivet patterns... so far I've not found one of that kind of detail.

So - IMHO, getting to a museum L10 might help as far as trying to match edge rivet patterns, but that is about it.  This is a unique piece due to the irregular rivet pattern, wherever and on whatever it was installed.  Factory metal work was far and away advanced enough by many years for that pattern to not be a product of any factory floor.  Handcraft at a local shop for a quick cover job?  Absolutely within reason.  Question is 'what location' and most of all, 'what airplane'?

I still view NR16020's RH lavatory window (oversized - apparently for nav use and later not needed) as a strong candidate - but need information about how covered including pictures, if it can be found.

LTM -
- Jeff Neville

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JNev

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Re: Artifact 2-2-V-1 - aluminum 'skin'
« Reply #78 on: August 08, 2012, 11:36:28 AM »

Some photos of a Japanese aircraft showing tapered lines of rivets can be seen here.  The link also shows a similar aircraft that has shed some of its aluminum pieces.  The missing pieces bring to mind the 2-2-v-1 artifact.
What do we know about Japanese aircraft construction?  Did they use thinner aluminum than was normal for Allied aircraft?  Would the rivet holes be diistinctively different in size, or would there be only subtle differences?  Would the normal spacing be distinctive?  For that matter, would Japanese aluminum be chemically distinct from Allied aluminum?  The NTSB report identified it as clearly Alclad, and had remnants of two letters visible ("AD").  Would these characteristics definitely rule-out a Japanese aircraft as the source?

The 'AD' marks are disqualifying as Japanese unless they were getting their sheetmetal from the states - those surviving marks are distinctly from American made stock.

I have no idea of the reliability of trying to trace via chemical or spectra signature.  That may vary enough lot-by-lot among what we know of as 'Alclad' so as to not be a good way, but interesting idea anyway.
- Jeff Neville

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JNev

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Re: Artifact 2-2-V-1 - aluminum 'skin'
« Reply #79 on: August 08, 2012, 11:39:59 AM »

Jeffrey,

Do you mean by  "...the concern/concerns...." the company that made the alterations?  As I understand it, that was Lockheed.  I've read that TIGHAR have looked, but the records of work done on the aircraft are pretty slim.

If this panel turns out to be what I have theorized it to be (covering over lavatory window made and installed while in Miami during last world flight) then it would not have been Lockheed.

As to the post Luke Field accident repairs - I have not been able to discern anything in the repaired belly areas that has any erratic fastener patterns on the order of what we see in this artifact.  Nor do I see a convincing case for using the .032" T material where the normal thickness is .040" minimum.  I don't believe this artifact is a strong candidate in those areas.
- Jeff Neville

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Jeff Scott

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Re: Artifact 2-2-V-1 - aluminum 'skin'
« Reply #80 on: September 01, 2012, 03:10:45 PM »

I still view NR16020's RH lavatory window (oversized - apparently for nav use and later not needed) as a strong candidate - but need information about how covered including pictures, if it can be found.

Very interesting theory. How hard have you searched for photos of these window covers?
It's not too late to be great.
 
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JNev

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Re: Artifact 2-2-V-1 - aluminum 'skin'
« Reply #81 on: September 13, 2012, 03:22:48 PM »

I still view NR16020's RH lavatory window (oversized - apparently for nav use and later not needed) as a strong candidate - but need information about how covered including pictures, if it can be found.

Very interesting theory. How hard have you searched for photos of these window covers?

As hard as I've been able - via internet.  No time or direct access to other files so far.  I have been through all the Purdue pictures of AE's plane that I could get to online.

If you have some better sources / time I would love the help!
- Jeff Neville

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Mark Pearce

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Re: Artifact 2-2-V-1 - aluminum 'skin'
« Reply #82 on: September 19, 2012, 12:36:50 PM »

It’s an elementary question- but I have to ask; has the PBM wreckage on Howland Island been carefully studied and eliminated as the source of artifact 2-2-V-1?

See photo here-
http://tighar.org/aw/mediawiki/images/c/c1/Plane_wreckage.jpg

...and another from 1993-
http://www.flickr.com/photos/theroadtothehorizon/384603754/sizes/o/in/set-72157594524395169/



« Last Edit: September 19, 2012, 01:51:07 PM by Mark Pearce »
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Alan Harris

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Re: Artifact 2-2-V-1 - aluminum 'skin'
« Reply #83 on: September 20, 2012, 12:40:21 AM »

Mark, that seems like some good out-of-the-box thinking to me.  Of course I'm as green here as you are, and that study may have been done in spades years ago and I wouldn't know it.
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Mark Pearce

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Re: Artifact 2-2-V-1 - aluminum 'skin'
« Reply #84 on: September 20, 2012, 09:45:13 AM »

Alan,
As far as I can tell after searching the archives, no one from TIGHAR has ever been to Howland Island.  The photo of the PBM wing tip float was apparently taken by a tourist visiting the island sometime around 2008.  That same photo shows a large wing panel, with a few areas of missing skin, lying off in the distance. 

More photos of Howland Island taken by “joann94024” can be seen here-

http://www.flickr.com/photos/72923065@N00/page2/
[see page 9 for a close-up of ‘Earhart Lighthouse’.]

For a report on the 1944 PBM accident [#8 on the list,] go to-
http://www.vpnavy.com/vp16_mishap.html
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 09:56:21 AM by Mark Pearce »
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Artifact 2-2-V-1 - aluminum 'skin'
« Reply #85 on: September 20, 2012, 11:59:09 AM »

Certainly worth further investigation Mark. The Howland Mariner PBM 3-D was manufactured circa early 1944 for the 3-D versions with the Improved R 2600 engines. The wing floats used to take a pounding and were constantly patched up.
This must be the place
 
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Mark Pearce

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Re: Artifact 2-2-V-1 - aluminum 'skin'
« Reply #86 on: September 21, 2012, 06:18:06 PM »

Certainly worth further investigation Mark. The Howland Mariner PBM 3-D was manufactured circa early 1944 for the 3-D versions with the Improved R 2600 engines. The wing floats used to take a pounding and were constantly patched up.

Yes, it’s a bit surprising a close look at this PBM wreck has been put off all this time.  There’s been chatter about 'recovering' the wreckage at this link.

About float repair- there is a good photo of that being done to a PBY here.
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Artifact 2-2-V-1 - aluminum 'skin'
« Reply #87 on: September 21, 2012, 07:33:08 PM »

The wrecked PBM on Howland is mentioned in forum archives. The 1st post of this thread and it's linked reports indicate the artifact to likely be pre-WWII AD aluminum based on the lettering and it had a rivet still attached of a style likely discontinued before WWII.  The PBM was scheduled for delivery in late 1943. It is not likely an old type of rivet and old stock of AD aluminum were kept and then used on the PBM 3-D scheduled for late 1943 delivery. Also the artifact was washed up on the shore between visits by Tighar. Prevailing ocean currents don't seem to favor it getting from Howland to Gardner.
3971R
 
« Last Edit: September 21, 2012, 10:00:22 PM by Gregory Lee Daspit »
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JNev

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Re: Artifact 2-2-V-1 - aluminum 'skin'
« Reply #88 on: September 21, 2012, 08:26:38 PM »

Mark,

I think it would be great to have a close look at whatever remains at Howland if it can be done.  I know it's a sanctuary but there is some allowance for visitors.  It could not hurt and if it didn't confirm that wreckage as a sort at least we'd eliminate one source for certain.

I think it would be a long-shot, mainly for the reasons Greg cites here.  The material and rivet type are older pre-war articles - it is not likely for that kind of stuff to find its way onto a WWII ship.  Not impossible - just not likely.

Thanks for those links - very interesting and worth the study.  The picture of the float being repaired suggests a couple of things -
- Those floats were fairly stout and well-braced with rivets that appear to be 5/32" or better.
- The internal bracing consisted of fairly closely placed frames and stiffeners - closer than would be what I'd expect to find for the relatively large, light gauge sheet that 2-2-V-1 is.

Which is not to say the idea is impossible - I just believe it to be a long-shot.  If I had a chance to get me or anyone to Howland to examine that wreckage I'd love to do it.  While I've been focused on this artifact to see what could be learned, I'm not expert at all in mounting such activities and I realize TIGHAR's got limits as well.  My thought is to keep digging for photos of possibilities.

The 'holy grail' of photos for the panel at the moment, in my mind anyway, would be a closer shot at the area that I think is a strong candidate on the Electra: the right side of the lavatory where the large window was first installed and later covered.  That is my working theory for the moment about where this skin may have come from.  The idea being that the material is typical of what might have been used in 1937 on an area opening of that size, and the apparent light-bracing pattern is suggestive of the same thing - an improvised cover hastily installed in Miami - which is where we're told the window was re-covered just before the world flight went on.

Of course any 'find' that can show a source would solve this - Electra or not, so if we could see that Howland wreckage it might be interesting.  But I would surely love to have that close-up of the Electra's lav-area skin (right side) if anyone runs across such a critter.  So far I've not found a clear enough shot to make any judgment.
- Jeff Neville

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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Artifact 2-2-V-1 - aluminum 'skin'
« Reply #89 on: September 21, 2012, 09:27:50 PM »

Yes, it’s a bit surprising a close look at this PBM wreck has been put off all this time.

Think cost/benefit.

Think 700 miles roundtrip from Niku to Howland.

Think of the danger of leaving folks on Niku while you take 60 to 70 hours to make the roundtrip (not counting time ashore).

If you decide not to leave them stranded on Niku, think of the time lost hauling the whole Niku team to and from Howland.

I personally don't find it the least bit surprising that TIGHAR hasn't made the trip.

If you pony up the funds, I'm sure TIGHAR would be happy to help you do the search.  That's what "Contract Services" is for.
LTM,

           Marty
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