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Author Topic: Mysterious Black Box!!!  (Read 16407 times)

Randy Conrad

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Mysterious Black Box!!!
« on: June 08, 2012, 11:42:18 PM »

Hey Guys!!! While I was at the Air and Space Museum at Smithsonian I came by this photograph. Anyone know what the b lack box is in these two photographs?
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Mysterious Black Box!!!
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2012, 05:21:23 AM »

Hum--no, but whats interesteing is that the picture shows the starboard side window. So I'm assuming that his was an early picture taken before the original flight, since we 'think' the window was removed and coved by the piwee of aluminum artifact.
Tha box is larger that a sextrant box, so maybe one for cameras?
Tom Swearengen TIGHAR # 3297
 
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Mysterious Black Box!!!
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2012, 06:58:21 AM »

I speculate that it's a map/chart case or navigators/pilots case.  It may also have been a carry/storage case for a piece of expensive or delicate equipment.

That was a good catch by Tom regarding the window.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Mysterious Black Box!!!
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2012, 08:35:06 AM »

The window visible through the open door is the one over the navigation table.  I understand that the window that got covered by aluminum sheet was by the toilet in the back of the aircraft.
The box does, indeed, look like the kind of case used to hold charts.  Sitting next to the navigator's table is a reasonable place to see a box of charts.  Then again, anything going into the aircraft might sit in the same spot, just inside the door, waiting to be properly stowed.
Perhaps it's the box protecting Amelia's freckle cream jar from getting broken ;)
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Mysterious Black Box!!!
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2012, 10:33:02 AM »

Hum--no, but whats interesteing is that the picture shows the starboard side window. So I'm assuming that his was an early picture taken before the original flight, since we 'think' the window was removed and coved by the piwee of aluminum artifact.
Tha box is larger that a sextrant box, so maybe one for cameras?

Very interesting box.  Notice the interior is unfinished in this picture.

The box is a fair sized thing and appears to have a dark finish - whether paint or covering material I cannot discern.  It has two rather robust latches on it and the implication by the straight lines is that it is rigid, like wood or similar.

Just wondering, how big do sextant cases get?  I know octants are smaller.  Of course we could be looking at the photographer's own equipment case - I guess the unfinished airplane and somewhat impromptu nature of the picture (if that is even remotely possible where AE and her control of publicity was concerned) somehow made me think of that.  Don't know.

Tom, I'm not real certain of the morphology of all the windows, good point.  But if you are thinking of the large 'lavatory window' that was added and later covered, it would be further aft - actually in the lavatory, the next compartment aft and behind the cabin aft-bulkhead.

LTM -
It's too large for a marine sextant box plus they open on the large or front side, not the top as this box does.

There are lots of photos showing the starboard side, before and after, the further aft window was skinned over.

gl
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Mysterious Black Box!!!
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2012, 10:58:42 AM »

3971R
 
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Ricker H Jones

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Re: Mysterious Black Box!!!
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2012, 11:34:20 AM »

The Harney drawings, for those who have access to them, show that the aft black box is the second battery box, and just forward of it, with a similar shape, is the Western Electric 13C transmitter. 
« Last Edit: June 09, 2012, 11:38:19 AM by Ricker H Jones »
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Mysterious Black Box!!!
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2012, 08:50:49 PM »

I'm I just imagining it or is there a taper on the box?  Larger on the bottom than the top?  Optical illusion?
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Mysterious Black Box!!!
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2012, 09:39:53 PM »

Here are better pictures from the Purdue collection. Look at documents next to it. It could be a large document bag/ case
3971R
 
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Mysterious Black Box!!!
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2012, 10:44:59 PM »

Attached is the sextant box from the Pan Am flight assumed to be Freds. It has wire handle and hook latches. Also a strap if you look for it. The bones files indicate the sextant box found had dovetail joints.

FYI, The Box1 picture I attached has a box I think is the sextant box. It appears to have what looks like the bent clip artifact (already bent), with it's wood screw as a strap attachment. There is also evidence of dovetail joint at the bottom of the box in the box1 picture.  See the Joining the Search part of the forum for more info on the little clips which I think were used to attach a strap to the sextant box. imho

3971R
 
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Randy Conrad

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Re: Mysterious Black Box!!!
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2012, 11:31:56 PM »

Hey Guys! Thanks for the better pics from the Purdue collection. Don't know if you guys noticed this or not...but why are the latches different from one end and the other. Kinda goofy if you ask me!!! Also, I too noticed a taper in the box when I first saw this picture. Anyway, have several more questions to throw out to you, especially those of you who know this plane better than I do...First of all, in the better picture with the black box in it...What kind of flooring is in the Electra? I've never seen anything quite like this before...except in seeing a subfloor at work. If I guess right...the mini squares were used as flooring and if needed one or two panels could be taken off to fix wiring if needed!!! Also, at the conference I believe it was Ric who mentioned that in order to run the generator the plane would have to be on land and not in water? If this is true...then why have a hand crank generator? Another item I picked out of from the Smithsonian?
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JNev

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Re: Mysterious Black Box!!!
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2012, 07:18:04 AM »

Go back to post #10 and look at the picture again - very carefully -

That's a tool box; the reason the 'two latches' look different is because the one to the right is a center latch - which locks the top of the box.  The left hand latch has a counter-part - or 'twin' - it's just partly visible peeking from behind the aft door frame. 

Look closely at the blow-up of this picuture and you can also see the front cover of the box: it appears to be a removable or drop-down panel that closes the area where the drawers are.  The top flips open on a hinge for access to the top storage area, and the front panel drops away to allow access to the drawers.  When all closed up the box is secured for carrying.  This is typical of a machinest's style box of that era (and they're still around although I never favored them as a mechanic due to the relatively small drawer size).  These types of boxes are common in aviation shops in my experience - I feel stupid for not having noticed these details before, but it was the comment on the mis-matched latches that got my attention and had me looking more closely.

Look at the 'stuff' scattered on the floor of the airplane.  That and the open sidewalls, etc. indicate work in progress - a natural setting for the toolbox to be present in.

I'm certain that's what we're looking at here.  It may be the right location for the standby battery - but it's not the right container for that.  It appears none of those types of items (batteries, etc.) are present due to the gutted interior state that we see.

LTM -
- Jeff Neville

Former Member 3074R
 
« Last Edit: June 10, 2012, 07:21:12 AM by J. Nevill »
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Randy Conrad

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Re: Mysterious Black Box!!!
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2012, 09:16:37 AM »

Hey Jeff...thanks for the info...If you say this is a work in progress with the plane...then why would Amelia appear with suitcases in this picture? Kinda curious when this picture was taken! Also, for all you guys I picked out a picture from the rov video that someone posted and caught something with the naked eye. Thought this was really interesting. If you look in the lower right hand corner you will notice what appears to be a cylinder type of object with prongs protruding from it. At first I thought it was a form of a necklace or something but not for sure now. It almost appears gold in color. You be the judge!!!
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Mysterious Black Box!!!
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2012, 08:48:51 PM »

Hey Jeff...thanks for the info...If you say this is a work in progress with the plane...then why would Amelia appear with suitcases in this picture? Kinda curious when this picture was taken! Also, for all you guys I picked out a picture from the rov video that someone posted and caught something with the naked eye. Thought this was really interesting. If you look in the lower right hand corner you will notice what appears to be a cylinder type of object with prongs protruding from it. At first I thought it was a form of a necklace or something but not for sure now. It almost appears gold in color. You be the judge!!!
She was hawking her line of luggage, looks like a staged photo for advertising purposes.

gl
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: Mysterious Black Box!!!
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2012, 10:50:44 PM »


She was hawking her line of luggage, looks like a staged photo for advertising purposes.

gl

Was that "Earhart Luggage - luggage that always gets lost"  ;D 

Having had several instances of luggage going missing for inconvenient periods I can speak from bitter experience.
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