The Aerodrome Home Page
Aces of WWI
Aircraft of WWI
Books and Film
The Aerodrome Forum
Sign the Guestbook
Help
Links to Other Sites
Medals and Decorations
The Aerodrome News
Search The Aerodrome
Today in History


Learn how to remove ads

The Aerodrome Forum


Go Back   The Aerodrome Forum > No Man's Land > Pioneer Aviation


Pioneer Aviation Topics related to the aviators and aeroplanes prior to WWI

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 6 December 2009, 07:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
Forum Ace
 
Rod_Filan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,950
 
Vickers-R.E.P. monoplane No.1: The Search Continues

Forum attic item #14

They're off again. Onboard the P and O owned French supply ship L’Astrolabe destined for the Antarctic in search of the elusive Vickers Air Tractor.
Mawson's Huts Foundation News

Sydney Nov 27—A ten person team departs Hobart next week (Thursday Dec 3) to continue conservation work on the fragile wooden huts at Cape Denison that were the base for two years of the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) led by Sir Douglas Mawson and also to search for the remains of the first aircraft taken to the icy continent.

While most efforts will concentrate on the recovery and treatment of artefacts inside the main hut specialist equipment including a magnetometer will be used to locate the fuselage of the Vickers monoplane Mawson took south to use as an air tractor.


From this recent photo, taken last month by helicopter pilot John Eacott [Antarctica trip - PPRuNe Forums], you can see the huts still covered to the roof with ice and snow. I can't be sure, but I think the air tractor is probably deeper now.


source: Antarctica trip - Page 2 - PPRuNe Forums


Mawson's Huts expedition updates on the ::expedition blog::
-
Cheers
__________________

Breguet's Aircraft Challenge
Breguet's Crash Files
Breguet's Pre-1914 Aircraft Challenge


Fliegen ist notwendig. Leben nicht.

- Suicide note left by pioneer aviatrix Melli Beese
Rod_Filan is offline  
Sponsored Links
Old 6 December 2009, 08:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
Forum Ace
 
Rod_Filan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,950
 
Frank Bickerton with the air tractor probably taken 15 November, 1912 (the wheels were deemed useless and soon removed)


Location of the air tractor


Site of last year's major dig


-
Cheers
__________________

Breguet's Aircraft Challenge
Breguet's Crash Files
Breguet's Pre-1914 Aircraft Challenge


Fliegen ist notwendig. Leben nicht.

- Suicide note left by pioneer aviatrix Melli Beese
Rod_Filan is offline  
Old 9 December 2009, 11:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
Forum Ace
 
Rod_Filan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,950
 
Update 1

The expedition's ship L'Astrolabe has arrived at Commonwealth Bay.

Oceanographic Research Ship Tracker

-
Cheers
__________________

Breguet's Aircraft Challenge
Breguet's Crash Files
Breguet's Pre-1914 Aircraft Challenge


Fliegen ist notwendig. Leben nicht.

- Suicide note left by pioneer aviatrix Melli Beese
Rod_Filan is offline  
Old 16 December 2009, 03:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
Forum Ace
 
Rod_Filan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,950
 
Update 2

The team doctor and Vickers sleuth extraordinaire of the Mawson's Huts Foundation expedition was kind enough to reply over the weekend to my inquiries into the equipment he's using this year. -- Now how many people can say they've gotten email all the way from Antarctica?

Chris Henderson wrote:
This year the equipment used to search for the air tractor will be ground penetrating radar, two magnetometers (to use like a differential GPS), and a pulse induction magnetometer, as well as ice augers. The ice levels are lower than last year which will make location easier, and the surface of the ice has no irregularity (sastrugi), which makes using the equipment easier.

First we will use the magnetometer to locate any metal object in the search area (there is not likely to be much metal other than the airframe). The magnetometer will only work if the rocks are less magnetic than the airframe - we will have to investigate their properties. The airframe is 40mm x 1mm steel tube roughly 6m x 2m which is not a lot of steel mass, although it is large. The magnetometer is designed to augment the radar scans - in other words if something shows up, it is likely to be the airframe and we will know roughly where it is. The radar will pinpoint it. The ice augers will allow us to make a profile of the underlying rock which I think may be 5m deep. We will use them as a way of calibrating the radar.

Digging in the ice is difficult and time consuming; last year it took two days to dig a 3m x 3m x 1m trench. Time is precious here and the team has many other tasks to complete - so we will probably dig only one trench to find the airframe. Therefore it is important we establish the most likely position using surface techniques.

We only arrived the day before yesterday, and are presently unpacking and settling into the accommodation. We will not start the air tractor search until some other projects are complete, so I do not expect any results from the air tractor search for two weeks . There has been a low pressure system passing us, it is cloudy and the temperature is fairly warm - as I write this it is 7 am and the temperature is 3 degrees C.

Batteries do not work well in the cold - particularly laptop and camera batteries. Last year I had trouble with the batteries for the radar gear and the computer so I put all the equipment in a wheeled cart and ran it from an external 12v battery. This year I do not have the cart so we will have to keep spare batteries on hand. However, the area for the search has been narrowed down which will make the scans quicker.

regards
Chris

And, further to Dr. Chris' update, Dr. Tony Stewart wrote:

Quote:
Mawson's Huts Foundation Blog Archive Tuesday 15th December
[...]
Jody spent the morning drawing up a surveying grid for the air-tractor search, along with a daunting set of rules for Chris and Tony to follow (okay, only 2 rules, but for the two docs, any rules are daunting)
[...]
-
Cheers
__________________

Breguet's Aircraft Challenge
Breguet's Crash Files
Breguet's Pre-1914 Aircraft Challenge


Fliegen ist notwendig. Leben nicht.

- Suicide note left by pioneer aviatrix Melli Beese
Rod_Filan is offline  
Old 24 December 2009, 09:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
Forum Ace
 
Rod_Filan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,950
 
Update 3

Magnetometer survey of the air tractor search area.

Mawson's Huts Foundation Blog Archive Mawson’s Huts Sitrep Wednesday 23rd December 2009

Quote:
One of the exciting events of the day was the first magnetometer survey for the air tractor. Magnetometers work on a different principle to metal detectors, measuring the local magnetic field. However this can vary substantially as the sun moves around the sky (or, as the earth moves around the sun, if you believe that sort of thing, thank you Copernicus). The best time of day is usually at night when the field varies only slightly. We checked this over the last 48 hours and found that 9 pm to 5 am is the optimal time to do the survey, so after dinner Tony, Chris, Michelle and Jody headed off to start work. Magnetometers are affected by many types of metal, so we carefully eliminated watches, GPS units, radios, boot chains, and in accordance with the manual, we checked for knives and pistols. Wearing rubber gumboots, Tony took nearly 500 readings on Jody’s carefully prepared grid over a few hours, hoping to find a signal indicating a metal object under the ice. And the results? That’s for another day…. suffice to say there are some areas of interest that will be checked with our metal detector and ice penetrating radar.


Jody and Drs Chris and Tony

-
Cheers and Merry Christmas to the Mawson's Huts team
__________________

Breguet's Aircraft Challenge
Breguet's Crash Files
Breguet's Pre-1914 Aircraft Challenge


Fliegen ist notwendig. Leben nicht.

- Suicide note left by pioneer aviatrix Melli Beese
Rod_Filan is offline  
Old 28 December 2009, 07:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
Forum Ace
 
Rod_Filan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,950
 
Update 4

What we would term as the original Vickers' rudder (top is on the left):
Air Tractor Tail
h/t Mawson's Huts Foundation Blog Archive Air Tractor Tail
Today we had a look at the air tractor tail that was excavated from the workshop a few years ago. Since that time it’s been stored in the collar ties of the workshop roof on a wooden frame that was wrapped in plastic as it was too large to store easily elsewhere in the hut. We have to develop a conservation treatment plan for it as it has some serious problems with the textile and metal components so we needed to have a close look at it. Pemo also needed it removed from beneath the skylight so that it didn’t create a shadow during his filming using the Hurley Dolley. It was also an opportunity for Chris and Tony, our air tractor experts to have a closer look at it. It’s made up of an iron frame which has been modified with either a galvanised iron or aluminium strapping riveted in place with copper rivets.. The structure was covered in a fine cotton fabric in two layers and held in place with binding threaded through copper eyelets around the edge of the fabric.

Michelle
-
Cheers
__________________

Breguet's Aircraft Challenge
Breguet's Crash Files
Breguet's Pre-1914 Aircraft Challenge


Fliegen ist notwendig. Leben nicht.

- Suicide note left by pioneer aviatrix Melli Beese
Rod_Filan is offline  
Old 28 December 2009, 08:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
Forum Ace
 
Rod_Filan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,950
 
Update 5

Unbeknownst to me, a tail skid artifact held by the Antarctic Division of which I was surprised wasn't identified before--it looks like an iceboat running blade.
Ice skid for Air tractor identified
h/t Mawson's Huts Foundation Blog Archive Ice skid for Air tractor identified
Today Michelle lifted down the Air Tractor tail so that Peter Morse could run his camera along the Hurley Dolly to get the dolly-pan shots of the hut.

Tony and Chris looked at the tail and noticed that the attachments for the tail were identical to a mysterious item held at the Antarctic Division. It is clear that the lever arm is the same length in both structures and the attachment points are the same distance apart. It is likely that this item was a skid designed to steer the Air Tractor. It does not appear in any photograph of the time so we assume it was not very successful.

CH
-
Cheers
__________________

Breguet's Aircraft Challenge
Breguet's Crash Files
Breguet's Pre-1914 Aircraft Challenge


Fliegen ist notwendig. Leben nicht.

- Suicide note left by pioneer aviatrix Melli Beese
Rod_Filan is offline  
Old 29 December 2009, 01:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
Forum Ace of Aces
 
Varese2002's Avatar
Contributor
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Apeldoorn, Netherlands
Posts: 5,287
 
Hi Rod. Interesting that they now identified a piece that was probably lying for years in the vaults unidentified. Hope the Arctic journey will bring more of the icy sleeping Vickers.

Kees
__________________
I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library. - Jorge Luis Borges
Varese2002 is offline  
Old 2 January 2010, 03:08 AM   #9 (permalink)
Two-seater Pilot
 
The PIPE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 112
Exclamation And NOW it's at Yahoo News....

Dear Fellow Pioneer Era Lovers:

The PIPE Here...and I found out this morning (Jan. 2, 2010) about this unique piece of preserved Pioneer Era aviation, nowhere else but Yahoo News...

...it's mentioned at Relic of Antarctica's first plane found on ice-edge - Yahoo! News ...

...here's hoping that there's "something" to RESTORE here, and get it into a museum for all of us to check out for ourselves...

Yours Sincerely,

The PIPE...!
__________________
"I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment in all human affairs." -- Albert Einstein, 1950
The PIPE is offline  
Old 2 January 2010, 09:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
Forum Ace
 
Rod_Filan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,950
 
Update 6

As the Pipe has just reported, what appears to be parts of the air tractor have been found. However, as is the way these things often happen--found not where it was thought to be, and discovered in a very serendipitous manner.

Mawson’s Huts Sitrep Friday 1st January 2010
h/t Mawson's Huts Foundation Blog Archive Mawson’s Huts Sitrep Friday 1st January 2010

...

The biggest news of the day is that we’ve found the air tractor, or at least parts of it! Bloggers will have noted that Tony and Chris have more than a passing interest in this aircraft, and have been searching with a plethora of electronic gear (ground penetrating radar, a metal detector, a magnetometer and an ice auger) hoping to uncover its final resting place. After the blue moon yesterday and a huge high tide overnight, we had a very low tide this evening, the lowest we’ll have all season and only 10 cm higher than the lowest possible tide here at Commonwealth Bay.

With visitors from the Orion due here in 2 days, our heritage carpenter Mark Farrell was wandering along the rocks on the edge of Boat Harbour looking for a suitable landing place, when he noticed some metal among the rocks in the water. He was pretty laid back about the find, calmly walking into Sorensen Hut to mention that he’d found something in the water that looked like the air tractor. Tony and Chris have never geared up so quickly, and hot footed it over to Boat Harbour with Mark. Michelle Berry, Jody Steele and Peter Morse weren’t far behind and together we examined the parts sitting in a few centimetres of water. With the tide already on the rise and higher tides ahead, we photographed the objects then brought them back to the lab immersed in sea water, until a plan can be made for their conservation.

Built in 1911, just 8 years after the Wright brother’s first flight, it was first aircraft from the famous Vicker’s factory, and the first aircraft taken to either polar region. Due to wing damage, it never flew here, but was converted into an ‘air tractor’, which the 1911-14 Australian Antarctic Expedition used to tow gear up onto the ice dome in preparation for their sledging journeys.

Chris Henderson said “It vindicates our continuing search: many people have said it was blown out to sea or taken away by the ice. It doesn’t matter that the various pieces of equipment weren’t successful – what matters is that the facts showed it should still have been where it was left – and it was. ”

It’s been an exciting search. This evening and tomorrow (Saturday) are the only days all summer when the tide will be low enough to see the parts, and the weather looks like closing in. This year the ice was unusually low, so it seems that today was the only day in several years when the Vickers would’ve been exposed! Luck has been on our side and it’s great to bring this episode in the story of the Air Tractor to a close.

TS




-
Cheers
__________________

Breguet's Aircraft Challenge
Breguet's Crash Files
Breguet's Pre-1914 Aircraft Challenge


Fliegen ist notwendig. Leben nicht.

- Suicide note left by pioneer aviatrix Melli Beese
Rod_Filan is offline  
Closed Thread

Bookmarks


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Eduard 1/48 Albatros D.III, the build. “The Feast continues” StephenLawson Models 15 11 March 2005 05:01 AM
D-VII monoplane R Pope Aircraft 9 17 March 2004 07:01 PM
Handling the Camel: The Controversey Continues Michael Skeet 2001 13 25 February 2001 04:42 AM
Monoplane Focker Julio Torralba 2000 0 28 September 2000 08:42 AM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:37 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
Copyright ©1997 - 2013 The Aerodrome