This Day in History: Amelia Earhart | Stuff You Should Know

On July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart and her navigator disappeared on what was supposed to be a flight around the world. Josh and Chuck tell the tale, including what inconclusive but convincing evidence was recently found.

Tune in for new episodes of This Day in History every Tuesday at Stuff You Should Know.

thats-the-way-it-was:

March 4, 1936: First flight of LZ 129 Hindenburg
Five years after construction began in 1931, the Hindenburg made its maiden test flight from the Zeppelin dockyards at Friedrichshafen on March 4, 1936, with 87 passengers and crew aboard.
Photo: Fox Photo/Getty

thats-the-way-it-was:

March 4, 1936: First flight of LZ 129 Hindenburg

Five years after construction began in 1931, the Hindenburg made its maiden test flight from the Zeppelin dockyards at Friedrichshafen on March 4, 1936, with 87 passengers and crew aboard.

Photo: Fox Photo/Getty

"Pigeons form a far richer picture of the world than a person can manage, through three senses unavailable to humans: an instinctive ability to navigate by the sun, an ability to detect magnetic fields that provides them with an inbuilt compass, and an ability to hear infrasound. But if local conditions mean they cannot hear their destination, they are as lost as a driver whose satnav has suddenly failed."

— Researchers shed light on the mysteries of avian navigation. Also see the physics of flight and why birds sing. (via explore-blog)

(Source: , via explore-blog)

earthlynation:

Dog fight by Ari Hazeghi
 

I’m sure these birds are actually engaged in a very serious battle for that bit of prey, but it looks for all the world like they’re holding hands. Er, talons. That one on the left is all like, “ETHEL, YOU START THE ROAST, I’LL GO PICK SOME TOMATOES FROM THE GARDEN.”

earthlynation:

Dog fight by Ari Hazeghi

 

I’m sure these birds are actually engaged in a very serious battle for that bit of prey, but it looks for all the world like they’re holding hands. Er, talons. That one on the left is all like, “ETHEL, YOU START THE ROAST, I’LL GO PICK SOME TOMATOES FROM THE GARDEN.”

unexpectedtech:

When University of Virginia engineering students posted a YouTube video last spring of a plastic turbofan engine they had designed and built using 3-D printing technology, they didn’t expect it to lead to anything except some page views.

But executives at The MITRE Corporation, a McLean-based federally funded research and development center with an office in Charlottesville, saw the video and sent an announcement to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciencethat they were looking for two summer interns to work on a new project involving 3-D printing. They just didn’t say what the project was.

Only one student responded to the job announcement: Steven Easter, then a third-year mechanical engineeringmajor.

“I was curious about what they had to offer, but I didn’t call them until the day of the application deadline,” Easter said.

He got a last-minute interview and brought with him his brother and lab partner, Jonathan Turman, also a third-year mechanical engineering major.

They got the job: to build over the summer an unmanned aerial vehicle, using 3-D printing technology. In other words, a plastic plane, to be designed, fabricated, built and test-flown between May and August. A real-world engineering challenge, and part of a Department of the Army project to study the feasibility of using such planes.

Three-dimensional printing is, as the name implies, the production or “printing” of actual objects, such as parts for a small airplane, by using a machine that traces out layers of melted plastic in specific shapes until it builds up a piece exactly according to the size and dimensions specified in a computer-aided drawing produced by an engineer.

In this case, the engineers were Easter and Turman, working with insight from their adviser, mechanical and aerospace engineering professor David Sheffler, a U.Va. Engineering School alumnus and 20-year veteran of the aerospace industry.

It was a daunting project – producing a plane with a 6.5-foot wingspan, made from assembled “printed” parts. The students sometimes put in 80-hour workweeks, with many long nights in the lab.

“It was sort of a seat-of-the-pants thing at first – wham, bang,” Easter said. “But we kept banging away and became more confident as we kept designing and printing out new parts.”

Sheffler said he had confidence in them “the entire way.”

The way eventually led to assembly of the plane and four test flights in August and early September at Milton Airfield near Keswick. It achieved a cruising speed of 45 mph and is only the third 3-D printed plane known to have been built and flown.

During the first test, the plane’s nosepiece was damaged while the plane taxied around the field.

“We dogged it,” Easter said. “But we printed a new nose.”

That ability to make and modify new parts is the beauty of 3-D printing, said Sheffler, who works with students in the Engineering School’s Rapid Prototyping Lab. The lab includes seven 3-D printers used as real-world teaching tools.

“Rapid prototyping means rapid in small quantities,” Sheffler said. “It’s fluid, in that it allows students to evolve their parts and make changes as they go – design a piece, print it, make needed modifications to the design, and print a new piece. They can do this until they have exactly what they want.”

(via engineeringisawesome)

jacobsoboroff:

WOW. I was just sent this photo taken by NASA’s Stephanie Stilson who this morning was aboard the C9 Pathfinder that few ahead of the 747 carrying the Space Shuttle Endeavour.
Endeavour is headed to Los Angeles where it will be permanently displayed at the California Science Center. It’s spending the night in Houston tonight.
Stephanie will join me later today on HuffPost Live to preview Endeavour’s Friday arrival in Los Angeles. You can leave questions for her and start the conversation now in our green room.

jacobsoboroff:

WOW. I was just sent this photo taken by NASA’s Stephanie Stilson who this morning was aboard the C9 Pathfinder that few ahead of the 747 carrying the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Endeavour is headed to Los Angeles where it will be permanently displayed at the California Science Center. It’s spending the night in Houston tonight.

Stephanie will join me later today on HuffPost Live to preview Endeavour’s Friday arrival in Los Angeles. You can leave questions for her and start the conversation now in our green room.

(via scinerds)

todaysdocument:

USS Akron in Flight

The ill-fated airship USS Akron (ZRS-4) was launched on August 8, 1931.  Designed as a potential flying aircraft carrier, this reel of stock Navy footage includes scenes of the Akron launching and retrieving its complement of Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk “parasite fighters.”

After 75 Years, Why Can We Still Not Solve the Amelia Earhart Mystery?
On July 2, 1937 (75 years ago today), Earhart and Noonan departed Lae, Papua New Guinea, for the longest stretch of their bid to be the first to circumnavigate the globe along the equator. Their destination was Howland Island, a 1.5 mile by 1/2 mile-wide (2.4 by 0.8 kilometers) atoll rising a mere 20 feet (six meters) from the South Pacific. They had around 7,000 miles (11,265 kilometers) left in their journey; this 24-hour flight to Howland covered about 2,500 miles (4,023 kilometers). After they abandoned every unnecessary item aboard the plane, they still had only just enough fuel to make it to Howland. There could be no margin for error, and to ensure their safety, a Coast Guard cutter Itasca tracked them using radio and two additional ships were employed to serve as markers along the route.
Navigator Fred Noonan tried to use celestial navigation to find his way, but the skies were overcast during the stretch. The pair fell out of radio contact with the Coast Guard. After dawn, the Itasca picked up a transmission from Earhart. She said that by Noonan’s reckoning the plane should be just over them. The Itasca was moored just off Howland Island, but Earhart said their fuel stores were running low. An hour later, another radio transmission came from Earhart: “We are running north to south,” she said [source:Family of Amelia Earhart].
That was the last transmission. Nothing more was ever heard from Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.
By the time she took her last jaunt, Earhart was an international heroine. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered a massive search for Earhart by the U.S. Navy, covering some 250,000 square miles (647,497 square kilometers) of ocean — and spending $4 million in the midst of the Great Depression — to find evidence of her fate. Howland Island and the surrounding sea were scoured, yet no wreckage was discovered. It was as if Earhart and Noonan simply vanished into the mist.
Once attention turned from Howland Island in the years to follow, however, possible clues to the disappearance of Earhart and Noonan would begin to turn up.
Continue…

After 75 Years, Why Can We Still Not Solve the Amelia Earhart Mystery?

On July 2, 1937 (75 years ago today), Earhart and Noonan departed Lae, Papua New Guinea, for the longest stretch of their bid to be the first to circumnavigate the globe along the equator. Their destination was Howland Island, a 1.5 mile by 1/2 mile-wide (2.4 by 0.8 kilometers) atoll rising a mere 20 feet (six meters) from the South Pacific. They had around 7,000 miles (11,265 kilometers) left in their journey; this 24-hour flight to Howland covered about 2,500 miles (4,023 kilometers). After they abandoned every unnecessary item aboard the plane, they still had only just enough fuel to make it to Howland. There could be no margin for error, and to ensure their safety, a Coast Guard cutter Itasca tracked them using radio and two additional ships were employed to serve as markers along the route.

Navigator Fred Noonan tried to use celestial navigation to find his way, but the skies were overcast during the stretch. The pair fell out of radio contact with the Coast Guard. After dawn, the Itasca picked up a transmission from Earhart. She said that by Noonan’s reckoning the plane should be just over them. The Itasca was moored just off Howland Island, but Earhart said their fuel stores were running low. An hour later, another radio transmission came from Earhart: “We are running north to south,” she said [source:Family of Amelia Earhart].

That was the last transmission. Nothing more was ever heard from Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.

By the time she took her last jaunt, Earhart was an international heroine. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered a massive search for Earhart by the U.S. Navy, covering some 250,000 square miles (647,497 square kilometers) of ocean — and spending $4 million in the midst of the Great Depression — to find evidence of her fate. Howland Island and the surrounding sea were scoured, yet no wreckage was discovered. It was as if Earhart and Noonan simply vanished into the mist.

Once attention turned from Howland Island in the years to follow, however, possible clues to the disappearance of Earhart and Noonan would begin to turn up.

Continue…