Answer to Earhart disappearance 78 years ago may hinge on Parker lab tests

June 16, 2015

PARIS, 15 June 2015. The disappearance of American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart has remained a mystery for 78 years; yet, an ongoing analysis of recently found aircraft wreckage by a specialty lab team from Parker Hannifin Corp. may finally prove where she and her co-pilot disappeared.

Members of Amelia Research, Inc. expedition team searched for and recovered aluminum parts of an airplane wreckage on Endrikin Island, one of 92 islands along Mili Atoll.

“The investigation highlights one of many ways that Parker Hannifin (NYSE:PH), a provider of motion and control technologies, solves the world’s greatest engineering challenges,” says a spokesperson.

In late January, an expedition to the central Pacific Ocean’s Marshall Islands, sponsored by Parker, uncovered several aluminum parts of airplane wreckage on Endrikin Island, one of 92 islands along Mili Atoll. Jon Jeffery, director of Parker Aerospace technology and business development and an expedition member, and his team of laboratory specialists are examining the wreckage parts.

The team is analyzing the parts to determine if the metal and paint composition is consistent with the known materials shipped during the period of the Earhart flight. Specifically, the parts found in an area 75 by 300 feet, included two small aluminum plates, one with some red paint, which was the color of Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10E plane. The team also found a piece of aluminum trim that appears to have come from the wheel well.

Some of the artifacts found by the Amelia Research Inc. expedition team on Endrikin Island in the Marshall Islands. The parts are now being analyzed to determine if they are consistent with known materials manufactured during the period of the Earhart flight.

“Obviously, this was an exhilarating expedition and the analysis that we’re doing now is proving to be just as enlightening,” says Jeffery. “It’s exciting and important work that underscores Parker’s passion for tackling engineering challenges and solving them.”

Parker engineers continue to invest in transformative technologies for the airline industry and other motion-related industrial technologies. Among other breakthroughs, Parker Aerospace has developed an adaptable flight control system that reduces weight and cost.

Jeffery says the investigation into the found aircraft parts, taking place in a Parker Aerospace laboratory, should be completed in late summer. After that, officials of the nonprofit Amelia Research, Inc. and others will weigh the findings and determine if they can close the unsolved case file on what happened to the famed aviator.

Visit Parker during the Paris Air Show in hall 5, stand C210.

Visit Parker during the Paris Air Show in hall 5, stand C210.

Parker Aerospace is a designer, manufacturer, and service provider of flight control, hydraulic, fuel and inerting, fluid conveyance, thermal management, and engine systems and components for aerospace and other high-technology markets. It is an operating segment of Parker Hannifin Corp.

With annual sales of $13 billion in fiscal year 2014, Parker Hannifin is a diversified manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems, providing precision-engineered solutions for a wide variety of mobile, industrial, and aerospace markets. The company employs approximately 57,500 people in 50 countries around the world.

Parker’s Jon Jeffery shakes hands with Marshall Islands President Christopher Loeak after obtaining permission to take the artifacts found on the expedition to the United States for testing and analysis.

About the Author

Courtney E. Howard | Chief Editor, Intelligent Aerospace

Courtney enjoys writing about all things high-tech in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Intelligent Aerospace and Military & Aerospace Electronics. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics and space geek. Connect with Courtney at [email protected], @coho on Twitter, on LinkedIn, and on Google+.

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