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Journal of a Seaplane Cruise Around The World

Appendix One

APPENDIX A Outline of Equipment

  1. Airplane and Engine.

    The airplance was a Bellanca Skyrocket CH 4OO, no. 62l, built in 1931. It had been flown about 750 hours before the beginning of this trip and was still running on its original fabric. The Skyrocket is a six place cabin monoplane, weighing 2800 lbs. empty on wheels and about 3400 lbs. empty when equipped with pontoons. The float gear was the Edo no. 5400, built with integral skintype gasoline tanks. The engine was a Pratt and Whitney Wasp, no. 4108,of 420 H.P. equipped with a controllable pitch propeller. The fuel system consisted of two wing tanks of 80 gallons each, and two float tanks of 100 gallons, a maximum capacity of 320 gallons. The fuel lines joined in a common valve which led to a strainer and wobble pump, thence to the engine fuel pump. When using gasoline from the pontoons the engine pump had a lift of nearly eight feet. The system operated satisfactorily throughout. An auxiliary oil tank of 15 gallons was placed in the cabin and connected to the main oil tank by a line through which oil was forced with a wobble pump. A boiler guage indicated the level of oil in the main tank. The electrical system consisted of a 50 ampere, engine-driven generator, which operated through a circuit breaker controllable from the cockpit. It charged a 70 ampere-hour, 12-volt aircraft battery. All power supply for the ship came from this battery, including the starter, landing light and radio. The drain of the radio transmitter was about 30 amperes, 50 that it was possible to operate the set on the water with the engine shut off for about an hour and a half after landing and still retain sufficient battery reserve to start the engine. The generator could effect a complete recharge during the first two or three hours of flying, even during simultaneous radio operation. The cabin arrangement was altered to allow three seats: the pilot and co-pilot's seat, and a chair behind the co-pilot. The radio transmitter and receiver were installed across the aisle from the latter seat, so that Wilson sat in this place for all communication work, yet could move into the co-pilot's seat during bad weather or to take over the dual controls. The back seat was given over entirely to luggage. In the roof of the cabin was built a sliding hatch which could be opened in flight for sextant and pelorus sights. The door windows could be opened for photography. A completely shock mounted instrument panel contained a full set of engine and flying instruments, as well as the Sperry Horizon and the Gyro compass.

    Weights of equipment are not given in detail, but the total load of the sea-plane was calculated. At take off, when the wing tanks were full (120 gallons) and the float tanks empty, the plane was carrying a load of between 5600 and 5700 pounds. The greatest load successfully raised into the air at Julianehaab was 6550 lbs., which amounted to 15.6 lbs. per h.p., and 24 lbs. per sq. ft.

  2. Radio.

    1. Transmitting and receiving sets.

      The radio transmitter was a Westinghouse aircraft radiotelegraph set having a nominal output of 60 watts. In this design, one 210-type tube was employed as master oscillator, and four 210-type tubes constituted the power amplifier output stage. For most purposes, continuous wave telegraphy was used, but tone modulated signals could be produced when an audio oscillator, modulating the power amplifier, was turned on. By the use of plug-in coils, emission on the following frequencies was obtained: 333 kilocycles (900 meters), 500 kilocycles (600 meters), 3,105 kilocycles (96 meters), 5,515 kilocycles (54 meters), 8.340 kilocycles (36 meters), 12,480 kilocycles (24 meters). The transmitter output was delivered to a trailing-wire antenna while in flight, and communication from the water was obtained by using a V-antenna supported between the empenage and the wings. In addition to the regular hand key, a semi-automatic high speed key was used, and also an omnigraph automatic keying device which would send out a continuous identifying signal while the radio operator was busy with other duties. The receiver was 5 Lear super-heterodyne set, having a frequency range of from 200 kilocycles (1500 meters) to 15,000 kilocycles (20 meters). Band-switching from the front of the panel was a convenient feature of the set. High voltage for the receiver (200 volts) and the transmitter (500 volts) was obtained by the use of dynamotors operating from the ships 12-volt electrical supply. An interphone system, passing through the receiver's audio amplifier, provided simultaneous radio reception and intercommunication between pilot and radio operator.

      With this apparatus, constant communication was maintained with ground stations along the route. 500 kilocycles (800 meters) was used to contact coastal stations and ships within range during the flights from New Haven to Edinburgh. Long wave transmission on the international aircraft wave (333 kc, 900 a.) was chosen from Rochester to Singapore, because of the numerous aeronautical ground stations working on this frequency. For the remainder of the trip, a combination of high and low frequencies was used to keep in touch with the various stations. These included U.S. Naval stations, ships, amateurs, and coastal stations operated by the Mackay Radio Co., Radio Corporation of America, Globe Wireless Ltd., Pan American Airways and the Mexican Government.

      It was not expected that either transmitter or receiver would give 6 months of faultless service, and a supply of spare parts was taken along. A number of tubes burned out, and condensers faulted in both sets. Wilson's practiced hand located the troubles promptly however; only once did he fail to repair the fault while in the air. He placed great reliance in an ohmeter-voltmeter instrument, with which he traced circuits rapidly.

      The accompanying table gives a record of the performance of the radio equipment. The distances mentioned are those over which consistent two-way contacts were obtained. The four frequencies listed were the ones used most often during the trip.

    2. List of spares

      500 ft. antenna wire
      Regular antenna weight
      Emergency (thru fairlead) antenna weights
      Wooden antenna weight pattern
      1 each of receiver tubes
      1 each receiver resistors
      1 each receiver condensers
      1 receiver motorgenerator
      4 UX 210 transmitter tubes
      5 resistors for transmitter (low wattage values)
      3 transmitter P.A. unit condensers
      Transmitter M.G. brushes
      Insulators, porcelain

    3. Radio Reference Books

      Radio receiver wiring diagram
      Transmitter service bulletin
      List of coastal radio stations
      List of stations performing special services (compass, time-tick, weather)
      List of amateur radio stations
      List of marine and aero radio stations along route, compilation of all available details thereof
      Table of distribution of international call signals
      French, Italian and German (to English) dictionaries

  3. Navigation

    1. Instruments for steering a course:

      Two magnetic compasses (Pioneer and Husun)
      Sperry Directional Gyro
      Gatty drift meter
      Pelorus, for observations from the hatch

    2. Instruments for charting:

      A set of maps and charts, drawing board, triangles, protractor, slide rule, straight edge, 12-inch scale, direct and proportional dividers

    3. Instruments for finding position:

      Bausch and Lomb bubble sextant
      Two second-setting watches
      One stop watch
      Radio direction finder. Because of faulty design, this did not give successful operation.

    4. Dead-reckoning books and tables:

      Ground speed and drift tables
      Speed-time-distance tables
      Course errors for distance off course tables
      Conversion tables, nautical to statute miles
      Tables II, III, IV from Bowditch (for construction plotting sheets)
      List of maritime positions from Bowditch

    5. Celestial navigation books, tables and accessories:

      H.O. 211 - Ageton line-of-position tables
      H.O. 71 - Azimuths of the sun
      Nautical Almanac, 1934 and 1935, U.S. Naval Observatory
      100 work forms for H.O.211 sextant sight solutions
      Sextant sight plotting paper (6x5 squares)

  4. Marine equipment included the items ordinarily needed in small boat management

    35 lb. Kedge ancor, with folding stock
    26" drogue (sea anchor)
    Lengths of half-inch manila rope. It was intended to have six lengths, one of 100 feet and four of 60 feet, but they were often lost. The average length of rope on board was between 400 and 500 feet, and this, combined with a good anchor, saved the ship from damage more often than any other factor.
    Bridle of one-inch manila rope, for mooring to heavy buoys
    Fog horn, field glasses, mooring lantern, supply of kerosene
    Chart of code flags, chart of storm flags, list of fog signals and chart of ship's lights

  5. Photographic

    Fairchild Aerial Camera, Model F-8, 5 x 7 inches. 1000 exposures Eastman supersensitie panchromatic film. Aero-1 filter; minus-blue filter; range finder; extra film reels; film winder; bag for aerial camera; changing bag

    Zeiss 9 x 12 cm. Folding camera, F. 4.5. 500 exposures Verichrome film, in packs. Filter, Gelbglas 1 x 42.

  6. Medical Supplies

    1. Medicines

      1 2 oz. bottle impenetrable surgical dressing
      2 doses typhoid immunization vaccine
      12 tablets bichloride mercury (0.6 gm)
      12 tablets morphine sulphate (0.01 gm)
      50 capsules quinine sulphate (0.3 gm)
      50 tablets asprin (0.3 gm)
      5 ampoules intraspinal neocain
      4 ampoules intraspinal ephedrin-neocain
      3 tubes novocain tablets

    2. Surgical Supplies

      1 nail brush
      1 cake Ivory soap
      1 teaspoon
      2 paris rubber surgical gloves, size 7
      1 20 cc syringe
      1 2 cc syringe
      1 10 cc syringe
      1 intraspinal needle
      1 intravenous needle
      3 subcutaneous needles
      1 fl. oz. tincture of iodine
      1 doz. gauze sponges, large
      3 doz. gauze sponges, small
      6 towels
      5 yards 2" adhesive plaster; 3 ft. 12" adhesive
      1 clinical themometer
      1 pair thumb forceps
      1 pair scissors
      2 Kelly hemostats
      1 pair straight hemostats
      1 Bard-Parker scalpel handle, with 6 blades
      Assortment of French, Mayo, and straight suture needles
      600 yards Corticelli C-silk
      1 doz. steel safety pins

  7. Maintenance and Repair

    1. Materials

      1. Airplane:

        Patching fabric (8 x 5 ft), 10 yards of 3 inch fabric tape, 15 ft. control cable, spool of white thread, spool of black thread, 4 oz. Casco glue, 3 strips rawhide in. x 6 ft., piano wire, assorted machine screws, assorted wood screws, 1 pt. Red dope, 1 pt. Clear dope, shellac, 1 pt. Black enamel

      2. Engine:

        Spare magneto springs, pushrod housing gaskets, rocker box cover gaskets, spare oil tank cover, 9 spark plugs, galoline funnel and chamois, oil funnel, rags, safety wire, safety pins, cotter pins, motor cover, 1-5 gallson engine oil, 1-5 lbs. Cup grease, 3-in-1 oil

      3. Electrical:

        Spare fuses, spare light bulbs, roll of friction tape, tube of "liquid solder", 15 feet of high tension ignition wire, 15 feet of primary ignition wire, 10 ft. rubber covered twisted pair wire; solder and soldering paste.

      4. Floats:

        6 8 x 14 sheets dural, roll of float patch liner, tube of Permatex, 1 gross PK screws (self tapping), supply of 3 sizes aluminum rivets, 2 spare hand hole covers, 6 rubber hand hole washers, cork gaskets for compartment covers, 1 qt. Bitumastic paint, can of Dolphinite

      5. General:

        5 feet inch rubber tubing, ball of stout cord, jar vaseline, doz. assorted hooks, sponge rubber, 2 lifting cables (3/8") with shackle bolts, for hoisting ship; 1 ft. of " pipe, 2 1-ft lengths of 1: rubber hose

    2. Tools:

      Controllable propeller hub wrench, 2 inch steel clamp, 1 lb. Steel wool, handdrill and drills, peenball hammer, Alemite gun, cold chisels

      Pliers: parallel, round nose, 2 adjustable

      Wrenches: monkey, Stillson, 4" and 6" crescent, valve lifting, valve adjusting nut, sockets (1/4" to 1") with handle and swivel, spanners, cylinder bolt, magneto (2), spark plug

      Feeler gages, punches, screwdrivers, tinshears, hacksaw with 6 blades, lb. soldering iron, small iron, 6" rule, files, wire brush, crank, rifle barrel for pulling prop., extra stick, grinding compound, 24" crosscut saw

    3. Service Bulletins

      Propeller, storage battery, sextant, camera

  8. Equipment included for Emergency and Self-Sufficiency

    1. Emergency

      Rubber pneumatic boat, having a capacity of 850 pounds, together with sail, oars, keel, pump, lines; sail for seaplane; Very pistol and 12 cartridges; 2 life belts; 2 quick-attachment Irvin parachutes; 2 Wiley parachute flares; fire extinguisher

    2. Camping and self-sufficiency

      Tent, 2 pocket compasses, knapsack, safety matches, .22 cal. rifle, 100 rounds ammunition for rifle, 2 whistles, leathr and webbing straps, canvas bucket, 2 cigarette lighters with feul, flints and wicks, bush knife, camp axe, small tent, mosquito netting insert, mosquito head nets, 3 tubes mmosquite dope, 2 flit guns, 1 quart Flit, hammock, 6 x 12 ft. canvas, 2 pair ice crampons, flashlights

      2 two-gallon canteens, 3 1 gallon water containers, fish hooks, fish line, cod jig, 3 knives, 3 forks, 3 spoons, tablespoon, can opener, egg beater, metal pan holder, iron grill, 2 blow torches, 3 pie plates, frying pan, 2 bake pans, kettle with cover, coffee pot, 2 cups, salt and pepper containers, 2 1-quart thermos bottles, umbrella, fish net

    3. Food

      Malted milk tablets, 6 lbs biscuits (Bordeaux bread), canned mlk, eggs, lard, coffee, tea, sugar, saxin, bouillon, corned beef, 12 emergency rations, etc. etc. Fresh food, trout, butter, and prepared meals taken on when available. About 30-35 lbs. In all.

    4. Clothing

      Special parkas, jackets, boots, winter underwear, winter helmets, etc. etc for arctic; exchanged for light suits etc. for the topics

    5. Luggage

      Canvas suit bag, 3 brief cases, parachute bag, suitcase for maps, and about a dozen zipper bags

    6. Stationery supplies

      Supply of cross-section paper, scissors, stapling pliers, paper clips, gummed labels, index tabs, transparent mending tape, sealing wax. Pencils: hard, soft colored. Fountain pens, ink, erasers, notebooks.

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