Date: Thu, 06 Jul 2006 11:11:29 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: transcriptions / accrep

In a message dated 7/6/2006 5:36:03 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

Subj: Re: transcriptions / accrep
Date: 7/6/2006 5:36:03 AM Pacific Standard Time
Sent from the Internet

At 08:06 AM 7/6/2006 -0400, you wrote:

>B:  Previously you said there is no rush.  As you know I'm under the gun
>on a major project this week.

There isn't. Take your time. Drew can wait on phase three and I'll just
give him our status. This is for US, not for THEM.

Another problem is the need to put in time analyzing the timeline to get it consistent, which I have now done in my mind though not all worked out in writing.  It looks like at 2:50 PM Mantell and his men made their last radio position report and were several miles out from Godman and that's when Godman asked him to check out the UFO.  Mantell took his men into a tight right spiral climb from 5,000 to 14,000 ft in about 1-1/2 turns taking till about 2:54 at which point Hendricks bugged out and headed home to Standiford at about 5 minutes flight time at their 300 mph speed (given on the flight plan) landing at 3:01.  This was the only time Mantell went into max power climb, these 4 minutes while right over Godman Field, from 2:50 to 2:54 PM.  Afterward he leveled off into a straight line on the heading Godman gave him for the UFO. 

Mantell and remaining two wingmen thus headed SSW in a GRADUAL CLIMB of about 400-500 ft/min, NOT the bogus MAX CLIMB of 2,000-4,000 ft/min (it decreases as one flies higher because of thinner air).  Had they used max climb they would never have made it out of the vicinity of Godman.  It takes only 4 minutes at max climb for P-51D to go from 14,000 to 22,500 ft and they would have gotten only 12 miles from Godman at the reduced speed required by max climb (180 mph), barely gotten to Elizabethtown. 

They would have reached Bowling Green in 11 minutes at 3:05 at 360 mph (faster than their flight plan cruise speed of 300 mph), reaching 20,000 ft in their gradual climb. 
Because of the gross falsehoods in Clements' testimony it is not yet possible to determine when he broke off from Mantell -- an act of insubordination to his commanding officer (Mantell).  He claims he stayed with Mantell to 22,500 ft.  If trying to be consistent with his max climb lie then maybe that means less than 2 minutes. 

Mantell would have reached Franklin by 3:08.  If the ground witnesses, the Mayes family, are correct in seeing Mantell make 3 full turns before diving, breaking up and crashing then 3 medium-speed turns takes about 9 minutes (this seems to be Mantell's preference), taking us to about 3:17 PM for when Mantell suddenly dove, perhaps suffering from cumulative hypoxia.  Mantell had had to be in fairly full control of his plane to do three standard 360-turns and hypoxia can suddenly catch up with you and cause balckout. 

But it seems unlikely bordering on impossible for Mantell to have been without oxygen above 14,000 ft for 27 minutes from 2:50 to 3:17 PM.  He could not have made it that long.  He apparently knew the official AF instruction is that you can take 10 minutes without oxygen at 20,000 ft (in his last or near-to-last radio comment to Clements at about 20,000 ft he mentioned flying 10 more minutes then dropping pursuit but failed to consider that he had already been too high for too long without oxygen perhaps 18-20 minutes at 14,000-20,000+ ft which is probably close to the limit). 

My conclusion is that when Mantell got near Franklin he was feeling the effects of oxygen deprivation and took his plane down to lower altitude in an (unsuccessful) effort to get more oxygen, and he did so in his evidently standard right spiral turn.  In other words it was too little too late, but he was mostly still in control.  He probably lapsed in and out of consciousness as he struggled to maintain control of the aircraft in lower and lower altitudes.

At around 10,000 ft (supposedly) the plane started breaking up with a bang.  Mantell did not crash nose down but pancaked flat.  Therefore he must have tried to pull up from the fatal dive and got it slowed into a landing pattern but stalled out and pancaked, and he impacted at 3:18 PM when his wristwatch stopped.  He was killed by severe head injury not from hypoxia.  The Accident Board probably made up the story that he died in mid-flight from hypoxia (they erroneoulsy say "anoxia" without understanding that means zero oxygen) to spare the family anguish.  He had to be fairly conscious to have gotten the plane out of the deadly dive.  But still need to investigate how the P-51D would get into a dive if a pilot loses consciousness.

Also another factor missed by many is that the crash direction, orientation and location of Mantell's plane looks like he was trying to LAND THE PLANE ON THE NEARBY ROAD but lost his wing because of structural damage from the dive and crashed despite all efforts.  The road, Lake Spring Road, is oriented almost exactly the same direction as Mantell's plane, about NNE-SSW and is only about 100 feet to the left of Mantell's flight path (the crash site map is NOT TO SCALE so the distance is a rough guess).

This again puts an entirely different coloration on the whole incident.  Mantell must have thought he was still in control most of the time (almost to impact) that he was in fact already suffering from hypoxia -- this is one of the extreme dangers of hypoxia, that it is so deceptive in its effects.  The drive to get to the UFO in the sky distracted him from realizing he was gradually climbing too high and his wingmen likewise were distracted and they failed to warn him (Clements of course having oxygen).  There was no continuous high power climb.  It all happened too gradually over the course of about 10 minutes of straight-line pursuit.