Chappaquiddick, 51 years ago, 40 years since McHenry Reconstruction

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MSI
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Chappaquiddick, 51 years ago, 40 years since McHenry Reconstruction

Post by MSI »

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On the NAPARS Facebook Page they had a post which began...
  • July 18, 2020 is "This week's Historical Crash as it marks 51 years since Ted Kennedy escaped a sinking car, and Mary Jo Kopechne drowned in his upside-down Oldsmobile at Chappaquidick..."
and contained a link to a story from Sept 2018 on History.com Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick Incident: What Really Happened
Which reminded me that we had prepared a crash reconstruction report and 3D HVOSM simulation for the journalist and investigative writer John Barron as part of an article he prepared for Readers Digest in 1980:
Recon graphics 1980.jpg
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  • In late 1979/early 1980, when Ray and I worked for an RTP consulting firm, Research Engineers, John Barron and Readers Digest first hired Ray to review a crash reconstruction expert report.
    • Ray discussed the report with them
      • His main points were that the report they had sent to him for review had some factual errors and did not appear to be a scientifically objective presentation of findings and conclusions.
      • John Barron/RD then decided to hire Ray to reconstruct the crash and prepare an objective scientific review report on the crash.
Ray and I are objective scientists and so never want any work to appear biased or political.
This was a crash reconstruction project like every other crash reconstruction project we have worked on...stick to the science and create an objective scientific crash reconstruction
  • For ANY crash reconstruction we always follow these steps:
    • Examine and evaluate the data/facts provided (tire mark measurements, photos, data),
    • Perform a scientific analysis,
    • Test and refine sensitivities of the analysis which may also include computer reconstruction/simulation if needed, required or requested.
    • Prepare an objective scientific report

The crash occurred on July 18, 1969, and Ray's report was to supplement the investigative article being written by John Barron for Reader's Digest magazine. The article included the following summary of Ray's reconstruction (also see page scans below):
  • Reader’s Digest then commissioned an elaborate scientific study by Raymond R. McHenry, one of the nation’s foremost experts in automobile-accident analysis. Utilizing sophisticated analytical techniques, validated by the Department of Transportation and accepted in numerous legal cases, McHenry fed masses of data—including the weight and wheelbase of the car, the elevation of the road, and the geometric features of the bridge—into an IBM computer. After repeated computer runs, he mathematically re-created the movements of the car. Here are what his final calculations reveal:

    • Driving on the wrong (left) side of the road, Kennedy approached the bridge at approximately 34 mph. (Abiding by rigorous scientific standards, McHenry stipulates that his speed computations could be an error by plus or minus 4 mph. Thus the car was traveling at a minimum outside of 30 mph; it could have been going as fast as 38 mph.
    • Kennedy saw the bridge when he was at least 50 feet away from it, probably from farther away. At least 17 feet from the bridge, he slammed the brakes down hard—”panic braking, “which locked the front wheels. Propelled by the high speed, the car skidded 17 feet along the road, about another 25 feet up the bridge; jumped a 5½-inch-high rub rail and hurtled approximately 35 more feet into the water. Despite Ken­nedy’s braking effort, the car was still traveling between 22 mph and 28 mph when it shot out over the pond.
Some notes on our work:
  • After doing a thorough analysis of the data and making hand calculations for speeds, etc Ray then used his HVOSM simulation program (now msmac3D) to simulate the vehicle running off the bridge and test and refine the findings from his hand calculations.
    Once completed they wanted us to create an animation of the reconstruction simulation and so I (Brian) did the computer graphics work.
    • I traveled to Duke (next town over in Durham, NC) and with the late Keith Nye placed my HP7221 pen plotter on an Oxberry animation stand with 16 mm movie camera and dialed up (at 1200 baud!) the Triangle University Computation Center(TUCC) computer which had a mainframe computer IBM 360/370 w/Amdahl processor to drive the plotter.
    • Dial-up back then wasn't anything like the graphical interfaces we take for granted today. Oh NO! You typed in commands on a command line and ran batch files to execute programs on the mainframe computer. You used a collection of JCL command lines to run the simulation program and then the graphics program and with a serial connection over the phone line had the computer send command data to move the pens on the HP7221A pen plotter!
    • Each frame took about 2-4 minutes to retrieve the data, drive the plotter and draw the vehicle at a position.
    • Then we'd CLICK and take a picture with the 16 mm movie camera and were ready to start another frame.
      • We initially attached a background cell to the pen plotter.
      • Then placed a blank acetate sheet (cell) over the background onto which the pen plotter drew the vehicle position and orientation (at that time it was a wire-form rendition of the simulated vehicle, see multi-exposure image below).
      • Once a frame was drawn the picture was taken with the 16 mm camera
      • We then removed the cell and placed a new clear cell on plotter and drew the next frame.
        • future projects were done with an Oxberry registration device and 3-hole punched acetate cells so the frames could be created remotely.
        • In this instance due to the rush schedule we had to do it LIVE!
    • Overall the project took approx 6-12 or more hours per view to film the vehicle movement sequence
      • 5 second simulation X 24 frames per second (for 16mm movie)=120 frames * (2-4 min per frame) = (240 to 480 minutes or 4-8 hours!) for EACH view of the simulated reconstruction
      • Modem connection interruptions (dial up joy!)/time for break pauses/etc., etc.
      • Time to remove/replace the blank cell on registration device
    • Once edited the 16 mm movie was transferred to video tape (format was on 1/4" tapes in late 70s)
    • I transported copies of the videos of the animation of the reconstruction to Reader's Digest office in NYC for delivery to the press.
      • I had a wonderful lunch with author John Barron and a colleague of his (sorry i forgot his name) which included discussions of many of the wild theories on the crash.
        • Conspiracy theories have been around about everything and anything well before the current internet cell phone driven social media cesspool!
    • I was the spokesperson for a news conference on the reconstruction commissioned by John Barron/Readers Digest
      • I expect, since i was only 23 at the time, and with reporters asking questions, I was probably "a deer in headlights" during the whole news conference!
      • The computer generated animation that we provided copies of made it to The Today show and some other network News programs
        • It was early 1980 and I believe it was one of the first or the first computer generated crash reconstruction visual displays appearing on network TV
        • My boss at the time, Herb Hill, gave our final version/master of the video to a local TV station to my irritation (get a copy made!) and so we have no copy of the final video
        • As an aside, due to bad weather, I got stuck at LGA for the night. Oh, the joys of LGA!
    • The animated video appeared on The Today show and some network news programs and most likely was the first time a 3D simulation reconstruction video appeared on network TV.
      • Back then there weren't DVRs or any ability to tape/review ALL news programs and so did not know which programs played the computer animated simulation video
Later that year, on July 1, 1980, Ray and I left Research Engineers and formed McHenry Consultants. We started our 41st year July 1, 2020.
Below is a scan of the printed page from the original article with the summary related to Ray and my work:
  • Note that in the Updated: Apr. 11, 2018 online version Readers Digest does not include the computer graphics image in the printed version?
RD page on mchenry1.jpg
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Cover of magazine:
ScanRD cover.jpg
ScanRD cover.jpg (88.66 KiB) Viewed 743 times
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MSI
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Re: Chappaquiddick, 51 years ago, 40 years since McHenry Reconstruction

Post by MSI »

Just saw a video posted to twitter on the same process we used In 1979-1980s for creating Computer animations.
For the Chappaquiddick animation, we did not have Oxberry punched acetate cells for the pen plotter to draw on.
After that project and in preparation for future projects we did get the cels and registration device (so frames could be generated and it didn't have to be prepared 'live')
We also branched out into other animation techniques like with the Textronix 4000-1
However with the HP7221A pen plotter the animation technique was:
  • Prepare a crash investigation and reconstruction
  • Use a simulation model to test and refine opinions
  • Then create an animation of the simulation as follows:
    • Create a background
    • have a computer draw a cell of the simulated vehicle with the HP7221A pen plotter
    • Removed cell, Put new cell on
    • Repeat
We could then take the cells to the Oxberry animation stand and shoot them frame-by-frame on a movie camera.
Note in the Disney video the registration device on the bottom is the same as we got shortly after the first project on the HP7221A.
Same one we used:
This is the Oxberry registration device (at bottom of the frame in video below):
oxberry animation cell register.jpg
oxberry animation cell register.jpg (12.55 KiB) Viewed 577 times
This is them putting a cell onto it
frame from Disney on animation.jpg
frame from Disney on animation.jpg (37.44 KiB) Viewed 577 times
watch the video:
" 12, 2020</a></blockquote>
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Question? Comment? Please email us (all communications considered confidential)
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MSI
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Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:37 pm

Re: Chappaquiddick, 51 years ago, 40 years since McHenry Reconstruction

Post by MSI »

July 22, 2021 article in People magazine
a People Exclusive
What Happened to the Bridge Where Ted Kennedy Crashed and a Woman Died

Chappaquiddick Bridge.jpg
Chappaquiddick Bridge.jpg (81.56 KiB) Viewed 38 times
also found other photos online
Chappaquiddick Bridge2jpg.jpg
Chappaquiddick Bridge2jpg.jpg (62.75 KiB) Viewed 37 times
Chappaquiddick Bridge3.jpg
Chappaquiddick Bridge3.jpg (45.67 KiB) Viewed 37 times
Chappaquiddick Bridge4.jpg
Chappaquiddick Bridge4.jpg (38.32 KiB) Viewed 37 times
NEW!! LEASE pricing of msmac3D Software!!
FOR MORE TOPICS see:Forum Index & McHenrySoftware.com
Question? Comment? Please email us (all communications considered confidential)
(c)McHenry Software, Inc ALL Rights Reserved.
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