About Amelia Earhart
She was born July 24, 1897, in Atchinson, Kansas. Amelia Earhart was one of our most celebrated aviators then, and still is today. She broke all sorts of flying records and charted new territories in a time when there were very few people that flew in planes. She was an inspiration for people all over the world—especially for women, as her independent spirit was admired and envied.
Amelia set an example for girls everywhere. She proved women can do anything they set their minds to—at a time when many people thought there were plenty of things women couldn't and shouldn't do. Flying was definitely one of those "shouldn't do's." Amelia loved airplanes. She used to go watch the barnstorming shows that were popular when she was growing up. One day, she got on one of those planes for a 10-minute ride. She was hooked for good.
At the age of 24, she earned her pilot's license. She was in a very small club. Only 15 other women had earned their pilot's licenses before her. She made her first solo flight in 1921.
On June 26, 1928, Amelia became the 1st woman passenger to fly across the Atlantic. The tri-motor "Friendship" was piloted by two men. She served as the commander. She wanted more. She wanted to fly the plane herself. Soon she did.
On May 21, 1932, Amelia became the first woman to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean. She was 34 years old. Amelia's flight set a new transatlantic crossing record of 13 hours, 30 minutes. She received a medal from U.S. President Herbert Hoover. She wasn't done, however.
She became the 1st woman to fly solo from Hawaii to California in 1935. A cheering crowd greeted her arrival.
All America Loves Amelia
Amelia earned the nickname "Lady Lindy" because her slim build and facial features resembled that of Charles Lindbergh.
She made such an impression on the public that people wrote to her and told her they'd named their babies after her. Towns and cities named streets and lakes after her. Even the First Lady loved Amelia. Eleanor Roosevelt wanted to learn to fly. Amelia was going to teach her. Ms. Roosevelt even got her student permit.
On St. Patrick's Day, March 1937, Amelia and her flight crew flew out of Oakland, headed towards Hawaii on what was to be a record-setting flight around the world.
The flight was full of problems from the very start. They stopped in Hawaii to attempt repairs, but the problems were so severe they had to ship the plane back to the factory in Burbank, California. Amelia's plane, an Electra 10E, was made by Lockheed and it was their first all-metal twin-engine plane.
They had a few kinks to work out. The plane was finally repaired and Amelia was ready to try again. This time Amelia decided to fly the other direction. West to east. Her only companion on the flight this time was her navigator, Fred Noonan.
On June 1, 1937, Amelia and Fred took off from Miami to try their round-the-world trip again. They flew through South America, Africa, India, and Southeast Asia and finally made it to New Guinea. They only had 7,000 more miles to fly. Straight across the Pacific to California. They never made it.
Amelia and Noonan vanished along with the Electra somewhere over the Pacific. The United States government sent out a search party—the most expensive and intensive air-and-sea search in history up to that time. They spent $4 million searching for Amelia.
They knew where she'd last been seen. People had even heard her distress calls over their own shortwave radios. Yet it was all for nothing. Amelia had simply vanished. No trace of her, Noonan, or the Electra was ever found. Some theorized that President Roosevelt had sent Amelia on a spy mission and that she and Noonan were captured by the Japanese. Or had something mysterious affected their plane and radio? Perhaps someday, the mystery will be solved.
Amelia Was an Inspiration
Amelia's bravery and free spirit continue to inspire young women today. What records will you set? What new boundaries will you explore?