Amelia Mary Earhart
Aviation pioneer and first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean
“ Never interrupt someone doing something you said couldn’t be done.”
July 24, 1897
July 2, 1937
En route from Lae, New Guinea to Howland Island in the central Pacific Ocean
A noted American aviation pioneer, Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set many other records as well. During an attempt to make a flight around the globe in 1937 in her Lockheed Model 10 Electra plane, Earhart disappeared on July 2 over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. Fascination with her life, career and disappearance continues to this day. Though many theories exist, there is no proof of her fate. Amelia will always be remembered for her courage, vision and groundbreaking achievements, both in aviation and for women.
The World Flight
In 1937, she set out in her Lockheed Electra with navigator Fred Noonan. The trip was beset by uncertainties, dangers and faulty equipment. On the last leg of their journey, radio contact was lost as they were flying to Howland Island, a tiny island in the Pacific. Amelia was heard saying that the fog was so thick she could not see. That was the last contact anyone had with her. It is believed that she and Fred Noonan went down in the ocean. No trace has been found of Amelia, Fred Noonan or their airplane. Even today, their fate is unknown.
The journey was originally intended to start from California and head west across the Pacific to fly around the world at the equator. during the first attempt, only one leg of the flight was completed from Oakland to Hawaii on March 17 1937 when Earhart made an emergency landing due to problems with variable-pitch propellers.
Afterwards, the route was reversed to fly eastward and take advantage of winds expected at that time of year.
Earhart and Noonan departed Oakland on May 20, 1937 for Miami where the world flight was officially announced to the public.
They departed Miami on June 1, covering 22,000 miles (35,400km) while making stops in South America, Africa, India, Southeast Ais, and Australia before arriving at Lae, New Guinea on June 29. The remaining 7,000 miles (11,300km) of the flight would cross the Pacific with refueling stops on tiny Howland Island and Oahu before returning to Oakland.
They left Lae on the morning of July 2 headed northeast to uninhabited Howland Island where they were to meet US Coast Guard cutter Itasca for fuel and rest, but never arrived.
Amelia Earhart’s Electra 10E was a twin-engine, all-metal monoplane airliner developed by the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in the 1930s. The aircraft gained considerable fame as it was flown by Amelia on her ill-fated around-the-world expedition in 1937.
LIVING HISTORY PERFORMER: Maxine Capua
Maxine worked for Continental Airlines for 5 years, from 1956-1961. Later, after marriage, she worked as a Marketing Director.
- Despite having to attend six different high schools, she was able to graduate on time.
- Earhart was called “Lady Lindy” because her slim build and facial features resembled that of Charles Lindbergh.
- Earhart refused to don typical flying gear—she wore a suit or dress instead of the “high-bread aviation togs,” a close-fitting hat instead of a helmet, didn’t put on her goggles until she taxied to the end of the field, and removed them immediately upon landing.
- She developed a friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt, who wanted to learn how to fly. Earhart had planned to teach her, for which the First Lady even got her student permit.
- Earhart met Orville Wright at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia in 1937, the same year she disappeared.
- Earhart had such an impression on public that people often wrote and told her about naming babies, lakes, and even homing pigeons “Amelia.”
- The United States government spent $4 million looking for Earhart, which made it the most costly and intensive air and sea search in history at that time.
- She was the 16th woman to receive a pilot’s license from the FAI (License No. 6017)
Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10E Special, NR16020, 1937.
- January 3, 1921 Began flying lessons with Neta Snook
- July 1921 Bought first plane, the Kinner Airster (“The Canary”)
- October 22, 1922 Broke women’s altitude record when she rose to 14,000 feet
- June 17-18, 1928 First woman to fly across the Atlantic; 20hrs 40min (Fokker F7, Friendship)
- Summer 1928 Bought an Avro Avian, a small English plane famous because Lady Mary Heath, Britain’s foremost woman pilot, had flown it solo from Capetown, South Africa, to London
- Fall 1928 Published book, 20 Hours 40 Minutes, toured, and lectured; became aviation editor of Cosmopolitan magazine
- August 1929 Placed third in the First Women’s Air Derby, also known as the Powder Puff Derby; upgraded from her Avian to a Lockheed Vega
- Fall 1929 Elected as an official for National Aeronautic Association and encouraged the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) to establish separate world altitude, speed, and endurance records for women
- June 25, 1930 Set women’s speed record for 100 kilometers with no load and with a load of 500 kilograms
- July 5, 1930 Set speed record for of 181.18mph over a 3K course
- September 1930 Helped to organize and became vice president of public relations for new airline, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington Airways
- April 8, 1931 Set woman’s autogiro altitude record with 18,415 feet (in a Pitcairn autogiro)
- May 20-21, 1932 First woman to fly solo across the Atlantic; 14 hrs 56 min (it was also the 5th anniversary of Lindberg’s Atlantic flight; awarded National Geographic Society’s gold medal from President Herbert Hoover; Congress awarded her the Distinguished Flying Cross; wrote The Fun of It about her journey
- August 24-25, 1932 First woman to fly solo nonstop coast to coast; set women’s nonstop transcontinental speed record, flying 2,447.8 miles in 19hrs 5min
- Fall 1932 Elected president of the Ninety Nines, a new women’s aviation club which she helped to form
- July 7-8, 1933 Broke her previous transcontinental speed record by making the same flight in 17hrs 7min
- January 11, 1935 First person to solo the 2,408-mile distance across the Pacific between Honolulu and Oakland, California; also first flight where a civilian aircraft carried a two-way radio
- April l9 – 20, 1935 First person to fly solo from Los Angeles to Mexico City; 13hrs 23min
- May 8, 1935 First person to fly solo nonstop from Mexico City to Newark; 14hrs 19min
- March 17, 1937 Amelia and her navigator, Fred Noonan, along with Captain Harry Manning and stunt pilot Paul Mantz, fly the first leg of the trip from Oakland, California, to Honolulu, Hawaii, in 15 hours and 47 minutes
- June 1, 1937 Began flight around the world June 1937; first person to fly from the Red Sea to India
- July 2, 1937 Disappeared on July 2 over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island