Inspiration November 8, 2016
NAME: Amelia Earhart
LIFETIME: July 24, 1897 – Disappeared July 2, 1937. Declared dead in absentia on January 5, 1937.
WHAT SHE IS KNOWN FOR: Amelia Earhart was a pioneer aviator for women, an author and a feminist. She paved the way for more women in aviation and completed many “first” flights for women.
WHY WE LOVE HER: Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic and set a record for the highest altitude flown by a woman. In addition, she was the first woman to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic and was the first person to fly from Hawaii to California.
She saved up $1000 to get flying lessons in 1921 and bought her first plane – nicknamed “The Canary” – shortly after two years of lessons. Only the the sixteenth woman to be issued a pilot’s license, Earhart, after 20 hours and 40 minutes of flight time touched down in South Wales as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
She traded in “The Canary” and purchased “Old Bessie, the fire horse.” Flying “Old Bessie,” Earhart participated in air races, but was hindered by her lack of speed. Soon she began planning her around the fatal world trip and purchased the “Flying Laboratory.”
On July 2, 1927, Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan departed from Lae Airfield, Papua New Guinea. At the time of her disappearance, Earhart had flown 75 percent of the journey. After leaving Lae, there had been continuous communication problems between Earhart and the naval ship that was helping to navigate her. Her last transmission was received at 8:43 a.m.
Earhart’s disappearance resulted in the most extensive search and rescue mission ever taken on by the United States. When her body was not found, multiple theories emerged explaining her disappearance. While most theories supported the crash-and-sink idea, recent skeletal findings have emerged which might prove that Earhart was actually stranded as a castaway on the island of Nikumaroro, where she later died.
FUN FACT: Earhart’s first attempt at flying was made when she was a child. She and an uncle built a ramp, much like a rollercoaster, and attached it to the roof of the toolshed. She flew down the ramp in a wooden box and ended up in a heap on the ground. This was Earhart’s first experience in the air leading her to consider flying as a career.
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