The woman who was born to fly
Amelia Earhart, known as well as "Lady Lindy," was an famous American female aviator disappeared in mysterious conditions in 1937 while attempting to navigate aroud the Earth from the equator. Amelia was the sixteenth woman to be recorded with a pilot license. She had many notable flights, and in 1928 she become the first woman to cross flying the Atlantic Ocean and as well as the first person to fly over both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. After she dissapeared, Earhart was declared dead in 1939.
Amelia's Family - Life and Education
Earhart was born in America on the 24th of July 1897 in Kansas. She spent most of her childhood with her maternal grandparents. Amelia's mother, Amy Otis, married a man who showed much promise for the future, but unable to break his problems of alcohol. Edwin Earhart was on an interrupted search to establish his career but when the situation got bad, Amy would send Amelia and her older sister Muriel to their grandparents' home. Exploring the neighborhood, walking in the surrounding forrests, climbing trees, hunting for rats and playing with insects, the girls were exposed to a lot of adventures.
When Earhart was at the age of 10, her father struggled to find and maintain gainful employment. This was the reason the family had to move around many times and Amelia had to attend several different schools. In school, Amelia showed aptitudes from the beginning for science and sports. But in early 1915, Amy separated from Edwin and moved her daughters to Chicago to live with some close friends. In Chicago, Amelia attended Hyde Park High School, where she was brilliant in chemistry. Her father was still unable to provide the family which led Earhart to become independent and rely on nobody else to "take care" of her.
Visit the official Amelia Earhart website.www.ameliaearhart.com
Shortly after graduation, Amelia spent a Christmas holiday in Toronto, Canada, visiting her sister. She volunteered as a nurse for the Red Cross beeing impressed by seeing wounded soldiers returning from World War I. Spending a lot of her time watching the Royal Flying Corps practicing at the airfield, she came to know many wounded pilots and developed a deep admiration for aviators. Earhart started medical studies at Columbia University in 1919 but she quit one year later and reunited with her parents in California.
Learning to Fly and Early Career
Amelia's life transformed after she took a plane ride during the Long Beach air show in 1920. The trip took only 10 minutes, but once landed she knew she had to learn to fly. During the last years, working at a variety of jobs, as truck driver, photographer, Amelia earned enough money to pay for her flying lessons from pioneer aviator Anita "Neta" Snook. Earhart dedicated most of her time in learning to fly. She devorated all the books she could find about flying and spent a lot of her time at the airfield. She also changed her look, wearing her hair short, in the style of other women aviators. Always concernedabout what the other experienced pilots might think of her, she slept in her leather jacket for a few nights to give it a more "worn" look.
During all this period, Amelia and her family lived mostly on from Amy's mother's inheritance estate. She was the one responsible to administrate the money but in 1924, the funds had run out. With this difficult economical situation and no immediate prospects of making a living flying, Earhart sold her plane. After her parents' divorce in 1925, both Amelia and her mother started a trip across the country from California and ending up in Boston. In 1925, she enrolled again in Columbia University but after a while had to abandon her studies due to lack of finances. Earhart had to find again employment, first as a teacher, then as a social worker.
In 1927 Earhart got back into aviation, becoming a member of the Boston American Aeronautical Society. She invested a small amount of money in the Dennison Airport from Massachusetts and acted as a sales representative for Kinner Airplanes in the Boston area. Soon she was a local celebrity, as she wrote articles promoting flying, in the local newspaper.
Amelia's First Transatlantic Flight as a Passenger
After Charles Lindbergh accomplished first solo flight from New York to Paris in May 1927, interest for having a woman fly across the Atlantic grow and in April 1928, Earhart was asked - by Captain Hilton Railey, pilot and publicity man - "Would you like to fly the Atlantic?" Without any hesitation, she said "YES." Soon after this short phone conversation, Amelia had to travel to be interviewed in New Yorkand where she met with project coordinators, including publisher George Putnam. She had to leave a good impression after the interview because soon she was chosed to be the first woman on a transatlantic flight as a passenger, a flight too dangerous for a woman in the eyes of the public oppinion that time.
(Continues after the following article: "15 Fascinating Facts About Amelia Earhart")
Fifteen Fascinating Things About Amelia Earhart
by BY AMANDA GREEN JULY 24, 2019 - Mentalfloss.com
1. AMELIA EARHART WASN'T SO IMPRESSED THE FIRST TIME SHE SAW AN AIRPLANE.
In "Last Flight", a posthumously published diary, Amelia Earhart remembered feeling unmoved by "a thing of rusty wire and wood" at the Iowa State Fair in 1908. Only a few years later, when she worked as a nurse at Toronto's Spadina Military Hospital she discovered her passion for aviation. Amelia and some colleagues would spend time at hangars and flying fields, managing to know and talking to pilots and watching aerial shows. The first time she actually get on a plane was in 1920, and even then she was just a passenger.
2. AMELIA EARHART WAS A GOOD STUDENT, BUT HAD NO PATIENCE FOR SCHOOL.
After working with the Voluntary Aid Detachment in Toronto, Earhart took pre-med classes at Columbia University in 1919. She made good grades, but abandoned school after just a year. In 1925, Earhart re-started at Columbia but soon left school again. She took summer classes at Harvard, but gave up for good after being refused a scholarship to MIT.
3. AMELIA EARHART WAS TAUGHT HOW TO FLY BY ANOTHER PIONEERING FEMALE AVIATOR.
Neta Snook was the first woman to run her own aviation business and commercial airfield. In 1921 she gave Earhart flying lessons at Kinner Field near Long Beach, California, charging $1 in Liberty Bonds for every minute they spent in the air.
4. SIX MONTHS AFTER TAKING HER FIRST FLYING LESSON, AMELIA BOUGHT HER FIRST PLANE.
The yellow Kinner Airster biplane was the second one ever built. It was a used plane, but in good condition and she named it "The Canary". Earhart paid $2000 for it, despite Snook's opinion that it was overpriced and difficult for a beginner to land.
5. AMELIA EARHART'S MOM ENCOURAGED HER PASSION. HER FATHER, ON THE OTHER HAND, WAS AFRAID OF FLYING.
Earhart's mom, Amy was a bit of an adventurer herself, too: she was the first woman registered to climb Pikes Peak in Colorado. Amy, helped to pay for The Canary using part of her inheritance.
6. AMELIA EARHART WORKED A LOT OF ODD JOBS.
In addition to volunteering as a nurse's aide, Earhart also worked early jobs as a telephone operator, teacher, sales agent. When she was invited to join a flight across the Atlantic for the first time, as a passenger, in 1928, Earhart was working as a social worker at Denison House in Boston. Earhart spent time writing articles first for local newspapers, making speeches, and career counseling at Purdue University's Department of Aeronautics. And of course, flying around the world.
7. AMELIA EARHART WASN'T SURE ABOUT MARRIAGE, BUT SHE DEFINITELY BELIEVED IN PRE-NUPS.
When promoter George Putnam contacted Earhart about flying across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928, it was the beginning of their love story. They had a working relationship, which soon turned into attraction. Putnam's first marriage fell apart and he proposed to Earhart. She said yes, but asked Putnam to agree to a trial marriage: if they weren't happy after a year, they'd be free to go their separate ways, without hard feelings. He agreed. They lived happily until Amelia's disappearance.
8. AMELIA EARHART WROTE ARTICLES ABOUT FLYING FOR COSMOPOLITAN.
In 1928, Earhart was appointed Cosmopolitan's Aviation Editor. She had 16 published articles — among them "Shall You Let Your Daughter Fly?" and "Why Are Women Afraid to Fly?" — talking about her adventures and encouraging other women to fly, even if they just did so commercially. (Commercial flights date back to 1914, but they wouldn't really take off until after World War II.)
9. FIRST LADY ELEANOR ROOSEVELT WAS SO INSPIRED BY AMELIA EARHART THAT SHE SIGNED UP FOR FLYING LESSONS.
The two became friends in 1932. Roosevelt got a student permit and a physical examination, but never followed through with her plan.
10. AMELIA EARHART WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO GET A PILOT'S LICENSE FROM THE NATIONAL AERONAUTIC ASSOCIATION (NAA).
That was in 1923, when pilots and aircrafts weren't legally required to be licensed. Earhart was the sixteenth woman to get licensed by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), which was required to set flight records. Still, the FAI didn't maintain women's records until 1928.
11. AMELIA EARHART ACCOMPLISHED A LOT OF "FIRSTS."
Earhart eventually became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic as a passenger (1928) and then solo (1932) and nonstop from coast to coast (1932) as a pilot. She also set records, period: Earhart was the first person to ever fly solo from Honolulu to Oakland, Los Angeles to Mexico City, and Mexico City to Newark, all in 1935. What do John Glenn, George H.W. Bush, and Amelia Earhart have in common? They all earned an Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross. But only Earhart was the first woman—and one of few civilians—to do so.
12. AMELIA EARHARTS WAS ONE OF THE FIRST CELEBRITIES TO LAUNCH A CLOTHING LINE.
Amelia Earhart Fashions were affordable separates sold exclusively at Macy's and Marshall Field's. The line's dresses, blouses, pants, suits, and hats were made of cotton and parachute silk and featured aviation-inspired details, like propeller-shaped buttons. Earhart studied sewing as a girl and actually made her own samples.
13. THE U.S. GOVERNMENT SPENT $4 MILLION SEARCHING FOR AMELIA EARHART.
At the time, it was the most expensive air and sea search in history. Earhart's plane disappeared July 2, 1937. The official search ended a little over two weeks later on July 19. Putnam then financed a private search, chartering boats to the Phoenix Islands, Christmas Island, Fanning Island, the Gilbert Islands, and the Marshall Islands.
14. THE SEARCH ISN'T OVER.
There are several theories about what happened to Earhart's plane during her last flight. Most people believe she ran out of fuel and crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Others believe she landed on an island and died of thirst, starvation, injury, or at the hands of Japanese soldiers in Saipan. In 1970, one man even claimed that Earhart was alive and well and living a secret life in New Jersey.
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has explored the theory that Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan lived as castaways before dying on Gardner Island, now called Nikumaroro, in the western Pacific (Google Maps link). Over the years, they've found a few potential artifacts, including evidence of campfire sites, pieces of Plexiglas, and an empty jar of the brand of freckle cream that Earhart used. In early July 2017, a photo surfaced that seemed to confirm the theory that Earhart and Noonan crashed and were captured by Japanese soldiers, but that photo was quickly debunked. In March 2018, a forensic analysis of bones discovered on a Pacific Island were said to be Earhart's.
15. TODAY, ANOTHER AMELIA EARHART IS MAKING HISTORY.
In 2014, another pilot named Amelia Earhart took to the skies to set a world record. The then-31-year-old California native became the youngest woman to fly 24,300 miles around the world in a single-engine plane. Her namesake never completed the journey, but the younger Earhart landed safely in Oakland on July 11, 2014. We think "Lady Lindy" would be proud.
On June 17, 1928, Earhart took off from Trespassey Harbor, Newfoundland, in a Fokker F.Vllb/3m named Friendship. Accompanying her on the flight was pilot Wilmer "Bill" Stultz and co-pilot/mechanic Louis E. "Slim" Gordon. Approximately 20 hours and 40 minutes later, they touched down at Burry Point, Wales, in the United Kingdom. Due to the weather, Stultz did all the flying. Even though this was the agreed upon arrangement, Earhart later confided that she felt she "was just baggage, like a sack of potatoes." Then she added, "... maybe someday I'll try it alone."
The Friendship team returned to the United States, greeted by a ticker-tape parade in New York, and later a reception held in their honor with President Calvin Coolidge at the White House. The press dubbed Earhart "Lady Lindy," a derivative of the "Lucky Lind," nickname for Lindbergh.
Book: '20 Hrs., 40 Min.'
In 1928, Earhart wrote a book about aviation and her transatlantic experience, 20 Hrs., 40 Min. Upon publication that year, Earhart’s collaborator and publisher, George Putnam, heavily promoted her through a book and lecture tours and product endorsements. Earhart actively became involved in the promotions, especially with women's fashions. For years she had sewn her own clothes, and now she contributed her input to a new line of women's fashion that embodied a sleek and purposeful, yet feminine, look.
Through her celebrity endorsements, Earhart gained notoriety and acceptance in the public eye. She accepted a position as associate editor at Cosmopolitan magazine, using the media outlet to campaign for commercial air travel. From this forum, she became a promoter for Transcontinental Air Transport, later known as Trans World Airlines (TWA), and was a vice president of National Airways, which flew routes in the northeast.
Earhart's public persona presented a gracious and somewhat shy woman who displayed remarkable talent and bravery. Yet deep inside, Earhart harbored a burning desire to distinguish herself as different from the rest of the world. She was an intelligent and competent pilot who never panicked or lost her nerve, but she was not a brilliant aviator. Her skills kept pace with aviation during the first decade of the century but, as technology moved forward with sophisticated radio and navigation equipment, Earhart continued to fly by instinct.
She recognized her limitations and continuously worked to improve her skills, but the constant promotion and touring never gave her the time she needed to catch up. Recognizing the power of her celebrity, she strove to be an example of courage, intelligence and self-reliance. She hoped her influence would help topple negative stereotypes about women and open doors for them in every field.
First Solo Flight Across the Atlantic by a Woman
On May 20, 1932, Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, in a nearly 15-hour voyage from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland to Culmore, Northern Ireland. Before their marriage, Earhart and Putnam worked on secret plans for a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. By early 1932, they had made their preparations and announced that, on the fifth anniversary of Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic, Earhart would attempt the same feat.
Earhart took off in the morning from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, with that day's copy of the local newspaper to confirm the date of the flight. Almost immediately, the flight ran into difficulty as she encountered thick clouds and ice on the wings. After about 12 hours the conditions got worse, and the plane began to experience mechanical difficulties. She knew she wasn't going to make it to Paris as Lindbergh had, so she started looking for a new place to land. She found a pasture just outside the small village of Culmore, in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, and successfully landed.
On May 22, 1932, Earhart made an appearance at the Hanworth Airfield in London, where she received a warm welcome from local residents. Earhart's flight established her as an international hero. As a result, she won many honors, including the Gold Medal from the National Geographic Society, presented by President Hoover; the Distinguished Flying Cross from the U.S. Congress; and the Cross of the Knight of the Legion of Honor from the French government.
Final Flight and Disappearance
Earhart’s attempt to be the first person to circumnavigate the earth around the equator ultimately resulted in her disappearance on July 2, 1937. Earhart purchased a Lockheed Electra L-10E plane and pulled together a top-rated crew of three men: Captain Harry Manning, Fred Noonan and Paul Mantz. Manning, who had been the captain of the President Roosevelt, which brought Earhart back from Europe in 1928, would become Earhart's first navigator. Noonan, who had vast experience in both marine and flight navigation, was to be the second navigator. Mantz, a Hollywood stunt pilot, was chosen to be Earhart's technical advisor.
The original plan was to take off from Oakland, California, and fly west to Hawaii. From there, the group would fly across the Pacific Ocean to Australia. Then they would cross the sub-continent of India, on to Africa, then to Florida, and back to California.
On March 17, 1937, they took off from Oakland on the first leg. They experienced some periodic problems flying across the Pacific and landed in Hawaii for some repairs at the United States Navy's Field on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor. After three days, the Electra began its takeoff, but something went wrong. Earhart lost control and looped the plane on the runway. How this happened is still the subject of some controversy. Several witnesses, including an Associated Press journalist, said they saw a tire blow. Other sources, including Paul Mantz, indicated it was a pilot error. Though no one was seriously hurt, the plane was severely damaged and had to be shipped back to California for extensive repairs.
In the interim, Earhart and Putnam secured additional funding for a new flight. The stress of the delay and the grueling fund-raising appearances left Earhart exhausted. By the time the plane was repaired, weather patterns and global wind changes required alterations to the flight plan. This time Earhart and her crew would fly east. Captain Harry Manning would not join the team, due to previous commitments. Paul Mantz was also absent, reportedly due to a contract dispute.
After flying from Oakland to Miami, Florida, Earhart and Noonan took off on June 1st from Miami with much fanfare and publicity. The plane flew toward Central and South America, turning east for Africa. From there, the plane crossed the Indian Ocean and finally touched down in Lae, New Guinea, on June 29, 1937. About 22,000 miles of the journey had been completed. The remaining 7,000 miles would take place over the Pacific.
In Lae, Earhart contracted dysentery that lasted for days. While she recuperated, several necessary adjustments were made to the plane. Extra amounts of fuel were stowed on board. The parachutes were packed away, for there would be no need for them while flying along the vast and desolate Pacific Ocean.
The Electra's crew ran into difficulty almost from the start. Witnesses to the July 2 takeoff reported that a radio antenna may have been damaged. It is also believed that, due to the extensive overcast conditions, Noonan might have had extreme difficulty with celestial navigation. If that weren't enough, it was later discovered that the flyers were using maps that may have been inaccurate. According to experts, evidence shows that the charts used by Noonan and Earhart placed Howland Island nearly six miles off its actual position.
These circumstances led to a series of problems that couldn't be solved. As Earhart and Noonan reached the supposed position of Howland Island, they maneuvered into their north and south tracking route to find the island. They looked for visual and auditory signals from the Itasca, but for various reasons, radio communication was very poor that day. There was also confusion between Earhart and the Itasca over which frequencies to use, and a misunderstanding as to the agreed upon check-in time; the flyers were operating on Greenwich Civil Time and the Itasca was operating on the naval time zone, which set their schedules 30 minutes apart.
On the morning of July 2, 1937, at 7:20 AM, Earhart reported her position, placing the Electra on a course at 20 miles southwest of the Nukumanu Islands. At 7:42 AM, the Itasca picked up this message from the Earhart: "We must be on you, but we cannot see you. Fuel is running low. Been unable to reach you by radio. We are flying at 1,000 feet." The ship replied but there was no indication that Earhart heard this. The flyers' last communication was at 8:43 AM. Though the transmission was marked as "questionable," it is believed Earhart and Noonan thought they were running along the north, south line. However, Noonan's chart of Howland's position was off by five nautical miles. The Itasca released its oil burners in an attempt to signal the flyers, but they apparently did not see it. In all likelihood, their tanks ran out of fuel and they had to ditch at sea.
When the Itasca realized that they had lost contact, they began an immediate search. Despite the efforts of 66 aircraft and nine ships — an estimated $4 million rescue authorized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt — the fate of the two flyers remained a mystery. The official search ended on July 18, 1937, but Putnam financed additional search efforts, working off tips of naval experts and even psychics in an attempt to find his wife. In October 1937, he acknowledged that any chance of Earhart and Noonan surviving was gone. On January 5, 1939, Earhart was declared legally dead by the Superior Court in Los Angeles.
Source: History.com, Biography.com, Wikipedia, Archives.gov, Getty Images, Independent.co.uk
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