Earhart-First Woman Across Atlantic - History

Earhart-First Woman Across Atlantic - History

(6/18/28) On June 18th, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. She flew as a passenger in an aircraft that took 24 hours and 49 minutes to make it across the Atlantic. Her pilots were Wilmer Stultz and Slim Gordon. The aircraft was a Fokker F.VIIb–3m.

Amelia Earhart – First woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean

Amelia Earhart was an American female aviator (First woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean) whose mysterious disappearance continues to intrigue until today. Born in Kansas, USA in 1897, Earhart refused to conform to the gender stereotypes of her time. As a young girl she enjoyed sports, climbing trees and playing outside with her sister.

Amelia Earhart is undoubtedly one of an extraordinary women who made her name in aviation history. Let’s look at Amelia Earhart’s intriguing life story.

Born on July 24, 1897 in Kansas, America, Amelia Mary Earhart was the child of a family with problems.

As we are used to from the life stories of many geniuses and extraordinary people, Amelia had some problems with her family, she had an alcoholic father. But the lucky part of Amelia was her family encouraging her to try new and different things.

Amelia had seen a plane for the first time at the age of 10 and was not impressed by what she saw. However, December 28, 1920 was one of the most exciting days and turning points in Amelia’s life.

Earhart’s interest in flying began on December 28, 1920, when she and her father were visiting an air show in Long Beach, California. A pilot named Frank Hawks gave Amelia her 10-minute first flight. Amelia “I was about 60-70 meters above the ground and I knew at that moment I had to fly.” The following year she started taking flight lessons another leading female pilot, Neta Snook taught Amelia her first lesson.

Amelia’s main profession was nursing. During World War I, she was a military nurse and voluntarily taught English to immigrant children.

But now her real dream and passion was to fly.

For this goal, she saved the money she earned in all the jobs she worked for and completed her pilot training with the help of her mother. In 1921, she made her first solo flight with its light yellow biplane named “The Canary” (canary).

A phone call for her that will make her name written in history …

In 1928, Amelia Earhart received a phone call. Captain Hilton H Railey on the phone asked the question seriously “Do you want to be the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean by air?” Amelia replied yes without thinking, excitedly. Moreover, 3 female pilots who made the same experiment that year before her died. Amelia Earhart became the first woman to cross the Atlantic in 1932.

In addition to these achievements, Earhart has worked hard to promote opportunities for women in aviation, which is traditionally seen as a male field. She became the first president of “Ninety-Nines” that was established in 1929. “Ninety Nines” encourage the advancement of aviation and inspire more women to become pilots.

Source: airandspace.si.edu

In 1937, the Lockheed Electra model went on a world tour with his American colleague Fred Noonan in a twin-engine airplane. In a preparatory flight they took just before this journey, the plane crashed before it could depart from the runway.

By the time she completed two-thirds of her journey, the plane disappeared in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The United States carried out the largest rescue operation in history to date. Ocean explorer Robert Ballard, who found the remains of the Titanic ship, suggested that Earhart’s plane definitely crashed around the island of Nikumaroro. In 2019, Ballard searched the deep cliffs that support the island and the nearby ocean, using state-of-the-art equipment to find the wreck.

According to the news in the BBC,
Human bones found on Nikumaroro Island in the east of the Pacific Ocean in 1940 were found to belong to American pioneer female pilot Amelia Earhart, who was lost in the area in 1937 during flight.
Professor Richard Jantz from the University of Tennessee in the study published in the journal “Forensic Anthropology” proved that the bones found in Nikumaroro Island belong to Earhart, despite the contrary results of the early investigations.

Following the tragic death, many theories have been put forward and have been the subject of many studies. While the circumstances of her death are never known, the legacy of her life is clear. Earhart pushed her boundaries and pursued her dreams, inspiring women to pursue their chosen careers and achieve their goals.

Source: National Geographic

Amelia Earhart Achievements

• First woman to fly across the Atlantic in 1932. The flights lasted 14 hours and 56 minutes due to strong winds and harsh weather conditions.

• Earhart’s achievements have been widely acclaimed as a feminist icon. She showed that women can pursue careers in fields traditionally considered ‘male’.

• Distinguished Flying Cross awarded her for “heroism” and “outstanding success in air flight”.

Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.”
Amelia Earhart to George Putnam, 1935


First Woman to Fly Solo Across the Atlantic

On May 20, 1932, Amelia Earhart completed the first solo flight across the Atlantic by a female, five years to day after Charles Lindbergh first made the same trip.

Born in Atchison, Kansas, Amelia Earhart (1897-1939) had an early fascination with flying. In 1904, Amelia Earhart saw a roller coaster for the first time during a family trip to St. Louis. When she returned home, Earhart and an uncle built a homemade version and attached it to the roof of a shed. Though Amelia ended up bruised and the wooden box she rode in was destroyed, she exclaimed, “It’s just like flying!”

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Earhart got a chance to experience a real plane ride in 1920. Her family was living in California and her father paid $10 for a ten-minute flight. Before the plane landed, Earhart knew she had to learn how to fly. Amelia saved up $1,000 and began lessons with a female aviator, Anita “Neta” Snook.

Item #M11004 commemorates the 75th anniversary of Earhart’s disappearance.

Within six months, the budding pilot bought her own plane. In 1922, she set a world record for females by flying to an altitude of 14,000 feet (over two and a half miles). The following year, Earhart became the 16th woman in the world to be issued a pilot’s license.

In June 1928, Earhart made history again when she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Although she was “just baggage, like a sack of potatoes,” as she described her role, she vowed, “maybe someday I’ll try it alone.” The flight made her a celebrity, earning the nickname “Lady Lindbergh” for her close resemblance to Charles Lindbergh. Amelia went on speaking tours and was featured in numerous advertising campaigns. She also founded and served as the first president of the Ninety Nines, an organization of female pilots.

Item #M11005 – Earhart was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic twice, with her second flight also in 1932.

By 1932, only one other person after Charles Lindbergh had attempted the solo transatlantic flight, a woman named Ruth Nichols, who crashed in Canada. Earhart was ready to try it herself. So on May 20, 1932, she boarded her red Lockheed Vega 5B in Newfoundland, Canada to begin her journey.

U.S. #3142d – A Lockheed Vega similar to the one flown by Earhart.

Earhart’s flight was fraught with challenges. She suffered fatigue, a leaking fuel tank, and a cracked manifold that caught fire. The plane’s wings were also covered in ice at one point, leading to a frightening 3,000-foot drop above the water, from which she recovered.

Item #M11006 – Earhart was the first woman to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Though Earhart had planned to land in Paris as Lindbergh had five years earlier, her plane’s mechanical problems and the bad weather forced her to land elsewhere, on a farm near Derry Ireland. She later recounted of the landing, “After scaring most of the cows in the neighborhood, I pulled up in a farmer’s back yard.” Not only did she complete the flight but she did it in 14 hours and 56 minutes, a new record time. Upon returning to America, Earhart received a tickertape parade and the Distinguished Flying Cross for her achievement.

Earhart continued to make record-setting flights. She was the first woman to fly nonstop across the U.S. In 1935, she became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California, from California to Mexico, and from Mexico to New Jersey. As she conquered seemingly impossible challenges, one great test formed in her mind – a trip around the globe.

Item #M11007 – Earhart set at least 15 records during her aviation career, including many firsts.

On July 2, 1937, Amelia set out on her most daring adventure – to fly around the world. However, she lost radio transmission, leading to one of the largest search efforts up to that time. Amelia and her plane have never been found, prompting widespread conspiracy theories for decades.

Click here to see video of Earhart’s preparation and takeoff on May 20, 1932.


Taken Prisoner by the Japanese

A competing theory argues that when they failed to reach Howland Island, Earhart and Noonan were forced to land in the Japanese-held Marshall Islands. According to this theory, the Japanese captured Earhart and Noonan and took them to the island of Saipan, some 1,450 miles south of Tokyo, where they tortured them as presumed spies for the U.S. government. They later died in custody (possibly by execution).

Since the 1960s, the Japanese capture theory has been fueled by accounts from Marshall Islanders living at the time of an 𠇊merican lady pilot” held in custody on Saipan in 1937, which they passed on to their friends and descendants. Some of the theory’s advocates suggest that Earhart and Noonan were in fact U.S. spies, and their around-the-world mission was a cover-up for efforts to fly over and observe Japanese fortifications in the Pacific. At the time, more than four years before the Pearl Harbor attack, Japan was not yet the Americans’ enemy in World War II.

Some have suggested that Earhart didn’t die on Saipan after her capture, but was released and repatriated to the United States under an assumed name. Beginning in the 1970s, some proponents of this theory have argued that a New Jersey woman named Irene Bolam was in fact Earhart. Bolam herself vigorously denied these claims, calling them 𠇊 poorly documented hoax,” but they persisted even long after her death in 1982.


Medal, Amelia Earhart, First Woman to Cross the Atlantic by Airplane

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Medal, Amelia Earhart, First Woman to Cross the Atlantic by Airplane

Amelia Earhart, First Woman to Cross the Atlantic by Airplane Commemorative medal. Obverse: relief bust of Earhart in a leather flying helmet depicted embossed text "THE FIRST WOMAN IN THE WORLD TO FLY ALONE ACROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AMEILA EARHART". Reverse: relief of the Fokker Tri-Motor 'Friendship' depicted a lucky horse shoe and wish bone depicted below aircraft embossed text "NEW FOUNDLAND JUNE 17 SOUTH WALES JUNE 18 - 1928 THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AMEILA EARHART", "SEAPLANE FRIENDSHIP".

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Medal, Amelia Earhart, First Woman to Cross the Atlantic by Airplane

Amelia Earhart, First Woman to Cross the Atlantic by Airplane Commemorative medal. Obverse: relief bust of Earhart in a leather flying helmet depicted embossed text "THE FIRST WOMAN IN THE WORLD TO FLY ALONE ACROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AMEILA EARHART". Reverse: relief of the Fokker Tri-Motor 'Friendship' depicted a lucky horse shoe and wish bone depicted below aircraft embossed text "NEW FOUNDLAND JUNE 17 SOUTH WALES JUNE 18 - 1928 THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AMEILA EARHART", "SEAPLANE FRIENDSHIP".

Amelia Earhart First Woman to Cross the Atlantic by Airplane Medal (Front)

Amelia Earhart was awarded this copper medal in recognition of her transatlantic flight as a passenger in June 1928.

Amelia Earhart First Woman to Cross the Atlantic by Airplane Medal (Back)

Amelia Earhart was awarded this copper medal in recognition of her transatlantic flight as a passenger in June 1928.

Amelia Earhart was awarded this medal in recognition of her transatlantic flight in June 1928. With that flight Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, though she was merely a passenger accompanying pilots Wilmer Stultz and Lou Gordon aboard the Fokker F.VII "Friendship."

Another woman, Amy Phipps Guest, owned the "Friendship" and wanted to make the flight herself, but when her family objected she asked aviator Richard Byrd and publisher George Putnam (who later became Earhart's manager and husband) to find "the right sort of girl" for the trip. There are many possible reasons for why they selected Earhart: she slightly resembled Charles Lindbergh, she had a wholesome "All-American" personality, and, of course, she was an accomplished pilot who owned two airplanes and had logged 500 hours in the air.

Although she was promised time at the controls, Earhart never flew the plane during the nearly 21-hour flight from Newfoundland, Canada to Wales. She felt like just "a sack of potatoes." Nevertheless, reporters were much more interested in her than either of the pilots who actually flew the plane. The flight brought her international attention and the opportunity to earn a living in aviation.

Amelia Earhart is probably the most famous female pilot in aviation history, an accolade due both to her aviation career and to her mysterious disappearance. On May 20-21, 1932, Earhart became the first woman, and the second person after Charles Lindbergh, to fly nonstop and solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Flying a red Lockheed Vega 5B, she left Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, Canada, and landed about 15 hours later near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The feat made Earhart an instant worldwide sensation and proved she was a courageous and able pilot. Then, on August 24-25, she made the first solo, nonstop flight by a woman across the United States, from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, establishing a women's record of 19 hours and 5 minutes and setting a women's distance record of 2,447 miles.

Born in Atchison, Kansas, on July 24, 1897, Amelia Earhart displayed an independent style from childhood, including keeping a scrapbook on accomplished women, taking an auto repair course, and attending college (but never graduating). She attended her first flying exhibition in 1918 while serving as a Red Cross nurse's aide in Toronto, Canada. She took her first flight in California in December 1920, with veteran flyer Frank Hawks, and declared, "As soon as I left the ground, I knew I myself had to fly." Her first instructor was Anita "Neta" Snook who gave her lessons in a Curtiss Jenny. To pay for flight lessons, Earhart worked as a telephone company clerk and photographer. Earhart soloed in 1921, bought her first airplane, a Kinner Airster, in 1922 and wasted no time in setting a women's altitude record of 14,000 feet. In 1923, Earhart became the 16th woman to receive an official Fédération Aéronautique Internationale pilot license.

Earhart moved to east to be near her sister and mother, and, after a second year at Columbia University in New York City, began working in Boston at the Denison Settlement House as a social worker with immigrant families. In the spring of 1928, she was flying at Dennison Airport, and had joined the local National Aeronautic Association, when she was offered the opportunity of a lifetime: to become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic as a passenger.

Amy Phipps Guest owned the Fokker F.VII Friendship and wanted to make the flight but when her family objected, she asked aviator Richard Byrd and publisher/publicist George Putnam to find "the right sort of girl" for the trip. On June 17, 1928, Earhart and pilots Wilmer Stultz and Lou Gordon departed Trepassey, Newfoundland and, though promised time at the controls of the tri-motor, she was never given the opportunity to fly the aircraft during the 20-hour 40-minute flight to Burry Point, Wales. She did get in the pilot's seat for a time on the final hop to Southampton, England.

The dramatic 1928 flight brought her international attention and the opportunity to earn a living in aviation. Putnam became her manager and she began lecturing and writing on aviation around the country. In August of 1929, she placed third in the All-Women's Air Derby, behind Louise Thaden and Gladys O'Donnell, which was the first transcontinental air race for women (from Santa Monica, California to Cleveland, Ohio) and a race she helped organize. This race, closely followed by the press and by the public who flocked to the stops along the way, proved that women could fly in rugged and competitive conditions.

A few months after the Derby, a group of women pilots decided to form an organization for social, recruitment, and business purposes. Ninety-nine women, out of 285 licensed U.S. female pilots, became charter members, inspiring the organization's name, The Ninety-Nines (99s) Earhart became their first president. Female pilots were keenly aware of the lack of social and economic independence for all women and were determined to help one another.

In 1930, after only 15 minutes of instruction, Earhart became the first woman to fly an autogiro, made by Pitcairn and featuring rotating blades to increase lift and allow short takeoffs and landings. Earhart set the first autogiro altitude record and made two autogiro cross-country tours, which were marked by three public "crack-ups," as she called them. Though Earhart was the most famous woman pilot, she was not the most skilled.

Determined to prove herself, Earhart decided to fly the Atlantic Ocean again, but this time alone. She thought a transatlantic flight would bring her respect, something other women sought, too - Ruth Nichols made an attempt in 1931, crashing in Canada, but she was planning another attempt when Earhart succeeded. During her 2,026-mile nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic on May 20-21, 1932, Earhart fought fatigue, a leaky fuel tank, and a cracked manifold that spewed flames out the side of the engine cowling. Ice formed on the Vega's wings and caused an unstoppable 3,000-foot descent to just above the waves. Realizing she was on a course far north of France, she landed in a farmer's field in Culmore, near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Acclaimed in London, Paris, and Rome, she returned home to a ticker tape parade in New York City and honors in Washington, D.C. By July and August she was back in the Vega for her transcontinental flight.

On January 11-12, 1935, Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland, this time in a Lockheed 5C Vega. Although some called it a publicity stunt for Earhart and Hawaiian sugar plantation promoters, it was a dangerous 2,408-mile flight that had already claimed several lives. Of that flight she remarked: "I wanted the flight just to contribute. I could only hope one more passage across that part of the Pacific would mark a little more clearly the pathway over which an air service of the future will inevitably ply." Later that year, Earhart made record flights from Los Angeles to Mexico City and from Mexico City to Newark, New Jersey. She also placed fifth in the 1935 Bendix Race. Earhart was a two-time Harmon Trophy winner and was also the recipient of the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross.

Earhart became the first woman vice president of the National Aeronautic Association, which authorized official records and races. She persuaded the organization to establish separate female records because women did not have the money or planes - and thus the experience - to fairly compete against men for "world" titles. Earhart served as a partner in the Transcontinental Air Transport and Ludington Airlines and lobbied Congress for aviation legislation. She promoted the safety and efficiency of air travel to women, on the premise that they would influence men. She tirelessly lectured across the country on the subjects of aviation and women's issues and wrote for Cosmopolitan and various magazines. She wrote about her flights and career in 20 Hours and 40 Minutes, The Fun of It, and Last Flight, which was published after her disappearance.

Earhart married George Putnam in 1931 - hesitantly - on the condition that they would separate in a year if unhappy. Though some called it a marriage of convenience, they remained together.

Earhart designed a line of "functional" women's clothing, including dresses, blouses, pants, suits, and hats, initially using her own sewing machine, dress form, and seamstress. Though "tousle-haired" and rather thin, she photographed well and modeled her own designs for promotional spreads.

Earhart also designed a line of lightweight, canvas-covered plywood luggage sold by Orenstein Trunk of Newark, New Jersey. Earhart luggage was sold into the 1990s and featured an Amelia Earhart luggage key, prompting some people to believe they possessed her "personal" aircraft or suitcase key.

In 1935, Earhart became a visiting professor at Purdue University at the invitation of Purdue president Edward Elliott, an advocate of higher education for women, especially in engineering and science. Earhart, a former premedical student, served as a counselor for women and a lecturer in aeronautics. Elliott was also interested in supporting Earhart's flying career and convinced Purdue benefactors to purchase a twin-engine Lockheed 10-E Electra for her. Many companies contributed their latest aviation technology to her Flying Laboratory.

Earhart decided to make a world flight and she planned a route as close to the equator as possible, which meant flying several long overwater legs to islands in the Pacific Ocean. On March 20, 1937, Earhart crashed on takeoff at Luke Field, Honolulu, Hawaii, ending her westbound world flight that had begun at Oakland, California. The Electra was returned to Lockheed Aircraft Company in Burbank, California, for extensive repairs. On June 1, 1937, Earhart began an eastbound around-the-world flight from Oakland, via Miami, Florida, in the Electra with Fred Noonan as her navigator. They reached Lae, New Guinea on June 29, having flown 22,000 miles with 7,000 more to go to Oakland. They then departed Lae on July 2 for the 2,556-mile flight to their next refueling stop, Howland Island, a two-mile long and less-than-a-mile wide dot in the Pacific Ocean.

Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, Earhart and the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca, anchored off shore of Howland, could not complete any direct two-way radio communication and neither Earhart nor Noonan were competent at Morse Code. However, the Itasca did receive several strong voice transmissions from Earhart as she approached the area, the last at 8:43 am stating: "We are on the line of position 156-137. Will repeat message. We will repeat this message on 6210 kilocycles. Wait. Listening on 6210 kilocycles. We are running north and south." Earhart and Noonan never found Howland and they were declared lost at sea on July 19, 1937 following a massive sea and air search.

Earhart's disappearance spawned countless theories involving radio problems, poor communication, navigation or pilot skills, other landing sites, spy missions and imprisonment, and even living quietly in New Jersey or on a rubber plantation in the Philippines. The most reasonable explanation, based on the known facts of her flight, is that they were unable to locate Howland Island, ran out of fuel, and ditched into the Pacific Ocean.

Earhart's disappearance remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of the 20th century, and it often overshadows her true legacies as a courageous and dedicated aviator and as an enduring inspiration to women.


Today in Aviation: Amelia Earhart, First Woman to Fly Non-Stop Across the US

MIAMI – Today in Aviation, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly non-stop across the US in 1932. The American Pilot flew from Los Angeles to Newark in a Lockheed Vega 5B.

Apart from the distance milestone of 2,477 miles, Earhart also set a new time record, as the flight lasted 19 hrs and 5 min. Among other records, the pioneer set 12 speed and distance records between 1922 and 1935.

A favorite of record-breaking Pilots, the rugged, long-range Lockheed Vega 5B, AKA The Winnie Mae, is an American six-passenger high-wing monoplane airliner designed in 1927 by the Lockheed Corporation.

The Vega 5B featured a cantilever one-piece spruce wing and a spruce veneer monocoque fuselage that reduced its weight. Additionally, the type had a NACA engine cowling and wheel pants that reduced drag and provided its streamline style.

Amelia Earhart had previously become the first woman to fly in a Vega 5B across the Atlantic.

Amelia Earhart over a Pitcairn PCA-2 aircraft. Photo: San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives.

Non-stop Transcontinental Flight Logbook

The feat came just three months after Earhart flew across the Atlantic, with the same red-painted Vega 5B for both records. The Pilot bought the aircraft in 1930. The model had gained popularity as a speed aircraft due to its design.

In the case of Earhart’s Little Red Bus, as she called the aircraft, the Pilot suffered an accident prior to breaking records. As a result, a modified fuselage, three types of compasses, a drift indicator, and a more powerful engine were installed.

During her first transcontinental US flight of 1932, the Pilot recorded an average speed of 128.27 miles per hour at an altitude of 10,000 feet.

Months later, Earhart again set a new transcontinental speed record by making the same flight. By that time, she had completed her Pilot logbook in 17 hrs and 7 min.

The Lockheed Vega 5B “Little Red Bus” (civil registration NC7952). This aircraft is on display at the U.S. National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Photo: U.S. Navy (Rear Admral Robert S. Quackenbush collection).

A Career of Milestones

Earhart flew for the first time in 1920. But once she earned her Pilot’s license from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) in 1923, she started breaking records.

The female Pilot set her first record by flying at an altitude of 14,000 feet, becoming the first woman to do so. Then, in 1928, she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic.

For the trans-Atlantic flight, Earhart was just a passenger on a Fokker F7 piloted by Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon. However, the milestone served her to gain international popularity.

In 1930, Earhart set the women’s world flying speed record of 181.18 miles per hour. Then, two years later, she would become the first woman to make a solo, non-stop trans-Atlantic flight.

As a result, the Pilot earned the National Geographic Society’s Gold Medal, bestowed by President Herbert Hoover. Additionally, she received the Distinguished Flying Cross from the US Congress.

President Herbert Hoover and Amelia Earhart, at White House, Washington, D.C. Photo: Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division.

Featured image: On Saturday, May 21, 1932, Amelia Earhart was on her second Atlantic crossing when she was forced to land in a field near Derry (Londonderry, Ireland) in her “Little Red Bus”. Photo: National Library of Ireland on The Commons.


Amelia Earhart

“Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others” – Amelia Earhart

Born on 24 July 1897 at her grandfather’s home in Atchison, Kansas, Amelia Mary Earhart was the daughter of Samuel Stanton Earhart, a claims officer for the Rock Island Railroad and his wife Amy. She grew up with her sister Grace Muriel Earhart, who was affectionately known as Pidge and was two years Amelia’s junior with the two of them known to regularly go off exploring around their local neighbourhood, climbing trees and even hunting rats with a rifle.

In 1904 at the age of around 7, Amelia, with her uncle’s help, fixed a home-made ramp to the roof of the tool shed. Using a wooden box as a sled, Amelia described her first trip off the end of the ramp to her sister as “just like flying” even though up to that point she had never seen an aircraft.

That changed though after her father was transferred to Des Moines in Iowa in 1907, although the children didn’t move there permanently until 1909. During the intervening period, the girls were homeschooled by their mother with the help of a governess and Amelia remembered being very fond of reading lots of books in the family library where she spent many hours. When they did join their parents in Des Moines, it would be the first time that the two sisters received any formal education, with Amelia Earhart entering the seventh grade at the age of 12.

Amelia Earhart saw her first aircraft at the 1907 Iowa State Fair and Amelia’s father tried and failed to get the two sisters to take a ride but Amelia was more interested in the merry-go-round, describing the rickety old biplane as “a thing of rusty wire and wood and not at all interesting.”

Although finances seemed to be improving following the move to Des Moines, things took a turn for the worst as Edwin’s drinking turned into alcoholism and this led to him being forced to retire in 1914. He intended to recover from his addiction and sought treatment, but the railroad wouldn’t have him back. Around the same time, Amelia Earhart’s grandmother Amelia Otis died leaving a considerable estate that was put into trust to protect it from Edwin’s drinking. Amelia described this period of her life as the end of her childhood as the Otis house and contents were sold off.

Following an attempt by Edwin to return to work, a proposed move to Springfield, Missouri came to nothing and so Amy took the two girls to live with friends in Chicago where Amelia eventually enrolled at High Park High School as it had the best to offer in terms of its science classes, which Amelia had expressed an interest in but unfortunately her time there wasn’t a happy one. Amelia Earhart graduated in 1916 and started to look up to women who had found success in predominantly male roles, keeping a scrapbook about their exploits in fields such as mechanical engineering, law and film production.

Although Amelia Earhart began a college course at the Ogontz School in Rydal, Pennsylvania, she soon dropped out and visited her sister in Toronto during Christmas 1917 where she witnessed wounded soldiers returning home from war. This moved her to train as a nurse’s aide with the Red Cross and began working at the Spadina Military Hospital in Toronto where she prepared food and handed out prescription medication.

As the Spanish Flu took hold in 1918 and reached Toronto, Amelia Earhart’s nursing duties became more intensive but this ultimately led to her being hospitalised herself suffering from pneumonia and sinusitis. She underwent a number of small operations designed to resolve the sinusitis problem which were unsuccessful and she would suffer symptoms for the rest of her life.

During the next two years, Amelia Earhart came across aviation on two particular occasions. The first was when she visited an airfield with a friend and the second was in Long Beach in 1920 when she visited an airfield with her father. It was at this second visit that Amelia experienced her first flight when she was taken aloft by the World War I ace Frank Hawks. She was immediately hooked and became determined to learn how to fly.

She started earning money by taking whatever jobs she could find including as a truck driver, photographer and stenographer and saved up the $1000 needed for lessons, the first of which she took on 3 January 1921 with Anita Snook in a Curtiss JN-4, known as a Canuck. Six months later Amelia Earhart acquired her first plane which was a bright yellow Kinner Airster biplane which she called The Canary. Not long after she set a new world altitude record for a female pilot when she took The Canary to 14,000 feet. She earned her pilot’s licence on 15 May 1923, becoming only the 16 th woman to do so.

Unfortunately, the following year, the money that had been left to her mother dwindled away to nothing following some unsuccessful investments resulting in Amelia having to sell her plane. She found employment as a teacher and then a social worker in 1925 Boston although she lived in Medford, Massachusetts. Amelia Earhart’s interest in aviation didn’t go away though and as she became more financially stable, she took an interest in operations at Dennison Airport in Quincy, Massachusetts, from where she flew the first official flight in 1927.

Amelia started to become somewhat of a local celebrity as she wrote columns in the local newspaper promoting flying, especially flying that involved female pilots. This led to her receiving an offer to accompany pilot Wilmer Stultz on a trans-Atlantic flight with her duty being to keep the flight log. The flight was successful, taking off from Newfoundland on 17 June 1928, landing 20 hours and 40 minutes later in South Wales in the United Kingdom. Although she never took the controls of the aircraft during the flight, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly nonstop across the Atlantic and so when the flyers returned home they received a ticker-tape parade in Manhattan followed by a meeting with President Calvin Coolidge at The White House.

Amelia Earhart became an instant celebrity, something that she embraced, using her image to promote female aviation and through celebrity endorsements of various products including women’s fashions and a luggage line she was able to finance her own flying. She even became an associate editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and with Charles Lindbergh, she promoted the development of commercial air travel through the representation of Transcontinental Air Transport, later TWA. Soon after, she became Vice President of National Airways which by 1940 had become Northeast Airlines.

During this time Amelia Earhart was also embarking on record-setting achievements of her own, including flying across the North American continent and back in August 1928, taking part in competitive air racing in 1929 and setting a new world altitude record in 1931 when she flew a Pitcairn PCA-2 to 18,415 feet. In the same year as setting this new record, Amelia also married George P. Putnam who had sought her out following his divorce in 1929. It took six proposals from him before Amelia eventually agreed to the union. The couple never had any children of their own but she was known to be fond of George’s two boys, David and George from his previous marriage.

In 1932, Amelia Earhart planned a solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic to Paris, intended to emulate Charles Lindbergh’s historic flight. Although poor weather conditions meant that she didn’t reach Paris, she did become the first female aviator to fly non-stop across the Atlantic when she landed in Derry, Northern Ireland, 14 hours and 56 minutes since taking off in Newfoundland. As recognition of her achievement, congress awarded her the Distinguished Flying Cross. The French government awarded her the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honor and the National Geographic Society awarded her a gold medal.

More solo flights followed, including from Hawaii to California in January 1935, and from Los Angeles to Mexico City and from Mexico City to New York later the same year. The next item on her list of things to do in an aircraft would take her to the next level in aviation record-setting…… a circumnavigation of the world, planning for which started in early 1936.

The flight would be one of 29,000 miles and would need to be undertaken in a new aircraft as her trusty old Vega simply wasn’t up to the job. Consequently, a Lockheed Electra 10E was built to Amelia Earhart’s own specifications by the Lockheed Aircraft Company at its Burbank plant in California near to where Amelia and her husband had recently relocated following a fire at their previous home in Rye, New York.

The first attempt at the trip was undertaken on 17 March 1937 when Amelia and her crew which included an experienced navigator called Fred Noonan, took off from Oakland, California, heading for Honolulu, Hawaii. Following some servicing work that needed to be carried out on the Electra in Hawaii, the second leg of the flight began, with the intention of heading towards Howland Island in the Pacific. However, the flight never got off the ground when the nose wheel collapsed causing both propellers to hit the ground resulting in significant damage to the aircraft.

The second attempt was undertaken in the opposite direction to the first due to some changes in global wind and weather patterns. The first leg from Oakland to Miami was unpublicised but upon arrival in Florida, Amelia Earhart announced her intentions to circumnavigate the globe.

Earhart and Noonan set off from Miami on 1 June 1937 and arrived in Lae, New Guinea on 29 June after a number of stops in various places in South America, India and Southeast Asia. At this point, the pair had completed 22,000 of the 29,000-mile journey with the remainder to be completed across the Pacific Ocean.

This next leg began on 2 July 1937 within the intended destination being Howland Island which was just over 2500 miles away. Early in the afternoon of the same day, Amelia reported that her altitude was 10000 feet but that she was going to reduce altitude due to thick cloud. Two hours later, she reported that she was flying at 7000 feet at 150 knots. Her last known position was around 800 miles into the flight near the Nukumanu Islands.


Earhart-First Woman Across Atlantic - History

She never reached her fortieth birthday, but in her brief life, Amelia Earhart became a record-breaking female aviator whose international fame improved public acceptance of aviation and paved the way for other women in commercial flight.

Amelia Mary Earhart was born on July 24, 1897 in Atchison, Kansas to Amy Otis Earhart and Edwin Stanton Earhart, followed in 1899 by her sister Muriel. The family moved from Kansas to Iowa to Minnesota to Illinois, where Earhart graduated from high school. During World War I, she left college to work at a Canadian military hospital, where she met aviators and became intrigued with flying.

After the war, Earhart completed a semester at Columbia University, then the University of Southern California. With her first plane ride in 1920, she realized her true passion and began flying lessons with female aviator Neta Snook. On her twenty-fifth birthday, Earhart purchased a Kinner Airster biplane. She flew it, in 1922, when she set the women’s altitude record of 14,000 feet. With faltering family finances, she soon sold the plane. When her parents divorced in 1924, Earhart moved with her mother and sister to Massachusetts and became a settlement worker at Dennison House in Boston, while also flying in air shows.

Earhart’s life changed dramatically in 1928, when publisher George Putnam — seeking to expand on public enthusiasm for Charles Lindbergh’s transcontinental flight a year earlier — tapped Earhart to become the first woman to cross the Atlantic by plane. She succeeded, albeit, as a passenger. But when the flight from Newfoundland landed in Wales on June 17, 1928, Earhart became a media sensation and symbol of what women could achieve. Putnam remained her promoter, publishing her two books: 20 Hrs. 40 Mins. (1928) and The Fun of It (1932). Earhart married Putnam in 1931, though she retained her maiden name and considered the marriage an equal partnership.

Earhart’s popularity brought opportunities from a short-lived fashion business to a stint as aviation editor at Cosmopolitan (then a family magazine). It also brought financing for subsequent record-breaking flights in speed and distance. In 1932, she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic — as a pilot. Her awards included the American Distinguished Flying Cross and the Cross of the French Legion of Honor. In 1929, Earhart helped found the Ninety-Nines, an organization of female aviators.

In 1935, Purdue University hired Earhart as aviation advisor and career counselor for women and purchased the Lockheed plane she dubbed her “flying laboratory.” On June 1, 1937, she left Miami with navigator Fred Noonan, seeking to become the first woman to fly around the world. With 7,000 miles remaining, the plane lost radio contact near the Howland Islands. It was never found, despite an extensive search that continued for decades.


10 Cool Facts About Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart

July 24th is Amelia Earhart Day! An aviation pioneer who broke numerous records, Amelia Earhart is a beloved figure in American history and an inspiration to adventurous boys and girls everywhere. Celebrate her day with your kids this summer, and discover ten cool facts about Amelia Earhart.

1. Amelia Earhart was born on July 24, 1897.

Her mother disagreed with society’s emphasis on raising quiet, prim little girls she encouraged her daughters to engage in fun and activity.

2. Amelia Earhart’s childhood nickname was Meelie.

Meelie was an adventurous child and often had her little sister Grace (nicknamed Pidge) following her around as she climbed trees, hunted rats, and collected insects.

3. Amelia Earhart built her own roller coaster.

With her uncle’s help, Amelia built a wooden ramp, similar to a roller coaster she remembered from a St. Louis vacation. She zoomed off the homemade ramp in a wooden box, crashed, and got up bruised but excited, exclaiming to her little sister, “Oh, Pidge, it’s just like flying!

4. Amelia Earhart was the sixteenth woman to get her pilot’s license.

When she was just twenty-three, Amelia Earhart took her first airplane ride. It was just a few hundred feet, but from then on she was determined to learn to fly.

5. Amelia Earhart was the first woman to travel across the Atlantic by plane.

On June 17, 1928, she and a couple of male pilots flew from Newfoundland, Canada, all the way over to Wales, which took about 21 hours. Since Amelia had no experience in using plane instruments, she was simply a passenger on this flight. The pilots did give her the added task of keeping the flight log. This still proved historic and brought Amelia a hero’s welcome at home and a visit to the White House.

6. Amelia Earhart was the second person and the first woman to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic.

Charles Lindbergh was the only one who had flown across the Atlantic Ocean solo, but Amelia Earhart proved herself equal to the task. Powerful winds battered her little plane during this flight, which lasted fourteen hours and fifty-six minutes. She also contended with mechanical issues before finally making it to a pasture in Northern Ireland.

7. Amelia Earhart flew solo halfway across the Pacific.

Breaking yet another record, Amelia was the first pilot to fly alone from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Oakland, California. Near the end of the uneventful flight, she listened to the radio broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera.

8. Amelia Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean.

In 1937, Amelia attempted to fly around the globe with one crew member, Fred Noonan. She completed most of the global journey, a distance of twenty-two thousand miles, and had just seven thousand to go.

A meeting with the USCGC Itasca, a ship that was supposed to guide Earhart to a small island for refueling, didn’t happen because of navigation and communication problems. Lost over the Pacific, Earhart and Noonan disappeared.

Since no one could find them or the plane, Amelia was legally declared dead in 1939, but it’s possible that remains recovered from a nearby island years later may be hers.

9. Amelia Earhart is the subject of many books.

Check out illustrated books for kids including Who Was Amelia Earhart? by Kate Boehm Jerome, I Am Amelia Earhart by Brad Meltzer, and Amelia Earhart, Young Air Pioneer by Jane Moore Howe.

10. You can celebrate the amazing Amelia Earhart!

To celebrate Amelia Earhart Day, your children can make a simple plane with a clothespin and a couple of craft sticks. Encourage them to paint their creations yellow to match Amelia’s first plane, the “Yellow Canary.” From paper or felt, your kids can also make a brown pilot’s hat and aviator’s goggles like those Amelia wore.

Rebecca is a work-at-home freelance writer, novelist, wife, and the mom of two bright-eyed little ones. She credits her success in writing and her love of books to her own mom, who homeschooled three kids from pre-K through high school.


Medal, Amelia Earhart, First Woman to Cross the Atlantic by Airplane

This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Amelia Earhart is probably the most famous female aviator in history. Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas, in 1897. She had her first airplane flight in California in 1920, with the veteran flier Frank Hawkes, and knew immediately that she wanted to become a pilot. Her first instructor was Anita "Neta" Snook who gave her flying lessons in a Curtiss Jenny. Earhart received her pilot's license in 1921 and bought a Kinner Airster. While working at the Denison Settlement house in Boston, she was offered the opportunity to fly as a passenger across the Atlantic Ocean. This dramatic 1928 flight in the Fokker Friendship as the first woman passenger, with pilots Stultz and Gordon, brought her international attention and the opportunity to earn a living in aviation. She placed third in the All-Women's Air Derby of 1929, a race she had organized. Her own nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic on May 20-21, 1932, the first for a woman, in the bright red Lockheed Vega 5B (located in the Pioneers of Flight gallery) established her reputation as a great female pilot. Other record flights include: the first solo transcontinental flight by a woman from Los Angeles to Newark in 1932, the first solo flight by anyone from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland in 1935, the first nonstop flight from Mexico City to Newark in May 1935, and the first altitude record in the Pitcairn Autogiro. Earhart served as a founding member and president of the Ninety-Nines (the original women pilots organization), partner in the Transcontinental Air Transport and Ludington airlines, and a designer of clothes and luggage. She tirelessly lectured across the country on the subjects of aviation and women's issues and published several books. She was also a visiting professor and counselor at Purdue University. Earhart was a two-time Harmon Trophy winner and was also the recipient of the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross. On June 1, 1937, Earhart began an around-the-world flight from Miami, Florida in a twin-engine Lockheed Electra with Fred Noonan as her navigator. They reached Lae in New Guinea on June 29, having flown 22,000 miles with 7,000 more to go. Earhart and Noonan never found Howland Island, their next refueling stop after leaving Lae and they were declared lost at sea on July 18, 1937 following a massive sea and air search ordered personally by President Roosevelt. Although Earhart's disappearance has spawned innumerable theories, her true legacies as a courageous and dedicated aviatior and an inspiration to women remain strong today.

See more items in

National Air and Space Museum Collection

Location

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA

Hangar

Inventory Number

Physical Description

Amelia Earhart, First Woman to Cross the Atlantic by Airplane Commemorative medal Obverse: relief bust of Earhart in a leather flying helmet depicted embossed text "THE FIRST WOMAN IN THE WORLD TO CROSS THE ATLANTIC BY AIRPLANE - AMEILA EARHART" Reverse: relief of the Fokker Tri-Motor 'Friendship' depicted a lucky horse shoe, clover leaf, and wish bone depicted below aircraft embossed text "NEW FOUNDLAND JUNE 17 SOUTH WALES JUNE 18 - 1928 THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AMEILA EARHART", "SEAPLANE FRIENDSHIP".