“Some of us have great runways already built for us. If you have one, take off! But if you don’t have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you” – Amelia Earhart.
Who was Amelia Earhart?
Amelia Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897, is one of the history’s most well-known personality who achieved remarkable success in the field of aviation. She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic ocean, and the first person ever to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland. During her ambitious global flight of 1937, Earhart along with her navigator friend Fred Noonan disappeared somewhere over the Pacific. The plane wreckage was never found, and she was officially declared lost at sea. The disappearance of Amelia Earhart remains one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history.
“Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.” – Amelia Earhart
Historic Flight Records of Amelia Earhart
Earhart set a number of notable records in her career in aviation, including becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928 as well as the first person to fly over the Atlantic and the Pacific. She passed her flight test in December 1921 and earned a National Aeronautics license. She also bought her first plane, a bright yellow Kinner Airster that she nicknamed, “The Canary”.
Here are some of her famous flight records:
October 22, 1922
Amelia Earhart set her first record in the year 1922 when she became the first woman to fly solo above 14,000 feet.
In August 1929, she came third in the All-Women’s Air Derby which was the first transcontinental air race for women.
April 8, 1931
In 1931, she became the first woman to pilot an autogyro, a form of aircraft with freely rotating horizontal blades and a propeller. On April 8, 1931, Amelia Earhart set an autogyro altitude record by taking it to a height of 18,415 feet.
May 20, 1932
Earhart became the first female aviator and also the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Before it, on this day, Charles Lindbergh set the record of flying solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Earhart started her journey from Newfoundland, Canada on May 20 and arrived the next day in a cow field near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. She was the first woman to honored with the Distinguished Flying Cross—a military decoration award “for heroism or extraordinary achievements” while participating in an aerial flight.
August 24, 1932
On August 24, 1932, Amelia Earhart flew from Los Angeles, the United States to Newark, New Jersey, becoming the first woman to fly nonstop transcontinental flight across the United States. She set a new record of longest distance flown without refueling.
She became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the United States mainland in her 1935 flight journey.
First President of Ninety-Nines:
Earhart contributed to the formation of the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots founded on November 2, 1929, in New York for the advancement of female pilots. Earhart was appointed as the first president of the organization of licensed pilots, this organization still exists today and represents women flyers from around 44 countries.
Last flight and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart
“Adventure is worthwhile in itself.” — Amelia Earhart
1937 Flight Around the World
Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo over the Atlantic disappeared on July 2, 1937, while attempting to circumnavigate the globe. Let’s take a deep dive into the mysteries surrounding the odd vanishing of Amelia Earhart.
On June 1, 1937, Amelia Earhart along with her navigator friend, Fred Noonan, started the 29,000-mile journey from Oakland, California, on an eastbound flight around the world on a twin-engine Lockheed Electra plane.
It was her second attempt to become the first pilot ever to fly around the globe. On June 29, the pair reached Lae, New Guinea, covering a distance of 22,000 miles and with 7,000 more to go before they reached Oakland. Howland Island was the next stop, 2,500 miles from Lae where they had to stop for refueling.
On July 2, 1937, at 7.20 AM, Earhart reported her position, 20 miles southwest of the Nukumanu Islands. The Itasca received the transmission message from the Earhart: “We must be on you, but we cannot see you. Gas is running low. Unable to reach you by radio. We are flying at 1,000 feet.” They replied back to Earhart but there were no clues that they received the message.
The Itasca released its oil burners for giving a signal to the plain, but they apparently did not see it. Earhart lost radio contact with the U.S Coast Guard and Itasca began an immediate search to locate them. A massive search and rescue operation, the most expensive air and sea search in American history were conducted by president Franklin D.Roosevelt but unfortunately, no traces of Earhart and the wreckage of plain were found.
On January 5, 1939, Earhart was officially declared dead. In its report, the U.S. government concluded that Earhart and Noonan had run out of fuel and crashed into the open ocean. What happened after the crash is still an unsolved mystery.
Theories Behind Amelia Earhart Disappearance
Scholars and aviation enthusiasts have proposed many theories surrounding the mysterious disappearance of Amelia Earhart, many of which have been connected to the findings on the pacific ocean. The official position from the U.S. government is that Earhart and Noonan’s plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean, but there are numerous theories regarding their disappearance.
1. Plane Crash and Sink Theory
This is one of the most widely accepted theories behind the disappearance of Earhart. Earhart sent a transmission to the U.S. Coast Guard ships stationed in the area, reporting that neither she nor Noonan could locate the tiny island where they were supposed to land.
According to the crash and sink theory, Earhart’s and Noonan were in search of the Howland island in the pacific ocean and the plane eventually ran out of fuel while searching and crashed into the ocean, leading to the death of both Earhart and Noonan.
Over the past 15 years, several attempts have been made to locate the plane’s wreckage on the seafloor near Howland. High-tech sonar and deep-sea robots have failed to yield clues about Electra’s crash site.
2. Gardner Island Hypothesis
The other most generally accepted theory is that Earhart and Noonan had missed the Howland Island and landed some 350 miles to the southwest on Gardner Island, now called Nikumaroro which was an uninhabited place at that time.
This theory has gained popularity in recent years due to the discovery of several artifacts that could be connected to Earhart. Some of them include an empty jar of the freckle cream she preferred and a piece of Plexiglas similar to that used in the Lockheed Electra airplane she flew.
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) believes that Earhart—and perhaps Noonan—may have survived for days or even weeks on the island as castaways before dying there.
3. Captivated By the Japanese
One theory suggests that Earhart and Noonan made it to the island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands but then they were captured and later executed by the Japanese, who controlled the islands at that time. Some also begun to theorize that Earhart landed in the Marshall Islands, was then captivated by the Japanese military.
Some of these theories significantly based on the photo which depicts Earhart and Noonan on Japanese aircraft. Other built-up theories are based on the metal fragments found in the Marshall Islands that could be matched with metal, used to build the Earhart’s plane. This later came false when they found that the photo was shot in 1935 before Earhart’s final flight.
4. The Spy Theory
Another theory came up from the books Amelia Earhart: Beyond the Grave written by, author W.C. Jameson which claims that Earhart and his friend Noonan served as spies for the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration who recruited them to take aerial photographs of Japanese military installations in the pacific. By 1949, both the United Press and U.S. Army Intelligence had concluded that this rumor was baseless.
None of these theories has been proven true, so Earhart’s disappearance is one of the most popular mysteries of the twentieth century. Despite her unfortunate end, Amelia Earhart will remain the role model for many women pursuing a career in the field of aviation and her achievements will always serve as an inspiration to young pilots.
Robert Ballad – The man who found titanic, Can he find Earhart’s plane?
Robber Ballad, the world-renowned scientist who discovered the titanic in 1985 is going for Earhart’s plane this time, in his words “She clearly wasn’t where she thought she was”, he believes that photo taken in 1937 might have the answer to where the plane can be.
The photo is taken near the shores on Nikumaroro. What causes the spark among investigators is the object on the left which holds a resemblance to low keyed model 10E Electra, the plane Earhart was last seen flying. “It’s not bigfoot, that plane exists which means I’m gonna find it”, claims Robber Ballad.