Amelia Earhart
Earhart beneath the nose of her Lockheed Model 10-E Electra, March 1937 in Oakland, California, before departing on her final round-the-world attempt prior to her disappearance
Born
Amelia Mary Earhart

(1897-07-24)July 24, 1897
DisappearedJuly 2, 1937 (aged 39)
Pacific Ocean, en route to Howland Island from Lae, New Guinea
StatusDeclared dead in absentia[1]
(1939-01-05)January 5, 1939
Occupations
  • Aviator
  • author
Known forMany early aviation records, including first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean
Spouse
(m. 1931)
Awards
Websitewww.ameliaearhart.com Edit this at Wikidata
Signature

Amelia Mary Earhart (/ˈɛərhɑːrt/ AIR-hart; born July 24, 1897; declared dead January 5, 1939) was an American aviation pioneer. On July 2, 1937, Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to become the first female pilot to circumnavigate the world. During her life, Earhart embraced celebrity culture and women's rights, and since her disappearance, she has become a cultural icon.[2] Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and she set many other records;[3] she was one of the first aviators to promote commercial air travel, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences, and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots.[4]

Earnart was born and raised in Atchison, Kansas, and developed a passion for adventure at a young age, steadily gaining flying experience from her twenties. In 1928, Earhart became a celebrity after becoming the first female passenger to cross the Atlantic by airplane. In 1932, Earhart became the first woman to make a nonstop, solo, transatlantic flight and was awarded the United States Distinguished Flying Cross.[5] In 1935, Earhart became a visiting faculty member of Purdue University as an advisor in aeronautical engineering and a career counselor to female students. She was a member of the National Woman's Party and an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment.[6][7] She was one of the most-inspirational American figures from the late 1920s and throughout the 1930s; her legacy is often compared to those of the early career of pioneer aviator Charles Lindbergh and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for their close friendship and lasting impact on women's causes.

In 1937, during an attempt to become the first woman to complete a circumnavigational flight of the globe in a Lockheed Model 10-E Electra airplane, Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared near Howland Island in the central Pacific Ocean. The two were last seen in Lae, New Guinea, their last land stop before Howland Island. It is generally presumed they ran out of fuel, crashed into the ocean and died near Howland Island.[8] Nearly one year and six months after she and Noonan disappeared, Earhart was officially declared dead.

The mysterious nature of Earhart's disappearance has meant public interest in her life remains significant. Earhart's airplane has never been found and this has led to speculation and conspiracy theories about the outcome of the flight. Decades after her presumed death, Earhart was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1968 and the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1973. Several commemorative memorials in the United States have been named in her honor; these include a commemorative US airmail stamp, an airport, a museum, a bridge, a cargo ship, an earth-fill dam, a playhouse, a library, and multiple roads and schools. She also has a minor planet, a planetary corona, and newly-discovered lunar crater named after her. Numerous films, documentaries, and books have recounted Earhart's life, and she is ranked ninth on Flying's list of the 51 Heroes of Aviation.[9]

Early life

Childhood

Amelia Earhart as a child

Amelia Mary Earhart was born on July 24, 1897, in Atchison, Kansas, as the daughter of Samuel "Edwin" Stanton Earhart (1867–1930) and Amelia "Amy" (née Otis; 1869–1962).[10] Amelia was born in the home of her maternal grandfather Alfred Gideon Otis (1827–1912), who was a former judge in Kansas, the president of Atchison Savings Bank, and a leading resident of the town.[11] Earhart was the second child of the marriage after a stillbirth in August 1896.[12] She was of part-German descent; Alfred Otis had not initially favored the marriage and was not satisfied with Edwin's progress as a lawyer.[13]

According to family custom, Amelia Earhart was named after her two grandmothers Amelia Josephine Harres and Mary Wells Patton.[12] From an early age, Amelia was the dominant sibling while her sister Grace Muriel Earhart (1899–1998), two years her junior, acted as a dutiful follower.[14] Amelia was nicknamed "Meeley" and sometimes "Millie", and Grace was nicknamed "Pidge"; both girls continued to answer to their childhood nicknames well into adulthood.[12] Their upbringing was unconventional; Amy Earhart did not believe in raising her children to be "nice little girls".[15] The children's maternal grandmother disapproved of the bloomers they wore, and although Amelia liked the freedom of movement they provided, she was sensitive to the fact the neighborhood's girls wore dresses.

Early influence

Amelia Earhart's birthplace

The Earhart children seemed to have a spirit of adventure and would set off daily to explore their neighborhood.[16] As a child, Amelia Earhart spent hours playing with sister Pidge, climbing trees, hunting rats with a rifle, and sledding downhill.[17] Some biographers have characterized the young Amelia as a tomboy.[18] The girls kept worms, moths, katydids and a tree toad they gathered in a growing collection.[19] In 1904, with the help of her uncle, Amelia Earhart constructed a home-made ramp that was fashioned after a roller coaster she had seen on a trip to St. Louis, Missouri, and secured it to the roof of the family tool shed. Following Amelia's well-documented first flight, she emerged from the broken wooden box that had served as a sled with a bruised lip, a torn dress and a "sensation of exhilaration", saying: "Oh, Pidge, it's just like flying!"[13]

In 1907, Edwin Earhart's job as a claims officer for the Rock Island Railroad led to a transfer to Des Moines, Iowa. The next year, at the age of 10,[20] Amelia saw her first aircraft at Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.[21][22] Their father tried to interest his daughters in taking a flight but after looking at the rickety "flivver", Amelia promptly asked if they could go back to the merry-go-round.[23] She later described the biplane as "a thing of rusty wire and wood and not at all interesting".[24]

Education

Sisters Amelia and Grace—who from her teenage years went by her middle name Muriel—Earhart remained with their grandparents in Atchison while their parents moved into new, smaller quarters in Des Moines. During this period, the Earhart girls received homeschooling from their mother and a governess. Amelia later said she was "exceedingly fond of reading"[25] and spent many hours in the large family library. In 1909, when the family was reunited in Des Moines, the Earhart children were enrolled in public school for the first time and Amelia, 12, entered seventh grade.[citation needed]

Amelia Earhart in evening clothes

The Earhart family's finances seemingly improved with the acquisition of a new house and the hiring of two servants but it soon became apparent Edwin was an alcoholic. In 1914, he was forced to retire; he attempted to rehabilitate himself through treatment but the Rock Island Railroad never reinstated him. At about this time, Earhart's grandmother Amelia Otis died, leaving a substantial estate that placed her daughter's share in a trust, fearing Edwin's drinking would exhaust the funds. The Otis house was auctioned along with its contents; Amelia later described these events as the end of her childhood.[26]

In 1915, after a long search, Edwin Earhart found work as a clerk at the Great Northern Railway in St. Paul, Minnesota, where Amelia entered Central High School as a junior. Edwin applied for a transfer to Springfield, Missouri, in 1915, but the current claims officer reconsidered his retirement and demanded his job back, leaving Edwin Earhart unemployed. Amy Earhart took her children to Chicago, where they lived with friends. Amelia canvassed nearby high schools in Chicago to find the best science program; she rejected the high school nearest her home, complaining the chemistry lab was "just like a kitchen sink".[27] She eventually enrolled in Hyde Park High School but spent a miserable semester for which a yearbook caption noted: "A.E.—the girl in brown who walks alone".[28]

Early career

Amelia Earhart graduated from Hyde Park High School in 1916.[29] Throughout her childhood, she had continued to aspire to a future career; she kept a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about successful women in male-dominated careers, including film direction and production, law, advertising, management, and mechanical engineering.[20] She began junior college at Ogontz School in Rydal, Pennsylvania, but did not complete her program.[30][31]

During Christmas vacation in 1917, Earhart visited her sister in Toronto, Canada, where she saw wounded soldiers returning from World War I. After receiving training as a nurse's aide from the Red Cross, Earhart began working with the Voluntary Aid Detachment at Spadina Military Hospital, where her duties included food preparation for patients with special diets and handing out prescribed medication in the hospital's dispensary.[32][33] There, Earhart heard stories from military pilots and developed an interest in flying.[34][35]

Spanish flu pandemic of 1918

In 1918, when the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic reached Toronto, Earhart was engaged in nursing duties that included night shifts at Spadina Military Hospital.[36][37] In early November that year, she became infected, and was hospitalized for pneumonia and maxillary sinusitis, and was discharged in December 1918, about two month later.[36] Her sinus-related symptoms were pain and pressure around one eye, and copious mucus drainage via the nostrils and throat.[38] While staying in the hospital during the pre-antibiotic era, Earhart had painful minor operations to wash out the affected maxillary sinus[36][37][38] but these procedures were not successful and her headaches worsened. Earhart's convalescence lasted nearly a year, which she spent at her sister's home in Northampton, Massachusetts.[37] Earhart passed the time reading poetry, learning to play the banjo, and studying mechanics.[36] Chronic sinusitis significantly affected Earhart's flying and other activities in later life,[38] and sometimes she was forced to wear a bandage on her cheek to cover a small drainage tube.[39]

Early flying experiences

Amelia Earhart in her first training plane in 1920
Earhart in her first training plane, 1920

In the early 1920s, Earhart and a young woman friend visited an air fair held in conjunction with the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto; she said: "The interest, aroused in me, in Toronto, led me to all the air circuses in the vicinity".[40] One of the highlights of the day was a flying exhibition put on by a World War I ace.[41] The pilot saw Earhart and her friend, who were watching from an isolated clearing, and dived at them. "I am sure he said to himself, 'Watch me make them scamper' ", she said. Earhart stood her ground as the aircraft came close. "I did not understand it at the time", she said, "but I believe that little red airplane said something to me as it swished by".[42]

By 1919, Earhart prepared to enter Smith College, where her sister was a student,[43][44] but she changed her mind and enrolled in a course of medical studies and other programs at Columbia University.[45] Earhart quit her studies a year later to be with her parents, who had reunited in California.

On December 28, 1920, Earhart and her father attended an "aerial meet"[46] at Daugherty Field in Long Beach, California. She asked her father to ask about passenger flights and flying lessons.[40] Earhart was booked for a passenger flight the following day at Emory Roger's Field, at the corner[47] of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue.[40] A 10-minute flight with Frank Hawks, who later gained fame as an air racer, cost $10. The ride with Hawkes changed Earhart's life; she said: "By the time I had got two or three hundred feet [60–90 m] off the ground ... I knew I had to fly".[48]

L–R: Neta Snook, Earhart's Kinner Airster and Amelia Earhart, c. 1921[49][50]

The next month, Earhart engaged Neta Snook to be her flying instructor. The initial contract was for 12 hours of instruction for $500.[40] Working at a variety of jobs including photographer, truck driver, and stenographer at the local telephone company, Earhart saved $1,000 for flying lessons; she had her first lesson on January 3, 1921, at Kinner Field on the west side of Long Beach Boulevard and Tweedy Road,[46] now in the city of South Gate. For training, Snook used a crash-salvaged Curtiss JN-4 "Canuck" airplane he had restored for training. To reach the airfield, Earhart had to take a bus then walk four miles (6.4 km). Earhart's mother provided part of the $1,000 "stake" against her "better judgement".[51] Earhart cropped her hair short in the style of other female flyers.[52] Six months later, in mid 1921 and against Snook's advice, Earhart purchased a secondhand, chromium yellow Kinner Airster biplane,[40] which she nicknamed "The Canary". After her first successful solo landing, she bought a new leather flying coat.[40] Due to the newness of the coat, she was subjected to teasing so she aged it by sleeping in it and staining it with aircraft oil.[40]

On October 22, 1922, Earhart flew the Airster to an altitude of 14,000 feet (4,300 m), setting a world record for female pilots.[53] On May 16, 1923, Earhart became the 16th woman in the United States to be issued a pilot's license (#6017)[54] by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI).[55]

Aviation career and marriage

Amelia Earhart in front of a CIT-9 Safety Plane

Financial crisis

Throughout the early 1920s, following a disastrous investment in a failed gypsum mine, Amelai Earhart's inheritance from her grandmother, which her mother was now administering, steadily diminished until it was exhausted. Consequently, with no immediate prospect of recouping her investment in flying, Earhart sold the Canary and a second Kinner, and bought a yellow Kissel Gold Bug "Speedster", a two-seat automobile, and named it "Yellow Peril". Simultaneously, pain from Earhart's old sinus problem worsened and in early 1924, she was hospitalized for another sinus operation, which was again unsuccessful. She tried a number of ventures that included setting up a photography company.[56]

Boston

Photo of Earhart from her book 20 Hrs. 40 Min. (1928)

Following her parents' divorce in 1924, Earhart drove her mother in "Yellow Peril" on a transcontinental trip from California with stops throughout the western United States and northward to Banff, Alberta, Canada. Their journey ended in Boston, Massachusetts, where Earhart underwent another, more-successful sinus operation. After recuperation, she returned to Columbia University for several months but was forced to abandon her studies and any further plans for enrolling at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), because her mother could no longer afford the tuition fees and associated costs. In 1925, Earhart found employment first as a teacher, then as a social worker at Denison House, a Boston settlement house.[57] At this time, she lived in Medford, Massachusetts.

When Earhart lived in Medford, she maintained her interest in aviation, becoming a member of the American Aeronautical Society's Boston chapter and eventually being elected its vice president.[58] She flew out of Dennison Airport in Quincy, helped finance the airport's operation by investing a small sum of money,[59] and in 1927, she flew the first official flight out of Dennison Airport.[60] Earhart worked as a sales representative for Kinner Aircraft in the Boston area and wrote local-newspaper columns promoting flying; as her local celebrity grew, Earhart made plans to launch an organization for female flyers.[61]

Transatlantic flight in 1928

Amelia Earhart prior to her transatlantic crossing of June 17, 1928

After Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, Amy Guest expressed interest in being the first woman to fly or be flown across the Atlantic.[citation needed] After deciding the trip was too perilous for her to undertake, Guest offered to sponsor the project, suggesting they find "another girl with the right image".[citation needed] In April 1928, while at work, Earhart received a telephone call from Hilton H. Railey, who asked her whether she would like to fly the Atlantic.[citation needed]

The project coordinators, including publisher and publicist George P. Putnam, interviewed Earhart and asked her to accompany pilot Wilmer Stultz and copilot/mechanic Louis Gordon on the flight, nominally as a passenger but with the duty of keeping the flight log. On June 17, 1928, the team departed from Trepassey Harbor, Newfoundland, in a Fokker F.VIIb/3m named "Friendship"; and landed at Pwll near Burry Port, South Wales, exactly 20 hours and 40 minutes later.[62] There is a commemorative blue plaque at the site.[63] Because most of the flight was on instruments and Earhart had no training for this type of flying, she did not pilot the aircraft. When interviewed after landing, she said: "Stultz did all the flying—had to. I was just baggage, like a sack of potatoes ... maybe someday I'll try it alone".[64]

Earhart received a rousing welcome on June 19, 1928, when she landed at Woolston, Southampton, England.[65][page needed] She flew the Avro Avian 594 Avian III, SN: R3/AV/101 that was owned by Irish aviator Lady Mary Heath, the first woman to hold a commercial flying licence in Britain, and later purchased the aircraft and had it shipped to the United States, where it was assigned "unlicensed aircraft identification mark" 7083.[66]

When Stultz, Gordon, and Earhart returned to the United States on July 6, they were greeted with a ticker-tape parade along the Canyon of Heroes in Manhattan, followed by a reception with President Calvin Coolidge at the White House.[citation needed]

Celebrity image

Earhart walking with President Herbert Hoover in the grounds of the White House on January 2, 1932

Trading on her physical resemblance to Charles Lindbergh,[67] whom the press had dubbed "Lucky Lindy", some newspapers and magazines began referring to Earhart as "Lady Lindy",[68] and the United Press dubbed her the "Queen of the Air".[69] Immediately after her return to the United States, Earhart undertook an exhausting lecture tour in 1928 and 1929. Putnam had undertaken to heavily promote Earhart in a campaign that included publishing a book she wrote, a series of new lecture tours, and using pictures of her in media endorsements for products including luggage, Lucky Strike cigarettes—this endorsement caused McCall's magazine to retract an offer—[70] and women's clothing and sportswear. The money Earhart made from Lucky Strike had been intended for a $1,500 donation to Richard Evelyn Byrd's imminent expedition to the South Pole.[70]

The marketing campaign by both Earhart and Putnam was successful in establishing the Earhart mystique in the public psyche.[71] Rather than simply endorsing the products, Earhart became involved in the promotions, especially in women's fashions. The "active living" lines that were sold in stores such as Macy's were an expression of Earhart's new image.[72] Her concept of simple, natural lines matched with wrinkle-proof, washable materials was the embodiment of a sleek, purposeful, but feminine "A.E.", the familiar name she used with family and friends.[69][73] The luggage line she promoted, which was marketed as Modernaire Earhart Luggage, also bore her stamp.[citation needed]

Promoting aviation

Studio portrait of Amelia Earhart, c. 1932. Putnam specifically instructed Earhart to disguise a "gap-toothed" smile by keeping her mouth closed in formal photographs.

Celebrity endorsements helped Earhart finance her flying.[74] Accepting a position as associate editor at Cosmopolitan magazine, she turned this forum into an opportunity to campaign for greater public acceptance of aviation, especially focusing on the role of women entering the field.[75] In 1929, Earhart (along with Margaret Bartlett Thornton) was appointed by Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT, later TWA) to promote air travel, particularly for women;[76] and invested time and money in setting up the first regional shuttle service between New York and Washington, D.C., the Ludington Airline. She was a Vice President of National Airways, which conducted the flying operations of the Boston-Maine Airways and several other airlines in the northeast. By 1940, the company had become Northeast Airlines.[77] In 1934 she interceded on behalf of Isabel Ebel (who had helped her in 1932) to get her accepted as the first woman student of Aeronatical Engineering at NYU.[78]

Competitive flying

Although Earhart had gained fame for her transatlantic flight, she endeavored to set an "untarnished" record of her own.[79] Shortly after her return, piloting Avian 7083, she set off on her first long solo flight that occurred just as her name was coming into the national spotlight. By making the trip in August 1928, Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the North American continent and back.[80] Her piloting skills and professionalism gradually grew, as acknowledged by experienced professional pilots who flew with her. General Leigh Wade flew with Earhart in 1929: "She was a born flier, with a delicate touch on the stick."[81]

Earhart subsequently made her first attempt at competitive air racing in 1929 during the first Santa Monica-to-Cleveland Women's Air Derby (nicknamed the "Powder Puff Derby" by Will Rogers), which left Santa Monica, California, on August 18 and arrived at Cleveland, Ohio on August 26. During the race, she settled into fourth place in the "heavy planes" division. At the second to last stop at Columbus, her friend Ruth Nichols, who was coming in third, had an accident while on a test flight before the race recommenced. Nichols' aircraft hit a tractor at the start of the runway and flipped over, forcing her out of the race.[82] At Cleveland, Earhart was placed third in the heavy division.[83][84]

In 1930, Earhart became an official of the National Aeronautic Association, where she actively promoted the establishment of separate women's records and was instrumental in the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) accepting a similar international standard.[75] On April 8, 1931,[85][86] she set a world altitude record of 18,415 feet (5,613 m) flying a Pitcairn PCA-2[87] autogyro borrowed from Beech-Nut Chewing Gum.[88][89][90][91]

During this period, Earhart became involved with The Ninety-Nines, an organization of female pilots providing moral support and advancing the cause of women in aviation. She had called a meeting of female pilots in 1929 following the Women's Air Derby. She suggested the name based on the number of the charter members; she later became the organization's first president in 1930.[4] Earhart was a vigorous advocate for female pilots and when the 1934 Bendix Trophy Race banned women, she openly refused to fly screen actress Mary Pickford to Cleveland to open the races.[92]

Marriage to George Putnam

Earhart and Putnam in 1931

Earhart was engaged to Samuel Chapman, a chemical engineer from Boston; she broke off the engagement on November 23, 1928.[93] During the same period, Earhart and publisher George P. Putnam had spent a great deal of time together. Putnam, who was known as GP, was divorced in 1929 and sought out Earhart, proposing to her six times before she finally agreed to marry him.[Note 1] They married on February 7, 1931, in Putnam's mother's house in Noank, Connecticut. Earhart referred to her marriage as a "partnership" with "dual control". In a letter written to Putnam and hand-delivered to him on the day of the wedding, she wrote, "I want you to understand I shall not hold you to any midaevil [sic] code of faithfulness to me nor shall I consider myself bound to you similarly." She continued, "I may have to keep some place where I can go to be by myself, now and then, for I cannot guarantee to endure at all times the confinement of even an attractive cage."[95][96][97]

Earhart's ideas on marriage were liberal for the time, as she believed in equal responsibilities for both breadwinners and pointedly kept her own name rather than being referred to as "Mrs. Putnam". When The New York Times, per the rules of its stylebook, insisted on referring to her as Mrs. Putnam, she laughed it off. Putnam also learned that he would be called "Mr. Earhart".[98] There was no honeymoon for the newlyweds, as Earhart was involved in a nine-day cross-country tour promoting autogyros and the tour sponsor, Beech-Nut chewing gum. Although Earhart and Putnam never had children, he had two sons by his previous marriage to Dorothy Binney (1888–1982),[99] a chemical heiress whose father's company, Binney & Smith, invented Crayola crayons:[100] the explorer and writer David Binney Putnam (1913–1992) and George Palmer Putnam, Jr. (1921–2013).[101] Earhart was especially fond of David, who frequently visited his father at their family home, which was on the grounds of The Apawamis Club in Rye, New York. George had contracted polio shortly after his parents' separation and was unable to visit as often.

Transatlantic solo flight in 1932

On May 20, 1932, 34-year-old Earhart set off from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, with a copy of the Telegraph-Journal, given to her by journalist Stuart Trueman[102] to confirm the date of the flight.[102] She intended to fly to Paris in her single engine Lockheed Vega 5B to emulate Charles Lindbergh's solo flight five years earlier.[103][Note 2] Her technical advisor for the flight was famed Norwegian American aviator Bernt Balchen, who helped prepare her aircraft. He also played the role of "decoy" for the press as he was ostensibly preparing Earhart's Vega for his own Arctic flight.[Note 3] After a flight lasting 14 hours, 56 minutes, during which she contended with strong northerly winds, icy conditions and mechanical problems, Earhart landed in a pasture at Culmore, north of Derry, Northern Ireland. The landing was witnessed by Cecil King and T. Sawyer. When a farm hand asked, "Have you flown far?" Earhart replied, "From America".[106][107]

As the first woman to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic, Earhart received the Distinguished Flying Cross from Congress, the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honor from the French Government and the Gold Medal of the National Geographic Society[108] from President Herbert Hoover. As her fame grew, she developed friendships with many people in high offices, most notably First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Roosevelt shared many of Earhart's interests and passions, especially women's causes. After flying with Earhart, Roosevelt obtained a student permit but did not further pursue her plans to learn to fly. The two friends communicated frequently throughout their lives.[109] Another flyer, Jacqueline Cochran, who was said to be Earhart's rival, also became her confidante during this period.[110]

Additional solo flights

Newsreel of Earhart flying from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Oakland, California in 1935

On January 11, 1935, Earhart became the first aviator to fly solo from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Oakland, California.[Note 4][111][112][113] This time, she used a Lockheed 5C Vega.[114] Although this transoceanic flight had been attempted by many others, notably by the unfortunate participants in the 1927 Dole Air Race that had reversed the route, her trailblazing[115] flight had been mainly routine, with no mechanical breakdowns. In her final hours, she even relaxed and listened to "the broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera from New York".[115]

That year, once more flying her Lockheed Vega airliner that Earhart had tagged "old Bessie, the fire horse",[Note 5][117] she flew solo from Los Angeles to Mexico City on April 19. The next record attempt was a nonstop flight from Mexico City to New York. Setting off on May 8, her flight was uneventful, although the large crowds that greeted her at Newark, New Jersey, were a concern,[118] because she had to be careful not to taxi into the throng.

Earhart again participated in long-distance air racing, placing fifth in the 1935 Bendix Trophy Race, the best result she could manage, because her stock Lockheed Vega, which topped out at 195 mph (314 km/h), was outclassed by purpose-built air racers that reached more than 300 mph (480 km/h).[119] The race had been a particularly difficult one, as a competitor, Cecil Allen, died in a fiery takeoff mishap, and rival Jacqueline Cochran was forced to pull out due to mechanical problems. In addition, "blinding fog"[120] and violent thunderstorms plagued the race.

Between 1930 and 1935, Earhart had set seven women's speed and distance aviation records in a variety of aircraft, including the Kinner Airster, Lockheed Vega, and Pitcairn Autogiro. By 1935, recognizing the limitations of her "lovely red Vega" in long, transoceanic flights, Earhart contemplated, in her own words, a new "prize ... one flight which I most wanted to attempt – a circumnavigation of the globe as near its waistline as could be".[121] For the new venture, she would need a new aircraft.

Move from New York to California

Earhart In a Stearman-Hammond Y-1

While Earhart was away on a speaking tour in late November 1934, a fire broke out at the Putnam residence in Rye, destroying many family treasures and Earhart's personal mementos.[122] Putnam had already sold his interest in the New York-based publishing company to his cousin, Palmer Putnam. Following the fire, the couple decided to move to the West Coast, where Putnam took up his new position as head of the editorial board of Paramount Pictures in North Hollywood.[123][Note 6] While speaking in California in late 1934, Earhart had contacted Hollywood "stunt" pilot Paul Mantz in order to improve her flying, focusing especially on long-distance flying in her Vega, and wanted to move closer to him.

At Earhart's urging, Putnam purchased a small house in June 1935 adjacent to the clubhouse of the Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake, a San Fernando Valley celebrity enclave community nestled between the Warner Brothers and Universal Pictures studio complexes, where they had earlier rented a temporary residence.[124][125] Earhart and Putnam would not move in immediately, however; they decided to do considerable remodeling and enlarge the existing small structure to meet their needs. This delayed the occupation of their new home for several months.[126]

In September 1935, Earhart and Mantz formally established a business partnership that they had been considering since late 1934, by creating the short-lived Earhart-Mantz Flying School, which Mantz controlled and operated through his aviation company, United Air Services. The company was located at the Burbank Airport, about five miles (8 km) from Earhart's Toluca Lake home. Putnam handled publicity for the school that primarily taught instrument flying using Link Trainers.[127] Also in 1935, Earhart joined Purdue University as a visiting faculty member to counsel women on careers and as a technical advisor to its Department of Aeronautics.[120][Note 7]

World flight in 1937

Amelia Earhart standing in front of the Lockheed Electra in which she disappeared in July 1937

Planning

Early in 1936, Earhart started planning to fly around the world. If successful she would become the first woman to do so. Although others had flown around the world, her flight would be the longest at 29,000 miles (47,000 km) because it followed a roughly equatorial route. She planned to court publicity along the route so that she could increase interest in a book she intended to write about the expedition.[128]

Purdue University established the Amelia Earhart Fund for Aeronautical Research and gave $50,000 to fund the purchase of a Lockheed Electra 10E.[129] In July 1936, the airplane was built by Lockheed Aircraft Company, it had extensive modifications and incorporated extra fuel tanks.[130] Earhart dubbed the twin engine monoplane her "flying laboratory". The plane was built at Lockheed's Burbank, California, plant, and after delivery it was hangared at Mantz's United Air Services, which was just across the airfield from the Lockheed plant.[131]

Earhart chose Captain Harry Manning as her navigator; he had been the captain of the President Roosevelt, the ship that had brought Earhart back from Europe in 1928.[129] Manning was not only a navigator, but he was also a pilot and a skilled radio operator who knew Morse code.[132]

Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan

The original plan was a two-person crew. Earhart would fly and Manning would navigate. During a flight across the country that included Earhart, Manning, and Putnam, Earhart flew using landmarks. She and Putnam knew where they were. Manning did a navigation fix, but that fix alarmed Putnam, because Manning's position put them in the wrong state. They were flying close to the state line, so the navigation error was minor, but Putnam was still concerned.[133] Sometime later, Putnam and Mantz arranged a night flight to test Manning's navigational skill.[134] Under poor navigational conditions, Manning's position was off by 20 miles. Elgen M. and Marie K. Long consider Manning's performance reasonable because it was within an acceptable error of 30 miles, but Mantz and Putnam wanted a better navigator.[135]

Through contacts in the Los Angeles aviation community, Fred Noonan was subsequently chosen as a second navigator because there were significant additional factors that had to be dealt with while using celestial navigation for aircraft.[135][136] Noonan was experienced in both marine (he was a licensed ship's captain) and flight navigation. Noonan had recently left Pan Am, where he established most of the company's China Clipper seaplane routes across the Pacific. Noonan had also been responsible for training Pan American's navigators for the route between San Francisco and Manila.[137][Note 8] The original plans were for Noonan to navigate from Hawaii to Howland Island, a particularly difficult portion of the flight; then Manning would continue with Earhart to Australia and she would proceed on her own for the remainder of the project.

Abandoned first attempt

On March 17, 1937, Earhart and her crew set out on the first leg of her round the world flight, this attempt was abandoned after a non-fatal crash that meant the aircraft needed repairs. The first leg of this attempt was between Oakland, California, and Honolulu, Hawaii. The crew were Earhart, Noonan, Manning and Mantz, who was acting as Earhart's technical advisor. Due to problems with the propeller hubs' variable pitch mechanisms, the aircraft needed servicing and ended up at the United States Navy's Luke Field at Pearl Harbor. The flight resumed three days later from Luke Field with Earhart, Noonan and Manning on board. The next destination was Howland Island, a small island in the Pacific. Manning, the radio operator, had made arrangements to use radio direction finding to home in to the island. The flight never left Luke Field. During the takeoff run, there was an uncontrolled ground-loop, the forward landing gear collapsed, both propellers hit the ground and the plane skidded on its belly.[138] The cause of the crash is not known with certainty. Some witnesses at Luke Field, including the Associated Press journalist, said they saw a tire blow.[139] Earhart thought either the Electra's right tire had blown and/or the right landing gear had collapsed. Some sources, including Mantz, cited error by Earhart.[139] With the aircraft severely damaged, the attempt was called off and the aircraft was shipped by sea to Lockheed Burbank in California for repairs.[140]

Second attempt

The planned flight route

While the Electra was being repaired, Earhart and Putnam secured additional funds and prepared for a second attempt. This time flying west to east, the second attempt began with an unpublicized flight from Oakland to Miami, Florida, and after arriving there Earhart publicly announced her plans to circumnavigate the globe. The flight's opposite direction was partly the result of changes in global wind and weather patterns along the planned route since the earlier attempt.

On this second attempt Manning, the only skilled radio operator, had left the crew, leaving only Noonan and Earhart. The pair departed Miami on June 1 and after numerous stops in South America, Africa, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, arrived at Lae, New Guinea, on June 29, 1937. At this stage, about 22,000 miles (35,000 km) of the journey had been completed. The remaining 7,000 miles (11,000 km) would be over the Pacific.

Flight between Lae and Howland Island

Earhart's flight was intended to be from Lae Airfield to Howland Island, a trip of 2,556 miles (2,200 nmi; 4,100 km).

On at 10:00 in the morning (midnight GMT), Earhart and Noonan took off from Lae Airfield in the heavily loaded Electra.[146] Their intended destination was Howland Island, a flat sliver of land 6,500 ft (2,000 m) long and 1,600 ft (500 m) wide, 10 ft (3 m) high and 2,556 miles (2,221 nmi; 4,113 km) away.[147] The expected flying time was about 20 hours, so, accounting for the 2-hour time-zone difference between Lae and Howland and crossing of the International Date Line, the aircraft was expected to arrive at Howland the morning of the next day, 2 July. The aircraft departed Lae with about 1100 gallons of gasoline.[148] This leg was the longest of circumnavigation, the length was close to the maximum range of the plane, and the destination was a small island in a large ocean.

In preparation for the trip to Howland Island, the U.S. Coast Guard had sent the cutter USCGC Itasca (1929) to the island to offer communication and navigation support for the flight. The plan was for the cutter to: communicate with Earhart's aircraft via radio; transmit a radio homing signal to make it easy to find Howland Island without precise celestial navigation; do radio direction finding (RDF) if Earhart used her 500 kHz transmitter; use an experimental high-frequency direction finder for Earhart's voice transmissions; and use the cutter's boilers to create a dark column of smoke that could be seen over the horizon. All of the navigation methods would fail to guide Earhart to Howland Island.

Around , Earhart reported her altitude as 10,000 ft but that they would reduce altitude due to thick clouds. Around , Earhart reported her altitude as 7,000 ft and speed as 150 knots.[149]

During Earhart and Noonan's approach to Howland Island, the Itasca received strong and clear voice transmissions from Earhart identifying as KHAQQ, but she apparently was unable to hear voice transmissions from the ship. Signals from the ship would be used for direction finding, implying that the aircraft's direction finder was not functional.

The first calls received from Earhart were routine reports stating the weather as cloudy and overcast at and just before . These calls were broken up by static, but at this point the aircraft would still be a long distance from Howland.[150] At another call was received stating the aircraft was within 200 miles (320 km), and requested that the ship use its direction finder to provide a bearing for the aircraft. Earhart began whistling into the microphone to provide a continual signal for them to home in on.[151] It was at this point that the radio operators on the Itasca realized that their RDF system could not tune in the aircraft's 3105 kHz frequency; radioman Leo Bellarts later commented that he "was sitting there sweating blood because I couldn't do a darn thing about it." A similar call asking for a bearing was received at , when Earhart estimated they were 100 miles (160 km) out.[152]

An Itasca radio log at 7:30–7:40 am states that they only had a half hour of fuel remaining. A further radio log states they thought they were near Itasca but could not locate it and were flying at 1000 feet.[153] Earhart's transmission said she could not hear the Itasca and asked them to send voice signals so she could try to take a radio bearing. This transmission was reported by the Itasca as the loudest possible signal, indicating Earhart and Noonan were in the immediate area. They could not send voice at the frequency she asked for, so Morse code signals were sent instead. Earhart acknowledged receiving these but said she was unable to determine their direction.[154]

USCGC Itasca was at Howland Island to support the flight.

The last voice transmission received on Howland Island from Earhart indicated she and Noonan were flying along a line of position (running North to South on 157–337 degrees) which Noonan would have calculated and drawn on a chart as passing through Howland.[155] After all contact was lost with Howland Island, attempts were made to reach the flyers with both voice and Morse code transmissions. Operators across the Pacific and the United States may have heard signals from the downed Electra but these were unintelligible or weak.[156]

The cause of the flight's failure is not known, however a series of misunderstandings, errors or mechanical failures, are likely on the final approach to Howland Island. Noonan had earlier written about problems affecting the accuracy of radio direction finding in navigation. Another cited cause of possible confusion was that the Itasca and Earhart planned their communication schedule using time systems set a half-hour apart, with Earhart using Greenwich Civil Time (GCT) and the Itasca under a Naval time zone designation system.[157] Motion picture evidence from Lae suggests that an antenna mounted underneath the fuselage may have been torn off from the fuel-heavy Electra during taxi or takeoff from Lae's turf runway.

Sources have noted Earhart's apparent lack of understanding of her direction-finding system, which had been fitted to the aircraft just prior to the flight. The system was equipped with a new receiver from Bendix Corporation. Earhart's only training on the system was a brief introduction by Joe Gurr at the Lockheed factory. A card displaying the band settings of the antenna was mounted so it was not visible.[158] The Electra expected Itasca to transmit signals that the Electra could use as an RDF beacon to find the Itasca. In theory, the plane could listen for the signal while rotating its loop antenna. A sharp minimum indicates the direction of the RDF beacon. The Electra's RDF equipment had failed due to a blown fuse during an earlier leg flying to Darwin; the fuse was replaced.[159] Near Howland, Earhart could hear the transmission from Itasca on 7500 kHz, but she was unable to determine a minimum, so she could not determine a direction to Itasca. Earhart was also unable to determine a minimum during an RDF test at Lae.[148]

Disappearance

Pathe newsreel detailing her 1937 disappearance

The U.S. government investigated the disappearance and in its report concluded that Earhart's plane ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean.[160] During the 1970s, retired United States Navy (USN) captain Laurance Safford began a lengthy analysis of the flight. His research included the intricate radio transmission documentation. Safford concluded that the flight had suffered from poor planning and worse execution.[161]

Many researchers believe Earhart and Noonan died during or shortly after the crash. In 1982, retired USN rear admiral Richard R. Black, who was in administrative charge of the Howland Island airstrip and was present in the radio room on the Itasca, asserted that "the Electra went into the sea about 10 am, July 2, 1937, not far from Howland".[162] Earhart's stepson George Palmer Putnam Jr. has been quoted as saying he believes "the plane just ran out of gas".[163] Earhart biography author Susan Butler posits that the aircraft went into the ocean out of sight of Howland Island and rests on the seafloor at a depth of 17,000 ft (5 km).[164] Tom D. Crouch, senior curator of the National Air and Space Museum, has said the Electra is "18,000 ft. down" and compares its archaeological significance to the Titanic, saying, "the mystery is part of what keeps us interested. In part, we remember her because she's our favorite missing person."[157]

British aviation historian Roy Nesbit interpreted evidence in contemporary accounts and Putnam's correspondence and concluded that Earhart's Electra was not fully fueled at Lae.[165] William L. Polhemous, the navigator on Ann Pellegreno's 1967 flight that followed Earhart and Noonan's original flight path, studied navigational tables for July 2, 1937, and thought Noonan may have miscalculated the "single line approach" intended to "hit" Howland.[166]

Search efforts

Beginning approximately one hour after Earhart's last recorded message, Itasca undertook an ultimately unsuccessful search north and west of Howland Island based on initial assumptions about transmissions from the aircraft. The U.S. Navy soon joined the search and over a period of about three days sent available resources to the search area in the vicinity of Howland Island.[167] The official search efforts lasted until July 19, 1937.[168] At $4 million, the air and sea search by the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard was the most costly and intensive in U.S. history up to that time. Despite an unprecedented search, no physical evidence of Earhart, Noonan or the Electra 10E was found.[169][170]

On the mornings of July 3 and July 6, 1937, an Oakland radio amateur was reputed to have heard emergency transmissions, seemingly from Earhart.[171][Note 9] In the days after their last confirmed transmissions there were further transmissions purporting to be from Earhart, many determined to be hoaxes. The captain of USS Colorado later said: "There was no doubt many stations calling the Earhart plane on the plane's frequency, some by voice and others by signals. All of these added to the confusion and doubtfulness of the authenticity of the reports."[172]

Immediately after the end of the official search, Putnam financed a private search by local authorities of nearby Pacific islands and waters. In late July 1937, Putnam chartered two small boats, and, while he remained in the United States, directed a search of further islands.[173] Back in the United States, Putnam acted to become the trustee of Earhart's estate so that he could pay for the searches and related bills. In probate court in Los Angeles, Putnam requested to have the "declared death in absentia" seven-year waiting period waived so that he could manage Earhart's finances. As a result, Earhart was declared legally dead on January 5, 1939.[1]

In 2003 and 2006, David Jourdan, through his company Nauticos, extensively searched a 1,200-square-mile (3,100 km2) area north and west of Howland Island with deep-sea sonar devices. The searches had a total cost of $4.5 million but did not find any wreckage. The search locations were derived from the line of position (157–337) broadcast by Earhart on July 2, 1937.[157]

In 2024, Deep Sea Vision, a Charleston, South Carolina, company that operates unmanned underwater vehicles, found via sonar what they claim are the remains of an airplane on the ocean floor. The object, shaped like the Electra, was detected 16,000 ft (4.9 km) underwater and within 100 mi (160 km) of Howland Island. More exploration is necessary to confirm whether this is Earhart's missing aircraft.[174][175]

Speculation on disappearance

Main article: Speculation on the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan

Gardner (Nikumaroro) Island in 2014. "Seven Site" is a focus of the search for Earhart's remains.

While most historians believe Earhart crashed and sank in the Pacific Ocean a number of other possibilities have been proposed, including several conspiracy theories. The Gardner Island hypothesis assumes that Earhart and Noonan, unable to find Howland Island, would not waste time searching for it, instead turning to the south to look for other islands. One of the Phoenix Islands, then known as Gardner Island but now known as Nikumaroro, has been the subject of inquiry as a possible crash-landing site, but, despite numerous expeditions, no link between Earhart and the island has ever been found.

The Japanese capture theory assumes Earhart and Noonan were captured by Japanese forces after navigating to the Japanese South Seas Mandate. A number of Earhart's relatives have been convinced that the Japanese were somehow involved in Amelia's disappearance, citing unnamed witnesses including Japanese troops and Saipan natives.[176][177] A problem with all versions of the Japanese capture hypothesis is that Earhart did not have the fuel or time to fly hundreds of miles to reach Japanese territory.[178][179] Additionally, had the Japanese found a crashed Earhart and Noonan, they would have had substantial motivation to rescue the famous aviators and be hailed as heroes.[179]

The New Britain theory assumes that Earhart turned back mid-flight. She would then have tried to reach the airfield at Rabaul, New Britain (northeast of mainland Papua New Guinea), approximately 2,200 miles (3,500 km) from Howland.[180] In 1990, Donald Angwin, a veteran of the Australian Army's World War II campaign in New Britain, reported that in 1945 he had seen a wrecked aircraft in the jungle that may have been Earhart's Electra.[181][182] Subsequent searches of the area failed to find a wreck.[181]

In November 2006, the National Geographic Channel aired an episode of the Undiscovered History series that claimed Earhart had survived the world flight, changed her name, remarried and became Irene Craigmile Bolam. This claim had originally been raised in the book Amelia Earhart Lives (1970) based on the research of Major Joseph Gervais.[183] Bolam filed a lawsuit requesting $1.5 million in damages, the book's publisher, McGraw-Hill, withdrew the book from the market shortly after it was released and court records indicate that the company reached an out-of-court settlement with her.[184]

Legacy

Earhart has a tribute at the Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation.

Countless tributes and memorials have been made in Amelia Earhart's name, including a 2012 tribute by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at a State Department event celebrating the ties of Earhart and the United States to its Pacific neighbors, noting: "Earhart ... created a legacy that resonates today for anyone, girls and boys, who dreams of the stars."[185] In 2013, Flying magazine ranked Earhart No. 9 on its list of the "51 Heroes of Aviation".[9]

Earhart was a widely known international celebrity during her lifetime. Her shyly charismatic appeal, independence, persistence, coolness under pressure, courage and goal-oriented career along with the circumstances of her disappearance at a comparatively early age have driven her lasting fame in popular culture. Hundreds of articles and scores of books have been written about her life, which is often cited as a motivational tale, especially for girls. Earhart is generally regarded as a feminist icon.[186]

Earhart's accomplishments in aviation inspired a generation of female aviators, including the more than 1,000 women pilots of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) who ferried military aircraft, towed gliders, flew target practice aircraft, and served as transport pilots during World War II.[187][188]

The home where Earhart was born is now the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum and is maintained by The Ninety-Nines, an international group of female pilots of whom Earhart was the first elected president.[189] The Amelia Earhart Festival has taken place in the town of her birth, every year since 1996.[190]

In 1964, Purdue University opened the Earhart Hall in honor of her legacy and contribution to the University during her time as a career counselor for female student and technical advisor for the aeronautics department. In 2009, Purdue erected a bronze statue of Earhart, holding a propeller, in front of the residence hall named after her.[191] The University board recently approved plans to name the new Purdue University Airport terminal the Amelia Earhart Terminal.[192]

1963 U.S. Airmail Postal stamp honoring Earhart, the first woman to appear on an airmail issue.[193]

An Amelia Earhart full size bronze statue was placed at the Spirit of Flight Center located in Lafayette, Colorado, in 2008.[194] A statue by Ernest Shelton was erected circa 1971 in Los Angeles, California.[195]

In 1942, a United States Liberty ship named SS Amelia Earhart was launched, it was wrecked in 1948. USNS Amelia Earhart was named in her honor in May 2007.

A small section of Earhart's Lockheed Electra starboard engine nacelle recovered in the aftermath of the March 1937 Hawaii crash has been confirmed as authentic and is now regarded as a control piece that will help to authenticate possible future discoveries.[196]

The Earhart Light, also known as the Amelia Earhart Light, is a navigational day beacon on Howland Island, where she was due to land before she went missing. It is no longer operational.[197] Amelia Earhart Airport, located in Atchison, Kansas, was named in her honor.[198] The Amelia Earhart Commemorative Stamp (8¢ airmail postage) was issued in 1963 by the United States Postmaster-General.[199] She was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1992.[200] Amelia Earhart Dam on the Mystic River in eastern Massachusetts is named in her honor. The "Earhart Tree" on Banyan Drive in Hilo, Hawaii, was planted by Earhart in 1935.[201]

In 1967, Ann Dearing Holtgren Pellegreno flew a similar aircraft (a Lockheed 10A Electra) to complete a world flight that mirrored Earhart's flight plan. On the 30th anniversary of her disappearance, Pellegreno dropped a wreath in Earhart's honor over Howland Island.[202]

In 1997, on the 60th anniversary of Earhart's world flight, San Antonio businesswoman Linda Finch retraced the final flight path flying the same make and model of aircraft as Earhart, a restored 1935 Lockheed Electra 10E.[203]

In 2001, another commemorative flight retraced the route undertaken by Earhart in her August 1928 transcontinental record flight. Dr. Carlene Mendieta flew an original Avro Avian, the same type that was used in 1928.[80]

In popular culture

Earhart's life has spurred the imaginations of many writers and others; the following examples are given although many other mentions have also occurred in contemporary or current media: The Rosalind Russell film Flight for Freedom (1943) derived from a treatment, "Stand by to Die", was a fictionalized treatment of Earhart's life.[161] Amelia Earhart: The Final Flight (1994) starring Diane Keaton, Rutger Hauer, and Bruce Dern, was initially released as a TV movie and subsequently rereleased as a theatrical feature.[204] In the film Amelia (2009), Earhart is portrayed by Hilary Swank, who also served as co-executive producer of the biopic.[205]

Possibly the first tribute album dedicated to the legend of Earhart was by Plainsong, In Search of Amelia Earhart (Elektra K42120), released in 1972. Both the album and the Press Pak released by Elektra are highly prized by collectors and they have also gained a cult status.[206] Singer Joni Mitchell's song "Amelia" appears on her album Hejira (1976) and it also features in the video of her 1980 live album Shadows and Light (1980) with clips of Earhart. Commenting on the origins of the song, which interweaves the story of a desert journey with aspects of Earhart's disappearance, Mitchell said: "I was thinking of Amelia Earhart and addressing it from one solo pilot to another ... sort of reflecting on the cost of being a woman and having something you must do."[207]

"Amelia Earhart: The Price of Courage" (1993) is an American Experience television documentary.[208] The events surrounding Earhart and Noonan's disappearance are dramatized in the science fiction television show Star Trek: Voyager, episode "The 37's" (1995), with Sharon Lawrence portraying Earhart, and in the 1996 novel I Was Amelia Earhart, by Jane Mendelsohn.[209] In 2011, the Great Canadian Theatre Company hosted a musical play titled Amelia: The Girl Who Wants To Fly.[210] This is one of numerous plays on the subject. Earhart was one of several inspiring women represented by a new line of Barbie dolls introduced March 6, 2018.[211] Lego produced a limited run of Amelia's "Little Red Bus." Lego Model Number 40450.[212] In the 2021 alternate history novella Or Even Eagle Flew by Harry Turtledove, Earhart does not go missing in 1937 and later joins the Eagle Squadrons of the British Royal Air Force to fight against the Nazis in World War II.[213]

Records and achievements

Photo from Earhart's pilot license #6017 that is permanently housed at the Ninety-Nines Museum of Women Pilots.[214][55]

Books by Earhart

Earhart was a successful and heavily promoted writer who served as aviation editor for Cosmopolitan magazine from 1928 to 1930. She wrote magazine articles, newspaper columns, and essays, and published two books based upon her experiences as a flyer during her lifetime:

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Quote: "Amelia eventually said yes – or rather nodded yes – to GP's sixth proposal of marriage.[94]
  2. ^ Earhart's Vega 5B was her third, after trading in two Vega 1s at the Lockheed Aircraft Company's Burbank plant.[104]
  3. ^ Bernt Balchen had been instrumental in other transatlantic and Arctic record-breaking flights during that period.[105]
  4. ^ The first flight between California and Hawaii was completed on June 28–29, 1927 by the Army Air Corps tri-motor Bird of Paradise.
  5. ^ "Old Bessie" started out as a Vega 5 built in 1928 as c/n 36, but was modified with a replacement fuselage to become a 5B.[116]
  6. ^ Amelia preferred the more benign weather of the west coast for flying and based her later years' operation from California rather than the east coast.
  7. ^ Her job at Purdue was outlined by Edward C. Elliott, the President of Purdue University.
  8. ^ Noonan also navigated the China Clipper on its first flight to Manila, departing Alameda under the command of Captain Ed Musick, on November 22, 1935.
  9. ^ The reputed July 3 transmission was an SOS message in Earhart's voice, accompanied by her plane's call letters. The alleged July 6 message, heard on one of Earhart's bands, was in a faint voice (its gender unidentifiable) which said, "Cannot hold out much longer." Putnam believed the messages to be authentic because they were within five minutes of the half hour, the expected interval of SOS messages.[171]

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Works cited

Further reading

  • Barker, Ralph. Great Mysteries of the Air. London: Pan Books, 1966. ISBN 0-330-02096-X.
  • Briand, Paul. Daughter of the Sky. New York: Duell, Sloan, Pearce, 1960. [ISBN missing]
  • Brink, Randall. Lost Star: The Search for Amelia Earhart. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1994. ISBN 978-0-393-02683-2.
  • Burke, John. Winged Legend: The Story of Amelia Earhart. New York: Ballantine Books, 1971. ISBN 0-425-03304-X.
  • Cady, Barbara. They Changed the World: 200 Icons Who Have Made a Difference. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2003. ISBN 1-57912-328-7.
  • Chapman, Sally Putnam, with Stephanie Mansfield. Whistled Like a Bird: The Untold Story of Dorothy Putnam, George Putnam and Amelia Earhart. New York: Warner Books, 1997. ISBN 0-446-52055-1.
  • Cochran, Jacqueline and Maryann Bucknum Brinkley. Jackie Cochran: The Autobiography of the Greatest Woman Pilot in Aviation History. Toronto: Bantam Books, 1987. ISBN 0-553-05211-X.
  • Devine, Thomas E. Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident. Frederick, Colorado: Renaissance House, 1987. ISBN 0-939650-48-7.
  • Goodridge, Walt F. Amelia Earhart on Saipan Tour Booklet. Saipan, Marshall Islands: @Walt F. J. Goodridge, 2017. ISBN 978-1-5489-9290-3.
  • Hoverstein, Paul. "An American Obsession". Air & Space Smithsonian. Vol. 22, No. 2, June/July 2007.
  • Landsberg. Alan. In Search of Missing Persons. New York: Bantam Books, 1978. ISBN 0-553-11459-X.
  • Loomis, Vincent V. Amelia Earhart, the Final Story. New York: Random House, 1985. ISBN 978-0-394-53191-5.
  • Moolman, Valerie. Women Aloft (The Epic of Flight series). Alexandria, Virginia: Time-Life Books, 1981. ISBN 0-8094-3287-0.
  • O'Leary, Michael. "The Earhart Discovery: Fact or Fiction?" Air Classics, Vol 28, No. 8, August 1992.
  • Reuther, Ronald T. and William T. Larkins. Images of America: Oakland Aviation. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978-0-7385-5600-0.
  • Turner, Mary. The Women's Century: A Celebration of Changing Roles 1900–2000. Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK: The National Archives, 2003. ISBN 1-903365-51-1.
  • Wright, Monte Duane. Most Probable Position, A History of Aerial Navigation to 1941. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1972. ISBN 0-7006-0092-2.