Who is Amelia Earhart? – American flyer Amelia Earhart championed the progress of women in aviation and established numerous flying records. She made history by becoming the first person to ever fly solo from Hawaii to the US mainland and the first woman to ever fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
In July 1937, Amelia Earhart vanished somewhere over the Pacific while attempting to fly around the world. She has been officially reported lost at sea because her plane’s wreckage was never discovered. One of the biggest mysteries of the 20th century is still how she vanished.
On July 24, 1897, Amelia Mary Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas. She grew up defying expectations of what a woman should be. Earhart participated in basketball, attended college for a brief time, and took an auto repair course.
She worked as a Red Cross nurse’s assistant in Toronto, Canada, during World War I. While in Toronto, Earhart started spending time observing the Royal Flying Corps pilots practicing at a nearby airfield.
She went back to the country after the war and enrolled as a pre-med student at Columbia University in New York. In December 1920, Earhart went on her maiden flight in California with renowned World War I aviator Frank Hawks. She was instantly fascinated.
She began taking flying lessons in January 1921 from female aviation instructor Neta Snook. Earhart worked as a filing clerk for the Los Angeles Telephone Company to help pay for those lessons. Later that year, she bought a used Kinner Amster, her first aircraft. She gave the yellow jet the moniker “the Canary.”
In December 1921, Earhart passed her flight test and was granted membership in the National Aeronautics Association. She took part in her first flight demonstration at the Sierra Airdrome in Pasadena, California, two days later.
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Records of Earhart’s Aviation:
In her brief career, Amelia Earhart broke numerous aviation records. When she flew solo above 14,000 feet for the first time in 1922, she set her first record.
Earhart crossed the Atlantic Ocean alone for the first time in 1932, just behind Charles Lindbergh. She flew from Newfoundland, Canada, to a cow pasture outside Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on May 20 in a red Lockheed Vega 5B, where she landed the following day.
Congress presented her with the Distinguished Flying Cross upon her return to the country, a military honor given for “heroism or remarkable achievement while engaging in an airborne flight.” The distinction was given to her for the first time.
Later that year, Amelia Earhart completed the first female solo nonstop flight across the country. She left Los Angeles and arrived in Newark, New Jersey, after a 19-hour flight. In 1935, she also made history by becoming the first person to fly unaccompanied from Hawaii to the US mainland.
The Nineteen Nineties:
Earhart made a point of advancing opportunities for women in flying.
After finishing third in the All-Air Women’s Derby, the first transcontinental female air race, in 1929, Amelia Earhart contributed to the establishment of the Ninety-Nines, a global group dedicated to the growth of female pilots.
She became the organization’s first president, and it still exists today, representing female pilots from 44 different nations.
1937 Around-the-World Flight:
Amelia Earhart set out on her round-the-world journey on June 1st, 1937, from Oakland, California. She was making her second try to become the first pilot to ever complete a world tour.
She flew a twin-engine Lockheed 10E Electra with navigator Fred Noonan alongside her. They took a plane from Miami to South America, then over the Atlantic to Africa, then east to Southeast Asia and India.
On June 29, they arrived in Lae, New Guinea. They had already traveled 22,000 miles by the time they arrived in Lae. They still had 7,000 miles to travel before they reached Oakland.
What Happened to Amelia Earhart?
On July 2, Earhart and Noonan left Lae for the tiny Howland Island, where their next stop for refueling would be. Earhart was last observed alive at that time. She and Noonan vanished en way after losing radio contact with the USCG cutter Itasca, which was anchored off the shore of Howland Island.
A thorough two-week search for the pair was ordered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but they were never located. Earhart and Noonan were listed as lost at sea on July 19, 1937.
Numerous theories regarding what happened to Amelia Earhart have been put out by academics and aviation enthusiasts. There are several explanations for the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan, while the official U.S. government stance is that they crashed into the Pacific Ocean.
Theory of Crash and Sink:
The crash and sink hypothesis postulates that Earhart’s aircraft ran out of fuel while she was looking for Howland Island and fell into the open water close to the island.
Over the past 15 years, several expeditions have made an effort to find the plane’s wreckage on the bottom close to Howland. Deep-sea robots and high-tech sonar have not produced any information regarding where the Electra crashed.
The Gardner Island Theory:
According to the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), Earhart and Noonan diverged from their intended trajectory and instead made land 350 miles to the southwest on Gardner Island, today known as Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati. At the time, no one lived on the island.
Navy aircraft passed over the island a week after Earhart vanished. While searching, they noticed recent indications of habitation but no sign of an airplane.
TIGHAR thinks that Earhart—and maybe Noonan—may have endured as castaways on the island for days or even weeks before passing away there. Several TIGHAR excursions to the island since 1988 have uncovered artifacts and tidbits of information that lend credence to this theory.
A piece of Plexiglas that might have come from Electra’s window, a woman’s 1930s shoe, improvised tools, a woman’s 1930s cosmetics jar, and bones that appeared to be from a human finger are just a few of the relics.
A TIGHAR-led mission with four forensically trained bone-sniffing border collies came to Nikumaroro in June 2017 to investigate the island for any skeletal remains of Earhart or Noonan. Bones or DNA weren’t found during the search.
A crew led by ocean researcher Robert Ballard, who is best known for discovering the Titanic’s debris, searched for Amelia Earhart’s aircraft in the waters off Nikumaroro in August 2019. The Electra was not visible to them.
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Other Hypotheses for Earhart’s Death:
Regarding Earhart’s disappearance, there are several conspiracies. According to one scenario, the Japanese kidnapped and killed Earhart and Noonan.
According to a different theory, the duo worked as spies for the Roosevelt government and adopted new identities after leaving the country.