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Amelia Earhart, the first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, mysteriously disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean in 1937.
Watch a short video about Amelia Earhart and fly through her childhood as a daring little child to her mysterious disappearance as an adult.
After a plane ride at an air show, Amelia Earhart decided she would learn to fly. After becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, she embarked on her flight around the world and disappeared over the Pacific Ocean.
Amelia Earhart embarked on the longest non-stop flight by a woman.
Remains of Amelia Earhart's plane lead to theories about her demise. From the "Biography: Amelia Earhart - Recovery Expedition" video.
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Earhart immersed herself in learning to fly. She read everything she could find on flying, and spent much of her time at the airfield. She cropped her hair short, in the style of other women aviators. Worried what the other, more experienced pilots might think of her, she even slept in her new leather jacket for three nights to give it a more "worn" look.
In the summer of 1921, Earhart purchased a second-hand Kinner Airster biplane painted bright yellow. She nicknamed it "The Canary,
" and set out to make a name for herself in aviation. On October 22, 1922, she flew her plane to 14,000 feet—the world altitude record for female pilots. On May 15, 1923, Amelia Earhart became the 16th woman to be issued a pilot's license by the world governing body for aeronautics, The Federation Aeronautique.
Throughout this period, the Earhart family lived mostly on an inheritance from Amy's mother's estate. Amy administered the funds but, by 1924, the money had run out. With no immediate prospects of making a living flying, Amelia Earhart sold her plane. Following her parents' divorce, she and her mother set out on a trip across the country starting in California and ending up in Boston. In 1925 she again enrolled in Columbia University, but was forced to abandon her studies due to limited finances. Earhart found employment first as a teacher, then as a social worker.
Earhart gradually got back into aviation in 1927, becoming a member of the American Aeronautical Society's Boston chapter. She also invested a small amount of money in the Dennison Airport in Massachusetts, and acted as a sales representative for Kinner airplanes in the Boston area. She also wrote articles promoting flying in the local newspaper and began to develop a following as a local celebrity.
After Charles Lindbergh's solo flight from New York to Paris in May 1927, interest grew for having a woman fly across the Atlantic. In April 1928, Amelia Earhart received a phone call from Captain Hilton H. Railey, a pilot and publicity man, asking her, "Would you like to fly the Atlantic?" In a heartbeat she said "yes." She traveled to New York to be interviewed, and met with project coordinators, including publisher George P. Putnam. Soon she was selected to be the first woman on a transatlantic flight ... as a passenger. The wisdom at the time was that such a flight was too dangerous for a woman to conduct herself.
On June 17, 1928, Amelia Earhart took off from Trespassey Harbor, Newfoundland, in a Fokker F.Vllb/3m named Friendship. Accompanying her on the flight was pilot Wilmer "Bill" Stultz and co-pilot/mechanic Louis E. "Slim" Gordon. Approximately 20 hours and 40 minutes later, they touched down at Burry Point, Wales, in the United Kingdom. Due to the weather, Stultz did all the flying. Even though this was the agreed upon arrangement, Earhart later confided that she felt she "was just baggage, like a sack of potatoes." Then she added, "... maybe someday I'll try it alone."
The Friendship team returned to the United States, greeted by a ticker-tape parade in New York, and later a reception held in their honor with President Calvin Coolidge at the White House.
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