• What happened to Amelia Earhart?

    Biography of an aviation icon

    Amelia Earhart on an aeroplane

If you love aviation, her name will be familiar to you. Amelia Earhart was an aviation icon, an advocate for the role of women in aviation and an intrepid pilot like few others.

This American aviator broke records during her professional career, daring to cross the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific and even the entire world.

In this post we will explain what happened to Amelia Earhart, the story of a reference for many women passionate about aviation.

Will you join us?

Bold and different, that was Amelia Earhart

Our icon was born on 24 July 1897. As soon as she began to walk, she showed a personality very different from the women of her time: she liked to travel, climb, jump and investigate.

Despite the family problems that made her childhood very difficult, she was able to study at Columbia University. At the age of 20, she began to work as a nurse looking after soldiers coming back from the First World War.

As a result of this contact with the military, and a visit to the Royal Air Corps, Amelia knew that her place was near aeroplanes.

A legend from the beginning

Neta Snook, the first woman to found a flight school and run a private airport, taught Amelia to fly. And, against all odds, Snook never saw potential in Earhart.

Despite not having the confidence of her mentor, she began flying “The Canary”, a prototype of the well-known Kinner aeroplane. Due to the conditions of the aircraft at the time, accidents were commonplace, and Amelia had her first mishaps flying this craft.

But it wasn’t all bad news! In 1922, she broke her first record, flying at an altitude of 4.2 kilometres.

In 1923, she was licensed as a pilot by the International Aeronautical Federation, and in 1927 she joined the National Aeronautical Association, began to promote aviation among women and helped build a runway.

The first woman to travel across the pond

Just one year later, in 1928, Amelia Earhart made history: Captain H.H. Railey invited her to be the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean, travelling as a companion with pilot Wilmer Stuitz and mechanic Louis Gordon.

On 17 and 18 June 1928, she travelled 3,200 kilometres between Newfoundland and Wales. When she landed, the media wanted to meet the first woman to accomplish such a feat.

As a result of this feat and the media coverage, she published the book “Twenty Hours, Forty Minutes”. In addition, she made the trip several times, all alone, in her trusty Lockheed Vega aircraft.

And as if all this were not enough, she founded “The powder-puff derby”, an air race for women between Los Angeles and Cleveland, or the aeronautical organisation “The Ninety-Niners”, which included 99 women pilots.

There were no limits for the aviatrix

As you can see, Amelia never stopped making history. She achieved several records in just a few years:

  • She was the first woman to make a solo flight across the Atlantic and the first person to do it twice.
  • Record for the longest distance travelled by a woman without stopping and in the shortest time.
  • She toured the European continent.
  • She was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, a decoration given to members of the United States Armed Forces.

As early as 1934, she planned a flight across the Pacific, from Hawaii to California. Nothing could stop her, not even knowing that 10 pilots died trying to do it.

What happened to Amelia Earhart on her world voyage?

After successfully crossing the Pacific, Amelia Earhart’s next goal was to make a world voyage. Together with Fred Noonan, who had already crossed the Pacific, she began her attempt at travelling around the world.

On 1 June 1937, she set off from Miami to San Juan, Puerto Rico. She passed through several Latin American countries, crossed Africa and the Red Sea. She went through India, Singapore, Bangkok and all went well until she reached Papua New Guinea.

On the way to Howland Island, the aircraft’s trail was lost. They were at an altitude of more than 3,500 metres, and the trackers could not determine their position. Following a message reporting fuel problems, Earhart and Noonan disappeared in the skies over the Solomon Sea on 2 July 1937.

As early as 1940, skeletal remains were discovered on Nikumaroro Island, believed to be Earhart and her companion, but this evidence has yet to be verified.

Amelia Earhart’s legacy is not forgotten

The legend of Amelia Earhart is such that in 2009 a film called “Amelia” was released, which tells the story of the life of one of the most important aviation figures in history.

Speaking of films about aviation… I’m sure you know Top Gun. We leave you this post about the premiere of Top Gun Maverick, a film that marked a whole generation. And soon, don’t miss it, we will bring you a post about aviation films.

We hope you liked this post about Amelia Earhart’s story. In our aeronautical blog you can also read about other iconic women in the sector, such as Bettina Kadner, the first woman commander in Spain.

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