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Sunday, 16 November 2014

Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart was born on July 24, 1897 in Atchison, Kansas, in the home of her maternal grandfather, Alfred Gideon Otis, a former federal judge, president of the Atchison Savings Bank and a leading citizen in the town.

Amelia was the second child of German American Samuel "Edwin" Stanton Earhart (1867-1930) and Amelia "Amy" Otis Earhart (1869–1962), after an infant stillborn in August 1896.

Amelia Earhart as a child

Amelia Earhart was known as “Millie” in her youth.

As a child, Milly spent long hours playing with her younger sister Pidge, climbing trees, hunting rats with a rifle and "belly-slamming" her sled downhill.

Earhart wasn't impressed the first time she saw an airplane at the age of 10. In Last Flight, a collection of diary entries published posthumously, she recalled feeling unmoved by “a thing of rusty wire and wood” at the Iowa State Fair in 1908.

Amelia graduated from Chicago’s Hyde Park High School in 1916. She is listed in the school’s yearbook as “the girl in brown who walks alone.”

Earhart volunteered as a nurse's aide for returning World War I soldiers and for victims of the influenza epidemic of 1918. She also worked early jobs as a telephone operator and tutor.

Earhart found her passion for aviation years later, when she worked as a nurse’s aide at Toronto’s Spadina Military Hospital. She and some friends would spend time at hangars and flying fields, talking to pilots and watching aerial shows.

Earhart didn't actually get on a plane herself—and then only as a passenger—until 1920.


She bought her first plane within six months of her first flying lesson. Earhart named it The Canary. The used yellow Kinner Airster biplane was the second one ever built.

Earhart was a social worker at Denison House in Boston when she was invited to fly across the Atlantic for the first time on June 18, 1928. (She was a passenger; Wilmer Stultz, the pilot and Lou Gordon the mechanic). When they landed at Burry Port, near Llanelli, Wales, she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.


Amelia Earhart completed  the first transatlantic solo flight by a woman on May 21, 1932. She took off in her Lockheed Vega 5B from Trepassey Harbor, Newfoundland on May 20th and bad weather forced her to land in a pasture in Derry, Northern Ireland, approximately 15 hours later the next day.

Lockheed Vega 5B as seen on display at the National Air and Space Museum. By Sergio Caltagirone Wikipedia Commons

Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California on January 11, 1935. Although this transoceanic flight had been attempted by many others, her trailblazing flight was mainly routine, with no mechanical breakdowns. In her final hours, Earhart even relaxed and listened to "the broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera from New York."


Earhart was among the first aviators to promote commercial air travel through the development of a passenger airline service. Along with Charles Lindbergh, she represented Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT) and invested time and money in setting up the first regional shuttle service between New York and Washington, DC.

Earhart studied sewing as a girl and for a number of years had sewn her own clothes. Amelia Earhart Fashions were affordable separates sold exclusively at Macy's and Marshall Field's, for which she made her own samples.

She married publisher George P. Putnam, who was known as GP, on February 7, 1931, in Putnam's mother's house in Noank, Connecticut. Earhart insisted on an open marriage to the point where she included the stipulation in her prenup.

Earhart and Putnam in 1931

Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan vanished over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first equatorial round-the-world flight on July 2, 1937. Earhart was declared dead on January 5, 1939.

Sources Yahoo.com, Wikipedia, About.com

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