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Meet: Ameila Earhart

a photo of Amelia

Aviator

Who I Am
I fly airplanes, write books and talk to people. I was the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a Lockhead Vega. I flew from Newfoundland, Canada to Londonderry, Ireland. In 1929 I helped organize The Ninety-Nines, Inc.. In 1935, I became the first person to fly from Hawaii to the American mainland. Then I became not only the first person to solo in the Pacific, but also the first person to solo both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Also in 1935, I had the job of female career consultant at Purdue University . I purchased of a Lockheed Electra airplane, through Purdue University. This is the plane I tried to try to fly around the world.

In June 1937, I embarked upon the first around-the-world flight at the equator. On July 2, after completing nearly two-thirds of my flight,over 22,000 miles, I vanished along with my navigator Frederick Noonan. We took off from Lae, New Guinea, bound for tiny Howland Island in the vast Pacific Ocean. The distance from Lae to Howland is equal to a transcontinental flight across the USA, a great naval, air and land search failed to locate us or the aircraft, and it was assumed we were lost at sea.

My Career Path
After visiting my sister in 1917 at a college preparatory school in Canada, I decided to train as a nurses aid in Toronto. I worked as a nurse at a hospital until the world war ended in November 1918.

In the fall of 1919 I started to study medicine at Columbia University but I left my studies to move with my parents to California. Several months after my arrival in California, my father and I went to an "aerial meet" at Daugherty Field in Long Beach. I had become very interested in flying. The next day, given a helmet and goggles, I boarded an open-cockpit biplane for a 10 minute flight over Los Angeles. "As soon as we left the ground I knew I myself had to fly!"

In July I purchased a prototype of the Kinner airplane. I named it "The Canary". By October 1922, I began participating in record breaking attempts and set a women's altitude record of 14,000 feet. It was broken a few weeks later by Ruth Nichols. I later sold my Kinner airplane and purchased a car, a Kissel, that I nicknamed "the yellow peril". I drove my mother, Amy, cross-country to Boston. Wherever we stopped people would gather...asking about the roads and other questions. Cross-continental travel by automobile was still very much a novelty!

I was employed as a social worker in Denison House, in Boston, Massachusetts. I was selected to be the first female passenger on a transatlantic flight, in 1928, by my future husband, the publisher, George Palmer Putnam. Upon the flight's completion, I wrote the book 20 Hours - 40 minutes. I also wrote two other books The Fun of It, and Last Flight.

The Early Years
I was born July 24, 1897, in Atchison, Kansas, to Edwin and Amy Otis Earhart. My father, Edwin Earhart was a lawyer in Kansas City. My sister, Muriel was born 2 1/2 years later. My sister "Pidge" and I attended private schools and enjoying many of the comforts of life while living with our grandparents. In 1908, when I was ten years old, I saw my first airplane at the Iowa State Fair. In 1920, I took my first airplane ride. In 1921, I took my first flying lessons from Neta Snook. In 1922, I purchased my first airplane.

Advice
I speakand write to promote women in aviation. I hope that one day men and women will be valued for their individual abilities. "It has always seemed to me, that boys and girls are educated very differently ... too often ... education divides people according to their sex, and puts them in little feminine or masculine pigeonholes. ...I hope that women will share in the future progress of aviation, even more than they have in the past."

With thanks to Ellen's Place .

 
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