Amelia Earhart – everybody knows her name. That’s because she was a strong woman and a determined aviator in an era and a field almost totally dominated by men. That’s because she made many “first” in aviation. That’s also because no one – to this day – knows what happened to her.
The future aviator was born in Atchison, Kansas, July 24, 1897. With the onset of World War I (1914-18), she took a courage as a nurse’s aid and took care of the wounded in Toronto, Canada. After the war, Earhart enrolled as a pre-med student at Columbia University in new York City, but soon moved to California, where she began a real fascination with the world of flying and took her first plane ride in 1920.
After Earhart moved back east, she was chosen by George Palmer Putnam to make news for his publishing house as the firsts female passenger on a transatlantic flight. The flight ion a trimotor plane from Newfoundland to Wales made news for his publishing house and also for Earhart, who was acclaimed for courage in this daring adventure. She wrote a book on her trip called 20 Hours – 40 Minutes. The flight changed Earhart’s life in other ways. She and Putnam were married in 1931. He began to organize flights for his wife as well as public appearances.
More and more, Earhart began to be noticed in this male-dominated field. In 1932, she was the first woman to make a solo transatlantic flight. Three years later, she became the first person to fly from Hawaii to the mainland of the United States. She also became the first person to make solo flights over both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
In 1935, with growing fame and money, Earhart was able to buy a Lockheed Electra and begin the flight of her dreams. She would travel around the world by air.
With her navigator Frederick Noonan, Earhart began her first around-the-world flight, leaving Miami on June 1, 1937. After about 22,000 miles, or about two-thirds of the flight, they landed and then took off from new Guinea, bound for tiny Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean. The date was July 2.
No one every heard from or about Earhart again. Searches by air, land, and sea produced nothing, including pieces of the aircraft … nothing at all. That’s why everyone still knows Amelia Earhart.