On July 24, 2014, Amelia Earhart would have turned 117 years old. She may be best-known for her numerous aviation records, but it is Amelia's legacy of unfaltering determination and her can-do attitude for equal treatment of women that lives on.
Though she was born in 1897, Amelia didn’t board a plane until 1920. Then, when the pilot flew her just a couple hundred feet in the air, Amelia knew she had to fly. In 1923, Amelia became the sixteenth woman to receive a pilot’s license.
On June 17, 1928, she departed from Newfoundland with pilots Wilmer Stultz and Louis E. Gordon. When her team landed in Wales 21 hours later, she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, a record that was just one of many. Later, the pilot became the first woman and the second person to fly solo across the Atlantic. She also became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific. Then, shortly after her flight across the Pacific, Amelia became the first to fly solo from Mexico City to Newark.
On June 1, 1937, Earhart left Miami for her final flight. She hoped to become the first woman to circumnavigate the globe. Sadly, Amelia would never complete this flight. On July 2, her radio lost contact and a rescue attempt began immediately. Although it became the most extensive air and sea search in naval history, Amelia was never found.
In a letter to her husband, Amelia wrote, "Please know I am quite aware of the hazards." She said, "I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others."
Today, we celebrate Amelia Earhart Day to not only honor Amelia’s life and career, but also her courage and strength.
Here are 10 facts you may not know about this famous aviator:
- Amelia Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897.
- Amelia saw her first plane at a state fair when she was 10 years old.
- During World War I, Amelia became a nurse's aid in Toronto, Canada, to tend to wounded soldiers.
- On December 28, 1920, pilot Frank Hawks gave Amelia her first ride in an airplane.
- Amelia took her first flying lesson on January 3, 1921.
- Amelia’s first plane was a bright yellow Kinner Airster that she nicknamed, "The Canary".
- While living in Boston, Amelia wrote articles promoting flying in the local newspaper.
- In 1932, Amelia developed flying clothes for the Ninety-Nines that were advertised in Vogue.
- Although she referred to herself as “AE”, Amelia became known as “Lady Lindy” after her first flight across the Atlantic.
- During her 2,408-mile flight to become the first person to fly solo across the Pacific, Amelia enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate.
Did you know that you can see a pair of Amelia Earhart's aviator goggles at the museum? The aviator goggles pictured here were worn by Amelia. She supposedly didn't enjoy wearing goggles, and would only put them on at the end of the runway and would take them off as soon as she landed. These were given by Amelia to an artist friend of hers along with a leather jacket and flight cap. The goggles were purchased for the "Maps: Tools for Adventure" traveling exhibit and are now currently on display in Flight Adventures.