A pioneering pilot who set many aviation records, including the first female pilot to cross the Atlantic Ocean and the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean.
Born in 1897, she broke gender conventions from a young age: climbing trees which was seen as boyish behavior and collecting articles about female pioneers in male-dominated fields.
She left college to work as a nurse in a military hospital during World War I and later worked as a social worker. After a $10 ride in an airplane at the age of 23, she found her calling within aviation.
Earhart took classes with a female instructor, and six months later bought her first plane, painted yellow and nicknamed “The Canary”. She was active in the movement for equal rights for women and was determined to use aviation to make a point that women can do anything they want.
Her breakthrough was initiated by publicist George Putnam, whom she later married. He presented her with the opportunity to be the first female to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, which won her worldwide recognition, a New York parade, and a reception at the White House. Fond of “first” achievements and aware of their publicity value, Earhart set and broke several records of destination, speed, and altitude. She wanted to be the first woman to fly around the world, and in her attempt, she vanished with her navigator in 1937. Despite a $4 Million search, the most extensive one in naval history, no clear trace of her was ever found. Amelia Earhart was around the age of 40 at the time of the accident, and in 1939, the pioneering pilot declared dead.
This turned her into a mystery that occupies generations, with a wide range of theories and speculations as to her fate.
“The lure of flying is the lure of beauty”
More Interesting Anecdotes:
- She was unimpressed when seeing an airplane for the first time at the age of ten.
- In her legendary flight from Honolulu to California, she drank hot chocolate.
- Earhart was the aviation editor of Cosmopolitan magazine.
- She used smelling salts to keep herself awake during the long flights.
- She disliked the nickname ‘Lucky Lindy’ given to her as a link to Charles B. Lindbergh, the first pilot to cross solo the Atlantic Ocean.
- She agreed to marry Putnam on a one year trial basis. Their wedding ceremony was intimate, secret, with no flowers or rings.
- The couple created a fashion collection of outfits, to “expand her brand”.
- Eleanor Roosevelt was one of her close friends.
- Her instructor, Neta Snook, was a pioneer aviator in her own right.
- Loved cars, her first was a yellow Kissel Speedster.
- Earhart was the first elected president of the ‘Ninety-Nines’ – an international organization of women pilots established in 1929, to support and promote women in aviation.
- Schools, airports, and streets named after her, she published books about her experiences, inspired films, used by corporate brands in marketing, a song by Joni Mitchell, and recently – a Barbie Doll of her.