Amelia Mary Earhart was a strong, courageous, independent woman who broke all female barriers to do what she loved, to fly. Ten year old Amelia was not impressed at all seeing her first plane, according to the family of Amelia. She said, “It was a thing of rusty wire and wood and looked not at all interesting. It wasn’t until Amelia attended a stunt-flying exhibition a decade later that she became interested in aviation. Amelia Earhart has inspired many people all over the world and will pass her legacy on for years to come.
Amelia Earhart was born to Amelia “Amy” and Edwin Earhart July 24, 1897 in the small city of Atchison, Kansas. She was very much a tomboy growing up climbing trees and hunting rats with a . 22 rifle. Earhart looked up to woman who took the role of male prominent jobs admiringly. She kept a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about successful woman in male fields like film direction and production, law, advertising, management, and medical engineering (Amelia Earhart Biography). Amelia’s father was an alcoholic and was always on a constant search to establish his career and put the family on a firm financial foundation.
Her family had to move around a lot since her father couldn’t maintain gainful employment, causing Amelia and her sister to attend several different schools (Biography. com). When the situation got bad at home, Amelia and her younger sister, Grace Muriel Earhart, would go to their grandparent’s house. Her father not being able to provide for her caused her to be independent. In 1915 Amy moved to Chicago with Amelia and Muriel to live with some friends, away from her husband Edwin. In Chicago Amelia attended Hyde Park High School and excelled in chemistry.
Amelia later attended Ogontz, a girl’s finishing school, in Philadelphia. She left in the middle of her second year to work as a nurse’s aide for Red Cross after seeing wounded soldiers returning from World War I. Amelia notices that many of the soldiers that were wounded were pilots, whom she developed strong admiration for. She then spent her free time watching the Royal Flying Corps practicing a field nearby. In 1919 she enrolled in medical studies at Columbia University. Amelia quit a year later to go live with her parents who had gotten back together in California.
On December 28, 1920, pilot Frank Hawks gave Amelia a ride that changed her life. “By the time I had got two or three hundred off the ground, I knew I had to fly. ” Amelia worked a variety of jobs, from photographer to a truck driver, to save enough money to take flying lessons. She took her first flying lesson January 3, 1921 from pioneer female aviator Anita Snook. Amelia read everything she could on flying. She even cut her hair short so it could be the style of other women aviators, and also slept in her new leather jacket three nights in a row to make it look more worn.
Amelia also managed to save enough money in six months to buy her first plane. Her first plane was a second-hand Kinner Airster, two-seater biplane painted bright yellow. She named her plane “The Canary. ” On October 22, 1922 he used her plane to break her first women’s record by rising to an altitude of fourteen thousand feet. On May 15, 1923 Amelia would be the sixteenth woman to be issued a pilot’s license by The Federation Aeronautique (Biography. com). During one afternoon in April of 1928 Earhart received a phone call from Hilton Railey asking her if she would want to fly the Atlanta.
She responded with a yes and traveled to New York to be interviewed. There she met George Putnam, whom Amelia would later marry on February 7, 1931. She was soon selected to be the first woman on a transatlantic flight. It was thought as “too dangerous” for a woman to conduct a flight herself at the time, so Amelia was passenger of the flight. On June 17, 1928 Amelia Earhart, pilot Wilmer Stultz, and co-pilot Louis E. Gordon took off from Trepassey Harbor, Newfoundland in a plane named “Friendship”. About 20 hours and 40 minutes later the crew landed in Burry Point, Wales.
Unfortunately, due to weather conditions, Amelia was never able to fly the plane. She said she “was just baggage, like a sack of potatoes,” and also added “… maybe someday I’ll try it alone,” (Biography. com). Fame greatly grew for Amelia, especially through George Putnam’s writings, lecture tours, and product endorsements. Earhart became involved in the promotions of women’s fashion, helping create a more purposeful look (Biography. com). Not too long after her Atlantic flight she went on a successful solo flight across North America.
In 1929 she placed third at the Cleveland Women’s Air Derby, and in 1931 set a world altitude record of 18,415 feet. Amelia and George secretly worked on secret plans for Amelia to fly solo over the Atlantic. She took off from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland on the morning of May 20, 1932 to begin her solo flight over the Atlantic. Strong winds, icy conditions, and mechanical problems forced her to land in a pasture near Londonderry, Ireland. Two days later, on May 22, Amelia landed at the Hanworth Airfield in London.
Earhart was considered a national hero for being the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. She was awarded the Gold Medal from the National Geographic Society, which was presented by President Herbert Hoover. Congress awarded her the Distinguished Flying Cross, which was the first one ever given to a woman. The French government awarded Amelia with the Cross of the Knight of the Legion of Honor. Amelia Earhart also became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean from Honolulu, Hawaii to Oakland, California.
This made her the first person to fly across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In April 1935 she flew solo from Los Angeles to Mexico City, and in May she flew from, Mexico City to New York. In 1937, as Amelia was close to 40, she wanted to be the first woman to fly around the world. “I have a feeling that there is just about one more good flight left in my system, and I hope this trip is it. ” On June 1, 1937 Amelia and navigator Fred Noonan left Miami to begin the 29,000 mile trip. About 7,000 miles had been completed when they landed in Lae, New Guinea on June 29, 1937.
Frequent inaccurate maps had made navigation hard for Noonan. They removed all unessential items from the plane to make room for extra fuel. On July 2, 1937 they took back off to Howland Island. They flew through overcast skies and rain. Radio transmissions between them and the ITASCA were irregular and static. At 7:42am the ITASCA picked up a message saying, “We must be on you, but we cannot see you. Fuel is running low. Been unable to reach you by radio. We are flying at 1,000 feet. The last thing ever heard from Amelia was at 8:45 saying, “We are running north and south. The rescue attempt became the most extensive air and sea search in naval history.
The United States government ended the search on July 19 after spending $4 million and searching through 250,000 square miles of the ocean. Some people claim that the United States sent Earhart and Noonan to spy against Japanese forces in the Pacific. Many reports described captives help on islands during World War II resembling the two. It is much more likely that the plane ran out of fuel after navigation errors took her off course, causing them to crash in the ocean and die.
In 1938 a lighthouse was built on Howland Island in her memory. Many streets, schools, and airports are named after her in her memory. Atchison, Kansas became a virtual shrine in her memory. Amelia Earhart scholarships are also given out each year. The world will always remember Amelia for her courage, vision, and achievements in a aviation, and also for woman. In a letter Amelia wrote to her husband in case of tragedy, she writes,” Please know I a, quite aware of the hazards. 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. ” Amelia Earhart is a hero for doing the unthinkable. She had the courage and determination to do what she loved, which no other woman had dared to do. Amelia’s accomplishments made woman want to do things that were only thought to be for men. Amelia Earhart is looked upon by woman and young girls for breaking female barriers to do what she wanted and loved. Her legacy will be passed on for years to come, and her name will be looked upon. She was the first woman to fly over the Atlantic, and to fly around the world.