The disappearance of Amelia Earhart is one of the greatest mysteries of the twentieth century. Also known as Lady Lindy, Earhart set a number of aviation records for women.
Earhart became interested in planes while attending Columbia University as a pre-med student. She attended an airshow where she took her first plane ride with Frank Hawks. From that moment on, she knew she was meant to become a pilot and started working to make her dream into reality.
It was only about a month after the airshow in January of 1921 that Earhart began her flying lessons. She was an avid aviation student and read every book on flying she could get her hands on. She also spent the majority of her time at the airfield. While she wasn’t at the airfield, she was working one of the many jobs that helped pay for her flying lessons.
Earhart was so dedicated to flying that she managed to purchase a second-hand biplane the same summer she started lessons. Her plane was bright yellow and she nicknamed it “The Canary.” It was in The Canary that she set her first aviation record by becoming the first woman to fly solo above 14,000 feet.
Earhart went on to set many other records for women in the field of aviation including the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic ocean, first to fly solo and nonstop across the United States, and she was the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the United States mainland. All of these achievements were monumental for Earhart and women everywhere, but Earhart was determined to set even more records.
On June 1, 1937, shortly before her 40th birthday, Earhart began a flight around the world. She had completed the majority of her trip when she touched down in New Guinea on June 29. The last 7,000-mile leg of the trip lay before her and she was scheduled to make her next stop at Howland Island to refuel.
She departed for the island on July 2 to cloudy weather and disappeared en route.
The day she took off for the island, the skies were overcast with occasional rain showers which made navigation more difficult. Her radio transmissions were also problematic. The transmissions were faint and often interrupted by static, but even more alarming was the fact that Earhart didn’t seem to be receiving the guiding radio transmissions sent from her contact during the flight.
It’s unclear what happened to Earhart during this last bit of her trip. Many theories have been proposed about what happened to her, but none have ever been confirmed. One of the most common theories is that Earhart’s plane ran out of gas as she searched for Howland Island and she crashed into the ocean somewhere near her destination. Another hypothesis suggests she veered off-course and landed 350 miles Southwest on uninhabited Gardner Island where she eventually succumbed to the elements.
An extensive search and rescue mission commenced after she never reached Howland Island, but her body and plane were never recovered. Over the years, Earhart has been the inspiration for numerous books and movies. She may not have achieved her goal of flying around the world, but she still made great strides in the world of aviation and for women everywhere.