Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Amelia Earhart American aviator

Aviation, this young modern giant, exemplifies the possible relationships of women with the creations of science. On May 21, 1932, five years to the day that American aviator Charles Lindbergh became the first pilot to accomplish a solo, nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, female aviator Amelia Earhart repeated the feat, landing her plane in Ireland after flying across the North Atlantic. Earhart, who had traveled 2,000 miles from Newfoundland in fourteen hours, was the first female pilot to make the journey alone. However, unlike Lindbergh before her, Earhart was well known to the public before her solo transatlantic flight. In 1928, as a member of a three-member crew, she had become the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an aircraft. Although her only function during the crossing was to keep the plane's log, the event won her national fame, and Americans were enamored with the modest and daring young pilot. For her solo transatlantic crossing in 1932, she was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross by the U.S. Congress. In 1935, in the first flight of its kind, she flew solo from Wheeler Field in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Oakland, California, winning a $10,000 award posted by Hawaiian commercial interests. In June of the same year, she was appointed Purdue University's career counselor to women's studies and special advisor in aeronautics, and the school purchased her a modern Lockheed Electra aircraft. Two years later, she attempted, along with copilot Frederick J. Noonan, to fly the Lockheed around the world, but the plane was lost on July 2, 1937, somewhere between New Guinea and Howland Island in the South Pacific. The details of the aircraft's disappearance remain a mystery.


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