Amelia Earhart was born on July 24, 1897 in Atchison, Kansas. As a young woman, working in a Toronto hospital for Canadian servicemen, Amelia would go to the airport to watch the planes take off. World War I was being fought and there was considerable military traffic. She vowed she would learn to fly some day.
In 1928, after earning her pilot's license, Amelia was asked to join Wilmer Stultz (pilot) and Lou Gordon (flight mechanic) on a trans-Atlantic flight. Twenty-one hours after take off they landed safely in Europe, making Amelia the first woman to ride in a plane across the Atlantic Ocean.
On May 20, 1932, the anniversary of the first Atlantic crossing by Charles Lindbergh, Amelia began her attempt to be the first woman pilot to cross the Atlantic alone in her Lockheed 5B Vega. The crossing was difficult and dangerous. She flew through a lightning storm, and once almost crashed into the ocean. Her plane began to leak fuel, and Amelia was forced to make an emergency landing in an Irish cow pasture. But, she had completed the Atlantic crossing, and in the process set a new record of thirteen hours and thirty minutes. In 1935, Amelia became the first woman to fly the Pacific Ocean, when she made the crossing from Hawaii to California.
Next, Amelia began to plan her next great adventure. She would fly around the Earth at the equator, something no one had ever attempted. For this trip, she asked Fred Noonan to join her as navigator. They studied charts and learned about weather patterns along their flight-plan. In June of 1937 they set out on an eastward heading in a Lockheed 10A Electra. After 30 days, Amelia and Fred had nearly completed their circumnavigation of the Earth. With only 2 days of travel remaining, they missed a scheduled refueling stop at tiny Howland Island in the Pacific. Ships and planes from all over the area began an exhaustive search, but no trace was ever found. Their disappearance remains a mystery.
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