Amelia Mary Earhart, the first women to fly solo across the Atlantic, was born July 24, 1897 at her grandparents' home in Atchison, Kansas. Despite her many pioneering achievements, she is best known for her tragic disappearance over the Pacific on July 2, 1937, halfway to her goal of circling the globe. Like many today, Earhart believed that technology would open new worlds for women. Hear her on The Future of Flying for Women. [Editor's Note: An updated version of this topic can be found here: Amelia Earhart]
In 1920, Earhart flew in an open cockpit biplane at an aerial meet in Long Beach, California. "As soon as we had left the ground I knew I myself had to fly." She soon began lessons with another women pilot, Anita "Neta" Snook, in a restored Canadian training plane. "On April 27, 1926, her life was to change forever . . . a phone call from Captain H.H. Railey asked, â€˜How would you like to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic?'" This detailed biography, neatly organized into Early Years, Celebrity and Last Flight, is my Amelia Earhart pick of the day.
This year marks the seventy-third anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic and the sixty-second anniversary of Earhart's disappearance over the Pacific ocean during her attempt to fly around the world. "Read biographies of Lindbergh and Earhart from the World Book 1998 Multimedia Encyclopedia, along with articles of the day concerning the fliers' exploits. Learn about air navigation and listen to live conversations between air traffic controllers and pilots at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport."
The Ninety-Nines organization was "founded in 1929 by ninety-nine licensed women pilots for the mutual support and advancement of aviation." Along with biographical notes on thirteen aviatrixes, you find this account of the first women's air race of 1929, written by Earhart: "Sunday afternoon August 18, nineteen planes with propellers turning, lined up at Clover Field, Santa Monica, California. Will Rogers was on the loud speaker to point out the humorous aspects of such an event. Taking their cue from him, newspaper men coined descriptive names for the affair before contestants reached their first stop. It was generally called the â€˜powder puff derby' and those who flew in it variously as â€˜Ladybirds,' â€˜Angels' or â€˜Sweethearts of the Air.' (We are still trying to get ourselves called just â€˜pilots.')"
Discovering obscure tidbits is one of the joys of mining the Internet. Take look at this: "While the mystery surrounding Earhart's disappearance has yet to unfold, one piece of evidence remains to give insight into Earhart's adventurous nature. This 1933 palm print of Earhart taken by palmist Nellie Simmons Meier demonstrates the aviator's determined demeanor. As a palmist, Meier analyzed her subjects' character by examining the size, shape, and lines of their hands. In 1937 Meier published a collection of notable palm prints in her book â€˜Lions' Paws: The Story of Famous Hands.' She subsequently donated the original prints and character sketches to the Library of Congress."