The trailblazing pioneer woman aviator who lived to fly

KUALA LUMPUR: Amelia Earhart was an American aviation pioneer and writer who was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean – from Canada to Northern Ireland – in 1932, which led to her being the first woman to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross from Congress after her return to the United States.

The Kansas-born woman had her first experience of the aviation industry around 1918 when she and her friend visited a fair held in Toronto, Canada.

Her interest in aviation was fully cemented after she sat in a plane flown by Frank Hawks in 1920.

In 1922, she set the women’s world altitude record at 4,267m (14,000ft) after which she became the 16th woman in the US to be issued a pilot’s licence in 1923.

She was one of the first aviators who promoted commercial air travel while also playing an influential role in the founding of The Ninety-Nines, an international organisation for female pilots, of which she was the group’s first ever president.

In her second attempt at becoming the first woman to circumnavigate the globe in March 1937, the then 39-year-old aviator and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared over central Pacific Ocean.

Their first attempt did not succeed as the plane suffered damage halfway through.

In their second attempt, their plane was last seen in Lae, New Guinea, on July 2, 1937, on the last land stop before Howland Island – a location almost halfway between Australia and Hawaii.

Earhart was officially declared dead nearly 18 months later, but public interest in her disappearance continues until today.

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Amelia Earhart , aviator , fly , solo , Atlantic Ocean


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