Amelia Mary Earhart was born in July 1897 in Atchison, Kansas. As a child she was a tomboy - she loved to climb trees, go sledding, and hunting. Amelia graduated from Hyde Park High School in Chicago in 1915, attended college and became a social worker. When she was 20, she attended a stunt-flying exhibition, and as the plane swooped by she was thrilled. On December, 1920, she got her first ride in an airplane and she knew she had to learn how to fly. Amelia took her first flying lesson in January, 1921 against the wishes of her family. In six months, she had saved enough money to buy her first plane. It was painted a bright yellow and she named it "Canary".
In 1928, she received a call from a group who were planning a transatlantic flight. The woman who was scheduled to make the historic trip could not go, so would Amelia like to take her place? She couldn't refuse such an opportunity, becoming the first woman to fly as a passenger across the Atlantic Ocean. She earned the nickname "Lady Lindy" after Charles Lindbergh, the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic.
In 1931, she married George Palmer Putnam who was part of the group that organized that flight. They began to plan another transatlantic flight for Amelia alone. On May 20, 1932, she left Newfoundland on her way to Paris. Strong winds and mechanical problems ran her off course and Amelia was forced to land her plane in a cow pasture in Ireland. She became the first woman to pilot a plane across the Atlantic ocean. When she arrived back in America a huge ticker tape parade was held for her and President Herbert Hoover presented her with a gold medal from the National Geographic Society. Congress awarded her with the Flying Cross. Amelia thought that her accomplishment proved that men and women were equal in "jobs requiring intelligence, coordination, speed, coolness and willpower."
In 1937, Amelia was ready for a new challenge. On June 1, Amelia and a navigator named Fred Noonan set off from Miami for a flight around the world. by June 29, they landed in New Guinea. There were 7000 miles left of their 29,000 mile journey. Their next leg of the journey was to be the most difficult - 2,556 miles to a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Three U.S. ships, ordered to burn every light on board, were positioned along the route to serve as navigation markers. Amelia and Noonan left New Guinea on July 1 at 12:30 P.M. flying into overcast skies. Radio communication was irregular throughout the night. Earhart reported at 7:42 A.M. that her fuel was low. The last report from Earhart was at 8:45 A.M. She was never heard from again. An extensive rescue attempt began immediately. After spending $4 million and searching 250,000 square miles of the Pacific the operation was called off. The fate of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan remains a mystery.
Amelia Earhart was an inspiration to women who wanted a career and helped change opinion that women could accomplish anything they set out to do.
"Adventure is worthwhile in itself."
"Flying might not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price."
"Please know that I am aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be a challenge to others."
"In soloing - as in other activities - it is far easier to start something than it is to finish it."
"Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done."
"The stars seemed near enough to touch and never before have I seen so many. I always believed the lure of flying is the lure of beauty, but I was sure of it that night."
"The most effective way to do it, is to do it."