WPCNR THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY. July 2, 2017:
There were no stories that I could find in the area papers on Amelia Earhart, the most accomplished woman pilot of all time who was lost at sea on July 2, 1937.
No remembrances accounting her accomplishments. Her advocacy for women’s rights. Her multi-talents. Her own courage, and building respect for women’s abilities and inspiring millions of women and men with her aviation “firsts”.
- October 22, 1922 – Broke women’s altitude record when she rose to 14,000 feet
- June 17-18, 1928 – First woman to fly across the Atlantic (as a passenger); 20hrs 40min (Fokker F7, Friendship)
- Summer 1928 – Bought an Avro Avian, a small English plane famous because Lady Mary Heath, Britain’s foremost woman pilot, had flown it solo from Capetown, South Africa, to London
- Fall 1928 – Published book, 20 Hours 40 Minutes, toured, and lectured; became aviation editor of Cosmopolitan magazine
- August 1929 – Placed third in the First Women’s Air Derby, also known as the Powder Puff Derby; upgraded from her Avian to a Lockheed Vega
- Fall 1929 – Elected as an official for National Aeronautic Association and encouraged the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) to establish separate world altitude, speed, and endurance records for women
- June 25, 1930 – Set women’s speed record for 100 kilometers with no load and with a load of 500 kilograms
- July 5, 1930 – Set speed record for of 181.18mph over a 3K course
- September 1930 – Helped to organize and became vice president of public relations for new airline, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington Airways
- April 8, 1931 – Set woman’s autogiro altitude record with 18,415 feet (in a Pitcairn autogiro)
- May 20-21, 1932 – First woman to fly solo across the Atlantic; 14 hrs 56 min (it was also the 5th anniversary of Lindberg’s Atlantic flight; awarded National Geographic Society’s gold medal from President Herbert Hoover; Congress awarded her the Distinguished Flying Cross; wrote The Fun of It about her journey
- August 24-25, 1932 – First woman to fly solo nonstop coast to coast; set women’s nonstop transcontinental speed record, flying 2,447.8 miles in 19hrs 5min
- Fall 1932 – Elected president of the Ninety Nines, a new women’s aviation club which she helped to form
- July 7-8, 1933 – Broke her previous transcontinental speed record by making the same flight in 17hrs 7min
- January 11, 1935 – First person to solo the 2,408-mile distance across the Pacific between Honolulu and Oakland, California; also first flight where a civilian aircraft carried a two-way radio
- April l9 – 20, 1935 – First person to fly solo from Los Angeles to Mexico City; 13hrs 23min
- May 8, 1935 – First person to fly solo nonstop from Mexico City to Newark; 14hrs 19min
- March 17, 1937 – Amelia and her navigator, Fred Noonan, along with Captain Harry Manning and stunt pilot Paul Mantz, fly the first leg of the trip from Oakland, California, to Honolulu, Hawaii, in 15 hours and 47 minutes
- June 1, 1937 – Began flight around the world June 1937; first person to fly from the Red Sea to India
Susan Butler, the author of East to the Dawn, (Addison Wesley Publisher) the definitive biography of Amelia published in 1997, 60 years after Amelia’s disappearance on route to Howland Island in the South Pacific: wrote this paragraph describing her contribution to aviation and her ability to inspire the American public. I could not write a better one, so I wanted to share Ms. Butler’s next to last page comment on Amelia’s contributions and hold on us today:
“Amelia came into the public eye because she was an adventurer, but she was more: she was America’s sweetheart. America’s shield.
She did everything better than anyone else—beckoned us on, and set more records, and she did it seemingly effortlessly.
She made us proud to be an American.
Perhaps she was cut down in her prime(39 years of age)—perhaps because she did not quite have time to fulfill her potential, but we can’t let her go.
She is thirty-nine forever. She has become America’s dream woman.”
America needs to remember and be reminded of excellence as demonstrated by Ms. Earhart so poignantly.
The author Susan Butler quotes the epitaph Ms. Earhart wrote for her friend, the pilot Wiley Post, noting that it might have served as Ms. Earhart’s own and I paraphrase it:
“So close was she to her profession that she could not know the sheen on her own wings.”
. The program will be on White Plains Television Monday evening at 7 on Verizon Fios Channel 45 countywide and on Altice Cablevision Channel 76.