On August 24, 1932, Amelia Earhart embarked on the first successful coast-to-coast flight for a woman. The trip, from Los Angeles, CA to Newark, NJ, took her a record of 19 hours and five minutes.
Born in Atchison, KY on July 24, 1897, Earhart grew up as an adventurous “tomboy” who was more likely to climb trees and shoot rats than stay at home playing with dolls. Earhart’s aviation aspirations started at a Toronto expo during a 1917 Christmas vacation: “I believe that little red airplane said something to me as it swished by.” Three years later, on December 28, 1920, Earhart took a short plane ride that launched her flying career: “By the time I had got two or three hundred feet off the ground, I knew I had to fly.” She saved up money flying lessons and by 1923 she was the sixteenth woman to get a flying license.
Earhart was even a boundary breaker in her personal life. She married George Putman in 1931 with two major stipulations: they would equally share the marriage responsibilities and she would keep her maiden name.
In 1927, right before her 40th birthday, Earhart had been the first woman to soar in Charles Lindbergh’s path when she flew across the Atlantic Ocean. She’d follow up that feat with her August 24, 1932 coast-to-coast record. Earhart’s next goal was to be the first woman to fly across the globe. After taking off in late June of 1937, she and her co-pilot, Fred Noonan, disappeared on the final stretch somewhere in the Pacific. They were both declared dead on January 5, 1939. Right before her final flight, she had told her husband, “Please know I am quite 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 but a challenge to others.”
In July of 2017, the mystery of Earhart’s disappearance resurfaced when a photograph was discovered in the National Archives. Researchers believed that it showed that Earhart and her co-pilot, Noon, had actually survived and were taken hostage by the Japanese military in the Marshall Islands. The allure of the adventurous Earhart continues!