There’s nothing quite as romantic as gliding over the earth’s gorgeous landscapes and waterways. The dream of flying is a reality for the modern human being; and to think that it wasn’t so long ago that a trip to the next village was a big adventure. Riding a bike to the next village is still an adventure, but journeying through the air, now that’s special. It is the same excitement that a long journey, skiing or an adventure brings which attracted Amelia Mary Earhart to soaring the airwaves. It’s just gone the 24th July, 2012. This date would celebrate her birthday 115 years ago. From America, Amelia was the first aviatrix, let alone woman, to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. In completion of her flight across the Atlantic Ocean, she was awarded the U.S Distinguished Flying Cross.
As Amelia Earhart grew up, she had a delightful childhood filled with adventure and fun. She would spend hours hunting rats with a rifle, climbing trees, and flying down snowy slopes on her sled. In her writings, Amelia Earhart shared about her first flight being in a wooden box. Ending rather abruptly, she emerged from the broken wooden box with a bruised lip, torn dress and a “sensation of exhilaration.” She exclaimed, “It’s just like flying!”
A number of years on, she and a young woman friend visited an air fair in Canada. One of the great highlights for them both was a flying exhibition put on by a World War I pilot overhead. He flew straight at them as they were watching the display in an isolated clearing. She said, “… I believe that little red airplane said something to me as it swished by.”
It was at Long Beach in the USA, on December 28, 1920, that Earhart and her father visited an airfield where Frank Hawks gave her a ride in a plane that was an experience that would forever change Amelia Earhart’s life. She wrote, “By the time I had got two or three hundred feet off the ground, I knew I had to fly.”
Her love of flying gained her many records and awards along the way. Other solo flights she completed included her being the first person to fly solo from Honolulu, Hawaii to Oakland, California. Later that same year, 1935, she flew solo from Los Angeles to Mexico City. The next record attempt was a nonstop flight from Mexico City to New York. Amelia also enjoyed air racing, where she always seemed to do commendably well.
Amelia Earhart provides many people with much inspiration, as she was a lady who wrestled with prejudice, discrimination and adventure to become one of the first women to fly. Sadly, her final flight was to be on July 2, 1937 (aged 39), where she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean, en route to Howland Island. Controversy resides over her disappearance; however, most people believe she landed in the ocean and was lost at sea. But you never know…
Today, female pilots are still in the minority but are still out there and up there, taking the controls of trans-Atlantic flights. So don’t be surprised if you hear a woman’s voice coming over the intercom during your next flight saying “This is your captain speaking…”.