July 24 is an important day in aviation history marking the birth of a legendary American aviator Amelia Earhart (1897-1939). In her lifetime, Earhart set many flying records while championing the prosperity of women in aviation.
Earhart started her flying lessons with a female flight instructor Neta Snook in 1921, and later that year, she bought her very first airplane, an American two-seat single-engine Kinner Airster.
Earhart did not take long to kick-start her career. Two days after earning a National Aeronautics license that same year, she was already a participant in a flight exhibition in California. In 1922, she became the first woman to fly above 14,000 feet. In 1928, she became the first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean and the first woman to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after she returned to the United States. Her ventures did not stop there – in 1935, Earhart also became the first person to fly across the Pacific.
Reaching for new heights, with a desire to become the first woman to fly around the globe, in 1937 Earhart was preparing for her tremendous final challenge. “I have a feeling that there is just about one more good flight left in my system, and I hope this trip is it”, she said. The journey of 29,000 miles with Earhart’s Lockheed Electra L-10E plane began on March 17 that year. However, the attempt was not successful – after completing the majority of the journey with approximately only 7,000 miles left, on July 2, Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island.
Despite the extensive air and sea search, no trace of Earhart, her navigator, or plane wreckage was found, so the operation was called off by the United States government on July 19, 1937. Almost 2 years later, in January 1939, she was officially declared dead.
Although the remarkable Earhart’s mission was not completed, ending with a great tragedy, she proved how much a woman can achieve and will always be remembered as a hero in the aviation world.