Amelia Earhart
July 24, 1897 - July 2, 1937 (?)

Amelia Mary Earhart was born at her grandparents' home in Atchison, Kansas. Amelia's nickname was Millie. She had a younger sister Muriel, whose nickname was Pidge. Both Millie and Pidge lived a very good life and attended private schools thanks to the wealth of their grandparents. Amelia and her sister lived with their grandparents until 1908 when they moved to Des Moines, Iowa to live with their parents. Amelia was 10 years old when she saw her first airplane at the Iowa State Fair. She was not impressed.

Amelia did not become interested in airplanes until many years later when she went to an "aerial meet" at Daugherty Field in Long Beach. Amelia had an opportunity to ride in an open-cockpit biplane and later said, "As soon as we left the ground I knew I myself had to fly!" Amelia took flying lessons from a woman pilot and eventually purchased a plane of her own. She called the plane "The Canary" and began to participate in record breaking attempts to set a women's altitude record of 14,000 feet. She did not succeed. In fact, she had a couple of flying accidents during that time, but was never injured seriously.

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Amelia sold her plane and bought a car so she could travel across the country to live in Boston. She became a social worker and joined the Boston Chapter of the National Aeronautic Association. She helped fund an airport in Boston and continued to promote flying for women. The Boston Globe called her "one of the best women pilots in the United States."

On April 27, 1926 Amelia was asked whether she would like to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Amelia did not have experience using instruments or flying a multi-engine plane so Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon flew the plane and Amelia was given the official title of "commander." Even though she was a passenger on the flight, people gave her credit for flying across the Atlantic.

Amelia was very popular with the public and she did fly solo from the Atlantic to the Pacific Coast. She continued to fly and often organized air races for women pilots. Amelia met her husband George, who was also a pilot. One day she told him she was ready to fly across the Atlantic Ocean again, but this time she wanted to be the pilot. She became the first woman solo pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean and was considered a hero.

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Amelia decided to break another flying record. She became the first person to successfully fly from Hawaii to California. People considered her one of the most famous pilots in the world. Amelia decided she would like to be the first woman to fly around the world. After a failed attempt, she departed from Los Angeles, California for Florida on May 21, 1937. She continued her quest to fly around the world from Florida along with a navigator, Fred Noonan. Amelia and Fred experienced trouble with weather, Amelia became ill, and sometimes the airplane needed repairs, but they continued despite these hardships. Sadly, Amelia and Fred lost radio contact near Howland Island on July 2, 1937. President Roosevelt authorized a great search for Amelia and her navigator, but they were never seen or heard from again.

One of Amelia's last letters to her husband George stated, "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." The world mourned the loss of Amelia Earhart, their American Hero.

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