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Fun Facts About Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart is an American icon for the freedom of flight and the attainment of a woman's dreams. Earhart was born July 24, 1897, and went missing July 2, 1937, during her attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Declared legally dead in 1939, Earhart's life, career, and disappearance has fascinated the world for decades.

Fun Facts About Amelia Earhart

Facts About Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart was an American aviation pioneer. Her love of flight and planes drove her to set world records in flight, including holding the distinction of being the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Had she not disappeared near Howland Island in the Pacific, she would have been the first woman to circumnavigate the globe by plane.

  • Earhart's mother was a pioneer of her own, earning the distinction of being the first woman to climb Pikes Peak in Colorado in 1890.
  • During World War I, Amelia Earhart tended to wounded soldiers as a nurse.
  • Earhart studied automobile engine repair, medicine, and medical research while in college.
  • Earhart took her first ride in an airplane as a passenger in 1920.
  • In 1921, she began taking flying lessons and purchased her own plane while working as a telephone operator.
  • In 1928, Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, although she did it as a passenger and navigator, not a pilot.
  • Earhart authored a book about her experiences, as well as many magazine and newspaper articles.
  • She married publisher George Putnam in 1931.
  • In 1932, Earhart made her dream come true when she flew herself across the Atlantic Ocean solo.
  • President Hoover awarded Earhart with a medal for her achievements.
  • In 1935, Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California and, later, from Los Angeles to Mexico.
  • In June of 1937, Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan began their flight around the world.
  • The last recorded contact with Amelia Earhart was July 2, 1937, when she and Noonan left Papua New Guinea en route to Howland Island.
  • Earhart's disappearance headlined newspapers around the world. Her disappearance was a blow to public morale throughout the U.S. as much of the nation struggled with the Great Depression.
  • During her career, Earhart was the first woman to receive the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross.

Disappearance Theories

The disappearance of Amelia Earhart provided for speculative theories for many decades. Searches for Amelia Earhart throughout the Pacific islands have been conducted on and off since she went missing in 1937. As of 2011, theories of Earhart's fate remain speculation.

  • Many speculate Earhart's plane simply ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean.
  • The Gardner Island hypothesis suggests Earhart and Noonan landed on Gardner Island, some 350 miles away from Howland Island, but perished from lack of food and water.
  • In 2010, bone fragments found on Gardner Island were DNA-tested, but the results were inconclusive.
  • Speculative theories suggested Earhart was spying on the Japanese for FDR. U.S. Army Intelligence concluded it was a rumor only in 1949.
  • In 1966, the tales of Earhart's execution at the hands of the Japanese resurfaced in the book of a CBS correspondent named Fred Goerner. Goerner claimed the plane crashed on Saipan Island.
  • Another claim involving Saipan Island came from a U.S. Marine who said he and his unit opened a safe containing Earhart's briefcase. He said it had letters from a Japanese woman who claimed her father was among Earhart's executioners.
  • Rumors that Earhart was a Tokyo Rose were disputed by her husband, who listened to hours of broadcasts seeking her voice.

Amelia Earhart Honors

Amelia Earhart's determination and pioneering spirit inspired a nation suffering under the chokehold of the Great Depression. Her disappearance was mourned with equal fierceness. In the decades following her disappearance, national attention to her legacy would include a commemorative airmail stamp, documentaries, and films.

  • The U.S. Post Office issued the Earhart commemorative airmail stamp on July 24, 1963 (her birthday).
  • In 1943, actress Rosalind Russell portrayed a fictionalized version of Earhart in the film Flight for Freedom.
  • In 1976, Leonard Nimoy hosted a series called In Search Of. His episode on Amelia Earhart speculated on the theories surrounding her disappearance, including the idea that Earhart was a spy who was captured by the Japanese.
  • In 1976, a television biography entitled Amelia Earhart starred John Forsythe and Susan Clark.
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind featured a fictional Amelia Earhart stepping out of the mother ship with hundreds of other alien abductees.
  • In 1994, Diane Keaton, Rutger Hauer, and Bruce Dern starred in Amelia Earhart: The Final Flight.
  • In 1995, Star Trek: Voyager cast Sharon Lawerence as Amelia Earhart, who'd been abducted by aliens and frozen in cryo-stasis for centuries.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise used stock footage of the real Amelia Earhart in a tribute to pioneers of flight and space during the opening credits.
  • Amy Adams portrayed a fictional Amelia Earhart mannequin who comes to life in Night at the Museum 2: Battle for the Smithsonian in 2009.
  • In 2009, Academy Award winner Hilary Swank portrayed Amelia Earhart in the film Amelia.

The Mystery Lives On

The mystery and legacy of Amelia Earhart lives on, perpetuated not only by history classes, but films and novels. Little girls continue to dress up as Amelia Earhart for Halloween, seeking to embrace her free spirit. Although the truth of Earhart's death may never be known, the essence of her life remains an inspiration.