Angela SmithHarden16 October 2017 Lady Lindy: The Story of Amelia Earhart On June 2, 1937, tragedy struck America. A Lockheed Electra, expected to land in Howland’s Island, never showed up. In that plane was the beloved Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan. Their goal was to fly around the world, but sadly they were lost on the most challenging, leg of the trip: Lae, New Guinea to a small island in the Pacific. Amelia Earhart was born in a small town, located in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897, . She developed her love for flying in 1917 when she went to visit her sister in Toronto, Canada. There, her sister took her to an aviation expo, where a little plane flew right by her. She looked at her sister, wide-eyed and shocked at what just happened. “I believe that little red airplane said something to me as it swished by!” she told her sister. From then on, Amelia was set on the dream of one day becoming an aviator. She started taking flying lessons in 1921 with Neta Snook, Taking lessons with her changed everything. Amelia immersed herself in learning to fly. She read anything and everything about flying, and spent most of her time on the airfield. She even cropped her hair short in the style of other women aviators, and slept in her leather jacket for 3 nights to give it a more “worn” look. Amelia was set. Everything she had ever dreamed of was right in front of her, except for one thing, her own plane. Six months after Amelia started taking lessons, she bought her first plane, the Kinner Airster (which she nicknamed “The Canary”) and set out to make a name for herself in aviation. On October 22, 1922, Amelia Earhart had made history. She flew 14,000 feet into the air, setting the world altitude record for female flyers. On May 15, 1923, Amelia was the 16th woman to be issued with a pilot’s license from the Federation Aeronautique. She had it all, until her family entered a state of despair. Her father was an alcoholic and had divorced her mother, leaving the family with nothing. With no immediate prospects of making a living with flying, Amelia Earhart sold her plane. Following the divorce, she and her mother set out on a trip across the country, starting in California and ending up in Boston. In Boston, Amelia found a job first as a teacher, then as a social worker. It seemed as her flying days were over, until 1927 when she became a member of the American Aeronautical Society’s Boston chapter. She acted as a sales representative for Kinner airplanes, and kept writing articles for the newspaper. It took a while, but Amelia Earhart was developing into a local celebrity. In April 1928, Amelia received a phone call, asking if she wanted to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. She accepted the offer without hesitation, even though she was only listed as a co-pilot. All around the USA, people were shocked. A woman is going to fly across the Atlantic? How absurd! Nevertheless, Amelia became an aviation celebrity. This is when she acquired the nickname “Lady Lindy.” Later that year, Amelia wrote a book about aviation and her transatlantic experience called “20 Hours, 40 minutes.” When she finally published the book, her collaborator and publisher, George Putnam, heavily promoted her through books, lecture tours, and product endorsements. Amelia became a fashion icon as well. For years she had sewn her own clothing, but now started to contribute to a new line of women’s clothing the provided a sleek and purposeful, yet feminine, look. Despite all of her accomplishments, she still traced it all back to flying. She never left her roots. In August 1929 she placed 3rd in the First Women’s Air Derby, also known as the Powder Puff Derby. There, she upgraded her aviator to a Lockheed Veeda. Later that year, she was elected as an official for National Aeronautic Association. She also encouraged the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) to establish separate world altitude, speed, and endurance records for women. The following year, in June and July, she was on fire, breaking records left and right. On June 25th she set the women’s speed record for 100 kilometers with no load and with an extra load of 500 kilograms. On July 5th she beat those original records. 2 months later, she helped to organize a new airline, and later became vice president of public relations for New York, Philadelphia, and Washington Airways. Amelia Earhart was unstoppable. Her life seemed insanely busy, and never-ending of accomplishments, but she did have time for something else. As fate would have it, George Putman entered her life too. The two developed a friendship during the preparation for the Atlantic crossing and were married on February 7th, 1931. Although married, Earhart referred to the marriage as a “partnership” with “dual control.” Together, they worked on secret plans for her to become the first women and second person to fly across the Atlantic. On May 20th 1932, all her effort and planning were finally put into action, and she took off from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland to Paris, France. expecting a smooth flight, Amelia received the opposite. There were thick clouds and ice on the wings. Earhart knew she wouldn’t make it to Paris, so she landed in Londonderry, Ireland. “After scaring the cows in the neighborhood, I pulled up in a farmer’s backyard,” said Amelia. For her 15 hour flight Amelia Earhart received many honors and awards. She became an international hero and role model to all. Amelia Earhart never stopped flying, and continued to push herself to be able to do more and more. On June 1, 1937, Amelia Earhart stepped foot into her Lockheed Veda with navigator Fred Noonan. They were about to be the first to fly across the world. Amelia had accomplished so much, and this was just going to be one more thing to add. They were last seen waving to a crowd of people as they took off to make history. There are so many theories circulating around the world about how she died. One of them, according to history.com, is the “Crash and Sink Theory.” They believe Earhart’s plane ran out of gas and they crashed in the open ocean. This would be true, however, high-tech sonar and deep-sea robots have failed to yield clues about the crash site. Some of the less popular theories state that Earhart and Noonan were captured and executed by the Japanese, or that they served as spies for the Roosevelt administration. The most realistic theory is the Gardner Island Hypothesis. They believe Amelia and Fred veered off course from Howland Island and landed on Gardner Island. When Roosevelt sent people to look after here, they flew over the island and found signs of habitation but no signs of a plane. The TIGHAR, which is a group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, has launched many expeditions to find the remains of the pilot and navigator. They found a woman shoe, improved tools, a woman’s cosmetics jar and bones, but no sight of the plane. Still, this is more evidence than anyone has ever collected. On June 2, 1937, tragedy struck America. A plane carrying the beloved Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan were declared “lost at sea.” Amelia Earhart was an inspiration to many young and old woman. She forever changed society’s view of women. She was not afraid to break down barriers, and her actions inspired other women to follow their dreams. “Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others.” —Amelia Earhart, 1897-1937.