Sixty years ago, an aircraft landing in a pasture in Londonderry, Ireland, was not a routine happening. As an astonished farmer ran up to it, he was even more surprised to find that the pilot, dressed in a windbreaker and jodhpurs, was a woman!
``Hello,’’ she said simply, ``I have come from America.’’
On may 20, 1932, after a flight of thirteen hours and thirty minutes, a records time, this ``bird woman’’ had taken off from Harbor Grace, new found land and reached her destination. Her luggage consisted of the clothes on her back, a thermos jug of coffee, a can of tomato juice, a comb and toothbrush.
Amelia Earhart had just become the very first woman to fly the Atlantic alone! A Dream comes true.
One day, while attending an Air Meet, Amelia saw a pilot and determined to learn how to fly, whatever the cost. She decided to earn the money herself.
Her ability as a pilot surprised even experts. After merely ten hours of instruction, she made her first solo flight! Some time later, she set an altitude record by flying to a height of 14.00 feet.
Later, in 1928 while she was doing social work in Boston, she received a phone call from a man called Wilbur Stultz. He was a pilot who planned to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in a plane called the friend ship. Amelia was absolutely thrilled to join his crew as the only woman member. The flight, on June 17, 1928, from Trepassey Bay, New found land, to Great Britain, took just twenty hours and forty minutes! However, it changed Amelia’s life!
Amelia Earhart became a celebrity, and flying became her life. For her solo flight from Newfoundland to Londonderry she earned decorations from the French and American governments, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the social god medal of the national Geographic society.
In January 1935, she became the first person to fly from Hawaii to Oakland, California. In May, she again flew non- stop from Mexico City to New York City in fourteen hours and nineteen minutes.
She felt that she had one more good flight in her, nothing less than a round –the –world trip across the equator!
June 1, 1937 Amelia Earhart took off again, with Fred Noonan, her navigator, from Miami, Florida. Several weeks later, landing at Lae, New Guinea, they set course for Howland, a tiny pacific island.
Amelia Earthart’s `one more good flight’ became her last one. US naval vessels searched the waters off Howland Island for a week, but found no trace of even the wreckage.
The world was saddened by the loss of this brave `bird’ woman, this brilliant aviatrix. But a bird is happiest in the skies. The fearless woman of the skies, died as she would have wished to, in the skies; in her flying gear with her wings stretched out to conquer the skies.
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