Amelia Earhart was a woman ahead of her time. She was born in 1897 and had a daredevil spirit. She fell in love with airplanes and flight and began learning to fly in 1921. Earhart came to worldwide fame in 1928 when she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. Before tragically disappearing mid-flight in 1937, Earhart set several flight records.
After Earhart began her flying lessons, she wasted no time setting and breaking records. Less than two years after her first lesson, in October of 1922, she broke the women's altitude record by flying up to 14,000 feet. By 1931 she had grown interested in the autogiro, a rotary-wing airplane that had a rotor for lift and a propeller for forward movement. In April of 1931, Earhart set the autogiro altitude record by rising to 15,000 feet. She then broke her own record the same day by flying up to 18,415 feet.
In June of 1930, Earhart set the women's speed record for flying 100 kilometers, both with no load and with a 500 kilogram load. The following month, in July of '30 she set a speed record for flying more than 181 miles per hour on a 3 kilometer course. In May of 1932 she flew coast to coast across the United States. She made the 2,447 mile trip in 19 hours 5 minutes. This held as the women's transcontinental speed record until she broke it in 1933 by making the trip in 17 hours 7 minutes.
Earhart's first official record was a distance record in 1928 when she became the first woman to "fly" across the Atlantic. She did not consider it much of a record since she had a male pilot and navigator and referred to herself as "just baggage" on the flight. She rectified the matter in May of 1932 when she made her famed solo trip across the Atlantic, finishing the 2,026 mile flight in 14 hours 56 minutes. The flight was the longest nonstop flight by a woman and only the second person across the Atlantic, after Charles Lindbergh.
Earhart flew solo in January of 1935 from Hawaii to California, becoming the first person to make the 2,408 mile trip alone. In April of '35 she became the first person to fly solo from Los Angeles to Mexico City, a trip that lasted over 13 hours. Weeks later, in May of '35, she became the first person to fly solo from Mexico City to Newark, New Jersey, a 14-hour flight. Amelia Earhart began a trip around the world in June of 1937 and was nearing the end of her journey when her plane tragically disappeared over the Pacific Ocean.
- Photo Credit Getty Images/Getty Images News/Getty Images Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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