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(Atchinson, 1898 - South Pacific, 1937) American aviator. His stunts include the solo Atlantic crossing (1932), never before held by a woman, and the first successful flight from the island of Hawaii and the continental United States (1935). Converted into a national Idol and spokesperson for feminism, his mysterious disappearance in 1937, when he was on the verge of completing the round the world by the equator, gave rise to many speculations and contributed to magnify his legend.
Amelia Earhart in the Electra cabin
Amelia Earhart attended college at the University of Columbia (New York) and completed his training in the summer courses at Harvard University. During the first world war he served as a nurse in a Canadian field hospital. She then worked as a social worker in Boston (Massachusetts).
Earhart became famous when, on 17 and 18 June 1928, became the first woman to perform the crossing of the Atlantic, as passenger in an aircraft commanded by the pilot Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon, who toured the 3,200 kilometers that are far between Newfoundland and Wales. That same year he made several flights solo across the United States. In 1931 he married the famous Publisher and Explorer George Palmer Putnam, but he decided to keep her maiden name.
From 20 to 21 May 1932 performed solo crossing of the Atlantic. It was the first woman to complete without accompanying this perilous journey, a feat which had not returned to occur since the historic flight of Charles a. Lindbergh in 1927; It established also a new brand of speed, reaching Ireland in just thirteen hours and fifty minutes. Earhart was by the United States Congress awarded the distinguished cross of flight, the first awarded to a woman. In the following months he made various flights from coast to coast of the United States, as that has taken her from Los Angeles (California) to Newark (New Jersey). Its celebrity allowed him to promote the commercial use of aviation and defender, from a feminist point of view, the incorporation of women to this new professional field.
In January of 1935 carried out solo voyage between Honolulu, Hawaii and Oakland (California), a superior to the existing distance between the United States and Europe. He was the first pilot to successfully complete this difficult journey over Pacific waters; previous attempts had been completed in disaster. At the end of that same year it established a new speed record, flying nonstop between city of Mexico and New York in just over 14 hours.
A mysterious disappearance
In 1937, Amelia Earhart announced that he would try to go around the world using a route different than usual on these voyages. Indeed, travel by plane around the world had developed, up to then, in short stages through the skies of the northern hemisphere. Earhart would try, together with his co-driver and Navigator, U.S. Captain Frederick J. Noonan, circunvolar the globe following the line of the equator, in a twin-engine Lockheed Electra 10-E. They began the trip on June 1, 1937, flying from Miami (Florida) to South America; from there to Africa and then to the West Indies.
Amelia Earhart in the Electra cabin
After completing 33,000 kilometers in 30 days, more than two-thirds of the journey, his plane disappeared in the middle of a storm on July 2, when they held the penultimate leg of the trip, which would take them from Lae (New Guinea) to the Howland Island, near Australia. The disappearance of Amelia Earhart and his experienced co-driver was the subject of numerous and often fantastic speculations, but until today day are unknown, the circumstances of the accident and the exact location where it was produced.
The last contact by radio of the Electra was with a coast guard of the Howland Island, to which Earhart reported that they not still saw the island and that they were running out of fuel. Announced the accident, the United States Government allocated large resources to the search of the aircraft and its crew members, without any result; the official conclusion was that, due to lack of fuel, the unit fell over the Pacific before reaching the island.
But track search continued after, the hand of various agencies and researchers, and continues today. Some of the new evidence found confirmed the official version; a second theory, based on the discovery of human remains and fuselage of difficult identification, argues that the plane made a forced landing in the Nikumaroro Island (one of the Phoenix Islands, currently belonging to the Republic of Kiribati), and that Earhart and Noonan survived for some time as a castaway on the island.
Less support has the novelistic theory that Amelia Earhart and her co-pilot, not spotted Howland, went to the Marshall Islands, dominated by the Japanese. There they were captured as spies and executed, either, after a series of negotiations with the United States, carried in secret to avoid a diplomatic conflict, were allowed to return to their country with false identities. Shortly after his disappearance, Amelia Earhart's husband published a book based on the diary of his last trip flight.