Disappeared Without a Trace, Vol I: Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart was one of the most well known and admired woman of her age. She lived her dream, however, at a dangerous time, when flight was in its infancy, and simple. The round-the-world flight was to be Amelia’s last and most spectacular flight. When Amelia took off on that fateful day of July 2, 1937, she had no way of knowing that it would be the last day of her life. More
Amelia Earhart was one of the most well known and admired woman of her age. And although she was more homely than pretty, there was an earthiness, a friendliness, and a passion for flying in her that captivated everyone who came in contact with her, from U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and his wife, to the common man or woman on the street. Her dedication to her dream of being a flying pioneer in what was considered an exclusively male domain was an example of what women could achieve in aviation. She lived her dream, however, at a dangerous time, when flight was in its infancy, and simple oversights and mistakes could be deadly. Amelia largely flew by the seat-of-her-pants and trusted her instincts in place of the existing state of aviation technology at the time. This got her by until her last flight, where everything seemed to go wrong and she disappeared without a trace.
The round-the-world flight was to be Amelia’s last and most spectacular flight. All of her preceding flights were short, being only 1 or 2 days, but this one was to be a full month. Never especially strong physically, this flight was to prove a grueling ordeal for Amelia that would tax her to her physical and mental limits. But once she began the flight there was no turning back; she had to see it through to the end. For if at any point in the flight she had backed out, she would have been remembered for her singular failure, and a lifetime of achievement would have been overshadowed. She viewed herself as an inspiration to women on what can be achieved by a determined woman who refused to accept 2nd place in any endeavor she set her mind to pursue.
When Amelia took off from Lae in New Guinea for Howland Island on that fateful day of July 2, 1937, she had no way of knowing that it would be the last day of her life. Although she was likely exhausted, she was undoubtedly looking forward to a spectacular 4th of July party that her husband was orchestrating for her when she arrived on the West Coast. And although we will never know for sure what happened during her final flight, there are a number of clues left behind which point to what likely happened. On the last 1,000 miles of her flight to Howland Island Amelia would be flying at night over the ocean with no landmarks to guide her. She was likely flying through overcast and rain squalls by dead reckoning and along the way her apprehension must undoubtedly have steadily increased with the realization that she was trying to find a needle in a haystack at midnight. We can only imagine the cold fear that began to grip Amelia and her navigator, Fred Noonan, as they struggled on into a more ominous and desperate situation with each passing hour. So ride along with Amelia on her last flight and experience how she likely faced her last hours.
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