The Ongoing Mystery and Tragedy of Amelia Earhart

By: Kate Row | Published: Sep 14, 2022

Amelia Earhart is the prolific pilot whose life ended in mystery. She is perhaps the most famous pilot of all time, but she’s well-known for being courageous and trailblazing as well. She was an inspiration to women everywhere. 

There are many more interesting facts that make up Amelia’s life. She made many flight achievements as one of the first woman to fly but also as a pilot in general. Here is everything you need to know about the wonderful Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart was always drawn to danger

She was born in 1897 in Atchison, Kansas. Being from Kansas meant she loved the great outdoors.  Amelia always felt a pull towards the more dangerous activities. She loved to hunt, sled, and climb trees. But planes did not immediately catch her eye.


Interestingly, the young girl was not always interested in flying. She described the first plane she ever saw as “a thing of rusty wire and wood” that was not all that interesting to her. 12 years later, her mind was changed.


Her first plane was called the “Canary”

She worked hard to get her pilot’s license. She took flying lessons and in 6 months time she had saved enough money to buy her own plane in 1921. She worked odd jobs here and there to save the money.


Her first aircraft was a secondhand Kinner Airster that she proudly named the “Canary”. This was the plane that would help her break tons of flying records and would contribute to her legacy of being one of the most famous pilots of all time.

She was one of the first women to receive a pilot’s license

Amelia did not even step onto a plane until she was 23 years old. When she finally did, the pilot only flew her about a couple hundred feet in the air. But this short trip was enough to give her a taste of what she would spend the rest of her life doing.


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Three years after her first time in an airplane she received her pilot’s license. In 1923, she was only the 16th woman to ever receive a pilot’s license. Little did she know, this would have a huge impact on female fliers everywhere.

She was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic

Being among the first women to receive a license to fly, she had many “firsts” in the air. In 1928, she flew from Newfoundland to Wales with her flight team. This made her the very first woman to fly across the Atlantic.


She later became the second person to ever fly across the Atlantic alone. Her career was littered with many impressive feats like these. She just so happened to be the first person to fly solo across the Pacific as well.

More records set by Amelia

According to NASA, she was the first woman to fly to North America and back on her own. In 1928 she set a world altitude record and she continued to set records for her entire flying career. She was an inspiration!


In 1932, she landed in Ireland and a farmer asked her if she’d flown very far. She told him she had come all the way from America and had a copy of a newspaper to prove it. She took pride in her accomplishments, as she should.


She gained notoriety

Her incredible accomplishments gained her popularity and notoriety. She was well-liked for her motivated personality and well respected for her talents and ambitions. She received gifts as a result of her impressive flying resume. People celebrated her!

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She was given lucrative endorsements and was even invited to the White House to meet with the President. While all this was well and good, Amelia had her sights set even higher and she knew she wouldn’t be satisfied until she flew all the way around the globe.


Her goal was the be the first person to travel across the entire globe

Amelia was nothing if not aspirational. Her personal goal was to be the first person ever to circumnavigate the entire globe. Something that made her a great inspiration was her tenacity and positive attitude.


She didn’t just want to be the “first woman” to break records, she wanted to be the best pilot, despite her gender. And her career is crawling with so many of these achievements. They are a testament to her hard work and dedication.


Her final flight

In 1937, Amelia set off for Miami on what she didn’t know would be her final flight. Her radio lost contact and a rescue team was sent out to find her, but to no avail. The sea and land search ended up being one of the most extensive in history.

Tragically, they never found Amelia and what happened to cause the crash is a mystery that has yet to be solved. We remember her for her great courage and strength.


The flight originally was going very well

Amelia and her navigator seemed to be having a very successful flight. They left from California to Florida where they made their first stop. From Miami, they flew to South America, Africa, and South Asia while sending dispatch updates all the while.

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She would describe her adventures with her navigator in a positive light and nothing seemed to be going wrong for this entire leg of the trip. She even stated, “We were thankful we had been able to make our way successfully over those remote regions of sea and jungle” in reference to New Guinea.


More about the final flight

Her journey was supposed to be one that would make history. She made several stops and everything seemed to be going smoothly. In fact, everyone figured she was well on her way to be the first to fly around the globe.

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A month into the journey something went terribly wrong. She only had about 7,000 miles between her and her goal. But she seemingly vanished before she ever made it to her destination.


She knew the risks of flying

She knew the risks of flying and she had even told her husband so. Before she left for her final flight she told him that she was well aware of the hazards of flying.


She said, “I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others”. This was the spirit that has made her a prolific name in history.


Theories about her final flight

Some people think that Amelia and her navigator, Fred Noonan, may have survived as castaways on a remote island. Some even think that they were captured by the Japanese. The conspiracy theories are endless. People love mysteries!

Some conspiracy theorists believe that Amelia and Fred actually made it back alive to the United States and lived out the rest of their lives under different names. No one can really give an explanation as to why these would be the case.


The island theory

Many people want to believe that she and Fred landed safely on Howland in Nikumaroro and lived there. Interestingly, men and women’s shoes have turned up on the island as well as human bones.

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Some people have tried to decipher some of Amelia’s final radio calls to find evidence to support that she might have landed in this location. One message said, “Will have to get out of here” and another said, “We can’t stay here long”. These radio messages have added fuel to the conspiracy theory fire.


The search

The disappearance of Amelia Earhart was of great interest to the U.S. Everyone loved her and was concerned for her safety. When it became apparent that she had gone missing, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered one of the largest searches in history.

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250,000 square miles of the Pacific were searched. Amelia’s husband, George Putnam also paid for a search of his own. Unfortunately, neither search revealed anything about Amelia or the flight. They never discover her or the reason the plane went down.