Amelia Earhart isn’t just America’s sweetheart. She is a global icon, not just for women but an inspiration for all. She is almost always referred to as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Her being declared dead in absentia has been regarded as one of the most tragic incidents of the past century. But her role as an aviatrix is only a part of who she was. There’s more to Amelia Earhart. There are other Amelia Earhart major accomplishments.
As we delve into the Amelia Earhart major accomplishments, let us quickly turn the clock back to track the journey of one of the most amazing persons in modern history.
Flew At 14,000 Ft In 1922, Then a Record For Women’s Altitude
Amelia Earhart was a playful child, having mastered the art of climbing trees, hunting with a .22 rifle and she could belly-slam a sled downhill. She was not impressed with planes until she was in her early twenties, when a pilot Frank Hawks took her on a ride. Within a year she was a pilot and within two years she broke the record for women’s altitude when she flew at 14,000 feet.
First Woman To Fly Across The Atlantic
Don’t confuse it with her world record. The first time she flew across the Atlantic, it wasn’t solo obviously. But she was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic on June 17/18, 1928, in a Fokker F7 that took her 20 hours and 40 minutes.
Aviation Editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine
For someone who had already become a celebrated aviatrix, a stint as a writer may appear less adventurous and certainly less glamorous. But then Earhart did write a book called 20 Hours 40 Minutes, toured the country, delivered lectures and in 1928 she became the aviation editor of Cosmopolitan magazine. She became a famous author. She followed up her book with columns and articles in newspapers and magazines respectively. She kept publishing books narrating her flying experiences over the years.
A Plethora of Records
Once you become a pioneer of sorts and a champion, records are either made or broken. Amelia Earhart participated in the first ever Women’s Air Derby and ended up in the third place. She became an official for the National Aeronautic Association. She urged the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) to form systems that would allow women to have segregated world altitude, speed and endurance records from men. In 1930, Amelia Earhart set the record for speed with no load for a distance of a hundred kilometers and then for the same distance with a load of five hundred kilograms. A month later, in July she set the record of 181.18 mph over a 3K course. The same year she became the vice president of public relations for ‘New York, Philadelphia and Washington Airways’. A year later, she attained the autogiro altitude record for women with 18,415 feet.
First Woman To Fly Solo Across The Atlantic
On May 20/21, 1932, Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. The flight took 14 hrs 56 min. She was awarded National Geographic Society’s gold medal which was conferred to her by the then President Herbert Hoover.
First Woman To Fly Solo From Coast To Coast Nonstop
While the previous feat is always talked about, it was across the ocean. She became the first woman to fly solo from coast to coast nonstop on August 24/25, 1932. She also attained the transcontinental speed for nonstop flying among women. She flew 2,447.8 miles in just 19 hrs 5 min. It is amazing if you think of the year as 1932, much before the modern airplanes became a reality. Just a year later she broke her record and covered the same distance with the transcontinental speed record of 17 hrs 7 min.
Flying Solo, First Among Firsts
If her flying solo and subsequent achievements were any indication then one would have expected her to make more such trips. That she did when she became the first person to embark on a solo flight from Honolulu to Oakland in California across the Pacific. She flew in a civilian airplane with a two-way radio. She wasn’t just the first woman to do this but the first person.
Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from LA to Mexico City on April 19/20, 1935. The flight took her 13 hrs 23 min. Around a fortnight later, she was the first person to fly solo and nonstop from Mexico City to Newark. This trip took 14 hrs 19 min. She flew all the way from Red Sea to India as part of her flight around the world.
Amelia Earhart died on July 2, 1937, declared legally dead after she disappeared somewhere near Howland Island.