Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic

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Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic

Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, from Newfoundland, Canada, to Londonderry, Ireland, a 2,026-mile flight in about 13 hours, on 20th May 1932. She disappeared while trying to fly her twin-engine plane around the equator.

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Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic
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Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic

Amelia Mary Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas, on 24th July 1897. After graduating from Hyde Park High School in 1915, Earhart attended Ogontz, a girl's school in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She left in the middle of her second year to work as a nurse's aide in a military hospital in Canada during WWI, attended college, and later became a social worker at Denison House in Boston. 

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Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic
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Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic

On 28th December 1920, Earhart attended a stunt-flying exhibition where pilot Frank Hawks gave her a ride that changed her life forever. She knew that she was born to fly.

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Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic
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Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic

Earhart took her first flying lesson on 3rd January 1921, and in six months managed to save enough money to buy her first plane. Earhart named the plane 'Canary', and used it to set her first women's record by rising to an altitude of 14,000 feet.

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Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic
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Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic

One afternoon in April 1928, Earhart was asked to join pilot Wilmer 'Bill' Stultz and co-pilot/mechanic Louis E. 'Slim' Gordon. The team left Trepassey harbour, Newfoundland, in a Fokker F7 named 'Friendship' on 17th June 1928, and arrived at Burry Port, Wales, approximately 21 hours later. When the crew returned to the United States, they were greeted with a parade in New York and a reception held by President Calvin Coolidge at the White House.

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Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic
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Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic

Earhart got married to George Putnam, a book publisher and publicist on 7th February 1931. In the years that followed, Earhart continued to break records. She set an altitude record for autogyros of 18,415 feet that stood for years. On 11th January 1935, she became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific from Honolulu to Oakland, California, a 2,408-mile flight.

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Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic
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Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic

In 1937, as Earhart neared her 40th birthday, she was ready for a monumental, and final, challenge. She wanted to be the first woman to fly around the world. On 1st June, Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan departed from Miami and began the 29,000-mile journey but never returned back. 

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Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic
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Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic

A rescue attempt was carried out, but it was of no use. On 19th July 1937, after spending $4 million and scouring 250,000 square miles of ocean, the United States government reluctantly called off the operation. In 1938, a lighthouse was constructed on Howland Island in her memory. Her birthplace, Atchison, Kansas, has been turned into a virtual shrine in her memory. Amelia Earhart awards and scholarships are given out every year. 

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Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic
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Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic

A letter to her husband proved the brave spirit of Earhart, she wrote, "Please know I am quite aware of the hazards, 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."

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Amelia Earhart: The First Woman to Fly Solo across the Atlantic
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