Amelia Earhart

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  • Amelia Mary Earhart was born 24 July 1897 in Atchison, Kansas.
  • Married George Putnam on February 7, 1931. Press accounts and radio transcripts refer to her variously as Mrs. Putnam and Miss Earhart after her marriage.
  • Lost 2 July 1937, in the vicinity of Howland Island.
  • Declared dead 5 January 1939.

Highlights of Earhart's flying career

Source: Ric Gillespie, Earhart Biography.

Records highlighted in bold. Incidents and accidents highlighted in italics.


3 January: First flying lesson. "Canuck," Curtiss JN4 "Jenny."
Summer: Kinner "Airster." Two minor crashes.
Soloed late in the year.


October(?): altitude record for women of 14,000 feet.


16 May: obtained a pilot's license from National Aeronautic Association, #6017.


Briefly owned another Airster (Lovell, page 47)?


First woman to cross the Atlantic by air; passenger of Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon.
Purchased British-built Avro Avian.
31 August--14 September: New York to California. En route, hit ditch, groundlooped, wrecked landing gear, shattered prop.
30 September: forced landing, nose-over, broken propeller (Eureka, Utah).[1]


29 March: Department of Commerce Transport Pilot's License.
20 July: new logbook carried forward 559 hours and 46 minutes.
30 July: Purchased Lockheed Vega constructor's number (c/n) 10, registered NC6911 with 225 HP Wright J5A Whirlwind engine.
August: new Vega 1, c/n 36 registered NC31E.
18 August: Women's Air Derby / "Powder Puff Derby"
Yuma, Arizona: ran off the end of the runway on landing, upended the Vega, bent the propeller.
Third place: 23+ hours.
22 November: Used a Vega 5A Executive, NC538M (c/n 107), Pratt & Whitney Wasp, 425 HP, over 3 kilometer course to set a speed record of 184.17 mph. [Fact to be checked: women's record or an absolute record?]


17 March: Bought 425 HP P&W-powered Vega 5 NC7952 (c/n 22).
June: borrowed the first metal-fuselage Vega DL-1 NC497H (c/n 135) and set three more speed records for women in various load categories for Lockheed.
25 September: wrecked NC7952 in a nose-over landing accident at Norfolk, Virginia which left the airplane flat on its back, fuselage broken.
19 December: soloed in 1930 Pitcairn PCA-2 autogiro.


Lockheed rebuilt NC7952 using fuselage of c/n 68 and upgraded it to a 5B with Pratt & Whitney Wasp C engine of 450 HP.
April 8: unofficial altitude record of 18,415 ft in the Pitcairn autogiro.
29 May--6 June: New Jersey to California in Beech-Nut Pitcairn PCA-2 NC10780.
On return trip to the east coast, crashed after a rotor-strike on takeoff at Abilene, Texas; reprimanded for negligence.
22 June: returned to New Jersey. 11,000 miles covered in 150 hours of flying.
September: Totaled the Pitcairn by dropping it in from 20 feet (stalled?).


20-21 May: Solo transatlantic flight in NC7952 (P&W Wasp C engine of 450 hp)--first woman pilot and second person to fly solo across the Atlantic. Landed in Gallagher's field at Culmore near Londonderry in County Donegal. 2,026 miles in 15 hours and 18 minutes--a record for speed and elapsed time on the Atlantic crossing.
10 July: Attempted first woman's non-stop coast-to-coast flight. Landed in Columbus, Ohio, because of clogged fuel line.
24 August: First woman's non-stop coast-to-coast flight in 19 hours, 7 minutes and 56 seconds.
"That year, she received the Distinguished Flying Cross from the Congress, the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honor from the French Government, and the Gold Medal of the National Geographic Society from President Hoover."[2]


National Air Race: finished six hours behind the men (hatch cover problems).
Return non-stop flight to east coast bettered her previous record by two hours.


"Hi-Speed Special 5C" registered as NR965Y (c/n 171) with Wasp C from NC7952. Hamilton Standard adjustable-pitch propeller.


11 January: NR965Y, Hawaii to Oakland (first ever west-to-east flight for that route? and solo). 18 hours and 16 minutes in the air. Criticized as a "pointless stunt" at the time.[3]
19 April: Missed Burbank to Mexico City non-stop by 60 miles (got lost).
8 May: nonstop from Mexico City to Newark, New Jersey in 14 hours and 18 minutes.
August: Bendix race with Paul Mantz. They placed fifth and won $500.


21 July: First flight in X16020 (c/n 1055) with test pilot.
24 July: Took delivery of NR16020 on her birthday.
4 September: Bendix Trophy race. Earhart and Helen Richey finished fifth in 16:34:52. They won $500.


17 March: Earhart, Mantz, Manning, and Noonan. Oakland to Honolulu in 15 hours and 47 minutes (a new record).
20 March: Groundloop at Luke Field.
20 May: Oakland to Tucson, Arizona. Beginning of second world flight.
2 July: Failed to complete flight from Lae to Howland Island.

Summary of records set vs. accidents/incidents

date make N-number severity notes
31 August 1928 Avro Avian NC7083 accident Previously G-EBUG. Landing accident Pittsburgh, PA. No injuries, substantial damage.
30 September 1928 Avro Avian NC7083 incident Forced landing near Tintic, UT. No injuries, minor damage.
19 August 1929 Lockheed Vega 1 NC31E incident c/n 36. Landing accident Yuma AZ. No injuries, minor damage.
30 September 1930 Lockheed Vega 5 NC7952 accident c/n 22. Landing accident at NAS Norfolk, VA. Minor injuries, severe damage to aircraft.
June 1931 Pitcairn PCA-2 NC10780 accident Takeoff accident Abilene, TX. No injuries, totalled aircraft, letter of reprimand from Department of Commerce.
July 1931 Pitcairn PCA-2 NC10780 incident Replacement aircraft, landing accident Camden, NJ. No injuries, minor damage.
September 1931 Pitcairn PCA-2 NC10780 accident Landing accident Detroit, MI. No injuries, totalled aircraft.
20 March 1937 Lockheed 10E Special NR16020 accident c/n 1055. Takeoff accident Honolulu, HI. No injuries, extensive damage.
21 May 1937 Lockheed 10E Special NR16020 incident Engine fire Tucson, AZ. No injuries, minor damage.
2 July 1937 Lockheed 10E Special NR16020 accident Failed to arrive Howland Island.

Courage is the price

"Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace. The soul that knows it not, knows no release from little things."[4]


  1. Podcast about her stay in Eureka, Utah.
  2. Naval History Center FAQ. Text of the citation: Distinguished Flying Cross Society.
  3. Al Williams.
  4. The Official Website of Amelia Earhart (the movie), selected quotations