Amelia Earhart was born on 24 July 1897 in Atchison, Kansas. Her flying career began in Los Angeles in 1921 when, at age 24, she took flying lessons from Neta Snook and bought her first airplane-- a Kinner Airstar. Due to family problems, she sold her airplane in 1924 and moved back East, where she took employment as a social worker. Four years later, she returned to aviation bought an Avro Avian airplane and became the first woman to make a solo-return transcontinental flight. From then on, she continued to set and break her own speed and distance records, in competitive events, as well as personal stunts promoted by her husband George Palmer Putnam.
Earhart's name became a household word in 1932 when she became the first woman--and second person--to fly solo across the Atlantic, on the fifth anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's feat, flying a Lockheed Vega from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland to Londonderry, Ireland.
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.
In January 1935 Earhart became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean from Honolulu to Oakland, California. Later that year she soloed from Los Angeles to Mexico City and back to Newark, N.J. In July 1936 she took delivery of a Lockheed 10E "Electra," financed by Purdue University, and started planning her round-the-world flight.
Earhart's flight would not be the first to circle the globe, but it would be the longest--29,000 miles, following an equatorial route. On March 17, 1937 she flew the first leg, from Oakland, California to Honolulu, Hawaii. As the flight resumed three days later, a tire blew on takeoff and Earhart...