Amelia Earhart flies from Hawaii to California

Amelia Earhart flies from Hawaii to California

In the first flight of its kind, American aviatrix Amelia Earhart departs Wheeler Field in Honolulu, Hawaii, on a solo flight to North America. Hawaiian commercial interests offered a $10,000 award to whoever accomplished the flight first. The next day, after traveling 2,400 miles in 18 hours, she safely landed at Oakland Airport in Oakland, California.

On May 21, 1932, exactly five years after American aviator Charles Lindbergh became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Earhart became the first woman to repeat the feat when she landed her plane in Londonderry, Ireland. However, unlike Lindbergh when he made his historic flight, Earhart was already well known to the public before her solo transatlantic flight. In 1928, as a member of a three-member crew, she had become the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an aircraft. Although her only function during the crossing was to keep the plane’s log, the event won her national fame, and Americans were enamored with the modest and daring young pilot. For her solo transatlantic crossing in 1932, she was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross by the U.S. Congress.

Two years after her Hawaii to California flight, she attempted with navigator Frederick J. Noonan to fly around the world, but her plane was lost on July 2, 1937, somewhere between New Guinea and Howland Island in the South Pacific. Radio operators picked up a signal that she was low on fuel—the last trace the world would ever know of Amelia Earhart.


American Experience

Courtesy of Seaver Center for Western History Research

July 24, 1897: A 20th Century Childhood
Amelia Mary Earhart is born in Atchison, Kansas, to parents Amy Otis and Edwin Stanton Earhart. Her sister, Muriel, is born two years later.

Amelia lives primarily with her maternal grandparents in Atchison during the school year and spends summers with her parents in Kansas City. Despite her grandmother?s disapproval, Amelia spends her free time roaming the outdoors — riding imaginary horses, climbing trees, sledding, and hunting.

1908
Amelia rejoins her parents in Des Moines, Iowa. She sees an airplane for the first time at the Iowa State Fair and later recalls being unimpressed — “It was a thing of rusty wire and wood and looked not at all interesting.” It was not until a decade later, at a stunt-flying exhibition, that Amelia's passion for flight is awakened.

1910-1915
These are turbulent, difficult years for Amelia and her family. Amelia's grandmother, who raised her, dies in 1911. Her father struggles with alcoholism, losing his job and checking into a sanatorium for a month to rehabilitate himself. The family moves to St. Paul, Minnesota in 1913. When Edwin is again unable to recover and find a job, Amy leaves him and moves with Amelia and Muriel to Chicago.

June 1916: Amelia's Education
Amelia graduates from Hyde Park High School in Chicago. She excels in science, only enrolling at Hyde Park after determining that it had the best science program in the area. However, she has trouble making friends — her yearbook caption reads, “A.E. — the girl in brown who walks alone.”

Fall 1916-1918
Amelia attends the Ogontz School, an exclusive finishing school outside of Philadelphia. She again excels in her studies and becomes Vice President of her class. She does not graduate, however, choosing instead to volunteer at Toronto's Spadina Military Hospital as a nurse for wounded World War I soldiers.

While in Toronto, she attends a flying exposition with a friend. A stunt pilot dives at Amelia and her friend — “I am sure he said to himself, “watch me make them scamper,"“ Amelia later recalled — but Amelia stands her ground. She points to this incident as a personal awakening — “I did not understand it at the time, but I believe that little red airplane said something to me as it swished by.”

Fall 1919-1920
Amelia enters the pre-med program at Columbia University but after a year decides to leave to join her parents, who have reunited in Los Angeles.

December 28, 1920: Hooked on Flying
Amelia attends an air show on Long Beach with her father. With pilot Frank Hawk, she takes her first ride in an airplane. “By the time I had got two or three hundred feet off the ground, I knew I had to fly,” she later recalled.

January 3, 1921
Amelia has her first flying lesson with pilot Neta Snook. She works a variety of jobs — truck driver, photographer, stenographer — to save money for these lessons, and six months later is able to purchase her first airplane, a yellow Kinner Airster biplane she names the Canary .

December 15, 1921
Amelia passes her flying license tests given by the National Aeronautic Association. She flies in the Pacific Coast Ladies' Derby in Pasadena two days later.

October 22, 1922
Amelia sets an unofficial altitude record for female pilots after flying the Canary to 14,000 feet.

May 16, 1923
Amelia is issued an international pilot's license by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI ), becoming the 16th woman ever to achieve this.

1924: Hiatus from Aviation
Amelia's parents divorce, and Amelia drives with her mother from California to Massachusetts where they move in with sister Muriel. Amelia goes to New York briefly to reenroll at Columbia, but she soon moves back to Boston where she works first as a teacher and then as a social worker at Denison House, teaching English to Syrian and Chinese immigrants.

1927
Amelia joins the Boston chapter of the National Aeronautic Association, and is occasionally featured in newspapers as an advocate for aviation and female pilots.

Amelia Earhart, c. 1928, Courtesy: Library of Congress

June 17-18, 1928: Overnight Stardom
Amelia Earhart, pilot Wilmer Stultz, and co-pilot and mechanic Louis Gordon depart from Newfoundland in the Friendship , a tri-motor seaplane. They arrive in Wales over 20 hours later and are greeted by cheering crowds.

Amelia does not think she deserves any acclaim for being the first woman passenger on a trans-Atlantic flight — “Stultz did all the flying — had to. I was just baggage, like a sack of potatoes.” She adds, “Maybe someday I'll try it alone.”

Summer 1928
Amelia's book about the Friendship flight, 20 Hrs. 40 Min. , is published. Amelia teams up with publicist George Putnam to write it, and he quickly promotes her to celebrity status. Amelia goes on a national book tour, endorses products like Lucky Strike cigarettes and Modernaire Earhart Luggage, and becomes known as “Lady Lindy” because of her resemblance to Charles Lindbergh. She also becomes Aviation Editor for Cosmopolitan magazine.

August 1929: Taking the Initiative
Amelia buys another airplane, a single engine Lockheed Vega. In the Vega, she participates in the Women's Air Derby race from Santa Monica to Cleveland, coming in third place.

November 2, 1929
Amelia helps found The Ninety-Nines, Inc., the first organization for women aviators. She will become its first president in 1931 and holds that position for two years, during which time she also uses her celebrity status to promote the growth of American commercial airlines.

July 5, 1930
Amelia sets the women's world flying speed record of 181.18 miles per hour. Between 1930 and 1935, Amelia will set seven women's speed and distance records.

February 7, 1931
Amelia Earhart marries George Palmer Putnam. Wary of the institution of marriage, Amelia refused George's proposals six times before she agrees. She will emphasize that her marriage is a “partnership” with “dual control.”

1932
Amelia writes her second book, The Fun of It .

Amelia with New York City mayor James Walker, 1932. Courtesy: Library of Congress

May 20-21, 1932: The Record Setter
Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She departs from Newfoundland and lands in a pasture in Northern Ireland.

This act earns her the Distinguished Flying Cross from 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, becoming the first woman to ever receive this prestigious award. The site of her landing in Ireland now has a small museum, the Amelia Earhart Centre.

August 24-25, 1932
Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly solo across the North American continent and back.

1933
Amelia visits the White House. From this visit she develops a friendship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

Amelia flies across North America for the second time, breaking her own record with a faster flight time.

1934
Amelia receives the Harmon Trophy for America's Outstanding Airwoman for the third year in a row.

January 11, 1935
Amelia is the first person to fly solo from Honolulu, Hawaii to Oakland, California. This year she will also fly solo from Los Angeles to Mexico City (April 19-20) and later from Mexico City to New York (May 8). In between flights she works as a career counselor to women at Purdue University.

July 1936: The Round-the-World Flight
Purdue University finances a new plane for Amelia, a Lockhead Electra 10E which she calls the “Flying Laboratory,” though the plane was purchase less for scientific research and more for Amelia's new dream: a “prize - one flight which I most wanted to attempt - a circumnavigation of the globe as near its waistline as could be.”

Amelia and her husband George Putnam plan for her world flight, raising money and consulting with advisers, mechanics, and navigators.

March 17, 1937
Amelia and her navigator, Fred Noonan, along with Captain Harry Manning and stunt pilot Paul Mantz, fly the first leg of the trip from Oakland, California to Honolulu, Hawaii in 15 hours and 47 minutes.

When they try to continue from Honolulu three days later, the plane ground-loops during take-off and they have to call off the flight.

June 1, 1937
Amelia departs on a second attempt, this time departing from Miami, Florida with the plan of traveling from west to east. Fred Noonan is her only crew member on this second flight. They complete nearly 22,000 miles of the flight, stopping in South America, Africa, India, and Lae, New Guinea.

July 2, 1937
Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan depart from Lae. Their destination is Howland Island, a tiny island in the Pacific only 13,200 feet long and 2,650 feet wide. Amelia and Noonan cannot find the island, however, and they lose radio contact with the Coast Guard cutter Itasca , who can hear that they are lost but cannot return communication.

They disappear over the Pacific Ocean. President Roosevelt issues a massive search for Amelia and Noonan, and George Putnam finances his own search until October 1937, but their efforts are unsuccessful.

January 5, 1939
Amelia Earhart is declared legally dead in a court in Los Angeles.


Another Notable Earhart Flight

On January 11, 1935, Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California.

Born in 1897, Amelia Earhart had a love of adventure from a young age. She became fascinated with flight after riding a roller coaster as a child and first rode in a plane in 1920.

Of that event when she was 23, Earhart stated, “As soon as I left the ground, I knew I myself had to fly.” She immediately took flying lessons, earned her pilot’s license, and bought her own plane.

Earhart earned national attention in 1928 when she rode as a passenger on a transatlantic flight. But she wanted to earn recognition for her own flying talents, and in the process, help to further the cause of female pilots.

US #68 – Mint sheet of 50 Earhart stamps. Click the image to buy.

Four years later, Earhart achieved her goal, becoming the first woman (and the just the second person after Charles Lindbergh) to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She also made the flight in less than half the time it had taken Lindbergh. And later in 1932, she set the record for a female-piloted flight across the United States.

US #C68 – Classic First Day Cover. Click the image to buy.

After that, Earhart set her sights on a new goal – flying alone from Hawaii to California. A business in Hawaii was offering a $10,000 award to the pilot that could complete the flight first. That flight was 400 miles longer than the transatlantic trip and more dangerous. In December 1934 a pilot attempted the journey and disappeared into the ocean.

Item #M11006 was issued for the 75th anniversary of Earhart’s disappearance. Click the image to buy.

But Earhart was determined to achieve her goal so she took extra precautions. She removed the passenger seat from her plane and installed extra fuel tanks there. She also set up an advanced two-way radio system to keep in contact with radio operators on the ground.

Item #M11007 was also issued for the 75th anniversary of Earhart’s disappearance. Click the image to buy.

On January 11, 1935, Earhart departed Wheeler Field on Oahu, Hawaii despite a light drizzle. She flew through the night and listened to a symphony broadcast over the radio for part of the trip. After 18 hours and 2,400 miles, Earhart landed in Oakland, California the next day. There, thousands of spectators excitedly watched her approach and flooded the runway to congratulate her. She was the first person to successfully complete the trip from Hawaii to California alone. Shortly after, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt invited Earhart to visit the White House.


Amelia Earhart flies from Hawaii to California - HISTORY

Earhart seen hanging out after her Pacific flight:

Badmoodman: Earhart seen hanging out after her Pacific flight:

lowlandr: So sad that the Nazi's eventually caught her :/

but we still have her diaries

some_beer_drinker: impressive for a blind and deaf girl

And she played a mean pinball.

Armchair_Invective: Amy Johnson: "Oh, that's adorable."
[pbs.org image 400x433]

Throwing cold water on it, eh?

I never get why someone is first, but not really, so let's invent some rules to make them first, thing.

So she's not first, just a female.

Or Lindberg, not even closest to be first, missing it by 9 years, which is a long time when aviation was barely invented, but he didn't have a navigator, so, yay!?

Ketchuponsteak: I never get why someone is first, but not really, so let's invent some rules to make them first, thing.

So she's not first, just a female.

She was first to solo between Hawaii and the mainland US. Not the first woman, the first.

And regarding "first female", I have rejection letters my mom received in the early 1960s saying, "We don't hire girls for this job." Mom was 30.

As they say, white men play the game of life on the easy setting. Others still have to work harder.

You jest, but the correspondence with her husband is fascinating.
https://lettersofnote.com/2010/04/01/​y​ou-must-know-again-my-reluctance-to-ma​rry/
.
"On our life together I want you to understand I shall not hold you to any midaevil code of faithfulness to me nor shall I consider myself bound to you similarly. If we can be honest I think the difficulties which arise may best be avoided should you or I become interested deeply (or in passing) in anyone else.

"Please let us not interfere with the others' work or play, nor let the world see our private joys or disagreements. In this connection I may have to keep some place where I can go to be myself, now and then, for I cannot guarantee to endure at all times the confinements of even an attractive cage.".

Purdue University has an archive of materials and letters from her and her husband.

jaytkay: Ketchuponsteak: I never get why someone is first, but not really, so let's invent some rules to make them first, thing.

So she's not first, just a female.

She was first to solo between Hawaii and the mainland US. Not the first woman, the first.

And regarding "first female", I have rejection letters my mom received in the early 1960s saying, "We don't hire girls for this job." Mom was 30.

As they say, white men play the game of life on the easy setting. Others still have to work harder.

Actually, the Charles Lindberg thing is kinda the thing that annoys me. Doing it in 1927 or was it 1928, is not impressive, compared to someone using a WW1 bomber in 1919.

So he did it solo, ladida. Some would say a compass takes up less weight than a navigator, allowing for more fuel.

Though, the navigator turned out to be crucial in 1919, as the navigator had to go out onto the wings and knock ice of them.

Still, Lindberg became famous because Americans, at least at that time, ignored firsts, or changed the rules, until an American did it.


Amelia Earhart: First Solo Flight from Hawaii to California

Amelia Earhart electrified the world during the 1920s and ’30s with her daring feats of flying and the many aviation records she set. In 1932 she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic – for this 15-hour feat of endurance and pluck she became the first woman to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross. That same year, she became the first woman to fly nonstop across the U.S.

Photo: Amelia Earhart, c. 1928. Source: U.S. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

Then, on this day in 1935, Earhart took off from Hawaii and became the first pilot, male or female, to fly solo from Hawaii to California, accomplishing this unprecedented feat in a grueling 18 hours.

Earhart was an established celebrity by the time of her 1935 Hawaii-California flight, with huge crowds greeting her public appearances and record-setting flights. During the last three hours of her Hawaii-California flight there had been no radio contact with her, yet when she landed in Oakland, California, on January 12 a rapturous crowd of 5,000 people awaited her, showering her and her plane with flowers and eagerly reaching to shake her hand.

Earhart’s record-setting flight was big news at the time, and was featured prominently on the front pages of the nation’s newspapers – such as this one from South Dakota.

Aberdeen Daily News (Aberdeen, South Dakota), 13 January 1935, page 1

This article gave details of her challenging flight, and the wild, cheering reception she received when she finally landed.

Aberdeen Daily News (Aberdeen, South Dakota), 13 January 1935, page 1

Here is a transcription of this newspaper article:

Amelia Earhart Completes Flight to U.S.

Finishes First Solo Flight in 18 Hours Time

‘Lady Lindy’ Expresses Weariness as Wheels Touch Earth of Airport
Had No Major Trouble
Declares Pacific Crossing Worst than Atlantic Prophesies Airways

By Louis Ashlock
(Copyright, 1935, by the AP)

Oakland, Calif., Jan. 12—(AP)—Amelia Earhart Putnam, ocean-conquering aviatrix, flashed into Oakland today to complete the first solo flight ever made between Hawaii and California—and hastily combed her tousled blonde hair before turning to face a madly cheering, milling crowd.

“I’m tired,” said the famous holder of many aviation records as she popped her head out of the cockpit, saw the crowd and reached for her comb.

The wheels of her swift red monoplane touched dry land at 1:31 p.m. PST (3:31 p.m. CST), just 18 hours and 16 minutes after her exciting takeoff from Wheeler Field, 25 miles out of Honolulu and 2,408 miles from Oakland. Two hours after landing she went to bed without benefit of negligee, in an Oakland hotel.

Host of Honors

Not satisfied with two aerial trips across the Atlantic and a host of other aviation honors, the 36-year-old aviatrix challenged the Pacific as has no other man or woman. She came through neatly but only after fighting a variety of weather and giving California watchers an uneasy three hours during which her position was not known.

“It was worse than the Atlantic flight,” she said. “There was no purpose or reason for it.”

Asked about reports that she was considering continuing on to Chicago or Washington immediately, she smiled mysteriously and said: “Well, I’ll have to check the weather before hopping, but I won’t be going for three or four hours.”

But Miss Earhart appeared pretty tired and the circumstances discounted the idea. Airport attendants said she had left instructions not to refuel her plane. Weather conditions to the east were reported unfavorable.

For three hours California coastal cities had been awaiting her, and when she swooped down on the airport she took the crowd by surprise.

Greeted by Crowd

A mighty cheer arose from the 5,000 persons assembled at the field. The crowd surged toward the plane and stopped little short of its whirring propeller blades.

It was at that point feminine instinct got the better of the globetrotting flier and she reached for the comb.

They pushed her plane into a hangar and closed the doors against the admiring crowd but only after many had succeeded in grasping her hand and shouting words of praise at her.

“I don’t want to sit down,” she said firmly when an attendant saw her fatigue and offered her a chair. “I’ve been sitting down a long time.”

Someone mentioned that she had not been heard from for a considerable time before landing that there were reports she was battling fog had strayed from her course that her gasoline was running low before she reached the coast. They asked if she had been worried.

“Worried?” she echoed. “Oh, I thought I would like to have the sight of land a couple of times.”

First Saw Land

Miss Earhart asserted she never was lost but said she veered south of her course and first sighted land about 60 miles south of San Francisco.

“I wasn’t sure that it was land I sighted,” she said. “I throttled back my motor purposely to save fuel and I don’t understand why anyone should have been worried about me. The reason I didn’t give my position was because I didn’t “shoot” the stars (with a sextant) and therefore couldn’t give it.”

An interviewer mentioned seeing a rainbow over the Golden Gate as Miss Earhart was nearing the coast.

“Oh, rainbows!” she exclaimed. “I flew through many of them.

“I wasted a lot of time because some of the equipment was new, and a new type of compass threw me off. The ventilators blew off and this bothered me considerably also.”

Motor Never Faltered

“But the motor functioned perfectly and it was only little things, like the ventilator, that bothered me.

“I had a lot of sandwiches with me but I didn’t eat any of them. I did eat a hard-boiled egg, which was quite a luxury, and drank some tomato juice. I feel just filthy and I want a bath.”

Miss Earhart said commercial flights between the islands and California were “entirely feasible.”

“They are inevitable,” she said, “and we’ll be flying everywhere in a short time.”

Asked about the three hours during which the outside world heard little or nothing from her plane she said: “I listened to a message broadcast from my husband (George Palmer Putnam, New York publisher) and was greatly cheered by his voice. I also listened to musical programs broadcast throughout the night.”

Miss Earhart said she believed the use of two-way voice radio communication was advisable for planes making distance flights. This type of radio was a portion of her elaborate equipment.

As she snuggled down into a soft bed in her hotel room she sighed and said:

Needs Sleep

“I want sleep more than anything else.”

In a moment she was sleeping deeply and hotel attaches said she planned to slumber two to six hours—“or maybe more.”

The finale of the epochal flight was short as it was swift. On reaching the coast she made a bee-line northward for the airport.

She didn’t waste a foot of distance or a second of time. She did not circle the field as a gesture of delight over her extraordinary and exciting feat. She slid straight down to the runway and drove the plane to the doors of a hangar.

For a moment it looked like the crowd might jam madly into the propeller but it stopped just short of the danger line.

The field was a bedlam of noise, cheers and action, colored with uncounted bouquets of American beauty roses and other flowers for the woman who became “one up” on the male flying fraternity.


Amelia Earhart: Hawaii celebrates the great aviator

4 of 21 Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega, which she would use on her solo flight to Oakland, arrives in Honolulu Harbor aboard the S.S. Lurline on Dec. 27, 1934. Matson Navigation Co. Archives Show More Show Less

5 of 21 Aloha Tower still welcomes cruise passengers to Honolulu, as it did Amelia Earhart in 1934. Matson Navigation Co. Archives Show More Show Less

7 of 21 Already famous, Amelia Earhart receives an aloha greeting from hula dancer Dorothy Leslie upon her first visit to Hawai''i, in late 1934. Matson Navigation Co. Archives Show More Show Less

8 of 21 Amelia Earhart and her husband George Putnam relax on a veranda at the Royal Hawaiian while listening to island musicians. Matson Navigation Co. Archives Show More Show Less

10 of 21 The recent renovation of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel restored the lobby verandas overlooking a coconut grove, which Amelia Earhart enjoyed during her stays in the 1930s. Jeanne Cooper/Special to SFGate Show More Show Less

11 of 21 Surf legend and Honolulu sheriff Duke Kahanamoku, who regularly entertained visiting celebrities, shares a pineapple with Amelia Earhart on Jan. 2, 1935. Matson Navigation Co. Archives Show More Show Less

13 of 21 Amelia Earhart's historic flight between Honolulu and Oakland in 1935 -- the first solo flight from Hawai'i to the Mainland -- left from Wheeler Field, now known as Wheeler Army Airfield, in central O'ahu. Hawai'i Aviation Archives Show More Show Less

14 of 21 Amelia Earhart Putnam, before her fatal flight in Oakland, CA, 1937. Show More Show Less

16 of 21 Before Amelia Earhart (far right) took off on her solo flight to California on Jan. 11, 1935, she enjoyed a sightseeing flight to Maui and the island of Hawai'i. Also pictured (from left) are California pilot Paul Mantz Earhart's husband, George Putnam Myrtle Mantz and Stanley Kennedy, president of Inter-Island Airways. Hawai'i Aviation Archives Show More Show Less

17 of 21 Documents relating to Amelia Earhart's landmark solo flight from Hawai'i to the Mainland in 1935 are in a copper box inside the base of this memorial at the Diamond Head Lookout on O'ahu. Jeanne Cooper/Special to SFGate Show More Show Less

19 of 21 The banyan tree planted by Amelia Earhart during her sightseeing trip on Jan. 6, 1935, still stands along Hilo's Banyan Drive. Jan Wouterloot Show More Show Less

20 of 21 A sign of things to come? Earhart's attempt to fly west from Hawai'i in 1937 was aborted when the right landing gear tire blew out on Ford Island, in the middle of Pearl Harbor. Hawai'i Aviation Archives Show More Show Less

While no one may know exactly how &mdash or where &mdash Amelia Earhart's life ended, the pioneering pilot enjoyed two well-documented trips to Hawai'i before she disappeared somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.

On her first, she met Duke Kahanamoku, sampled pineapple and flew to Maui and the Big Island for sightseeing before making her historic solo flight to the Mainland on Jan. 11, 1935 she arrived in Oakland the next day to a cheering crowd. Earhart's renown had only increased when she returned to Honolulu in March 1937 in her attempt to fly around the globe. A crash upon takeoff forced her back to California, though, and her next attempt took an easterly course from Miami. Still, Earhart would have landed in Honolulu on her way back, had not she and navigator Fred Noonan vanished along with the plane en route to Howland Island from New Guinea on July 2, 1937.

On July 24, 2010 &mdash Earhart's 113th birthday &mdash an exhibition of 65 recently discovered or little-seen photographs of the aviator's time in Hawai'i will go on display at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, where Earhart once stayed. The photos come from the archives of the Matson Navigation Company, owners of both the S.S. Lurline, which transported the pilot and her Lockheed Vega to Hawai'i, and the Royal Hawaiian. Although Earhart spent a lot of time at Wheeler Field getting her plane ready for travel, she also relaxed in Waikīkī, as the vintage pictures reveal. They'll be on view in the hotel's Coronet Lounge through the end of the year.

If you can't catch the exhibition before then, a more detailed history of Earhart's time in Hawai'i, along with some of the Matson images and other photos, can be found on the Hawai'i Aviation website, created by the state's Department of Transportation, Airports Division. And though you may not be able to visit Earhart's final resting place, the banyan tree that she planted in Hilo on Jan. 6, 1935, now towering above Banyan Drive, is marked with a plaque. On O'ahu, a roadside lookout on Diamond Head Road in Kuilei Cliffs Beach Park also has a plaque commemorating Earhart, in honor of that first solo flight from Hawai'i to the Mainland. It's a fitting place to stop, gaze out to sea and remember the courage of the woman who crossed it alone.


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Amelia Earhart flies from Hawaii to California - HISTORY

In her early childhood, Amelia Earhart’s parents took her to an aviation show and paid a dollar to a pilot to take young Amelia up in the air for 10 minutes. That was all the motivation she needed: “By the time I had gotten two or three hundred feet off the ground,” she wrote, “I knew I had to fly.” Despite aviation being a predominantly male field, Earhart wanted to make her mark. Of course she knew just how.

On this day, August 24, in 1932, just two months after her solo transatlantic flight, “Lady Lindy” Amelia Earhart flew a Lockheed Vega from Los Angeles, California, to Newark, New Jersey, becoming the first woman to fly solo coast-to-coast. She also set a record time for the flight: 19 hours, 5 minutes.

Three years later, Earhart flew from the West Coast to Hawaii, a trip made somewhat easier by better navigational charts and instruments, but still the equivalent of finding a needle in the haystack of the Pacific Ocean. By 1937 Earhart was ready for her grand finale: a flight around the world. Earhart never completed it, disappearing midway, but before she left she told the press “I have a feeling there is just about one more good flight left in my system and I hope this trip is it. Anyway, when I have finished this job, I mean to give up long-distance ‘stunt’ flying.”


Today in History. Amelia Earhart flies from Hawaii to California

Amelia Earhart remains famous worldwide as a pioneer of flight, and a feminist icon.

Fascinated with flying from an early age (following a chaotic 'first flight' in a wooden box on a homemade rollercoaster) she was fearless in her flights, especially on her beloved 'Old Bessie' with which she crossed the Atlantic. She was the founder of the Ninety-Nines - a club of female pilots which exists to this day.

One of her more significant flights took place on January 11 1935 when she became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California - a journey which had claimed the lives of others in 1927. Two and a half years later, she was to mysteriously disappear whilst attempting a round the world trip.

Earhart memorabilia has retained its significance over the years, and much is preserved in museums, such as the Museum of Women Pilots in Oklahoma City.

On occasion, a piece has been used as a talisman. A scarf of Earhart's was taken into space by Eileen Collins, the first woman to pilot the space shuttle and another is expected to be taken up this spring along with her wristwatch.


Signed photo of Amelia Earhart

Certainly, the memorabilia which have been made available for auction have commanded substantial prices, which the recent film based on Earhart's life will not harm. In October, Earhart's goggles sold for a startling $141,600, whilst even a signed photo achieved $6,300 at a Bonhams auction.


Amelia Earhart


Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.
Amelia Earhart to George Putnam, 1935

Leaves Columbia University after one semester

Joins her parents in Los Angeles, California

Takes her first flight with Frank Hawks

Sells Kinner Airster and buys an automobile

Drives her mother to Massachusetts and settles with her younger sister, Muriel

Is recognized as the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean as a passenger (June)

Writes 20 Hrs. 40 Min

Completes the first transcontinental flight by a woman (Sept/October)

Acquires a single engine Lockheed Vega aircraft

Competes in Women's Air Derby (Santa Monica to Cleveland) - finishes in third place

Helps organize The Ninety-Nines (November)

Sets the women's world flying speed record of 181.18 mph (July)

Acquires her air transport license (October)

Becomes the first president of The Ninety-Nines

Marries George Palmer Putnam in Noank, Connecticut (February)

Acquires an autogiro and sets a women's autogiro altitude record of 18,415 feet (April)

Completes her first solo transcontinental flight in an autogiro for the Beechnut Company (May/June)

Writes The Fun of It (read an excerpt)

Becomes the first woman (and second person) to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in her single engine Lockheed Vega and the first person to cross the Atlantic twice by air

Sets women's record for fastest non-stop transcontinental flight (Los Angeles, California to Newark, New Jersey) in 19 hrs and 5 mins (August)

Is awarded the Army Air Corps Distinguished Flying Cross

Becomes the second non-British pilot to receive Honorary Membership in the British Guild of Airpilots and Navigators

Is awarded the Gold Medal of the National Geographic Society, presented by President Herbert Hoover

Receives honorary membership in the National Aeronautic Association

Wins the Harmon Trophy as America's Outstanding Airwoman

Participates in the National Air Races in Los Angeles, California

Breaks her own North American transcontinental record with a flying time of 17 hours, 7 minutes, 30 seconds

Is the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean from Honolulu, Hawaii to Oakland, California in 17 hours and 7 minutes (January)

Is the first person to fly solo from Los Angeles, California to Mexico City, Mexico by official invitation from the Mexican Government (April)

Is the first woman to compete in the National Air Races in Cleveland, Ohio

Named America's Outstanding Airwoman by Harmon Trophy committee

Takes delivery of Lockheed twin-engined airplane financed by Purdue University (July)

Starts to plan her round-the-world flight

Begins her round-the-world flight in Oakland, California and sets a record for east-west (Oakland to Hawaii) travel in 15 hours and 47 minutes (March)

Ground loops plane while taking off from Hawaii for Howland Island and badly damages it (March)

Airplane is repaired and a second round-the-world attempt is started from Miami, Florida (June)