By Lili Sandler, A Mighty Girl Senior Research Intern
Amelia Earhart, the aviation pioneer, equal rights activist, and all around courageous heroine for generations of girls and women was born on this day in 1897. An icon of twentieth century bravery — but also that of mystery — Earhart is most well-known as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and to disappear during her attempted flight around the world.
As a child, Amelia Earhart had little to no interest in airplanes, but filled her days by exploring her neighborhood with her younger sister, reading voraciously, or following and collecting various critters found in her explorations. As a teen, Amelia kept a scrapbook filled with stories of women who were successful in careers dominated by men at the time.
After working as a nurse’s aide during World War I, Earhart went for her first ride in an airplane in 1920. It was that very flight — only ten minutes long, but that was all it took to change her life — that made Amelia Earhart say: “By the time I got two or three hundred feet off the ground, I knew I had to fly.”
On January 3, 1921, Amelia Earhart started flying lessons, and six months later, she owned her very own airplane, nicknamed “The Canary”. It was with that plane that she set a world record for female pilots in 1922, being the first to reach an altitude of 14,000 feet. On May 15, 1923, she became the 16th woman to receive a pilot’s license from the Fédération Aèronatique Internationale.
In April of 1928, Earhart received a phone call asking her if she’d like to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. While she was a passenger and not the the pilot of this June 1928 flight, its news coverage helped to promote her to a level of celebrity, leading to her nicknames of “Lady Lindy” or the “Queen of the Air”. Continue reading Continue reading