Was she crazy? She was certainly not your typical Kansas girl in the early 1900′s. She was born to fly. She couldn’t help it. It was all she could think about; the air, the clouds, the freedom. Nothing seemed real except the dreams of being in the sky.
Her first interaction with the world of flying was in Canada when visiting her sister during WWI. Amelia encountered many injured soldiers and decided to join the Red Cross as a nurse. She became familiar with many pilots whom were injured and in need of care. The stories she heard were so intrigueing and fascinated her, even to her own surprise. After the war, Amelia attended college in New York. She boarded her first airplane upon a visit to her parents, who were living in California at the time. It was a life changing event for Amelia. She wanted to know “how” it flew, “what” it felt like to guide such a craft, “when” might she be able to experience that feeling, and “if” such an opportunity would ever apprise itself to a woman in a world where women were to be proper, quiet, and subservient. But Amelia’s family were atypical and encouraged her to pursue her dreams,no matter the cost. Amelia learned how to fly an airplane from one of the world’s first female pilots, Neta Snook, and earned her pilot’s license in 1920.It wasn’t long before Amelia became the first woman to fly across the ocean…Transatlantic. She was famous. But, she wasn’t satisfied. She had only been a passenger in that adventure. The head engineers and pilot’s were men, and that just wouldn’t do. She was determined to do this feat on her own. In 1932 Amelia flew from New Foundland to Ireland in 15 hours…ALONE. The first woman AND the first SOLO pilot to complete a Transatlantic flight.
She continued her flying and studies of engineering.Purdue University provided Amelia with a new all-metal, two-engine plane. It had so many instruments she called it the “Flying Laboratory.” It was the best airplane in the world at that time. She came up with the idea to fly around the world in this plane. She would cross the lands at the equator at a distance of 43 thousand kilometers. No one had attempted this before. Ultimately, Amelia was lost during this adventure…her plane was never found. Chances are…she decided to just keep on going. Soar ever higher…I can almost hear her say….