On July 2, 1937, the Lockheed aircraft carrying American aviator Earhart and navigator Frederick Noonan is reported missing near Howland Island within the Pacific. The pair were attempting to fly round the world once they lost their bearings during the foremost challenging leg of the worldwide journey: Lae, New Guinea , to Howland Island, a tiny island 2,227 nautical miles away, within the center of the Pacific . The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca was in sporadic radio contact with Earhart as she approached Howland Island and received messages that she was lost and running low on fuel. Soon after, she probably tried to ditch the Lockheed within the ocean. No trace of Earhart or Noonan was ever found.
Amelia Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas, in 1897. She took up aviation at the age of 24 and later gained publicity together of the earliest female aviators. In 1928, the publisher George P. Putnam suggested Earhart become the primary woman to fly across the Atlantic . The previous year, Charles A. Lindbergh had flown solo n”art-10″>In June 1928, Earhart and two men flew from Newfoundland, Canada, to Wales, Great Britain. Although Earhart’s only function during the crossing was to stay the plane’s log, the flight won her great fame, and Americans were enamored of the daring young pilot. The three were honored with a ticker-tape parade in ny , and “Lady Lindy,” as Earhart was dubbed, was given a White House reception by President Coolidge .
Earhart wrote a book about the flight for Putnam, whom she married in 1931, and gave lectures and continued her flying career under her maiden name. On May 20, 1932, she took off alone from Newfoundland during a Lockheed Vega on the primary solo n”art-15″>She was bound for Paris but was blown astray and landed in Ireland on May 21 after flying quite 2,000 miles in only under 15 hours. It was the fifth anniversary of Lindbergh’s historic flight, and before Earhart nobody had attempted to repeat his solo transatlantic flight. For her achievement, she was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by Congress. Three months later, Earhart became the primary woman to fly solo n”art-19″>In 1935, within the first flight of its kind, she flew solo from Wheeler Field in Honolulu to Oakland, California, winning a $10,000 award posted by Hawaiian commercial interests. Later that year, she was appointed a consultant in careers for women at Purdue University, and the school bought her a modern Lockheed Electra aircraft to be used as a “flying laboratory.”
On St Patrick’s Day , 1937, she took faraway from Oakland and flew west on an around-the-world attempt. It would not be the primary global flight, but it might be the longest–29,000 miles, following an equatorial route. Accompanying Earhart within the Lockheed was Frederick Noonan, her navigator and a former Pan American pilot. After resting and refueling in Honolulu, the trio prepared to resume the flight. However, while beginning for Howland Island, Earhart ground-looped the plane on the runway, perhaps due to a blown tire, and therefore the Lockheed was seriously damaged. The flight was called off, and therefore the aircraft was shipped back to California for repairs.
In May, Earhart flew the newly rebuilt plane to Miami, from where Noonan and she or he would make a replacement around-the-world attempt, this point from west to east. They left Miami on June 1, and after stops in South America, Africa, India, and Southeast Asia , they received Lae, New Guinea, on Saints Peter and Paul . About 22,000 miles of the journey had been completed, and the last 7,000 miles would all be over the Pacific Ocean. The next destination was Howland Island, a tiny U.S.-owned island that was just a couple of miles long. The U.S. Department of Commerce had a weather station and a airstrip on the island, and therefore the staff was ready with fuel and supplies. Several U.S. ships, including the Coast Guard cutter Itasca, were deployed to assist Earhart and Noonan during this difficult leg of their journey.
As the Lockheed approached Howland Island, Earhart radioed the Itasca and explained that she was low on fuel. However, after several hours of frustrating attempts, two-way communication was only briefly established, and therefore the Itasca was unable to pinpoint the Lockheed’s location or offer navigational information. Earhart circled the Itasca‘s position but was unable to sight the ship, which was sending out miles of black smoke. She radioed “one-half hour fuel and no landfall” and later tried to offer information on her position. Soon after, contact was lost, and Earhart presumably tried to land the Lockheed on the water.
If her landing on the water was perfect, Earhart and Noonan may need had time to flee the aircraft with a Carling float and survival equipment before it sank. An intensive search of the vicinity by the Coast Guard and U.S. Navy found no physical evidence of the fliers or their plane.