She was called the "first lady of the Atlantic" - Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly a transatlantic flight (June 17, 1928), as well as an outstanding aviator, set several world records, orator, journalist and popularizer of aviation. Until now, the reason for her death remains a mystery: Amelia's plane disappeared over the ocean without a trace. Today, several versions of what happened are being put forward.
Since childhood, Amelia Mary Earhart was fond of boyish hobbies: shooting a rifle, hunting rats and horseback riding. At 23, she saw an air show and firmly decided that she would fly herself. Relatives scoffed at her - women pilots in those days were very rare. Amelia found a flight instructor in Los Angeles, Anita Snook, who was pleased with the student, except for her penchant for adventurism: several times she had to keep Amelia from flying under the wires of the power lines when landing.
In 1922, at the age of 25, Amelia announced to reporters her intention to break all men's records in the air - and already in October 1922 set a height record for women: 4200 m.In 1928, a wealthy American feminist aristocrat invited Amelia to lead the crew of an aircraft making a transatlantic flight. On June 17, this flight was successful, and Amelia Earhart became the first woman to cross the Atlantic aboard an aircraft, although it was not she who flew it, but a male pilot. After landing, she told reporters with annoyance: "I was just being transported like a sack of potatoes." In 1932 she repeated the flight, this time alone.
In the 1930s. she became the most famous female pilot in the world, her photos appeared in magazines more often than photos of movie stars. Amelia took advantage of the fame that had befallen her to fight for the equality of women and their attraction to the male profession. In 1929, Amelia formed the international organization of women pilots "99" and became its first president.
But Amelia dreamed of a new record - a round-the-world flight along the longest route. The flight did not go well from the very beginning: at the start from Hawaii, the tire of the landing gear burst, and the plane was seriously damaged. But the stubborn Earhart did not abandon her venture. By the beginning of July, the crew had covered 80% of the route, some of the 28 stages of the flight were registered as world records.
On July 2, 1927, Amelia Earhart and pilot Fred Noonan took off from Papua New Guinea, heading for Howland Island in the central Pacific Ocean. But they never made it to their destination. Communication with the aircraft was suddenly cut off, and the US Navy launched the largest search operation in its history. The search was unsuccessful. In 1939, the pilots were declared dead, although accurate information about their fate has not appeared.
Several versions are put forward about what happened in Earhart's last flight: according to one of them, the fuel ran out and the plane crashed into the ocean; on the other - Amelia put him on one of the islands, but during landing the crew lost contact, was seriously injured and died; there is even a version that Earhart and Noonan, having made an emergency landing, were captured by the Japanese, who were building their military bases in this part of the Pacific Ocean, and then were executed. Until now, none of the versions has been proven, and the mystery of Earhart's last flight remains unsolved.
Today in the United States, Amelia Earhart is a national heroine and a cult character in numerous films and books for children. In the homeland of the pilot, in the city of Atchison in the state of Kansas, an air festival is held annually, gathering up to 50 thousand guests.
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