Amelia Eartheart was an American aviator. Among her greatest accolades are: the solo crossing of the Atlantic in 1932, a flight never before made by a woman, and the first successful flight between the island of Hawaii and the continental United States in 1935. Become an idol national and a spokesperson for feminism, her mysterious disappearance in 1937, when she was about to complete the trip around the world along the equator, gave rise to multiple speculations and contributed to magnify her legend.
Earhart rose to fame when, on June 17 and 18, 1928, she became the first woman to cross the Atlantic as a passenger, in a plane commanded by pilots Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon, which traveled the 3,200 kilometers that they are between Newfoundland and Wales. That same year, she made several solo flights across the United States. In 1931 she married the famous editor and explorer George Palmer Putnam, but she decided to keep her maiden name.
Between May 20 and 21, 1932, she made the crossing of the Atlantic alone. She was the first woman to complete this perilous journey unaccompanied, a feat that had not occurred since Charles A. Lindbergh’s historic flight in 1927; she also set a new speed mark, reaching Ireland in just thirteen hours and fifty minutes. Earhart was awarded by the United States Congress with the Distinguished Flying Cross, the first ever awarded to a woman.
In 1937, Amelia Earhart announced that she would try to go around the world using a different route than the usual one on these voyages. Indeed, air travel around the world had, until then, developed in short stages through the skies of the northern hemisphere. Earhart would try, together with her co-pilot and navigator, the American captain Frederick J. Noonan, to circumvent the globe following the equator, in a Lockheed Electra 10-E twin-engine. They began the trip on June 1, 1937, flying from Miami to South America; from there to Africa and later to the East Indies.
The Electra’s last radio contact was with a Howland Island Coast Guard, to whom Earhart reported that the island was not yet in sight and that they were running out of fuel. When the accident became known, the United States government allocated great resources to the search for the plane and its crew, without any result; the official conclusion was that, due to lack of fuel, the aircraft fell into the Pacific before reaching the island.
But the search for clues continued later, in the hands of various agencies and researchers, and continues today. Some of the new evidence found confirm the official version; A second theory, based on the finding of human remains and the fuselage that is difficult to identify, maintains that the plane made a forced landing on Nikumaroro Island (one of the Phoenix Islands, currently belonging to the Republic of Kiribati), and that Earhart and Noonan survived for some time as castaways on the island.