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People Target #12

Amelia Earheart

Earhart set a number of aviation records in her short career. Her first record came in 1922 when she became the first woman to fly solo above 14,000 feet. In 1932, Earhart became the first woman (and second person after Charles Lindbergh) to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She left Newfoundland, Canada, on May 20 in a red Lockheed Vega 5B and arrived a day later, landing in a cow field near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Earhart consistently worked to promote opportunities for women in aviation. In 1929, after placing third in the All-Women’s Air Derby—the first transcontinental air race for women—Earhart helped to form the Ninety-Nines, an international organization for the advancement of female pilots. She became the first president of the organization of licensed pilots, which still exists today and represents women flyers from 44 countries.Earhart and Noonan departed Lae for tiny Howland Island—their next refueling stop—on July 2. It was the last time Earhart was seen alive. She and Noonan lost radio contact with the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca, anchored off the coast of Howland Island, and disappeared en route.

She was tall and slim, with short and wind-swept hair. She referred to herself simply as AE, and that’s what her friends called her. Earhart was considered a tomboy because she dared to do things that girls at the turn of the century usually did not do–she climbed trees, belly-slammed her sled in the snow to start it downhill, and hunted rats with a .22 rifle. Later, she attended a girls school in Pennsylvania and became a nurse’s aide in a Toronto hospital, helping to care for wounded soldiers during World War I. One aspect of Earhart’s personality proved dominant–perseverance. She was obsessed with flying and built up solo flying time in The Canary when she could afford it.

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