The amazing life Amelia Earhart.

Soaring Through the Life of Amelia Earhart 

By: Alexa Hymes

Soaring Through the Life of Amelia Earhart

I dedicate this ebook to Mrs. Jones for heping us through the processes and my family for always supporting me. Thank you for giving me a chance to make this ebook, it was a great experience. 

Dedication

          On July 24, 1897, Amelia Earhart was born to Amy and Edwin Earhart. They adored their first born, and took so many notes about her. Young Earhart would “often sing herself to sleep”, said her mother. Though Amelia had a great childhood, she spent most of that time at her Grandmother’s house in Atchison, Kansas, mainly because her father was an alcoholic. Grandmother Otis gave Amelia the best bedroom in the house, that looked over the Missouri River. On sunny days, Amelia and her younger sister Muriel would play a sneaky game of hide-and-seek in grandmother’s apple orchards and go for wonderful picnics in her garden.

          Amelia attended Atchison’s College Preparatory from first grade through high school. The school was said to be tiny, with only 40 students. Earhart excelled in reading and math, and read many books as a child. In 1916, she continued her education at the Ogontz school in Rydal, Pennsylvania. It was one of the best college preparatory schools in the country. 

          Amelia began seriously thinking about her future and made a scrapbook of cut outs of woman who had careers.  Amelia’s hope for a career was ahead of her time. Back then, people still believed that marriage was “the ideal vocation for women.”

          In 1917, during World War I, Amelia visited Muriel at school in Toronto on her Christmas break. Feeling bad for the wounded soldiers, she dropped out of Ogontz and became a volunteer Nurse’s aide, staying in Toronto with her sister.

When Earhart was not at work in the hospital, she enjoyed horseback riding, but often found herself stopping to watch the Air Force planes land and take off. She tried to get permission to watch up close but was denied. If only they had known who she was going to become and the life she would pursue (verb, pronunciation: pur-soo, to continue or proceed along (a route or path)).

 

          One day, Amelia and her friend visited the Toronto Fair to watch a pilot perform stunt flying. Wanting a better view, they walked over to the center of the field. They watched the pilot fly to great heights and then dive down next to people to see them run off of the field. When he noticed Amelia and her friend in the field, he dove down beside them. Her friend shrieked and ran off, but Amelia watched and waved her hands in delight.

          Not thinking anything of the Fair after the war had ended, Earhart headed to Columbia University in New York City. She enrolled herself in pre-med classes, predicting it would be the same as her last classes. But, after a few months she changed her mind and moved to California to meet up with her parents, thinking she would return to Columbia University in the Fall.

 

          A couple days after arriving in California, Amelia and her father decided to attend an air meet, which would be Amelia’s first. With twenty airfields in Los Angeles, something was constantly going on. After all of the inspiration, Amelia decided she wanted to fly, with no knowledge of how far she would take flying into her life. Her father didn’t approve of this at first, but eventually he found a pilot that agreed to give Amelia flying lessons. After taking flights as a passenger, “I knew what I wanted to do with my life” she later stated. 

          Eventually she found a job at her local telephone company. Earhart worked in the mail room, slowly earning money and hoping it would be enough. After long days at work, she finally earned enough to learn how to fly!  She spent all of her savings on lessons at Kinner Field. 

          At dinner time, Earhart eagerly shared her desire to fly. Her parent's agreed to sign her up for lessons, although they needed to find some way to pay for it. Desperate but excited, Amelia began searching for a job that paid enough to pay for her lessons. 

 

          The reason Earhart chose Kinner Field was because there was a female pilot who could train her. Neta Snook was a twenty-four year old pilot who was the only female flier in Southern California. There couldn't be a better choice of a teacher for Earhart!

 

          When Snook noticed Earhart approaching her she just thought, “More silly people with more silly questions”. An assertive (adjective, pronunciation: a-serdiv, having or showing a confident and forceful personality) soon-to-be pilot herself, Earhart asked for lessons. Snook agreed curiously and was willing to teach Earhart even though she had to pay for the lessons monthly instead of daily.

          After six months of hard work and training, Amelia decided that to “make life complete” she would have to buy her own plane. Snook tried to talk her out of it, because the plane she picked out was too fast and “floated like a leaf." Earhart refused to give up, and after adding together all of her and her sister’s savings, and even some of her mother’s, she had enough to buy the plane. On Amelia’s twenty-fourth birthday, Snook agreed to teach her to ride the new Kinner Canary.

          When she went to fly it on her own with Snook in the passenger’s seat, the plane’s third cylinder (specifically the plane’s “three-dimensional coordinate system”) failed. Earhart tried to “pull up” into the trees but pulled up too fast and crash landed. The plane’s undercarriage and propeller broke, but thankfully, no one was hurt. Snook remembered stepping out of the crashed Kinner Canary and looking over to see Amelia calmly step out of the plane with no other damage done.

          Once the plane was fixed, Amelia switched instructors. Her new teacher was named John Montijo, an ex-army pilot. He taught her stunt flying, but Earhart “learned them mostly for fun." His teachings couldn't have made her any better of a pilot compared to Snook's teaching, but Amelia once again only did them for fun.

          In December she took the flying test for a National Aeronautic Association license. Earhart admitted that it wasn’t her best flight. “One of the shock absorbers broke causing the wing to sag just as I left the ground. I also made a thoroughly rotten landing". But her flight was good enough for the judges to let her pass.

          After being only the 16th woman to get this license, she appeared in the local newspaper often and gained some publicity. Earhart decided to put her talent and love of flying to the test and see how high she could fly. At Roger’s field she set the women’s altitude record of 14,000 feet in the air and was quickly getting noticed in the “Aviation World”.

          She was still wondering how she would make a living and then remembered that she could still go back to medical school. Leaving her mother in Boston, Earhart made her way back to Columbia University and took a few classes. After comparing soaring through the air in her own plane to a couple of classes, school didnt seem inspiring any longer. 

          When she started missing her family more and more, Amelia decided to sell her plane. She used the money to buy a yellow car and drive east with her mother to visit Muriel at school. This was good for her and her mom, since her parents relationship still wasn’t that great even after her father stopped drinking. Giving up flying wasn't that tough for her.   “I still didn’t think of my flying as a means to anything but having fun, so I was not entirely devastated”, Amelia later confided (verb, pronunciation: ken-faid-ed, to tell someone about a secret and/or private matter while trusting them not to repeat it to others).

 

More About the Denison House

          The Denison House, now located in Forty Fort Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, was built in 1790. It's a 2 1/2 story building and was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1970. Being included in the NRHP means that it is part of the "United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation".

          Later on Amelia found out about the Denison House. Here she helped new immigrants by giving them food, medical care and English classes. Head worker Marion Perkins gave her a part time job there because of her “personality and confidence”, even though she did not have any experience. Earhart loved working at the Denison House, setting up new clubs for the residents, and their first basketball team.

          Amelia still followed what was happening in the aviation world. One day she saw Thea Rasche, a leading stunt woman in aviation (noun, pronunciation: ave-ashen, the flying or operating of aircraft) perform some of her skills. Amelia was impressed, until Rasche lost control and crash-landed in a swamp. She wasn’t injured, except for her pride - she was told things such as  “woman shouldn’t be allowed to fly”. Amelia was infuriated, so she hopped into an empty plane and amazed the crowd. She definitely proved what a woman could do and was noticed even more in the aviation world.

          Earhart continued to prove her skills later on in life when she put together a flight plan that had never been attempted before. Her plan was to fly around the equator - a very dangerous move!  Her and her crew member Fred Noonan had flown together before but nothing was this dangerous or risky. As they said their goodbyes, people worked with Earhart and Noonan on securing the plane.

The Flight of her Life

          They first left Miami and eight hours later landed in San Juan, Puerto Rico. After, they flew to Venezuela and from there Dutch Guyana. At times, Amelia put the plane on automatic pilot (which was invented in 1932). She was being paid by the New York Herald-Tribune to write articles about her daring journey. She wrote about “vivid greens and the blue of the sea reaching fingerlike into the islands.”

          After Dutch Guyana, they made their way to Brazil, where they stopped for two days so the plane could be repaired for the long flight to Africa. Their next scheduled flights took place over Western Africa and the French Colonial city of Dakar. This long journey wasn’t even half completed, but people supporting the aviators became more concerned as time passed.

          After all of their time together, Earhart and Noonan were becoming good friends. Attaching notes they wrote to bamboo sticks and passing them up and down the plane was the only way they could communicate because the engine was too loud to talk over. When Earhart and Noonan made their way to the coast of Africa, all they could see was fog. Noonan later wrote, with “our usual good luck we barged through okay”. The aviators landed 50 miles north of Dakar in St. Louis, Senegal.

          Their journey continued in the morning, first landing in El Fasher, Sudan then onto Assab, which is now present day Eritrea. There they loaded hundreds of gallons of gasoline and continued their trip to Karachi, 2,000 miles away. Next was Calcutta, about 1,400 miles away.

 

          Earhart and Noonan were hopeful that they would miss India’s bad monsoons, but not long into the flight they found themselves stuck in a giant “wall of water”. This peeled off the paint of the plane and slowed them down. Noonan’s great navigation skills saved them, as he steered them back to the airport. On their second try, they successfully landed.

          Then came Singapore and Bandung, Java where they stayed for several days. On June 27, Earhart and Noonan flew to Port Darwin, Australia. The flights over the ocean were coming up now, so in Australia, the “Electra”, which was the plane they had been flying, was getting repaired and checked to make sure they would be safe.

          After the successful seven hour and forty minute ride, the plane was once again checked and repaired for the seven-thousand mile long trip to Howland Island. There was a coast guard cutter boat waiting for Earhart and Noonan towards the end of their journey near Howland Island, named the Itasca. This boat was supposed to alert everyone when they had arrived and completed their journey.

          At 10 a.m. on July 2, 1937 Earhart and Noonan left for the Island. After a while of flying, the Electra had lost communication with Itasca and everyone panicked. People waiting on Howland Island and others all over the world started to wonder if they were still alive; they waited and waited… however, all communication was lost. Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan sadly never arrived at Howland Island and were never seen again. Many doleful (adjective, pronunciation: dole-fel, expressing sorrow, mournful) people hoped that the next future trip would be successful.

Born July 24, 1897

Spent most of her childhood at her grandmother's house in Atchison, Kansas.

Pictorial Timeline (First Appendix)

Graduated from Hyde Park Academy High School in 1916

Realized she wanted to fly in 1920, started taking lessons and bought her own plane.

Set the world altitiude record of 14,00 feet for female pilots in 1922

Became the 16th woman to recieve a National Aeronautic Association license in 1923

Sadly died attempting to make a journey around the equator in 1937.

Assertive: (adjective, pronunciation: a-serdiv, having or showing a confident and forceful personality)

aviation (noun, pronunciation: ave-ashen, the flying or operating of aircraft)

Pursue: (verb, pronunciation: pur-soo, to continue or proceed along (a route or path))

Confided: (verb, pronunciation: ken-faid-ed, to tell someone about a secret and/or private matter while trusting them not to repeat it to others)

 

doleful (adjective, pronunciation: dole-fel, expressing sorrow, mournful)

Glossary (Second Appendix)