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Amelia Earhart wanted to “take women out of the cage of their gender”

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Amelia Earhart wanted to “take women out of the cage of their gender”

Head of the Day Amelia Earhart

“Getting women out of the cage of their gender”

She became known as the first female passenger on an Atlantic flight. But Amelia Earhart could do more. In 1935 she made the first solo flight across the Pacific. Two years later it circled the equator – and remained missing.

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January 11, 1935: Amelia Earhart (1897–1937), pilot and women’s rights activist, takes off on a solo flight across the Pacific

Quelle: Getty Images

“Women have to try things out, just like men try things out”: With this credo, Amelia Earhart (1897–1937) became an icon of women’s emancipation. In order to “get women out of the cage of their gender,” she gave them a spectacular example: On January 11, 1935, she became the first person to succeed in crossing large parts of the Pacific in solo flight.

Towards the end of the First World War, the daughter of a German-American lawyer worked as a military nurse in Toronto. There she discovered her passion for airplanes because aviators were training nearby. In 1920 she got the chance to fly in an airplane for the first time: “The moment we left the ground I knew: I had to fly myself,” she wrote in her autobiography “The fun of it” (1932). An expensive dream, even back then: a ticket could cost up to $4,000.

These are the last pictures of Amelia Earhart

This newly surfaced film shows Amelia Earhart two months before she disappeared forever in the Pacific on July 2, 1937. These are the last photos of the American pilot.

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Because her parents refused to cover the costs, she worked Earhart in various jobs and was able to finance her dream. She first gained notoriety when she became the first passenger to take part in a non-stop flight across the Atlantic. However, she disliked the idea of ​​flying on board the “Friendship” just as “additional weight”.

She would much rather have flown at least part of the route herself, Earhart remembered. After 20 hours and 40 minutes, Wilmer Stultz landed the “Friendship” in Wales on June 18, 1928. But it wasn’t the distinguished pilot Stultz who was celebrated, but rather the first female passenger on an Atlantic flight. “Maybe one day I’ll try it on my own,” she explained.

Amelia Earhart landing in Ireland in 1932

Quelle: picture-alliance / Mary Evans Pi

In 1932, five years after Charles Lindbergh made the first solo flight across the Atlantic, she made good on her announcement and crossed the pond in a modified Lockheed Vega 5B. However, due to bad weather and technical problems, she did not reach Paris and had to land near Londonderry in Ireland.

Earhart immediately began preparing for her biggest project, crossing the Pacific solo. Earhart later wrote that she came up with the plan because she loved flying and simply because she wanted to. In January 1935 she completed the route from Honolulu to Oakland, California. The solo flight from Mexico City to Newark (New Jersey) followed in the same year.

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On May 21, 1937, she set off from Miami in a twin-engine Lockheed Model 10 Electra to circumnavigate the equator. By the end of June, she and her radio operator and navigator Fred Noonan had already covered three quarters of the route. From New Guinea, the last leg was scheduled to take place on July 2nd across the Pacific to Howard Island, where a final stopover was planned. But she and her companion never arrived.

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The US government immediately launched an extensive rescue operation involving 64 aircraft and eight warships. After searching 400,000 square kilometers by July 19, Earhart and Noonan were pronounced dead. Since then, her fate has provided material for numerous speculations. It is likely that incorrect radio direction finding caused the crew to miss the tiny island.

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This article was first published in January 2021.

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