This month’s spotlight is inspired by the recent discovery of a photo believed to be Amelia Earhart in Japan triggering old conspiracies!
Amelia Earhart (Photo: Wikipedia)
Meet Amelia Earhart, the first woman pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic and the first person to fly from Hawaii to the U.S. solo.
Amelia Earhart was born on 24 July 1897 in Atchinson, Kansas. From a young age she was challenging gender stereotypes as she played basketball, completed a mechanics course and went to college prior to the outbreak of World War I.
When the First World War broke out Amelia left college to become a nurse’s aid with the Red Cross. She was stationed in Toronto.
It was here in Toronto that Amelia would watch the Royal Flying Corps and a passionate for flight was born.
After the war Amelia decided to return to college at Columbia University in New York as a pre-med student. She also took her first plane ride with the famous pilot Frank Hawks in 1920.
From that moment Amelia was captivated. She worked as a filing clerk for the Los Angeles Telephone Company from January 1921 to pay for flying lessons. By December 1921 she had passed her exams and gained her National Aeronautics Association license.
Now she was a qualified pilot Amelia wasted no time in starting to set records:
In 1922 she was the first woman to fly above 14,000 feet solo.
In 1932 she became the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo. For this achievement she was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross – again the first woman to be gain this honour!
Also in 1932 she became the first woman to fly solo across the United States from Los Angeles to New Jersey.
In 1935 she became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland.
Amelia Earhart set off for a second attempt to circumnavigate the world on 1st June 1937. She was accompanied by her navigator Fred Noonan.
The pair reached Lae, New Guinea on 29th June. They were 22,000 miles in to the attempt with only 7,000 miles to go.
They set off for the next re-fueling stop, Howland Island, on 2nd July. Amelia and Fred were never to be seen alive again.
Radio contact was lost with Amelia’s plane. President Roosevelt ordered an extensive two week search but Amelia and Fred were never found.
Controversy and Conspiracy
There have been several theories about what happened to Amelia Earhart.
Some believe she ran out of fuel searching for Howland Island and crashed into the sea.
Others that she landed on Gardner Island, 350 miles south of Howland instead. This island was uninhabited when Amelia crashed, however Navy planes noted signs of life one week after Amelia went missing. Artefacts on the island have also been discovered including a woman’s shoe from the 1930s and a cosmetic pot.
Another theory is that Amelia was a spy for the United States and disappeared to start a new life with a new identity.
The one that’s been in the press recently is the belief that Amelia was shot down by the Japanese and taken captive. They believe she was later executed.
Recently a picture has emerged that people believe supports the theory Amelia was capture by the Japanese.
Newly discovered photo from the U.S. National
Archives released by the History Chanel
It is believed that the woman crouched in the photo is Amelia and the gentleman on the left pointing at the camera is Frank Noonan.
Is this Amelia Earhart?
The Japanese deny ever having Amelia or Frank in custody, although many of their records were destroying in World War Two.
What do you think? Does this look like Amelia Earhart to you?
Let me know in the comments below!