When American Amelia Earhart earned her pilot’s license in 1922, she was one of 22 female pilots in the world.
Determined to prove that women could fly as well as men, she planned to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. On May 20, 1932, she took off in a bright red Lockheed Vega from Newfoundland.
Only two men, Charles Lindbergh and Bert Hinkler, had made the solo flight across the Atlantic successfully. Earhart carried an elephant foot bracelet for good luck, a flask of soup, and a silk scarf. She also carried a powder compact to touch up before speaking to reporters.
If she felt herself dozing off, she put smelling salts under her nose. Soon after she took off, her altimeter broke, leaving her with no way to measure her altitude. She flew into a storm, which buffeted her tiny plane. She flew higher to escape the storm, but ice collected on the wings, which threatened to make her lose control.
To remove the ice, she plunged into a quick dive and straightened up just above the reach of the waves. Her airplane stayed aloft, and 14 hours and 56 minutes after taking off, she landed safely in a farmer’s field in Ireland. Earhart’s Atlantic flight made her famous.
In 1935, she flew alone from Hawaii to California. In 1937, she planned to fly around the world with a copilot. But during the 2,500-mile trip over the Pacific Ocean, contact with Earhart’s plane was lost.
She, her copilot, and the airplane were never seen again. Most likely, Earhart was lost in the fog and crashed after running out of fuel.