A woman who shares the name of famous pilot Amelia Earhart will be embarking on an adventure this summer - a flight around in the world in a plane, aPilatus PC-12 NG. As this genaration’s Ms. Earhart told KPHO CBS 5 News, she hopes that by recreating (and successfully completing) the 1937 journey, she will be able to get women excited about aviation.
A quick refresher for those perhaps forgetful as to what happened. In 1937, 39-year-old Amelia Earhart was a well-known and record-breaking pilot who sought, as her website puts it, a “monumental and, final challenge.” Earhart was going to fly around the world. After completing over 20,000 miles of the journey, Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, ran into bad weather on July 2 over the Pacific Ocean. They were en route to the small and uninhabited Howland Island. Earhart and Noonan tried making radio contact with the nearby U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca, but after intermittent messages, went silent. An immediate and extensive rescue mission, one that wound up costing around $4 million, sadly proved fruitless and the mystery as to what exactly happened remains a mystery today.
Back to the contemporary Amelia Earhart. She tells KPHO that her name was definitely well considered, "My parents wanted to give me a good female role model and give me a name that would spark conversation and hopefully lead me to adventure, and it looks like that's what happened.”
This flight hopes to get young women interested in aviation. As Earhart told KPHO, “There are so few women in flight. Six percent of pilots are female. So, we'd like to boost that number up and show that you don't have to be a tomboy to go out to the airport. All kinds of women are in aviation. I'm one of them, and luckily, I have the perfect name to hopefully get girls excited.”
She will, of course, have far superior technology to her predecessors. Her website, The Amelia Project, notes that her plane will be state-of-the-art, featuring, “precision Swiss engineering and construction [which] offers a unique combination of reliability, speed, range and performance.” She will make 14 stops over the course of 14 days, traveling somewhere near 28,000 miles.
So is 2014 Amelia related to Amelia of yesteryear? Nope. As her website reads, “When I was in college, I hired a genealogist to research my connection to Amelia. She told me that Amelia and I shared a "distant common ancestry traced back to the 1700s". After hiring a second team of researchers to find the exact link to Amelia in August of 2013, I learned that we do not share a bloodline. While our families lived in adjacent counties in Pennsylvania, they were not related.”
- Amelia Earhart