Amelia Earhart, Hawaii to California
Contributor: Barry Fetzer
Enduring mysteries are fodder for the imagination. What happened to the ghost ship, The Mary Celeste? How about D. B. Cooper after high jacking Northwest Orient Flight 305 out of Portland (Oregon). How did Stonehenge or the Great Pyramids get built? Is the Bermuda Triangle a death trap? And how about what happened to American aviatrix Amelia Earhart?
My mom was seven years old when Earhart completed her historic flight from Hawaii to California. Just as it was for many girls of the time, Earhart was my mom’s heroine. Mom wanted to grow up to be just like her and kept scrap books of all the newspaper articles about her aeronautical exploits.
Today in 1935, according to History.com, “In the first flight of its kind, American aviatrix Amelia Earhart departed Wheeler Field in Honolulu, Hawaii, on a solo flight to North America. Hawaiian commercial interests offered a $10,000 award to whoever accomplished the flight first. The next day, after traveling 2,400 miles in 18 hours, she safely landed at Oakland Airport in Oakland, California.”
Earhart shown on Jan. 12, 1935, after the first Hawaii-to-California flight. She was the first pilot to succeed at flying the route. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Kerry J. Byrne of Fox News reported that, “The daring flight across a vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean had claimed the lives of 10 previous aviators. She earned $10,000 for her death-defying achievement.
Bryne continued in his report, “‘I wanted the flight just to contribute,’ Earhart said of what was, at the time, an unprecedented trip across the open ocean. ‘I could only hope one more passage across that part of the Pacific would mark a little more clearly the pathway over which an air service of the future will inevitably ply.’”
Western Wireless Receiver, Type 7, Ser. No. 141. Amelia Earhart used this Western Wireless Type 7 radio receiver on her 1935 solo, nonstop flight from Hawaii to Oakland in her Lockheed 5C Vega. (Heritage Art/Heritage Images via Getty Images)
History.com continues, “On May 21, 1932, exactly five years after American aviator Charles Lindbergh became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Earhart became the first woman to repeat the feat when she landed her plane in Londonderry, Ireland. However, unlike Lindbergh when he made his historic flight, Earhart was already well known to the public before her solo transatlantic flight. In 1928, as a member of a three-member crew, she had become the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an aircraft. Although her only function during the crossing was to keep the plane’s log, the event won her national fame, and Americans were enamored with the modest and daring young pilot. For her solo transatlantic crossing in 1932, she was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross by the U.S. Congress.
“Two years after her Hawaii to California flight, she attempted with navigator Frederick J. Noonan to fly around the world, but her plane was lost on July 2, 1937, somewhere between New Guinea and Howland Island in the South Pacific. Radio operators picked up a signal that she was low on fuel—the last trace the world would ever know of Amelia Earhart.”