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On this day in aviation history… January 11, 1935…

Amelia Earhart is the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California.

Amelia Earhart and 'old Bessie' - the Vega 5b - 1935 Hawaii to California flight

Restored Lockheed Vega 5b flown by Amelia Earhart -on display at the National Air and Space Museum

(Photo credit is attributed to Sergio Caltagirone.  No endorsement is implied by either party) 

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Amelia Mary Earhart (born July 24, 1897–disappeared July 2,1937) was a noted American aviation pioneer and author.  Earhart was the first woman to receive the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded for becoming the first aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.  In addition, Amelia set other records.

1928 Transatlantic flight - Amelia Earhart being greeted by Mrs. Foster Welch, Mayor of Southampton, June 20, 1928

Amelia Earhart Los Angeles, 1928

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Earhart was an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment.  Her ideas on marriage were liberal for the time as she believed in equal responsibilities for both ‘breadwinners’, referring to her own marriage as an ‘equal partnership’.  In a very telling note to her husband, George Putnam, on the day of their marriage, Amelia wrote “I want you to understand I shall not hold you to any midaevil [sic] code of faithfulness to me nor shall I consider myself bound to you similarly”.

After a failed first attempt to circumnavigate the globe on March 17, 1937, Amelia tried again in late May, taking off from Oakland, California.  Due to changing global weather and wind conditions, this flight would be ‘west to east’.

AP Photo of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan - Los Angeles- May 1937

Amelia Earhart and Lockheed Electra 10E NR 16020 1937-ill fated flight

On July 2, 1937 (midnight GMT), having completed 22,000 miles of the 29,000 mile undertaking,  Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan took off from Lae, New Guinea in the heavily loaded Electra.  Save for a few radio transmissions,  neither the Electra or its occupants were heard from or seen again.

Author’s note – There is a plaque at Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, CA, in memory of Amelia Earhart.  It is noted that the plaque has an incorrect date of birth and assumes that Amelia died on July 2, 1937…  the last time she was heard from… an assumption not supported by fact at this time.  vmls)

For more information about Amelia Earhart, please visit her Wikipedia page at –

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelia_Earhart

(All images, unless otherwise noted, are in the public domain)

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