Amelia Earhart: The queen of the skies

 Amelia Earhart. Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

It was on May 21, 1932 that Amelia Earhart became the first woman in history to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean -- from Newfoundland to Ireland. On 20 May 1932, she took off from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland in an attempt to land in France.

However, the flight, rocked by storms, lasted over 14 hours and landed her in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
 
Amelia, born in Atchison, Kansas, first began flying in her 20s when she started taking lessons from aviation pioneer Neta Snook in a Curtiss Jenny. She was known to participate in various aviation races and events. She was also an author and a pioneer for 'The Ninety Nines', an organisation for women pilots.



She first gained recognition for being the first woman to fly across the Atlantic as a passenger aboard a Fokker tri-motor aircraft that was piloted by Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon. 

Earhart made her solo Atlantic journey in a red Lockheed Vega 5B. The aircraft that made the legendary flight is currently on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. 

She was awarded the United States Distinguished Flying Cross for her remarkable achievement. She also received the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honor from the French Government and the Gold Medal of the National Geographic Society from President Herbert Hoover.

During an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937, Earhart and fellow navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. This disappearance is a mystery that remains unsolved even today. 

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