Many recall the tragic story of Earhart’s disappearance over the Pacific Ocean in 1937, but not her aviation triumphs. When she was in her early 20s Earhart attended a Long Beach air show and was enchanted when taken on a 10-minute flight. Transformed by the experience, Earhart was just the 16th woman to be issued a pilot’s license. She went on to become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic and the first person to fly across both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Amelia Earhart was also a friend and contemporary of Orville Wright. The Library of Congress has letters exchanged between these pioneers of aviation. In one letter to Orville, Amelia detailed the delight she took in learning that an automobile she had been invited to christen, called a Terraplane, had actually been built for Orville. Amelia and Orville were photographed together several times, including at Kitty Hawk, NC in 1928. The occasion was the 25th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight. More than 200 hundred guests from 40 countries joined Earhart and Wright to participate in the celebration sponsored by the International Civil Aeronautics Conference and the National Aeronautic Association.
While all aviators share a connection to the Wright brothers, Amelia Earhart’s friendship with Orville is one we take special pride in while honoring her accomplishments today.