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National Amelia Earhart Day: A celebration of an aviation pioneer

Today, July 24, we celebrate the birth of Amelia Earhart, who was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, for which she received the United States Distinguished Flying Cross. She was the first woman to receive the honor.

Earhart set many flying records and was the first person ever to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland.

In her second attempt to circumnavigate the globe, Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan took off in a twin-engine Lockheed 10E Electra from Oakland, California and flew to Miami, Florida. It was after their arrival in Miami that Earhart publicly announced her plans to circumnavigate the globe. On June 1, 1937, the pair left Miami and flew to South America, across the Atlantic to Africa, then east to India and Southeast Asia.

They had flown 22,000 miles by the time they reached Lae, New Guinea on June 29. Their final destination, Oakland, California, was roughly 7,000 more miles away.

Earhart and Noonan departed Lae for tiny Howland Island—their next refueling stop—on July 2. It was the last time the two were seen alive. They lost radio contact with the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca, anchored off the coast of Howland Island, and disappeared en route.

The plane wreckage was never found, and Earhart and Noonan were officially declared lost at sea in 1939. Earhart’s disappearance remains one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the twentieth century. You can read about some of the more popular theories regarding Earhart’s disappearance at mentalfloss.com.

You can celebrate Amelia Earhart Day by learning more about the aviator at history.com and biography.com.

If Amelia Earhart Day isn’t for you, today is also Cousins Day, Drive-Thru Day, Tequila Day and Thermal Engineer Day.

Follow Cassie on Twitter: @cassiearmstrong

Cassie Armstrong

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