What’s in a name? For Amelia Rose Earhart there was an expectation of becoming an aviatrix. “I was asked everyday if I was going to be a pilot,” she told me when referring to her high school days. It wasn’t until Earhart was 21 years old when she took her first flight lesson.
“I felt a responsibility at 21,” she said and added, “I felt a calling for adventure.”
A Place for Women in the Sky
Since then, the young woman embraced aviation yet, some people didn’t think she fit in at the airfield. “Men asked if I needed help or if I was lost,” Earhart said during our telephone interview.
Out of her experiences in a traditionally male-dominated industry, Earhart wanted to create “places where girls don’t feel out of place.”
A big supporter of STEM, Earhart launched the Fly With Amelia Foundation a couple of years ago. The goal is to share her passion of flying with 16 to 18-year-old young women by providing flight scholarships, mentorships and teaching life skills. If women are introduced to it early in life, they are “more likely to graduate [from college] and make a career in aviation,” she said.
The Foundation works in partnership with Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver, which Earhart sits on the board of directors, to educate the community about general aviation.
Planning an Around the World Flight for the Record Books
These days, Amelia Rose Earhart, 31 years old, is preparing to take flight in June 2014 to accomplish what her namesake (but no relation), Amelia Mary Earhart, didn’t in 1937, an around-the-world flight. Earhart disappeared over the South Pacific and although there have been various theories as to what happened her disappearance is one of the 20th century’s greatest mysteries.
The 21st century Earhart will fly approximately 28,000 miles in 14 stops in about 17 days in a high-tech Pilatus PC-12NG. When complete, she’ll be the youngest woman to fly around the world in a single engine aircraft.
The First Fully Live-Streamed Around the World Flight
She says this will be “the world’s first fully live-streamed flight around the world” because the plane will be equipped with cameras and audio. She and co-pilot Theddy Spichtig will be updating social media channels so the entire world can make the journey with her which has to be comforting for her parents.
Earhart’s mother is assisting the young pilot by providing research assistance such as finding climate conditions in the destinations on the flight path. Earhart shared how her father sends her daily texts which include an inspiring quote and the phrase, “Around the world.” The day we spoke, she shared with me that day’s text but honestly, something like that is too personal to share but I will share Earhart said this is a “cool way to get to know my dad.”
Does an aviatrix need a good luck charm? Not necessarily but Earhart will carry two with her on this journey. One is from her boyfriend, an Army veteran who lost both his legs in a blast in Afghanistan. As she explained, he wore a small metal Army crest with his dog tags. After waking up from a two-month coma in Walter Reed Army Medical Center, he learned the crest was the only thing he was wearing that remained intact. Even his dog tags were destroyed.
She’ll also be wearing a memento from the 20th century Earhart. A viewer of her television newscast sent her a tiny fabric square from the skin of Amelia Earhart’s aircraft which was being replaced. This square will be sewn into her flight suit across her heart.
Get Social with Amelia Rose Earhart
Connect with Amelia Rose Earhart through her website (www.flywithamelia.org), Facebook – Amelia Rose Earhart, Facebook – Fly With Amelia Foundation and Twitter @Amelia__Earhart. Follow the conversation and support her foundation and flight with the hashtag #flywithamelia.
In addition to her interest in aviation, Earhart is a former news broadcaster, speaker and philanthropist.
I can’t wait to follow along with Earhart. Through her Fly With Amelia Foundation, she wants young women to know “nothing is off limits” and she is certainly proving that by making this brave and exciting journey.