75 Years Later, the Amelia Earhart Story Continues
A broken jar of Anti Freckle cream has brought the 75 year old mystery of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart back to the forefront of great aviation mysteries. Earhart was known to dislike
her freckles and the find on the remote Pacific island adds to the collection of evidence of just what happened in 1937.
Amelia Earhart has a long list of accomplishments added to being an American aviation pioneer. Earhart was an author, the first woman to receive the U. S. Distinguished Flying Cross for her solo crossing of the Atlantic, and a faculty member at Purdue University.
The five broken pieces of the small cosmetic jar of Anti Freckle cream that was found by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), adds to the volumes of mystery, myths, and urban legends that surround Earharts disappearance. With this most recent discovery once again, the search for Amelia Earhart will begin with the 75th anniversary of her disappearance.
Earhart was already an accomplished aviatrix in the early 1930’s having completed the transatlantic flight in 1932, as well as completing several other solo flying ventures. In early 1935 , Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Honolulu, Hawaii to Oakland, California. Later that same year she soloed from Los Angeles to Mexico City. While in Mexico City, Earhart’s next record attempt was a nonstop flight from Mexico City to New York. This solo flight was uneventful although the huge crowd which gathered to meet her hampered her taxiing ability with the single engine Lockheed Vega 5B aircraft.
All of the accumulated experience began to lead to the planning of the round the world flight by Earhart. As she would not be the first to circumnavigate the globe, Earhart chose to fly an equatorial route encompassing some 29,000 miles. Previous circumnavigation flights of the world were completed in 1924 by a team of aviators of what would become the United States Air Force. Their flight covered the globe flying only in the northern hemisphere. Then in 1929, while flying in both northern and southern hemispheres the circumnavigation was completed by Australian Charles K. Smith.
To complete her historic flight Earhart would need a special aircraft. Then with funding provided by Purdue University, a custom Lockheed Electra 10E was build by the Lockheed Aircraft Company. Earhart’s custom specifications included extensive modifications to the aircraft’s fuselage so as to incorporate a much larger fuel tank for the flight.
St. Patrick’s Day, 1937 began the first attempt of Amelia Earhart, to fly around the world. Departing from Oakland, California they flew the first leg of the journey to Honolulu, Hawaii. However due to a variety of mechanical problems, the aircraft needed extensive servicing while in Hawaii at the United States Navy’s Luke Airfield. After repairs were completed, the journey began once again. This time more mechanical problems were encountered, as while on their takeoff roll, the aircraft ground looped severely damaging the Lockheed Electra 10E. The damaged aircraft was shipped back to the Lockheed facility in California for repairs.
While the aircraft was being repaired, additional funding for a second attempt was secured and preparations began once again. This time with little fanfare, Earhart made her announcement to once again attempt to circumnavigate the globe by plane in a public announcement while in Miami, Florida. Departing Miami on June 1, and after flying across South America, Africa and India in their west to east flight plan, Earhart arrived in Lae, New Guinea at the end of June 1937. At this point the majority of the flight had been accomplished with the final 7,000 miles being completely over the Pacific.
The 75th anniversary of Earharts disappearance, in July of 2012 will launch another search for the missing aviatrix while making use of available state of the art technology. While the recently discovered bottle of Anti Freckle cream is an important find, the Amelia Earhart story is spellbinding and yet incomplete.