Amelia Earhart, American aviator, one of the world’s most celebrated, who was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Her disappearance during a flight around the world in 1937 became an enduring mystery, fueling much speculation. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences, and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots. In 1935 Earhart made history with the first solo flight from Hawaii to California, a hazardous route 2,408 miles (3,875 km) long, a longer distance than that from the United States to Europe. She departed from Honolulu on January 11 and, after 17 hours and 7 minutes, landed in Oakland the following day. Later that year she became the first person to fly solo from Los Angeles to Mexico City. In 1937 Earhart set out to fly around the world, with Fred Noonan as her navigator, in a twin-engine Lockheed Electra. On June 1 the duo began their 29,000-mile (47,000-km) journey, departing from Miami and heading east. Over the following weeks they made various refueling stops before reaching Lae, New Guinea, on June 29. At that point, Earhart and Noonan had traveled some 22,000 miles (35,000 km). Earhart’s mysterious disappearance captured the public’s imagination and generated numerous theories and claims. Notably, some believed that she and Noonan had crashed on a different island after failing to locate Howland, and others posited that they were captured by the Japanese. However, no definitive evidence was found for such claims. Most experts believe that Earhart’s plane crashed in the Pacific near Howland after running out of fuel. A fixture in popular culture, she was the subject of numerous books and movies.
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