Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Amelia Earhart's 115º Birthday Doodle (June 24, 2012)

On this day, Google decided to pay tribute to a woman which became a celebrity back in her day for pioneering aviation in the US (and all of the world, for that matter). She was famous for her records and for being the first person ever to try and fly around the world through the ecuatorial line.

115º cumpleaños de Amelia Earhart

In the early 20th century, women didn't have a lot of chances regarding their jobs: most of them were born and bred just to be housewives, but with the coming of the First World War, Amelia enrolled herself as a volunteer on nursing labors, where she had to help combat pilots that had been wounded in battle. She would later say that it was there where she got "stung by the bug of aviation". Some time after that, she moved with her family to Long Beach, California, and after taking a ten minute flight over the city of Los Angeles, she knew that her life would be forever tied to airplanes.

Although it was on 1922 that she got her first altitude record for flying at 14.000 ft., it wasn't until 1923 that she got her license as an airplane pilot, a feat that only fifteen women before her had accomplished. But it was in 1928 that a man called H. H. Railey asked her if she wanted to be the first woman in crossing the Atlantic Ocean by plane. The trip was completed with the help of two men, a pilot and a mechanic. And this would be what woul inspire Amelia to make yet another trip, this time to became the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean alone. In 1932, on may 20, she did just that, and became the second person, only after Charles Lindbergh, to complete a trip over the Atlantic by herself. This trip would mean several records:

-First woman to fly over the Atlantic Ocean alone.
-First person to fly over the Atlantic Ocean twice.
-Fastest flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
-Longest distance ever flown by a woman without stopping.

Amelia Earhart in fron of one of her planes.

This remarkable woman's career came to a sudden and tragic end during her attempt to make the first flight around the ecuatorial line. After her first stop, leaving Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, her plane had mechanical problems and went out of control, with considerable damage. A member of the crew said Amelia was responsible for the accident. The plane was sent back for repairs and Amelia started planning for yet another attempt. This time, she would go east. She started the journey on Miami, and after visiting Puerto Rico, South America, Africa and several locations in Asia, she started to have some troubles associated with weather. Also, she got dysentery. This would start a series of unfortunate events that would end up with her disappearance when she was flying over Howland Island, on the Pacific. There have been many theories about her disappearence, but the official word is that her plane crashed, and although their remains where never found, a lighthouse was built on the site where she supposedly crashed.

Navigation chart with the Howland Island, where Amelia supposedly crashed, at the center.

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