Amelia Earhart was born on July 24, 1897. As a youngster, she loved to watch airplane stunt shows.

Although her family had a difficult life, her parents always encouraged her to try new things. After riding in an airplane for the first time, Amelia immediately knew she wanted to learn to fly.

With her mother’s help, Amelia worked odd jobs to raise money for flying lessons. After 10 hours of training, she made her first flight.

She soon developed a passion for flying. The following year, she saved enough money to buy her own plane, which she named Canary because it was bright yellow.

In 1928, Amelia received a call from Captain Hilton H. Railey, who asked her if she wanted to join two pilots on a flight from the United States to Europe. On June 17, 1928, in an airplane named The Friendship, Amelia became the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an airplane. Although she didn’t pilot the flight, Amelia nonetheless received a lot of publicity and was famous when she returned home.

In May 1932, Amelia made another journey across the Atlantic, but this time she flew the airplane — alone. She also set a new time record for the route.

President Herbert Hoover awarded Amelia with a medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, for her accomplishment. She was the first woman ever to receive this honor.

In June 1937, Amelia made her most ambitious — and final — flight. Along with navigator Fred Noonan, she planned to fly around the world.

Their journey started successfully, with flights from Miami to South America to Africa to Thailand and then to Australia. Problems arose for Amelia and Fred, however, when they left New Guinea and headed for Howland Island.

During this leg of the trip, the U.S. Coast Guard lost contact with the plane. The last communication with Amelia was received at 8:45 A.M. on July 2, 1937.

Investigators determined that Amelia’s plane went down 35 to 100 miles off the coast of Howland Island. The U.S. Navy searched in vain, never finding a trace of the airplane or aviators.

Their disappearance remains a mystery today. What we do know is that Amelia Earhart broke records, advanced aviation and continues to be one of the most celebrated aviators in history.

 

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    • We agree, Logan! Amelia Earhart was an incredible woman! She was quite an aviation pioneer for her day! We loved learning how her parents always encouraged her to try new things and also how she worked so hard to afford flying lessons. She knew what she wanted to do and she wasn’t going to let anything stand in her way! :-)

  1. Amelia Earhart was the most amazing thing back then. She beat Lindbergh`s time across the Atlantic ocean. Kids probably cheered for Amelia Earhart, she was their hero to them maybe. But, it’s sad she disappeared over the Pacific ocean. But, people still remember the famous Amelia Earhart.

  2. Amelia was amazing, wasn’t she? Who was in the plane with Amelia when they went around the world? Why did she go down? Where did she go down. I think it is weird that they went down. I think they were attacked. :)

    • Hello, Oscar! Thanks for asking so many awesome questions about Amelia Earhart! :-) If you explore today’s Wonder, you’ll be able to find the answers to all of your questions except why Amelia’s plane went down. No one knows that answer for sure.

  3. What I think about Amelia Earhart is that she was so brave doing all of those things that she has done. She, I think, is the best woman pilot ever, in my opinion. When she crashed and the news came out to the public that she died, I think it would be horrible to know that back then. Also, I wonder where her plane is right now and why we can’t find her.

    • You’re right, John! Amelia Earhart was very brave! She definitely had a sense of adventure, too. There are lots of people who still look for her plane and have different theories about where it is and what caused it to disappear. Thanks for sharing your comment with us today! :-)

  4. Amelia is such a great women, I bet she is a role model for everyone. I want to know bad what happened to her, but it’s still a mystery, but who knows? I cant wait until people know.

    P.S. Go, Aggies!

    • We’re sure Amelia Earhart was a role model back in her day, and is still one today, Ariel! What a GREAT way to think about her!

  5. I would really like to know what ever happened to Amelia Earhart. I wonder why explorers could never find her. I think it would be interesting if someone ever found where her plane went down. It’s just amazing how no one could ever find her or her plane, but maybe in the future someone will at least find her. It would be a great mystery to solve! Who knows, one day somebody has to find her!

    • Because Amelia Earhart’s disappearance is such a huge mystery, there are lot of people who hope to one day solve it, Isabela! Thank you for leaving us such an awesome comment today! :-)

  6. I think it’s pretty cool because there were not many woman pilots. She was probably a role model to many people. It’s kind of sad that she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean. Now she can never finish.

    • We never thought about it that way before, Jesus, but you’re right. It’s sad that, because her plane went down, Amelia Earhart could never finish the around-the-world adventure she hoped to complete. She was very brave and was certainly a role model to many! Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  7. I believe that Amelia went down because the cord on the belly of the plane broke, which broke the transceiver, so when she missed the fuel up island, they could not tell her. And, she was told that if she missed it she would have 2000 miles left with no fuel.

    • That’s an interesting theory about why Amelia Earhart’s plane went down, Angel! Thank you for sharing it with us today!

  8. I think that Amelia Earhart was a very courageous woman. She showed everybody that women can do just as much as men can. She was never afraid of her dreams. Even when people told her she was just a women and she couldn’t do it. She showed everybody that you can do anything if you put your mind to do it.

    • That’s right, Mason! We can all learn something from Amelia Earhart’s “can-do” attitude! Never give up on what you believe in! You can do it! :-)

  9. Amelia Earhart should have died in the Pacific ocean and she is an incredible women. Amelia shouldn’t have tried to go around the world because she wouldn’t have died in the Pacific. Why did she have to die in the Pacific ocean?

    • Hello, Juan! Amelia Earhart was an adventurer who loved to try new things! From what we’ve learned about her, she wasn’t the type of person who was content to sit by while others were trying to set aviation records…SHE wanted to set them, too! It’s sad that her plane went down, but we should remember what an AWESOME aviator and role model she was! :-)

  10. I would like to know what really happened to Amelia Earhart. I would like to know if Amelia Earhart’s plane left any parts floating when she crashed in the ocean. Why did her plane disappear?

    • That’s part of the big mystery surrounding Amelia Earhart’s disappearance near Howland Island, Jesus G.! There are many, many, many people who wonder the same thing as you do! Thank you for visiting this Wonder of the Day® and for sharing your questions about Amelia Earhart! :-)

  11. Amelia Earhart is personally my favorite pilot ever. Amelia did some things that most girls would not do. She was the first women to fly from the US to Europe. Later she became the first person to fly from Hawaii to California. Then she tried to be the first person to fly around the world and they lost contact with her plane and she went down in the Pacific Ocean.

    • Thanks for sharing all the cool things you know about the amazing Amelia Earhart, Brandon! We appreciate your comment very much! :-)

  12. I think that what Amelia Earhart was going to do was going to be awesome but as soon as she lifted off, her antenna broke and they couldn’t make any more contact. They lost her signal.

    • We are really enjoying reading all the great theories you and your classmates have regarding what happened to Amelia Earhart’s plane, Christian! Thank you for sharing your theory with us today, too! :-)

  13. To me, it was kind of crazy what she did, but she was trying to prove to the world that it could be done. She was an incredible person that was really talented. They said that their was a problem with the plane. They said when the plane took off, the communication wire came off. She missed the island that she was supposed to land at to get get more fuel, but she ended up coming missing over the Pacific Ocean. Her plane still hasn’t been found to this very day. It was a terrible thing that had happened. I hope they find her plane one day.

    • We hope they find her plane one day, too, Daniel! It might help to answer some of the mysteries that still surround the plane’s disappearance. Thank you for visiting Wonderopolis today and for sharing your great comment with us! :-)

  14. I think that Amelia Earhart was a incredible woman. I wonder what happened to her when her plane sank? I wonder if Amelia will ever be found? I think that she was so cool because she was the first WOMAN to fly across the Atlantic Ocean and since I’m a girl, I think it was coo.l ;)
    Love, Caitlin from Albertville, Alabama

    • We can certainly tell you are proud to be a girl, Caitlin! Way to go! We think Wonder Friends should be proud to be who they are! :-)

  15. Amelia Earhart was very brave. She was awesome when she believed that she could do it. She believed in herself more than everyone. I wonder why she decided to go across the world. I’m not saying that it was a bad idea, but why did she want to do that? She should have gone somewhere little first then when she really thought she could do it then she should have gone for it. People say that her plane mysteriously disappeared over the Pacific Ocean, then when they went to search for her over the Pacific, they could not find her. The reason they knew to look for her was because her husband was speaking to her across a radio message device and that’s when they knew to look for her because he said something to her and she had not replied back which made him very worried, so he sent out people to go and search for her. I wonder if he is still alive today and if he still thinks about her? I wonder if she is even alive you never know she could have landed on a deserted island and never wanted to return. So, many people are still wondering where she went and where she is now ??????????????????????????????????????????????????? Oh, and P.S. I hope she is in good hands!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love, Alexis

    • We think Amelia Earhart probably did think she was ready to try an around-the-world trip in her plane, Alexis! She wanted to be the first person to complete a trip like that, and she had already made several successful, smaller trips. Thanks so much for sharing all your AWESOME thoughts on Amelia Earhart! We think your comment ROCKED! :-)

  16. Why did she want to fly? Why did her parents let her do it? How did she learn so fast to fly an airplane? When did her plane crash? How did it? Why did it? Where did she start her flying? Where did she stop for fuel, and how? If she would not have died, where would she of landed?

    • Hi, Zoe! Those are a LOT of great questions you ask about Amelia Earhart! If you revisit this Wonder of the Day® about her, you can find the answers to many of them! Amelia Earhart was very passionate about flying planes. She knew what she wanted to do and she went for it! We doubt there would have been many people who could have talked her out of following her dreams about flying! :-)

  17. Do you think they will ever find her airplane where she crashed? The Pacific is so big, it is like trying to find a needle in a hay stack, but if they do ever find it, that would be GREAT! I would love to see the airplane that she was in and I would like to be in a game where they showed you how it felt like to be in one of those types of airplanes! How do you think she disappeared into the ocean or why it happened? How many times have they sent cameras or searched in the Pacific to try to find the Airplane? When they do find it, what do you think they will do to the airplane? My opinion about Earhart is that she was encouraging to herself and she followed her dream to fly airplanes and her family encouraged her, too, and she lived a good life and now she is in peace in heaven. Did they make a funeral for her? If they did, about how many people do you think came to see her funeral? I think she was happy about what she accomplished in her life! I find it amazing how she accomplished what she wanted and didn’t let anybody stop her from what she wanted to do and still tried to go over the Pacific, but failed and in heaven she is happy about how everybody studies about her and have websites just about her and is still in a lot of people’s hearts. I am happy about what she accomplished, and I’m sure her parents were, too! Were her parents already dead when Earhart died or did they die afterward, after a while had passed?

    • We think it’s SUPER that you appreciate how Amelia Earhart didn’t let anything stop her from following her dreams, Magdalena! We appreciate your comment! There are a LOT of questions that you asked…we’ll both have to do some more WONDERing about Amelia to find some of the answers to them! :-)

  18. I think that Amelia Earhart was a brave women because she wasn’t afraid to fly around the world by herself. It was very dangerous because airplanes back then weren’t very safe as they are now. But no matter what, even if they break her record, she will always be the bravest women ever.

    • We’re quite sure Amelia Earhart would really appreciate the nice things you have said about her with your comment, Gabby…and we do, too! She was, indeed, very brave! :-)

  19. I think Amelia Earhart was a famous woman because she was the first woman to fly over the Atlantic ocean in 1933. I wanted to learn where Amelia Earhart was when she traveled around the world. I want to know where she could have fell in the Pacific ocean and were she fell when she went down. I hope that the people find Amelia Earhart’s plane and would find her were she landed. She beat the time of Charles Lindbergh to fly in the Pacific or fly to Europe.

    • Thanks for leaving us such a great comment about Amelia Earhart, Pascual! We’re glad you learned so much about her by exploring this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • Hi, Caden! Amelia Earhart’s goal was to be able to fly around the world. You can read more about what happened during her adventure by exploring this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  20. I think Amelia Earhart did a good thing when she grew up she bought her own plane called The Canary. She was the first women to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. When she came back, she got a medal of honor so then she was the first women to cross to Hawaii to California. So then, she thought to go around the globe so something bad happened when she got to the Pacific Ocean, her plane fell down. She disappeared, so then people said she ran out of fuel. People are still finding her to this day.

    • Those are some great things you learned about Amelia Earhart today, Jovanni! Thank you for sharing your comment with us today! :-)

  21. I think that it’s sad how she died almost to the other little island, but I think that if she is seeing us, that she would be happy how airplanes have developed over time and that there is more technology in the planes so now you can go around the world in about 3 or 4 gas stops.

    • We think Amelia Earhart would be amazed at the advancements in aviation technology today, too, Noah! That’s a GREAT observation! :-)

  22. Did Amelia go down in the Pacific above the Bermuda Triangle? It is said that her spirit takes ships and drags them down to the bottom of the ocean.

    • Hi, Helicity! Amelia Earhart’s plane went down 35 to 100 miles off the coast of Howland Island after it had taken off from New Guinea (in the Pacific Ocean). The Bermuda Triangle is in the Atlantic Ocean. Thank you for leaving us a comment today and for being a super Wonder Friend! :-)

    • Hi, Cheyenne! We had to do a little more WONDERing about that question! From what we could find out, Amelia Earhart was almost 40 years old when her plane went down. Thank you for visiting Wonderopolis and leaving us this comment today! :-)

  23. I think it would be so very cool to find out what had happened to Amelia!! She was so very close to doing it and then died. I love Amelia for chasing after her dreams and I think that we WILL find her remains one day and it will be super! MAYBE even find out what happened to her! :)

    • There are a lot of other Wonder Friends who would agree with you that it will be a great day when we are finally able to learn what really happened on that fateful flight, Cassidy! We think it is AWESOME that you appreciate Amelia’s passion for chasing her dreams! You are a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

    • Hi again, Alexis! No one knows exactly where her plane went down, but based on communication with her plane (before they lost contact), and how long she was in the air after she took off from New Guinea, it is believed that her plane went down 35 to 100 miles off the coast of Howland Island. Thank you for following up on this question! :-)

    • Hello again, Cheyenne! No one knows for sure exactly how Amelia’s plane went down or which parts of the plane may have malfunctioned before it did. No one has been able to find the wreckage of her plane so that those types of questions might be answered. We can hope that one day, someone will locate the plane so people will know what really happened to Amelia Earhart on her last adventure!

    • We don’t think Amelia was crazy at all, Colby! We think she was an adventurer who was passionate about flying and proving to the world that she could do things other people couldn’t. Thanks so much for leaving us a comment today! :-)

    • Hello, KAKA! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about Amelia Earhart! We’re glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today! :-)

  24. I really hope that we do find out, because think of all the other things we could get from that little discovery! I just can’t wait!!

    • That’s a GREAT attitude to have, Cassidy! Thank you so much for sharing another comment with us…you are a WONDERful Wonder Friend! :-)

  25. I think that Amelia Earhart was a good role model for some women. I hope that they find her and they put her in a museum.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Amelia Earhart, Wonder Friend! We’re glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • Thanks so much for your comment today, “Ice Cream!” We’re super glad you enjoyed this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • We think Amelia was super brave, too, Kheleia! She was a true inspiration and she continues to inspire people to do great things today! :-)

    • That’s a GREAT question, Sarah! Yes, the Blue Angels are very active and regularly perform in air shows across the country! We hope we get to see them fly some day! :-)

    • Hello, Roxana! We think Amelia was 31 years old when she helped make the flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928. She was 35 when she piloted her first flight across the Atlantic alone in 1932. :-)

    • We’re so happy to hear that, 2nd Grade Bears! We think it’s AWESOME that you guys learned more about Amelia Earhart by exploring this Wonder of the Day® together! :-)

  26. Dear wonderopolis I loved today’s wonder. Sorry I am late to respond I have been learning about the first famous female aviator in school. I am new to wonderopolis we do wonderopolis in school my person’s name is Mrs. Stemmet’s class. Mrs. Stemmet is so nice she is my sub teacher because my real teacher is Mrs. Saul.

    • Hi there, Kendyll! We’re so happy you are WONDERing with us today! Thanks for sharing what you have learned in school about Amelia Earhart! We hope you’re having a great day, and welcome to Wonderopolis! :-)

  27. i have to agree with Logan because I want to learn more about her and to know what happened to her. I think that she plays a roll in life because how she was the first woman to fly an aircraft.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Liberty! We hope you’ll continue to research and read about Amelia Earhart’s life and ambition. Keep WONDERing, Liberty! You make some GREAT points about the importance of Amelia’s expedition, too! :)

    • We are glad you checked out the WONDER we suggested, Samantha! The mystery of Amelia Earhart is very fascinating. Maybe you could find more information about Amelia Earhart and the Bermuda Triangle at the library. Happy WONDERing!

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Who was the most famous female aviator?
  • What inspired Amelia Earhart to take to the skies?
  • Why did President Hoover award Amelia Earhart the Distinguished Flying Cross?

Wonder Gallery

Wonder #59- Aviator Static ImageVimeo Video

Try It Out

Time for a journal entry! Amelia Earhart traveled to places all around the world at a time when not many people had taken a long journey in an airplane.

Look at a map and choose a country or city you find interesting. Imagine you are an aviator. Describe one of your adventures to someone back home.

Remember, it is unlikely they have ever been in an airplane — let alone traveled to a distant land. You will need to explain everything to them.

Tell them what you have seen, done and eaten on your trip. If you have met anyone famous, include that, too.

Maybe you traveled to the Amazon and discovered new types of plants and birds. Perhaps you flew to Antarctica and encountered icebergs and penguins. Maybe your journey took you to Spain to experience the beauty of flamenco music and dancing. The possibilities are endless!

If you need to do a little research on your location, use the Internet or head to your local library to check out a few books. Have a safe flight!

As soon as you land, be sure to email a copy of your journal entry to [email protected] or send it to:

Wonderopolis HQ
325 West Main Street, Suite 300
Louisville, KY 40202-4237

We can’t wait to hear all about your journeys!

 

Still Wondering

Imagine what it must have been like for Amelia Earhart to plan her journeys long ago before the Internet and Google Earth! She must have had a keen understanding of geography. Test your knowledge and Be A Geography Detective with a trip to National Geographic Xpeditions.

 

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