Friday, January 08, 2010


Monday Jan 11 is 75th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s flight from Honolulu to California

by Larry Geller


On January 11, 1935, Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Honolulu, Hawaii to Oakland, California. The distance was 2,048 miles. The flight was also the first civilian flight to carry a two-way radio.

I don’t know if any commemoration is planned for Monday, but there ought to be something. Given the gender bias of the day, it is very significant that the first “person” to make this flight was a woman.

To read more, there is the Wikipedia entry, and an official website. I noted that Earhart took then First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt “on an impromptu late-night flight over the nation’s capital–two iconic women leaders looking down over the most powerful city in the world.” Awesome.

There are Hawaii photos on a Department of Transportation website here.

Earhart taught at Purdue University. A comprehensive collection of photos, maps and documents is on their website. There is also a biography of her in a guide to her papers. It describes her 1935 flights:

In 1935, Amelia became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the American
mainland, landing in Oakland, California. With this flight, Amelia became the first person to
fly solo across the Pacific Ocean and the first person who had flown solo across both the
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. That same year, she became the first person to fly solo from Los
Angeles to Mexico City, by official invitation of the Mexican government.

In Honolulu, there is a memorial stone in a cutout along Diamond Head road called Amelia Earhart Lookout. It usually goes unnoticed by tourists stopping to snap photos of surfers just offshore. The view is excellent. Enough people know about it that the image of Earhart’s airplane is usually kept bright and shiny. The memorial was sponsored by Honolulu resident Genigna Green, who was killed in an auto accident in California in which Mrs. Amy Earhart, Amelia’s mother, was injured, in 1938. The memorial was created by sculptor Kate Kelly.

Amelia Earhart memorial

Closeup of memorial

The inscription on the plaque reads
"Amelia Earhart
First person to fly alone from Hawaii to North America
January 11, 1935"

The airplane in the upper left glows because the brass has been rubbed clean and shiny by numerous visitors.

Here is the location of the memorial if you’d like to drive over on Monday for your own commemoration.

Map Location

The Google satellite pic shows location of memorial stone at one side of an ample parking area. The spot has a great view of the coast—to me, it resembles the Mediterranean coastline around Nice looking towards Italy.

And there was a movie. Here’s the trailer. Check out also the related videos when this plays.

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When visiting Saipan several years ago, I was shown a cell block where it was said that Amelia Earhart was held by the Japanese. That is one theory..that she was picked up by the Japanese and held for spying.

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