INTRODUCTION TO AVIATION
Amelia Earhart saw her first airplane at age ten, however it was not until 1920 that her passion was sparked (1). Occasionally Earhart would ride horses, and this indirectly introduced her to aviation. From time to time, Earhart would ride the horse Dynamite and one time, her riding companion was a Royal Flying Corps officer. He was so affected by her skill and tenacity that he invited her to visit his airfield. Although she was not allowed to ride the plane, she stayed a long time captivated by the scene. Her visit to the airfield made a lasting impression on her; she was intrigued and enamored (8). Determined to make flying her passion, she announced to her family that she wished to fly. At first, no on in her family took her seriously but she continued with even more dedication. Earhart immediately set out to learn, however her challenge was there were no flight schools established at this time. To make her search more difficult, the majority of the teachers were male instructors who were retired veterans. She felt intimidated by the veterans and through herself as unworthy of receiving their knowledge. After a challenging search Earhart eventually found a female instructor; Neta “Snooky” Snook and bought her first plane the bright yellow Canary (8). Snook not only taught Earhart the to fly, but she inspired her demand respect from fellow male pilots and to defy the conventional roles that women had.
Earhart’s career took off in 1928 when a PR firm asked her to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. She eagerly accepted the offer and became part of the crew for the Transatlantic Flight Friendship. The other members of the flight included Slim Gordon; in charge of controls and Bill Stultz; in charge of the radio (8). Her role on the plane was to keep the logs, so she did not even get to fly the plane. However, the flight was anything but dull for Earhart. Right as the plane began to take off, the spring on the door broke. She had to hold the door shut until Gordon could come back to repair it. In the process of forcing the door closed, Earhart and Gordon almost fell out of the plane (8). The Friendship, successfully completed its flight only a year after Charles Lindbergh finished his record breaking solo flight across the Atlantic. Earhart’s involvement with the flight earned her the name “Lady Lindberg” due to their similar physical features as well as the flying records they set. Earhart was embarrassed by the name and felt self-conscious because she did not contribute much to the flight yet she was compared to the legendary Charles Lindberg (2). The flight of the Friendship was quintessential to her career as a successful female aviator because it gave her a name and goals to fulfill in her future career as a pilot.