(By Kyle Henning) Amelia Rose Earhart, a 31-year-old American pilot and television reporter, is honoring the legacy of Amelia Mary Earhart by recreating her flight around the world. Though she has no relation to the famous aviator, who disappeared on July 2, 1937 over Howland Island in the central Pacific Ocean, her namesake inspired her become a pilot at the age of 21. Ten years later, Amelia Rose is flying the approximate route as Amelia Mary in a modern, single-engine plane.
On June 26, Amelia Rose took off from Oakland, California on the first leg of her circumnavigation. She touched down in Denver and Miami before heading to South America. Roughly following the equator east, she then crossed the Atlantic to Senegal and then rounded the bulge of West Africa to the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe. She will cross Central Africa to Tanzania, then traverse the Indian Ocean with stops in Seychelles, Maldives, and Singapore. After Australia, she will reach Lae in eastern Papua New Guinea, where Amelia Mary was last seen alive. From there, she will island hop across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii and then return to Oakland. Her flight can be tracked here.
Her route does not follow that of the original flight exactly. Modern political situations make it hard to enter the airspace of several nations that Amelia Mary had crossed or landed in 1937. Amelia Rose also has the advantage of a modern airplane that can fly more miles in a single leg, eliminating the need to follow the original route into potentially hostile places. Amelia Mary had made 25 stops before her plane disappeared, yet Amelia Rose in only planning 17 stops for her entire flight.
She is flying with a copilot named Shane Jordan, but Amelia is doing all the piloting herself, just as her predecessor did with her navigator, Fred Noonan. Jordan will only fly in an emergency, and they will not utilize the autopilot in order to preserve the authenticity of the flight. As they land in each country on their voyage, they rush through customs and immigration, eat dinner, sleep, then refuel and restock supplies for the next leg.
The flight is being done with a single-engine Pilatus PC-12 NG. Amelia Rose states that while single-engine aircraft have greatly improved since the time of Amelia Mary, they still present challenges and provide minimal safety net. Despite the redundant GPS and vision systems, flying over the ocean with a single engine adds an element of real danger to the flight. The flight itinerary shows the return to Oakland planned for July 12.
The fate of Amelia Mary Earhart and Fred Noonan is still a mystery. Theories from landing on an atoll only to be swept away by tides, to being kidnapped by Japanese fighter pilots have evolved since their disappearance 77 years ago. Their Lockheed Electra 10E has never been found, perpetuating myths and rumors about its final resting place.
Amelia Rose Earhart is a television reporter and pilot. She is the President of the Fly With Amelia Foundation, which grants flight training scholarships to young women. She has flow across the Atlantic in the same Pilatus PC-12 NG that she is using for her flight around the world, and is currently working toward a commercial pilot license.
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