There are many unsolved mysteries in this world. One of these mysteries would include the unusual disappearance of Amelia Mary Earhart. Amelia was well known for becoming the first woman to fly by herself across the Atlantic Ocean. She has become a legacy and a role model to all women due to her many achievements from flying. Until on July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart took a flight to Howland Island, without even realizing it would be her very last. Now there are many conspiracies attempting to solve the death or possible survival of Amelia Earhart.
On July 24, 1897, Amelia was the second child from Samuel ‘Edwin’ Stanton Earhart and Amelia ‘Amy’ Otis Earhart (TheFamousPeople, Editors). Samuel was an alcoholic but was very determined to find a suitable career so then he could put his family on a strong financial foundation. Due to him struggling to maintain a good career, this caused Amelia and her family to constantly move around and have to attend many different schools making it hard for Amelia to make friends and to achieve academically (Biography.com Editors). Amelia’s parents traveled to Des Moines and had to leave Amelia to live with her grandparents. In 1909, Amelia was finally reunited with her family and was able to attend school from seventh to twelfth grade (TheFamousPeople.com Editors). However, in 1915 Amelia’s mother finally decided to divorce Edwin and took Amelia and her sister, Muriel, to Chicago to live with some friends. While there Amelia attended Hyde Park High School, and excelled in chemistry (Biography.com Editors). Amelia graduated in 1916, and then attended Ogontz school in Pennsylvania, but was unable to complete her program there (TheFamousPeople.com Editors).
Amelia witnessed her very first air show with her father on December 28, 1920. There, the famous air racer Frank Hawks, inspired Amelia to pursue a dream to become one of the first women to learn how to fly. While there, Amelia took part in a ten minute plane ride and when she landed she knew she was destined to fly (Biography, Editors). From working multiple jobs, amelia managed to raise enough money to pay for flying lessons from a woman aviator, Anita ‘Neta’ Snook. Amelia would practice for days at the airfield, reading everything that she could on flying. Due to her fear of the other pilots opinions of her style, she decided to cut her hair short and for three days slept in her leather jacket to make it look more worn out (Biography,Editors) . In 1921, Amelia purchased her very first aircraft, a yellow second-hand Kinner Airster biplane. She called it “The Canary” On October 22, 1922, Amelia set a new world record with the Airster of flying fourteen-thousand feet in the air. On May 15, 1923, she become the sixteenth woman to receive a pilot’s license, but due to her family’s financial issue, in order to support her family Amelia sold “The Canary” and bought a Speedster and named it “Yellow Peril.” Amelia and her mother left their home, and traveled across the country starting from California and ending in Boston. Amelia enrolled into Columbia University in 1925, but was later on forced to leave her classes due to her low finance. Amelia managed to find employment as a teacher, and then as a social worker for children at the Denison House in 1926. Amelia got back into aviation and joined the American Aeronautical Society Boston chapter in 1927. In 1928, Amelia flew passenger across the Atlantic Ocean. Although she wished she could fly solo, she was not prepared for the new technology. In 1930 Amelia created a new world record for flying eighteen thousand and four hundred and fifteen feet with a borrowed company engine. In 1932, Amelia officially received her pilot’s license and became the sixteenth woman to receive such an amazing achievement. In 1937, on her first attempt, Amelia flew from Oakland to Hawaii, but failed on her second attempt where she disappeared near Howland Island on July 2 of the same year.
Before Amelia’s plan was to take action, she gathered a crew consisting of three men: Captain Harry Manning, Fred Noonan, and Paul Mantz. The first arrangement was to take off from oakland, California, and head west towards Hawaii. From that point, the crew would fly over the Pacific Ocean to Australia then cross over the subcontinent of India, to Africa, then head to Florida, and then finally land back in California. On March 17, 1937, they took off from Oakland to begin their long journey. As they were flying over the Pacific, they were starting to be interfered with frequent problems. Due to the issues occurring, they were forced to land in Hawaii to receive some repairs from the United States Navy’s Field on Pearl Harbor. After three days, the plane,”Electra”, was prepared for take off until another issue occured. Amelia lost control and had to turn the plane around and land back onto the runway. Many people claim they saw one of the tires blow out, but others believed it was Amelia’s fault. Even though no one was severely injured, the plane had to be sent back to California for some serious repairs. Earhart saved enough money for a new flight. When the plane was finally repaired, weather patterns and global wind changed making her flight plan require many different alterations. Now only Amelia and Noonan would be flying due to Captain Manning and Mantz leaving the crew. Due to the many different changes, Amelia decided to change her plans of flying west to instead to fly east. “After flying from Oakland to Miami, Florida, Earhart and Noonan took off June 1st from Miami with much fanfare and publicity. The plane flew toward Central and South America, turning east fro Africa. From there, the plane crossed the Indian Ocean and finally touched down Lae, New Guinea, on June 29, 1937”(Biography, Editors). They already had twenty-two thousand miles of their journey completed, but they still had only seven thousand miles over the Pacific Ocean to fly. While in Lae, they decided to make some major adjustments to the plane. They left the radio systems with shorter wavelengths behind in order to stock the plane up with extra fuel, and packed away their parachutes believing they would not need them due to them flying over the Pacific Ocean. Their plan was to head towards Howland Island. Due to the island only being six thousand and five hundred feet long, one thousand and six hundred feet wide, and only twenty feet above the ocean waves, the island would be hard to be distinguished between the similar shaped clouds (Biography, Editors).“Celestial navigation would be used to track their route and keep them on course. In case of overcast skies, they had radio communication with the United States Coast Guard vessel, Itasca, stationed off Howland Island”(Biography, Editors). In case none of these would work, they also had maps, and a compass to try to take a guess of how far from Howland Island they were. In case of emergencies, they created a backup plan in case the plane were to suddenly stop working and crash into the Pacific Ocean. If the plane was to crash, they believe there was enough gas in the tank to help keep the plane afloat, and give them enough time to proceed into their inflatable life boat to wait for rescue (Biography, Editors). They took off from Lae on July 2, 1937, at approximately twelve-thirty in the afternoon, and began to head east towards Howland Island. What Amelia and Noonan did not know, was that their early decisions to their flight plan would cause many great consequences.
Many witnesses to their take off claimed, “a radio antenna may have been damaged… Noonan might have had extreme difficulty with celestial navigation… it was later discovered the navigators were using maps that may have been inaccurate”(Biography, Editors). There was evidence pointing to the maps claiming Howland Island was six miles away from is actual location. They began to have radio complications, and trying to solve which frequency they had to use in order to reach contact with the Itasca. On July 3, 1937, Amelia reported she was twenty miles southwest from the Nukumanu Islands around seven-twenty in the morning. Approximately twenty minutes later, Amelia sent a message to the Itasca stating, “We must be on you, but we cannot see you. Fuel is running low. Been unable to reach you by radio. We are flying one thousand feet” (Biography, Editors). This was the last message heard from Amelia Earhart before disappearing along the north, south line. The Itasca believed Amelia and Noonan ran out of fuel and were forced to leave the plan and wait for help out at sea.
The claim of Amelia crashing out at sea near the Howland Island is the very first conspiracy of what many claim have happened. Approximately fifteen years ago, a group of deep-ocean searchers led an expedition to attempt to find Amelia’s plane in the location they believed she crashed (Greshko, Michael). By using what they know about Amelia’s plane fuel shortage, and her broken radio communication system, they were able to narrow down the specific area of the ocean that holds the planes whereabouts. “We are confident it is the area we are searching. Of course we cannot guarantee it, because it could be on the outside edge, but we are sure it is in the vicinity”, claimed one of the group members. They attempted to use a deep-sea sonar system to search the six hundred and thirty square miles, but came up empty (Greshko, Michael).
The second conspiracy believes they landed on the Nikumaroro Island. A group called The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, TIGHAR, was investigating the islands to prove their hypothesis of Amelia and Noonan landing on Nikumaroro Islands only three hundred and fifty miles away from the Howland Island. They based the location off of the last message Amelia sent to Itasca around eight- forty three in the morning on July 2. “KHAQQ (the Electra’s call letters) to Itasca. We are on the line 157 337. The Itasca received the transmission but couldn’t get any bearings on the signal” (Greshko, Michael). The term “line 157 337” indicates that the planes was flying on a northwest to southeast line in between the Howland Island. Northwest of Howland Island was nothing but open ocean, but to the southeast was the Nikumaroro Islands. On the Nikumaroro Islands lays a reef, that when shown, is flat enough to land a plane making TIGHAR to believe that Amelia and Noonan could have seen this reef and decided to use it as a landing runway. They also believe that Amelia was sending radio transmissions at night to avoid sitting inside the aluminum plane during the daytime (Greshko, Michael). According to the TIGHAR researchers, they claim the ocean waves eventually lifted the plane off the the reef, bringing it into the ocean where it either sink or break into smaller fragments. “Other evidence points to Earhart and Noonan’s fate as castaways on Nikumaroro. Later in 1937, a British party explored the island with the intent of colonizing it. Eric Bevington, a colonial officer, noticed what looked like an “overnight bivouac.” He also took a photograph of the shoreline, which includes an unidentified object that TIGHAR speculates might be a plane’s landing gear” (Greshko, Michael). Around 1938, the British colonized the islands, and claim to have found airplane parts scattered around the islands. “In 1940 Gerald Gallagher, the colonial administrator, discovered 13 bones buried near the remains of a campfire. He also found the remnants of two shoes—a man’s and a woman’s—as well as a box that once held a sextant, a navigation device” (Greshko, Michael). The remains of the bodies were sent to Fiji for research and measurements, but were lost during one of the procedures. By using the measurements they had taken, they compared the sizes to be from a person that could be Amelia’s size and build (Greshko, Michael).
The last well-known conspiracy was they were taken hostage by the Japanese. The theory states that Amelia and Noonan were heading towards the Marshall Islands where they were captured and accused of being U.S. spies. Some people believe they were killed, but others claim they were released back into the U.S. under different names. “”If she couldn’t find Howland, Plan B was to cut off communications and head for the Marshall Islands and ditch her airplane there,” Rollin C. Reineck, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who lives in Kailua, Hawaii, claimed in 2003” (Greshko, Michael). According to a book called “Amelia Earhart Survived”written by Reineck, states that Amelia ditched her plane and traveled back to the U.S. to start a new life. This would have caused the U.S. government to take action and attempt to save Earhart from the Japanese and start a war.“”However, the plan went bad, as a lot of plans do,” said Reineck. Earhart radioed that she was headed north, the message was intercepted, and the Japanese took her hostage, he claims” (Greshko, Michael). Recently the History Channel released a documentary called “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence” connects Amelia’s disappearance in the Marshall Islands to lead to a pre-WWII. The document states, “… that the Japanese navy thought that Earhart and Noonan were U.S. spies, eventually imprisoning them on the island of Saipan to await deaths either by execution or dysentery.” (Greshko, Michael).
The disappearance of Amelia Earhart is still to this day one of the biggest mysteries to be unsolved. Amelia was a very determined and ambitious woman who was also determined to succeed. She created many different new world records for amazing flying skills, and managed to make a statement to every woman in the world. She proved to others that a woman can do everything a man can do, and still exel in life. Amelia Earhart has left a legacy that still continues to inspire women to do great and powerful things.(Biography, Editors)