WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Wednesday, Jan. 11, marks the 87th anniversary of one of Kansas’ favorite native daughter’s major accomplishments.
Amelia Earhart became the first person, not just a woman, to fly solo from Hawaii to California on this day in 1935. It was a much larger achievement than crossing the Atlantic, due to it being about 400 miles longer trip.
Earhart trip on a plane took place in 1920 when she was 23 years old. She would go on to write about the experience saying, “As soon as I left the ground, I knew I myself had to fly.”
She first gained fame in 1928 when she was the first woman to cross the Atlantic by plane, although that trip was just as a passenger. She would go on to fly the route herself four years later, and in over half the time, it took Charles Lindbergh to get there in the Spirit of St. Louis. Later that year, she would set the then-female record of crossing the United States by plane in 19.5 hours.
To make the trip from Hawaii to California, her passenger seat was removed and replaced with extra fuel tanks. She also had a special radio installed, and it was said she listened to the broadcast of a symphony concert during part of her trip. She would land safely 2,048 miles and 19 hours later in Oakland, California.
It would be just two years later that Earhart and Navigator Fred Noonan would take off for their trans-pacific flight and disappear into history. The Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum in her hometown of Atchison will officially open to the public in April.