National Amelia Earhart Day: A Look at the Aviation Legend's Life and Legacy

Playing Amelia Earhart Theories Revisited, More Than 80 Years After Her Disappearance

The mystery surrounding Amelia Earhart’s fate has become nearly as legendary as the skilled aviator’s astounding career.

Earhart was born on July 24, 1897. She 39 when she disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island in 1937 as she attempted to become the first woman to fly around the world.

“Please know that I am aware of the hazards,” Earhart wrote to her husband, George Putnam.

Earhart set out in California and made her way to Florida, flying over Puerto Rico, Central America, Senegal, India and Thailand before stopping in Australia.

She and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared after departing from Papua New Guinea, having reported they were out of gas and would have to ditch the plane.

The pair was never seen again.

Hope was renewed when, in 2017, a photograph emerged appearing to show a woman who resembled Earhart on a dock after she was apparently taken prisoner by the Japanese.

"Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence,” a documentary on Earhart by the History Channel, found the photo could actually be of the lost pilot, but the notion was discredited when it emerged that the picture was published two years before her disappearance.

Earhart was once again thrust into the spotlight when a rare car she once owned was recovered after it was stolen.

Earhart was pictured posing in front of 1932 Hudson Essex Terraplane, which was valued at half a million dollars after being bought by its current owner in 1995 for $9,000.

Police found the missing car within four days.

The vehicle, as well as other artifacts once owned by Earhart, appears to be all that remains of the legendary flyer, who was officially declared dead on Jan. 5, 1939.

But Earhart’s legacy lives on, as the feminist icon charted a path for fellow female trailblazers to come after her.   

“I want to do it,” her letter to her husband added. “Women must try to do these things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be a challenge to others.”

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