Seventy-seven years after iconic aviator Amelia Earhart disappeared while attempting to circumnavigate the globe, a woman who shares her name hopes to finish the flight that began all those years ago.
Amelia Rose Earhart, 31, embarked Thursday on a 24,300-nautical-mile journey, taking off from Oakland, California, in a single-engine Pilatus PC-12NG aircraft with co-pilot Theddy Spichtig. If she completes the 17-day journey, she will become the youngest woman to fly around the world in a single-engine plane.
Earhart recently said improvements in modern flight technology made the journey more feasible.
“The reliability of a single-engine aircraft today in 2014 is vastly different than it was back in the 1930s,” Earhart told Boston NPR radio station 90.9 Wbur’s “Here and Now” program. “So, while there is still a component of adventure with any flight over water, I felt most connected to the Pilatus. It’s a beautiful aircraft. The cockpit is absolutely state-of-the-art — we’ve got synthetic vision, we’ve got dual GPS.”
The ambitious pilot started flying lessons when she was 21 years old, she told The Huffington Post in January. Having faced the financial strain of paying for years of flight lessons, Earhart launched the Fly With Amelia Foundation, which provides scholarships for high school girls to attend flight school.
To document her historic journey, Earhart will be tweeting updates during her flight.
In 1932, the late Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1937, as she attempted a flight around the globe, she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, vanished over the South Pacific and were never heard from again.
Though the two women share no relation, the present-day Earhart is excited to connect with the Earhart of the past.
“By recreating and symbolically completing Amelia Mary Earhart’s flight around the world, I hope to develop an even deeper connection to my namesake and also encourage the world to pursue their own adventures,” the pilot wrote on the website set up to document her trip. “Amelia believed that, ‘adventure is worthwhile in itself’ and it is that type of attitude that spurs us to seek the unknown, push our limits and fly outside the lines.”
You can follow the progress of Amelia’s flight on AmeliaEarhartProject.com.