Destined to Fly
Earhart saw her first plane up close and personal at the age of ten. She was not very impressed as it looked like a pile of rusty metal to her.
However, that opinion would change when she attended an aviation exhibition almost ten years later on December 28,1920. There a pilot named Frank Hawks gave her a ride in a little red airplane that forever changed her life.
That flight cinched the deal for her in her mind. She had to fly.
Earhart took her first flying lesson on January 3, 1921. Six months later, after diligently saving her money, she bought her first plane. Even though it was a second-hand Kinner Airster, she was just beginning a life of adventurous flying. One could not miss her as she shot off the runway in her two-seater biplane, which was painted brilliant yellow. Earhart aptly named the plane Canary.
In 1928, she received the call that led her to fly the Atlantic. Three women had died that year trying to do that very thing. Of course, she accepted the opportunity with great enthusiasm. The flight began at Trepassey Harbor, Newfoundland and ended at Burry Port, Wales, approximately 21 hours later. This historic flight was done in a Folker F7 named Friendship.
Her husband-to-be was a publisher named George P. Putnam who saw Earhart's flight as great material for a best-selling story. They were married on February 7, 1931, but she continued her career as a pilot, which was unheard of in the 1930s. Women traditionally became housewives and mothers when they married, but this high-spirited woman could not sit still for that. She needed to explore.
Putnam and Earhart made a good team. He published her books, organized her public appearances, and helped her gain an endorsement for flight luggage and a sports clothing line to help pay for her adventures. She retained her maiden name and referred to her marriage as a partnership.
She went on to break her first record by flying at 18,000 feet, becoming the first woman to do so. For the first time, she had made the headlines and was on her way to making a lasting impression in history.