Amelia Rose Earhart, 31 year old namesake to the famous aviator, just became the youngest woman to traverse the globe in a single engine aircraft. On July 11th she completed her 28,000 mile trip in her Pilatus PC12 turboprop, touching down at North Field in Oakland, Calif.
The flight itself took 17 days, but the planning was much more extensive. She had to obtain visas for eight of the fourteen countries where she would stop for refueling, dinner, and a night’s sleep. There were logistical considerations of potential climate conditions and political turmoil. She needed to raise more than a million dollars; $50,000 for fuel alone. Amelia took to social media to help with that task and maintained connection with fans on the ground via twitter, Facebook, even Wi-Fi to stream live audio-video during the flight in her state-of-the-art aircraft.
Amelia hasn’t always been a pilot. Up until a decade ago her closest thing was flying in a traffic helicopter as a local Denver TV news anchor. At 21 she finally scraped together the funds for flight lessons and immediately knew she would continue flying.
At one time she thought she was actually related to the other Amelia Earhart. But it turns out her parents just figured having the same last name was an opportunity to make their daughter a namesake of the feisty and daring historical trailblazer. And the young Amelia has “done her predecessor proud” by completing the equatorial journey that the elder Amelia disappeared attempting to accomplish.
And what could possibly honor the elder Amelia even more? The young Amelia’s long range mission and personal passion has motivated her to initiate the “Fly With Amelia Foundation” which promotes teenaged women in aviation. She wants to give young women the opportunity to set aside fears and gain confidence to attempt lofty goals. A full 77 years after her disappearance, the elder Earhart, with a little help from young Amelia, is still influential in helping young women break glass ceilings and sit, instead, behind the windshield of a cockpit.
To the two Amelia Earharts and the young women they inspire, I say, “You GO girls!”