The TRUTH About What Really Happened To Amelia Earhart

Have you ever heard of Amelia Earhart? She was a brave pilot and author. Many people today love the story of Amelia Earhart, because she was one of the first female pilots and set many records for flying. Keep reading or watch our video to learn what really happened to Amelia Earhart.

Amelia Earhart, Legendary Lady Pilot Cozy Rainbow Podcast

This week’s creative challenge is to draw a comic where Amelia Earhart learns to fly for the first time. The mystery of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance has been solved… sort of. — Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

Amelia Earthart was born in Kansas in 1897. She had one sister and lived with her mom and dad in the summer, and her grandparents during the school year.

Amelia’s father struggled with alcoholism, which led to Amelia’s mother and sister leaving him to move to Chicago.

Map with Kansas and Chicago marked, with a line connecting two houses.
Amelia Earhart as a child moved from Kansas to Chicago.

Eventually, five years later, Amelia’s parents got back together and moved to LA. Near LA in Long Beach, California, Amelia rode in an airplane for the very first time with her father.

In order to pay for flight school, Amelia Earhart worked as a truck driver, stenographer, and photographer. A stenographer is a person who transcribes words that are spoken aloud in a courtroom.

Lucella Bates, a leading lady in truck driving in 1919.
A stenographer in 1936; Amelia worked a few years before in a similar position.

First Women to Fly

Six months after taking pilot lessons, Amelia bought her very first plane: a yellow biplane that she called Canary. 

In May 1923, Earhart became the sixteenth woman in the world to become a licensed international pilot.

Raymonde De Laroche was the first woman to earn an international pilot’s license. Ten weeks after learning to fly, Raymonde crashed into a tree. The crash resulted in a concussion and broken collarbone.

Flying was very dangerous at the time. Raymonde survived three plane crashes until she ultimately died in the fourth. 

Amelia Earhart Career

In 1928 (five years after she became a licensed pilot) Earhart wrote a book called 20 Hrs. 40 Min, detailing her experience of flying across the Atlantic Ocean. The genre of this book is a travelogue, or a memoir. Earhart also worked as an aviation editor for Cosmopolitan magazine.

Amelia Earhart was a celebrity of her time. Earhart founded the Ninety-Nines: an organization for women in aviation. The 99s still exists today and provides networking opportunities, mentorship and scholarships for women in aviation.

In the 1930s, Earhart set seven records of speed and distance for female pilots.

Amelia eventually married a man, after denying his proposal a whopping SIX times because she was wary of marriage.

Amelia Earhart wanted to circumnavigate around the entire world. In 1937, she attempted to do just that. With her navigator, Fred Noonan, she traveled 22,000 miles and stopped in South America, Africa, India and New Guinea.

Earhart Possibly Found: Howland Island?

The next stopping point on Earhart’s circumnavigation trip was Howland Island. Howland Island is located in the Pacific Ocean, only 13,200 feet by 2,650 feet. Howland Island is located closest to Hawaii and Australia.

Here are some places that are close in length to Howland Island:

  • Three-fifths as long as the Las Vegas Strip or Calangute Beach (India)
  • As long as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, National Mall, Indianapolis or Daytona Speedway

Row 1: Las Vegas Strip, Calangute Beach, Sydney International Airport

Row 2: Daytona Speedway, Monaco, The National Mall (USA)

Now, here are some places that are near the same area as Howland Island:

  • Nine-tenths of Central Park in New York
  • One and a half times as big as Monaco
  • Three-fifths as large as Chennai International Airport, or other major airports (Sydney Kingsford, Dublin, London Heathrow)
  • One-fifth as big as LAX

Today, Howland Island is a refuge uninhabited by people. The island is controlled by the U.S. and nobody is allowed to go on it. Only by “special permit.”

World Map zooming in on Howland Island
Howland Island

Unfortunately, Earhart and Noonan were lost at sea. A huge search was launched to find them, but they were never found.

Earhart’s disappearance is a huge American mystery, although eventually some bones were found on the island of Nikumaroro in 1940 by British officials. A physician mistakenly said the bones had come from a man. However, another analysis in 1998 said that they belonged to a European woman, close to Earhart’s size. 

The bones were not the only thing that was found in 1940, though. Officials also discovered an herbal beverage that Amelia was known to drink.

A final look at the bones was done in 2018 by anthropologists at University of Tennessee. Upon further analysis, the anthropologists declared that the bones were likely Amelia’s, but we will never know for sure.

One other theory about Earhart’s disappearance is that Earhart and Noonan were taken as prisoners by Japan. However, this was before WWII which gives Japan little reason to be suspicious or take hostages.

Amelia Earhart Lesson Printables