Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart

My wife watched a documentary yesterday on Amelia Earhart where they suggested that the famous aviator and feminist hero likely lost her life due to her unwillingness to learn how to properly use her radio.  This made me wonder if Earhart was the real deal or another result of feminist myth-making.  I did some quick searching on the question and while I didn’t find the specific facts they had referenced in the documentary, it does sound like she lacked the basic skills needed to effectively communicate with the Coast Guard ship which was helping her navigate;  she communicated with them in voice mode on a Morse code frequency, and couldn’t understand their reply since she didn’t know Morse code.  She may also not have known how to use the radio direction finding equipment she was using.  Per Wikipedia:

Some sources have noted Earhart’s apparent lack of understanding of her Bendix direction-finding loop antenna, which at the time was very new technology.

The new technology excuse is rather strange, because that comes with the territory of being a pioneer.  It also turns out that her failed attempt to fly around the world which resulted in her death and the death of her navigator was actually her second try.  The first attempt was called off after she damaged the plane while still on the ground.  Again per Wikipedia:

In addition to Earhart and Noonan, Harry Manning and Hollywood stunt pilot Paul Mantz (who was acting as Earhart’s technical advisor) were on board. Due to lubrication and galling problems with the propeller hubs’ variable pitch mechanisms, the aircraft needed servicing in Hawaii. Ultimately, the Electra ended up at the United States Navy’s Luke Field on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor. The flight resumed three days later from Luke Field with Earhart, Noonan and Manning on board and during the takeoff run, Earhart ground-looped. The circumstances of the ground loop remain controversial. Some witnesses at Luke Field including the Associated Press journalist on the scene said they saw a tire blow.[98] Earhart thought either the Electra’s right tire had blown and/or the right landing gear had collapsed. Some sources, including Mantz, cited pilot error.[98] With the aircraft severely damaged, the flight was called off and the aircraft was shipped by sea to the Lockheed facility in Burbank, California for repairs.

Ouch!  Her own technical advisor said it was due to pilot error.  But don’t worry ladies, all is not lost.  She really was a pioneer.  She was the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an airplane.  But before we go into the details of her groundbreaking transatlantic flight, I thought I would share some of the history of transatlantic flight.

Alcock and Brown, June 1919

The first nonstop transatlantic flight was made by the British aviators Alcock and Brown in June of 1919 in a modified WWI bomber.  You might have been thinking Lindberg was the first to fly the Atlantic, but his was the first from the US to the European mainland.  This earlier flight was significantly shorter from Newfoundland to Ireland.  Even so, it was a truly groundbreaking flight for its day, on the cutting edge of what equipment and men were capable of.  Per Wikipedia:

The flight nearly ended in disaster several times owing to engine trouble, fog, snow and ice. It was only saved by Brown’s continual climbing out on the wings to remove ice from the engine air intakes and by Alcock’s excellent piloting despite extremely poor visibility at times and even snow filling the open cockpit.

That’s insane.  He had to climb out onto the wings during the flight to chip ice off of the air intakes while flying over the North Atlantic! Here is a picture of their plane on takeoff.

Charles Lindbergh, May 1927

Following Alcock and Brown’s flight the next truly groundbreaking flight was by Charles Lindbergh in May of 1927 when he flew nonstop and solo from Long Island New York to Paris.  This was a far longer route of 3,600 miles compared to Alcock and Brown’s flight of 1,890 miles.  In doing so Lindbergh won the Orteig Prize, which had been unclaimed since May of 1919.

Lindbergh won the prize in the now famous Spirit of St Louis, an aircraft which he had custom built for the purpose.  As is typical with truly ground breaking feats, the machine he used sacrificed ordinary features in order to allow the pilot to achieve the extraordinary.  Per Wikipedia:

The large main fuel tank was placed in the forward section of the fuselage, in front of the pilot, which improved the center of gravity. While locating fuel tanks at the front reduced the risk of the pilot’s being crushed to death in the event of a crash, this design decision also meant that there could be no front windshield, and that forward visibility would be limited to side windows only. A periscope was installed to provide a forward view, as a precaution against hitting ship masts, trees, or structures while flying at low altitude; however, it is unclear whether the periscope was used during the flight. Lindbergh also used special navigation instruments such as the Earth Inductor Compass as its main instrument, allowing Lindbergh to navigate while taking account of the magnetic declination of the earth. Lindbergh sat in a cramped cockpit which was 94 cm wide, 81 cm long and 130 cm high (36 in × 32 in × 51 in). The cockpit was so small, Lindbergh could not stretch his legs.

Amelia Earhart, June 1928

As promised, now we get to Earhart’s historic flight.  This is the flight which won her the nicknames Lady Lindbergh, and Queen of the Air.  Earhart made a flight very similar to Alcock and Brown’s flight nearly 10 years earlier, flying from Newfoundland to Wales.  However, aviation technology had advanced rapidly in the intervening years, so instead of a modified open cockpit WW I bomber Earhart and her companion Wilmer Stultz were able to make this flight in comparative comfort using an early airliner called the Fokker Tri Motor.

Even though her flight was relatively unremarkable for its day from a technical perspective, the fact that she was the first woman to make the crossing made her an instant celebrity.  She and Stultz were thrown a ticker tape parade in New York, and she was invited to meet President Coolidge at the white house.

Keep in mind when I say she was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, I mean as a passenger.  Per Wikipedia:

Since most of the flight was on “instruments” and Earhart had no training for this type of flying, she did not pilot the aircraft. When interviewed after landing, she said, “Stultz did all the flying—had to. I was just baggage, like a sack of potatoes.” She added, “…maybe someday I’ll try it alone.”

As proof of how unremarkable the flight was for the day, the actual pilot is only noted for having her as his passenger on that flight.  Eventually she did try the flight herself, but before we look at that I’ll share one more crossing by another pair of true aviation pioneers.

Post and Gatty, June 1931

Wiley Post and Harold Gatty flew their Lockheed Vega around the world in 8 days, breaking the previous speed record of 21 days held by the Graf Zepplin.  They made this groundbreaking flight in their Lockheed Vega named the Winnie Mae.  One of the first legs of their historic journey was from Newfoundland to Wales.

Amelia Earhart, May 1932

Like Post and Gatty a year earlier, Earhart also flew from Newfoundland to the UK in a Lockheed Vega, although her flight was not part of a larger record breaking attempt.  Per Wikipedia:

At the age of 34, on the morning of May 20, 1932, Earhart set off from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland with the latest copy of a local newspaper (the dated copy was intended to confirm the date of the flight). She intended to fly to Paris in her single engine Lockheed Vega 5b to emulate Charles Lindbergh‘s solo flight.[82] Her technical advisor for the flight was famed Norwegian American aviator Bernt Balchen who helped prepare her aircraft. He also played the role of “decoy” for the press as he was ostensibly preparing Earhart’s Vega for his own Arctic flight.[83] [N 11] After a flight lasting 14 hours, 56 minutes during which she contended with strong northerly winds, icy conditions and mechanical problems, Earhart landed in a pasture at Culmore, north of Derry, Northern Ireland. The landing was witnessed by Cecil King and T. Sawyer.[84] When a farm hand asked, “Have you flown far?” Earhart replied, “From America.”[85] The site now is the home of a small museum, the Amelia Earhart Centre.[86]

And thus, a mere 5 years after Lindbergh’s ground breaking flight from Long Island to Paris, Earhart followed in his footsteps by completing a far shorter flight comparable to the one made by Alcock and Brown 13 years earlier, using a plane two other men had used to fly around the world a year prior.

This entry was posted in Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, Fantasy vs Reality, Feminist Territory Marking, Feminists, Manliness. Bookmark the permalink.

59 Responses to Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart

  1. Lovekraft says:

    And I read in the back pages of Cerebus how Ernest Hemingway had a manipulating wife who he encouraged to look and dress like a boy.

  2. K Eggers says:

    Well done. The Earhart fraud is pretty well understood by aviation buffs, ie she was a mediocre pilot, at best, and was wholly unskilled in important things like navigation, radio, etc. The amazing thing isn’t that she went POOF in 1937 – she of course had Fred Noonan as navigator aboard – but that it took so long for her to crack-up, several close brushes with death (again, mostly due to incompetence) aside.

    She was an early pioneer of feminist myth-making – remember this was the era of initial women’s lib (we had just given them the vote, DOH!!) – and her husband was a great PR guy; the financial motive mattered too.

    No one skilled in aviation issues who’s looked closely into the Earhart “mystery” – there was none, she sucked – quickly realizes that the Official Story is completely wrong.

    Another HateFact!

  3. Lovekraft says:

    Cerebus is a 300-issue comic book by Kitchener, Ontario native Dave Sim which chronicles the life of a dwarfish, drunken narcissist, advancing from barbarian life to becoming Pope, and more.

    Back to my point – there are many instances of undeserved praise based on ‘nyah nyah, we can do it too, boys!’ that pervades our culture. Sim argues that Hemingway was a wuss.

  4. Will S. says:

    Dave Sim was one of the pioneers of MGTOW; he has sworn off not only sex, but even masturbation; he argues that if you don’t scratch, eventually it stops itching, if you catch my drift. I wish I could say I agree…

  5. Badger Nation says:

    Dalrock, don’t you know that an objective consideration of a woman’s accomplishments is hate speech?

  6. This was a very informative post!

  7. Badger Nation says:

    Earhart had a remarkable enthusiasm for an advanced and fascinating (and dangerous) technology. That’s commendable. Here’s my question though – what sexism obstacles did Earhart overcome to make her a goddess in the feminist pantheon? Were there concerted efforts or laws to prevent her activity based on her gender? Was she publicly mocked as a ditz in over her head or something like that? Did vendors refuse to sell her critical equipment? This wasn’t the space program, where the government provided the technology and tightly controlled who was allowed to get in it.

  8. Tarl says:

    “Dave Sim was one of the pioneers of MGTOW; he has sworn off not only sex, but even masturbation”

    A living death worthy of David Alexander…

  9. Tarl says:

    Apropos of Earhart:

    “Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.” — Heinlein

  10. jack says:

    Maybe what feminists have meant all along is:

    “A woman can do anything a man can do, once he shows her how to do it.”

    What is interesting to me is that it seems that Earhart wanted to participate in the pageantry and glory of the aviation pioneers, but without perhaps the requisite internal drive to be a master of the aircraft.

  11. david foster says:

    Wasn’t Fred Noonan’s job *navigator*? Surely an air navigator in the 1930s would have been expected to understand how to use radio-direction-finding equipment properly (it’s not very complicated, btw)…and since many navigational radiobeacons did (and still do) transmit in Morse, I’d think this skill set would have gone along with the job as well.

  12. david foster says:

    To add to my previous comment: the pilot in command has ultimate authority and responsibility for a flight, and in a multi-crewmember airplane this encompasses ensuring that the other crew members are appropriately qualified…so if Noonan really didn’t have the proper navigational and communications skills, this would still have been Earhart’s ultimate responsibility.

  13. The real deal:
    Hanna Reitsch (29 March 1912 – 24 August 1979) was a German aviator and the only woman awarded the Iron Cross First Class and the Luftwaffe Combined Pilots-Observation Badge in Gold with Diamonds during World War II. Along with her flying skills Reitsch was photogenic and willingly appeared in Nazi Party propaganda throughout the late 1930s and early 1940s, which made her a celebrity. Reitsch was the first woman to fly a helicopter, a rocket plane, and a jet fighter. She set over forty aviation altitude and endurance records during her career, both before and after World War II, and several of her international gliding records are still standing to this day.
    In 1937 Reitsch was posted to the Luftwaffe testing centre at Rechlin-Lärz Airfield by Ernst Udet. She was a test pilot on the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka and Dornier Do 17 projects. Reitsch was the first female helicopter pilot and one of the few pilots to fly the Focke-Achgelis Fa 61, the first fully controllable helicopter. Her flying skill, desire for publicity and photogenic qualities made her a star of Nazi party propaganda. In 1938 she made nightly flights of the Fa 61 helicopter inside the “Deutschlandhalle” at the Berlin Motor Show.
    With the outbreak of war in 1939 Reitsch was asked to fly many of Germany’s latest designs. Among these were the rocket-propelled Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet and several larger bombers on which she tested various mechanisms for cutting barrage balloon cables. After crashing on her fifth Me 163 flight Reitsch was badly injured but reportedly insisted on writing her post-flight report before falling unconscious and spending five months in hospital. Reitsch became Adolf Hitler’s favourite pilot and was one of only two women awarded the Iron Cross First Class during World War II. Reitsch became close to former fighter pilot and high ranking Luftwaffe officer Robert Ritter von Greim who became her lover.

    During the last days of the war, in light of Hermann Goering’s dismissal as head of the Luftwaffe for what Hitler saw as an act of treason (sending the Göring Telegram and allegedly attempting a coup d’état), he appointed Colonel-General Robert Ritter von Greim as head of the Luftwaffe. To enable him to meet Hitler, von Greim asked Reitsch to fly him into embattled Berlin.

    Red Army troops were already in the downtown area when Reitsch and von Greim arrived on 26 April in a Fieseler Fi 156 Storch. With her long experience at low-altitude flying over Berlin and having already surveyed the road as an escape route with Hitler’s personal pilot Hans Baur, Reitsch landed on an improvised airstrip in the Tiergarten near the Brandenburg Gate (Greim was wounded in the leg when Red Army soldiers fired at the light aircraft during its approach). They made their way to the Führerbunker, where Hitler promoted von Greim to Hermann Göring’s former command of a now wholly defunct Luftwaffe. During the intense Russian bombardment, Hitler gave Reitsch a vial of poison for herself and another for von Greim. She accepted the vial willingly, fully prepared to die alongside her Führer.[2] On Hitler’s orders, she escaped from Berlin with von Greim during the evening of 28 April, flying the last German plane out of Berlin shortly before the fall of the city by climbing through heavy Soviet anti-aircraft fire. Hitler had ordered them to rendezvous with Karl Dönitz, who Hitler thought was rallying troops for a counter-attack.

    Reitsch was soon captured along with von Greim and the two were interviewed together by American military intelligence officers.[3] When asked about being ordered to leave the Fuhrerbunker on 28 April 1945 Reitsch and von Greim reportedly repeated the same answer, “It was the blackest day when we could not die at our Führer’s side.” Reitsch also said, “We should all kneel down in reverence and prayer before the altar of the Fatherland.” When the interviewers asked what she meant by “Altar of the Fatherland” she answered, “Why, the Führer’s bunker in Berlin…”[4] She was held and interrogated for eighteen months.

    After her release Reitsch settled in Frankfurt am Main. Following the war German citizens were barred from flying powered aircraft, but within a few years gliding was allowed, which she took up. In 1952 Reitsch won third place in the World Gliding Championships in Spain (and was the only woman to compete). She continued to break records, including the women’s altitude record (6,848 m). She became German champion in 1955.

  14. Dalrock says:

    @Badger Nation
    Here’s my question though – what sexism obstacles did Earhart overcome to make her a goddess in the feminist pantheon?

    Just going by the wiki page, it looks like it all was pretty much handed to her. She wasn’t a noteworthy pilot before the first flight, and she didn’t have to work to become a part of it. They called her to offer her the seat as a passenger on the transatlantic flight, and after that she was instantly famous and being compared to Lindbergh. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that she was excellent at self promotion following the initial flight. This ability seems to have overshadowed a number of much more gifted female pilots of the day. Here is something I found on the Wiki page for the Bendix Trophy:

    Famous competitors for the trophy included James Harold Doolittle, who won the first race, and several women. Amelia Earhart was the first woman to enter the Bendix, taking fifth place in 1935. In 1936, Louise Thaden and her copilot Blanche Noyes won the race. Laura Ingalls finished second. In 1938, Jacqueline Cochran, arguably the greatest female aviator of all time, took home the trophy.

  15. Badger Nation says:

    “so if Noonan really didn’t have the proper navigational and communications skills, this would still have been Earhart’s ultimate responsibility.”

    True, but on the other hand if my life was on the line I’d make damn sure I knew as much as possible about all the systems on my airplane, whether or not my commanding pilot told me to or not.

  16. Paul says:

    Fact of the matter is, had she not disappeared the way she did, nobody would know who the hell she was.

  17. Gorbachev says:

    Amelia Earhart:

    I had no idea about this. How sad. Another myth exploded.

    @Robert in Arabia
    Hanna Reitsch

    She sounded genuinely amazing.

  18. Pingback: Linkage is Good for You: Arise, Men of the West! Edition

  19. namae nanka says:

    Thanks for this, and thanks Robert in Arabia. I simply stopped trusting the worthiness of any female achievement after reading up the facts about them and finding their accomplishments to be mostly myth-making, some in the past, some due to present.
    What’s amazing is that most such women were well-supported by men rather than the other way round, as feminists would like us to believe.

    Dave Sim’s tangent, written against feminism is a good read:

  20. Höllenhund says:

    You may also find this Russian documentary (with subtitles) interesting:

  21. Doug1 says:

    Dalrock– I don’t know if the flick on Erhard your wife saw was the biopic
    “Amelia Erhardt” that was running on cable premiums a month or so ago, but much of these facts were apparent in it. The overall tone of the flick was definitely a feminist hagiography about Erhardt along the lines of “isn’t she so determined and brave and independent” (all of which seemed to be true.) Nonetheless her real lack of preparedness for long distance flying and many of the skills and knowledge needed was there to be seen for those looking for the truth. It definitely did seem that she was largely flown across the Atlantic.

    Less so on that first Pacific leg, but that’s where she and her celestial navigator died, for the reasons you’ve dug up. The movie didn’t make at all clear that it was her lack of morse, and using the wrong channel for voice, and maybe lack of knowledge of use of direction finder equipment that was at fault. Instead it blamed that on the coast guard since their battery for the direction finder died. (Why it didn’t use ships power I don’t know.) Either one could have used direction finders to hone in and get a bearing line to the radio transmissions of the other.

  22. vasaphonia says:

    Why don’t you mention how we gave all the native americans small pox too while you’re at it. Something more to brighten up my day. Good to know that women are incompetent and less capable than men. What a wonderful spirit for a post. Yes, I beleive it’s true, but to be frank the spirit that it was written in. As in: Let’s enjoy how incompetent women are is really kind of tiresome.

    Next time a man fails at something someone should right a post on him and use it as an example at how incompetent men are. Sounds like a great idea. Too be honest this post was interesting, but why the tone of “Haha, look women can’t drive!” Great. Now I know how men feel readin feminist blogs.

  23. vasaphonia says:

    and by it, I don’t mean that women are incompetent, but that Amelia Earheart wasn’t qualified

  24. Dalrock says:

    Hi Vasaphonia,

    Welcome to the blog. The point isn’t that women can’t accomplish amazing things (they obviously can), but that Feminists would rather engage in make believe than take the risks and do the hard work to make it happen (or wait for a gifted enough woman to take the risks and do the hard work).

    I find the feminist “lets make believe she did something amazing” attitude offensive. It is a fraud which steals from the real accomplishments of men and women.

    Why doesn’t it offend you? Are you too busy rooting for your own team to be offended by a sham?

  25. vasaphonia says:

    There’s sham everywhere. So much of history is sham that I’m not offended by it anymore in general — hence the thanksgiving reference.

  26. Doug1 says:


    I find the feminist “lets make believe she did something amazing” attitude offensive. It is a fraud which steals from the real accomplishments of men and women.


    Vasa–There’s sham everywhere. So much of history is sham that I’m not offended by it anymore in general — hence the thanksgiving reference.

    Yes and there’s been lots of uncovering of that, and should be. Especially after the first few years in the 60s and early 70s, feminism has proceeded by endless lies, semi lies, misrepresentation, knowing distortions, utter one sidedness, stuff made up out of whole cloth, and so on. NOW’s mantra a few weeks before Super Bowl weekend for several years was something like “Super Bowl Sunday, the most dangerous day of the year for women. Stop domestic violence.” They’d just made it up, and at the time (and still mostly) feminist pronouncements were such sacred cows (and the media so on their side, like on Obama’s) that no one investigated. Others no doubt assumed that of course the media would check that out, so it must be true. Wasn’t true at all. In fact they based it on nothing but a hunch. Totally made up.

    Similarly a very influential study by an Ivy League feminist social scientist studying the economic fate of men and women post divorce was an important influence of the federal model statue that states around the country were more or less forced to use in revising upwards child support=alimony. The figures were wildly, as in more than 50% wrong, even before the fact that they gave the effects before existing child support and other transfer payment from men to mothers post divorce were considered.

    Date rape states used by radical feminists are totally cooked books, around what they define as rape in their surveys (nothing close to the legal definition in criminal law in any state), but then claim in their posters and what not as being rape. (e.g. any sex the woman subsequently regrets occurred is counted as rape.

    Feminist lies and exaggeration are endemic and almost entirely unchallenged in the feminism suffused mainstream media. They can’t be deflated and taken down too much.

  27. Doomed Harlot says:

    You know, I am about as feminist as they come and I never really got the Amelia Earhart thing either. When I first heard of Earhart as a kid, it struck me immediately that her endeavor didn’t end very well. And as you very fairly noted, there were a NUMBER of talented women pilots during the first half of the century. I was never comfortable with the idea of Earhart as the ONE woman pilot.

    That said, as I have talked to friends about it, I can see the appeal more and more. Her failure is part of what makes her compelling. Girls (at least in my day and earlier) were always told, “Be careful,” “Don’t hurt yourself,” “Don’t take any risks.” Girls — more so than boys, I think — are very much discouraged from undertaking any kind of danger, a fear of being hurt that becomes limiting. And here is a woman who actually went so far in pursuit of her passion that she died for it.

    Yes, yes, I understand that dying because you were unprepared is not especially admirable (and I really don’t know the details of why Earhart’s plane went down) but the symbolism is what’s potent, given the lack of female role models who undertake death defying feats.

    I don’t know enough about Earhart to know if any obstacles were placed in her path because of her gender (other than the generalized expectations of what is or is not appropriate for a woman). The movie with Hilary Swank suggested that the financial backers just wanted to promote her as a passenger on the planes, rather than actually allowing her to fly. She went with it at first to get more money so she could call the shots and actually fly the plane.

  28. Dalrock says:

    @Doomed Harlot
    The movie with Hilary Swank suggested that the financial backers just wanted to promote her as a passenger on the planes, rather than actually allowing her to fly. She went with it at first to get more money so she could call the shots and actually fly the plane.

    That is pretty funny how they decided to handle that. I know Wiki isn’t the gold standard, but it doesn’t tend to blow up PC myths lightly. I haven’t yet found a source which suggests she was capable of making the flight but prevented by male chauvinism. But I can understand why feminists would desperately want that to be the case. If you can find a historical link making this claim I would love to see it. I just googled the question and found another Earhart bio which gushes over her, but even it says:

    Then in 1928, Earhart received an invitation to become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Although she would be merely a glorified passenger, she readily accepted.

    She set out on June 3, 1928 from Trepassey Harbor, Newfoundland with pilot Wilmer “Bill” Stultz and mechanic/co-pilot Louis E. “Slim” Gordon aboard a tri-motor Fokker F7 christened the “Friendship”. Relying entirely on instrumentation readings to navigate, a skill few pilots then possessed, Gordon and Stultz crossed the Atlantic to touch down 21 hours later at Burry Port, Wales. All three crew members were instant heroes. After being received by British royalty, they returned home to a ticker tape parade in New York, and a White House reception with President Calvin Coolidge. Wherever they went however, it was Amelia everyone clamored for. Embarrassed by the imbalanced attention, she pointed out to the press the accomplishments of Stultz and Gordon, emphasizing she had been no more help than a sack of potatoes. But, she added, perhaps someday she would making the crossing again, as the pilot.

    Four years later, on May 20, 1932, she did so. Flying a single engine Lockheed Vega she set out from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland battling icy winds and mechanical difficulties to land a record setting 14 hours and 56 minutes later in Culmore, Ireland, north of Derry.

    I do agree with you that she was rare in that she took a risk which resulted in her death. Had this been the source of her fame I could sort of get it. But had she never set foot in another airplane again after being a passenger in an airliner over the atlantic, she would still have been famous.

  29. Doomed Harlot says:

    Yes, I haven’t really looked as I have never been able to work up that much interest in Earhart. (I guess somehow flying a plane never sounded that hard to me. I realize that’s a bit hubristic since I have never actually tried it and certainly not under early 20th century conditions.)

    Earhart should get props for pointing out that she didn’t do anything on that flight in which she was a passenger and shouldn’t be getting all the attention. It shows that she didn’t want to be adulated just for being female but for her actual accomplishments.

  30. Dalrock says:

    Earhart should get props for pointing out that she didn’t do anything on that flight in which she was a passenger and shouldn’t be getting all the attention. It shows that she didn’t want to be adulated just for being female but for her actual accomplishments.

    Not according to wiki

    Trading on her physical resemblance to Lindbergh,[55] whom the press had dubbed “Lucky Lindy,” some newspapers and magazines began referring to Earhart as “Lady Lindy.”[56][N 7] The United Press was more grandiloquent; to them, Earhart was the reigning “Queen of the Air.”[57] Immediately after her return to the United States, she undertook an exhausting lecture tour (1928–1929). Meanwhile, Putnam had undertaken to heavily promote her in a campaign including publishing a book she authored, a series of new lecture tours and using pictures of her in mass market endorsements for products including luggage, Lucky Strike cigarettes (this caused image problems for her, with McCall’s magazine retracting an offer)[58] and women’s clothing and sportswear.

  31. Badger Nation says:

    “I guess somehow flying a plane never sounded that hard to me. I realize that’s a bit hubristic since I have never actually tried it and certainly not under early 20th century conditions.”

    I think you’re on the right track. Modern private flight is not what I would call difficult per se. Not easy, but most people can do it. Back in the day it was a much bigger challenge, but still not one that discriminated by gender…unless you were in tough maneuvering that required lots of strength to pull the cables.

    As long as we’re on the topic, what was REALLY sad was the seven-year old girl who tried to fly across the United States, and made it into some kind of feminist campaign, wearing a hat that said “WOMEN FLY.” The girl died when her plane crashed.

  32. Doomed Harlot says:

    I remember the 7-year-old pilot very well. It is just not a good idea for a child that young to undertake such a venture. She was simply too young.

    Just to clarify, my comment about Earhart was based on the passage Dalrock quoted at 3:04 p.m. in which she insisted that she was only a passenger and that the real pilots should get the credit until she had a chance to actually pilot such a flight herself.

  33. Badger Nation says:

    “I remember the 7-year-old pilot very well. It is just not a good idea for a child that young to undertake such a venture. She was simply too young.”

    The whole story was disgusting. She was clearly being pimped out by someone in her family for attention and political posturing.

  34. Anonymous Reader says:

    The 7 year old had a name, Jessica Dubroff. She was basically a passenger for part of the flight. Her instructor apparently over loaded the aircraft and may have not taken density altitude into account when he departed under visual flight rules, in poor visibility. The desire to keep to a schedule is known as “get there-itis” and can be fatal, as it was in this case.

  35. Badger Nation says:

    Interesting details. Despite wearing a hat reading “Women Fly” (visible in the Wikipedia picture) it looks like the scheme was hatched by her father and he hooked her up with a male instructor. Whatever the political bent, the whole case was sick. Three people died because of media whoring.

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  37. darkhorsewins says:

    Letting feminists know the TRUTH about their hypocritical entitlement philosophy:

  38. Awesome debunking. Thanks.

  39. Mazzuchelli says:

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. And Beryl Markham’s husband wrote her autobiography. El Yawn-O. While you’re preaching to the choir with most of the gals on this site, you’re still annoying.

  40. Wickedpinto says:

    The Hannah Reitch bio (never heard of her, not an aviation guy, fear of heights does that to you) kinda makes exactly the point of this post I think.

    You don’t have to make crap up to demonstrate achievement, you just have to achieve it.

  41. sabril says:

    Great post.

    “Good to know that women are incompetent and less capable than men. ”

    I know it’s unpleasant to hear, but people need to be reminded of this fact again and again until they stop blaming “the patriarchy” or whatever for womens’ failure to match mens’ achievements. Until they stop trying to legislate an equality that does not, cannot, and never will exist.

    And by the way, it’s not necessarily true that women are less competent than men. To be sure, men are more competent in certain areas. But the more important difference is that mens’ abilities have a wider distribution. So that the very best people in most fields of endeavor are mostly men.

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  44. BeijaFlor says:

    Interesting set of comments – especially since I come to this as a pilot (small airplanes, smaller and slower than the Lockheed Vega), and have (had) a great-aunt who was supposedly one of the original Ninety-Nines.

    Flying 1920s-style was very basic, but it was never about brute strength unless you’re flying an out-of-trim airplane … or doing combat flight, in which you’re fighting the G-forces that your tight maneuvering is putting on the airplane. Even then, it’s much more about finesse; the better pilot isn’t better because he or she is strong enough to manhandle the controls. It’s much more about having the feel of the plane, the spatial-kinetic sense of what it’s doing, and the “touch” to be able to put it where you need to go with it.

    Amelia Earhart was a good pilot, but her fame is more a product of publicity, PR and “grandstanding” than of any outstanding excellence. There were better pilots among the women of early aviation – and the best of them, then and now, get that way because they pursue EXCELLENCE rather than “try to prove something.”

    Come to think of it, that fits the “best of the best” in ANY human endeavor, and it is independent of race, creed, color – or sex.

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  46. Cane Caldo says:

    I just saw this is currently your second-most popular post. Yesterday, Google highlighted Earhart on their homepage. You don’t return in the first 30 hits for “Amelia Earhart”, but you’re number three for “Amelia Earhart fraud”. Congrats!

  47. Tom Vaillencourt says:

    About walking out on the wings…. That airplane looks somewhat like the handley-Paige bombers used in WWI… during those times it was common for the non pilot to walk out on to the wings to add oil to the engines on long flights. Early aircraft engines burned oil like crazy. Fun huh? I did some lookin into Amelia Earhart also. Turns out she was a mediocre pilot at best, and had many accidents over her flying career, including several ground loops. She was not an outwardly unsafe or risk taking pilot like some we even see today, but her flying ambitions were thought at the time to be far above her skill level as an airplane driver. There were very many skilled and accomplished pioneering female pilots in her time and even before her who did not receive her noteriety. She was a media hog, and her ambitions were easily met by her rich and famous husband; a benefit that bit her several times. She moved up to bigger more sophisticated aircraft way too fast for someone with her skills, and ultimately- despite several injury free accidents- she was not up to the task she tried to undertake that resulted in he death. She had spirit, but in the world of flying, lack of humility in ones skills is often far more deadly than reckless flying.

  48. koevoet says:

    A couple of people have already brought up Hanna Reitsch. I think she would have made a much better feminazi hero than Earhart – she was female, and she was a nazi…oh, and she had real accomplishments! You’d never catch me in an Me-163!

  49. Carlos A. says:

    Are you guys kidding me?
    Amelia Earhart was very important in women’s issues, early flight, opportunities, education and more.
    Flying a plane back in 1937, with old technology, charting, radio, etc had to be very hard.
    Probably the one downfall was faulty wiring in her plane which caused her fuses to her radio to keep shorting out.

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  54. Amelia was a brave and ambitious woman and flyer, concerning her aviation acumen, there is substantial debate about her flying skills. She was female, a pilot, but not necessarily the best female pilot although she was the best known female pilot and as we all know today, publicity trumps competency any day of the week. I saw a PBS series on Amelia and her last flight and the series stated that Amelia deliberately ignored the advice of her navigator and took a left turn on the coast of Africa instead of the navigator’s direction of a right course turn; Amelia’s excuse upon landing to Fred Noonan was that ‘a left turn felt better byway of my instincts’. This incident may prove that while flying over the Pacific, Amelia again ignored her navigator’s advice and instead ‘flew on instinct’. As any flyer knows, flying on instinct is deadly as the senses get confused in flight, especially a long flight where she and Fred were very tired. Remember that the navigator was not co-seated next to the pilot, he was in the plane’s middle fuselage area and he had to hand Amelia messages via a pole with a piece of paper scribbled on it- not a good way to have pilot-to-NAVIGATOR communication. There was clearly either a navigation or pilot error, we shall never know for sure. Both Amelia and Fred had personal problems that made them liable to make mistakes. I do agree with the posting that Hannah Reitsch was the best female flyer- by Jove only she and one male pilot ever successfully flew a V-1 rocket (8 of their fellow pilots died doing the same), however, given her un-repented Nazi loyalty (her parents committed suicide along with killing their other daughter rather than surrender to the Allies). Her flight into and out of Berlin in the last days of WWII is one for the books and they took more fire than most US pilots experienced. Hannah later went on to meet President Kennedy as a noted glider pilot.

    Rest in peace Amelia and Fred- you both gave it one hell of an effort. I wished that you had installed that trailing antenna.

  55. David Hench says:

    Amelia was a self-descfibed “sport flyer.” She was doing it for about the same reason she built a mini roller coaster in her back yard as a girl – also the title of one of her books I think – “For the Fun of It.” She admitted there were much better female pilots than her, much to the consternation of her idiot husband. She wasnt into any phony image crap. She had a male-differentiated brain in a woman’s body … and was certainly ahead of her time regarding feminine roles. To understand her flying, just realize she had a barnstormer mentality. It wasnt about safety; it was about partying in the sky and risk. In the early age of aviation that was what it was about. She had no designs or pretensions about being a professional pilot. For her theory of fear alone, she is a heroine of the first order.

  56. Billy says:

    It’s just annoying as shit when our society celebrates the “first woman to _____” and puts them on par with the first PERSON to do something. Amelia Earhart was not a female Charles Lindbergh, not even close. Sally Ride was not a female Neil Armstrong, not even close. And so on. I think we’d be better off if we stop pretending that the first woman to do XYZ is a real accomplishment worthy of celebration instead of a footnote when invariably it is something that men have done several or many times before. When you’re the first PERSON to climb Mount Everest or to do something nobody’s done before you’re taking an enormous risk in doing something that nobody is sure is even possible. But when you’ve seen several other people do something already, they’ve proved conclusively that it is in fact possible, and you say “Wow, now I want to be the first WOMAN to do that” it doesn’t mean shit. It’s total coattail-riding. It’s all about wanting to be celebrated for being some risky risk-taker when you’re taking zero risk compared to the first PERSON to do something. First woman to spacewalk? Who gives a shit? First woman to climb Mount Everest? Again who gives a shit?

    Let’s stop giving out trophies just for showing up.

    Charles Lindbergh did not fly across the Atlantic with his penis.

  57. Leilanie says:

    HaH! I saw her take off in 1937 on that last flight..I was only 2.5 Yrs. old but my mother took me and kept news articles about it and when they went missing. She always believed that they were on a secret mission before WWII and that the Japanese were responsible.

  58. princeasbel says:

    Hi, Dalrock! I made a video about this controversy and uploaded it today since this marks the 79th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance. I acknowledge you at 8:32 and in the video description. Thank you for writing these articles. I doubt I would have ever heard of Charles Lindbergh had you not talked about him.

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