Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Progressive Myths Come Undone

The myth of female achievement
It's a little embarrassing when one's knowledge doesn't even rise to the level of Wikipedia. While I knew she had a male "co-pilot", (and assumed that he'd done the takeoff and landing), I had no idea that Amelia Earheart didn't actually do any flying in her trip across the Atlantic in her landmark "flight".

After Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927, Amy Phipps Guest (1873–1959) expressed interest in being the first woman to fly (or be flown) across the Atlantic Ocean. After deciding the trip was too perilous for her to undertake, she offered to sponsor the project, suggesting they find "another girl with the right image." While at work one afternoon in April 1928, Earhart got a phone call from Capt. Hilton H. Railey, who asked her, "Would you like to fly the Atlantic?"

The project coordinators (including book publisher and publicist George P. Putnam) interviewed Earhart and asked her to accompany pilot Wilmer Stultz and copilot/mechanic Louis Gordon on the flight, nominally as a passenger, but with the added duty of keeping the flight log. The team departed Trepassey Harbor, Newfoundland in a Fokker F.VIIb/3m on June 17, 1928, landing at Pwll near Burry Port, South Wales, exactly 20 hours and 40 minutes later.[50] There is a commemorative blue plaque at the site.[51] 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."

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