July 31, 2013
By Thomas A. Horne
In 1937, Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, flew into history by attempting to circumnavigate the world in Earhart’s Lockheed Electra. As we all know, the airplane disappeared on July 2, presumably somewhere near Howland Island in the South Pacific.
Today, a distant relative of Earhart’s is on a publicity campaign for her own flight around the world.
Amelia Rose Earhart (yes, her real name), a traffic reporter for 9News in Denver, held a press event at EAA AirVenture to promote her own upcoming circumnavigation, with Pilatus Business Aircraft Limited and Jeppesen as main sponsors and supporters. Earhart, who had been yearning to fly since she was 18, recently earned her instrument rating and underwent type-specific training at SimCom. She will be accompanied on the flight by Patrick Carter.
But instead of an Electra, Earhart and Carter will be flying a Pilatus PC-12NG. And instead of flying by deduced reckoning and primitive navaids, Jeppesen will be providing navigation and operations planning. The PC-12NG will be fitted with fuselage fuel tanks that will boost the airplane’s range to 2,200 nautical miles—about 400 nm more than the stock airplane.
The flight is set to begin in June 2014. There will be 14 stops over the trip’s 14-day duration, and the flight will generally follow the equator and come close to mimicking the original Amelia’s flight path. For example, an originally planned stop in Karachi, Pakistan, and other politically sensitive destinations used by the original Amelia will be bypassed. However, a flight over or near Howland Island is on the schedule.
Of course, the trip will be all over Facebook and Twitter, and you can go to www.flywithamelia.org for daily updates. Amelia has also formed the Fly With Amelia Foundation and serves on the board of directors of Wings Over The Rockies, an organization aimed at boosting youth interest in aviation.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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