1937

DestinAsian - - FLASHBACK - —James Louie

“Fly­ing might not be all plain sail­ing, but the fun of it is worth the price.” So said Amelia Earhart, the Amer­i­can avi­a­tor who lived far ahead of her time. In 1932 she be­came the first fe­male pilot to fly solo across the At­lantic, and her pen­chant for break­ing records would cul­mi­nate in a round-the-world trip in a Lock­heed Elec­tra, pic­tured here above the Golden Gate Bridge at the be­gin­ning of her first, failed at­tempt. Three months later, Earhart started out on an epic jour­ney that even­tu­ally brought her to South­east Asia. The di­ary en­tries she sent home along the way make for an en­ter­tain­ing read: she mar­veled at the Sh­wedagon Pagoda in Yan­gon, lauded Sin­ga­pore’s newly opened Kal­lang Air­port as “an avi­a­tion mir­a­cle of the East,” and bought a hand­made sheath knife in Jakarta—a gift she re­solved to wear on her belt while cross­ing the Pa­cific. Trag­i­cally, Earhart never made it. Her dis­ap­pear­ance en route to How­land Is­land has spawned the­o­ries that she and nav­i­ga­tor Fred Noo­nan died as cast­aways or were taken pris­oner by the Ja­panese. Though her fate re­mains a mys­tery, Earhart still lives on in Amer­ica’s pub­lic imag­i­na­tion.

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