By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (July 2, 2024, 2024) – In this edition of Fun with Maps we take flight with an iconic pilot for some first and last flights.

Fly Where No Female Had Flown Before

It is not Kansas anymore.

Kansas born Amelia Earhart flew as a passenger in Los Angeles in 1920, catching the flying bug. 

Flight lessons soon followed, and she became the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an airplane eight years later.  In the same year she became the first woman to fly across the US and back.  A Transatlantic solo flight followed in 1932.  Many other aerial accomplishments were achieved by her.

On the personal side, several boyfriends in the 20s and early 30s occupied her when not in the air, and she did eventually marry in 1931.

Then she started planning a 26,000 mile around the world flight.  That would have been the longest when she started the first attempt in 1936.  The first attempt was abandoned after a “minor” crash due to equipment issues in Honolulu.

The second attempt to circumnavigate started officially in Mimi on June 1, 1937, although she flew there from Oakland a few days prior.  All was well flying over Africa, Southeast Asia to Australia.  Then on the leg from Lae Airfield in Papua New Guinea to Howland Island in Oceania, some 2500 miles, Earhart and her navigator disappeared.

The most likely cause is that they ran out of fuel searching for the small destination island.  Some believe that they landed on Japanese controlled Saipan Islands and were held as prisoners and eventually executed. We do not know.

Oceania covers much of the Pacific Ocean and here is Levasseur’s ornate map of Oceania from 1850.

Oceania – Circa 1850 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Fun with Maps here on Loveland Beacon.