The search for U.S. aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart has yet to turn up any evidence in the 75 years since she vanished somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. Earhart, who was born on this date 115 years ago, is the subject of the latest Google Doodle.
Google’s logo features Earhart, a yellow scarf blowing in the breeze, climbing into a Lockheed Vega 5b. Google’s letters appear on the underside of the wings.
While Google’s search engine routinely helps users find billions of websites and answers daily, the real-life search for wreckage from Earhart’s final flight has been a very expensive failure. This year, an expedition led by the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery spent another $2.2 million attempting to locate her missing plane – a Lockheed Model 10 Electra.
Earhart’s disappearance occurred as she was in the midst of attempting to fly around the world, an attempt that officially began in Miami in June but ended tragically near Howland Island, on July 2, 1937, a result of communication and navigation issues, and not enough fuel. A $4 million rescue effort proved unsuccessful.
Earhart’s love affair with flying began in 1920, when she took at 10 minute flight that changed her life and would eventually catapult her to celebrity status. She began taking flying lessons in January 1921 and was the 16th woman to receive a piloting license in 1923.
Earhart set many aviation records in her time. Noteworthy among them were the women’s world flying speed of 181.18 mph (in July 1930) and the transcontinental flying time of 17 hours, 7 minutes, and 30 seconds (in 1933).
She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, doing so in 1932 with a time of 14 hours and 56 minutes – five years after Charles Lindberg’s did it first (Earhart was dubbed “Lady Lindy”).
But this wasn’t her first trip across the pond. Earhart was the first female passenger (though she admitted she felt more like “baggage”) to make a transatlantic flight in 1928 – one that lasted 20 hours and 40 minutes.
The female icon was also the first person to fly solo from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Oakland, California, doing so in 1935, which also made her the first person to fly across both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Other firsts to her credit: first person to fly solo from Los Angeles to Mexico City; first person to fly from Mexico City to Newark; and first person to fly from the Red Sea to India.
Earhart was declared legally dead in 1939.
As a warning, expect Google’s Amelia Earhart Doodle to also mysteriously vanish from its homepage once your clock hits midnight.
What do you think happened to Amelia Earhart? Do you think we’ll ever know?