Amelia Mary Earhart (/ˈɛərhɑːrt/, born July 24, 1897 – disappeared July 2, 1937, died ??) is an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences, and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots.
Born in Atchison, Kansas, Earhart developed a passion for adventure at a young age, steadily gaining flying experience from her twenties. In 1928, Earhart became the first female passenger to cross the Atlantic by airplane (accompanying pilot Wilmer Stultz), for which she achieved celebrity status. In 1932, piloting a Lockheed Vega 5B, Earhart made a nonstop solo transatlantic flight, becoming the first woman to achieve such a feat. She received the United States Distinguished Flying Cross for this accomplishment. In 1935, Earhart became a visiting faculty member at Purdue University as an advisor to aeronautical engineering and a career counselor to women students. She was also a member of the National Woman's Party and an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment.
During an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937 in a Purdue-funded Lockheed Model 10-E Electra, Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island.
There has been considerable speculation on what happened to Earhart and Noonan. Most historians hold to the simple "crash and sink" theory, but a number of other possibilities have been proposed, including several conspiracy theories.
Some have suggested that Earhart and Noonan survived and landed elsewhere, but were either never found or killed, making en-route locations like Tarawa unlikely. Proposals have included the uninhabited Gardner Island (400 miles (640 km) from the vicinity of Howland), the Japanese-controlled Marshall Islands (870 miles (1,400 km) at the closest point of Mili Atoll), and the Japanese-controlled Northern Mariana Islands (2,700 miles (4,300 km) from Howland).
There are also many theories about Amelia Earhart being a spy for FDR, which the government has repeatedly denied.
Her husband George P. Putnam, who had left his previous wife for Earhart, had Earhart declared dead on January 5, 1939, and remarried on May 21 of that year to Jean-Marie Cosigny James.
In November 2006, the National Geographic Channel aired a series about a claim that Earhart survived the world flight, moved to New Jersey, changed her name, and remarried.
One woman even denies being Amelia Earhart, despite many other people repeatedly saying that she totally is.