On This Day: Amelia Earhart Becomes First Woman to Fly Across the Atlantic Ocean Solo

by Jon D. B.

On May 21, 1932, Amelia Earhart did what no other woman in the existence of our universe has done: fly the Atlantic Ocean solo.

The one and only Amelia Earhart holds an incredible place in history for many reasons. The pinnacle of aviation legends, Earhart would accomplish nearly everything she sought out to do before meeting a tragic end.

Today, however, we celebrate one of her biggest firsts: crossing the whole of the Atlantic Ocean solo. She was woman. And history will forever hear Amelia Earhart roar.

“THIS DAY IN HISTORY: Famed aviator Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean,” FOX News cites in their celebratory Friday post.

In their photo, which you can see below, “Earhart is shown standing beside her monoplane, which landed in Northern Ireland about 15 hours after leaving Newfoundland.”

Earhart set a remarkable number of aviation records in a career that was tragically cut short. Her first foray into world records was as the first woman to fly solo above 14,000 feet in 1922. Then, her May 21 accomplishment we celebrate today came in 1932.

For it, Amelia Earhart left Newfoundland, Canada, on May 20. She flew a red Lockheed Veg 5B, arriving a day later on May 21 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. With her successful landing, Earhart became the first woman to do so solo – and only the second human in history to do so behind Charles Lindbergh.

Amelia Earhart: American Icon

Earhart was an absolute legend even in her day. When she returned to the U.S., Congress bestowed her the Distinguished Flying Cross. It’s a military decoration celebrating “heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight.”

Amelia was the first woman to ever receive this honor. And all for her solo transatlantic flight! No small feat in any manner.

In the same year, Earhart also made the first nonstop solo flight across America flown by a woman. Beginning in Los Angeles, she landed 19 hours later in Newark, New Jersey.

Then, she would become the first person, man or woman, to fly solo from Hawaii to the mainland in 1935.

Through it all, Amelia Earhart worked tirelessly to promote womens’ rights and congruent opportunities for women in aviation. She was instrumental in forming the Ninety-Nines, anm”international organization for the advancement of female pilots,” History cites.

Moreover, she was the first president of the Organization of Licensed Pilots. The formation still exists today, representing women flyers the world over.

From there, she would then set out on her second attempt to become the first pilot to ever circumnavigate the Earth. Her journey began with navigator Fred Noonan on June 1, 1937.

After many check ins and accomplishments over 22,000 miles, however, Earhardt and Noonan would disappear. After leaving Howland Island, the pair lost radio contact with the U.S. Coast Guard, and were never heard from again.

At the time, President Franklin D. Roosevelt oversaw a painstaking two-week search for Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. They were never found.

It wouldn’t be until July 19, 1937, that both Earhart and Noonan were declared dead. The U.S.’s conclusion? Lost at sea.