Amelia Earhart became many things to many people during her short life – bestselling author, women’s rights advocate, an international celebrity and even a fashion icon – but the world best remembers her as a spirited aviation pioneer and the first woman to fly nonstop across the Atlantic.
Her first flight was off a ramp on the roof of her family’s toolshed in what was meant to be a home-made roller coaster. Her last was from Lae on her second attempt to be the first person to circumnavigate the globe at its widest point in a plane.
Having successfully completely 35,000km of a journey that had taken her from America to New Guinea via South America, Africa, India and Southeast Asia, Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, had only to cross the Pacific to successfully complete their goal. Her subsequent disappearance has spawned many theories but all that is known for certain is that on 2 July 1937 Earhart and Noonan left Lae bound for Howland Island and were never seen again.