March 17, 1937: Amelia Earhart is airborne!
Over five thousand cheering fans—husband George Palmer Putnam among them—were on hand to see her take off from Oakland, California, on her record-breaking around-the-world flight.
Early reports are that all is going well on this first leg of the journey, with Hawaii as her initial goal. As grueling as today’s 2,392-mile flight may be, it is just the first of three days of long-distance, over-the-water flying. Her next hop will be to tiny Howland Island, then on to Lae, New Guinea—6,500 miles from Oakland.
She is attempting to become the first pilot to circle the globe as closely as possible to the Equator, Earth’s widest point. Her 27,000-mile route will be nearly twice the distance of the late Wiley Post’s two 15,000-mile flights…