What Happened to Amelia Earhart in her Round-the-World Flight 75 Years Ago?

Since I’m on the topic of famous aviators, there is a fascinating conference being held in Washington DC this weekend to present and discuss research findings about the famous female aviator, Amelia Earhart.  She and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared in 1937 during her attempt to make a round-the-world flight. For seventy-five years no one knew what had happened to them. Some thought they crashed and sank.  At 7:42 on July 2, 1937 Earhart made contact with the Coast Guard Cutter, Ithaca giving her compass headings. This line headed to her target destination, Howard Island, but also passed over an uninhabited island at the time called Gardner Island, now called Nikumaroro.

After her disappearance there were a number of radio signals that were previously dismissed. Researchers speculate that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, may have landed on that uninhabited island and transmitted radio signals until their plane was swept over the edge of a reef.

There’s been study of a new high-resolution photograph by the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) that is believed to show the landing gear of Earhart’s plane.  See the photo here. A skeleton castaway was found on that island in 1940. TIGHAR has made at least a half-dozen expeditions to the island.

In July 2012 TIGHAR will begin search for the wreckage of Earhart’s plane, Electra.

See more details at the Earhart Search website. They are putting on a conference in Arlington, VA this weekend (June 1-3, 2012). You can also read a more detailed news article at MSNBC here.

Photo courtesy of wikimedia.

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