1935 January 11
Amelia Earhart flies solo from Hawaii to California becomes the first person to complete the transpacific flight.
In the first flight of its kind, American aviatrix Amelia Earhart departs Wheeler Field in Honolulu, Hawaii, on a solo flight to North America. Hawaiian commercial interests offered a $10,000 award to whoever accomplished the flight first. The next day, after traveling 2,400 miles in 18 hours, she safely landed at Oakland Airport in Oakland, California.
On May 21, 1932, exactly five years after American aviator Charles Lindbergh became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Earhart became the first woman to repeat the feat when she landed her plane in Londonderry, Ireland. However, unlike Lindbergh when he made his historic flight, Earhart was already well known to the public before her solo transatlantic flight. In 1928, as a member of a three-member crew, she had become the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an aircraft. Although her only function during the crossing was to keep the plane’s log, the event won her national fame, and Americans were enamored with the modest and daring young pilot. For her solo transatlantic crossing in 1932, she was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross by the U.S. Congress.
Two years after her Hawaii to California flight, she attempted with navigator Frederick J. Noonan to fly around the world, but her plane was lost on July 2, 1937, somewhere between New Guinea and Howland Island in the South Pacific. Radio operators picked up a signal that she was low on fuel—the last trace the world would ever know of Amelia Earhart.
My great grandfathers’ picture of Emelia Earhart before her flight to California in front of her Lockheed Vega 5B
It was 84 years ago today that American pilot Amelia Earhart made history in the first ever solo flight from Hawaii to California.
On January 11, 1935, she took off in her Lockheed Vega 5B airplane from Honolulu on her way to Oakland, California. At the time this was no easy task, as others had tried, and tragically failed. However, despite Honolulu having been somewhat soggy by winter rains, the plane took off in the afternoon without trouble. All through the flight she had no mechanical problems and faced no poor weather conditions that impeded her travel. In fact, as she would later say, she even managed to listen to the radio broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera. In flight, she had hot chocolate and a few
First ever solo flight from Hawaii to California
by Ronald G. Mayer Jr.
The journey took only 18 hours, but it was ground breaking, not only earning her more worldwide acclaim, leading her to later attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 1937 when she would disappear, but also $10,000 dollars from Hawaii businesses that had promoted the idea of having a pacific flight to the mainland.
On January 11, 1935, Amelia Earhart took to the skies and made aviation history for America.
In an interesting note, the picture I used for this article is similar to many others that have been published before. However, this picture is from my great grandfather, Robert Young, who served as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Army Aircorps, stationed in Hawaii during this time. I found this image in my grandfather’s old photo album.
About the Author
Ronald G. Mayer Jr. is a Native of Arizona and a graduate of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. He teaches history at Liberty Traditional School in Prescott Valley where he resides. He looks forward to a career as a Professor of History.
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