Legendary aviation pioneer the wind beneath her wings

Legendary aviation pioneer the wind beneath her wings
Ms Amelia Rose Earhart in Singapore last Saturday, one of 14 stops on a round-the-world flight she is making with her co-pilot Shane Jordan. They landed at Seletar Airport.

As a morning tv news anchor in the United States, Amelia Rose Earhart is used to early starts.

Those 2.30am alarm calls have been good preparation for the past two weeks, which saw the 31-year-old and her co-pilot Shane Jordan, 40, waking before the crack of dawn to catch first light - by flying towards it.

The regional news presenter is on a whirlwind round-the-world voyage, covering some 24,300 nautical miles, to commemorate her namesake, the famed American female aviation pioneer Amelia Mary Earhart.

"I wanted to see the sunrise all the way around the globe and also (avoid) the weather," she said. "Later in the day, you get more storms over the ocean and stronger winds."

Amelia Mary Earhart was the first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic but the 39-year-old and her light aircraft vanished after take-off from Papua New Guinea during a round-the-globe flight.

"We're not related but my parents gave me this inspirational name in the hope that it would lead me to be like Amelia," said Ms Earhart, who is flying a Pilatus PC-12 - a single-engine turbo propeller aircraft.

"She was passionate, adventurous and she went for big things at a time when women weren't flying or breaking boundaries." Ms Earhart is trying to emulate her flight trajectory, the reason for her short stop in Singapore last Saturday. "Amelia stopped here. It was one of her last stops before she disappeared so it's a very significant stop."

One highlight of the duo's quest was breaking through the cloud cover over Tanzania to get a bird's eye view of Mount Kilimanjaro. "As we took off, we could see the volcanoes below and the sun coming up, it was magnificent," recalled Mr Jordan, a professional pilot.

Ms Earhart has been updating her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts with snapshots from the air. Her Twitter following has jumped by 10,000 to almost 30,000 since they left the US on June 25.

"We've had people tracing our route, telling us that they're talking about this at the kitchen table," said Ms Earhart, who is raising funds for training scholarships for young women in the US.

She is due to touch down in her home city of Denver, Colorado, on Saturday.

jianxuan@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on July 09, 2014.
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