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  Lockheed Model 10E Electra Constructors Number 1055 Registration NR16020

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March 20, 1937

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March 1937

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July 2, 1937

Pilot  Amelia Mary Earhart (missing) Atchison, KS
Navigator  Frederick Joseph "Fred" Noonan (missing)

Missing  July 2, 1937

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed at Burbank, California. Lockheed constructors number 1055. Registered as NR 16020. One of 15 Model 10-E's produced, Earhart's was designated Lockheed "Electra" Model 10E Special, powered by Pratt & Whitney "Wasp" R-1340 S3H1 and were rated at 550 hp.

On May 21, 1937 pilot Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan departed Oakland Airfield in California bound for Burbank Airfield then flying westward across the United States via Tucson, Arizona and New Orleans, Louisiana before arriving at Miami Airport. They beginning their second attempt to fly around the world without publicity, before announcing their plan to circumnavigate the world at Miami.

Mission History
On July 2, 1937 took off from Lae Airfield on the north coast of New Guinea on a flight over the Pacific Ocean bound for Kamakaiwi Airfield on Howland Island. Although in radio contact with U. S. Coast Guard (USCG) radio operators, they never reached their destination and went missing.

Search
Two hours after U. S. Coast Guard radio operators lost contact with the aircraft, U. S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca began searching to the north and northwest of Howland Island and continued sweeping that area for the next week without result.

The U.S. Navy joined the search which eventually involved the battleship USS Colorado (BB-45), USS Swan (AVP-7), USS Lexington CV-2 plus three escorting destroyers USS Cushing (DD-376), USS Lamson (DD-367) and USS Drayton (DD-366)

The Japanese oceanographic survey ship Koshu searched in the Marshall Islands. Some sources falsely claimed that Kamoi also participated in the search. Although briefly ordered, the vessel never participated in any search nor was it in area.

The official U.S. search for Earhart was abandoned on July 18, 1937 with no trace of the aircraft or crew found. The cost of the search was estimated by the press to be $4 million dollars and the effort was touted as the largest search and rescue operation ever mounted up to that time. In truth, the actual cost of the search in excess of routine fleet operations was never officially calculated, bur the 1927 search for French transatlantic fliers Charles Nungesser and Francois Coli involved more ships for a greater time over a larger area. Earhart, however, remains one of the most famous unsolved aircraft disappearances in the world.

Memorials
Earhart was officially declared "legally dead" on January 5, 1939. Noonan was officially declared dead on June 20, 1938.

Earhart has a memorial marker at Valhalla Memorial Park in North Hollywood, CA in the portal of the folded wings.

At Lae Airfield on July 2, 1987, an Amelia Earhart Memorial was dedicated near the runway, donated by Air Niugini.

The disappearance of this Electra is one of aviation's greatest unsolved mysteries. Earhart's disappearance has spawned many Amelia Earhart myths and unsupported claims about her fate. None of these myths are true or substantiated and span many locations across the Pacific.

References
Tripline - Amelia Earhart's Circumnavigation Attempt
FindAGrave - Amelia Earhart (photo)
FindAGrave - Amelia Earhart (memorial marker Valhalla Memorial Park)
FindAGrave - Frederick Joseph "Fred" Noonan (photo)
Paradise Magazine "Amelia Earhart Remembered" by Bruce Hoy No. 63, July - August 1984
Flightpath Magazine "Amelia Earhart Remembered" by Bruce Hoy, Volume 4 No. 3
Flightpath Magazine "Leave Amelia Alone" by Michael Claringbould 2003
Lockheed - Model 10 Electra

TIGHAR - The Earhart Project
Amelia Earhart - Amelia Earhart myths and unsupported claims about her fate

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

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