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Bound for California

85 years ago today, Amelia Earhart took off on what many would consider to be her most ambitious flight yet.

June 1, 1937, at 5:56 a.m. a modified Lockheed Electra 10E (1055) bearing the registration NR16020 took off from Miami carrying Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan. The aviators were, according to Earhart, "bound for California by about the longest route we could contrive."

AE bids goodbye to her husband George Putnam before leaving Miami. (Purdue University Libraries, Archives & Special Collections)

Takeoff at dawn (Purdue University Libraries, Archives & Special Collections)

Following the takeoff the plane began to wing its way to the first stop on the 27,000 mile journey, Puerto Rico. Shortly after six o'clock Amelia tuned into WQAM, Miami's radio station, preparing to broadcast her first report, when she heard the radio station announcing her takeoff. "So," she wrote, "a hundred miles from the field, the announcer held me in cruel suspense as to whether or not I actually was going to get off safely!"

The Miami News, Tuesday, June 1, 1937

Bradford Evening Star and The Bradford Daily Record, Tuesday, June 1, 1937

The Electra passed the Bahamas around 6:30 and thirty minutes later Andros Island. Around 1 p.m. "following along the shoreline we came soon to the airport, close beside the colorful city of San Juan." The first leg of Earhart's "just for fun" world flight was done. Tomorrow Earhart and Noonan would leave for Caripito, Venezuela.

The Greenwood Commonwealth, Tuesday, June 1, 1937


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