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The Jumping Off Point

On the morning of June 6, 1937, the ground was soggy from the deluge of rain the previous night and it was feared the Electra might not be able to lift off from the ground. However, the airfield was "well drained and the sod hard and firm." The flight for the day was a short one, only 270 miles from Fortaleza to Natal, where preparations would be made for the flight across the Atlantic to Africa.

"We got into the air at 4:50 a.m. and arrived at Natal at 6:55, so our day's work was done almost before conventional breakfast time." The flight down the coast consisted of clouds and rain-squalls as far as the weather was concerned, Amelia makes note of sand shining brightly over the dunes and spotting one of the oldest churches in Brazil, sitting on a hill. After spotting the airfield, the Electra began a race against "a black rain squall." After landing and taxiing to the hangar the rain caught up with the fliers creating a "muddy tropic deluge which blotted out vision fifty feet away."

The Electra was refueled and everything was set up for the travelers long Atlantic crossing the following day.

"As I write this, looking out the window I can see two children playing in the sand. I would like to play too, or at least sunbake beside them."


AE in coveralls beside the Electra

AE and Fred Noonan with unidentified men in uniform

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