Namesake to retrace Amelia Earhart flight

2013-07-31 22:37

Washington - A namesake and distant relative of Amelia Earhart is making plans for a symbolic recreation of the ill-starred 1937 flight around the world in which the pioneering aviatrix went missing.

Amelia Rose Earhart, 30, a TV weather anchor in Colorado and self-help blogger who has been a pilot since 2004, intends to set off in June 2014 from Oakland, California on her two-week, 14-stop, 25 000 nautical mile journey.

With her as co-pilot in a Swiss-built Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprop will be Arkansas businessman Patrick Carter, on a route that will see them in Brazil, Senegal, Nigeria, Djibouti, India, Thailand, Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Once completed, Earhart expects to be "the youngest woman to fly around the world in a single-engine aircraft," according to the project's website.

"Aviation plays an integral role in my life and I hope to share some of that joy with others through this adventure," said Earhart in a statement on Wednesday at the EAA AirVenture fly-in in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The late Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo in 1932, vanished on 2 July 1937 with navigator Fred Noonan near Howland Island during the mid-Pacific leg of their flight around the world. She was 39.

Earlier this year, an expedition to find the wreckage of her twin-engine Lockheed Electra claimed to have detected a section of its fuselage using sonar equipment.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (Tighar) suspects Earhart and Noonan may have landed, and possibly survived some time, on tiny uninhabited Nikumaroro, in the Kiribati atoll.

The younger Earhart, who oversees a foundation that helps pay for flight instruction for young women, traces her ancestral connection to her childless namesake to the 18th century.

The title of youngest pilot to circumnavigate the world solo is being hotly contested this year.

It was claimed in 29 June by Jack Wiegand, who returned home to California seven days after his 21st birthday after a 21 000 mile journey in a single-engine Mooney Ovation.

But his achievement is currently being challenged by Ryan Campbell, 19, who set off from his native Australia on June 30 in a single-engine Cirrus SR22.

Now in Oshkosh, Campbell expects to finish his trip in September.

Prior to Wiegand, the title - recognised by the Guinness World Records - was held by a 21-year-old Malaysian, James Anthony Tan, in a Cessna 210. He completed his flight on 14 May this year.