Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Vega

(Curator) Amelia Earhart is probably the most well-known
woman pilot in the United States and in the world. She began flying in the early nineteen
twenties. She became the first woman to solo across the Atlantic Ocean and only the second person to do so. During the late nineteen twenties and into the early thirties aviation is
growing and becoming a form of transportation, but it was also a lot of fun. People were really testing aircraft and seeing how far they could fly them, how high they
could fly them which is all really demonstrating the technology
of the airplane and improving it. In the end, of course, the idea was to make
them into modes of transportation. (Aircraft Restorer) The reason to restore them is to see the whole span of the history. Each individual airplane has its own merit.
(In background: the door near three thirty five) but having the whole historical spread,
I think is what’s most important. We collect them either for a specific flight, a specific bit of history, or we collect them for technological advancement in aviation. In the Lockheed Vega, you have both. We have Amelia Earhart becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean solo. and becoming really the first well-known, highly successful woman aviator of the era. and you also have a technologically advanced aircraft. The Lockheed Vega was first designed in the late twenties. If you look at the clean lines of the aircraft
you can see that it’s built for speed. It was originally also built as an airliner for small short routes that were being developed at the time. Earlier planes had a lot of bracing wires the engines are out in the open and there’s
a lot of drag if you looked at earlier aircraft. (Restorer) For all the thrust that the engine is producing, the drag of
the air frame is holding it down. So, if you can eliminate the drag, you get higher speeds and better fuel economy, therefore, longer
range. (Curator) If you look at the Lockheed Vega, it’s very smooth it’s very clean the wing is not braced. It’s a cantilever wing, so there’s no drag against any braces along there. The engine has a
beautiful cowling on a which is something that added about eighteen miles per hour to the speed
of the aircraft. Anything that covers and streamlines the air flow around different parts of the aircraft will make the aircraft faster, for both racing and for passenger flight. (Restorer) Each individual airplane kind of stands alone as a representative of this time period and the Vegas and those types of airplanes
were an advance in technology. (Curator) The pilots who flew aircraft in the late nineteen twenties certainly did not
have the advantages that we have today. Flying the Vega, she had no radio. So, once she took off from Newfoundland she was out of communication with anyone until she arrived in Europe. And, as she’s flying across the ocean,
she finds that a storm that’s predicted is actually, further north. Then, her altimeter fades,
which is one of the critical instruments that she needs. Then, she also had flames coming out of the
engine manifold through a crack. She also had a slight fuel leak just above
her and it was dripping down her neck. She was
uncertain as to how much fuel she actually had. Even though this is one of the top notch planes in the era, it’s very rudimentary. So what you find in these pilots is that they
had a huge amount of courage. (Restorer) We really need to look at the incredible impact that aircraft and air travel have had on the
world today. You can get anywhere in the world in a
day today, when it used to take weeks, months, or you don’t even bother going. The evolution of flight, changed the world so
dramatically in such a short period of time. (Curator) The great inspiration with Amelia was her courage in facing a lot of difficulties. For a woman in aviation at that time period, there were not a lot of opportunities. She could bring aviation to the general public, make them feel as though they were part of it. They could feel the excitement. When she came to town, they could join in and listen to her stories and begin to understand what aviation
was all about. She became a role model for many people. It makes her an enduring figure
both in history and in aviation as a result.

14 Replies to “Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Vega”

  1. the movie Amelia came out when I was 5 and I always wanted to see it since I heard about it which was like 5 months ago

  2. ADMIRAL Nimitz’s immortal words to KCBS (San Fran.) investigative reporter, and Amelia Earhart researcher Fred A. Goerner, “Now that you’re going to Washington, Fred, I want to tell you Earhart and her navigator did go down in the Marshalls and were picked up by the Japanese.”A Lockheed engineer (interviewed by Randall Brink), claimed to have installed 2 cameras on her plane for intelligence gathering. The US govt. built an airstrip on Howland Island, docked a Coast Guard ship to guide Amelia, assigned a Navy Task Group to search for AE for 2 weeks, FOR her clandestine surveillance, NOT for her daredevil exploration. ONI discovered Earhart’s captivity through Japanese radio intercepts and a Jaluit Atoll photo. ONI, Adm. Nimitz, USMC Gens. Erskine, Vandegrift (USMC Commandant), and Watson, commander of the the 2nd Marine Division that invaded Saipan in 1944, substantiated Amelia perished on Saipan for espionage through interviews conducted by military intelligence services. Hundreds of witnesses from Mili, Jaluit, Kwajalein Atolls & 200+ witnesses in Saipan, placed her in Micronesia. 50+ US military witnesses, saw Amelia’s Lockheed Electra (ordered destroyed) & her briefcase on Saipan. In 1964 former U.S. Marines, Everett Henson, Jr. of Sacramento, and Bill G. Burks of Dallas, came forward to say they were the two Marines (Capt. Tracy Griswold supervising), who recovered the remains of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan in an unmarked grave outside a small graveyard on Saipan in July of 1944, and placed in metal canisters for transport to the U.S. This 1937-1944 govt. restricted story is classified, suppressed, and on a need-to-know basis only, due to political (FDR legacy) and wartime sensitivities.

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