Now that she has flown around the world, Amelia Rose Earhart is itching for a new adventure.
Her next newsworthy flight could involve children and bring her to Kansas City late next year.
The Denver pilot, a Tonganoxie High School graduate, made international headlines this year by re-creating the flight famously attempted by Amelia Mary Earhart in 1937. (The headline on her achievement in The Kansas City Star appeared July 26).
The 17-stop trip, covering 24,300 nautical miles from June 26 to July 11, began and ended at the same Oakland, Calif., airport from which the doomed aviatrix departed.
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Earhart, no relation to her namesake, has become a celebrity in her own right. Post-flight, her life has been a whirlwind of media interviews and personal appearances from Toronto to Tokyo. She spent more time away from home in October than she did on the flight itself.
She has met thousands of schoolchildren and aviation enthusiasts, sharing the details of what she describes as “my small contribution to the story of aviation.” (Most frequently asked question: How did you go to the bathroom on the plane?)
A new job as a motivational speaker has her encouraging corporate worker bees around the country to think about their world in a different way.
“I would say that, post-flight, the world has expanded,” said Earhart, a former traffic reporter at KUSA, the NBC affiliate in Denver. “It’s just been such a pleasure.”
It wasn’t like that in the days immediately following the flight. After spending a year and a half raising money for and planning the trip, “I didn’t know what to do with myself,” she said.
“To be totally honest, I went through a little bit of a lull after the flight, because I wondered: ‘What am I going to do with myself now? How do I top this? Do I need to top this? Once you fly around the world, what is normal?’
“What I’ve learned in the process is, normal is what I decide it is.”
Normal in this case involved taking a brief gig at Denver’s Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum to help plan its 25th anniversary. Earhart is a board member, and the museum was an enthusiastic supporter of her global jaunt.
Now, she said, “I’m working on another flight, a flight of a different sort.”
She would like to find another small aircraft to fly to cities around the country, including Kansas City, beginning next school year. She would have schoolchildren help her plan each flight and learn about navigation and weather.
She’s just now starting to raise money for the project, as yet unnamed.
“After flying around the world, I know I don’t want a typical job. I want to make a difference,” Earhart said.
She has met a lot of “incredible” people along the way, but also a questionable few who wanted to take her to dinner.
So in case you were wondering about the single Earhart — and we kind of were — she laughed and said, “I’m still flying solo.”
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