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Famous Pioneers in Iowa's Transportation History

Amelia EarhartAmerica's famous aviatrix, moved to Des Moines in 1908 as a young girl. At age 10 she saw her first airplane at the Iowa State Fair. She left Des Moines in 1914 and moved to Chicago. In October 1922, Earhart began participating in record-breaking attempts and set a women's altitude record of 14,000 feet.

Earhart was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic (June 1928) and made the first solo flight from the Atlantic to the Pacific Coast (September 1928). Shortly thereafter she visited several Iowa towns on a series of lecture tours.

In 1929 she formed the now-famous women pilots' organization, the Ninety-Nines. In 1932 she was the first woman to successfully make a solo flight across the Atlantic.

In 1935 she made a trans-Pacific flight from Hawaii to California. On June 1, 1937, she began her attempt to become the first woman to fly around the world. On July 2, 1937, her last voice transmission was heard, "KHAQQ calling Itasca. (U.S. Coast Guard cutter) We must be on you but cannot see you ... gas is running low ... "

The fate of Earhart has fascinated Americans since she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared during that flight. Some believe the two drowned because their plane ran out of fuel. Others believe they were killed or captured by the Japanese. But there is no firm evidence to prove any of the theories.