On June 26, Amelia Rose Earhart will begin her attempt to become the youngest woman to fly around the globe in a single-engine aircraft. No, this isn’t The Twilight Zone or déjà vu, there is a 31-year-old namesake of the first female aviator who just so happens to be a pilot, and will depart on her journey next week in an effort to inspire young women.
Earhart, a former news anchor with a love for aviation, was named after Amelia Mary Earhart, who disappeared over the South Pacific in 1937 while trying to circle the world. Today’s Earhart will make 17 stops in 14 countries on her two-and-a-half week, 28,000 mile journey, starting and ending in Oakland, California.
Earhart shares more with the first Amelia than just a name and a hobby. She says her parents wanted to name her after a strong female role model, and it seems the namesake now aims to be one herself.
“There are so few women in flight. Six percent of pilots are female, so we’d like to boost that number up,” Earhart told CNN. “Luckily I’ve got the perfect name to hopefully get young girls excited.”
But she wasn’t always interested in flying. Earhart says people who heard her name always asked her if she was a pilot, and she always said no. She eventually decided to give aviation a try.
“It was always in the back of my mind just as an ultimate goal. So I took my very first discovery flight, which is basically the first flight that every pilot goes through. After that, I was totally hooked,” she told CNN.
Until recently, Earhart thought she was a distant relative of the 1930s pilot. Years ago, a genealogist told her the two shared a bloodline, but a second exploration in 2013 concluded that their ancestors only lived in adjacent counties in Pennsylvania. The news didn’t discourage Earhart, who says it “taught me that Amelia and I share something much deeper than a genealogical connection... we share a spirit to soar.”
Earhart has been a Tedx Talk speaker and recently partnered with tech company Honeywell to livestream cockpit video and sound of her round-the-globe flight in a Pilatus PC-12NG. She says over the past year-and-a-half the trip cost has totaled almost $2 million, and she’s more excited than nervous.
“Amelia’s disappearance unfortunately came at a time when the technology just wasn’t there to track her. But when you think about how far that’s come in the last 77 years, we’re looking at a whole different world,” she said.
“My biggest fear is that the trip will just fly by and the two-and-a-half weeks will be over before I know it.”
Earheart’s cockpit video will livestream starting June 26.