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Miss Earhart Off On Pacific Flight; Heard About 3 Hours Out

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« on: January 11, 2010, 08:55:50 am »

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"He who controls others maybe powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still. - Lao Tsu

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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2010, 08:56:15 am »

Miss Earhart Off On Pacific Flight; Heard About 3 Hours Out
Leaves Honolulu on 2,400- Mile Journey to Oakland Never Made Solo Before FLYING IN GOOD WEATHER 'Everything is Fine,' She Radioes, but Signal Gradually Becomes Weaker.
Wireless to the New York Times


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Honolulu, Jan. 11 -- Amelia Earhart Putnam, only woman to fly the Atlantic alone, took off from Wheeler Field for Oakland, Calif., at 4:44 P. M. [10:14 Eastern Standard Time] today on a trans-Pacific flight never made solo before.

["Everything fine; weather fair," Miss Earhart radioed Honolulu at 1:15 A. M. today, Eastern Standard Time, according to The Associated Press. Her position was not given. Navy radio men asked her to change her wave-length because of static, and she subsequently was heard on the changed frequency. Her signals gradually became weaker as she sped further along.

At 2:20 A. M., Eastern Standard Time, the navy radio at Honolulu reported it had received no report from the plane for more than an hour, having missed scheduled reports at 1:45 A. M. and again at 2:15 A. M. The navy was able to hear the aviatrix's carrier wave at 1:15 and at 2:05, however. It was estimated that at 1:20 A. M. Miss Earhart was about 600 miles out after four hours of flying and this probably accounted for the plane's signals gradually becoming weaker.]

Despite the bad weather in the Schofield Barracks area, which included a drizzling rain and a muddy field, Miss Earhart decided that conditions for her 2,400-mile cruise which she had planned ever since her arrival here two weeks ago, were right.

She entered her plane with a wave of her hand and a smile to the mechanics as she ordered the blocks pulled from in front of the wheels. Taxiing to her starting point, she gave the heavily loaded Lockheed Vega the full gun and after a run of 3,000 feet rose into the air.

Plane Picks Up Speed

The plane settled for a moment but picked up speed and started to climb. Miss Earhart turned toward Diamond Head and within six minutes was half way to that historic landmark and at an altitude of 2,000 feet.

Just before she started, her husband, George Palmer Putnam, said that if his wife did not return in thirty minutes the flight would be definitely "on."

Miss Earhart took with her a collapsible life raft and life preserver, both capable of being inflated instantly by the pulling of a cord.

The plane she is flying was completely overhauled by army air mechanics at Wheeler Field. Gasoline tanks giving a capacity of about 525 gallons were installed and new landing lights were fitted into the leading edge of the wing.

The wireless equipment, with which Miss Earhart expects to talk to station KFI in Los Angeles, was working perfectly when she left the ground.

Husband is Worried

Mr. Putnam was worried and perspiring as the plane got into the air.

"I would rather have a baby," he said.

Miss Earhart came to the field in automobile with Lieutenant George H. Sparhawk, at whose home she had spent the afternoon resting. Mr. Putnam when making his farewells to his wife stuck his head inside the cabin so the spectators could not see or hear.

Miss Earhart wore a brown fur-lined flying suit to keep out the chilly blasts she expected to encounter over the Pacific tonight.

She taxied down slowly to her starting point in the middle of the field and then gave the plane the gun and got up quickly. As the ship went down the runway the propeller blast blew big chunks of mud from the field and over the red fuselage.

Mr. Putnam, when asked whether his wife was taking other precautionary equipment besides the life raft and life belt, said, "What else would she take?" shrugging his shoulders.

A crowd of less than 1,000 was on hand to see the take-off.

It was learned today that Miss Earhart had made a two-hour fuel-consumption flight at 16,000 feet during which she averaged 135 miles an hour and burned about twenty-three gallons of gasoline an hour.

Army air officers believed she went at least the same speed on her dash to the Coast. Figuring her fuel consumption with a full load at thirty gallons an hour, they estimated she would be able to make the Coast with a few gallons to spare.

Miss Earhart's flight started on the anniversary of the arrival of the six naval planes of the VP-10 squadron in Pearl Harbor from San Francisco a year ago. Her trans-Atlantic flight was made on the fifth anniversary of Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh's solo flight.

The personnel of the VP-10 squadron celebrated the occasion today with a flight about Oahu and a dinner at Pearl Harbor this afternoon.

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"He who controls others maybe powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still. - Lao Tsu
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