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By Rosemary McKittrick
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EARHART FLIGHT PLAN SOARS AT HERITAGE

EARHART FLIGHT PLAN SOARS AT HERITAGE
Photo of Earhart and Stultz aboard the President Roosevelt together with Earhart’s 1928 flight plan; Stultz’s contract and personal pilot’s license sold for $23,900. Photo courtesy of Heritage Galleries & Auctioneers.
She had just become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic.

Amelia Earhart was famous.

It didn’t really matter to the world that she was only a passenger on that flight.

The year was 1928. Earhart’s plane shot up into the skies above Boston and headed for Trepassy, Newfoundland. From there Earhart flew to Burry Port, Wales aboard the tri-motor plane Friendship.

The flight lasted 20 hours and 40 minutes. Wilmer Stultz, the pilot, was all but ignored in the media fury surrounding the first woman to fly across the Atlantic.

"The idea of just going as 'extra weight' did not appeal to me at all," Earhart said. “Bill (Wilmer Stultz) did all the flying—had to. I was just baggage, like a sack of potatoes.”

Earhart spent the rest of her life justifying her fame. In 1932, she became the first woman and second person to actually fly solo across the Atlantic.

The event coincided with the 5th anniversary of Charles Lindberg’s Atlantic flight. After the historic 14 hour and 56 minute flight, President Herbert Hoover presented Earhart with National Geographic Society's gold medal. Congress also awarded her the Distinguished Flying Cross

Earhart’s trans-Atlantic flight wasn’t about being a woman as much as it was about following a dream.

Power and perseverance. That was Amelia Earhart.

She was pushing the boundaries in an era when choices for women were few.

“I have often said that the lure of flying is the lure of beauty, Earhart said. I need no other flight to convince me that the reason flyers fly, whether they know it or not, is the esthetic appeal of flying.”

The world’s most famous aviator tested fate once again in 1937 and disappeared attempting to become the first woman to fly around the world. Along with navigator Fred Noonan, Earhart was last heard from on July 2, 1937 near Howland Island in the center of the Pacific Ocean.

Mystery has encompassed Earhart ever since her plane went down and the lure and legends linger.

On June 7, 2006, Earhart’s original 1928 flight plan and related documents surfaced for sale at Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas, Texas. Consigned directly by a surviving nephew of pilot, Wilmer Stultz, the plan measured 40 inches by 18 1/2 inches framed.

On a color-tinted map of the North Atlantic, pilot Stultz carefully marked off the intended flight plan, tracing the journey from its original starting point in Boston, through Newfoundland and ending on the Wales Coast. In red, Stultz marked the exact longitude and latitude references for dozens of islands, cities, etc., which could serve as landmarks if they veered off course and lost their way.

Included with the flight plan was the original contract in which Stultz agreed to make the flight. He received $250 while preparing for the journey and $20,000 upon its successful completion.

Also included in the lot was an 8 inch by 10 inch photo of Stultz and Earhart aboard the President Roosevelt ship and Stultz’s personal pilot’s license. It was signed by Orville Wright, Chairman of the issuing authority. The items sold as a lot for $23,900.

Here are some current values for other historical items sold in the auction.

Historical Americana

Wheelchair; belonged to Alexander Stephens--vice president of the Confederacy; 19th century; 27 inches diameter; $1,076.

Ribbon; “This is a White Man’s Country,” 1868; 2 1/2 inches by 6 inches; $8,365.

Slave Hire Badge; Charleston 1824 Mechanic; 49mm by 53 mm; $9,560.

Campaign button; Bryan & Stevenson; “Eclipse” button; celluloid; 1900; 1 1/4 inch diameter; $20,315.

American Flag; unique 21 star; circa 1818-1820; 32 1/2 inches by 40 inches; $28,680.

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