Amelia Earhart (1897–1937) was an American pilot famous for becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set many aviation records during her lifetime, and her courage and determination were an inspiration to all. Amelia tragically disappeared in 1937 when she tried to become the first woman to fly around the world. But her legacy lives on in the example she set to others. Find out more about this inspirational lady with our printables below.
- Amelia’s childhood nickname was ‘Meeley’ (or Millie) while her sister Muriel was known as ‘Pidge’.
- During her solo flight across the Pacific Ocean, Amelia enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate! She didn’t like drinking tea or coffee, so would use a bottle of smelling salts to keep her awake on long flights.
Amelia Earhart Quotes
“What do dreams know of boundaries?”
“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”
“There’s more to life than being a passenger.”
A Short Biography of Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas, USA, in 1897 to Samuel Earhart, a lawyer, and his wife Amelia. Amelia and her younger sister Muriel grew up as tomboys. They climbed trees, went sledging, and hunted for rats with a rifle! They also loved sport and collecting insects.
When Amelia was seven, her uncle helped to build a sledging ramp on the roof of the family’s tool shed, to replicate a rollercoaster Amelia had seen at a fair. Although Amelia crash-landed, she loved it and exclaimed to her sister ‘It’s just like flying!’. Three years later, the family went to the Iowa state fair, where they saw one of the Wright Brothers’ first aeroplanes. Although Samuel tried to persuade his daughters to take a flight, they weren’t interested.
The girls were educated at home for much of their childhood but went to school in their teens. Amelia loved to read and was fascinated by successful women. She kept newspaper cuttings of women who had excelled in traditionally male roles, such as film direction, engineering and law.
During World War I, Amelia trained as a Red Cross nurse and worked at a military hospital. She wasn’t sure of her career path and for a time trained as a mechanic, started medical training and then went into medical research. But her life changed forever when she visited an air show with her father in California, at the age of 23. Amelia was given a ride in an aeroplane by Frank Hawks (who later became a famous aviator) and from that moment Amelia knew she wanted to fly.
Amelia took a number of jobs (as a photographer and truck driver, for example) to save for flying lessons, and with the help of her mother eventually saved enough. She took her first lesson in 1921 and in 1923 became the 16th woman in the US to gain a pilot’s license. She bought a bright yellow bi-plane she called ‘Canary’ and soon afterwards set a women’s altitude record of 14,000 feet.
In 1928, Amelia was invited to take part in a historic flight across the Atlantic, when another female pilot, Amy Guest, pulled out. Amelia joined Wilmer Stutz and Louis Gordon in their plane ‘Friendship’ and left Newfoundland, Canada, for a 2,000-mile trip to Wales, UK. Amelia didn’t pilot the plane during the 21-hour journey, but was left determined to cross the Atlantic again on her own. The team received a great reception back in the US, with a parade in New York City and a meeting with President Coolidge at the White House.
Amelia gave many speeches and wrote articles to promote aviation for women and women’s rights in general. In 1929, she also co-founded an organisation for female pilots called the ‘Ninety-Nines’. Amelia set more speed and altitude records, as well as coast-to-coast flights across America. She wrote some best-selling books about her flying experiences, and in 1931, married her book publisher George Putnam.
Amelia’s dream of flying solo across the Atlantic was realised in 1932 when she became the first woman (and second person after Charles Lindbergh) to do so. The flight wasn’t without its challenges – including bad weather, a fuel leak and a faulty altitude gauge. When Amelia landed on the coast of Ireland 15 hours later, a farmer asked if she had come far. He could hardly believe it when she said ‘Only from America’! Amelia received many awards for her feat.
In 1935, Amelia also became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific. But she still wasn’t satisfied. In 1937, she set out to become the first woman to fly around the world. She left from Miami, Florida, with her navigator, Fred Noonan. They made it to New Guinea in the South Pacific and then took off for Howland Island, but were never seen again. Despite an extensive search for several weeks, they were never found, and 18 months later were declared missing, presumed dead.
There have been many theories about what happened. Most people think they ran out of fuel and crashed into the Pacific Ocean. But others think they may have made it to the uninhabited Gardner Island. Amelia was just 39 when she disappeared, but her legacy lives on. Her strength, courage and determination have been an inspiration, particularly to women around the world, who have been encouraged to seek new horizons of their own.
Our Amelia Earhart Resources
This cartoon-style drawing of Amelia Earhart, the famous aviation pioneer, is a perfect activity for younger kids.
We've got all the important and interesting facts about Amelia Earhart written down on our simple two-page factsheet!
Amelia Earhart continues to be a role model for many women, but can the children write about who she was and why she was inspirational?
We're sure Amelia Earhart would have some interesting tales to tell if she was around today! Our worksheet asks the children to imagine a talk show scenario where they imagine they are interviewing her!
Kids can write a newspaper report about one of Amelia Earhart's adventures using our newspaper writing prompt.
Our simple posters are perfect for introducing famous people to younger children. Print this simple poster of Amelia Earhart (and her plane!) and use in displays and topic work.
This lovely poster shows Amelia Earhart where she loved being best - in her aeroplane - and about to do what she loved doing best - flying!
"What do dreams know of boundaries?". This is possibly one of our most stunning quote posters, featuring a quote by Amelia Earhart, and an incredible picture of a plane flying across the clouds...
"The most effective way to do it, is to do it." A very wise quote from Amelia Earhart, but can the kids write about what they think it means, and rewrite it in their own words?
Have a go at rewriting the quote by Amelia Earhart on this worksheet, and write a little about what you think it means.
Write a creative story based on Amelia Earhart, or record some facts or information about her on this story paper.
Write about Amelia Earhart using our handy story paper, which features a wonderful black and white photograph of this incredible woman.
Do you know which year Amelia Earhart disappeared on her last flight? Mark this event, plus the remarkable moments and achievements in her life, on this timeline printable.
Pilot, pioneer, biplane - can you find these words, plus 9 others all to do with Amelia Earhart in this word search grid?
Here's a fact-finding worksheet on Amelia Earhart - a great introduction to a project for young children.
Use our Amelia Earhart writing paper to write down some interesting facts about this incredible woman, or a story based on one of her adventures? Choose from our colour or black and white versions.
Try to imagine that you are Amelia Earhart, and write a diary entry for your solo flight across the atlantic!
Amelia Earhart received the Distinguished Flying Cross from Congress as the first woman to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic, but what else do you think she should have received an award for? Design your own medal here...