Few names carry as much weight as Amelia Mary Earhart’s does, and from a young age, Amelia Rose Earhart has been aware of her namesake’s significance. Guided by a lifelong sense of adventure and a GPS, this summer she will circumnavigate the globe in a Pilatus PC-12NG single engine turboprop, simultaneously paying homage to and breaking away from the first Amelia Earhart’s legend. And she’ll stay connected to her fans in-flight via Honeywell hardware and Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband aeronautical service.
Throughout an outdoorsy childhood spent horseback riding, camping, biking – all the adventures a kid could want – flying remained on the periphery of Earhart’s awareness. Yet, between her curiosity about the first Amelia Earhart and early memories of watching B-2 bombers roar across the Southern California desert, an interest gestated that led to her enrolling in flight lessons during her college years.
Today, Earhart doesn’t have to work two part-time jobs anymore to support her flying ambitions. With the help of sponsors like Pilatus, she is able to focus on survival and simulation training and the unglamorous but necessary arranging of visas and vaccinations. Is she worried about disappearing? No.
What she does worry about is communicating the spirit of the mission, the message of pursuing adventure bravely whether it’s filling out an application or jumping out of a plane. All of Earhart’s social media platforms – which will be active during the flight in what she calls the “world’s first totally socially integrated flight experience” and offer an unprecedented glimpse into the cockpit, including a live feed that will be an actual glimpse into the cockpit – resound with this one philosophy.
Honeywell has reported that, in addition to the fact that the Pilatus is equipped with Honeywell’s Primus Apex integrated flight deck, the company “will provide its satellite communications (SATCOM) and flight management system (FMS) technology for her use on the flight“. A Honeywell spokeswoman tells Runway Girl Network, “Amelia will be connected during the flight with Honeywell’s Aspire SwiftBroadband system and the new AMT 1800 Intermediate Gain Antenna. This will enable her to stay connected and be able to conduct live interviews and social media during her flight.”
Discovering that she is not, in fact, related to Amelia Earhart shattered all of her assumptions about their lineage, and damaged her platform. The backlash was vicious. Naysayers accused her of capitalizing on her name’s significance, and she admits that the week after was ridden with tears and anger. “Just because your name’s Amelia Earhart, they don’t hand you a pilot’s license,” she jokes about the realization that the value lay in her hard work, not in her name. Despite losing the blood ties, her passion for flying and pushing boundaries brought her closer to Amelia Earhart. She was, in a way, flying with Amelia.
Her organization, the Fly With Amelia Foundation, promotes this spirit in young girls and will be announcing the winners of flight scholarships throughout the journey, a particularly meaningful part of the plan as she will also celebrate her ten year flying anniversary. Additionally, she is developing aviation-related educational material for teachers to bring into the classroom to inspire students, boys and girls alike, to consider all possibilities, even unconventional ones.
She could have become an Air Force pilot to sate her appetite for adventure, she admits. That’s one of her regrets. Still, she’s putting her aviation ardor to good use, spreading words of encouragement to people the world over. It’s hard not to be infected with her excitement. We will be, if I may co-opt the words of a text message sent by her father, “Around the world, seeing the planet through Amelia’s eyes.”