Pilot Journal
Wednesday, September 1, 2004

The Search For Amelia

Sixty-seven years later, the mystery behind the disappearance of Earhart and her Lockheed Electra might soon come to an end

the search for ameliaLady Lindy always knew how to captivate a crowd. And today was no different. She, famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart—nicknamed for her comparable achievements to another celebrated aviator, Charles Lindbergh—stood in front of her airplane amidst a throng of people who were eager to witness her attempt at yet another record-breaking flight—to become the first person to fly around the world at its widest route, near the equator.
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And the result of the merger was nothing less than astounding. Gillespie has amassed hundreds of artifacts, which he believes could eventually solve the 67-year-old mystery. Although most of them have yet to be identified, Gillespie remains optimistic that he’ll find something soon, if not among the artifacts that he’s already collected, then on his next trip, called the Niku V, scheduled for Summer 2005.

“There’s a tremendous amount of evidence there,” says Gillespie with excitement in his voice. “But extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. We’re getting there.”

Mythical Proportions
In addition to Nauticos and TIGHAR, several others are hot on the trail of the Electra. One recent report claimed that John Naftel, an 81-year-old war veteran asserting to have participated in the burial of Earhart and Noonan on the island of Tinian in 1944, will help in finding their grave site. A different report suggests that there is evidence that Earhart was captured by the Japanese, secretly repatriated and lived out her life in New Jersey under the pseudonym Irene Craigmile Bolam. And yet others believe that she was the voice of radio broadcaster “Tokyo Rose” in WWII... And the list goes on.

With so much conjecture about the final hours of one of aviation’s most beloved female aviators, one of them, one would think, is bound to hold the truth. But whether or not anyone will be able to find it anytime soon still remains to be seen.

In the meantime, as the search for Earhart and her Electra—the holy grail of aviation—rages on, some have taken comfort in a letter Earhart wrote to her husband, George Putnam, in the event that a dangerous flight would prove to be her last: “Please know I am quite aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.”


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