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Unidentified Photographer

[Amelia Earhart at the controls of her Lockheed Electra, Oakland, California]

Date March 12, 1937
Location Oakland California United States
Dimensions Image: 8 9/16 x 6 13/16 in. (21.7 x 17.3 cm)
Paper: 9 x 7 in. (22.9 x 17.8 cm)
Print medium Photo-Gelatin silver

"Amelia Earhart Putnam, conqueror by plane of both oceans, is poised at Oakland airport for the greatest air adventure of air history. She plans to be the first woman to circle the globe by plane, the greater part of which she will do alone. Highly pleased with preliminary tests, including blind flying, Amelia plans to hop off March 15, her first stopover at Honolulu."
Earhart described the cramped conditions of the Electra's cockpit: it was only "four feet six inches by four feet six inches." The bamboo pole along the roof was used for passing notes back to Fred Noonan, her navigator. The circular object on top is Earhart's Bendix radio direction finder. She and Noonan jettisoned their marine frequency radio and trailing antenna because neither was proficient with Morse code. These devices might have helped them locate Howland Island.

Credit line

The LIFE Magazine Collection, 2005

Feedback Accession No. 1339.2005