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Local History 

Amelia Earhart, Part I

 Amelia EarhartNot rebuked, Amelia says,” Springfield (Mo.) Press, June 20, 1931, page 1.

A slim sunburned girl Saturday landed her yellow auto-giro at Municipal airport and chatted in a friendly manner with attendants while her plane was being refueled.

The girl was Amelia Earhart Putnam, one of America’s most famous women fliers, who was on her way to St. Louis in a cross-country experimental autogiro flight. Looking even more like her famous colleague, Charles Lindbergh, than her pictures indicate, she spoke of the “wonderful trip” Lindy is planning and said she has no immediate plans for the future except for more experimental autogiros.

“They are interesting machines,” she said, “and we are expecting great things of them. Of course, they are just in an experimental stage. There really is no comparison between giros and planes. These land easily. I dropped down like a bird here this morning without a bit of roll. They won’t go into a dive and they won’t roll in air. [Illegible passage]

The autogiros are in too much of an experimental stage to say much about what they will do, she said. She was flying an autogiro loaned her and said she “must hurry back with it.” Rumors that she had been reprimanded and even grounded by aviation officials because of alleged carelessness in handling her autogiro in Texas were branded as false by the aviatrix. “As soon as I heard the report I wired aviation department officials about it,” she said, “and they hadn’t heard it. Of course they don’t ground you suddenly. They have a hearing and you are allowed to state your side of the case. I don’t know where the report came from -- department officials didn’t give it out.”

This was Mrs. Putnam’s first landing in Springfield, she said, but she has flown over here several times. “I think you can get the character of a city better by flying over it,” she said, “they stand out quite distinctly.”  [Illegible passage]

Her windblown hair, tousled in attractive disarray about her freckled, tanned face, she looked more like a laughing youth than the famous woman she is. She was wearing jodhpurs, polished tan boots, a leather jacket, and a shirt open at the throat. Her head was bare until she climbed into the cockpit, when she pulled a helmet over her head.

 Amelia Earhart poses with an auto-giro.“It just doesn’t do to wear skirts in these,” she explained as she climbed over the side of the cockpit. Besides flying she likes to go horseback riding and swimming. She is unusually healthy she said, but has no special set of exercises. She never drinks tea or coffee--doesn’t know why--but never has learned to like them. She doesn’t smoke and her “strongest drink” is buttermilk, she said.

She jockeyed her autogiro into position and the crowd, warned that it would be dusty, stood back while the revolving blades of the “windmill” gathered speed. The plane roared down the field a few yards and rose abruptly into air.

Check the shelves for more about the life and disappearance of Amelia Earhart.


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