Friday, June 15, 2012

In Forty Years She Will Carry A Different Kind Of Letter

On this date seventy-five years ago Amelia Earhart piloted the Lockheed Electra from Assab to Karachi, Pakistan.  She and her navigator, Fred Noonan, left early in the morning and flew 1,920 miles in thirteen hours and ten minutes.
IN HER OWN WORDS -- "In no part of southern Arabia is a forced landing desirable. The waterless, treeless desert geography is in itself pretty hopeless, a further negative factor being the probable attitude of the sparse nomadic population, if, as, and when encountered. In some districts the Arab tribesmen might not be hospitable to strange interlopers, especially a woman. Or perhaps under special circumstances too hospitable. I know the officials concerned did not relish such possibilities, however remote. Indeed, neither did we. But the Electra never had failed me, and I felt the engines would carry on so long as fuel lasted. Anyway, as a special precaution we carried a letter written in Arabic, presumably addressed "To whom It May Concern" and bespeaking for us those things which should be bespoken. At least I think so. We had it translated by two people in New York. One linguist, allegedly familiar with things Arabic, said it would be just too bad for us if such an introduction was presented to the wrong local faction. His counsel left me a trifle confused. We carried the document anyway, tucked beside me in the cockpit, ready for emergency. We carried, too, a pretty generous supply of water in canteens, concentrated foods, a small land compass, and very heavy walking shoes. fortunately we did not have to walk!"
Forty years after the alleged tragic ending of this flight, Amelia Earhart will carry another letter on a very different kind of flight in But This Is Different
The photographs shows the Lockheed Electra being serviced at Karachi.

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