New Delhi: Seventy five years after her disappearance and 115 years following her birth, Google is honouring the pioneering American aviator (and author) Amelia Earhart. The aviation heroine's end still remains an enigma.
The doodle on Amelia Earhart's 115th birth anniversary shows her climbing up her Lockheed Vega 5B monoplane, Earhart's yellow scarf fluttering in the wind.
The Google letters take the place of the original registration number of the Lockheed Vega 5b - NR-7952 - painted below the wings of the aircraft.
It was on this single-engine plane that she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic alone on May 20–21, 1932. She had originally intended to emulate Charles Lindbergh's solo flight and fly to Paris. Her flight that lasted 14 hours and 56 minutes landed in a pasture in Culmore, Northern Ireland. Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega 5b is now a part of the collection of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.
For her aviation achievement Earhart was honoured with the Distinguished Flying Cross from US Congress, the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honour from the French Government and the Gold Medal of the National Geographic Society from US President Herbert Hoover.
Previously on June 17–18, 1928 Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic altough she was only a passenger on that flight piloted by Wilmer Stutz and Louis Gordon.
Earhart recounted her flying experiences in 20 Hrs., 40 Min (1928) and The Fun of It (1932). Her flying exploits gave Amelia Earhart a star status. Even though she was only a passenger on her first trans-Atlantic flight, her fame overshadowed that of the the polots. She founded an organisation for women pilots called The Nighty-Nines.
On July 2, 1937, Earhart set out to fly around the world in a twin-engine Lockheed Electra along with her navigator Fred Noonan. But the plane vanished in the central Pacific Ocean. At the time of their disappearance Earhart and Noonan had completed more than two-thirds of their intended distance.
One of the most extensive search operations of its time was carried out to locate Earhart and Noonan but in vain. It is believed that Earhart's plane went down presumably low on fuel, but it is still not known whether she survived and if she did then for how long.
This disappearance of the celebrated pilot is aviation history's one of the most enduring mysteries and efforts are underway to solve it. Researchers hope the expedition that began on July 2, 2012 will conclusively solve one of the most tantalising mysteries of the 20th century - what happened to Amelia Earhart? Had she been successful in her endeavour, she would have been the first pilot to circumnavigate the earth around the equator.
Recent clues indicate that Earhart and Noonan might have survived and ended up marooned in Nikumaroro, a tiny uninhabited island in Pacific archipelago of Kiribati.
Evidences of Earhart presence in Nikumaroro include a 1930s cosmetic bottle and what appears to be a jar of a brand of anti-freckle cream of the same era. Of the other items discovered are a bone-handled pocket knife of the type that she preferred, a zip from the 1930s, some pieces of a woman's compact, a bottle of hand lotion, parts of a woman's and a man's shoes and also some human bone fragments. But nothing conclusive, yet.