A 31-year-old pilot named Amelia Earhart from Denver, Colorado, took off Thursday on an 18-day, 28,000-mile trip around the world following the same route that her namesake attempted in back in 1937.
Earhart hopes to succeed where the original aviatrix didn't, and become the youngest woman to fly around the world in a single-engine aircraft, The Kansas City Star reported
Wanting to give her a strong female name, her parents donned her with the famous appellation, and it didn't take long for her to take to it.
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"There have been times when I've momentarily thought, you know, if I had a different name, things might be a little easier," she said. "But now that I've embraced it and I've said that I'm going all in, it's so much fun!"
The young pilot has been training and preparing for her journey full time since March, when she quit her job as a traffic reporter for NBC affiliate KUSA Denver. She worked out a deal with the owners of the original hangar the elder Earhart flew out of 77 years ago in Oakland, California, and departed from the exact same spot. She and co-pilot Shane Jordan will fly a stripped-down Pilatus PC-12 NG plane with an attached 200-gallon fuel tank in her attempt to capture the record.
"When I think about the feelings of opening up the hangar door on the morning of the flight and seeing the same view that Amelia saw, it's really special to me," she told NBC News
The original Earhart, who navigated using only the stars, disappeared somewhere over the south Pacific during her circumnavigation. The new Earhart is humble when she talks about her own journey around the globe, noting that she will not only have GPS and other sophisticated navigation systems, but she'll even be able to send out Tweets.
"I’m not saying my flight will be as difficult as hers, or as much of an achievement," she told reporters, "But Amelia filed a flight plan 77 years ago, and because she didn’t return, it’s still open. I want to symbolically close it."
The longest leg of Earhart's trip is nine hours, and she's scheduled to make her first re-fueling stop on Friday in Miami, Florida.
Those interested in tracking her flight minute-by-minute can visit AmeliaEarhartProject.com
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