The Fantastic Machine Amelia Earhart Tested In Wyoming Skies
Say the name Amelia Earhart and what often comes to mind is the famous aviator who vanished somewhere over the pacific ocean. Yes, she is famous for that. But what made her famous before that?
She wasn’t just the first woman to break many records in aviation. She was an experimental pilot, risking her life to try out never before tried flying machines. She liked to call them “first-time things.”
According to Wyohistory.org, The Laramie Republican-Boomerang’s front-page once reported several hundred people gathering to see a woman land in a strange machine. She had flown over Laramie before, but this was her first stop.
She called the machine an “autogiro” and she was flying it coast to coast. Her sponsor for the flight was Beechnut chewing gum which was proudly plastered across the side of the machine. For the most part, the autogiro looked like a regular airplane but someone had placed a big propeller on top. Picture a helicopter before anyone had the nerve to take the airplane wings off.
The Lincoln Highway National Museum and Archives has her flight schedule. She used the highway below her in order to navigate coast to coast. Earhart arrived in Cheyenne on June 2, 1931. She spent the night, then left for Denver.
She returned to Cheyenne about 4:30 p.m. that day, according to a report in the Wyoming State Tribune and Cheyenne State Leader, who claimed that half the city turned out to see her at the airport. From Cheyenne, it was on to Laramie, Parco, and then Rock Springs. The Rock Springs Rocket wrote about her lunch at the local Lions Club before she moved on.
She eventually decided to build a home in Wyoming at the Double D Ranch on the Wood River in northwest Wyoming. But she was not with us long after work began.
The Pitcaim Museum displays an autogiro much like the one Amelia flew. This website contains a fun collection of photos of Amelia with the one she actually few across Wyoming during her coast-to-coast journey.