Amelia Earhart: Distant relative with same name to retrace last flight

Amelia Earhart aims to fly the route of her storied relative in a latest-model single-engine plane next year. The flight is to raise money for her foundation to encourage girls to fly.

This undated file photo shows Amelia Earhart.

Amelia Earhart will finally complete her flight around the globe in June 2014.

Or at least that’s the symbolic connection a distant relative, Amelia Rose Earhart, hopes to make when she attempts to retrace the famed pilot’s route around the world in a single-engine plane next summer.

Ms. Earhart, a traffic and weather anchor at a Denver television station and philanthropist, announced her plans at an aviation show in Oshkosh, Wis., Wednesday.

Of course, the Earhart doesn’t plan on repeating the mysterious disappearance of her namesake’s plane in the Pacific Ocean, but she does plan on capitalizing on the enduring fascination with the incident to raise money for her foundation that encourage girls to enter aviation.

"One year from now I will be completing, symbolically completing, and recreating Amelia Earhart's historic flight around the world. It's a dream that I've had since I was about 18-years-old,” she said Wednesday.

Despite sharing the same name as the famed aviatrix, Earhart told USA Today she didn't discover the connection until she found a “common ancestry” by tracing her roots to the early 1700s.

Earhart, who started flying lessons in 2004 and earned her instrument rating about two months ago, won’t be attempting the journey in quite the same style as the original Earhart. She’ll be flying an aircraft significantly more technologically advanced than the Lockheed Electra plane flown in 1937. The 2014 Earhart will fly in a latest-model $4.6 million PC-12 NG aircraft supplied by sponsor Pilatus Business Aircraft, Ltd., based in Stans, Switzerland. 

Like the original Earhart, Amelia Rose will have a co-pilot on her round-the-world flight. She's planning on flying with Patrick Carter, a former test pilot and corporate charter pilot. The pair will take off from Oakland, Calif., and plans on flying more than 100 hours and making 14 stops on the journey.

The flight will be co-sponsored by Pilatus Business Aircraft, Ltd.; Jeppesen, a Boeing subsidiary that sells navigation products; and Denver’s Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum.

"Amelia Earhart said adventure is worthwhile in itself," Amelia Rose told the Detroit Free Press. "I think there's a new focus on adventure that we've only seen in the last five to 10 years. But whatever your version of flying is – it could be starting a business, it could be something entrepreneurial  – we want to encourage people to pursue their own adventure."

If successful, Earhart won’t be the first woman to recreate the journey. Anne Pellegreno completed the flight in 1967 in a Lockheed 10A Electra and Australian Gaby Kennard flew it in 1989 in a Piper Saratoga, according to Louise Foudray, a historian at the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison, Kan. 

In April, Earhart started the Fly with Amelia Foundation, which aims to provide flight training for 16-to-18-year-old girls.

“It’s a confidence builder. It allows you to understand what you’re capable of,” she said of flying.

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