Later Amelia served as a nurse's aide in World War I and as a social worker. When she was 23, she took her first plane ride. "By the time I had got two or three hundred feet off the ground," she said, "I knew I had to fly."
She didn't waste time. A week after that ride she was taking her first flying lesson. Six months later she had saved enough money to buy a second-hand two-seater plane. It was painted yellow, so she named it "Canary." Not long after, she took Canary to an altitude of 14,000 feet. That set her first women's record.
She continued to fly, always trying to better her last accomplishment. In 1928, she received a phone call. People were planning a flight across the Atlantic Ocean. They wanted Amelia to be part of the crew. She jumped at the chance to become the first woman to fly across that mighty ocean.
Amelia made the trans-Atlantic flight with pilot Wilmer Stultz and co-pilot/mechanic Louis Gordon. They flew from Newfoundland to Wales in 21 hours. When they returned to the United States, the crew was given a parade. President Calvin Coolidge invited them to the White House.
Amelia was not one to rest on her laurels. She sought one aviation challenge after another. In 1932, she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. She was also the first woman to fly solo across the United States. She then became the first personman or womanto fly solo across the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii to California, more than 2400 miles.
Besides her flying, Amelia enjoyed other interests. She was a writer, editor, and vice president of an airline. At Purdue University in Indiana, she helped develop the department for the study of careers for women.
In attempting the first flight around the world, Amelia's plane disappeared. This great lady of the skies was never seen again.
Amelia felt that men and women were equal in "jobs requiring intelligence, coordination, speed, coolness, and willpower." Her flying proved her point. It also instilled in many girls and women the courage to follow their own dreams.