A rare opportunity to own and display an authentic piece of original linen from Amelia Earhart's record-breaking Lockheed Vega 5B combined with the artwork of Ron Cole in this wall-hanging framed display. 13x19-inches overall size. Each signed & numbered by the artist.
History of the Aircraft & Pilot:
Amelia Earhart is probably the most famous female pilot in aviation history, an accolade due both to her aviation career and to her mysterious disappearance. On May 20-21, 1932, Earhart became the first woman, and the second person after Charles Lindbergh, to fly nonstop and solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Flying a red Lockheed Vega 5B, she left Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, Canada, and landed about 15 hours later near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The feat made Earhart an instant worldwide sensation and proved she was a courageous and able pilot. Then, on August 24-25, she made the first solo, nonstop flight by a woman across the United States, from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, establishing a women's record of 19 hours and 5 minutes and setting a women's distance record of 2,447 miles.
Amelia Earhart bought this Vega, NR-7952, in 1930; she ultimately owned four Vegas and leased two. After a nose-over accident later that year, the fuselage was replaced and strengthened to carry extra fuel tanks. Three types of compasses, a drift indicator, and a more powerful engine were also installed. In 1932 Earhart flew the Vega nonstop and alone across the Atlantic and across the United States. She sold it to Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute in 1933. The Smithsonian acquired it in 1966.
During her 2,026-mile nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic on May 20-21, 1932, Earhart fought fatigue, a leaky fuel tank, and a cracked manifold that spewed flames out the side of the engine cowling. Ice formed on the Vega's wings and caused an unstoppable 3,000-foot descent to just above the waves. Realizing she was on a course far north of France, she landed in a farmer's field in Culmore, near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Acclaimed in London, Paris, and Rome, she returned home to a ticker tape parade in New York City and honors in Washington, D.C. By July and August, she was back in the Vega for her transcontinental flight.
Earhart decided to make a world flight and she planned a route as close to the equator as possible, which meant flying several long overwater legs to islands in the Pacific Ocean. On March 20, 1937, Earhart crashed on takeoff at Luke Field, Honolulu, Hawaii, ending her westbound world flight that had begun at Oakland, California. The Electra was returned to Lockheed Aircraft Company in Burbank, California, for extensive repairs. On June 1, 1937, Earhart began an eastbound around-the-world flight from Oakland, via Miami, Florida, in the Electra with Fred Noonan as her navigator. They reached Lae, New Guinea on June 29, having flown 22,000 miles with 7,000 more to go to Oakland. They then departed Lae on July 2 for the 2,556-mile flight to their next refueling stop, Howland Island, a two-mile long and less-than-a-mile wide dot in the Pacific Ocean.
Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, Earhart and the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca, anchored offshore of Howland, could not complete any direct two-way radio communication and neither Earhart nor Noonan were competent at Morse Code. However, the Itasca did receive several strong voice transmissions from Earhart as she approached the area, the last at 8:43 am stating: "We are on the line of position 156-137. Will repeat message. We will repeat this message on 6210 kilocycles. Wait. Listening on 6210 kilocycles. We are running north and south." Earhart and Noonan never found Howland and they were declared lost at sea on July 19, 1937, following a massive sea and air search.
The section of original, red-painted linen was removed from Earhart's Vega during its recovering by the Smithsonian. It bears evidence of its unique history, red over black paint with traces of silver dope. The aircraft was painted red twice, the original coat having been a brighter signal red over which a later darker red was applied. All of this is consistent with other known samples of exterior linen from this aircraft, all of which originated from the aforementioned recovering in Washington D.C.
The linen was acquired by Ron Cole in May 2022 as part of the estate of Robert Boehme, who had been sent the material by Robert C. Strobell, the former Associate Curator of the National Air Museum (the forerunner of the National Air & Space Museum) in 1967.
Each of these displays includes a roughly 1.5x1.5-inch section of linen from the larger sample. Artwork size is 11x17-inches. Overall size with frame is 13x19-inches.
Delivered ready to hang.
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