24 June 1937

Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10E Special, NR16020, being fueled at Batavia (now, Jakarta), Java, Dutch East Indies, 24 June 1937. (Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections)

24 June 1937: Leg 24a, 24b. After three days of maintenance and repair work on her Lockheed Electra at Bandoeng, Java, Dutch East Indies, Amelia Earhart started warming up her engines at 3:45 a.m. in preparation for a long transoceanic flight to Darwin, Australia.

However, problems with an instrument delayed the takeoff until 2:00 p.m., making Darwin much too far away. They didn’t want to arrive there during hours of darkness. If Fred Noonan’s navigation was slightly off after a long over water flight during darkness, they might not find the small airport.

Instead, they made a short hop to Batavia (now known as Jakarta) and from there, continued on to Soerabaya for a total distance for the day of 355 miles (571.3 kilometers).

After that late start we reached Soerabaya when the descending sun marked declining day. In the air, and afterward, we found that our mechanical troubles had not been cured. Certain further adjustments of faulty long-distance flying instruments were necessary, and so I had to do one of the most difficult things I had ever done in aviation. Instead of keeping on I turned back the next day to Bandoeng.

—Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart with an aircraft mechanic at Soerabaya, Java, Dutch East Indies, 24 June 1937 (Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections)

© 2015, Bryan R. Swopes

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