23 May 1937

Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra 10E NR16020 is refueled at Miami, Florida, 1 June 1937
Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10E Special, NR16020, is refueled at Miami, Florida.

23 May 1937: Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, her husband, George Palmer Putnam, and aircraft mechanic Ruckins D. “Bo” McKinney, arrive at Miami, Florida, aboard her Lockheed Electra 10E Special, NR16020. This completed the fourth leg of her second attempt to fly around the world.

. . . on Sunday morning, May 23, headed on southeastward for Miami. From New Orleans we laid a straight course across the north-easterly “corner” of the Gulf of Mexico to Tampa, a matter of about 400 miles. It was Bo’s first considerable over-water flying and I am not sure he was very enthusiastic about it. That Sunday afternoon we reached Miami, and dug in for a week of final preparation, with the generous aid of Pan American personnel.

Amelia Earhart

Great Circle courses from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Tampa, Florida, 413 nautical miles, then on to Miami, for a total of 591 nautical miles (680 statute miles/1,094 kilometers). (Great Circle Mapper)

The Miami Tribune reported:

Miami Tribune, Vol. IV, No. 191, Monday, 24 May, 1937, Page 1

AMELIA EARHART PAYS MIAMI        SURPRISE VISIT IN ‘LABORATORY’

     Amelia Earhart, world famous flyer, paid Miami a surprise visit yesterday, landing at the 36th st. airport at 2:43 p.m. in her “Flying Laboratory,” 4 hours and 31 minutes out of New Orleans on a shakedown cruise for the plane, which had just been rebuilt after its crash in Honolulu on a projected world flight.

     Miss Earhart was accompanied by her publisher-husband, George Palmer Putnam. Capt. Fred Noonan, her navigator on the trip that ended in Honolulu on March 20 when a tire was blown in an attempt to takeoff at Luke field after a record breaking flight from the American mainland and by her mechanic, “Bo” Mc-Kneeley.

     Other members of the welcoming committee were David Putnam, manager of the Fort Pierce airport, and his wife. David is Putnam’s son by a former marriage. The younger Putnam’s had been informed earlier of the pending arrival, but had not made their information public.

     Miami’s first news of her arrival came a little more than an hour before her landing when a radio message was received at Pan American Airways. George Hussey, chairman of the mayor’s reception committee, and R. V. Waters, president of the Greater Miami Airport association, hurried to the field to greet the celebrated arrivals, and to invite Miss Earhart to appear in Bayfront park tonight at the city’s welcome for Capt. Dick Merrill and Jack Lambia. The invitation was accepted.

     “We’re just out on a shakedown trip,” Miss Earhart said. “Miami wasn’t on our route as originally planned, but on reaching New Orleans we decided to continue the trip and visit David.

     “We crossed the Gulf, and with the navigation of Captain Noonan, hit Tampa squarely on the nose and within one minute of the time he said he would be over the city, and when one considers wind drift, that’s pretty good navigation. We expect to stay here two or three days.”

     All of the facilities of the 36th st. airport being taxed with Eastern Airlines planes, Miss Earhart stopped there but a few minutes, then hopped over to Municipal airport, where hanger space was arranged for her plane.

Miami Tribune, Vol. IV, No. 191, Monday, 24 May, 1937, Page 3, Columns 2–4

© 2022, Bryan R. Swopes

5 thoughts on “23 May 1937

  1. Amelia Earhart was a member of the 99’s and Zonta International. During the month of January, Zontians all over the world celebrate Amelia Earhart month. This past January, the Zonta Club of Houston had the honor of Ms. Becky Nickell, President of the Houston Chapter of the 99’s as program speaker. She shared how attending a Zonta meeting, inspired her to finish and complete her Pilot’s license. http://www.zontahouston.org and http://www.zonta.org

  2. Amelia Earhart is someone I really look up to as a role model, it is such a pity that they are unable to locate her after so many years. She motivates me to pursue my aviation dream, despite not being able to become a pilot or enter the Air Force due to height limits, I hope to be able to pursue corporate aviation in the near future and be a part of this amazing industry.

    1. Thank you, Mandy. Amelia Earhart is probably the most widely known “aviatrix,” but there are many other women whose contributions to aviation were far greater. Amy Johnson has to top the list, in my opinion. A qualified pilot, navigator and aircraft mechanic, she flew across the world in her tiny Gipsy Moth. Jackie Cochran was a test pilot who set more world records for speed, distance and altitude than any other pilot. She funded the famed Lovelace Clinic in its investigation of aviation physiology. She founded and trained the WASPs of World War II. Her friend and rival, Jacqueline Marie-Thérèse Suzanne Douet Auriol, a test pilot for the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault, was the first woman to exceed Mach 2. Turi Widerøe, who flew for the Scandinavian Airlines System, was the first woman pilot to fly for an airline. Another favorite, more recent, is Eileen Marie Collins, pilot of two space shuttle missions and commander of two more. Brigadier General Jeannie Leavitt was the first female fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force. She presently commands the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. So, Mandy, all of these women have laid the ground work for your pursuit of an aviation career. Once a rarity, women are now in the mainstream of aviation. So, best wishes for your pursuit of a career in the sky. Knowledge is the key. Learn everything that you can. The effort will be worth it. — Bryan

  3. A slight nit to pick. Amelia departed from KNEW, New Orleans Lakefront Airport, not KMSY. At the time, Lakefront was basically brand new and state of the art for its day. Post Hurricane Katrina, the original terminal was extensively renovated and restored to the way it appeared when it first opened in the early 1930’s. It’s a beautiful art-deco masterpiece and is one of the few remaining operational terminals like it in the U.S. Another little tid-bit of Earhart’s connection to New Orleans is that Fred Noonan lived in the area for a brief period of time.

    1. Thank you, Dan. I had checked a number of contemporary newspaper articles to find the name of the airport, but none specified which one. I have corrected the article to show the new information.

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