17 June 1937: Leg 19. “From Karachi on June 17 we flew 1,390 miles to Calcutta, landing at Dum Dum airdrome shortly after four in the afternoon. Low clouds hung about during the beginning of the flight, but these disappeared as we drew near the Sind Desert. Through this great barren stretch rough ridges extended almost at right angles to our course. A southerly wind whipped the sand into the air until the ground disappeared from view in regular ‘dust bowl’ fashion. We flew along until the ridges grew into mountains and poked their dark backs like sharks through a yellow sea. these acted as a barrier to the sand, and the air cleared somewhat, so we could again see what we were flying over – dry river beds, a few roads connecting villages, and then a railroad.” —Amelia Earhart
16 June 1937: After flying nearly 2,000 miles (3,220 kilometers) the previous day, Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan lay over at Karachi, India (now, Pakistan). The Lockheed Electra 10E Special, NR16020, is fueled and serviced in preparation for the next leg of the Around-the-World flight.
Landward from Karachi there is desert. To the north is the thirsty hilly landscape of Kohistan, the limestone spurs of the Kirthir range, breaking down southwards into sandy wastes. Southerly is a monotonous expanse riddled by creeks and mangrove swamps reaching to the coast, and further south the great Indus River, born one thousand miles north in Afghanistan, flows into the Arabian Sea. The city’s population is close to 300,000, its seaport serving a huge hinterland which embraces the whole of Sind, Baluchistan, Afghanistan, the Punjab, and beyond. Karachi airdrome is, I think, the largest that I know. It is the main intermediate point on all the traffic from Europe to India and the east. Imperial Airways flies frequent schedules all the way to Australia, and K.L.M. to the Dutch East Indies. In military aviation it is, I suppose, the most important headquarters in India, strategically located in relation to the mountain country of the Northwest Frontier, with its troublesome tribes.
In our hurried scheme of things, with the problems of our own special transport uppermost, most of or time “ashore” was spent in and around hangars. More important far than sightseeing was seeing to it that our faithful sky steed was well groomed and fed, its minute mechanical wants cared for. So the geography of our journey likely will remain most clearly memorized in terms of landing-field environments, of odors of baking metal, gasoline and perspiring ground crews; of the roar of warming motors and the clatter of metal-working tools. Such impressions competed, perforce, with the lovely sights of the new worlds we glimpsed; the delectable perfumes of flowers, spices and fragrant country side the sounds and songs and music of diverse peoples. . . . Of all those things, external to the task at hand, we clutched what we could.
15 June 1937: Leg 18. Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan fly from Assab, Eritrea, to Karachi, India (now, Pakistan), a distance of 1,880 miles (2,865 kilometers). Prohibited from flyng over Saudi Arabia, they skirt along the southern coastline.
We left Assab early on the morning of the fifteenth, well before daylight. First we cut across a deep indentation on the Eritrean coast, and thence at an angle flew over the narrow southern entrance to the Red Sea called Bab-al-Mandah to the Arabian shore. That reached, we straightened out over the desolate southeastern tip of Arabia, checking over Aden after the sun was well up, one hundred and seventy-five miles on our way. . . Flying by foreigners over Arabia is not welcome. . . Finally the authorities relented. . . They gave permission to land at Aden, and permission to fly thence to Karachi, possibly stopping first at Gwadar, 350 miles up the coast at the mouth of the Persian gulf in Baluchistan close to the Persian border. It was stipulated that we were not to fly over Arabia itself but along the edge of the sea. So from Aden, as directed, I held a course along the coast. Sometimes the blue Arabian Sea was below. Sometimes clouds piled along the ocean’s edge forced us shoreward for brief stages. Flying high, we were able to see considerable of this forbidden and forbidding country. Surely some of the wastelands of the world bordered our route. One could scarcely imagine a more desolate region than that shore…Beyond Ras el Hadd, which is on the eastern end of Arabia, facing the Gulf of Oman, we cut across to Gwada, which we checked over at five o’clock. Thence we skirted the coast southeastward to Karachi, arriving at 7.05 P.M. I think our elapsed time for the 1,920 miles from Assab to Karachi was 13 hours and 10 minutes. . . .