25 June 1937: Leg 25. After flying from Bandoeng to Soerabaya the previous day, a problem with Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10E Special, NR16020, could not be repaired there, forcing her to return to Bandoeng.
“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. With good weather ahead, the Electra herself working perfectly, the pilot and navigator eager to go, it was especially hard to have to be “sensible.” However, lack of essential instruments in working order would increase unduly the hazards ahead. At Bandoeng were the admirable Dutch technicians and equipment, and wisdom directed we should return for their friendly succor. So again we imposed ourselves upon these good people to whom I shall be grateful always for their generosity and fine spirit. A particular niche in my memory is occupied by Colonel L.H.V. Oyen, Commander of the Air Force, H.A. Vreeburg, chief engineer, and so many K.N.I.L.M. personnel to whom I would like again to say ‘Thank you’.” — Amelia Earhart
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
22–24 June 1937: Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10E Special, NR16020, undergoes maintenance at Bandoeng, Java, Dutch East Indies, while Amelia and Fred Noonan visit a volcano.
“I went for an inspection trip myself. My first objective was an active volcano, to the crater rim of which one can drive in half an hour up a beautiful mountain road. . . At 5,000 feet the trees began to dwarf and the vegetation became less dense. At 6,500, only scrub trees which bred in and soil persisted. I could smell sulfur fumes for some time before rounding the last curve leading to the lower edge of the pit. Hundreds of feet below, emerald water had collected in a pool at the bottom. Here and there jets of yellow-white steam issued from crevices. . . .”
21 June 1937: Leg 23. Singapore, Straits Settlements to Bandoeng, Java, Dutch East Indies, 538 nautical miles (619 statute miles/997 kilometers).
“From Singapore early in the morning, we headed for Java. Our course first lay over the open sea, then along the westerly shores of Sumatra, finally cutting deep across its southeast portion. In the first hour of flying we crossed the equator for the third time in our air voyage and definitely passed ‘down under’ into the nether world of Australasia. . .
“The landscapes of the southern hemisphere were beautiful to look upon. . . countless tiny islands, glowing emeralds in settings of turquoise. . . narrow ribbons of beach, separating the deeper green of their verdure from the exquisite turquoise tones that mark the surrounding shallow water, which in turn merge into darker blue as the waters deepen. . .
“After my plane had been comfortably put in its hangar and K.N.I.L.M. (a local organization, sister company to Netherlands Airline, famed K.L.M.) mechanics had begun their inspection.” —Amelia Earhart