Earhart completes first solo flight between Hawaii and US mainland

January 12, 1935

OAKLAND AIRPORT, OAKLAND, Cal., Jan. 12, 1935 (UP) - Amelia Earhart brought her trim red monoplane to earth at 4:30 P.M., New York time, today, completing the first solo flight ever made between the Hawaiian Islands and the American mainland.

She had left Wheeler Field, near Honolulu, at 10:13 P.M., New York time, yesterday.

Her time for the flight was 18 hours 17 minutes, which was only 3 hours 16 minutes slower than the record set by Sir Charles A. Kingsford-Smith two months ago.

A crowd of 5,000 gathered at the field gave the smiling blonde aviatrix a rousing ovation.

Miss Earhart wore a brown, one piece, fur-lined chamois coverall.

Before she climbed from the plane's cabin she stopped to powder her nose after running a comb through her tousled hair. Then she leaped nimbly to the ground, smiling and seemingly little fatigued. "I'm sure glad to be on land again," was her first sentence.

Many began crowding forward to shower her with flowers.

She gathered them in her arms until she could hardly hold more.

"I feel swell," she said. She seemed overcome by the reception and the thrill of the flight.

Her unruly hair was blown around her face. She became conscious of it, poked at the straying locks and shook them back.

"I always look this way," she commented.

"The weather was mostly good," she said.

"I didn't have much trouble, although I encountered some rain squalls.

"I flew at about 8,000 feet most of the time and missed the fog.

"I've about two hours' supply of gas left.

"I sighted land about 3:45 P.M. (New York time). I haven't made up my mind yet whether I'll stay here or refuel and continue on somewhere."

As the plane circled and settled in a graceful landing the crowd broke through onto the field and surrounded it. It was not until then, however, that she could be definitely identified as the woman flyer who is the first to make the 2,400-mile solo flight from Honolulu.

Field attendants rushed from the hangars and swarmed over the plane and around it to hold back the crowd.

The crowd went wild. Hats were tossed in the air and people cheered madly. Hundreds of auto horns shrieked clamorous welcomes.

"Everything all right?" a reporter called to Miss Earhart.

"It wouldn't have been if I had bumped in landing," she said.

An Oakland Chamber of Commerce delegation made its way through the crowd and presented her with a huge bouquet.

"Swell job, but don't make it a habit," said a radio message that came from her husband, George Palmer Putnam, in Honolulu.

Someone offered Miss Earhart a chair.

"No, thank you," she said. "I've been sitting ever since I left Honolulu."

Asked about her trip, she said she could have made it two hours faster "only I throttled down because I was not sure of my course for a while and wanted to conserve gas."

"I drank water, tomato juice, and had a boiled egg to eat," she said.

She leaned against a hangar wall as she talked.

"Although the weather was good, this trip was harder than flying the Atlantic."

"Soon after daylight this morning I decided that I'd very much like to have a sight of land. I don't know exactly what my position was when I first sighted land but I was somewhere south of here. I don't think I was ever far off my course.

"The only trouble I had occurred soon after the start. A ventilator up front blew in and the wind almost blinded me all the way."

"I listened to radio programs - music and such - and conversed with no difficulty at all.

"I received only one message from my husband, who is in Honolulu - about three hours after leaving."

The crowd tried to force its way into the hangar and there was great disorder. It interrupted the interview.

Miss Earhart, the calmest person present, undertook to straighten things out when a newspaperman shouted a plea that she continue the interview.

"We have deadlines to catch," he said.

"Deadlines, of course," said Miss Earhart. "That is serious."

She invited the reporters with her into a small protected room. Police didn't understand and tried to eject the reporters. She called off the cops.

"The police think I am very frail," she said, turning to the reporters, "but I'm not an invalid."

"I may continue East or go to Los Angeles, or I may stay here," she said when the interview was resumed. "It depends on the weather."

She praised the performance of her plane.

"The motor is the same one," she said, "which took me across the Atlantic."

The interview ended, Miss Earhart climbed into an automobile and retired to a hotel for rest.

Until mid-morning Miss Earhart's flight had progressed uneventfully. Then she encountered fog which had rolled up offshore. Flying high, she found overcast skies. Below her was just a vast expanse of clouds.

"I can't see nothin'," she reported.

Never losing her composure, she almost jokingly referred to her plight in infrequent broadcasts which were picked up by radio stations ashore, until finally, just before 2 P.M., she sighted the Dollar liner President Pierce.

Dropping low over the ship she circled it for five minutes while passengers on dock cheered. Then she sped away toward San Francisco.

A few minutes later she called for a report on the position of the Pierce, which was furnished her. There was an exchange of messages to check these data and at 2:18 P.M. she reported "all okay" and was back on her route once more.

At 3:50 P.M. (New York time) Miss Earhart broadcast: -- "I think I see land ahead, but I'm not quite sure."

At 11:45 (New York time) she struck the first of the light fog banks which in fair weather or foul overhang the ocean just off the California coast.

As her calm voice, apparently unwearied by hours in the air, told of sighting the fog a great excitement stirred the crowd assembled here.

Starting in a rainstorm from Wheeler Field, with her husband's kiss on her lips, Miss Earhart found clearer weather once she passed Diamond Head and turned her plane eastward.

Once through the night she met a rain squall. She flew above it, commenting briefly on the incident in the half-hourly broadcasts she made from the 50-watt radio equipment on her plane.

Sometimes low clouds forced her to heights above 10,000 feet; sometimes she was forced to come down to 5,000 feet. A moon lighted her path part of the way. Visibility alternated between fair and good.

A threatening storm was delayed in the far northwest, holding off long enough to give her clear skies and fast winds on the last lap.

Although she volunteered no information in her regular broadcasts - on the half-hour to the dot except that her clock was two minutes slower than those on shore - it was apparent that no accidents marred today's flight.

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