Traverse City Record-Eagle

Feature Columnists

November 23, 2013

Senior Focus: Earhart remains inspirational 76 years later

As a young girl, I was always fascinated with flying. Piloting my own airplane, soaring above the Earth in the vast blue of the sky, became my dream and Amelia Earhart became my image of what a successful woman aviator might accomplish.

Larry Inman, Grand Traverse County Commissioner, took his fascination with Amelia Earhart one step further. For the last twenty years he has been collecting artifacts, autobiographies, biographies and photos of her life and disappearance. He is organizing his collection into a traveling museum exhibit, which he eventually would like to show nationally and internationally.

On Dec.16, at 10:30 a.m., he will talk about his Amelia Earhart collection. Sponsored by the Senior Center Network and the Traverse City History Center, Inman’s presentation will be held at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center.

On July 2, 1937, while attempting to make a historic flight to circumnavigate the globe at the equator, Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. They had left Lae, New Guinea, flying a Purdue University-funded Lockheed Electra 10E. They were headed for the uninhabited Howland Island, where they were to meet with the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca for fuel and rest – then fly on to Honolulu. They never made the rendezvous.

“The mystery and theories of her disappearance have followed us through our grandparents time and our time – up even until today,” Inman said.

“As I got more involved in Amelia Earhart as a person, reading her biographies by a number of authors, I became more passionate toward the person and all of her accomplishments – everything she tried to do. She was really on the forefront of the women’s movement back in the late twenties and early thirties. She was accomplishing things in terms of air records and flights that men in her era had not yet achieved.”

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