Female Pilot To Follow Earhart's Flight

ByABC News via GMA logo
September 2, 2001, 8:09 PM

N E W   Y O R K, Sept. 3 -- Amelia Earhart is remembered as the female pilot who disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in 1937, while attempting to fly around the world. But many people forget what happened before she vanished.

In 1928, Earhart made history as the first female pilot to fly solo across the country. And another female pilot, Carlene Mendieta, a 47-year-old periodontist from Sonoma, Calif., is planning to re-create Earhart's record transcontinental flight next month right down to replicating the famed pilot's trademark scarf and tousled hair.

She wants people to remember Earhart for something other than her last flight.

"Amanda's story needs to be revisited,"Mendieta told Good Morning America. "The story about her life in the 10 years previous to her disappearance have to be brought to light again. This woman had 10 years of record-breaking feats in aviation."

Not to mention that she set new standards for women, crafting a new image of the modern 1920s woman, Mendieta said. She and the sponsors of her flight want to rekindle interest in Earhart's career as a pioneer flier and an advocate for women's rights.

Mendieta's journey starts Wednesday, when she sets off from Rye, N.Y. She will fly to Glendale, Calif. and back. It took Earhart about two months, but Mendieta is expected to finish up in a little less than three weeks.

Same Plane, Same Stops

Mendieta will pilot an Avro Avian, an open cockpit biplane similar to the one that Earhart flew from New York to California and back. She will stay in the same towns that Earhart visited, including Cheyenne, Wyo., Salt Lake City, Terre Haute, Ind., and Dayton, Ohio, and will even eat the same foods.

"I'm going to be eating chicken dinner at 9 a.m. in Terre Haute," Mendieta said.

George Herrick, a 49-year-old vintage plane collector from Wyoming, is sponsoring and promoting the flight. He also owns a publishing company, Historic Aviation, and will follow Mendieta in a Cessna loaded with spare parts and publicity material.