SEATTLE — A 1935 vintage Lockheed Model 10-E Electra transport aircraft identical to the one used by Amelia Earhart on her ill-fated trip around the world in 1937 will be the centerpiece of a permanent Earhart exhibit opening at the Museum of Flight Oct. 12.
Project Amelia, a fundraising campaign conducted by Museum of Flight staff, and led by trustees Anne Simpson and Nancy Auth and consultant Patti Payne, supported by gifts from Wells Fargo and Alaska Airlines, announced today that it has reached its goal of $1.2 million to purchase the rare aircraft for the museum. Donations for the project were received from more than 600 individual donors.
The plane is scheduled to be flown to the museum on Sept. 21, and installed in the T.A. Wilson Great Gallery on Oct. 12 — the centerpiece of a permanent exhibit that will celebrate the life and accomplishments of the world’s most famous aviatrix.
“This rare and remarkable aircraft will be more than an addition to The Museum of Flight’s world class collection,” said Simpson, a Delta Air Lines captain. “The real story here is motivating and inspiring young people, especially girls, to take some risks and become the best they can be. Without a doubt, the way Amelia lived her life has positively influenced women for generations. From pilots, to engineers, to explorers and even fashion designers, Amelia helped pave the way for women to enter those and many other professions.”
This particular aircraft was built for Northwest Airlines and began passenger service in 1935 as a Lockheed Model 10-A Electra. It served in World War II as an Army Air Force transport. After the war the aircraft had a variety of owners, including VARIG airlines in Brazil. Once back in the United States, the aircraft changed hands before it was returned to Lockheed and completely converted to a Model 10-E configuration.
In 1994 Linda Finch restored the aircraft to match the specifications of the Amelia Earhart’s famous Lockheed 10-E. In 1997, the 60th anniversary of Earhart’s fatal, trans-world flight, Finch flew the plane around the globe on a flight path as close as possible to Earhart’s. While flying over Earhart’s last known location, Howland Island in the south Pacific, Finch dropped a wreath in salute of the aviatrix and her navigator Fred Noonan.
There is only one other genuine Lockheed Electra Model 10-E in existence, museum officials noted.