Leaders of the Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum in Earhart’s Atchison, Kansas, hometown will be special guests of the Amelia Earhart Legacy Association in Derry, Northern Ireland, for the 90th anniversary celebration of Earhart’s historic landing in Derry, where Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean — and one of the most admired women in history.
“We are honored to return to Derry for this extraordinary 90th anniversary celebration hosted by our transatlantic partners at the Amelia Earhart Legacy Association in Derry. We share a commitment to preserve Earhart’s legacy to defy the odds and pursue her dreams that changed aviation forever,” said Karen Seaberg, founder and president of the Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum, which is slated to open in 2023.
On May 20, 1932, Earhart set off in her red Lockheed Vega from Harbour Grace in Newfoundland, Canada, intending to fly to Paris. With weather and technical problems altering her course, Earhart landed on May 21, 1932, on Robert Gallagher’s farm in Ballyarnett in Derry.
“When Amelia landed here, no one had ever seen a woman driving a car, let alone flying an airplane or wearing trousers,” said Nicole McElhinney, co-founder of the Amelia Earhart Legacy Association. “Her fearless spirit was revolutionary, particularly for women, and continues to be an inspiration around the world.”
Amelia Earhart STEM Challenge
As part of the festivities, students from across Northern Ireland will compete in The Amelia Earhart STEM Challenge hosted by the Royal Academy of Engineering in the Great Hall at Ulster University Magee in Derry, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, May 20. Student teams will build model planes with judging criteria to include the longest flying distance.
The challenge is organized by Clare Doherty, the great-great granddaughter of Robert Gallagher, who owned the farm where Amelia landed on May 21, 1932. The Gallagher family opened their home to Amelia, providing food and a place to sleep. Doherty is the Head of Technology for St. Mary’s College and the Royal Academy of Engineering Connecting STEM Teachers Coordinator.
The winning team will take a helicopter ride over Derry and along the flight path of Earhart’s landing on Gallagher’s farm in Ballyarnett, along with a trophy from the Amelia Earhart Legacy Association.
Other 90th anniversary events in Derry include:
- Amelia Earhart 90th Commemorative World Radio Call from Ballyarnett: The North West Amateur Radio Club in Northern, Ireland, will transmit from the field where Earhart landed, connecting with the Amelia Earhart Memorial Airport in her hometown in Atchison, Kansas, and Harbour Grace in Canada — along with thousands of radio operators around the world.
- Amelia Earhart Mural Launch, 2 p.m., May 20, Galliagh Coop building: A new 48-foot mural by Derry artist Joe Campbell tells the story of Earhart’s historic landing in Derry. The mural will feature Earhart’s flight path, a portrait, and one of her inspirational quotes: “But What Do Dreams Know of Boundaries?”
- Amelia’s Speakeasy, Walled City Brewery, 6 p.m, May 20: This reservation-only event will feature Earhart Gin made from hand-picked botanicals from the field where Amelia landed.
- Amelia Earhart Walking Tour, 12:30 pm, Sat., May 21, Visit Derry Information Centre: The tour traces the footsteps of Earhart’s “unscheduled” visit to Derry.
- Amelia Earhart Vintage Fashion Show, 1:30 pm, May 21, GuildHall: The show will showcase pieces from the Amelia Earhart collection by Christopher Reid, the Derry-native fashion designer known for his TopherLily collection and work with Alexander McQueen.
WK Taylor says
Roughly 25 years ago I worked for the USAF at Kadena AB, servicing Japan and Korea. One time I had an urgent need to travel from Kadena AB to Osan AB… so I was permitted to fly on a C-12 [MIL King Air]. The crew consisted of a Major and  1Lts: 1-male and 1-female, who were obviously using the flight for transition and theater orientation. No big deal.
Welllllll… there was another passenger aboard… an elderly female Korean civil servant working for the US military in Seoul.
The male 1Lt took the pilot seat along side of the Major from Kadena to Kunsan AB [interim stop]. The female 1Lt took a passenger seat.
At Kunsan AB we picked-up some cargo and the female 1Lt took the pilot seat along side of the Major from Kadena. The male 1Lt took a passenger seat.
At that point I saw a look in the elderly Korean lady’s face that I will NEVER forget… her face [and also body language] displayed a combination of disbelief and primal fear I had never seen before. The male 1Lt and I had to calmly explain the training nature of the flight and that the female and male 1Lts were both rated pilots and were equally and fully qualified to fly the aircraft… just leaning how to fly in the over-water, ROK and Japan environment/airspace. She calmed-down a bit and muttered ‘never in Korea’ and shut her eyes for most of the flight from Kunsan AB to Osan AB… which was completely uneventful.
Social and cultural stereotypes can have an incredibly powerful grasp on our minds and bodies.
Susan Loricchio says
Sounds like a “swell time”, as AE would say, for the fun of it. Congrats to all the participants!