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"Woman Pilot Takes-Off from New York in Rare, Vintage Aircraft to Re-Create Amelia Earhart's Record-Setting 1928 Flight Across America"



Wednesday, September 5, 2001

Woman Pilot Takes-Off from New York in Rare, Vintage Aircraft to
Re-Create Amelia Earhart's Record-Setting 1928 Flight Across America
Historic Flight Re-Creation to Land in 23 Cities Across the U.S.; Flight
Celebrates Earhart's Pioneering, 17-Year Career in Aviation and Her Role
in Inspiring Millions of Women and Girls to Pursue Their Dreams 
Nando Media


WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., -- Aviatrix Carlene Mendieta today departed from
Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y. in a rare, antique
aircraft to begin her three-week adventure in re-creating Amelia
Earhart's 1928 record-setting flight across America and back. The flight
will land in 23 cities along the historic route and cover approximately
5,500 miles at an average speed of 82 mph. For Earhart, the flight was
among her first aviation records and marked the first solo, round-trip
transcontinental crossing by a woman. The flight is called "Amelia
Earhart's Flight Across America: Rediscovering A Legend," and is
sponsored by St. Paul, Minn.-based HistoricAviation.com . 

"Amelia Earhart has inspired generations and millions of women and
girls. She made significant contributions to aviation and was a tireless
advocate in encouraging women to step outside the social boundaries of
the time and pursue their personal interests," said Mendieta (47), a
pilot and periodontist from Sonoma, Calif. "What we're trying to do with
this flight, is draw attention to and remember Earhart for her life, not
just her disappearance." 

Despite her numerous contributions to aviation and women's achievement,
the tragedy of Earhart's disappearance often lingers as the sole event
associated with her life. On July 2, 1937 Amelia Earhart disappeared
over the Pacific Ocean in her attempt to circumnavigate the world by
airplane. 

In re-telling the story of Earhart's 1928 round-trip flight, Mendieta is
landing in the same cities Earhart landed, touching down upon the same
grass airstrips where possible, eating the same meals when known and
even staying at the same hotels still in business. Mendieta is wearing
replica Earhart clothing and has custom-made 1920s-style evening gowns
for special events along the route. A Web site, www.AmeliaFlight.com ,
devoted entirely to the re-creation, is posting flight updates and
allows visitors to send Mendieta email. 

Mendieta is flying a fully restored 1927 Avro Avian airplane -- the
exact kind Earhart flew, and today, the only flying Avian in North
America. It is painted in the same silver and blue colors to match
Earhart's original airplane and carries the same official U.S.
registration number (7083) and British registration (G-EBUG). Earhart's
original Avian has been lost to time and was removed from flying records
in the 1930s. 

"As a collector of vintage aircraft and a fan of Amelia Earhart, when I
had the opportunity to acquire the same kind airplane she flew, made
just three weeks before her Avian, I could not resist the opportunity to
showcase what was really Amelia's first solo, long-distance flight and
tell the story about that part of her life," said Greg Herrick, owner of
the Avro Avian and president of HistoricAviation.com . "Then, when I
heard about Carlene Mendieta from other pilots and saw her passion for
antique airplanes, I knew I had found the perfect person to re-create
this flight." 

Flight Route: "Vagabonding" Across America 

Earhart's flight across America took place over a period of two months
beginning on August 31, 1928. Earhart described the flight as
"vagabonding" on a flying vacation in which she leisurely made her way
across the states in time for the 1928 Los Angeles Air Races. Along the
route from New York to California and back, Earhart stopped in 23
different cities including: Rye, N.Y.; Bellefonte, Pa.; Pittsburgh;
Dayton, Ohio; Terre Haute, Ind.; Belleville, Ill.; Muskogee, Okla.; Fort
Worth, Texas; Hobbs, N.M.; Pecos and El Paso, Texas; McNeal, Casa Grande
and Yuma, Ariz.; Burbank, Calif.; Las Vegas; Nephi and Salt Lake City,
Utah; Cheyenne, Wyo.; North Platte and Omaha, Neb.; Chicago; Cleveland;
then back to Bellefonte, Pa. and Rye, N.Y. The flight re-creation is
following this route and is expected to be back in Westchester County
and Rye, N.Y. on Oct. 2 weather permitting. 

Along the route, Mendieta will be welcomed by special events at various
airports. In Dayton, Ohio, for example, Mendieta will land at Wright
Patterson Air Force Base, the site of the U.S. Air Force Museum. Air
Force officials will give Mendieta a private tour on Sept. 6, just as
Earhart toured the hangars in 1928. In Muskogee, Okla., the Mayor is
re-opening Hatbox Field, a historic airmail airport, so that Mendieta
can land just as Earhart did. Mendieta will be also be in the spotlight
at Airshow Oklahoma where the Mayor will present her with keys to the
city on Sept. 9. On her way back to New York, Mendieta will land at
Meigs Field in the heart of Chicago. She'll be welcomed by thousands as
part of the airfield's open house on Sept. 30. 

About Amelia Earhart 

Prior to Earhart's ill-fated 1937 around-the-world attempt, she had
already become a household name and role model for millions of women and
girls. In 1928, Earhart was flung into the national spotlight when she,
as a goodwill passenger representing the United States, became the first
woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean by airplane. From that point forward,
Earhart continued to set aviation records, including becoming the first
woman -- and only the second person after Charles Lindbergh -- to fly
solo across the Atlantic Ocean. When Earhart wasn't flying, she
contributed articles to women's magazines such as Cosmopolitan; wrote
several books; spoke to hundreds of groups around the country; and
helped found several professional women's organizations, including Zonta
International and The Ninety-Nines. 

About Carlene Mendieta 

Mendieta, a periodontist from Sonoma, Calif., is an experienced
taildragger* pilot who owns five vintage airplanes. Just like Earhart,
Mendieta enjoys working on her airplanes, including the engines, doing
much of her own aircraft maintenance. Mendieta enjoys flying out of
uncontrolled grass airports in California's Napa Valley. 

About Flight Sponsor HistoricAviation.com 

HistoricAviation.com is a St. Paul, Minn.-based international publisher
and reseller of thousands of aviation items including books, videos, art
and models. Items are available through a mail-order catalog or via the
Internet. Visit www.HistoricAviation.com or call 800-225-5575 for more
information. 

*The term "taildragger" refers to a particular type of aircraft where
the landing gear consists of a main landing gear and a tail wheel at the
rear of the aircraft.

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