As a tomboy growing up in Kansas, Amelia Earhart delighted in trying new and risky things. She once even built a roller coaster. In her 20s she fell in love with flight while watching aerobatics and grew more enthralled when she took her first airplane ride. At age 24 she earned her pilot's wings and in 1928 took part in the transatlantic. In 1931 she married publisher George Putnam, who managed and promoted her career zealously, ensuring her status as the world's best known aviatrix. The next year Amelia Earhart soloed the Atlantic, and received the Distinguished Flying Cross, and she began to champion the efforts of women.
Tragically, just days before her 40th birthday, she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, vanished en route to tiny Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean as they neared the end of their 'round-the-world flight.
President Franklin Roosevelt authorized the greatest land and ocean search ever undertaken up to that time. No trace of the missing fliers or their aircraft was ever found.