Most of us are familiar with Amelia Earhart, an American aviation pioneer and author. Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She broke numerous other records, was one of the first aviators to promote commercial air travel, wrote best-selling books about her flying adventures, and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, a female pilots’ organization.
But not many of you may not know that she was a scuba diver as well as an aviator. Earhart dove twice in Mark V standard dress in July 1929, becoming one of only a few women to do so at the time. She was famously photographed as she emerged from an exploratory dive off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island.
She described the dive as follows:
“It was absolutely nothing. Many women have gone deeper and stayed longer.”Amelia Earhart
DESCO, Morse Diving, Miller-Dunn, and A. Schräder’s Son manufactured the US Navy Mk V diving equipment, which was a standard military specification from 1916 through the early 1980s. Spun copper and tobin bronze, 12 bolt, 4 light, 1/8 turn neck connection helmet with breastplate (corselet), clamps (brails), and wingnuts, 55 pound weight (25 kg). 84-pound lead weight harness on leather belt with adjustable shoulder straps and crotch strap (38 kg). Lead-soled boots with brass toe caps, canvas uppers with laces and leather straps, each weighing 17.5 pounds (7.9 kg). The suit weighed18.5 pounds (8.4 kg), bringing the total weight to around 190 pounds (86 kg). The Mk V equipment employed a 1/2″ air hose.
Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan vanished over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island in 1937 while attempting to become the first woman to fly around the world in a Purdue-funded Lockheed Model 10-E Electra. They were last seen in Lae, New Guinea, on July 2, 1937, on their way to Howland Island, one of their final legs of the flight. She died during the circumnavigation, presumably in the Pacific, just three weeks before her fortieth birthday.
Earhart was declared dead nearly a year and six months after she and Noonan vanished. Over 80 years later, investigations and public interest in their disappearance continue.