It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s Amelia Earhart. Or is it?
Last seen on July 2, 1937, Earhart is remembered every year on her birthday, July 24, Amelia Earhart Day, for her adventurous air and groundbreaking achievements. According to smithsonian.com, Earhart (1897-1937) is the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She went missing during her attempt to fly around the world.
Female aviators, before and after Earhart, accomplish amazing feats for their times, Salt Lake Community College’s Aviation department has numerous accolades.
“It’s such a male dominated industry,” said Fiona Silcox, Assistant Professor of the Piloting program at SLCC. “Typically, anywhere between five and 10 percent are females in the program.”
Harriet Quimby (1875-1912) is the first female licensed pilot in the United States.
Bessie Coleman (1892-1926), is the first African-American to obtain an International Pilot’s License.
And Jacqueline Cochran (1906-1980) is known for her multitude of aviation records.
Cochran is the first woman to break the sound barrier, surpassing Mach 1 while flying an F-86 Sabrejet in 1953.
The list goes on.
Here at SLCC, Karen Knewtson is a female student of the Aviation Maintenance program who is achieving great heights.
“It’s the right size the right shape and it’s in the right place,” says TIGHAR on their website.
The issue has become a controversial topic amongst Earhart fans who argue the theory’s authenticity.
TIGHAR is currently caught in a lawsuit involving Mr. Mellon, the financer for TIGHAR’s expedition. So as much as they would like to uncover the object hundreds of feet below the ocean’s surface, they do not have the financial resources to explore their theory further, but are asking for donations at their website.
“[Knewtson] served in the army,” said Todd Baird, Assistant Professor of the Aviation Maintenance department at SLCC. “She’s got a pilot’s license for helicopters and is just finishing up her fixed wing pilot’s license.”
Knewtson received several awards this last year, and currently restores old WWII era aircraft, according to Baird.
In addition to this, Knewtson is the organizer of SLCC’s Aviation Maintenance Technician team, which placed second place overall in the school category at the AMT Society Maintenance Skills Competition in Las Vegas 2013.
As Earhart once said, “I want to do it because I want to do it.”