She is poised to be the youngest woman to circumnavigate the globe in a single-engine aircraft and will, for the first time, live stream and capture the entire journey via social media. Amelia has dubbed this adventure The Amelia Project and has partnered with world-renowned Fortune 100 company, Honeywell Aerospace, to create a fully connected aircraft with satellite communication technology that enables Amelia and her co-pilot, Patrick Carter, to engage and interact with a global audience with no geographical restrictions; inviting people around the world to “take a seat in the cockpit” of their modified Pilatus PC-12 NG aircraft.
Additionally, the entire plane – from wing tip to fuselage – will be outfitted with specialty cameras to enable viewers to toggle between various vantage points throughout the flight; capturing incredible vistas, sunsets and sunrises as well as weather events along the way. Amelia and Patrick also plan to host live, in-air Facebook and Twitter chats and invite a global audience to track their flight in real time, providing the world with a transparent look inside an aviation adventure positioned to break records and secure its own place in history.
The goal of this project is to inspire a new generation of aviators and to motivate others to pursue their dreams and passions. In coordination with the flight, Amelia has created The Fly with Amelia Foundation, a 501c3 that provides flight scholarships to young women, aviation career mentoring, and STEM education programs.
Questions for Amelia
Q. Something as simple as a name can certainly inspire someone as it has with you – would you have foreseen yourself becoming a pilot if you were not named after Amelia Earhart? Or would your life possibly have taken a different path? Your parents were not involved in aviation, right?
It is hard to imagine what it would be like to have a different name… when I hear “Amelia Earhart” I hear my name, but other people hear the first “Amelia”. As I grew up, my parents allowed me to come into my own, in my own time, which is why I didn’t start flying until I was in my 20s. Without aviation, I am sure I would be passionate about something else, I am a naturally passionate person, but when it comes to flight, I am sure it came from being named Amelia Earhart. Every single day of my life, I have talked about Amelia… her passion, her adventure, her spirit for taking flight, both in the literal and figurative sense. My parents were not involved in aviation, but they always supported me when I talked about wanting to try it out. When I started saving money to take lessons, they couldn’t help me financially but they always supported me mentally and emotionally, which was an even bigger help than with money. This name brought me to the airport, this name got me in the airplane, this name got me into the air for the first time, but that was it. After that, it took persistence and determination to stick with the cause.
Q. Tell us about the flight itself – you are crossing so many countries over 28,000 miles with 14 stops – how do you go about planning the logistics of a flight of this magnitude? I would think it would be overwhelming!
The flight is going to be incredible- in fact, we are going to be the very first 100% socially integrated, live streamed flight around the world! I wanted to create an environment where I could create a completely engaged, transparent environment that people at home could interact with, get excited about and imagine their own adventures through. We will travel around the world, close to the equator, around a path very similar to the path of the first Amelia Earhart. We will begin in Oakland, CA, travel to FL, through Brazil, Africa, India, the Northern Coast of Australia, through the South Pacific with a low pass over Howland Island, to Hawaii and then back to Oakland to complete the flight. The process has been incredibly tough… I joke that there is no book called, “How to fly around the world for dummies”. From fuel modifications to route planning, to security and fundraising, this is something I have been developing as I go along. I want to symbolically complete the flight that Amelia began in 1937. She set out with a mission that she was unfortunately, never able to complete. I will do this in her honor and show a new generation of young women that you can turn a dream into a reality if you work at it everyday, with your whole heart. My heart is in this plan and when I land in Oakland in June of 2014, it will all be worth it.
Q. Tell us a little bit about the “Fly with Amelia Foundation” and what motivated you to form this?
As a TV newscaster, I spend a lot of time working with charities and spending time with kids. I visit classrooms, take kids to the airport, talk about motivation and goals and what it means to “pave your own runway”. When I started really considering what it would take to pull off a flight around the world, I realized it was time to give back some of the motivation and inspiration that others were passing along my way, not just through talking and visiting, but through actually helping young women learn to fly. We just granted our first scholarship to a young woman named Destiney. She is a passionate, young aviatrix that is going to do great things with her aviation goals. She has been working at Starbucks to pay for her lessons, sometimes as much as 30 hours a week. She started an aviation club for the students at her school and is rocking her flight lessons at Erie Airport here in Colorado. I am developing an educational curriculum that can take flight into the classroom. The Fly With Amelia Foundation is small now, but will eventually be a way for girls from all across the US to learn to fly, through financial assistance and mentorship.
Q. You speak of “developing one’s own adventure in life” – can you elaborate on this and discuss the importance of adventure and perhaps getting out of one’s comfort zone.
Adventure is something I live and breathe… but not in the way that one might typically think. Adventure is simply committing to doing something that takes a mental push and holds any bit of resistance in your mind. Adventure can be filling out a college application to a school that it will take extra effort to get into. It can be starting a conversation with a stranger, working toward a physical goal. For me, there’s a huge part of my being that wonders if I can actually pull this flight around the world off… if I knew, if there was no mental push, no resistance, I would have already conquered this adventure in my mind. Adventure keeps us wondering, keeps us fighting, keeps us seeking things we wonder if we can pull off. This type of mindset gets me out of bed each day and it makes me challenge what I can do and what I am willing to do to make this flight happen.
Q. I saw in several of your blog posts you make the connection between flying skills and real life skills. In one post you wrote of airplane terms, True North and Magnetic Deviation. What is True North to you as it relates to following one’s passions in life and remaining true to oneself.
True North is where your heart naturally wants to go… in the quiet moments, when your mind wanders, what do you think about? For me, it is flight. There is a quote about a little boy that goes up for his first flight and says to his father when he lands, “Daddy, I left my heart up there”. That’s how it was for me. For a lot of us, True North gets squashed by what we tell ourselves should be our “reality”. We convince ourselves that our goals are too expensive, too large, too unattainable, too much effort. Yet, when we lay awake at night, our minds go right back there. When our commitment to feeling great, accomplished, inspired becomes greater than our excuses, we are heading on our course toward our “True North”.
Q. You currently call Denver home – what are some of your favorite activities that you would recommend to a first time visitor to the “mile high” city?
Denver is an adventurer’s town. From sky diving to the Cave of the Winds, to Red Rocks, to the great art, music and culture scene, we have it all. I have snowboarded and played golf in the same weekend, I have eaten authentic mexican cuisine and the next day, dressed up for an evening of fine French dining. This town buzzes with a sense of beauty, an abundance of community and friendly faces and also feels like a place to call home. Even when you set out to do the traditionally “touristy” things, you can still find ways to feel like a local by just asking the guy next to you where the secret spots are. Colorado as a whole has an incredible charm that I hope to call home for a long time.
Photos courtesy of Amelia Earhart
Questions for Patrick
Q. How did you initially meet Amelia and did it take much thought to say yes to an exciting Round The World (RTW) flying adventure such as this one?!
Amelia and I met about 2 years ago when she used some of my company’s NFlightCam camera equipment for a trans-continental flight that re-created the first Amelia’s flight across America. We hit it off and had similar ideas about adventures and have been actively planning this trip for over a year now. (Please note Amelia is not a distant relative of the first Amelia Earhart)
Q. You have been involved with aviation all your life – tell us what you enjoy most about piloting small planes.
My Dad is a pilot so I have been flying as long as I can remember but I have been flying by myself since I was 16. I love flying just about any airplane big or small but I really enjoy the utility of small airplanes.
Q. You developed a Video Aviation camera, Nflightcam- tell us about this, how you came up with the idea and its uses in the aviation world.
I wanted a way to share adventures from the cockpit with the rest of the world. At Nflightcam we design and manufacturer video accessories focused around an adventurous lifestyle. Right now we are in aviation and scuba and look forward to discovering and developing new ways of capturing even more adventures in the future. .
Q. If someone is interested in becoming a private pilot – what would you tell them? My impression is that it can be a fairly expensive undertaking? Is this true?
Becoming a pilot is not cheap by any means but I do not think it is out of the range of what a lot of common hobbies cost. For example an older Cessna 172 can be purchased and operated for about the same amount of money as ski boat. I have friends that easily spend more every year golfing than it would take to become a pilot so I think its all about perspective. I love to fly so naturally that is where I spend my money. I would tell someone if it is what you want to do bad enough you can make it happen.
Amelia is a passionate aviatrix, philanthropist as well as traffic and weather anchor for the local NBC affiliate in Denver, Colorado. In 2013 Amelia started the Fly With Amelia Foundation, which grants flight scholarships to girls ages 16-18 and supports the advancement of general aviation opportunities. Amelia took her first flying lesson on June 2, 2004, and obtained her pilot’s license in a Cessna 172. In 2012, she recreated her name sake’s transcontinental flight from Oakland, California, to Miami, Florida, as a completion of her instrument training hours.
Amelia grew up in California, Colorado and Kansas.
Patrick is an accomplished test pilot, airshow pilot, and flight instructor with more than 6,000 hours of flight time; Patrick’s passion for adventure and aviation has led to seven North Atlantic crossings and flights across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Greenland.
Patrick is also the founder and CEO of Nflight Technology, which designs and manufactures products allowing pilots to capture their priceless aviation moments such as giving a child their first airplane ride, or the intensity of a first solo. Patrick founded Nflight Technology based on the desire to share his passion for flight with the world.
Catch All of the Latest on this Epic Adventure:
The Amelia Project & Fly With Amelia Foundation: http://www.flywithamelia.org/
Amelia’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ameliaroseearhart
Amelia’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Amelia__Earhart
Amelia’s Instagram: http://instagram.com/ameliaroseearhart
Honeywell’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Honeywell_Aero