Queen of the Air

It’s a routine now, Bert. I make a record and then I lecture on it. That’s where the money comes from. Until it’s time to make another record.” Pilot Winfield Kinner, Jr., stood near the runway at Burbank, listening to Amelia and his father, Bert, on a February day in 1933. The two men had just left a plane to be inspected and licensed when Amelia saw them and stopped to talk. Twelve years before that day, back at Kinner Field, schoolboy “Win” Kinner had marveled at Amelia’s skill as a contortionist but thought she “was inclined to make sloppy landings.” The last time he had seen her was in 1929 when his mother cooked pork chops for her the night before she flew back east in the little Avro Avian she bought from Lady Heath.

The “Queen of the Air” was reminiscing with Bert as if she were still twenty-three years old instead of thirty-five. Her grin was the same but her blue-grey eyes were older and the fair, smooth complexion Win recalled was tanned and marked with fine lines from sun and wind. Amelia wasn’t really complaining to Bert as much as explaining. In 1921, the rules of the game had been “No work, no pay. No pay, no fly.” The game was bigger now but the rules were the same.

Amelia told Bert she had just sold her Vega and bought another. She was at Burbank to talk about the overhaul of her purchase made in January.*

To buy the Vega she had to sell her “little red bug.” Except for the motor installed by Balchen and Gorski for the Atlantic flight, the plane was worth very little, unless it were bought as memorabilia, like Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis which the Smithsonian Institution had acquired. Amelia’s Philadelphia friend, Dorothy Leh, suggested the Franklin Institute’s museum might buy it. Amelia’s former employers, the Ludington brothers, had given one hundred thousand dollars to the Institute for a Hall of Aviation in 1930.

Amelia followed Leh’s advice. “After some bickering,” she wrote Leh, “the Franklin Institute finally bought my plane.… Do I owe you a commission? I’m serious about this.” “No, darling,” Leh answered, “no commission,” adding her thanks for a free ride Amelia had given her to Cleveland.

However, seventy-five hundred dollars was not enough to pay for and update the Vega from 5B to the newer, faster 5C that Amelia needed if she were to break any records. While Lockheed worked on the plane, she would have to return to lecturing and cultivating the publicity that brought more bookings and bigger audiences.

There were no holidays for Amelia. Even before she left for the West Coast and a lecture tour on January 27 she was working eighteen-hour days. In the first two weeks of 1933 she bought the new plane, received four medals (two in a single day) all requiring acceptance speeches, and wrote two dozen or more letters on behalf of the Ninety-Nines. She also gave a long interview to the Sarah Lawrence College newspaper and attended the opening of the new Roxy Theater in the Radio City complex. There she sat for Edward Steichen who photographed her in the women’s lounge before an engraved glass mural depicting her Atlantic flight. Vogue ran it with the caption, “The First Lady of the Sky.”

On January 16 she went to Washington to testify before the Senate on the development of a Washington municipal airport. Three days before she had received a medal from the Rumanians, along with Charles Lindbergh. In her diary Anne Lindbergh wrote, “Amelia Earhart, a shaft of white coming out of a blue room.” About G. P. she added, “Amelia Earhart’s husband hovering.” G. P. hovered with a purpose. He was planning a dinner in honor of Auguste Piccard, the Belgian who had ascended in a balloon to a record height in the stratosphere. Before leaving Belgium for the United States, Piccard, an acknowledged authority on cosmic rays and radiation and currently studying stratospheric rocketry, told reporters that Earhart and Lindbergh were his American heroes. G. P. intended inviting a dozen or more aeronautical celebrities, including Lindbergh. Lindbergh refused the invitation. G. P. then suggested a small, private dinner at the house in Rye and Lindbergh accepted.

There were only nine present—Amelia, G. P., the Lindberghs, David Putnam, explorer-naturalist Roy Chapman Andrews, William Beebe (designer of an undersea vehicle, the bathysphere, in which he had descended to a record depth in the sea), Piccard, and his business manager, Sylvestre Dorian. The next day the New York Times had a complete account of the conversation at dinner and a description of Piccard putting down knife and fork to take an enormous slide-rule from his waistcoat pocket to convert kilometers into miles for Amelia and Lindbergh. For the remainder of the dinner, the report said, Piccard used the rule as frequently as his knife and fork. Portions of Lindbergh’s conversation with the scientist were quoted directly, and twelve days later, the dinner was again described in an article in the New Yorker magazine. G. P. apologized to an angry Lindbergh, insisting that he was not the tale bearer, but that Dorian was and had done it for forty dollars offered by a reporter.

Guilty or not, G. P. continued to take an active part in promoting Piccard’s visit. The Putnam touch is evident in plans to celebrate the Belgian’s birthday the following Saturday. Arrangements included a dirigible descending to the roof of the St. Moritz to take the professor and other guests for a flight over Manhattan. Amelia, who disliked these stunts as much as Lindbergh did, escaped this one, leaving the previous day on the Twentieth-Century Limited for Chicago. From there she flew as a guest of Northwest Airways to Minneapolis—St. Paul, then on to the West Coast.

Her speaker’s agency, the Emerson Bureau, had booked a lecture tour, starting in Portland on February 1, but G. P. arranged the free flight with Northwest on a survey trip for a proposed northern route to Seattle. Amelia got a free ride and the airline good publicity because of her. There was a reception for her in Bismarck, North Dakota, on January 28, and at Helena, Montana, one thousand admirers came out to the airport for her arrival. She stayed in Helena overnight, and made a five-minute address the next day to a joint session of the Montana state legislature. Everywhere reporters clamored for interviews, quoting her at length and describing her in great detail.

When her flight was cut short at Spokane by a winter storm, one wrote that she “didn’t look like an aviatrix,” however they were supposed to look. He gushed:

She was merely a lovely feminine-looking young woman who graciously accepted the greetings of the curious who approached her in the lobby [of the hotel].… There were no air trappings, no wings, no helmets. She stood there with her tousled hair, which had become her trademark, set off against the soft collar of her handsome coat [a full-length sable], a tall young woman … carrying a bouquet of pink sweet peas.

At the next stop in Portland, a reporter overheard a woman who saw Amelia at the train station say, “Why—she’s quite a beautiful person!” and another newsman wrote that her pictures, which suggested a “masculine nature,” were misleading. He also claimed, “She likes to keep long hours, she likes to meet people and she isn’t a tomboy.” Flying was just a hobby for her, he wrote, her real job was making a home for her husband. Amelia’s interviewer was so impressed by her femininity he could not hear the feminist speaking to him.

The sum of her statements in Portland is a familiar one today: 1) modern science has cut back on household drudgery; 2) a woman could run a home and have a career; and 3) if she did, her husband should share household and child-raising duties. As for women doing the same work as men, perhaps they could. If they were made equal under the law and given the opportunity they would soon find out. There were still no women pilots on scheduled airlines, partly because of prejudice but also because they lacked experience, she said. Army and Navy training was not open to them; they had to pay for their instruction and flight time. They could not afford the hours of experience needed by the airlines to assure the safety of passengers.

At her next stop, in Seattle, Amelia added a new proposal to her program for the emancipation of women. “Draft women!” she declared, a strange proposition to be made by an avowed pacifist and one that is still controversial a half century later. “If women were drafted,” she claimed, “I think it would be an effective means of ending war. They would learn how horrible it is.”

In Vancouver the next day she expounded on this theme. Individual aptitude, rather than sex, should determine the possibility of women becoming wartime flyers. In the event of casualties, “So far as sex is concerned, women are no more valuable than men.”

Amelia gave these opinions in interviews but her lectures were limited to a description of her Atlantic crossing, the advantages of commercial aviation, and twenty-five hundred feet of newsreel film. For each lecture she was paid three hundred dollars, half the price of a new Buick. Between February 1 and 7 she gave a total of eight, in Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, earning twenty-four hundred dollars in a single week. G. P., who was Paramount Pictures’ New York chief story advisor, met her in Los Angeles and took her to lunch at Paramount Studios. The next day Hollywood columnist Louella Parsons published the “rumor” that Miss Earhart might act as adviser on a coming Paramount aviation film.

The June edition of Screenland magazine carried a story on Amelia; she was photographed with Gary Cooper, allegedly going over reels from his latest film in which he played the role of a flight officer. It is doubtful Amelia did any advising. But G. P. saw to it that she was also pictured with Gene Raymond, Tallulah Bankhead, and Marlene Dietrich, and that the Putnams were described as “the world’s only regular airplane commuters between New York and Hollywood.” Soon after, Helen Weber, who was still helping Amelia with her correspondence, wrote to a mutual friend that Amelia “is getting a bit fed up, I think, of the constant travel, particularly when it must perforce be by train in this winter weather.” Amelia herself described the tour as “much more intense than I had planned, because the management [G. P.] kept trying to squeeze in more, and in these times, I thought I might as well do as much and get as much as I could.” She did.

Amelia had already begun to proclaim in no uncertain terms the causes of feminism, pacifism, and the use of commercial aviation that she advocated on the lecture tour soon after her Atlantic flight. Three months after President Hoover presented her the National Geographic’s gold medal in June of 1932 she was back at the White House—this time with a petition for an equal rights amendment to the constitution. “I join with the National Women’s Party,” she told Hoover, “in hoping for the speedy passage of the Lucretia Mott Amendment which would write into the highest law of our land that men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States.”

In addition to the equal rights amendment, Amelia suggested that the federal government take the lead in eliminating discrimination. As an example she cited the Department of Commerce’s recognition of legal equality for men and women in licensing pilots. If the actual treatment of women aviators was less than fair, the licensing was at least a starting point for further improvement.

When Amelia called for equality she meant just that; she did not want affirmative action. Equal rights legislation would put a stop, she said, “to sentimental attitudes about protective legislation for women.… Wages should be based on work itself, not on sex.” Although she had joined the National Women’s Party, she regarded a separate political party for women as a necessary evil to be abandoned as soon as discriminatory legislation was eliminated.

In a letter to the editor of the New York Sun she complimented the paper on its editorial disapproval of a special minimum wage law for women. “It is true that in all too many instances conditions and wages [for women] are deplorable,” she wrote. “However, civilization’s duty is to men as well as women and any sincere welfare program must see them safeguarded also. The right to earn a living belongs to all persons.”

On her first lecture tour of 1933 Amelia had said whatever she pleased, but she went wherever G. P. sent her. If she expected a rest after her return to Rye on February 7 she was disappointed. A few days later she flew to Chicago for a wedding in which G. P. was best man. He must have insisted because she resented having to go. “I loathe the formal kind [of wedding],” she wrote to her mother, “and have never attended any since Pidge got me inside a church for hers. (I don’t mean only church weddings are awful, of course.)” What she seemed to mean was that all weddings were “awful,” and that she remained as critical of marriage as she had been before her own. Whether she told G. P. this or he sensed it, he treated her to a brief vacation as soon as they returned to Rye, a drive south with David. On the way they stopped overnight at Aberdeen, North Carolina, where she played golf the next morning.

The vacation was for three days, ending on February 24 when she was back in New York for a nationwide broadcast, “The Inside Story,” which combined a dramatization of her life with an interview conducted by Edwin C. Hill, the most popular radio commentator of the time. Amelia repeated her feminist views—she did not believe a woman should be a prisoner of her home; her husband “would no more interfere with my work than I would with his”; and her reason for flying the Atlantic solo was to demonstrate that “women like to do such things, and can.”

On March 4, 1933, Amelia and G. P. went to Washington for the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the invitation of Eleanor. Eleanor and Amelia were already friends. Just two weeks after Roosevelt was elected the previous November Eleanor gave the introductory remarks for one of Amelia’s lectures, at Poughkeepsie, New York. Before the lecture Amelia and G. P. were guests at an informal dinner at Hyde Park for the Roosevelts’ houseguest, Lady Nancy Astor. The only other guests were Mrs. Henry Morganthau and her son Henry, Jr. Lady Astor also spoke at Amelia’s lecture, prompting the local newspaper to exclaim that “three of the world’s outstanding women” were all on stage at the local high school—the first woman to fly the Atlantic, the first American woman elected to Parliament, and the next First Lady of the United States. Amelia did not hesitate to petition the new president in her role as pacifist. She signed a request from the Women’s League for Peace and Freedom to cut military and naval expenditures and to use the money for unemployment relief. She signed a second from the American Women’s committee for the Recognition of Soviet Russia.

A week after the inauguration Amelia had lunch at the White House and a month later she returned with G. P. for dinner and an overnight stay before her lecture to the Daughters of the American Revolution on April 21. On that first night Amelia took Eleanor, who was an enthusiastic booster of commercial aviation, for an airplane ride, a stunt arranged by G. P. After dinner Amelia and Eleanor, still in formal dress and long white gloves, were taken to the airport to board one of Eastern Air Transport’s new two-motored Curtiss Condors, flown by two of the airline’s regular pilots. A half-dozen women reporters were invited but men were banned except for one male photographer, Eleanor’s brother Hall, G. P., and Eugene Vidal. On the round trip to Baltimore Amelia took the controls long enough to be photographed at them wearing long, white evening gloves, before G. P. suggested that Eleanor take a turn in the cockpit while the captain demonstrated the controls to her. “It was like being on top of the world,” she told one of the reporters aboard. When another asked if she felt safe, “knowing a girl may be flying this ship,” Eleanor said she did and added, “I’d give anything to do it myself!” She meant it. Three months earlier she had discussed learning to fly with Amelia. Amelia sent her to her physician for the physical examination needed by student pilots. Eleanor passed it but when she asked Franklin for his approval he told her he thought it would be a waste of time because she could not afford a plane. Eleanor sent the student pilot’s permit she had obtained to Amelia.

The next night Amelia made front-page copy on her own when she threw down the gauntlet of pacifism to the Daughters of the American Revolution. Before a full house at Constitution Hall she declared that no organization should advocate armaments unless its members were willing to bear arms themselves. Calling it “a point on which this organization and I don’t see eye to eye,” she repeated her claim that equality of opportunity with men was essential in everything, including the draft in the event of war.

Although her stand on equal rights had previously aroused remarkably little criticism, her proposal to draft women did and not just from the D.A.R. In November, on the eve of Armistice Day, she gave an interview to Yale Daily News reporter Whitelaw Reid, whose parents owned the Herald Tribune. This time she added that women not only should be drafted, they should “be made to do the dirty work, and real fighting instead of dressing up and parading down the streets.” The oldest people should be drafted first, she said: “They are the ones who start war and if they knew that their verdict to fight meant their getting out in the line of fire themselves, they would be a great deal slower in rushing into an armed conflict.”

The Yale interview was picked up by the Associated Press and ran in newspapers from coast to coast. In a letter to the New York Times, one of Amelia’s critics, a woman, claimed that American women had served in the First World War both overseas and at home, and they paraded in the streets to sell Liberty Bonds, not to show off. “A woman with Miss Earhart’s fine courage and high order of intelligence should have a better knowledge of her own sex than her flippant remarks would indicate,” she wrote. Perhaps Amelia was too young to know what her country-women had done from 1914 to 1920!

The feminist-pacifist also defied her old friend Hiram Bingham of the NAA, resigning on May 6 from her posts as vice-president and contest committee member. She objected to Bingham’s insistence that membership be expanded and the control of the monthlymagazine be given to “a promoter who will operate it for his own gain,” or so she claimed. Amelia had already waged a two-year campaign to abandon the magazine, winning approval of the executive and contest committees but the dictatorial Bingham ignored their action. “Wholesale resignations” had been predicted but Amelia’s was the only one.

In her letter to Bingham she said their viewpoints were “too dissimilar” but she had only the friendliest personal feelings toward him. He was not as charitable, claiming that she apparently wanted the NAA to do nothing except sanction air meets, but he urged her to keep her honorary membership.

However, she did side with Bingham when he threatened to suspend all NAA-FAI license holders for one to three years if they took part in “unsanctioned” (by the NAA) air meets. His threat was aimed at the Chicago Tribune—sponsored American Air Races, scheduled for July 1 through 4, the same dates as the NAA-sanctioned National Air Races to be held in Los Angeles. Pilots protested that Bingham’s ukase banning them from participation in the Chicago races would cause them to lose potential prize money but Amelia supported Bingham’s efforts to sustain what she thought the most basic function of the NAA, the sanctioning of air meets. The day before she resigned as vice-president she protested the use of her name as a member of the Chicago meet’s pilots’ committee, saying she had no connection with the meet because it was scheduled in direct opposition to the National Air Races.

Back from Washington after her resignation, Amelia stayed home for most of May and June. In May her mother came for her first visit in the house in Rye since Amelia’s marriage more than two years before. The mother-daughter relationship reflected in their letters had evolved into one in which Amelia, Amy’s primary source of support, sounded like the parent, and Amy, the child. Amelia sent checks, advice, and packages, including a bottle of “tooth wash,” a “scientific solvent,” recommended by her dentist. Amelia’s customary admonishments regarding money and Muriel continued. “Enclosed is a check. Please don’t give it all away if the giving means fostering dependence and lack of responsibility.” When Muriel asked Amelia for a second mortgage on the Morrisseys’ house, Amelia tried to find out from Amy how much help Amy was giving the couple from her allowance. Amelia doubted the Morrisseys could hold on to the house under any circumstances, but she sent the necessary documents to Muriel.

Amy’s visit to Rye in May was followed by a series of letters concerning where and with whom Amy would spend the month of August. Amy suggested Maine. Amelia countered with Stonington, Connecticut, where her friend from college days, Elise von R. Owen, and her mother had converted their pre-depression home into a guest house. Amy then changed to Marblehead and wanted to take both her grandchildren with her. Amelia said she could have one, part of the time, but not both. “I will not permit it under any circumstances,” she wrote, threatening to withhold Amy’s monthly check if she took them. In the end Amy went to Marblehead where Amelia urged her to stay through autumn. There was no mention of how many grandchildren went with her in subsequent letters.

That summer Amelia, as president of the Ninety-Nines, stepped up her efforts on behalf of her colleagues, a strong-willed and unconventional lot, sometimes contentious and always competitive. Determined to increase the membership, she opposed Gladys O’Donnell’s suggestion that there be a special women’s committee for the National Air Races, affiliated with but separate from the Ninety-Nines. Amelia warned O’Donnell that there were already complaints that the organization was run by and for professionals who comprised only a small number of the six hundred women licensees in the United States.

Amelia also used her own fame to gain publicity for the Ninety-Nines. She made arrangements to model an inexpensive flying suit for Vogue magazine—one she thought might make an optional Ninety-Nines uniform—but she could not get an agreement from the regional directors in time to meet the magazine’s deadline and the picture was used without mention of the organization. To publicize an all-woman air race staged by Annette Gipson, a beautiful young aviatrix, at Roosevelt Field on June 4, Amelia took all the participants to lunch before the race, then waved the starting flag while thirty thousand spectators watched, many standing on the roofs of their parked cars.

In a letter to Margaret Cooper, the woman she wanted to succeed her as president, Amelia revealed managerial talent and political acumen. Bylaws were needed; so was new stationery, but the old should be sold to “patriotic” members, she said following the Earhart rule of putting style first, with frugality close on its heels. She also warned Cooper that she should consider the hazards of a lawsuit before attempting to eject an undesirable member.

Amelia wrote to Cooper because she was not certain she would arrive in time for the annual meeting and election of officers in Los Angeles on July 3. She had just entered the Bendix, the transcontinental race sponsored by Vincent Bendix, with Ruth Nichols. “Racing,” Amelia wrote to Cooper, “is not the most reliable way to travel.… The schedule calls for our leaving July 1, but it’s along [sic] way from here to there.”

It was a long way. The two women were given only two weeks notice that women would be eligible, with a special prize of twenty-five hundred dollars for the winner. Nichols, who had cracked up her Vega at Newfoundland while attempting an Atlantic crossing a year before, had borrowed a Lockheed Orion that her friend Clarence Chamberlin was trying to overhaul in a few days. Amelia’s sole “test flight” for her rebuilt Vega was to Chicago for a three-day visit to the World’s Fair with G. P., his twelve-year-old son, George, Jr., and a Rye neighbor, Betty Chester. If she had known she would be flying in the Bendix she might have put it through more rigorous testing.

Amelia and Nichols were scheduled to take off a little after midnight on July 1 from Floyd Bennett Field, six hours before the men, who had faster ships. The crowd of two thousand that gathered at the airport to see them leave dwindled to two hundred after Nichols’s plane developed motor trouble and the fog rolled in from the sea, followed by a severe thunderstorm. Amelia found a bed in one of the airport offices and slept for three hours while mechanics worked on Nichols’s plane and G. P. studied weather reports from the west. At 3:30 A.M. it was obvious that Nichols’s Orion needed more work. Amelia took off twenty minutes later after telling reporters she would insist that her rival not be penalized for the delay in starting.

The delay was only the first in a series of mishaps that plagued both women. After refueling at St. Louis, Amelia almost lost consciousness from gas fumes in the cockpit before landing at Wichita. Shortly after she left there the hatch cover of her Vega blew open, “blanketing” the tail and threatening her control of the aircraft. She spent an hour and a half at Winslow, Arizona, while mechanics made repairs. Soon after she left Winslow, motor trouble forced her to return to Wichita where she stayed overnight. On July 2 she reached her destination, the Los Angeles Municipal Airport, but was forced by ground rules to circle over the field for more than a half hour until the fifty-mile free-for-all race was over. Amelia was the last of the three remaining contestants out of six to finish the Bendix. Russell Boardman, who crashed at takeoff from Indianapolis, died on July 3. Harry Thaw dropped out after his plane was badly damaged on takeoff, also at Indianapolis, and Ruth Nichols withdrew at Wichita.

Last in the Bendix and entering no other event, yet mobbed by admirers at the grandstand, Amelia stayed on through the last day, July 4. For the grand finale, manager Cliff Henderson had arranged for Mary Pickford to arrive on a trimotored Fokker, escorted by six Boeing pursuit planes. Amid the blare of trumpets, Amelia greeted her, along with Col. H. H. “Hap” Arnold, who would become one of the great air commanders of World War II. Pickford, who had announced the breakup of her marriage to Douglas Fairbanks two days earlier, smiled bravely for the photographers when Amelia shook her hand. The syndicated photographs of “America’s Sweetheart” and the “Queen of the Air” appeared in hundreds of newspapers across the country.

In spite of her poor showing in the Bendix Amelia had lost nothing by entering. Along with the national news coverage G. P. wanted for her she had given the reconditioned Vega a shakedown it needed for another try at breaking her own transcontinental speed record for women.

Late on the night of July 7 she taxied the heavily laden plane, its red and silver paint glistening in the moonlight, down the runway of the Los Angeles Municipal Airport and took off for Newark. Three hours later the lock on the hatch cover broke again. The first time the rigid sheet of metal had blown off, narrowly missing the rudder. This time it fluttered in the propeller’s wake, again threatening to shear the rudder. With one hand on the controls, Amelia reached up and caught the edge of the cover, then held it for the next seventy-five miles as she headed toward Amarillo. She knew she would have to use both hands to land. Arm bruised and numb, she released the hatch, pulled back the throttle to slow the ship and grasped the wheel for a landing. The latch held.

After a two and a half hour delay while the lock was repaired, she left Amarillo but was soon involved in a new battle for survival when carbon monoxide gas again drifted into the cockpit. Nauseated and faint, she held out until Columbus where she had to land for fuel. While waiting there she walked up and down the field to restore her circulation. Her knees kept buckling, but the fresh air revived her. From Columbus she fought a heavy rain squall over the Pennsylvania mountains before approaching Newark at 8:19P.M. on Saturday, July 8. The field was still lit by a summer sunset as she came to a halt on the runway. She had beaten her old record by almost two hours; the new time, seventeen hours, seven minutes, and thirty seconds.

A crowd of three hundred fans, most of them women, rushed the plane as soon as she pushed back the hatch cover and looked out, grinning and running her hand through wind-matted hair. G. P. was waiting for her when she jumped down from the plane, her grimy overalls spattered with oil and grease. “Well,” she said to him, “I’m back and nice and dirty as usual.” After seventeen hours of constant tension and nausea she took G. P.’s arm, walked with him to the car, got in on the driver’s side, and drove off toward Rye. The “Queen of the Air” had reasserted her right to the throne. The record was won, the routine had gone full circle. It was time to make some money again.

* The Vega Model B, serial number 171, was built in August of 1931 for John Henry Mears as a “high-speed special.” When he refused delivery on it, Elinor Smith bought it for a projected Atlantic flight she never made. After Smith, the most severe critic of Amelia’s flying skills, cracked it up in an accident in Garden City, she transferred ownership to her husband, Patrick H. Sullivan, who sold it to William W. Hart, Jr., of New York City. Hart sold it to Amelia, the bill of sale dated January 7, 1933.

Almost fifty years later U.S. Air Force pilot Maj. Nancy B. Samuelson repeated Amelia’s complaint, claiming that women were all but totally eliminated from training programs paid for by taxpayers. “This is particularly true of flight training programs and especially true of military flight training programs,” she wrote.

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