Earhart and Range

Three-quarters of the globe behind them, Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, now had only the Pacific Ocean left to cross. They took off midmorning from Lae, Papua New Guinea, on July 1, 1937, bound for Howland Island, an 8,200-foot-long, paramecium-shaped speck halfway to Honolulu. A runway had been carved out on the uninhabited island for their use. Fuel awaited them, and the US Coast Guard cutter Itasca stood by with radio-direction-finding equipment. Earhart would navigate by pilotage and dead reckoning until nightfall; they would then rely on Noonan’s celestial navigation until the sun rose an hour before their anticipated arrival. Thereafter, Earhart would dead-reckon again.

They reached the vicinity of Howland Island and then disappeared.

The belief that they still had several hours’ worth of fuel as

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