The Skinny On Amelia


Amelia and Elinor

George talked Elinor into dropping out Powder Puff Derby.

ES was AE’s strongest competitor. GP offered ES $75 per week to fly Amelia around the country for her speaking engagements and promotional tours. When photographers  took pics ES was to stand to the side as if Amelia was flying the plane.

When AE got out of the plane she was dressed in a clean dress and looked immaculate so she really wasn’t dressed to fly. GP kept AE in the spotlight by deception.

ES turned down GP’s offer. It was so disgusting. AE didn’t know about this offer or any other way GP tried to keep ES out of the spotlight. AE told ES that he would do anything he needed to make sure that she stayed in the spotlight.

GP would do anything in his power to keep AE as #1 woman pilot.

GP promoted AE as Lady Lindy. AE’s #1 flight was made as a passenger and was called a sack of potatoes.

AE made $500 p/wk for her talks.

ES didn’t want to be AE but she did think she was a brave and courageous woman.

ES hoped that GP would promote her like AE. He said he would but under very deceptive circumstances. He was phony to ES. He wanted to use ES ability as a pilot to help AE get more speaking engagements and flights thought AE should never smile for the camera because she had a space between her teeth. Everything was done for publicity.

AE knew wanted ES to endorse a line of casual dresses for women to wear when they flew. ES turned her down because she wore practical clothes when she flew. ES didn’t want to wear clothes that she would only get grease and dirt on her clothes’ ES usually wore her brother’s knickers, his old shirt, a windbreaker argyle socks, and worn out sneakers. ES felt that because she flew over the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic that she should wear clothes she could quickly get out of if she needed to in case she had crashed into the water. Practical clothes would be easier to swim home.

AE wanted the money for endorsements so that she could buy more powerful planes and enter more races. Truthfully, it was GP who insisted that AE do many endorsements and AE felt she had to follow along. That’s why I call GP AE’s Puppeteer.

Also, ES would not endorse products that she didn’t use or believe in. She needed the money but she just couldn’t commit to being involved in things that weren’t right for her.ot

ES had $15,000 worth of endorsements of her own. Not as many as AE but after her flight under the bridges she was in any newsreels and even had her pictures on buses.

ES thought that AE was warm and friendly and not shy and retiring like GP portrayed her. He also wouldn’t let the press AE know that she was 30 yrs old. He felt that the younger she was the public would think that she was more unique. He didn’t respect ES because she was too young to be taken seriously.

One time AE and ES went up in a very powerful plane. ES asked AE if she’d like to take over the controls. AE couldn’t handle it and let ES take control again. AE was very embarrassed and it seemed to ES that AE was the experienced pilot that GP said.

ES realized that AE hand not flown and landed on her own. It turned out that another pilot who GP said was her mechanic was really landing the plane for AE. When

AE left the plane she looked like a picture, perfectly dressed and had no dirt or grease stains anywhere. She looked immaculate.  This proved that GP was perpetrating a hoax on the reporters and public. It also proved to ES that GP was a liar. AE went along with this deception because GP told her what to do and she followed along.

ES really liked AE and encouraged her to take a refresher pilots course in order to increase her skills. ES was pleased that she did this in private at her parents Rye, N.Y. estate.

GP spread rumors that I was very difficult to work with and that aviation manufactures shouldn’t hire her to promote their planes. He did everything to stop me from finding a way to earn money for my flights.

In 1929 AE and other women pilots started a group to support each other in aviation. ES never joined because she felt that women at that time shouldn’t fly and compete against men in the big time races. ES thought that women should fly the smaller and not as heavy planes.

AE had a difficult time earning her transport license. This was the highest  rating that you could receive. ES earned hers at age 17. GP said that AE was so competent that she didn’t even need to take the written or physical test.

Elinor wanted to buy a powerful plane by a well-known manufacturer named Bellanca. She needed this plane to compete in a race. Mr. Bellanca promised her the plane to ES. Unfortunately, GP talked Bellanca to let AE buy the plane. This would ultimately cause ES to drop out of the race.  (check which race and year.) GP didn’t allow anyone to question if AE was really the pilot in some races and appearances. In actually, it was somewhat known that someone else, possibly her mechanic was the pilot not AE. Some reporters noticed on several occasions that she was supposed to be the pilot she left the plane perfectly dressed. No oil or dirt on her clothes. Even her hair was perfect. It was not her that made the “perfect landing because she wasn’t really flying or landing the plane.

If GP was asked about AE’s ability he just said that AE was too important to answer that question. He felt that he didn’t have to convince anyone.

ES believed AE that she didn’t know anything about GP’s attitude toward her. ES told AE that she was pushed out of races and events because he only wanted AE to be the top pilot. ES told AE that GP spread rumors that she was too difficult to work with and that manufactures should stay away from her and only work with AE. AE said that GP never told her anything about his push to keep ES out of the money races.

Few know that AE did poorly in the Cleveland Air Races. She only finished 3rd. She was flying the fastest ship but she really didn’t know how to control it. She didn’t have enough skills to properly fly this large plane. She only received her solo license 5 months before the race and didn’t have the expertise to properly pilot the plane. This would have surprised the general public if they knew the truth about Amelia’s abilities. To the public she was their Lady Lindy and they wouldn’t believe their hero was anything but the best woman pilot. Truthfully, it was GP who created this illusion.

GP blamed the manufacturer not AE’s ability. He wasn’t going to let the press criticize  AE. She was his creation and nothing was going to interfere with his work.

AE and the Navy? The Navy Air Races in 19   in Anacosta, Maryland were a very important event in aviation. ES was the aviation announcer for this race. Add to power point p.244-248

Date AE got transport license? GP didn’t even think that AE needed to take the written, physical or high flight tests in order to get her transport license.

AE surprised ES when she told her that she was going to marry GP. AE knew that it wouldn’t be a real marriage but GP would help her raise money so she could do what she loved to do. AE didn’t like writing books, or speaking at functions but that would give her money to fly in the big races and have the more powerful planes.

ES couldn’t stand GP but she liked AE and wished her well in her marriage. ES felt that GP never understood that AE wasn’t a great pilot with too little experience and knowledge to perform the flights he promoted for her. ES believed that AE needed more practice and was glad when she did take the time to get more experience with flights near her Rye, N.Y. mission.

On AE’s last flight she made a crucial mistake do to taking GP’s advice. AE didn’t

AE didn’t bring a powerful enough radio on that flight. GP told her that she couldn’t wait for the proper radio to be shipped. He had scheduled speaking engagements that couldn’t be changed. If she had that radio maybe she wouldn’t have gotten lost.

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