Forum logo Was Fred Noonan an alcoholic?

Many books about Earhart have repeated stories alleging that Noonan had a drinking problem. Some say he had been fired from his job at Pan American Airways for alcoholism. Others even claim that, for the final takeoff from New Guinea, he was so hung over that he had to be helped aboard the airplane. However, film of Earhart and Noonan boarding the airplane that morning show a bright and cheerful Fred Noonan helping Amelia up onto the wing. The stories about Noonan’s drinking seem to have begun in 1966 with the publication of The Search for Amelia Earhart by Frederick Goerner and are totally without documentary support. It is one of the tragedies of the Earhart Legend that an aviation pioneer whose contributions to modern air travel are considerably greater than Earhart’s, is primarily remembered as Amelia Earhart’s drunken navigator.

For more information about Fred Noonan, go to Fred Noonan, Sea Captain.

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