Amelia Earhart’s personal airplane mechanic for the Lockheed 10E Electra.
Ruckins D. “Bo” McKneely, Jr. (born 1909, died 16 April 1998), a 25 year old airplane mechanic, was hired by Amelia Earhart on sight in 1936 when he was recommended to her by Paul Mantz. Bo McKneely accompanied Earhart’s flight from California to Miami, FL, in May 1937 as she began her second attempt at her globe-circling flight. When she departed Miami in the early morning hours of 1 June 1937, Bo followed her plane down the runway as she took off, driving his car laden with fire extinguishers in case there was another crash like the one in Hawaii the previous March.
In the TIGHAR Forum, Ric Gillespie speculates that the aluminum patch that was installed in Earhart's Lockheed Electra in Miami was the work of Bo McKneely.
In later years, Bo expressed regret that he had not gone on the flight with Amelia and her navigator, Fred Noonan, saying, “I just feel that another pair of eyes would have been all they needed, and I could have been up there controlling the fuel flow to the engines to get the most range out of the aircraft and probably gotten more time out of it.” He felt that the pair crashed and sank within 100 miles of their destination, Howland Island, on 2 July 1937.
A few years after Amelia Earhart’s disappearance, Bo McKneely began a 30-year career working for Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, retiring in 1971. He settled in Tennessee and died in a nursing home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, at the age of 89.
- "Amelia Earhart’s ‘Boro Connection", an article in the Murfreesboro Post published 27 May 2012.