Guild II

guildbadgeResearch and support needed for a


Click HERE to read a draft of the first chapter.

Click HERE to read a draft of the second chapter.

Click HERE to donate to the on-going research costs of writing this book.

As a service to historians, researchers and, in fact, anyone interested in Amelia Earhart, TIGHAR will publish a book documenting the evolution of the world’s most famous missing aircraft. Delivered to Amelia on her 39th birthday – July 24, 1936 – the aircraft was in service less than a year when it vanished on July 2, 1937. During that time Amelia’s Model 10E Special underwent many modifications. Instruments, fuel tanks, registration markings, radios, antennas, even windows, came and went as the so-called Flying Laboratory was readied for its globe circling mission. In the seventy-eight years since it was last seen, misconceptions about Earhart’s Electra have made it difficult for the public to assess competing theories about its ultimate fate. It is long past time for a documented history of the plane’s development, what is known – and not known – about the changes that were made and what they say about the people who made them.

Devoting the time required to a project like this is expensive. To help fund the writing we’re asking you to join the TIGHAR Literary Guild with a contribution of at least $100. Members of the Literary Guild will be listed in the Acknowledgements section of the book and will be the first to receive a signed copy of The Earhart Electra – From Drawing Board to Disappearance as soon as it’s published.

TIGHAR’s two previous books – Amelia Earhart’s Shoes: Is the Mystery Solved? by Tom King, Randy Jacobson, Karen Burns, and Kent Spading (AltaMira Press, 2001), and Ric Gillespie’s book, Finding Amelia: the True Story of the Earhart Disappearance (Naval Institute Press, 2006) – are text-heavy narratives published by respected houses. Last year, as an experiment in in-house publishing, TIGHAR offered Searching for Amelia Earhart – A Travel Journal by Laurie Rubin – a large format “coffee-table” book lavishly illustrated with Laurie’s fabulous photos from the 2012 Niku VII expedition. Laurie produced the book through on-demand publisher BLURB and donated all proceeds to TIGHAR. We were impressed by the superb quality of the end product and the book has sold well in the TIGHAR Store.

Whether we use BLURB or another publisher, large format and high-quality production values will be the standard for the Earhart Electra book. An initial grant from TIGHAR member Larry Inman in 2013 made it possible to lay the groundwork for this important project, and Larry’s fabulous Remember Amelia personal collection will be an important resource. We’re also fortunate to have the Harney Drawings from which we can create full-color illustrations. Dozens of historical photos will show the aircraft as it appeared at key stages in its development. Reproductions of telegrams, letters, Bureau of Air Commerce Inspection Reports and Lockheed Repair Orders will document how the airplane changed over time. The narrative accompanying the photos and illustrations will tell the human story behind the machine. We’re hoping that when it’s finished this will be a book that every Earhart enthusiast will want. In addition to the large format printed edition we’ll produce an economical e-book edition.

We’re going to need help researching and writing this book. While much of the airplane’s history is well documented, there are gaps that further research may be able to fill. As we have in the past, we’ll turn to the TIGHAR membership for help in digging for needed source material. As research questions arise we’ll put them out to TIGHAR researchers and to TIGHAR’s Amelia Earhart Search Forum. We’ll publish draft chapters in TIGHAR Tracks and on the TIGHAR website.

Proposed Table of Contents

  It was the airplane she dreamed of and flying it around the world would be the crowning achievement in a career already studded with aviation firsts. This is the untold story of how it all went wrong.
  The politics and pragmatism behind the Lockheed Model 10 Electra and Amelia Earhart’s surprising role in its initial design. Click HERE to read a draft of this chapter.
  How Earhart’s husband persuaded Purdue University to fund a new airplane for Amelia.
  The construction and delivery of a special long-range version of the Electra.
  Fuel system difficulties, paperwork foul-ups, and the problem-plagued 1936 trans-continental Bendix Trophy Race.
  Aerial refueling plans, ill-conceived modifications, and the installation and subsequent replacement of a potentially life-saving radio navigation system.
  The abortive first world flight attempt.
  Desertion, desperation, and deceit in preparing for a second world flight attempt.
  How Earhart pressed on with the world flight substituting courage for competence.
  The tragic events of July 2, 1937 were not the consequence of misfortune but a classic manifestation of the oft-quoted axiom, “Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect.”

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