When I first saw Friendship she was jacked up in.. a hangar in East Boston. Mechanics and welders worked nearby on the struts for the pontoons.. the ship's golden wings, 72 feet.. red orange fuselage.. was chosen for practical use.. if we had come down orange could been seen.. (in the water).
I had to wear breeks because of the jump from the pontoon to the door and because of slipping on and off the flying suit worn outside one's clothing.
(I wore) my old flying clothes - high laced boots, brown broadcloth breeks, white silk blouse with a red necktie.. and ancient leather coat, long, plenty of pockets and a snug buttoning collar. A homely brown sweater.. a light leather flying helmet and goggles.. a brown and white silk scarf.
CARRYING A CAMERA
When it was cold I wore - as did the men - a heavy fur lined flying suit which covers completely from head to toe, shoes and all... Toilet articles began with a toothbrush and ended with a comb. The only extras; fresh handkerchiefs and a tube of cold cream. My 'vanity case' was a small army knapsack... Mr. Layman let me take his camera and Mrs. Layman her wrist watch. Field glasses, lent by GPP and a compact log book.
CARRIES A BOOK FOR AMY GUEST FROM COMM BYRD
"Baggage" was a book - Skykward by Commander Byrd (sent to Mrs. Guest) and a pakcet of messages.
TRIP FROM BOSTON TO TREPASSEY
Slim uncovered the motors. Bill tinkered with his radio and in the cockpit. Slim dropped won from the fuselage to the starboard pontoon, hopped over to the other and cranked the port motor. Soon all three were turning.. we were off.
I squat on the floor next to the motion picture camera with my feet on a dunnage bag. There's one man's shoe in the passageway between the gas tanks - it looks odd, but no one cares.
I had to hold the (broken cabin door) shut until Slim could get back to repair it. It was at first anchored to a gasoline can, but I saw the can being slowly pulled out, so anchored myself to it instead.
Slim came within inches of falling out when the (cabin) door suddenly slid open. And when I dived for that gasoline can, edging towards the opening door, I too had a narrow escape. However a string tied through the leather thong in the door itself and fastened to a brace.. held it shut.
CABIN GAS TANKS
Friendship is equipped with two special tanks, elliptical affairs, which bulged into the space just aft of the cockpit.. There was room between these to squeeze through. .. It was between these tanks I spent many hours.. after part of the cabin was unheated and reached low temperatures.
In addition to the gas carried in the wing and these supplementary tanks, we had on board a limited amount in five gallon tins - for quick dumping in emergency. In taking off, all of us, except Bill, crowded as far aft as we could.
The sun is blinding in the cockpit, Bill is crouching in the hatchway, taking sights. .. the drift indicator was on the floor by the hatchway which had to be opened each time speed and drift calculations were made.
I have in my ears some little rubber ear stops which Mrs. Byrd sent. She said Commander Byrd used them in his own trans-Atlantic flight, and was the only one who could hear when the plane reached the other side. I'm eager to see whether they work, as both the men are without them.
WHERE SHE SITS
I've changed my seat to a gas can.. the motors are humming sweetly. I dozed off and awake to find us flying 2000 feet above a sea of fog. The wind is rough and Bill is shutting off the motors.
HALIFAX - STAYED IN AN OVERBOOKED HOTEL
(She sits in the plane while the boys go ahead to get lodging) I don't dare take pictures lest the people see I am present. The plane rides at her moorings and the waves of passing launches knock the pontoons with hammer blows. Finally.. we got to a small hotel in Darmouth. It is Sunday, no one is at home. He has no rooms in the main building, we are shown to the Annex..
SANDWICHES FROM BOSTON
The Copley Plaza hotel.. provided ham sandwiches... At Trepassey it was canned rabbit...
TREPASSEY - STAYED IN A WOMAN'S HOME NOT HOTEL
We are lodged.. at the home of Mrs. Deveraux. We were led to a dinner of chicken and dandelions and (potatoes.)
SLIM HATES FISH
(While waiting for weather) Bill chopped wood, Slim and I played "rummy." For supper we had canned rabbit. Bills' comment; here's something they caught last year - something that couldn't get away." We had fish for the firs time - Slim hates fish and had been told was all there was to eat. Even eggs taste of fish because hens were fed on fish. He's been eating chocolates by the package.
Slim hails from Texas. Temperamentally he is no sailor... neither salt water nor its products held any joy for him. He had a severe attack of ptomaine poisoning from eating clams in Boston before we started.
Wilmer played "Jingle Bells" on this strange "guitar harp" instrument, which woke me up.
I have had a terrific run of luck at "rummy" winning every game at a cent a point. The men are simply great under the strain. ... Bill has a good deal of music in him and knows some Spanish stuff of which I am very fond.
LODGING IN TREPASSY
We slept in down beds, which we sank luxuriously. I borrowed .. a flannel nightgown - never having had one before.
Bought hose at 35C a pair, a khaki shirt - Bill and I wore the same size.
Boys are in the cockpit, I am holding down a pile of flying suits - as we left every ounce back at Trepassey and the three cushions were discarded. We had to throw out all our canned gas. We have only 700 gals with us now.
I have left a telegram to be send half an hour after we had gone. "Violet. Cheerio. AE." The code word "Violet" means "We are just hopping off."
WHAT'S ON THE PLANE
(after taking off equipment for weight) we have a motion picture camera and the boys' thermos bottle left. Only the small thermos filled with coffee. Half of the five gallons of mineral water remained. Three egg sandwiches. 8 or 9 oranges. Tins of Drake's oatmeal cookies. For emergency, tins of pemmican, bottle of Horlicks Malted Milk tablets and some Hershey's chocolate.
AMELIA CHECKS A CALL SIGN
Bill has been at radio and writes CEV to me. I grab call book and find SS. Elmworth calling... we are in the storm now. 3 tons is shaken considerably. .. Bill is nosing her down, all motors wide. We are bucking a head wind and rain, heaviest storm I have ever been in...
WHAT SHE ATE
Three oranges.. comprised my full bill-of-far with.. a dozen malted milk tablets. The sandwiches and coffee I left to the boys... As I look out the window I see a true rainbow.. on our right.. (a full circle, illusion made by the engines)
SHE TOOK PHOTOGRAPHS
The clouds are tinted pink with the setting sun. Bill just got the time. "OK" sez he. 10:20 London time my watch. Pemmican (dried jerky) is being passed or just has been. What stuff! The pink vastness reminds me of the Mojave desert... Bill gets position, we are out 1096 miles at 10:30 London time... the view is too vast and lovely for words. I think I am happy-sad admission of scant intellectual equipment. I am getting housemaid's knee kneeling here at the table gulping beauty.
DESCRIPTION OF THE CABIN
I was kneeling beside the chart table, in front of the window on the port side... through it I took photographs.. on the starboard side was another window. The table, a folding device, was Bill's chart table on which he made his calculations. Close by was the radio. Even though one could stand up in the cabin, the height of the table was such that to see out of the window, one had to lean on the table or kneel beside it. There was nothing to sit on, as sitting equipment had been jettisoned to save weight.
LIGHTS IN THE CABIN
Slim has just hung a flashlight for illuminating the compass.. the fain light of the radium instruments is almost impossible to see.. I write without light.. I wouldn't turn on the electric light in the cabin lest it blind Bill at the controls... the thumb of my left hand was used to mark the starting point.. often lines piled up one on the other.
The exhaust sends out glowing meteors.
SIZE OF HER JACKET
I lose this book in Major Woolley's pockets.. too many.. Size 40 and fur lined.
Slim has just changed batteries in the flashlight hanging over the compass.. the compass was hung rather low, so far from Bill's eye that it was difficult to read its illuminated face. So Slim arranged a flashlight focused on it.
DROPPING THE ORANGE
The course of (the SS America) perplexed us. (it wasn't going in the right direction). Where were we?.. we circled the America, although having no idea of her identity.. with the radio crippled, in an effort to get our position, Bill scribbled a note. The note and an orange to weight it, I tied in a bag with an absurd piece of silver cord. As we circled America, the bag was dropped through the hatch... we tried another shot, using our remaining orange. No luck.
TAKES A PHOTO OF THE SHIP
Before the hatch closed, I lay flat and took a photograph. This, I am told, is the first one made of a vessel at sea from a plane in trans-Atlantic flight.
Then we turned back to our original course, retracing the 12 mile detour - placing a final wager on our original judgment. It was this moment of lowest ebb that Slim chose to breakfast. Nonchalantly he hauled forth a sandwich...
WALES - LAND HO
Half an hour later (we saw) a fishing vessel... although the gas in the tanks was vanishing fast, we began to feel land - some land - must be near. It might not be Ireland, but any land would do.
Bill was at the controls. Slim, gnawing a sandwich, sat beside him, when out of the mists grew a blue shadow.. nebulous "landscapes"- Slim studied it, then called Bill's attention to it; it was land! I think Slim yelled. I know the sandwich went flying out the window. Bill permitted himself a smile.
ARRIVAL - NO ONE COMES
Slim dropped down on the starboard pontoon and made fast to the buoy with the length of rope we had on board.. Slim yelled lustily for service. Finally they noticed us, straightened up and even went so far as to walk down to the shore and look us over. Then.. they went back to work. 3 or 4 people gathered to look at us. To Slim's call for a boat we had no answer. I waved a towel desperately out the front window and one friendly soul pulled off his coat and waved back.
It must have been nearly an hour before the first boats came out. Our first visitor was Norman Fisher who arrived in a dory. Bill went ashore with him and telephoned our friends at Southampton.. while we waited Slim contrived a nap.
RAILEY ARRIVES - NEAR RIOT
Late in the afternoon Captain Railey.. arrived by seaplane with Captain Bailey of the Imperial Airways and Allen Raymond of the New York Times... Bill moored.. and we rowed ashore. There were six policemen to handle the crowd. .. in their enthusiasm.. the Welsh people nearly tore our clothes off.
SOUTHAMPTON - FIRST MEETING OF GUEST
A green (signal gun) marked the official launch coming to greet us. Mrs. Guest, owner of the Friendship, and sponsor of the flight was there, her son Raymond and Hubert Scott Payne of Imperial Airways. My first meeting with (Mrs. Guest) was there in Southampton.
RETURN - PILOTED BY HER FUTURE NAVIGATOR
On June 28 we began our first ocean voyage, embarking on the SS President Roosevelt of the United States Lines, commanded by Captain Harry Manning... When the Roosevelt reached quarantine in NY, she was held there several hours until the Mayor's yacht Macon arrived with its officials, its bands, and our friends. I was sorry to delay other passengers.. who were forced to wait while we were welcomed.
Excerpts from "20 Hrs, 40 Minutes" by Amelia Earhart published by National Geographic Adventures Classics, 2003 editions, originally published 1928.
Excerpts from "The Fun of It" by Amelia Earhart, Academy Chicago Publishers 1977 edition, originally published 1932.
Excerpts from "Last Flight" by Amelia Earhart, 1988 Crown edition, originally published 1932