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The Whole Story

National Geographic
(September 1932), 358-67.



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Page 1

The Address of Acceptance

Hazards Not Quite So Manifest as Described


Page 2

Menaced by the Dread Ice Hazard

Three Types of Compasses Showed the Way


Page 3
Not Troubled by Drowsiness


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The Society's Special Medal Awarded to Amelia Earhart
(continued)

Not Troubled by Drowsiness
"I have been asked many times whether I was sleepy, and I can say, 'No, indeed' emphatically. With very concentrated flying, one becomes wider and wider awake. Then, after all, one night is not any particular strain. One can do almost anything for one night; so that I did not have any great fatigue. Possibly, if the night had been a beautiful, clear one, with the moon and stars shining and with nothing for me to do, I might have got somewhat drowsy. Flying in the kind of weather I met, however, made even winking an eye impossible.

"When daylight came I found fmyself between two layers of clouds. One I should estimate at 20,000 feet (4,000 meters) and the other a thousand feet (300 meters) over the water. With a glimpse of the water that I had then, which was the first in many hours, I noted that I had a strong northwest wind. I thought then that I must be south of my course, inasuch as I had run into storms predicted south of my course, and I found myself in a northwest wind. Therefore, instead of following implicitly the course which I had laid out, I tried to allow for what I considered my southward drift. Consequently I hit Ireland farther north than I had expected.

"With my exhaust burned out, as it was by that time, I thought it was common sense to check over the first land available, and I did not want to miss the tip of Ireland. So I corrected too much. After sighting land, I started down toward the southern coast, found thunderstorms in the mountains, and, not knowing the topography of the region, thought it was not very sensible to try to fly through. I then turned north into clearer weather.

"Using United States reasoning in Ireland was not quite effective. I thought if I followed a railroad I should come to a large town, and a large town would have an airport, as they usually do here. I found the railroad, followed it, came to a fair-sized city, but found no port. Consequently I selected the best pasture I could find and settled down in it. I pulled up at the front door of a farmhouse and asked the surprised farmer for a drink of water—an unusual request in Ireland, I found!

"Probably more exciting than actually sighting land was seeing a small fishing vessel about 100 miles (200 kilometers) off the coast. I was going by, as I wanted to reach land, but then decided to circle, that all might know I had got so far, anyway. I circled and received an answering signal. A whistle and some kind of bomb was sent off. Of course, I could not hear them, but I could see the smoke and the steam from the whistle. It was the first human contact since Newfoundland.

"My flight has added nothing to aviation. After all, literally hundreds have crossed the Atlantic by air, if those who have gone in heavier-than-air and lighter-than-air craft are counted and those who have crossed the North and South Atlantic. However, I hope that the flight has meant something to women in aviation. If it has, I shall feel it was justified; but I can't claim anything else.

"I am grateful to have had the privilege of coming here tonight, and for the honor which the National Geographic Society has paid me."



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