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On August 25, 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the United States solo in a record time of 19 hours, 5 minutes. Earhart is a well-known name in early aviation, but here’s a reminder of a few of the amazing firsts for this female pilot:

  • 1922–16th woman to receive her pilot’s license; also set the women’s world altitude record (14,000 feet)
  • 1929–Helped to found the Ninety-Nines, an organization dedicated to female aviators
  • 1930–Set women’s world flying speed of 181.18 miles per hour (she set seven more speed and distance records between 1930 & 1935)
  • 1931–First woman to fly an autogyro
  • 1932–Second pilot (after Charles Lindbergh) to fly solo, nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean
  • 1935–First solo flight from Hawaii to California; first to fly solo between Los Angeles and Mexico City

In honor of Amelia Earhart, try out this classic activity related to flight from our book Family Science!

Paper Wing

What you’ll need:
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Ruler


What you do:
  • Cut a strip of paper 1 inch by 6 inches (2.5 by 15 centimeters).
  • Hold one end of the paper strip just below your bottom lip.
  • Predict which direction the paper will move when you blow. Now give it a try.
  • Change the size of the paper and the amount of air you blow. What happens?


What’s happening?

Blowing air over the paper decreases the air pressure on top. The air pressure under the paper doesn’t change, so it pushes the paper up. This demonstrates what happens on an airplane wing. On an airplane, the curved surface of the top of the wing causes the air to move faster over the wing which lowers the air pressure. Because the air pressure is greater under the wings, the wings are pushed upward.

Have fun!