Amelia Earhart Piloted an Autogiro Across Wyoming in June of 1931
Did you know Amelia Earhart flew an autogiro across Wyoming?
In June of 1931, Amelia Earhart piloted an autogiro, an early version of the helicopter, across Wyoming during her cross-country trip.
Amelia Earhart was attempting to set a record as the first person to make a cross-country flight in an autogiro. She made stops in Cheyenne, Laramie, Parco (now Sinclair), Rock Springs and Le Roy, Wyoming.
According to Wyohistory.org, the autogiro was called 'The Flying Windmill' by the press and was a fixed-wing propeller plane with an engine in front that had four long rotors that would spin at 100 revolutions per minute above the open cockpit. (Modern helicopters' rotors spin at about 400 RPM's) It only had a 52-gallon fuel tank so frequent stops were necessary.
The cross-country flight was sponsored by Beech-Nut chewing gum and left Newark, New Jersey in May of 1931. Earhart and her mechanic, Eddie de Vaught, averaged a speed of 80 miles per hour. They landed in Cheyenne on June 2, 1931 and stayed the night before Earhart's first flight to Denver. She returned to Cheyenne before resuming her trip. On June 4 she took off for her first landing in Laramie where she stopped for about 20 minutes.
They arrived in Oakland on June 6, 1931 but were too late to set the cross-country flight record. Earhart and her mechanic did return to the east coast and set the record for the first round trip across the U.S. in an autogiro.
In 1932, Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic and earned her the nickname of 'Lady Lindy.' Her and her husband, George Putnam, had decided to have a cabin built near Kirwin, Wyoming.
While attempting to fly around the world at it's equator in 1937, contact was lost with her plane on July 2. Amelia Earhart was never heard from again. Every August, the Meeteetse Museum sponsors a trip to Kirwin which includes a hike to the cabin site that Putnam and Earhart had chosen before her disappearance.