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Waitt Institute

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The Waitt Institute’s Search for Amelia Earhart…

The story of Amelia Earhart and her disappearance over the South Pacific while piloting her Lockheed Electra 10E aircraft is one of the most intriguing and enduring mysteries of the last century. Seemingly vanishing into thin air during a celebrated round-the-world flight in 1937, Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, believed they were near their charted position of Howland Island, but never arrived.


"After midnight the moon set and I was alone with the stars. I have often said that the lure of flying is the lure of beauty, and I need no other flight to convince me that the reason flyers fly, whether they know it or not, is the esthetic appeal of flying." ~ Amelia Earhart (George Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart papers, Courtesy of Purdue University Libraries, Karnes Archives & Special Collections)

“We must be on you but cannot see you. Running out of gas,”1 Earhart broadcast as one of her last messages to the United States Coast Guard cutter Itasca.2 According to famous researchers, Elgen M. and Marie K. Long, “There is no uncharted island, rock, shoal, reef, sandbar or water less than 30 feet deep within 350 miles of Howland Island. The inescapable conclusion is that shortly after 0843 IST, Earhart was forced to ditch the plane somewhere within 100 miles of Howland Island.”3

Still missing but not forgotten, Earhart has been the subject of many search efforts over the years, beginning just two hours after her last radio transmission4 and continuing recently with the Waitt Institute CATALYST 2 Mission in early 2009.5 And although these searches have been unsuccessful, there is some good news: the CATALYST 2 team left the area with an extremely high degree of confidence that the area explored can be eliminated from future searches.

The Waitt Institute, a non-profit research organization serving as a catalyst for historical and scientific exploration, is excited to present all available data and findings from its recent CATALYST 2 Mission here, confident it will generate continued interest in searching for Earhart. It is our hope this site will ultimately serve as the preeminent gateway to information about Earhart, aggregating knowledge about her life and legacy from across the Web.

As a special tribute to Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan, the Waitt Institute is honored to dedicate this Web site to their memory and trusts it will serve as a source of inspiration to explorers of all ages, for years to come.