It takes a Top Gun to know a Top Gun, and although Tom played one in a movie, he happens to be an avid flyer and an acrobatic pilot off-screen. (Watch the video below to see him loop a helicopter!). He also owns and flies a P-51 Mustang, one of the most successful fighter planes from WWII. So, on Amelia Earhart’s 115th birthday, we thought it only appropriate to acknowledge one of the original hardcore aviators of all time, a pilot who took to the skies with the fearless spirit and endless wonder that defines our greatest flyers. Google Doodles is also honoring her legacy with a great illustration of her famous Lockheed Vega monoplane (left) on their homepage, the same plane she became the first woman to cross the Atlantic in, on May 20th, 1932.
Tom’s Love Of Flying…
At the 4 minute and 45 second mark, you can watch Tom roll a helicopter. Before that, watch him tear up the Formula 1 track.
A national hero in the 1930′s, Amelia disappeared on July 2, 1937, along with her navigator, Fred Noonan, during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Her plane, a Lockheed Model 10 Electra, is believed to have gone down somewhere between Hawaii and Australia. To this day, attempts to find the wreckage continue. Before her disappearance, however, she captured the public’s imagination by setting a number of flying records.
As stated above she was the first woman to cross the Atlantic solo, but she also:
-Set the women’s speed record for 100 kilometers, on June 30, 1925.
-Set the speed record of 181.18mph over a 3 kilometer course, on July 5 1930.
-Set the women’s autogiro altitude record at 18,415 feet. She used a Pitcairn autogiro, on April 8th, 1931.
-Was the first woman to fly solo nonstop coast to coast, during which she also set the women’s nonstop transcontinental speed record by flying 2,447.8 miles in 19 hours 5 minutes.
This is the island Amelia and Noonan were supposed to land on when they disappeared. It’s part of the Phoenix Islands and is owned by the United States.
Amelia, In Brief
To get a little more background on this extraordinary woman, we’ve included a brief history of her life and her planes.
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Tom’s Film and Events Calendar…