Aviator commemorates Earhart’s final flight
Texan aviator, Brian Lloyd, who is flying solo on his single engine plane around the world to commemorate American female aviator, Amelia Earhart’s famous flight 80-years ago, is spending the weekend is American Samoa, on a stop over before heading to Lihue, Hawai’i.
Lloyd’s plane, “Spirit”, departed Hamilton, New Zealand around 9:35 a.m. on Sunday July 23 (which was 10:35a.m. Saturday July 22 in American Samoa.) Lloyd sent out a message on social media, via his website, Project Amelia Earhart, that he was due in Pago Pago on July 22 at 10:35p.m. - the flight crossed the International Dateline.
But by late Saturday afternoon (American Samoa time) the Project Amelia Earhart media coordinator, based in California, informed Samoa News via Facebook message that Lloyd’s flight was arriving early in Pago Pago.
Around 8:45p.m. Saturday, the “Spirit” taxied down the Pago Pago International Airport runway onto the tarmac, where he was greeted by the local airport ground handling crew from Pritchard Airport Service as well as an airport police officer, amid a very dark night with a nice breeze.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the island, since I’ll be here” for a day or so, Lloyd said in a Samoa News interview at the airport not long after his plane landed.
On the wings and body on the plane, adorned many signatures, which Lloyd said are the names of people who were involved at airports around the world during his stops.
“The idea was to show, how many people it takes to make a flight like this. Everybody thinks, ‘oh yeah, you’re going out, you’re flying by yourself’, he said of the signatures. “But I can’t do those flights without all of those people, all of those airports, all of those services - whether they’re doing [ground] handling or fuel or customs or the air traffic controllers.”
“All of those people, all around the world participated in someway or another during the trip. And this is to show how many people were involved,” he said, adding that the people who are involved in Pago Pago will also be asked for their signatures - either on the wings or body of the plane.
Lloyd, who lives near San Antonio, Texas, began his adventure on June 1 from Miami, Florida when he propelled his single-engine plane named “Spirit” into the sky on a solo round-the-world adventure, as he commemorates Earhart’s famous flight eighty years ago on this date in 1937, according to a news release on his website.
The two month flight will follow Earhart’s historic route to circumnavigate the world at the equator, which starts in Miami, skirts South America, crosses the Atlantic, then Africa, and onward around the world.
Prior to departure from his home airstrip in Texas, Lloyd “I am driven by the spirit of historic flights. It is important to remember the aviation pioneers like Amelia Earhart, and their contributions to aviation. Their bold actions made today’s air travel possible for all of us,” according to the news release.
“My father taught me to fly when I was 14 years old. Aviation is in my family, both of my sons are pilots,” he said.
The Associated Press reports last week that the disappearance of Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan on July 2, 1937, in the Western Pacific Ocean has been the subject of continuing searches, research and debate.
A longstanding theory is that the famed pilot ran out of gas and crashed into deep ocean waters northwest of Howland Island, a tiny speck in the South Pacific that she and Noonan missed, the AP reports.
See Monday’s edition for more on the Samoa News interview.