Amelia Earhart, the famous woman aviator, visited Rochester 80 years ago, today (Nov. 22). She was going to give a talk on flying at the Lyceum Theater that evening but first she visited radio station WHEC and talked with Al Sigl. The following article is from the Rochester Times-Union on Nov. 22.
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Cake-Baking Boast Of Amelia Earhart, Who Flew Atlantic
By Roy Yerger
A tall, young woman, whose shy charm belies the daring of her aviation exploits, stood before microphone of Gannett Radio Station WHEC in The Times-Union editorial offices today and boasted she could bake a cake.
A hundred persons clustered around reporters’ and editors’ desks to hear the broadcast of Mrs. Amelia Earhart Putnam, who has hurtled across the continent and soloed across the treacherous Atlantic.
Tonight the famed aviatrix will lecture from the stage of the Lyceum Theater with “Flying for Fun” her topic. Prominent in the audience will he members of the Zonta Club of Rochester, with which organization Miss Earhart is affiliated.
“What does the average husband think about a wife who flies?” Al J. Sigl, newscaster of The Times-Union, asked as the radio interview began.
“I deny that my husband is average,” Miss Earhart returned–and the throng about the microphone saw her smile flash. There was a depreciating gesture with slim, feminine hands.
“He’s really very co-operative, though. He recognizes that I know more about flying than he does–just as I bow to his judgment on matters connected with the book publishing business. And he’s one of my very best passengers. His business often takes him back and forth across the continent and when I happen to be going the same way he flies with me. Other times he takes regular transport planes.”
Miss Earhart’s voice was soft with a New England blur. If her bearing was slightly different as she stood straight and slim at the microphone, her mouth and eyes were disarmingly friendly–even when she was startled by the flash of photographer’s bulb.
“Does an aviation career keep a woman from having a home life?” Mr Sigl queried.
Miss Earhart smiled again.
“Well I find it possible to be home about half the time. There are 600 women pilots in America–more than in any other country of the world–and half of them have husbands and children. I don’t find aviation breaking up any homes.
“A French magazine not long ago published a very thrilling account of my ocean flight. It concluded: ‘Yet she can’t bake a cake.’ That s not true, I can bake a cake.”
Miss Earhart motored with her chauffeur from her home in Rye yesterday. She came by motor not because of flying weather at this time of the year is uncertain, but because her Lockheed Vega plane, veteran of the ocean crossing, is being equipped with a new radio.
In Rochester, Miss Earhart is the house guest of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Peck Curtis of 2669 East Avenue. At their home last night she received reporters and Miss Hattie Lutt, manager of the Lyceum Theater.
“My flight across the Atlantic made no scientific contribution to aviation.” she said with an earnest modestness.
“Literally hundreds of people have flown across the ocean in one sort of aircraft or another. I honestly think the only virtue of my flight was to spur interest in aviation among women. That I’m sure it has accomplished and that, coupled with my own personal satisfaction in the achievement, makes it worthwhile.”
“Were you scared out over the ocean?” came the inevitable question.
“Not then.” She replied gravely. “One doesn’t worry if one’s hat is on straight while driving through heavy traffic. I did my worrying months before when I was checking on every mechanical detail. Once I’d started–it was only pure chance, of course, that it happened to be on the anniversary of Lindbergh’s flight–there wasn’t much to think about except piloting the plane.”
“Can women be as good pilots as men?”
“Heredity hampers most women flyers,” came the answer promptly. “We’ve been brought up to scream at the sight of a mouse. Fears of that sort are not the best thing for a woman who plans to fly. But I think considerable progress in aviation has been made recently by women.”
She stood before the open fireplace, frail and gracious. Only her words bespoke the adventurous flyer.
“Autogyros are fine for the private flyer who wants to go up for a couple hours and look around. But I don’t want to plod along at 85 or 90 miles an hour. My Lockheed Vega has a cruising speed of 150 miles an hour. I can push up to 185 miles an hour.
“I like to go places at a fair speed.”