Amelia Earhart (born in 1897, disappeared in 1937, declared dead in absentia in 1939) was a famous aviation pioneer in an age when female pilots were extremely rare. She was decorated for her bravery and flying skill, and set many flying records of her time, both for women and for pilots of either sex. In 1932 she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean solo.
Earhart is probably most famous today for her mysterious disappearance over the central Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937, along with second navigator Fred Noonan, during an attempted circumnavigation of the globe. Although the most commonly accepted theory is that Earhart's plane either simply ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean, or made an emergency landing on an uninhabited island, numerous conspiracy theories abound, everything from failed espionage attempts to secret identities to Alien Abduction. Recent archaeological excavations have most likely found her castaway site, but this will probably do nothing to halt the conspiracy theories.
Less well known is that Earhart was also a successful writer. She wrote many articles for Cosmopolitan magazine, and published two best-seller books on her experiences as a pilot and as a female pilot, 20 Hrs., 40 Min. and The Fun of It.
- Star Trek: Voyager: In "The 37s," Voyager's crew discover Earhart and other people from her age preserved in suspended animation on an alien planet. Turns out she was abducted by aliens after all!
- Earhart is also seen briefly in the intro of Star Trek: Enterprise.
- Ross from Friends is enamored with her in "The one with the lottery ticket". He even planned to build a theme park dedicated to her if he won the lottery.
- The short play Chamber Music is about a mental hospital with a ward full of women who all believe themselves to be famous historical figures. One of them says she's Amelia Earhart, and there are hints that she might in fact be Amelia Earhart, put in the hospital by mistake. At the very least, she seems to be quite rational and normal otherwise, as opposed to the other women, who are all highly paranoid and homicidal.
- The Musical Take Flight tells three parallel stories about the lives of Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, and the Wright Brothers.
- She pops up as a Spirit Advisor to the titular character in the somewhat obscure musical Flight of the Lawnchair Man.