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Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart was born in 1897, in Kansas, USA. Even as a child she didn't behave in a conventionally 'feminine' way. She climbed trees and hunted rats with her rifle - but she wasn't particularly interested in flying. She saw her first plane when she wa

"Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others." (Amelia Earhart)

Amelia Earhart was born in 1897, in Kansas, USA. Even as a child she didn't behave in a conventionally 'feminine' way. She climbed trees and hunted rats with her rifle - but she wasn't particularly interested in flying. She saw her first plane when she was 10, and wasn't impressed at all. But she was very interested in newspaper reports about women who were successful in male dominated professions, such as engineering, law and management. She cut them out and kept them.

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During the First World War she worked as a nursing assistant in a military hospital, and later started to study medicine at university. Then, in 1920, Amelia's life changed. She went to an aviation fair with her father and had a 10-minute flight in a plane. That was it. As soon as the plane left the ground, Amelia knew that she had to fly.

So Amelia found herself a female flying teacher and started to learn to fly. She took all sorts of odd jobs to pay for the lessons, and also saved and borrowed enough money to buy a second hand plane. It was bright yellow and she called it 'Canary'. In 1922 she took 'Canary' up to a height of 14,000 feet, breaking the women's altitude record.

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In 1928, Amelia was working as a social worker in Boston when she received an amazing phone call inviting her to join pilot Wilmer Stultz on a flight across the Atlantic. The man who organised the flight was the American publisher, George Putnam. Amelia's official title was 'commander' but she herself said that she was just a passenger. But she was still the first woman passenger to fly across the Atlantic. She became famous, wrote a book about the crossing (called '20 Hours, 40 minutes') and travelled around the country giving lectures. George Putnam was like a manager to her, and she eventually married him in 1931.

Then, in 1932, Amelia flew solo across the Atlantic, something that only one person, Lindbergh, had ever done before. Because of bad weather, she was forced to land in the middle of a field in Ireland, frightening the cows. She broke several records with this flight: the first woman to make the solo crossing, the only person to make the crossing twice, the longest non-stop distance for a woman and the shortest time for the flight.

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Now she was really famous. She was given the Distinguished Flying Cross (another first for a woman), wrote another book, and continued to lecture. She also designed a flying suit for women, and went on to design other clothes for women who led active lives.

Amelia continued to break all sorts of aviation records over the next few years. But not everyone was comfortable with the idea of a woman living the kind of life that Amelia led. One newspaper article about her finished with the question "But can she bake a cake?"

When she was nearly 40, Amelia decided that she was ready for a final challenge - to be the first woman to fly around the world. Her first attempt was unsuccessful (the plane was damaged) but she tried again in June 1937, with her navigator, Fred Noonan. She had decided that this was going to be her last long distance 'record breaking' flight.

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Everything went smoothly and they landed in New Guinea in July. The next stage was from New Guinea to Howland Island, a tiny spot of land in the Pacific Ocean. But in mid flight the plane, navigator and pilot simply disappeared in the bad weather

A rescue search was started immediately but nothing was found. The United States government spent $4 million looking for Amelia, which makes it the most expensive air and sea search in history. A lighthouse was built on Howland Island in her memory.

Amelia always knew that what she did was dangerous and that every flight could be her last. She left a letter for her husband saying that she knew the dangers, but she wanted to do what she did. People today are still speculating about what might have happened to Amelia and Fred Noonan. There are even theories that they might have landed on an unknown island and lived for many more years. Whatever happened, Amelia Earhart is remembered as a brave pioneer for both aviation and for women.

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5 words/phrases from the text:

1. aviation: designing, making and flying aircraft
2. flight: a journey made in an aircraft
3. altitude: how high something is above the sea
4. record-breaking: bigger, better or longer than before
5. land: to come down from the air onto the ground

Exercise one.

Vocabulary gap fill. Now use the 5 words/phrases to fill the gaps in the sentences below:

  1. ŠtefanBanič will be remembered in the history of ..... as the inventor of the first modern parachute
  2. The ..... from London to Bratislava takes just over two hours
  3. We will be travelling at an ..... of 9,000 metres
  4. We ask that all passengers fasten their seatbelts as we expect to ..... in about ten minutes
  5. Ivan Bella became a ..... pilot in 1999 by being the first Slovak to go into space.

Exercise two.

Comprehension: multiple choice. For each question choose the best answers.

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  1. What was Amelia interested in as a child?
  1. engineering
  2. successful women
  3. planes
  1. Amelia's life change when she
  1. was working in a hospital
  2. was studying at university
  3. first flew in a plane
  1. Who piloted the plane that crossed the Atlantic in 1928?
  1. George Putnam
  2. Wilmer Stultz
  3. Amelia Earhart
  1. What was important about Amelia's solo Atlantic crossing of 1932
  1. She landed in Ireland
  2. She was the first person to do it
  3. She was the first woman to do it
  1. What happened in 1937?
  1. Amelia disappeared
  2. Amelia flew around the world
  3. Amelia's plane crashed on Howland Island


Question forms & subject/object questions

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Review of question forms

Yes/No questions

Is he a teacher? Yes he is.
Can you swim? No, I can't.
Have they got a car? Yes they have.

To form yes/no questions where there is an auxiliary verb or a modal verb, we invert the word order of a positive sentence. (He is a teacher -> Is he a teacher?)

Do you eat fish? No I don't.
Does she know you. Yes she does.

When there is no auxiliary verb we use ‘do' to form the question.

With question words

The same rules apply when there is a question word (‘what', ‘where', ‘when', ‘why', ‘who', ‘which', ‘how', ‘how much', ‘how many')

Where is the hotel?
What can you smell?
Who has just arrived?

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Where there is an auxiliary or modal verb, that verb is used to form the question.

How did you get here?
When do your parents get back?
How much does it cost?

Where there is no auxiliary verb, we use do.

Subject/Object questions

Sometimes you might see questions like this.

Who broke the window?
What happened next?
Who told you that?

There is no auxiliary verb and the word order is not inverted.

These are called subject questions - because the question word is the subject of the sentence.

Look at these two questions.

Who does Romeo love? Romeo loves Juliet.
Who loves Romeo? Juliet loves Romeo.

In the first question, Romeo is the subject of the verb.
In the second question ‘who' is the subject and Romeo is the object.

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Write 2 questions for each of these answers.
Example: Lily stole the necklace.
Who stole the necklace? (subject question) / What did Lily steal? (object question)

1 Jon and Claire bought a new car.

2 Good students go to the library.

3 Tolstoy wrote War and Peace.

4 Alex lives in Japan.

5 Emma ate all the chocolate cake.

Quiz Question 3

Capital of Wales.

Amelia Earhart - key


    1. aviation
    2. flight
    3. altitude
    4. land
    5. record-breaking


    1. b
    2. c
    3. b
    4. c
    5. a


    1. Who bought a new car? / What did Jon and Claire buy?
    2. Who goes to the library? /Where do good students go? / What do good students do?
    3. Who wrote War and Peace? / What did Tolstoy write?
    4. Who lives in Japan? / Where does Alex live?
    5. Who ate all the chocolate cake? / What did Emma eat?
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