Aviation enthusiasts will mark the 80th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s visit to Maine on Saturday with an informational display about the famed flier and a special focus on encouraging girls and women to learn to fly.
“We want to make women aware of it as a viable career choice,” said Lori Plourd, chairwoman of the Katahdin Wings Chapter of The Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots. “It’s not as big and scary and hard as it might be perceived to be.”
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Plourd and members of the Maine Aviation Historical Society will be in the hangar at Maine Instrument Flight, which is located adjacent to the Augusta State Airport. They will have a display about Earhart’s visit to Maine, informational brochures about aviation opportunities and, weather permitting, free flights for women.
They will also share a birthday cake for Earhart, whose birthday was July 24. Earhart was born in 1897 in Kansas and was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She disappeared July 2, 1937, in the Pacific Ocean while attempting to circumnavigate the globe. She visited Bangor, Waterville and Augusta Aug. 12-14, 1934.
For Plourd, Earhart’s legacy extends to her efforts to promote aviation and “encourage women to be involved.” Plourd herself said she didn’t think she could learn to fly because she wasn’t good at math. Then in her mid-30s, she decided to take lessons and has been a private pilot since 1998.
“It’s a challenge,” said Plourd, of Bridgton. “It’s a commitment. It’s for me, well worth it.”