Linda Finch

Linda Finch

Infobox Person
name =Linda Finch

image_size =180px
caption =Linda Finch c. 2004
birth_date =birth date|1951|3|13|df=y
birth_place =San Antonio, Texas, USA
known_for = Business and Aviation achievements
death_date =
death_place =
occupation =Aviator, businesswoman, author and spokesperson
spouse =
parents =

Linda Finch is a San Antonio, Texas, businesswoman born in 1951. [ "Amelia Earhart's Legacy Remembered".] Retrieved: 19 June 2008.] [ "Linda Finch mini-biography".] Retrieved: 19 June 2008.] She is a millionaire operator of nursing homes in Texas. Finch also is an aviatrix and an aviation historian. She has totally restored six vintage aircraft and partially restored many others. Finch has over 20 year’s experience in the acquisition, restoration, maintenance and flying of historic vintage aircraft. [ "Linda Finch article".] Retrieved: 19 June 2008.]

Aircraft career

During Finch’s early 20s she decided that she wanted to learn to fly a World War II F4U Corsair fighter aircraft. Whenever she could afford it she purchased flying and training lessons. Finch finally obtained her pilot's license in 1972. After graduating from a rented Grumman trainer in 1980 to her own Piper Arrow, Finch flew regularly to nursing homes that she managed throughout Texas. In her 30s, she bought a North American T-6 Texan, a wartime trainer which she completely restored, modified and raced, primarily to prepare her to fly the Corsair. [ [ "Eagle Biography: Linda Finch".] Retrieved: 20 June 2008.]

Early in her flying career, Finch joined the Confederate Air Force (now Commemorative Air Force) Association to acquire the flying skills necessary to handle warbirds, including the T-6 and Corsair. One difficult lesson to learn was how to land a P-47 numerous times without power. This was taught to her so she would learn how the plane would handle in emergencies. Finch is the head coordinator and primary sponsor of the Commemorative Air Force Republic P-47D Thunderbolt "Tarheel Hal", (S/N: 44-90368, marked as 44-33240). She is a major fundraiser for the restoration and marketing of this rare aircraft, of which it is reported that there are only five still flying. She is also a licensed, trained pilot and mechanic for this type of aircraft.

Finch has logged more than 8,000 flying hours with approximately 5,900 of these flying hours in vintage multi-engine aircraft, warbirds and tail draggers. She has flown in numerous air shows around the world for more than 10 years.

World Flight 1997

Finch’s main notability is that she had faithfully recreated the ill-fated last flight of Amelia Earhart. To fulfill Amelia Earhart's dream, the recreation of the 1937 around-the-world flight of Earhart was known as "World Flight 1997." Civil Air Patrol News, June, 1997, Volume 29, Number 6, pp. 16–20.] Finch’s flight marked the 60th anniversary of Earhart's failed effort as well as centennial of her birth. [ "Linda Finch did more than re-enact Amelia Earhart's final flight: she was sowing dreams".] Retrieved: 19 June 2008.]

History records that Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, the first woman to fly nonstop across the United States and first woman to fly from Hawaii to the west coast of California. The whole world was watching Amelia Earhart when she began her global attempt and of course then mourned her when the plane came up missing without a trace. Earhart was lost somewhere in the south Pacific Ocean. Finch hoped in her recreation of the Earhart circumnavigation, that children around the world would understand Earhart’s courage, hope and determination. [ "Riding the wind. (pilot Linda Finch will recreate Amelia Earhart's historic flight attempt from 1937 to circle the earth".] "Jack & Jill magazine", March 1997. Retrieved: 19 June 2008.]

Other pilots have retraced the 1937 flight, but this was the first in an aircraft almost identical to Earhart's Lockheed L-10 Electra aircraft. Finch flew a restored 1935 Lockheed Electra 10E, the same make and model aircraft as Earhart on her last journey. Finch did this historic flight by herself but with the help of five navigators, provided by the Jeppeson Company, including Denny Ghirendelli, each navigator flying part of the route. Pelt 2005, p. 220.]


The uniqueness of Finch’s flight is that it was done in a rare 1935 Lockheed L-10E Electra.Finch came up with the idea of recreating Earhart's flight in 1994 when she found the remains of one of only two flight-worthy Electra 10Es in existence. Finch came upon it in a hangar in Wisconsin where it had been sitting for years; the wings were off, the engines had been sold and various other parts were missing. Finch spent nearly every penny she had (a total of $330,000) to purchase the hulk and haul it back to her hometown in Texas.Berthelet, Dorothy. [ "Oshkosh Visit".] Retrieved: 20 June 2008.] She set about restoring it with the help of a four and a half million dollar donation from aircraft engine manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney. This company designed and built the original Wasp radial engines that powered Amelia Earhart's Electra. Using original drawings and old vintage photographs, the 1935 aircraft was accurately restored right down to its rivets.

The Electra was methodically and meticulously put back together with great attention to original specifications. The only exception to the original is that Finch's Electra was equipped with modern navigation and communication equipment whereas Earhart's had primitive radio communications by today's standards.Finch’s aircraft was outfitted with a Global Positioning System for world navigation and tracking electronics as she hopped across the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean between the islands. Finch was never out of communications thanks to a laptop computer and satellite links and she was always accompanied by a Grumman Albatross support aircraft flown by veteran pilot Reid Dennis. The lack of communications was one of the causes for the unfortunate fate of Amelia Earhart.

For extra insurance on long stretches, Finch’s Electra L-10E was modified to carry 1,800 gallons of fuel, nearly twice the capacity of Earhart's that reputedly carried between 800 to 1,200 gallons of fuel.

Recreation of historic flight

Finch’s recreated flight began from Oakland International Airport at Oakland, California, on 17 March 1997. This was 60 years later to the month of Amelia Earhart's 1937 infamous around-the-world flight attempt in her twin-engine plane. Finch’s flight took 10 weeks to complete as she flew in increments of eight hours to 12 hours at a time on average. This was her length between landings where she had rest periods.

Retracing the flight path of Amelia Earhart, Finch closely followed the same route that Earhart flew, stopping at 36 way-points in 18 countries before finishing the trip two and a half months (a total of 73 days) later when she landed back at the Oakland Airport on 28 May. The trip was about 26,000-miles long. Finch's plane was equipped with a video camera supplied by the National Geographic Society. Safety requirements were maintained by the use of a chase plane, radar, and modern navigational and communication equipment. Earhart had none of these modern electronic equipment devices. The Electra's cabin is not pressurized and it does not carry oxygen and, like Earhart, Finch had to fly below 10,000 ft for much of the flight.

Finch touched down on five continents while mirroring Earhart's route and stops as best she could. She was unable to secure permission to overfly Libya and made more stops while crossing the Pacific than were planned by Earhart because some areas didn't have the right fuel for the restored Electra. Her next to last leg was an eight-hour flight from Christmas Island to Hawaii. In that leg Finch did not land at Howland Island, the destination that Earhart never reached, because of the deteriorated state of the airfield on the one-mile-long island. She did however drop a single wreath over Howland Island from her aircraft in honor of the pioneering aviatrix. Finch’s last leg on 28 May was an estimated 15-hour flight between Hawaii and Oakland, California.At the time of this historic flight in 1997, Finch was 46-years-old, five years older than Earhart's age on her final flight.

Finch believed that Earhart's courage, heroism and limitless vision are powerful inspirations for young people of all ages. Finch tied her flight to an educational program called "You Can Soar." Finch’s team developed a comprehensive free multimedia educational outreach program as part of the historic recreated flight. It reached a million at-risk and minority middle school students and their teachers in the United States as they followed her progress daily. Finch met with groups of school children at all her stops in the United States and many of her stops overseas. The World Flight 1997 official web site had a multimedia school program that used the flight to teach geography, science, weather and mathematics to students. As well, the high-tech computer and communication equipment in her aircraft allowed children in some 200,000 classrooms around the world to chart her progress via the Internet. The website was accessed approximately 30 million times. Finch said she used a laptop in the cockpit of the Electra to answer e-mail messages and she spent four or five hours every day after landing to keep in touch with her businesses and her three children: Julies, Leslie and Katie (ages 28, 21 and two at the time).

After finishing the historic flight, Finch said to the spectators and media gathered at Oakland International Airport:

Following the world flight, Finch appeared at numerous aviation-related events including the EAA Convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to describe the "wonderful ride." The Lockheed Electra 10E, S/N 1015, N72GT used in the historic flight, as of early 2008, is registered in Cody, Wyoming, and hangared in New Mexico. [ [ "Lockheed 10 & 12"] Retrieved: 20 June 2008.]

ee also

* Pratt & Whitney
* Lockheed




* Crouch, Thomas D. "Searching for Amelia Earhart." "Invention & Technology" Volume 23, Issue 1, Summer 2007.
* Duffy, Paul. "Amelia Earhart, World Flight 1937, World Flight 1997, Linda Finch" (booklet). East Hartford, CT: Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Group, 1997. ISBN 9088009101544.
* Gillespie, Ric. "Finding Amelia: The True Story of the Earhart Disappearance". Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2006. ISBN 1-59114-319-5.
* Hoffman, David. "Following Amelia Earhart: Heroines of the Sky" (DVD). Camden, ME: Varied Directions International, 2002.
* Pelt, Lori Van. "Amelia Earhart: The Sky's No Limit" (American Heroes). New York: Macmillan, 2005. ISBN 0-76531-061-9.
* Szabo, Corinne. "Sky Pioneer: A Photobiography of Amelia Earhart". Washington, DC: National Geographic Children's Books, 1997. ISBN 0-79223-737-4.

External links

* [ World Flight]

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